Denver Direct: 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Editorial opinion
The Naysayer of the Month
The Naysayer of the Month Aprime achievement of Wilma Webb was transforming Martin Luther King Day from an insurgent festival into an official celebration of the establishment. Her husband, Wellington Webb, saw that the police became as brutal as ever while he was mayor. In the process, the city especially targeted young black men. This has been a continuing pattern, especially under the city’s second black mayor, Michael Hancock. Despite the latter’s alleged reform of the police department, police killings of suspects soared in 2015 to a rate that had last been seen when Wellington Webb was still in office. Amidst this, rather than listening to the endless usual blather of Martin Luther King Day speakers, members of Black Lives Matter sought to take over the affair on January 18. For failing to bow down to the pious hypocrisies of successful black politicians, its activists are the Naysayer of the Month.
The United States government has readily resorted to violence. Not only does it have a heavily armed goon squad surrounding the president and other dignitaries, but it has rained bombs, death, and destruction on foreign enemies. Its drone program is nothing less than a new form of murder incorporated. Unfortunately, there is a virtual silence about such behavior as deadly violence has become ever more present at home. On the contrary, those with no depth and no ability to connect cause and effect, mindlessly decry guns as responsible for a culture of violence and death.
Colorado State Representative Rhonda Fields is among them. She has not only been outspoken in the demand for more gun control, but she has also been a most vocal advocate of the death penalty. Her message is clear: state sponsored violence is appropriate. Private violence, including efforts of members of the population to defend themselves, is forbidden. Not surprisingly, President Barack Obama, whose administration has embodied the sanctimony of condemning some violence while readily imposing state terror on others, has heralded Fields, arranging for her to attend his church-like condem-nation of guns. For personifying the hypocrisy of the gun-control crowd, Fields is an Associate Naysayer of the Month.
Frederick Bonfils and Harry Tammen were the city’s ultimate pirates when they ran the Denver Post in the late 19th/early 20th century. Under them, it was as much a blackmailing operation as it was a voice of enlightenment and entertainment. The paper was quick to smear its opponents while it quickly flipped its positions depending on whether it had been paid for its editorial views. At times, the only thing it understood was violent force. It clammed up in its criticisms of architect Frank Edbrooke, for example, when he trained his rifle on the office of Bonfils and Tammen.
Among those the Post targeted in 1899–1900 was William H. “Plug Hat” Anderson, an attorney who had gotten on the wrong side of the paper during its crusade to free cannibal Alferd Packer. To settle their differences, Bonfils and Tammen invited Anderson to their office at the Post, “The Bucket of Blood,” on January 13, 1900. Anderson came armed, knowing that Bonfils and Tammen were thugs who readily assaulted those whom they could. When the two men attempted to jump him, he pulled out his revolver, badly wounding both of them. Eventually, after exposés of jury tampering by Tammen, a jury acquired Anderson. Former Governor Charles Thomas, who had long been the target of the Post’s vitriol, heralded the acquittal, informing Anderson “I congratulate you upon your intention, but must condemn your poor aim.”
The attorney’s action of defending himself was a horror to city council member Mary Beth Susman. She was among the members of the city legislature defeating the nomination of Anderson’s historic house at 2329 Eliot Street as a landmark. By rejecting the proposal, council has given a greenlight to a developer to raze the residence that is part of the architectural patrimony of the Jefferson Park neighbor-hood. Also, the vote is a message that resistance to tyranny, including that personified by Bonfils and Tammen, is intolerable. For following the lead of Susman and rejecting the landmark of the Anderson House, the majority of city council shows it has as much appreciation of Denver’s heritage as ISIS does of historic locations in Syria and Iraq which it has wantonly destroyed. This makes it an Associate Nay-sayer of the Month.
Condominiums will be built shoddily or they will not be built at all. Such was the message of a recent ordinance city council passed 12– 1. The measure eases the liability of developers putting up poorly constructed units. Real estate speculators have loudly yelled that the shortage of condominiums stems from existing consumer protection giving buyers of badly designed homes legal recourse against those profiting from them. Opposed to such deliberation, the construction and real estate moguls have made condominium ownership a veritable utopia, a first step for people to buy ever more expensive houses. In reality, this not only means chaining purchasers to banks, institutions notorious for their shady and corrupt mortgage policies, but also entwining buyers of condominiums into compulsory homeowners associations, fre-quently with extremely steep monthly fees. It is a message that there is no alternative to such dismal policies and limited housing choices. Those benefiting from this bleak situation have launched another publicity and political campaign to get the General Assembly to ratify their short-sighted, grasping immunity for shoddy construction.
Only Paul Kashmann, a former newspaper publisher who frequently endorsed the development agenda and has voted against saving landmark houses, had the integrity to vote against the Denver ordinance. Supposed voices of opposition who won seats on council last year such as Rafael Espinosa and Wayne New went along with it. For saying no to a really bad act, Kashmann is an Associate Naysayer of the Month.