DENVER (CBS4) – Denver voters will go back to the polls in June for the runoff election in the 2019 Denver mayor’s race. Incumbent Michael Hancock received 39 percent of the vote, which is not enough to win outright.
He’ll now face rising political star Jamie Giellis, who received 26 percent of the vote.
Both candidates made appearances on CBS4 This Morning on Wednesday and talked about the issue of Denver’s rapid growth.
“We’ve spent time working on our land use strategies. We’ve spent time talking about our future as a city — mobility, housing, all those things are now in place and we’re moving forward with those strategies today,” Hancock said.
“The No. 1 thing I hear about is growth and development. Growth and development has taken over our city and I think residents and community members, neighborhoods feel like they have no voice in the process,” Giellis said.
That runoff is set for June 4. In addition to the mayoral runoff, there are runoffs in almost half of the city council races and for the city clerk’s office.
CBS4’s Britt Moreno interviewed Hancock and started her line of questioning with a query on whether Hancock thinks Denver should be a champion for change after America’s latest school shooting, which happened in Highlands Ranch on Tuesday. Hancock said it’s a problem “not just in Colorado but throughout society. We have a serious mental health problem, this epidemic of walking in schools and randomly victimizing people and destroying hopes and dreams.” He says our whole community needs change.
Here’s more of Moreno and Hancock’s Q&A:
Moreno: Can you pinpoint for me the way you would change Denver?
Hancock: Mental health is so large right now. It’s like eating an elephant. You have to do it one bite at a time. We are trying to make sure we have enough clinicians, enough beds, enough hotlines so people are aware of them and that we are in schools as much as we can and bringing as many clinicians as we can to Denver.
Moreno: Denver looks a lot different now than it did when you first became mayor eight years ago. You have helped us achieve development success but many critics say you have moved Denver too fast and as a result have caused too high of housing costs and gentrification. Do you agree?
Hancock: No any individual moves a city too fast. This city was out of recession the most desirable city in country. It’s desirable and we want it that way. We grew at a rapid pace — exponentially fast — and we have put in place mechanisms to manage growth.
Moreno: We know this morning Initiative 300 failed — that’s the urban camping ban. But if you live in Denver, even passed through Denverm you know homelessness is an issue. What will you do to help?
Hancock: It’s housing first and making sure we’re addressing mental health, behavioral challenges like addiction running rampant through our society. The greatest effectiveness is house people first then wrapping them with intensive services. That is what we are doing and continue to deal with for people on streets who are service resistant and getting them indoors.
CBS4’s Alan Gionet interviewed Giellis, and also asked about the recent concerns school violence in Colorado.
“This is issue we need to address head on,” Giellis said. “I believe it is a mental health issue and making sure we’re looking at our gun laws.”
Giellis also talked to Gionet about being president of Denver’s RiNo Arts District. She is the founder of a consulting firm that works with cities and neighborhoods on various projects.
Gionet: You were a very big part of the redo in RiNo. There’s not a lot of affordable housing there, though. Was RiNo a success?
Giellis: Well I came into the RiNo process later in the game. I was in that after commuter rail was opening and that area had started to see a lot of changing hands of developers and we knew that growth was coming there. My role was to come in and work with the community to say ‘How do we try to grab hold of that and reinvest it into the important things for the community,’ so while we haven’t seen a lot of affordable housing built yet, we did implement the most stringent housing requirements around the station that were passed last March. One of the first projects is coming out of the ground now and I suspect we’ll see a lot more. We also worked on the tiny home village for the homeless while I was there, which is a great project. And so I think that in the long run we’ll see that a lot of what we laid the groundwork for in RiNo is going to have great results. But mostly what happened there was we worked together as a community to try to thoughtfully and creatively address some of the same challenges that are impacting the whole city. And I think bringing that approach of being collaborative is what I’m going to do in the mayor’s office.