Aurora’a City Council tilted far left this week and defeated Mayor Mike Coffman’s camping ban dealing with increased problems when the sites turn into roadside garbage dumps and homeless residents harass nearby residents and businesses.
Also opposed to the ban was Police Chief Vanessa Wilson, who complained it wasn’t their job to break up camps. And besides, they’re understaffed and have no liability protection.
Jeff Eaton, owner of Senor Ric’s Mexican restaurant on East Mississippi Avenue agreed police were understaffed and said he had problems getting them to respond to problems caused by the homeless living in the camp under I-225.
Like that time he asked a homeless person to leave the parking lot where his customers are regularly harassed and panhandled, and the vagrant responded by throwing a landscaping log through the window.
The Denver Post reported on the council meeting and those who supported the ban as well:
The mayor got support Monday night from Councilwoman Francoise Bergan, who said the city has to consider everyone who lives in Aurora when making policy.
“We have an obligation and responsibility to homeowners (too),” she said.
Opponents said camping bans on private and public property don’t work so they should just be left to do as they please while health and social workers are sent in to enable the situation.
We reported earlier this week on a new study examining the economic footprint of homelessness in the Denver metro area.
The study by the Common Sense Institute showed an estimated homeless population last year of 4,171 in the City of Denver, and 6,104 in the Denver Metro Region that includes Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson Counties.
Denver now faces spiraling costs associated with the problem, spending an estimated $41,679 per homeless person to $104,201 per homeless.
In comparison, spending per pupil for K-12 education in Denver Public Schools is around $19,202.
It’s too bad Aurora is heading down the same path as Denver.