Categorized | Featured Stories, Municipal

Lakewood Impound Measure An ‘Uphill Battle’

By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS

The lead proponent of a hotly contested Lakewood ballot initiative that aims to require police there to impound the cars of unlicensed drivers says he’s going to “grin and bear it.”

Daniel Hayes is no stranger to the controversy surrounding his ballot initiative. After Denver voters in 2008 approved a similar initiative, an opposition campaign mounted and Hayes was attacked over and over again for his initiative.

The Jefferson County resident tried in 2009 to add “teeth” to his initiative by asking voters to absolutely require police to impound the cars of unlicensed drivers in the wake of reports that police were not complying with the law. An opposition campaign grew and the initiative was defeated.

Now, Hayes is facing similar opposition in Lakewood, with the City Council on Monday voting unanimously to oppose the ballot question.

Like Hayes’ other initiatives, the one in Lakewood would require police to impound the vehicles of unlicensed drivers. Drivers would need to post $2,500 bond to release the vehicle and pay various fees associated with the impoundment.

At one point, Hayes was shy about admitting that the issue was about immigration. But these days, the anti-illegal immigration stalwart is absolutist in his motivation to crack down on illegal immigration.

“These illegals, they’ve … just got it made,” said Hayes. “Everybody just wants them here, and I don’t know what that’s all about, but it’s either provincial votes, or it’s that they consume at Wal-Mart and McDonald’s and all that, or it’s cheap labor. There seems to be 101 reasons to have them here.”

Opponents have lined up in Lakewood to oppose the proposal. Much of the opposition comes from the business community.

George Valuck, executive director of the Alameda Gateway Community Association, said the measure might discourage people to conduct business in Lakewood.

“This impound measure would present significant hardships for businesses in Lakewood, many of which are already struggling in these difficult times,” said Valuck.

In Denver, Councilmen Paul Lopez and Doug Linkhart were working on a repeal of the initiative. But the two Denver City Council members have said the proposal to repeal the initiative has stalled. Linkhart says there may be an effort to move forward with the repeal by sending the question to voters.

Meanwhile, Hayes says he’s probably not going to run any similar initiatives anywhere else after the one in Lakewood.

“I probably won’t file any more of these,” he said. “I’ve spend a lot of money … it’s just an uphill battle.”

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