Alliance Opposes Denver Jail
The following news release is reproduced here because it offers important news and views about a local issue.
Denver Voters For Responsible Spending
NEWS RELEASE ... NEWS RELEASE ... NEWS
For Immediate Release
Coalition Announces Opposition to Jail Proposal
DENVER... Denver Voters for Responsible Spending, a coalition of community, civil rights, religious, neighborhood, and fiscal watchdog leaders and allies, today announced its formal opposition to the proposed Denver "Justice Center," a $600 million (including interest) project that will be listed as Measure 1A on the city's May 3, 2005 municipal ballot.
Citing Measure 1A as "The wrong solution, representing the wrong priorities at the wrong price to Denver taxpayers," Denver Voters for Responsible Spending declared Measure 1A as "wrong for Denver" and asked voters to "fail the jail" by voting 'no on Measure 1A' on May 3.
Dozens of Denver residents and leaders from across the city attended the morning news conference. Attendees included community leaders, Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters, senior citizens, young people, business owners, faith leaders, and representatives from the city's diverse communities.
Christie Donner, a member of the Mayor's Justice Center Task Force and Director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, said "You can like our mayor and still vote no on Measure 1A. This $600 million proposal is a waste of taxpayer money and takes Denver in the wrong direction. Measure 1A assumes that the best solution to address jail overcrowding is simply to build a massive new jail. This isn't our only choice. Communities across the nation are choosing to invest in education, prevention, and substance abuse treatment instead of building massive new jails."
Cheyenne Hughes, a 19 year old recent graduate of East High School and community organizer with the Colorado Progressive Coalition, said "As a young man who is African-American, building a massive new jail means that more people like me will be locked up in our city. We should put more money into our schools, not a massive new jail. That's why I'll be working hard to tell everyone I know to 'fail the jail' and vote no on Measure 1A."
Frank Sullivan, a Park Hill resident, retired educator, and long-time Democratic Party activist said "The proponents continue to tell us that there will be no increase in taxes, yet the issue on the ballot asks the citizens of Denver to increase its debt. And I do not know how to increase debt without increasing taxes to pay off that debt. Do you?"
Robin Ridder-Lima, a local business owner, registered Republican, and Executive Director of the Golden Triangle Arts District, stated "The Golden Triangle Arts District is opposed to Measure 1A because the new 1,500 bed jail proposed is not in an appropriate location, it is too much money, and it does not solve Denver's problems. We are closing Denver's schools but building a massive new jail. Measure 1A does not address the conditions at Smith Road until 2011."
Ricardo Martinez, Co-Director of Padres Unidos, a Denver community organization, and a community activist for 30 years said: "$600 million for a new jail is a real crime. Measure 1A is the wrong priority for Denver. It doesn't build our city's future and we will fight hard to defeat it."
Reverend Elaine Smith, a leader of Charity's House Ministries, a Five Points program for offenders reentering the community, said "Nobody wants to talk about the real problems of addiction and how it is causing the growth of the jail population. What we need is good, productive, alternatives programs, better education, and more drug and alcohol treatment options. We don't need a massive new jail and we don't need Measure 1A."
Denver Voters for Responsible Spending can be reached at 303.825.0122. To volunteer please call 303.866.0908 or email tanya**AT**progressivecoalition.org.