Denver Direct: May 2008
Saturday, May 31, 2008
if you try to sleep in our parks, or even sit in them after 11:00 pm. City Attorney Mumbler (below) says “they’ll be in violation of the law”, and out here that means going to jail. Maybe they will take you to a temporary detention center in a large field with tents and cots and porta-potties. But don’t count on it.
Councilperson Charlie Brown discusses sleepovers with City Attorney at City Council Committee meeting in January, 2008
Hey, its only 3 or 4 days. You can stay up all night and roam the streets. There will be plenty to do. It’ll be like a gigantic street party.
at 4:27 PM
Friday, May 30, 2008
This story starts in 1967, when the rock group Cream played The Electric Factory in Philadelphia. I was there, having my hearing permanently damaged by Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, and Jack Bruce. My right ear will never forget. Coffin-like boxes surrounded the floor, leaning up against the wall, so patrons could lie back and enjoy the show. What a trip!
Fast forward to 1995, when my best friend Clark Burch, aging bass player and neophyte videographer, learned that Ginger Baker was living in Parker, Colorado, playing polo on a regular basis, and performing on the drums after each game. There is a lot more to the whole story, but I'll save that for my memoirs.
If you like drums, drums, and more drums, check out this video, never before released. Ginger is performing with his son Kofi.
I am pretty sure Baker had to leave the US after a dustup with the INS. Feel free to comment if you have additional information.
at 8:49 AM
Thursday, May 29, 2008
(Text below excerpted from a news release from SaferChoice.org. Picture and reference to dogs solely the responsibility of Denver Direct. No animals were harmed in the writing of this post.)
"The panel joins Denver voters in urging city officials to stop prosecuting adults for simple marijuana possession," said panel chairman Brian Vicente. "The Denver City Attorney's Office is able to adopt the policy called for by the panel and stop prosecuting these cases at any time, so we certainly hope they will do so."
Also during Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel meeting, Denver City Attorney Vincent DiCroce announced that the city would be changing its policy so that adults cited for marijuana possession would be able to pay their fines via mail and would no longer be required to appear in court.
"We are glad the city attorney's office agrees that it is a waste of time and resources for our courts to be worrying about marijuana possession," said panel member Mason Tvert. "But it is just as big a waste for police to be issuing the citations to begin with."
"Although this streamlining of the prosecution process is a step in the right direction, it does not go far enough," Tvert said. "Denver voters have made it clear on multiple occasions that they do not want adults to be cited, fined, or punished in any way for using a less harmful drug than alcohol. Our city should not be using adult marijuana users as ATM machines to take out $100 at a time."
The panel voted 5-4 in favor of the following recommendation:
The Marijuana Policy Review Panel shall, in its first report issued to the Denver City Council, recommend that in order to implement Denver City Ordinance 38-176 to the greatest extent possible, the office of the Denver City Attorney shall adopt the following policy: The office of the Denver City Attorney shall not seek conviction in a city prosecution for the petty offense of possession of one ounce or less of marijuana for adults 21 and older absent compelling reasons articulated on the record in open court.
(Councilman Doug Linkhart, the only member of City Council on the Panel, voted against the recommendation. An email to Linkhart asking why is as yet unanswered, but will be reported here when an answer is received.)
at 9:31 AM
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Back in 2002, when the City Park West Neighborhood Association still sponsored the City Park Festival of the Arts, I was the official videographer for the event. This meant strolling around getting shots of kids playing, lovers holding hands, and vendors vending on a beautiful summer day.
And then I heard Wendy Woo singing from the bandshell. Her voice drew me like a magnet. I can honestly say that her performance inspired me to do some pretty good work that day. See for yourself.
Go to her website at http://www.wendywoo.com/. This song is from "Gonna Wear Red".
at 9:09 AM
Thursday, May 22, 2008
D's Daily Dish (formerly The Cone Zone)
3rd Annual Tomato Plant Give-Away
1426 East 22nd Avenue, Denver
(on 22nd Avenue between Lafayette and Humboldt)
Memorial Day Weekend
Saturday, May 24th at 8am until they are gone
Why - Because we like to grow tomatoes, but our backyard is not that big. If you have plants or seeds to share, please bring them by.
Owner, Operator D's Daily Dish
at 4:32 PM
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wes McKinley is now the Colorado State Representative for District 64, in the southeastern corner of the state. He is up for re-election and running unopposed.
Back in 1989, after an FBI raid on the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, McKinley was selected for Grand Jury service and elected Foreman. For 2 1/2 years the Grand Jury toiled to uncover the truth.
The whole story is much too interesting and too well told in the book "The Ambushed Grand Jury: How the Justice Department Covered Up Government Nuclear Crimes and How We Caught Them Red Handed" for me to repeat here. I was privileged to be invited to tape a talk recently given by Rep. McKinley, and will be posting additional clips from it in the near future.
I recommend that you buy the book, published in 2004, written by McKinley and Caron Balkany, Esq. (All profits from the book go to nuclear watchdog and environmental groups around the country.) This is the detailed story of how our government actually works, and how one man, Wes McKinley, stood up and then refused to back down. I still remember seeing him on the local evening news, standing on the courthouse steps in Denver, and thinking, this guy has guts, and he will probably go to jail.
at 10:02 PM
An example of a Denver condo currently selling for less than $100/sf.
As a former apartment building owner, I know first hand the difficulty of maintaining a positive cash flow during an economic slump. I calculated that for every month that a unit was empty, it took 3-6 months to recoup the losses from that vacancy. When tenants left a unit in disrepair, the cost of cleanup and fix-up only added to the losses. In fact, for 22 years I had to carry these losses with the only hope being to recoup upon sale. During the 1980s, my vacancy rate was often as high as 50%. Fortunately, I was able to carry them during the slump, and finally sold at near the market high in 2000.
The new owner, experienced in real estate but apparently not in condo conversion, lost his shirt as the project took twice as long as projected, expenses were way over projections, and one unit did not sell for over a year, thereby tying up any profit.
And when the units did finally sell for over $300/sf, I was amazed that there was anyone willing to pay this price ($240,000) for an 800/sf unit, one that I had been renting out for $600 per month. Of course the units were “tricked out” and apparently marble counter tops caused potential buyers to go into a trance state where anything seemed possible.
I always wondered what would happen when a downturn came along. It would be like having many owners of the same building. If units were empty, the remaining owners would have to pick up the tab for the missing condo fees. If something major went wrong, some of these owners would probably not be able to come up with the money to cover the shared loss. Then what?
That slump is now happening in some areas of the country and it’s not a pretty picture. Read all about it here.
at 10:18 AM
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper was a drug pusher before he became Mayor. Now don't get all bent. I mean “pusher” in a good way. The drug he pushed (sold) was alcohol, all legal and proper. Now he wants to expand the use of his drug in our Parks. (Read the whole alcohol-in-the-parks story at www.savecitypark.org, and below in Dave Felice’s report on Thursday’s “More Booze” hearing.)
The People of Denver have twice voted to request that another drug, marijuana, be considered in a similar light. Not exactly made legal but at least considered as a lowest priority for the police. This has not been done. In fact the opposite has been done, as the number of arrests for petty marijuana possession went up after our first vote.
Now it’s hard to hold Hickenlooper responsible for this, since these marijuana arrests (made by City police) are being done under State law. That would mean that District Attorney Mitch Morrissey is the person responsible for each and every decision (case-by-case they call it when they want to unevenly apply the law) to prosecute a marijuana arrest in Denver. The DA’s office representative has confirmed this at the Marijuana Commission meetings. But don’t these guys talk to each other?
It is also easy to see that the Mayor is pushing to have the use of his favorite drug expanded in the parks, for commercial reasons I assume. It’s hard to image that he just wants more drunks around.
This sends an interesting message to the citizens of Denver: Only the Mayor’s drug will be condoned, the line forms over there, $7.00 a hit. Get drunk responsibly!
But how about this idea – Marijuana Beer! Call it 420 Lite, or Two Birds. Not a new idea. Google it and check out Brain Death. Now Hickenlooper can get on the band wagon!
Let's ask Towelie:
Now where were we? What?
at 11:04 AM
Friday, May 9, 2008
Larry Ambrose comments at the hearing.
By Dave Felice
Members of the Parks Advisory Board express concern that the general public perceives a change in the parks’ alcohol policy as a precursor to exclusive commercial events.
During the regular meeting following the hearing Thursday, Parks Administrative Manager Fred Weiss repeated his previous public statement that changing the alcohol policy is “separate issue” from admission based special events. But he did acknowledge that policy to allow selling and serving alcoholic beverages commercially in parks “does remove one of many obstacles” to staging events for which admission is charged.
Joe Mauro of Whittier neighborhood, contended the alcohol policy changes are “specifically designed to work with proposals to commercialize parks.” Mauro also questioned the already limited resources of Denver Police to provide effective law enforcement during events where alcohol is sold and served.
“I cannot in my wildest dreams imagine how the Parks Department will police the sale of alcoholic beverages (during commercial events),” said former city councilwoman Cathy Donohue of Cheesman neighborhood. “We have very difficult social problems with alcohol in the parks already.”
Donohue said she’s “appalled” that the issue of selling and serving alcoholic beverages in parks is even being brought up again after selling and serving was initially allowed last year. “I personally disagreed with the city attorney many times when I was working in city government, and this is another one of those times,” said Donohue. “This is a charter issue. Our parks are not for sale. We are opening a door that does not need to be opened.”
Donohue represented District 10 for nearly two decades before the advent of term limits.
John Hayden, a resident of Councilwoman Carla Madison’s District 8, spoke in favor of the proposal which would expand the locations where liquor could be sold and served. The proposed changes also require event organizers, both nonprofit and commercial, to hold “a liquor license from the appropriate governmental agency.”
“It makes me sad that parks are under-used and I am told there aren’t enough funds,” said Hayden. “It seems revenue from alcohol sales can help promote development (and) I expect responsible management of parks.”
Patty Paul of Park Hill expressed concern about the “privatization” of parks, noting that events would result in the closure of large areas. “This would be a violation of the intended purpose of (public) parks” she said.
Representing both Sloan’s Neighborhood and the Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation (INC) association, Larry Ambrose said selling and serving alcoholic beverages “needs to be treated with caution, care, and consideration.” If commercial entities want the privilege of selling and serving alcohol in the parks, Ambrose says the city needs to go back to the legislature for a proper revision of liquor laws.
“It’s a questionable issue at best and this policy is not really needed,” said Ambrose. “In addition, expanded sales would require a tremendous amount of energy for citizen advocates to monitor these (commercial) events.”
Karen Cuthbertson of INC said requests for commercial events are not valid and “proper land use takes priority over revenue generation.”
Echoing other complaints, Councilwoman Jeanne Robb said Parks and Recreation needs to do a better job of notifying Denver residents of changes. Even though Parks Manager Kim Bailey contends the department followed the letter of the law, the alcohol policy was not discussed at the INC meeting on April 12 and the admission policy task force was not notified.
The hearing notice was published in the Denver Daily Journal legal publication and erroneous information was posted on the Parks Department web site. As a result of the outcry over lack of notification, the city council’s Public Amenities Committee got Parks to agree to extend the public comment period to May 23.
Denver’s Director of Excise and Licenses Awilda Marquez explained that nonprofit organizations would still be able to use the Special Permits Liquor License as they have in the past. Commercial event operators would be required to obtain either a Tavern License or one of the other business use licenses.
According to Marquez, state law covering Tavern Licenses requires “possession” of defined premises, but, in her interpretation, does not specify “four walls and a roof.”
Marquez says commercial license applicants would be thoroughly investigated before a license was issued. She says her department has the authority to require a public hearing and determine the requirements for the hearing. For example, the law requires neighbors within 200 feet of the site of an application to be notified. If the proposed sales site were within one of the larger parks, the 200 foot limit would not extend to adjacent neighborhoods.
Marquez says nonprofit agencies do not go through the same scrutiny.
At one point, Denver resident Joe Henderson interrupted the meeting with a boisterous condemnation of alcohol abuse. Meeting Chairperson Heidi Loshbaugh stood up, confronted Henderson, and repeatedly asked him to be silent and leave the room. Under his breath, Assistant Manager of Parks Scott Robson used an unflattering anatomical reference to describe Henderson.
Outgoing Parks Manager Kim Bailey also said commercialization already occurs during events in parks, citing examples such as signage and uniforms. Bailey asked the Advisory Board to “help dispel the myth” that there would be a proliferation of commercial events.
Weiss said the Parks Department does not allow multiple events that would severely damage park lands and noted “there hasn’t been an overwhelming demand for commercial events.” He also clarified the rules about “Special Occasion Events,” where attendees are present by invitation only. Park lands or facilities are not actually closed to the public during these events, said Weiss.
The question of commercially selling and serving alcohol in parks was raised when Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) proposed closing the western two-thirds of City Park for a two-day music festival. When the nearby Denver Zoo and area residents objected, the festival was moved to Commerce City.
The Parks Advisory Board plans to make its recommendation on the liquor policy revision by Tuesday, May 13. The Parks Department intends to use its “rules and regulations” authority to implement whatever decision is made.
District 8 Councilwoman Carla Madison, a member of the Public Amenities Committee, was the only representative of City Council at the hearing and meeting. There were no broadcast or print reporters attending, but the hearing portion was videotaped for later broadcast on Denver’s public access television on cable Channel 8.
For additional information on prudent park policy and the liquor proposal, see http://www.savecitypark.org/.
Parks Administrative Manager Fred Weiss (with tie) hears comments on alcohol policy changes.
at 5:02 PM
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
You may have noticed that I published this video clip of the cleaning of the "Thatcher" fountain in City Park previously and without comment. I was trying to get more information on what I had seen and recorded - the thick white "plaque" build up on the walls and bottom of the fountain pool - that was being removed by the workers. I wanted to get closer (to try to get a sample) but was prevented (properly) from doing so by the admonitions of the workers to stay back. So I emailed Mr. Joseph Sloan, listed as the PR contact person on the http://www.denverwater.org/ website. To date he has not answered, so today I sent him this email:
Dear Mr. Sloan:
You seem to be the “go to guy” with respect to recycled water issues. Your name, phone number, and email address are listed on more than one page of the Denverwater.org website as the person to answer questions about recycled water.
It is to you, then, that I turned to answer my simple question about the use of recycled water in the fountains at Denver’s City Park.
Email sent 4/28/08
From: Gerald Trumbule
Could you tell me if the recycled water in use at City Park is being used in the fountains? Specifically, I refer to:
1. The fountain at approximately 17th and the Esplanade.
2. The Ferril Lake fountain.
3. The play fountain just west of the Denver Museum.
Thanks for providing this information.
Please answer as soon as possible (by email) so I can publish your answer and set at ease the minds of my readers who are wondering about the use of this non-potable water in situations where park users might easily, and unknowingly, come into contact with it. Thanks again for your attention to this matter.
End of email.
New still from the video with my titles of what I think I was seeing:
at 10:47 AM
Friday, May 2, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
This one hasn't gotten much publicity (that I could find) but we just verified with Greg Rasheed that there will be a House District 8 Candidate Forum held at the District 2 police station at 3921 Holly St., at 6:30 tonight, May 1, 2008. Tiny, totally independent media will be there to videotape, and the clips will be posted here ASAP for your viewing enjoyment.
at 11:36 AM
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