Denver council runoff: In District 9, candidates debate role of community, developers

The District 9 council in northeast Denver saw one of the nighest results in the city’s elections, but the candidates have broad philosophical differences.

Councilman Albus Brooks, seeking a third term, took about 45% of the vote in the four-way race. First-time rival Candi CdeBaca followed with about 43%. They were separated by less than 300 votes.

The rival

CdeBaca, 32, was a central leader in the fight against the expansion of Interstate 70; she besides has worked in education policy and schools administration.

Candi CdeBaca

The rival has called for neighborhoods to take lesser control of the development process, and she wants the city to speed the delivery of public- and community-owned resources.

“I think it’s about community decision-making. It’s not like (developers) are going to go away, or we don’t need them or we don’t want them. The community should be in control of shaping what function they serve,” she aforementioned.

She gave the example of grocery stores: “If Safeway wants to open up any new stores, they need to open up where Denver inevitably them.”

Her other priorities include creating 24-hour homeless shelters, public restrooms and better transit. She has criticized Brooks for his role in creating the urban encampment ban, expression it robs “people of their civil rights by criminalizing homelessness.”

The incumbent

Brooks’ campaign is centered on “comprehensive growth” — the idea that city government can shape private development to deliver community benefits. Brooks, 40, is a two-term incumbent who antecedently worked in nonprofits.

Albus Brooks

“You just have a clear choice: An individual who has a vision, an comprehensive vision to move Denver forward, who will implement that vision. And then you have person who has literally opposed about everything the city has done — grocery stores, swimming pools, pedestrian bridges,” he aforementioned.

He was referring in part to CdeBaca’s opposition to the city’s $937 million bonds package in 2017, which funded various creature comforts and infrastructure projects. She argued that the bonds neglected low-priced housing piece creating significant new debt.

She besides opposed a recent rezoning proposal, shepherded by Brooks, for a project that may include a grocery store. CdeBaca wanted an ironclad legal promise of a grocery store in the project, rather than a memorandum of understanding, among other concerns. (The developer, Andrew Feinstein, aforementioned that the grocery store was on track, but he “certainly cannot guarantee a grocery store until the lease is signed.”)

Brooks besides points to his work to create a “density bonus” system that will allow developers to build higher if they include low-priced units at 38th and Blake. The incumbent has the endorsements of some of the race’s former rivals, David Oletski and Jonathan Woodley.

Read more about the candidates in previous coverage and election questionnaires.