Message From the President
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope this message finds you well. Urban Dweller, Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods' (C.H.U.N.) monthly e-newsletter, is available online. Here is the latest from your community advocate.
The Board of Directors met on February 25th to approve committee assignments and designate new committee leadership. Congratulations to Kathy Callendar and Ryan Keeney. Ryan and Kathy will join Frank Locantore to co-chair our Urban Planning Committee. Kevin Kelly and Bruce Caughey will continue to lead the History Matters Committee. Jim Slotta, and small business member Barbara DeJong, have volunteered to spearhead our climate change advocacy efforts. Finally, each VP or Officer will help guide our community engagement, membership, fundraising, and community center responsibilities. I am grateful to this dynamic group of leaders for their commitment to the greater Capitol Hill community and the Mile High City. A full list of board members can be found here; committee assignments can be found here.
State Senator Chris Hansen, who represents a large portion of CHUN's boundaries, also attended our board meeting. He kindly provided a comprehensive overview of the current legislative priorities at the State Capitol. A number of current and forthcoming measures will have a direct impact on Denver and its neighborhoods. Measures such as modernizing the energy grid or deploying COVID19 relief funding will change the course of Denver's evolving needs.
Data and other reporting note that Denver's zoning, transportation, and land use policies have been fraught with biases against historically marginalized communities including seniors, communities of color, the LGBTQ+ population, and others. Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods supported the original recommendations developed by the Group Living Advisory Committee as a next step to "correct the decades-long discrimination that still exists in our zoning and housing policies." The adopted, revised policies weren't 100% of what the proponents, or opponents for that matter, had hoped for. But, the zoning changes are an important step forward as we work to break down decades of racism and discrimination. Now, we need to focus our time, energy, and resources on making these changes a success through responsible implementation and periodic evaluation. We are a solutions-oriented RNO and are committed to being thought partners for both residents and city stakeholders.
You are invited to attend next week's History Matters Webinar & Conversation with special guest Carol Lynn Tiegs. Carol Lynn Tiegs will join CHUN for a special presentation on the History of Capitol Hill: From Boom to Bust and Back Again, and Again. The webinar begins at 6:30 pm on March 10. Please click here to register.
On March 14, Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods is partnering with Uptown on the Hill and Old San Rafael Neighborhood Organization to provide a meal to the temporary safe outdoor space (SOS) residents at 16th & Pearl Street in Denver's North CapHill/Uptown neighborhood. Locally-owned eatery, Sullivan Scrap Kitchen, will be preparing a hot dinner of herbed chicken, mac 'n cheese, and salad for our groups to serve. Help us underwrite this important day of giving back by donating at chundenver.org/donate.
Denver's housing market continues to place financial pressures on those looking for affordable, attainable housing. According to Denver7, a bungalow in Congress Park, sold for $700,000 in 2016 and was listed again in January 2021 for $850,000. It sold within 5 days of listing for more than $930,000. It's imperative to have housing options available to ALL Denverites. CHUN is committed to working with stakeholders to help make affordable housing a reality throughout our community.
Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods' social media presence is growing, with 3900+ followers on Facebook, 490 followers on Instagram, & 644 followers on Twitter. Stay in the Know. Like and Follow Us on Facebook. If you have friends and family in the CHUN boundaries (22nd Ave, 1st Ave, Broadway, and Colorado), invite them to Like/Follow Us too. Follow us on Twitter. We have expanded our presence on Twitter; let’s keep the momentum going! Our growing membership always shares interesting updates and great photos on Instagram as well.
March is Women's HERStory Month. Let us take a moment to celebrate the many women who have changed Denver for the better. I want to recognize Dr. Florence Sabin. She was one of 16 women to be admitted to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1893, and she would become one of the world's most preeminent leaders in academic medicine and research. Historic Denver reports that due to her notable reputation as a prominent researcher, clinician, and scientist, "Governor Vivian of Colorado asked her ... to reform Colorado’s failing healthcare system, one of the worst in the country at the time. In 1947, Mayor Quigg Newton appointed Dr. Sabin as Denver’s Manager of Health and Charities, a position she held until her death in 1953, and whose salary she donated to research."
In good health,
Travis Leiker, MPA
President | Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods
Monthly Member Profile: The Denver Foundation
CHUN SEED Award Report: Art Students League of Denver
ASLD used funding from CHUN’s SEED grant toward a pilot Cultural Intelligence Leadership Program facilitated by consultant Erin Yoshimura. The goal of this program was to build staff competency in operationalizing the principles of Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (JEDIA), with a focus on addressing microaggressions and having productive conversations about JEDIA issues. Due to COVID-19, we did end up shifting the timeline of this project and completing the project via Zoom rather than in person. The program kicked off in February 2020, was put on pause briefly when ASLD closed down in March 2020, and resumed in July 2020. The program wrapped up in February 2021.
Participants attended a series of virtual half-day workshops and participated in 6 individual coaching sessions and 2 group coaching sessions with Erin. During the workshops, Erin presented cultural leadership concepts as well as an overview of systemic oppression and the ways these systems show up at ASLD, (i.e., common examples of coded racial stereotypes and microaggressions). The information provided during workshops helped participants to begin developing a “JEDIA lens” through which to consider all day-to-day ASLD activities, from programming to fundraising events to staff engagement. The leadership concepts and coaching sessions guided participants to create their own goals for JEDIA at ASLD (example goals included becoming comfortable addressing microaggressions, gaining skills to talk to faculty about the importance of creating inclusive studio environments, and learning JEDIA-related information to serve as a resource for ASLD community members who might have questions).
Across the board, the pandemic has been a significant organizational challenge for ASLD, and this included the pilot program. The program initially kicked off in February 2020 but was put on pause while staff created infrastructure to work from home and launch ASLD’s online classes. By July, the staff had the capacity to begin the Cultural Intelligence Leadership Program virtually. Another challenge was that the cohort who originally signed on to participate shifted over the course of the program. Board faculty members were not able to participate as originally planned. However, we did recruit the Board Vice President to participate after emphasizing to the board how important their involvement in this work is. Additionally, ASLD experienced staff turnover during this time, with both the Program Coordinator/Exhibits Manager and Business Administration Coordinator leaving the organization and the Executive Director departing for a leave of absence shortly before the final workshop.
Overall, this program helped lay a foundation for the work ahead of us: shifting our community day by day to be more accessible, inclusive, and equitable. This program was not entered into with the idea that it would be a quick fix. Our learning has been deep, and the accompanying shifts have been subtle but profound. So far, program participants have reported increased capability in responding to microaggressions as they happen, and greater ability to propose and implement programming aligned with ASLD’s JEDIA goals.
Additionally, because this pilot program coincided with a summer of racial uprising in the US, we had the opportunity to increase our public-facing communications around ASLD’s JEDIA goals. Through this process, we have learned that ASLD has more supporters in favor of our JEDIA work than we originally thought. Although we did receive some negative feedback on the pilot program and related communications, we have found for the most part that many community members not only support this work but are excited to be in it with us. Additionally, we heard from some community members that they feel more welcomed and supported at ASLD because of programs like the one discussed here. Whether by providing a sense of safety or a sense of pride, our JEDIA efforts make a difference.
Finally, this program taught participants the importance of relationship-building to JEDIA work; we discovered what an intense level of trust was required even amongst a small staff in order to have conversations about race, power, and the varied ways we experience the world. Erin provided tools such as active listening and mindful inquiry that have helped us stay present with one another and gain trust. Erin gave us a crash course in learning how to connect, how to communicate, and how to maintain community despite how hard it can be to discuss the manifestations of systemic oppression at ASLD. These conversations have helped us, in particular, with articulating the importance of board support for moving forward with this work. After completing the last workshop with Erin, program participants led the ASLD board in an activity and discussion centered around how identity might shape culture at ASLD, which was well-received by the board. Participants will continue to meet as the ASLD JEDIA committee moving forward, including 3 additional board members.
Safe Outdoor Spaces: Progress Report on 16th Avenue & Pearl Street
A Letter from Senator Chris Hansen
Dear Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods, First and foremost, I would like to thank you for your trust and support in representing Senate District 31. I vow, every day, to work for a better future for our children, a healthier environment, and an economy that works for all. As Lincoln (and then Biden) said, my whole soul is in it. I wanted to use this opportunity to share with you some of the legislation I am working on and ask for your feedback.
My legislative priorities are as follows:
Strengthening Civics Education
For too long, we have let our teachings of civics fall short of what is needed for our youth. The terrible attack on the Capitol on January 6th showed what can happen when we mix lies, resentment and provocation. This bill will strengthen our civics programs in K-12 schools, create special programs to acknowledge students and schools who demonstrate excellence in civics education, and ensure that our state civics standards are up to par.
Restoring State Park Funding
Colorado boasts some of the most beautiful state parks in the country. Yet, we don't take nearly good enough care of them, often letting their amenities fall behind on proper maintenance. In order to keep our parks accessible, our roads smooth, and our trails marked, this bill will allocate $20 million in additional funding towards the upkeep of our state parks.
Reducing Methane Emissions and Adopting Biogas
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, 25-80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and to make matters worse, it has been mostly ignored in Colorado. Now is the time to reduce emissions by capturing methane from coal beds and biogas sources. This bill would require natural gas utilities to reach GHG emissions targets with 20% reductions by 2030.
Modernizing our Transmission Grid
When it comes to electricity generation and transmission, utility companies want to maximize profit, environmental advocates want clean, zero-carbon energy, and ratepayers want low electricity bills and customer choice. Though these differing priorities may appear to be in conflict, there is a pathway forward that satisfies all three: regionally coordinated transmission organizations. This bill works to transition Colorado toward such organizations, and in doing so enhance grid reliability and interconnectivity, decrease costs for providers and ratepayers, grow capacity for renewable energy and help us reach our statewide greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.
Requiring Safe Storage of Firearms
This bill makes it a class 2 misdemeanor to fail to safely store a firearm in a way that might allow a child access to the firearm without their parent or guardian's permission; requires licensed firearms dealers to provide a lock with each firearm or face an unspecified misdemeanor with a fine of $500; requires the state court administrator to notify the state legislature about the number of safe storage charges from the prior fiscal year; and establishes a state fund to provide for a safe storage education campaign.
Reforming Energy Storage Taxes
Energy storage supports renewable energy deployment by discharging energy when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing, and is crucial to meeting the state's ambitious decarbonization and clean energy goals that I helped enact in 2019. This bill would reform outdated property tax laws that discouraged investment in energy storage.
Modernizing the Colorado Public Utilities Commission
The bill is intended to modernize the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). It will provide PUC Commissioners with more resources and direction, enhance transparency, and expand staff capacity. It also directs the PUC to consider equity, minimizing impacts and prioritizing benefits for low-income and disproportionately impacted Coloradans, when making decisions.
Accounting for Global Warming Potential in State Infrastructure Projects
The bill is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by accounting for the global warming potential (GWP) of building materials used in state infrastructure projects. Government agencies will be required to consider the carbon footprint of the building materials they use for infrastructure and meet certain green performance standards.
Rethinking our Taxes
Decades-old tax breaks are undermining our state budget, while leaving small businesses and families to bear the burden of rebuilding their communities and funding education. This bill will help reform our tax expenditures by closing down tax breaks and using that money to fund the State Child Tax Credit, expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, and backfill revenue from income tax changes.
Funding Wildfire Prevention
In 2020, more than 10.3 million acres of forested area were burned in wildfires, compared to only 4.7 million acres in 2019. This bill will allocate additional resources to forest management practices in order to increase the resilience, and decrease the susceptibility, of our state's incredible forests.
Again, please reach out to me with feedback on my current agenda or ideas for new legislation. Also, I will be holding a town hall on March 6th with U.S. Congresswoman Diana DeGette and Senator Julie Gonzales. I look forward to seeing you there. In my years as a Representative, and now as a Senator, I have found that some of the most valuable insights into my bills have come from my own constituents. You can reach me by email at email@example.com or by phone at (303) 866-4861. Please let me know your thoughts.
News from Our Community
Denver Digs Trees 2021: Applications Open!
Share Feedback on Proposed Bikeway Designs
Civic Center Next 100: Presentation & Community Survey
The Civic Center Conservancy's "Civic Center Next 100" project aims to guide the park's transformation over the 100 years. A video recording from the most recent meeting is embedded below, and slides from the presentation are available here.
The Conservancy and Denver Parks & Recreation would also like to understand that types of experiences people would like to have at Civic Center. They are encouraging Denver residents to share their visions for the future of the park via an online survey. Input from this survey will be used to inform design decisions for Bannock Street, the Greek Theater, the Central Promenade, and the Central Gathering Feature.
The survey will close on March 5th, 2021.
Golden Triangle Zoning Strategy Survey
Vehicle Registration Enforcement Resumes April 1
Denver County residents can take actions to further take care of their vehicle plates and registration status before April 1:
"Teller Centennial Home" partnership raises funds for Teller Elementary PTA
Content submitted by Kyle Rose, Teller Elementary School PTA Communications Chair
SULTAN NEWMAN GROUP AND TELLER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PTA LAUNCH ‘TELLER CENTENNIAL HOME’ PROJECT
Fundraising Initiative Commemorates 100th Anniversary of Denver’s Henry M. Teller Elementary School
DENVER, Feb. 11, 2021 — Sultan Newman Group, a team of Denver-based real estate agents with Compass, announced today it is partnering with the Teller Elementary School Parent Teacher Association on the “Teller Centennial Home” project — a unique fundraising initiative in which a local Denver home seller will not only save on real estate commissions but also raise money for the PTA as it celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Congress Park / South City Park school.
As part of the initiative, the Sultan Newman Group will randomly select one home seller to participate in the “Teller Centennial Home” fundraiser (see qualifying information below). The selected home will be featured in special marketing campaigns and signage, and the Sultan Newman Group will reduce the total commission paid by the seller to 4.8% (2% to the seller side and a 2.8% cooperative commission to the buyer side) when the seller agrees to donate the 2% seller side commission to the Teller Elementary School PTA, a 501(c)3 charitable organization. This also represents a reduction from the “friends and family rate” that Sultan Newman normally charges its Teller Elementary sellers.
Eric Sultan, team leader of Sultan Newman Group and parent of two students at Teller, developed the idea for the Teller Centennial Home back in November while homeschooling his children during the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the closure of Denver Public Schools.
“Teller is truly a special community that always works together to ensure all our kids feel welcome and supported,” said Sultan. “The adjustments to remote learning caused by the pandemic have been hard on all of us, and so I wanted to create something that would engage the Teller community and showcase that ‘we’re Teller together’ — particularly in light of the fact that Teller is celebrating 100 years of amazing service to our community.”
Emily Musser, fundraising chair for the Teller Elementary PTA, said the school and the entire PTA organization are incredibly grateful for the Sultan Newman Group’s generosity.
“This initiative will generate a sizable donation for the PTA — upwards of $10,000 for a $500,000 home or $20,000 for a $1 million home,” said Musser. “That kind of donation will ensure Teller’s ability to thrive not only during this pandemic and but also well into the future.”
Selecting the ‘Teller Centennial Home’
Home sellers who live within the Teller Elementary boundaries and are interested in having their home featured as the Teller Centennial Home should contact Eric Sultan with the Sultan Newman Group at 303-829-0814 any time before April 1, 2021. Teller boundaries include East 26th Avenue to the north, Colorado Boulevard to the east, East 8th Avenue to the south, and York Street to the west.
Sultan will announce the Teller Centennial Home by April 8, 2021, and the seller will receive full real estate services from Sultan and Joseph Newman, one of Denver's top real estate teams with over $46 million in homes sold in 2020 alone.
About the Sultan Newman Group
Sultan Newman Group, a Denver-based team of real estate agents with Compass, delivers a real estate experience, personal relationship, and transaction that is second to none. We provide a higher level experience with personal relationships creating greater returns. With the Sultan Newman Group’s program for real estate transactions, we provide the framework and the space for our clients to make the strongest decisions. Because of our unique approach to the buying and selling process, we get you from where you are, to where you want to be. For more information, visit sultannewman.com.
About Henry M. Teller Elementary School and its 100th Anniversary
Named after U.S. Senator and distinguished Colorado politician Henry Moore Teller, Teller Elementary School opened its doors in 1920 to handle the burgeoning student population in Congress Park following World War I. Today, the school serves students from the Congress Park and South City Park neighborhoods as well as students identified as highly gifted and talented who choice into the school’s magnet program from all over the Denver Public Schools district. For more information, visit http://teller.dpsk12.org.
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