Denver news in 5 minutes: What you need to know today, Nov. 14

This is a very housing-oriented edition of Denver news in 5 minutes, but we also have an epic TABOR podcast and an update on The Mad Pooper.

"Denver underprivileged- under viaduct - 1933 photo by E.W. Milligan," read the handwritten caption on this photo. (Edward Milligan/Western History and Genealogy Department/Denver Public Library)
"Denver underprivileged- under viaduct - 1933 photo by E.W. Milligan," read the handwritten caption on this photo. (Edward Milligan/Western History and Genealogy Department/Denver Public Library)
“Denver underprivileged — under viaduct — 1933 photo by E.W. Milligan,” reads the handwritten caption on this photo. (Edward Milligan/Western History and Genealogy Department/Denver Public Library)

Welcome to today’s edition of Denver news in 5 minutes. This one is very heavy on housing news, but hey, it’s Denver. It’s like that sometimes. To mix it up, we also have an epic podcast on Douglas Bruce and TABOR and an update on The Mad Pooper. When they go low, we go high AND low here at Denverite.

Read on.

Politics

Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran and Senate President Kevin Grantham have called for additional training and new procedures to investigate claims of sexual misconduct after 10 women accused state Rep. Steve Lebsock of harassment. (DP)

And one of those women, fellow lawmaker and fellow Democrat Rep. Faith Winter, has now filed a formal complaint against Lebsock. (AP)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner made the strongest statement from a Republican so far in response to allegations that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore tried to date and in some cases sexually assaulted teenage girls. Gardner, who heads the group charged with keeping and expanding the Republican Senate majority, said that if Moore doesn’t withdraw and is elected, the Senate should expel him. (Denverite)

Apparently Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who is running for governor as a Republican, is pro-choice. CBS4’s Shaun Boyd reported it almost as an aside last week, and as Colorado Politics reports today, conservative talk radio is very upset. This is the sort of thing that could hurt Coffman in the Republican primary but help her reach more moderate voters in the general election, an issue that has been a challenge for Republicans running for governor. (4, Colorado Politics)

Housing

Accessory dwelling units — carriage houses, casitas, granny flats, etc. — are very popular with affordable housing theorists, and Denver’s zoning code allows for them in many neighborhoods. But since 2010, just 84 have been built in the city. The West Denver Renaissance Collaborative is trying to change that with a targeted pilot program in West Side neighborhoods. The group hopes to build 250 units over five years and offer refinancing help to many more homeowners. They hope that the additional income can help cost-burdened homeowners resist a coming wave of gentrification. (Denverite)

One of the nation’s largest developers of affordable housing is planning 252 units of affordable housing in far northeast Denver. And — gasp! — almost half the units will have three-bedrooms. City officials want more of this but targeted at even lower income levels, which will come with its own challenges. (Denverite)

Housing — and just what the city is and is not doing with its affordable housing fund — was a point of contention as Denver City Council approved the mayor’s nearly $2 billion budget. (Denverite)

Is relief in sight? Denver’s red-hot housing market may finally be cooling off. (5280)

Taxes

A team at Colorado Public Radio has produced an epic report and podcast on TABOR, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights that has had profound effects on our state’s government and ordinary people. The first episode takes us back to the beginning, when a rabble-rouser from California named Douglas Bruce really took to heart the maxim, “If at first you don’t succeed …” Got dishes to do? Cue up The Taxman. You’ll be smarter at the end. (CPR)

Getting around

CDOT and Los Angeles-based Arrivo are partnering to test a hyperloop-inspired technology along a stretch of E-470. The system could let us travel from Denver to Boulder in eight minutes. (DP)

Back here in the real world, Ashley took RTD’s new ticketing app for a spin, and she really liked it. (Denverite)

Pooper

Remember that crazy story about The Mad Pooper of Colorado Springs? Just the other day in the Denverite newsroom, we were asking each other, “Hey, whatever happened to The Mad Pooper?” And now here’s Kaitlin Durbin with the very same question. Unfortunately, answers are elusive. So much so that, well, I’m starting to have more questions. (Gazette)

Good deeds

Mike Wyatt of Aurora has been standing at the Peoria light rail station holding a sign: “Have you seen the young man who saved my life last Thursday?” Wyatt is blind, and on Nov. 9, someone stopped him from walking in front of an oncoming train. He’d like to find him and thank him. (9)

Alcohol

We now know what we can drink at Zepellin Station. On the first floor, there’ll be Kiss + Ride a quick, casual spot to grab a drink before catching a train at the 38th and Blake light rail station. On the second floor: Big Trouble, a moodier option set back behind what a press release called “exotic foliage.” (Denverite)

Wine and pie, beer and pie, beer and mini-eggrolls, beer and barbecue, beer and vegan tapas … there are so many ways to combine alcohol and food! Here are a bunch of highly specialized ones, many of them Thanksgiving-themed, in Denver this week. (303)

Health care

FiveThirtyEight takes a close look at the Colorado paradox, the fact that we’re one of the healthiest states in the country yet have some of the highest health insurance premiums. Why is that? Using Summit County as an example, Christie Aschwanden finds some expected answers, like that it costs more to provide the same services in mountain communities where the population is smaller and more spread out, and some unexpected ones, like residents of mountain communities seem to get a lot of expensive tests done for no real apparent reason.

I was reminded of this New Yorker piece from 2009 that looked at why health care in McAllen, Texas, is more expensive than at the Mayo Clinic. (FiveThirtyEight, New Yorker)

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.