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Meet the candidates running for Denver Mayor: Thomas Wolf

9NEWS asked all 17 people running for Denver to answer the same policy questions.

DENVER — There are 17 people on the 2023 ballot for Denver Mayor, all vying to replace Michael Hancock after three terms in office. If that's not the most ever, it's at least the biggest pool of candidates for that office in decades, according to the Denver Clerk and Recorder's Office, which checked their sample paper ballots going back to 1946.

Each candidate has their own ideas regarding crime, homelessness, housing affordability and more. We asked all of them the same policy questions and asked for written responses.

Below you'll find Thomas Wolf's answers, all unedited and in the candidate's own words, as well as documents related to policy proposals.

You can see the other candidates' responses here.

Denver's Election Day is April 4.

Thomas Wolf

Thomas Wolf is an investment banker making his second run for Denver Mayor. In 2011, Wolf finished 7th with 1.89% of the vote. Wolf works for Crewe Capital, raising money for companies and investment funds. Wolf previously worked for J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley.

Political affiliation: Independent

Links to policy paperwork

Long-form questions

In a single sentence, why are you running for mayor?

To cure Denver via fresh strong competent leadership and make our city safe, clean, and smart.

Please provide specifics on your plan to improve public safety and reduce crime in Denver. Specifically, please note whether the Denver Police budget should be increased or decreased (including funding diversion to non-police emergency responses).

Safety is by far the largest component of our budget, and accordingly requires strong focus and instruction as to how we would like our safety delivered and our law and order enforced. Once this department is informed of their roles and responsibilities it needs to be held accountable for outcomes just like every other department. Also, we need to determine if they are the right resource to be used for changing urban issues - case in point is encampments. Census figures show this population is equal parts mentally ill, chemically impaired, or criminal, clearly safety needs to provide backup with the first two while social workers and clinician initiate care, and is the absolute appropriate resource for the third. To confront and control encampments requires this triaged approach, and it can be accomplished within the existing budget, despite that answer not being one you offer as a solution.

What should the City of Denver do to promote affordable housing? 

The rising cost of housing is being driven by demand exceeding supply. Housing is most cost effectively delivered by the private sector due to the competitive forces of our free market. Investors decide where to invest based on risk and reward, a Colorado risk that is discouraging additional investment is the builder defect liability which the state needs to address, additionally the city's building department's delays cause needless costs. The cost of encampments is also directly causing housing to be more expensive as landlords pass on the higher costs for trash and graffiti removal, break-ins, security, and tenant churn.

How should Denver change its approach to addressing homelessness?

An identifiable subset of homelessness is encampments. It is an attainable goal and we will solve this crisis, not just because encampments are illegal [trespass, possession, health and human safety], not just because it is destroying our city mentally [people are choosing to avoid our downtown], physically [vandalism and filth], and financially  [commercial property values are plummeting], but because it is inhumane and immoral to not shelter our neediest. This shelter will be done with city land and buildings. A patchwork of NGO's and faith-based organizations do not have the balance sheet to put this to rest, your city does with my administration's fresh ideas and strong competent leadership.

How should Denver change its approach to mobility and safe streets?

Until encampments are confronted and controlled are streets are not safe and citizen's transit decisions default to the automobile, compounding our mobility and safety challenges. So first principles, end encampments. Yes our city should take a more active role in transit, including ensuring that our sidewalks are available equally and throughout as well as safe transit corridors for all the different two wheel modes of transport like bicycles. Both of these efforts will make our citizens and planet healthier.

The Mayor has significant control over a $3-4 billion budget and will hire cabinet members who oversee roughly 12,000 employees. Please detail your experience with budgets and hiring.  

I have an MBA in Finance from DU, and I am a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst, which is in the deep end of financial geekdom. I am in my third decade of working in the public and private financial markets. I think understanding numbers intuitively along with their magnitude is immensely important as your next Mayor.  I have personally raised billions of dollars and worked with massive corporations on their funding, staffing and strategy.

Should the City of Denver explore ways to exert more control over Denver Public Schools? If so, how would you do that and what would be your goal?

The biggest thing I can do for DPS is save our central business district by removing encampments and stop their destruction of our property tax  base. Approximately 50% of the DPS budget comes from property tax receipts and they are plummeting. With regard to control, the adage of too many cooks in the kitchen immediately comes to mind. Believe me, as your next Mayor I will have enough on my plate to cure our city without adding DPS into the mix. That said, I think there are synergies to be had relative to city green space and DPS green space, as far as connectivity, maintenance, and utilization.

Please assess the Hancock administration’s response to the influx of migrants from the southern border since December 2022. What should Denver do to prepare for and respond to another potential influx of migrants?  

The assessment begs to be compared relative to their response to our encampment crisis which is at least three years in and counting. One appears to have been met with urgency and resolve along with state and federal assistance, the other neglect, disinterest, apathy, incompetence, basically a horrific expensive mess that is going to require my administration to address immediately and prioritize until solved.

What should Denver do to prevent the displacement of longtime residents due to gentrification and tax burdens?

I have built and financed affordable housing, a tradeoff could be made with residents that would cap their tax burden, but also cap the sales proceeds they would realize, additionally the property could be land trusted and preserved within affordable programs thereafter. Help renters become owners who have a chance at building equity. Allow broader application of ADU's to generate additional income from resident's properties.  

What should be done to revitalize downtown Denver (vis-à-vis office occupancy, the 16th Street Mall, crime)?

As your Mayor my number one priority is to make sure ALL neighborhoods are clean and safe. The market will dictate the mix of real estate that is built or renovate in our central business district as well as the best use type. The lower downtown's diverse mix appears much more in keeping with what our citizens want - office, residential, retail, entertainment, storage, transit.  

What is within the power of the City of Denver to fight the opioid epidemic? What steps should regional or state leaders take in cooperation to reduce fentanyl deaths?

Confront and control encampments so that they do not have a location to use, deal, and zonk.

Xcel Energy's franchise agreement expires on Dec. 31, 2026. What will you seek from the next agreement that protects Denver customers from high utility bills?

As the most financially astute candidate, on this agreement, on collective bargaining, or any other deal that is being crafted for the citizens of Denver, I will get the best terms for Denver. Please realize this is not the case when an elected official is using this office as a stepping stone to get to Washington DC or another higher office, they will look out for themselves and not confront vested-interest and the status quo. I can't emphasize this enough, it defines moral hazard and is a clear flunk of the fiduciary test. I will bargain fiercely and I will not run for any other elected office, what other candidate has made this pledge and has this know-how? Simple answer, none!

Denver has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by 2030. A sales tax approved by voters funds the city's climate action goals. What, if any, changes would you make to Denver's climate action goals and how would you make green energy and environmentally sustainable living available across income levels?

The above mentioned Xcel franchise agreement should have attractive incentives for climate action, as a homeowner I have been solicited for a few, but there needs to be more. Specific to my environmental credibility, I annually put more miles on my bikes than our car, I have built commercial and residential to LEED certification, and I have chaired a nonprofit which gets students on bikes and focused on their and our planet’s future. Lastly, as the candidate with the greatest understanding of dollars and sense and investing, as well as experience with venture capital into energy efficiency, I am a quick study on what policies and solutions will drive the outcomes we all need. That said, I am also aware that our city should take leadership as an environmental steward and get its house in order with respect to how it consumes energy and impacts the environment, as well as be willing to be on the bleeding edge [initial sales] of appropriate new technologies to catalyze these developments.

Yes or No

Will you enforce Denver’s camping ban?


Should Denver maintain its effective status as a sanctuary city through noncooperation with immigration agents? 


Will you vote to support development of the Park Hill Golf Course as currently proposed on the April ballot?


Do you support the use of any Denver taxpayer funds to build a new football stadium for the Broncos? 


Should Denver reduce vehicle volumes downtown?


Did you support Mayor Michael Hancock’s re-election in 2019?


If the Colorado legislature lifts the ban on local rent control, should Denver pursue some form of rent control?


Should Denver pursue the creation of a supervised drug injection site with the permission of the state legislature?


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