Steffan Tubbs says Colorado residents may not realize Denver’s decline in the wake of the George Floyd protests.
He plans to change that with his fourth documentary film..
The host of “The Steffan Tubbs Show,” heard from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 710 KNUS in Denver, is putting together a new film capturing Denver in the Black Lives Matter era. His documentary “Denver in Decay” chronicles the violence slamming the city in recent months.
Crime in Denver is surging as it is in other cities in the wake of the Floyd protests and riots.
HiT reached out to Tubbs, a four-time winner of the Edward R. Murrow award for national reporting, to learn more about “Denver in Decay” and why Denver reporters have seriously dropped the ball at a critical time in the city’s history..
HiT: Portland, Seattle, Chicago and New York are all generating headlines for their protests and violence. Can you briefly share how Denver compares to those cities in recent months, and the main factors behind the chaos?
Steffan Tubbs: “Denver has been the city of forgotten chaos the past few months. Those of us paying attention to the vandalism, destruction of property, etc. know all about it. However, if you live, say in Littleton or Highlands Ranch or Northglenn and never go downtown -- all of the actual chaos, violence and damage can be easily dismissed.
Damage to the Capitol alone is more than $1 million. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage around Colfax, Lincoln and Broadway. I think those causing damage locally have gotten their cues from Portland and Seattle. Police have been neutered, therefore: no consequences.
HiT: Was there a single Denver-based news story that convinced you to tackle this project, or was it a collection of headlines that forced your hand?
Tubbs: The idea for the documentary film project “Denver in Decay” came from my own observations after covering the chaos, protests and damage assessments first-hand for weeks. I realized this was something that had to be captured and told.
HiT: What will surprise even long-time Denver residents about what you uncover in the film?
Tubbs: First, I think people will be surprised at the bi-partisan approach we’re taking. This film will not take sides and make any conclusions.
That’s not how any of my past documentaries have been put together, and we will take same approach. For Denver-area folks who are seeing a few pictures online here and there and social media posts about the past few months, I think they will logically have only one reaction: Holy s***. I can’t believe this has been allowed.
HiT: Rate how well, or poorly, Denver media has covered these subjects. How could they do a better job?
Tubbs: Denver media, for the most part, has done a terrible job of pointing out the actual criminal activity involved and that has been tolerated, allowed and ultimately simply accepted. Local media are scared to death they may offend the other side.
Freedom of speech, freedom to assemble and freedom to protest are part of our DNA as a nation. However, we are a nation of law and order. Protest all you want, but that does not mean you’re allowed to pull down statues, throw rocks and bottles at law enforcement, desecrate public spaces and try to destroy the State Capitol.
It is the people’s house. I can’t think of many -- if any -- reporters and stations conveying that message.”
HiT: You host a weekday radio show on a conservative radio station, KNUS in Denver. Are you making an attempt to reach viewers on the Left and Right? If so, how?
Tubbs: I find it extremely interesting that as of this writing, I have been rejected by two Denver City Council members, Governor [Jared] Polis’ staff said they’d “get back to me” (and haven’t) and Mayor [Michael] Hancock’s office has received my request and so far: nothing.
I think those causing damage locally have gotten their cues from Portland and Seattle.
DPS Director Tay Anderson has been invited to appear, and though he texted me, “I’ll do it,” he never got back to me to coordinate, despite multiple additional requests. This is a Democrat-led city and state, and I think they’re terrified this little Denver secret is going to be exposed.
HiT: What are the release plans for Denver in Decay? Streaming? Theatrical? YouTube?
Tubbs: Because of COVID, we are limited to an online release only. It will premiere September 17 -- which, not coincidentally, is Constitution Day.
The goal for us at Mountain Time Media is simply to get as many eyes on this as possible. These films are not free to produce. We have a gofundme campaign underway, accessible via www.denverindecay.com. Contributions are tax deductible via the Colorado-based “Center For Comprehensive Film” a 501(c)3.
We also operate under a “give back” approach. In this case, 25 percent of all contributions will go directly to Step Denver because they tackle homelessness the right way. Donors of $100 or more will have their names in the credits. It’s almost like signing a petition; seeing their name as the credits roll they are basically saying, ‘We see what’s going on, we don’t like it, and here’s proof.’
The documentary “Seattle is Dying” has more than 7 million views on YouTube. If we can get half that, at least people will know what is going on and has been allowed in the Mile High City and surrounding areas.
HiT: What kind of impact do you hope it might have?
Tubbs: There is not a concerted effort to get this out before November 3. The time-sensitive nature of the release date is to simply not let a park clear-out or power-washing and window replacement happen so that leaders can say, ‘Problem? What problem?”
It is our hope that those who have allowed the chaos to continue, without any prosecutions to date, will be exposed. Viewers will certainly be able to make up their own minds as to who is responsible.
HiT: We’re seeing chaos on a grand scale across America … do you think it will impact the upcoming elections, and how?
Tubbs: Look at the power structures in places where chaos has been the greatest: Seattle, Portland, Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Common denominator? They are cities and states controlled by Democrats. Nothing more needs to be said.