Denver Direct: Well Said: No Admission Based Events in Our Parks

Friday, April 9, 2010

Well Said: No Admission Based Events in Our Parks

APRIL 8, 2010

Members of the Board:

My name is Joe Halpern. I live in the Alamo Placita neighborhood, and as you know, I am very much interested in the Admission Based Special Events Policy that this Board and the Department’s staff have been considering.

Mr. Patterson stated at the March 23rd Task Force meeting, “There will be an Admission Based Events Policy.” So, it appears that he has taken off the table any further discussion of why such a policy should or should not be adopted.

However, the Department has not offered any clear or consistent rationale for adopting such a policy. Early on, the Department said it was because of demand from the private sector to use our parks for paid-admission events. When we made an Open Records Act request for the identities of those private sector parties, we were told, “We have no such records.”

In the past, the Department has also stated that the purpose of the proposed policy is to raise desperately needed revenues for our parks. But at the February meeting of this Board, Mr. Patterson reversed course and stated that revenue-raising was not the rationale.

The Department has also stated repeatedly, there is public demand for paid-admission events in our parks. Where is the evidence of that demand? There has been no scientific or statistically valid polling of the citizens of Denver on this issue, and to my knowledge no effort whatsoever to poll the citizens.
By contrast:

The vast majority of members of the public who spoke at the December public hearing were opposed to admission-based events in the parks.

All of the public comments at this Board’s February and March meetings were opposed to this concept.

Any objective observer would conclude that Mr. Patterson’s stated intention to adopt the Admission-Based Special Events Policy is based on a top-down decision from the Mayor’s office on the apparent theory that Papa knows best, and that all of the so-called opportunities for public comment have been window dressing for a preordained outcome.

Thank you.