Q&A with Denver City Council District 1 candidate Ava Truckey

Ava Truckey

Micro business owner
Trade school
I’m a parent, a baker, a writer, an ex-hairstylist, a community organizer, activist, and have used the systems as a kid, an adult, and now as a parent.

Briefly describe the single most urgent issue facing the city of Denver and how it should be addressed.
The city has become unaffordable for too many individuals and families who helped build it. We lose neighbors and community anchors every day to being priced out with nowhere close to land, outside of being criminalized when we find ourselves unhoused. We need to stabilize housing costs, increase housing access and development for the most vulnerable in our communities, end rampant displacement, and support our neighbors in maintaining the homes they have, sometimes for generations.
What should Denver leaders do to address the city’s lack of affordable housing?
We need to make sure that we are developing, rezoning, and maintaining housing in thoughtful ways that deter displacement, restrict local growth caps, and ensure affordability. We need to increase the rights of renters, protect against unjust evictions, and support the repeal of the rent control ban so that communities can stabilize rents and give back access to working class, poor, and middle income individuals and families to live in the communities we work in. We need to stop criminalizing our neighbors who are unhoused, and instead prioritize getting them the supports they need in ways they direct.
Do you support redevelopment at the Park Hill golf course property? Why or why not?
I do not support the current plan for Westside to develop the Park Hill Golf Course. I believe that all development should be community driven, and the development plan has not included the community voice necessary to ensure that development is done in the way that is most supportive of the residents of Park Hill. The people who have built the Park Hill neighborhood, and specifically Northeast Park Hill, should be the ones who determine what their neighborhood needs, not politicians, and certainly not developers.
What should Denver leaders do to revitalize downtown Denver?
End the camping ban, end the sweeps, and instead invest in social supports that create access to housing and services that are developed by the individuals most impacted. If we want to revitalize downtown Denver, we need to ensure economic stability for all residents, not just those who can afford a roof over their heads, and transportation to move about the city.
What is Denver’s greatest public safety concern and what should be done about it?
Denver has invested millions of dollars into systems that are data proven to stagnate, and sometimes worsen public safety. Crime increases are directly correlated to wealth gaps and lack of access to basic needs. Denver needs to prioritize funding of mental and behavioral health services, housing first, thriving wages, healthcare and food access, substance use supports and treatment without stigma or justice involvement, and free, equitable, and accessible childcare and education.
Should neighborhoods help absorb population growth through permissive zoning, or do you favor protections for single-family neighborhoods?
Yes. We need to increase housing inventory, and one of the only ways to do that reasonably and without significant detrimental impact to climate change, is through permissive zoning. Population growth and lack of housing access are realities for Denver, and rezoning single family neighborhoods is a necessary solution to combat the housing crisis. We do need to make sure we do it in the right way though, to avoid displacement and ensure affordability, rather than exacerbating the already untenable problem.
Should the city’s policy of sweeping homeless encampments continue unchanged? Why or why not?
Absolutely not. The fact that we criminalize individuals and families based on their economic situation is already reprehensible, but the reality that we then remove personal belongings, leaving our neighbors without homes with literally nothing, is despicable and violent. We should be using those funds to create access to affordable, accessible, integrated housing. Not taking things that keep people warm, keep them mobile, keep them healthy, keep them clothed, and ultimately keep them alive.
Should Denver change its snow plowing policy? Why or why not.
Denver needs to change its snow plowing policy. Climate, population, and traffic have all changed dramatically, and city policies need to be looked and updated accordingly on a regular basis to ensure they are meeting community needs.
What’s your vision for Denver in 20 years, and what would you do to help the city get there?
I envision a thriving city where people have agency over their lives in a way that still ensures their basic needs are always met. I envision a thriving economy where every individual and family can be housed, fed, educated, and employed while accessing healthcare, transportation, and everything our amazing city and state have to offer without wondering which bill they can afford to pay month to month.
How better can city officials protect Denver’s environment — air quality, water supply, ground contamination? And should the city take a more active role in transit?
City officials should be looking at environmental impact in every project the city funds and approves. Environmental justice is a human rights issue, and the city has spent too long prioritizing development over the health of communities for too long. Development should never come at the cost of human life, and low-income communities, predominantly communities of color, have suffered at the hands of development for too long. The city should absolutely take a more active role in transit. Public transportation is a necessity for so many of our neighbors, and the financial, geographic, and physical accessibility of RTD is just not good enough.

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