Denver - Government

Government

Denver is a consolidated city-county with a mayor elected on a nonpartisan ballot, a 13-member city council and an auditor. The Denver City Council is elected from 11 districts with two at-large council-members and is responsible for passing and changing all laws, resolutions, and ordinances, usually after a public hearing. They can also call for misconduct investigations of Denver's departmental officials.

Denver has a strong mayor/weak city council government. The mayor can approve or veto any ordinances or resolutions approved by the council, makes sure all contracts with the city are kept and performed, signs all bonds and contracts, is responsible for the city budget, and can appoint people to various city departments, organizations, and commissions. However, the council can override the mayor's veto with a nine out of thirteen member vote, and the city budget must be approved and can be changed by a simple majority vote of the council. The auditor checks all expenditures and may refuse to allow specific ones, usually based on financial reasons.

All elected officials have four-year terms, with a maximum of three terms. While Denver elections are non-partisan, Democrats have long held a majority sway on Denver politics with most officials elected citywide having Democratic Party affiliation. In federal elections, Denverites also tend to vote for Democratic candidates, voting for the Democratic Presidential nominee in every election since 1960 (excluding 1980 and 1972). The office of Denver's Mayor has been occupied by a Democrat since the municipal general election of 1963, including the current mayor, Michael Hancock. Denver is represented at the federal level by congresswoman Diana DeGette, a Democrat representing Colorado's 1st congressional district, which includes all of Denver and parts of Arapahoe County.

Benjamin F. Stapleton was the mayor of Denver, Colorado, for two periods, the first from 1923 to 1931 and the second from 1935 to 1947. Stapleton was responsible for many civic improvements during his term, notably during his second stint as mayor when he had access to funds and manpower from the New Deal. During this time, the park system was considerably expanded and the Civic Center completed. His signature project was the construction of Denver Municipal Airport, which began in 1929 amidst heavy criticism. It was later renamed Stapleton International Airport in his honor. Today, the airport no longer stands, but has been replaced by a neighborhood also named Stapleton. Stapleton Street continues to bear his name.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Denver was one of the epicenters of the Chicano Movement. The boxer-turned-activist Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales formed an organization called the Crusade for Justice, which battled police brutality, fought for bilingual education, and, most notably, hosted the First National Chicano Youth Liberation Conference in March 1969.

In recent years, Denver has taken a stance on helping people who are or become homeless, particularly under the administrations of mayors John Hickenlooper and Wellington Webb. Denver's homeless population is considerably lower than many other major cities, but residents of the city streets have suffered during Denver's winters. Although mild and dry much of the time, Denver's winters can have brief periods of cold temperatures and varying amounts of snow.

In 2005, Denver became the first major city in the U.S. to make the private possession of less than an ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older. The city voted 53.49–46.51 percent in favor of the marijuana legalization measure. This initiative does not usurp state law, which currently treats marijuana possession in much the same way as a speeding ticket with fines of up to $100 and no jail time. The electorate of Colorado voted on and rejected a similar statewide initiative in November 2006. Denver passed an initiative in the fourth quarter of 2007 requiring the mayor to appoint an 11 member review panel to monitor the city's compliance with the 2005 ordinance. Former Denver mayor John Hickenlooper was a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas Menino.

Denver hosted the 2008 Democratic National Convention, which was the centennial of the city's first hosting of the landmark 1908 convention. It also hosted the G7 (now G8) summit between June 20 and June 22 in 1997 and the 2000 National Convention of the Green Party.

On October 31, 2011 it was announced that The University of Denver in Denver was selected as the host of the first of three 2012 presidential debates to be held on October 3, 2012.

The City and County of Denver levies an Occupational Privilege Tax (OPT or Head Tax) on employers and employees.

  • If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the employee and employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
  • The employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
  • It is the employer's responsibility to withhold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an employer does not comply, the employer can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.

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Famous quotes containing the word government:

    I thought it a pity that some poor student did not live there, to profit by all that light, since he would not rob the mariner.... Think of fifteen Argand lamps to read the newspaper by! Government oil!—light enough, perchance, to read the Constitution by! I thought that he should read nothing less than his Bible by that lamp.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    I can’t say that the college-bred woman is the most contented woman. The broader her mind the more she understands the unequal conditions between men and women, the more she chafes under a government that tolerates it.
    Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906)

    The government of the United States at present is a foster-child of the special interests. It is not allowed to have a voice of its own. It is told at every move, “Don’t do that, You will interfere with our prosperity.” And when we ask: “where is our prosperity lodged?” a certain group of gentlemen say, “With us.”
    Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924)