Denver, Exclusives, Joshua Sharf, Uncategorized

Sharf: Sanctuary spending puts Denver’s skewed priorities on display

On Monday night, the Denver City Council weakly attempted to justify Mayor Michael Johnston’s proposal to shift tens of millions of dollars away from services to help pay for the city’s influx of illegal aliens.

But perhaps the most indefensible part is what they’re not cutting.

The $8.4 million cut from the police budget has attracted national attention.  While much of that comes from foregone hiring, but those positions wouldn’t be open in the first place if they weren’t needed to help restore some measure of order and safety to the public streets.  In addition to that, Public Health and Environment is losing $1.5 million; the Safety Department, $2.2 million, and the Sheriff’s Department, $3.9 million.  In fact, of the $34.9 million being reassigned, nearly half is coming from public safety departments of one form or another.

You know who’s not suffering cuts?  Green programs and the social justice warriors.

Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency – an example of a city government trying to play outside its league if ever there was one – is being asked to surrender slightly more than $400,000 out of a general fund budget of nearly $7 million.  Its $48 million Special Resource Fund is untouched, as is its $11 million in capital projects.

What’s more, the Mayor’s Office of Social Equity and Innovation and it’s budget of more than $2 million is left completely untouched.

So the home of woke social activism in the city government, which, like the old Soviet political officers, insinuates itself into every operation, boasts that it was deeply involved in setting the priorities for this round of cuts and reassignments, and somehow managed to emerge unscathed.  Imagine that.

The City Council is no better.  In its February feedback during this process, it placed neighborhood safety at the bottom of the column of “essential services,” below public toilets at parks, but will likely rubber-stamp these cuts that fall primarily on those departments responsible for keeping citizens safe.

It’s here that the government’s policies descend from irresponsibility into incoherence.  While the city is now housing only 1,000 illegal aliens, down from a peak of 5,000, the future policy threatens them with more “suffering,” including the possibility that they will join the ranks of the city’s homeless.

At no point has the city contemplated yanking its legal support for asylum seekers, allowing city agencies, the city attorney, or law enforcement to cooperate with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or calling for the federal government to reassert control over the nation’s southern border.  Any or all of those would help reduce the number of illegal border crossers coming to Denver in the first place, or seeking to stay here once in the country.

These decisions show the city government’s skewed priorities on multiple levels, the outcomes of which were entirely predictable.  First, it decided to advertise for illegal aliens to come here, to prevent city agencies and the police from cooperating with ICE, and then to provide them legal services and housing at public expense.

Then, when the federal government lost control of the border, the city was surprised when tens of thousands of illegal immigrants took Texas Gov. Greg Abbott up on his offer and headed for a place that literally told them to come.  This led to the current budget crunch; suddenly citizens who pay taxes expecting to get certain core services necessary for a functioning city, find themselves instead paying for people who crossed the border illegally, and paying for their own needs with what’s left over.

Finally, and most tragic, is that efforts to help asylum seekers stay and find work end up financing the cartels who trafficked them in the first place. Nearly all illegal border crossing is trafficking by the cartels.  They don’t do this out of generosity; they do it for a price.  The immigrants here need to pay that price, with their families back home serving as hostages.

There’s a saying that if you start by being kind when you should be cruel, you’ll end by being cruel when you should be kind.  After forcing Denver residents to subsidize the illegal trafficking of human beings across the border, out of a desire to help its victims, the city government is now imperiling the basic safety of those same citizens.

Joshua Sharf is a Denver resident and regular contributor to Complete Colorado.


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