After years of criticism, Denver mayor sidelines leader of homeless initiative

Bennie Milliner had relatively little experience in social services when he took the Road Home job — and he was dropped straight into a heated conversation.

Denver’s Road Home, the city’s principal homelessness agency, is in the middle of a dramatic change. Following years of criticism, the city government is pushing to improve conditions at the shelters where hundreds of men and women stay each night.

Some of the signs are obvious, like the hundreds of beds rolling into new private and public shelters. Some of the change is more subtle: Mayor Michael Hancock has moved Bennie Milliner, a longtime ally who led the homelessness agency for five years, to a brand new job in a different department.


Why Bill Owens is Colorado’s only Republican governor in 43 years

And what it means for the many, many people running for governor in 2018.

Former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, right, laughs during a news conference in Denver on Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 24, 2007 announcing that he is joining the University of Denver as a senior fellow. (Joe Mahoney/Rocky Mountain News/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/RMN-032-9117) copolitics; governor bill owens; denver; colorado;
Former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, right, laughs during a 2007 news conference announcing that he is joining the University of Denver as a senior fellow. That’s other former Gov. Dick Lamm in the background. (Joe Mahoney/Rocky Mountain News/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/RMN-032-9117)

The conventional political narrative of Colorado is that we’re a purple state leaning blue after many years of Republican dominance. But Democrats have occupied the governor’s mansion for 35 of the last 43 years, and just one Republican, Bill Owens, has managed to win election to the state’s top position in that time.

Before Owens, the last Republican governor was John Vanderhoof, who lost his re-election bid in 1974 to Democrat Dick Lamm. Lamm went on to serve three terms and was followed by Roy Romer, another Democrat who also served three terms.

And after Owens, Colorado voters elected Democrat Bill Ritter in 2006, and he was followed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is nearing the end of his second term.

Why was Owens able to succeed where so many others failed? And what, if anything, does this tell us about 2018?


Gov. Hickenlooper’s 2018-19 budget proposes to save money for the next recession, shore up pensions

“If we’re not saving money, the next downturn is going to be all that much worse,” said Henry Sobanet, the governor’s budget director.

The budget proposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2018, calls for public sector employees to pay more to stabilize their pension fund and for the state to maintain a 7 percent reserve, more than the current goal of 6 percent but far less than economic analysts recommend.


Instead of stealing workers from each other, Colorado and South Dakota want to partner

Gov. Dennis Daugaard was in Denver on Monday talking about the regional need to expand career opportunities for students, graduates and displaced workers.

Western Governors' Workforce Development Initiative Colorado Workshop at the Art Hotel in Denver, Colorado, Sept 18, 2017. (Ellen Jaskol/Western Governors' Association)
Western Governors’ Workforce Development Initiative Colorado Workshop at the Art Hotel in Denver, Colorado, Sept 18, 2017. (Ellen Jaskol/Western Governors’ Association)

The governor of South Dakota wants Colorado and other Western states to team up on tackling workforce shortages that could be keeping companies away and slowing economic growth.