Denver: The mile-high police state

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Be careful what you ask for in Denver — you just might get something a hell of a lot worse. Recently, a Denver TV station ran a story accusing some of the city’s public works employees of loafing on the job. The city’s reaction? Spend $1.5 million on a global-positioning system to constantly track city employees via satellite. (Yes, that’s in Denver, Colorado.)

The DENVER POST reports that, within the next few years, the city plans to install GPS devices on 2,000 vehicles in the Public Works Department. In addition, the city will require employees who are on assignment to call a central location when they are taking a break or going to lunch. “People who are paid for a full day need to be working a full day; otherwise, it’s unfair to hard-working employees and the taxpayers of Denver,” said a mayoral spokesperson.

Of course, there just might possibly be some privacy issues involved with using aerial spy cameras on people who earn their living pumping sewers and chucking garbage. “Do we want to infringe on the rights of all to catch a few scofflaws?” asks one Denver labor attorney.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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