District 11 – Healthier Denver

District 11

Stacie Gilmore

Stacie Gilmore

Running for: District 11 (incumbent)
Supervised-Use Sites & the Opioid Crisis

Nationally, people are now more-likely to die from an opioid overdose than from a car crash. In Colorado, opioid-related deaths have tripled in the past fifteen years, and Denver’s rates of opioid- related deaths are markedly higher than that of the rest of the state. Last year, Denver City Council authorized a pilot supervised-use site, which would provide a safe space with trained professionals and medical supplies for people who use drugs but aren’t yet in recovery. Such sites are proven to drastically reduce harm and prevent death by overdose. They provide a pathway to recovery and there has been a positive association between using a supervised use site and starting in addiction treatment.


 

Do you support the continuance of the city’s plan to open a supervised use site in Denver (pending state legislation)?

In addition to your support or opposition of supervised use sites, what are your plans to address the opioid crisis in Denver?

I believe we need to have a comprehensive path toward recovery that includes harm reduction, treatment options, and ongoing support for individuals addicted to opioids and other drugs. I would like to have a much broader conversation about how we as a city and regionally can begin to address this crisis. I did support the authorized pilot supervised-use site ordinance, but the community needed to have much more engagement especially in communities like Montbello and Green Valley Ranch. We need to begin to normalize this conversation and talk about what are best practices and how we can do better by our citizens and families in addressing this health epidemic.

Cash Bail

When people are accused of a crime, they often spend extraordinary amounts of time in jail because they are not able to afford and quickly pay even low amounts of bail. The longer a person sits behind bars, the higher their chance of experiencing physical and mental health issues due to inadequate care is. Additional consequences can include loss of employment and/or housing. The bond industry further exacerbates the health effects of the cash bail system by exploiting low-income people and people of color, adding stress and fear to an already difficult situation, and worsening the inequitable negative mental and physical health outcomes of the accused.

 


 

Do you support ending cash bail in Denver? Why or why not?

 What other policies would you pursue to reduce the detrimental health effects of the existing criminal justice system?

Criminal justice reform must be at the forefront of the city. Housing individuals in our jails that are suffering from mental health and/or addiction is not conducive to them getting well and is detrimental to their recovery and health. Bail reform must be aggressive since pre-trial detainees who aren’t convicted of a crime and are being held in jail only because they cannot afford to pay their fines represent a large percentage of our jail populations. In New Jersey they saw a 30 percent decrease in their jail population, without any crime increases, when they stopped holding defendants who couldn’t afford to pay bail. Re-entry programs are crucial as well to ensure we are supporting individuals as they return to their communities to reduce the recidivism rate. Expungement of low level, nonviolent crimes is another example that would have great benefit, for example the City of Denver’s “Turn Over a New Leaf” program.

Tobacco & E-Cigarettes

Colorado’s kids use e-cigarettes at twice the national rate and 91,000 of our youth will die prematurely from the health effects of tobacco. Annual health care costs in our state from the effects of smoking are $1.89 billion. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disability in Denver. There are a number of proven ways to stem the tobacco and e-cigarette crisis: licensure of tobacco and e-cigarette sales, increasing taxes on those products, and raising the age of purchase to 21 are some the most effective.


 

Do you support raising the age of purchase to 21 for cigarettes and other tobacco products such as chewing tobacco?

Do you support enacting licensure requirements and increasing the taxes on tobacco and nicotine products for the city of Denver?

Yes. I would be open to looking at increasing the licensure and taxes on these products.

Mental Health Care

The need for improved mental and behavioral health care in our city is vast: 20 percent of Denverites deal with a daily mental health or addiction issue. In Colorado, suicide is the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 24 and 1-in-8 Denver Public School students have seriously thought about suicide. Currently, only 40 percent of people with daily mental health or addiction issues receive adequate care. Recognizing the severity of the issue, Denver voters in 2018 overwhelmingly passed Initiated Ordinance 301, also known as Caring 4 Denver. The 0.25 percent sales tax will fund mental health services, facilities, suicide prevention, opioid and substance use prevention, first-responder training, and more.


 

A to-be-determined nonprofit organization will be administering the Caring 4 Denver funds. How would you prioritize utilizing the funds to address mental and behavioral health and addiction needs in the city of Denver? What can the city do beyond Caring 4 Denver to address these issues?

I would prioritize using funds to address mental and behavioral health and addiction in communities that are most vulnerable to lack of services and/or resources to comprehensive healthcare. In District 11, the funding will allow communities of color and those that have barriers to services to access treatment and support. The city can provide streamlined partnership services for benefits that are provided through Denver Human Services and Workforce development to support residents even more. I would like to learn more from stakeholders and then develop strategies that are community driven to ensure there is buy in and participation to build the trust necessary for residents to access these expanded services.

Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

In Denver, the number of individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness between 2015 and 2018 has increased 58 percent – from 827 to 1,308 people. Unsheltered means persons not in places meant for habitation, i.e. streets, bridges, abandoned buildings, and outdoor camps. Moreover, 30 percent of the Metro Denver homeless population reported experiencing chronic homelessness. The City of Denver is seeking solutions to assist individuals experiencing homelessness in our community that strike the right balance between housing options, shelters, and resources for these individuals to transition into a stable environment long-term.


 

How do we best serve the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness in Denver?

What specific policies would you pursue and/or ordinances would you modify?

A housing first approach would provide people who are experiencing homelessness a stable environment to begin to address the issues that they are struggling with in a service rich format. The state of our shelter portfolio is something that we must begin to look at closely and address gaps in service by listening to the voices of the folks we are trying to serve. The accommodations for LGBTQ individuals, couples, those with pets, and other gaps in service create even more barriers for people.

Climate Change

Colorado is facing disproportionate effects of climate change. Here in Denver, we are seeing substantial increases in the number of days each year topping 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Those temperatures exacerbate illnesses like asthma and cardiovascular disease, cause earlier snow melt, increase ozone pollution, and worsen long-standing water supply problems. The city has created the 80×50 Climate Action Plan, which highlights key strategies in the three sectors most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions in the city: buildings, transportation, and electricity generation. Denver’s long-term greenhouse gas reduction goal is to reduce emissions 80 percent below 2005 baselines levels by 2050. Today, many clean energy technologies, such as wind, solar, and battery storage, are available.

 


 

Do you support the city’s 80×50 Climate Action Plan?

What additional policies or practices should be implemented to protect our air, water, and the public’s health?

Yes, I fully support the city’s 80×50 Climate Action Plan. Additional policies or practices that should be looked at include expedited implementation of trash diversion strategies to increase composting and recycling participation throughout the city. Addressing construction and demolition waste and recycling is another area of opportunity to make a significant impact to trash diversion as well. Legislation to ban plastic bags and provide straws only on request are other policy directions that city council will explore. The city must make renewable energy, electricity storage, and electric vehicles a priority within Denver and the region to begin to make deeper carbon reductions in cities like Denver.

 

Christine Alonzo

Christine Alonzo

Running for: District 11
Supervised-Use Sites & the Opioid Crisis

Nationally, people are now more-likely to die from an opioid overdose than from a car crash. In Colorado, opioid-related deaths have tripled in the past fifteen years, and Denver’s rates of opioid- related deaths are markedly higher than that of the rest of the state. Last year, Denver City Council authorized a pilot supervised-use site, which would provide a safe space with trained professionals and medical supplies for people who use drugs but aren’t yet in recovery. Such sites are proven to drastically reduce harm and prevent death by overdose. They provide a pathway to recovery and there has been a positive association between using a supervised use site and starting in addiction treatment.


 

Do you support the continuance of the city’s plan to open a supervised use site in Denver (pending state legislation)?

In addition to your support or opposition of supervised use sites, what are your plans to address the opioid crisis in Denver?

 Yes I do support the continuance of supervised injection  sites. I would work with other City Council members to ensure that  adequate funding is available and on site city staff are available whether its addiction counselors, nurses, etc. This to ensure  that the program is successful, however more importantly that we are reducing the number of people overdosing.

Cash Bail

When people are accused of a crime, they often spend extraordinary amounts of time in jail because they are not able to afford and quickly pay even low amounts of bail. The longer a person sits behind bars, the higher their chance of experiencing physical and mental health issues due to inadequate care is. Additional consequences can include loss of employment and/or housing. The bond industry further exacerbates the health effects of the cash bail system by exploiting low-income people and people of color, adding stress and fear to an already difficult situation, and worsening the inequitable negative mental and physical health outcomes of the accused.


 

Do you support ending cash bail in Denver? Why or why not?

What other policies would you pursue to reduce the detrimental health effects of the existing criminal justice system?

One of my campaign commitments is to eliminate cash bail. For all the reasons listed above. I would further ensure that the money saved from housing inmates would go to an affordable housing fund, or a economic development program. Setting up a pay option  plan is far more cost effective for all involved.

Tobacco & E-Cigarettes

Colorado’s kids use e-cigarettes at twice the national rate and 91,000 of our youth will die prematurely from the health effects of tobacco. Annual health care costs in our state from the effects of smoking are $1.89 billion. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disability in Denver. There are a number of proven ways to stem the tobacco and e-cigarette crisis: licensure of tobacco and e-cigarette sales, increasing taxes on those products, and raising the age of purchase to 21 are some the most effective.


 

Do you support raising the age of purchase to 21 for cigarettes and other tobacco products such as chewing tobacco?

Do you support enacting licensure requirements and increasing the taxes on tobacco and nicotine products for the city of Denver?

Yes absolutely! My mother has smoked for over 50 years and is terminal. I support even stronger measures if available.

Mental Health Care

The need for improved mental and behavioral health care in our city is vast: 20 percent of Denverites deal with a daily mental health or addiction issue. In Colorado, suicide is the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 24 and 1-in-8 Denver Public School students have seriously thought about suicide. Currently, only 40 percent of people with daily mental health or addiction issues receive adequate care. Recognizing the severity of the issue, Denver voters in 2018 overwhelmingly passed Initiated Ordinance 301, also known as Caring 4 Denver. The 0.25 percent sales tax will fund mental health services, facilities, suicide prevention, opioid and substance use prevention, first-responder training, and more.


 

A to-be-determined nonprofit organization will be administering the Caring 4 Denver funds. How would you prioritize utilizing the funds to address mental and behavioral health and addiction needs in the city of Denver? What can the city do beyond Caring 4 Denver to address these issues?

I believe a committee or volunteer board should be created to ensure that funding is appropriated where the results  of successful treatment are proven with data. We can increase funding to organizations that are currently doing this work, the City and County of Denver can help by providing additional funds to Caring 4 Colorado by allocating some of the money that is saved from housing inmates in jail to Caring 4 Colorado.

Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

In Denver, the number of individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness between 2015 and 2018 has increased 58 percent – from 827 to 1,308 people. Unsheltered means persons not in places meant for habitation, i.e. streets, bridges, abandoned buildings, and outdoor camps. Moreover, 30 percent of the Metro Denver homeless population reported experiencing chronic homelessness. The City of Denver is seeking solutions to assist individuals experiencing homelessness in our community that strike the right balance between housing options, shelters, and resources for these individuals to transition into a stable environment long-term.


 

How do we best serve the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness in Denver?

What specific policies would you pursue and/or ordinances would you modify?

I would work to repeal the “Camping Ban Ordinance”  support other approaches to pursue or to change some existing policies that  separate homeless families. We focus a lot of our efforts on policies that have not worked we need to develop policies that treat the whole individual, for example a homeless person may have a substance abuse problem, chronic alcoholism, or mental health issues. We don’t deal with the symptoms of homelessness first hand what we do instead is not provide shelter or help with housing because they suffer from addiction. What we should be doing is provide them with housing first and then treat the symptoms, get people on a path to employment (not minimum wage jobs that do not help the individual to be self sustaining), and treatment.

Climate Change

Colorado is facing disproportionate effects of climate change. Here in Denver, we are seeing substantial increases in the number of days each year topping 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Those temperatures exacerbate illnesses like asthma and cardiovascular disease, cause earlier snow melt, increase ozone pollution, and worsen long-standing water supply problems. The city has created the 80×50 Climate Action Plan, which highlights key strategies in the three sectors most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions in the city: buildings, transportation, and electricity generation. Denver’s long-term greenhouse gas reduction goal is to reduce emissions 80 percent below 2005 baselines levels by 2050. Today, many clean energy technologies, such as wind, solar, and battery storage, are available.


 

Do you support the city’s 80×50 Climate Action Plan?

What additional policies or practices should be implemented to protect our air, water, and the public’s health?

Yes I do support the Climate Action Plan. I would support local control  and setbacks, I would support an energy efficient program for all City and County Buildings to become energy efficient . I also would look into  creative ways to incentivize people to recycle. A good example would be to use recycling as a way to pay for public transportation, or to to get movie passes or credits at the grocery stores (to be used like coupons)  even propose a resolution to ban plastic bags. My community is at risk right now for drilling, I will fight this in any way possible, I care deeply about environmental justice and will bring that to City Council when elected.

Shayla Richard

Shayla Richard

Running for: District 11
Supervised-Use Sites & the Opioid Crisis

Nationally, people are now more-likely to die from an opioid overdose than from a car crash. In Colorado, opioid-related deaths have tripled in the past fifteen years, and Denver’s rates of opioid- related deaths are markedly higher than that of the rest of the state. Last year, Denver City Council authorized a pilot supervised-use site, which would provide a safe space with trained professionals and medical supplies for people who use drugs but aren’t yet in recovery. Such sites are proven to drastically reduce harm and prevent death by overdose. They provide a pathway to recovery and there has been a positive association between using a supervised use site and starting in addiction treatment.


 

Do you support the continuance of the city’s plan to open a supervised use site in Denver (pending state legislation)?

In addition to your support or opposition of supervised use sites, what are your plans to address the opioid crisis in Denver?

I do support the city’s plan to open a supervised use site, I would like to see more than just one.  Senate Bill 18-022 started the work in reducing opioid addiction. Controlling and monitoring access to opioids is one piece of the puzzle in the very real and expansive problem of addiction. We also have the Caring 4 Denver to provide support for opioid addiction. I would add that we need more of all of these efforts. They are limited in scope.

 

Cash Bail

When people are accused of a crime, they often spend extraordinary amounts of time in jail because they are not able to afford and quickly pay even low amounts of bail. The longer a person sits behind bars, the higher their chance of experiencing physical and mental health issues due to inadequate care is. Additional consequences can include loss of employment and/or housing. The bond industry further exacerbates the health effects of the cash bail system by exploiting low-income people and people of color, adding stress and fear to an already difficult situation, and worsening the inequitable negative mental and physical health outcomes of the accused.


 

Do you support ending cash bail in Denver? Why or why not?

What other policies would you pursue to reduce the detrimental health effects of the existing criminal justice system?

Yes, I support ending cash bail in Denver. Cash bail is tantamount to keeping people in jail for being poor. The effects for poor people being held for a day or more can be devastating. It may mean losing a job, which can have a cascading effect of loss of child custody, housing ,etc. People are being punished for a crime they haven’t even been convicted of. Change needs to happen within facilities and after release. Over half the people incarcerated are drug/alcohol abusers. Addiction is a mental health issue that cannot be remediated with incarceration. True recovery needs to take place, with actual mental health staff. Along with mental health, providing post incarceration integration programs is key to reducing recidivism.

Tobacco & E-Cigarettes

Colorado’s kids use e-cigarettes at twice the national rate and 91,000 of our youth will die prematurely from the health effects of tobacco. Annual health care costs in our state from the effects of smoking are $1.89 billion. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disability in Denver. There are a number of proven ways to stem the tobacco and e-cigarette crisis: licensure of tobacco and e-cigarette sales, increasing taxes on those products, and raising the age of purchase to 21 are some the most effective.


 

Do you support raising the age of purchase to 21 for cigarettes and other tobacco products such as chewing tobacco?

Do you support enacting licensure requirements and increasing the taxes on tobacco and nicotine products for the city of Denver?

I support raising the age of purchase to 21. I am reticent to agree to raise taxes on tobacco and nicotine products. Adding more fees to these products could impact the most impoverished amongst us. Alternatively, I would support fees that tobacco industries would be responsible for.

Mental Health Care

The need for improved mental and behavioral health care in our city is vast: 20 percent of Denverites deal with a daily mental health or addiction issue. In Colorado, suicide is the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 24 and 1-in-8 Denver Public School students have seriously thought about suicide. Currently, only 40 percent of people with daily mental health or addiction issues receive adequate care. Recognizing the severity of the issue, Denver voters in 2018 overwhelmingly passed Initiated Ordinance 301, also known as Caring 4 Denver. The 0.25 percent sales tax will fund mental health services, facilities, suicide prevention, opioid and substance use prevention, first-responder training, and more.


 

A to-be-determined nonprofit organization will be administering the Caring 4 Denver funds. How would you prioritize utilizing the funds to address mental and behavioral health and addiction needs in the city of Denver? What can the city do beyond Caring 4 Denver to address these issues?

 I believe mental health should be integrated into existing structures; schools, workplaces, recreation centers, Health and Human Services, Department of Motor Vehicles. This makes care accessible and it normalizes accessing help for mental health. Having to go to a brick and mortar facility for mental health services exclusively is antiquated. Mental health should be just part of the fabric of our lives.

Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

In Denver, the number of individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness between 2015 and 2018 has increased 58 percent – from 827 to 1,308 people. Unsheltered means persons not in places meant for habitation, i.e. streets, bridges, abandoned buildings, and outdoor camps. Moreover, 30 percent of the Metro Denver homeless population reported experiencing chronic homelessness. The City of Denver is seeking solutions to assist individuals experiencing homelessness in our community that strike the right balance between housing options, shelters, and resources for these individuals to transition into a stable environment long-term.


 

How do we best serve the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness in Denver?

What specific policies would you pursue and/or ordinances would you modify?

The quickest way to deal with people who are experiencing homelessness is to provide homes. There are many abandoned buildings in Denver that could be converted into housing. This is a reactive strategy. However, in order to be proactive the city needs to intercede to make housing affordable. I propose that if landlords are going to evict tenants or plan to raise the rent more than 5% they have to pay re-location costs. This would stem some of the dislocation that’s happening in the city.

Climate Change

Colorado is facing disproportionate effects of climate change. Here in Denver, we are seeing substantial increases in the number of days each year topping 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Those temperatures exacerbate illnesses like asthma and cardiovascular disease, cause earlier snow melt, increase ozone pollution, and worsen long-standing water supply problems. The city has created the 80×50 Climate Action Plan, which highlights key strategies in the three sectors most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions in the city: buildings, transportation, and electricity generation. Denver’s long-term greenhouse gas reduction goal is to reduce emissions 80 percent below 2005 baselines levels by 2050. Today, many clean energy technologies, such as wind, solar, and battery storage, are available.


 

Do you support the city’s 80×50 Climate Action Plan?

What additional policies or practices should be implemented to protect our air, water, and the public’s health?

I have three foci that I intend to address when elected; 1. The I-70 expansion is going to irreversibly devastate the environmental quality of the entire Denver metroplex. Although my district isn’t the most polluted zip code we are I-70 adjacent and I am bracing for how to get my constituents through this ecological disaster. One strategy to employ will be constant air, soil and water monitoring which will be one way to assess the safety of our environment. This will ensure that our most vulnerable populations are not disproportionately affected. 2. Simply put, I want to get more cars off the streets. Unfortunately, Denver has created a public transportation system that revolves around downtown. I want to bring a multi modal transportation system to the Far Northeast area so that my citizens can equitably get to the places that matter. 3. In the area surrounding Denver International Airport, my district is home to the shortgrass prairie. I am mindful that this endangered eco-system needs to be protected from irresponsible development. I am happy to take on this charge.

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