For a 50-minute documentary film, “Denver In Decay” has sure made the rounds in town, around the state and the country. People are reacting – and that’s a good thing.
Not only are they reacting with critical e-mail, mean texts and accusatory social media postings – but with messages from dozens and dozens of fed-up folks who have used the same word: finally. Finally someone showed the madness for what it is. And we did.
I’ve now worked in Denver parts of four decades. I love it here. I care. It is the most basic reason this film was made. But today, it is way too easy to cast something/someone aside simply because of the party they vote for.
I’ve long-considered both Gov. Jared Polis and Mayor Michael Hancock my friends. Both men are friendly, funny and easy to be around. After “Denver in Decay,” are those friendships over? Up to them. The truth hurts.
Both do not appear in the film because our messages, texts and phone calls were never returned. Not our fault if gatekeepers didn’t deliver those messages. The same is true for a number of politicians, from Federico Peña to Rhonda Fields.
What I find simply fascinating (note: not surprising) is the number of critics who have come out through political gossip circles to try to hammer home “this film offers no solutions!”
“Denver in Decay” was not made to save the City of Denver from itself and stupid, ineffective, failed policies that stretch back decades. Many different individuals have had their opportunities to make change and make that “difference” so many politicians swear they’ll make (at least while on the campaign trail).
It was never the goal of “Denver In Decay” to get someone to resign, quit or get fired. The goal was to wake people up, bring attention to problems that are easily excused and to say: enough is enough.
It was never the goal of this crowd-sourced documentary film to solve issues with homelessness; it was not the goal of the film to soothe tensions in the city. For both those issues, “Denver In Decay” exposed them for what they are.
What this city and state needs now is leaders to admit shortcomings and mistakes and start over. Denver’s Road Home? Clearly, it didn’t work. Yet even the Colorado Coalition For The Homeless still doesn’t consider it a failure.
Ask yourself: five years after Denver’s Road Home was to have brought homelessness to an “end” in Denver, is the homeless situation better or worse than it was in 2015 – the end of the 10-year plan? A lot of people connected with the film indicated the problem is as bad as it has ever been – and as we state in “Denver In Decay,” chronically homeless stats have never been higher in city history.
Why was the City of Denver in absolute (tolerated) chaos from May 28-31?
Back-to-back-to-back-to-back nights of rioting. Curfew? Arrests? Please. Why were police officers not allowed to do their jobs? When arrests were made, why did the City Attorney and District Attorney choose not to prosecute? Why was more than $1 million in damage allowed at the Capitol – the people’s house?
It was because the mayor, council and even the Denver police chief not only had to remain politically correct, but a few even marched with some of those very individuals involved in the chaos – this Summer of Hell 2020.
Documentary films are not always produced to offer a solution, a fix or an answer. Sometimes, they simply point out problems for what they are and expose political hypocrisy. Sometimes, that should be enough. Solutions? Aren’t those we elect supposed to be doing exactly that – finding solutions?
Recently in this space, I was labeled as the “joker” to the right – a nod to the Stealers Wheel tune Stuck In The Middle With You. Continuing that theme, “Denver In Decay” made an effort to do something they sing about:
Trying to make some sense of it all
But I can see it makes no sense at all.
Watch “Denver In Decay” and you’ll see who the clowns and jokers really are.
Steffan Tubbs wrote and directed “Denver In Decay,” available on YouTube. He hosts The Steffan Tubbs Show on 710 KNUS.
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