Editor’s note: A longtime Wheat Ridge resident recently wrote the Neighborhood Gazette about “outrageous crime” in our city, presenting as evidence: her catalytic converter and a neighbor’s laptops (two!) had been stolen from their respective vehicles; homelessness and panhandling continues unabated; and she received two ballots in the mail.
“I would love some answers and accountability,” said the reader.
We turned this over to about-to-retire Wheat Ridge City Councilman Zachary Urban, the Urban Investigator.
A few days before my wife’s birthday I went to order her favorite tres leche cake. I told the lady at the counter what I wanted written on the top, paid and scheduled to pick up the cake.
When I came back the lady brought the cake to the counter, and she quickly apologized that they had forgotten to leave room on top to write “Happy Birthday Melinda.”
Despite this setback we bravely trudge on to throw my wife a very happy birthday party. Except when we went to cut into the cake, it was yellow cake, not tres leche. If you’ve ever anticipated tres leche cake and received yellow cake you know the magnitude of this reversal of fortune.
What does this misfortune say about the seemingly endless examples of a broken supply chain in labor, chicken wings and now apparently tres leche cake? Why are these items in short-supply while we have an abundance of crime, homelessness, voter apathy and other societal ills? What’s the connection between yellow cake and my catalytic converter (which was almost stolen this summer)?
We don’t give enough patience to the lady at the front counter, and we have given too much patience to societal ills.
We should not have patience for crime, or about homelessness either, but the patience and trust comes from recognizing these are not two sides of the same coin: being homeless is not a crime, and not all criminals are homeless.
While these are distinct issues, we rely on our police and first responders far too often to address homelessness, which invariably reduces their time to respond to actual criminal behavior.
Speaking of losing patience, the City of Wheat Ridge Council recently passed a hotel/motel licensing program to raise health and safety standards and reduce calls for service by our police department, who currently spend 10 percent of their time responding to these hotels and motels, some way more than others. A reduction of calls for service from these locations will leave more time to respond to other calls for service.
Some will rightfully be concerned by the disruption this licensing program may have on those long-term motel tenants. This is something the City of Wheat Ridge has anticipated and will continue to seek ways to address, which includes working with our full-time Homeless Navigator, whose job it is to help folks experiencing homelessness with navigating towards obtaining shelter.
In addition to these efforts the Foothills Regional Housing Authority, with support from neighboring jurisdictions, is developing 100 affordable rental units near Olde Town Arvada to support families, youth aging out of foster care, and homeless veterans. The housing authority also redeveloped 108 units at Caesar Square located at 52nd and Garrison in Wheat Ridge.
To address the safety concerns regarding panhandling the Wheat Ridge City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting sales and solicitation in certain areas including the median.
What’s the connection between tres leches cake and Wheat Ridge? They are both too good to pass up.
Got a question or concern for Zachary Urban, the Urban Investigator? Email us at: email@example.com