Denver Direct: 2016
Thursday, February 18, 2016
NAYSAYER OF THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY, 2016 by PHIL GOODSTEIN
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.
CPFAN BOARD OF DIRECTORS VOTES "NO" ON 2 of DENVER’S STORM WATER DRAINAGE OPTIONS.
by Louis Plachowski
ASKS CITY TO SLOW DOWN AND DEVELOP BETTER OPTIONS.
"We must take the time to bring the neighborhoods together to find a mutually satisfactory solution."
CPFAN's Board of Directors recently voted to reject the 2 OPTIONS proposed by the City of Denver and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) for storm water flood mitigation and asked the city for different options that would have less impact on neighborhoods.
The OPTIONS seem to be designed mainly to protect the Highway I 70 expansion from a 100 year flood. See the I 70 Environmental Impact Statement. (EIS)
Storm water flooding is a concern for CDOT because it plans to lower and cover a section of Highway I 70, 40 feet down into a trench, 20 feet below the water table, next to the South Platte River and in the path of a major drainage.
If it were not for the requirement that the lowered, partially covered highway must be protected against a 100 year flood, it seems that neither the need nor the urgency to build such storm water detention basins as Option 1 &2, would be necessary.
Denver Public Works has a backlog of $1.5 billion in projects of equal or more immediate concern to neighborhoods, all outlined in its 2014 Storm Drainage Plan. Will citizens be asked to pay higher Storm Water fees to help pay for this project?
These options were developed through a multi-agency task force which included representatives from CDOT, RTD, Denver and Urban Drainage sometime in 2014 and never presented to any members of the public until Nov. 2015 and Feb. 2016. Thousands of citizens are totally unaware that a major drainage project is being quickly advanced by the City. They were presented in community meetings by GBSM, a PR firm hired by the city.
The initial GBSM presentations seemed to imply that flooding in neighborhoods such as North Park Hill and others would get some flood relief from the proposed Options , but it was later confirmed that the flood relief from these Options would not extend to those neighborhoods.
O PTION 1:
Bulldoze 50 acres of Historic City Park Golf Course (NRHP) ( 1/3 rd of the course) designed by nationally renowned course designer,Tom Bendelow. Cut down 280+ historic, mature trees and bulldoze the recently completed ( 2001) Club House on 26th and York that houses Bogey's restaurant, a large community room and the pro shop. Regrade the land to accomodate a 50 acre, industrial dry detention pond,a utility, to hold toxic storm water run off. The visual is hard to imagine.
Bulldoze 55 + historic homes in the Cole Neighborhood , and replace them with a dry detention pond, a utility, and a 100 foot wide open ditch to capture fast moving storm water run off. The area is already, it seems , impacted by PCE toxins and is an EPA Superfund site. This Option seems drastic, severe and totally unnecessary.
CPFAN's REQUEST TO DENVER :CPFAN's Board of Directors asked that the city go back to the drawing board, with neighborhood input from the start, and come up with options that protect existing neighborhoods and parks.
THE CITY SEEMS ANXIOUS TO PUSH THIS THROUGH.... OVER NEIGHBORHOOD CONCERNS AND PROTESTS.
The city seems to be pushing this project through very quickly. They want a decision on which OPTION will be chosen by the Mayor as early as the middle of February , 2016. The city, through GBSM, may have done an excellent job of telling people what they were going to do, at myriad meetings, but they never asked what the citizens thought or wanted,in the beginning of the flawed process. This seems to be a recurring issue with Denver.
WHATS the RUSH? CDOT SAYS THAT THEY DON’T EVEN NEED DENVER’S HELP.
The City of Denver and CDOT seem to take the position that their plans to share the costs of some elements of I 70, are, somehow, NOT connected to The Denver Storm Water Mitigation plans,
Options 1 & 2. See the Inter Governmental Agreement. (IGA)
CDOT’s Tony Devido has stated publicly, that CDOT doesn’t need Denver’s Storm Mitigation project to protect I 70 from a 100 year flood. He says that CDOT has its own coverage. If there is no hurry to protect I 70 from flooding then what is the rush? Denver has time to find more suitable storm water mitigation options.
WHY WOULD THE CITY/CDOT NOT WANT I70 AND STORM WATER PROJECTS CONNECTED?
One theory is that by trying to seperate out the funding and the function of the flood mitigation project from I70, that gets federal money, the City and CDOT, will escape the Federal government's NEPA requirements and the potentially expensive inclusion of Cole Neighborhood and Denver City Park Golf Course in the I 70 Environmental Impact Statement.
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE.....IF THEY ARE NOT CONNECTED..
Then we have lots of time to consider better options. . We requested that locations with less impact on neighborhoods be considered, namely parking lots, industrial sites, vacant lots, superfund clean up areas, etc. and -- even better -- that the city adopt green infrastructure solutions to detain water and distribute the load by requiring that all new development play a part in the solution.
WHAT IF THERY ARE CONNECTED?
The stakes could be high for Cole Neighborhood and/or City Park Golf Course AND Denver /CDOT.
The National Environmental Protection Act(NEPA) seems to offer protections for all land and communities impacted by a project that receives federal dollars or is connected to one by function, like I 70. The Cole Neighborhood and the City Park Golf Course could be included in the Environmental Impact Statement
If they are connected, Cole could, for example, receive an EPA reviewed , Environmental Justice report, Many of the Cole neighbors are minorities and low income . The toxins that plague the Cole neighborhood could be assessed by EPA. City Park Golf Course, on the National Register of Historic Places, Could be eligible for many protections offered historic properties by the Federal government, in a Section 106 Review.
DO YOU THINK THAT THE TWO PROJECTS ARE CONNECTED?
When you read the Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) you see references that the projects seem to be connected. For example, on page 5H of the IGA, Denver agrees to pay $5000 a day in liquidated damages, for each day that it is "late to deliver" its section of the I 70 flood mitigation project to CDOT. And:
"The IGA provides that the City of Denver will provide funding support for the I-70 East Project in the form of an annual availability payment totaling $37M net present value, in the form of equal annual installments of $2,688,010 over 30 years. Annual installments will commence upon completion of the project. In addition, the City will ensure in-kind contributions to the efficiency and risk reduction of the I-70 East project, valued at $46M."
Above you can hear Denver city officials explain the terms that they negotiated on THE "I 70 East Montclair Park Hill Drainage. "
If they are connected, by virtue of the fact that they are all a part of the I 70 project that is federally funded, then the Cole Neighborhood and City Park Golf Course could be included in the Environmental Impact Statement and could receive all of the protections afforded to them by Federal law.
CONSIDER LETTING THE MAYOR AND YOUR CITY COUNCIL PEOPLE KNOW WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT OPTION 1 &2 AND THE NEED FOR OPTIONS THAT DON’T NEGATIVELY IMPACT NEIGHBORHOODS.
Extra Credit Reading:
This apparently flood prone I-70 Lowered alternative is not necessarily the preferred alternative of Denver citizens and I-70 neighbors. COPIRG has labeled a big Boondoggle. Consider: I70 Expansion Alternative
I look forward to hearing your thoughts about this matter.
CPFAN President 720.425.3768
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