Denver Direct: August 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Like something stuck on your shoe, Bill Airy just won’t go away. I thought I had fallen into a time-warp when I saw this:
Airy was paid $30,000 by the City for his poo bags last year and the “contract put on hold”. Now it’s like none of this happened, and we have started all over again.
|Click to enlarge|
at 1:30 PM
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Ed. note: The articles cited about Lowry were in the years prior to the "recycled water" component of the deal being engineered. Read entire article here.
A Denver based engineering firm tested for contaminants in Lowry groundwater. The result: High levels of radiation everywhere over the site.
Another firm commissioned by the EPA and others, found levels of plutonium and associated isotopes 10,000 times higher than naturally occurring.
Conveniently, by about 1993, the EPA decided to put on a pair of verbal flip flops --- now , the plutonium laced waste was suitable for sewage sludge. It could be mixed, diluted or whatever with municipal wastewater. That was a much cheaper means of dealing with unacceptable levels of radioactivity.
Flopping its assessment meant that clean up dropped from billions of dollars to less than $100 million. Obviously, there are contentions that the EPA studies were “flawed” and that the cleanup board had mutants sitting amongst the environmentalists. Due to the “sludge” safety reports, the product was spread on farmlands from Virginia to Oregon.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that H.J. Heinz and Del Monte refused to buy tomatoes, beans, and other fruits and veggies fertilized with sludge.
As for the ground water and other contaminants, the “stuff” from Lowry was dumped into Metro Wastewater . The EPA maintained that millions of gallons of Lowry (plutonium) laced toxic water could run through sewer pipes before high readings of hazardous materials would be detected.
One lab technician at the Denver Wastewater plan opted for early retirement when they began to accept Lowry waste. Marilyn Ferrari, the technician, told the Monitor, management had “pressured” technicians to “make readings look right… if numbers came in high, they would say, retest.”
at 9:31 AM
Monday, August 23, 2010
As much as I laud the effort being made by Parks are for People, I don't think that any amount of calling and letter writing will change the fact that this Admission Based Policy is a done deal. Whenever they got a chance, the people spoke out against it, and it didn't matter. The HickenMaster has spoken and his Parks Czar Patterson has carried out the order, with the assistance of the Parks and Wreck minions.
It's going to take a lawsuit (injuction?) to stop this "experiment" in City Charter manipulation which was accomplished by redefining the words - lease, permit, concession, etc. by Friar Broadwell. And, if a successful effort is mounted to force it to a vote of the people, the Gentry (promoters) will fund a TV campaign to get it passed, as they usually do, with lemons, dancing letters and other advertising gimmicks. Those opposing its passage will be characterized as rigid old fuddy-duddys, resisting change, seeking serenity in their dotage, while those in favor will be the fun-loving, beer-drinking, rock and rollers, ready to partay!
While I agree that a dedicated Festival Park would be a great idea, it's not what HickenMaster has dictated, because it would cost too much money, and anyway, the parks are already, by his reckoning, available for the taking.
Nah! won't happen. I was just getting carried away. Sorry for the fuss. Go back to sleep.
at 10:11 PM
Wow! That was fast. See also Westword article.
|Click to enlarge|
at 8:14 AM
Saturday, August 21, 2010
The "old Safeway" (16th and Josephine), as we old-timers knew it, or the "Church in the City" as those who came to the neighborhood in the last 16 years knew it, is now being demolished. The City agreed to pay a price $5,000,000 more than it had been appraised for the previous year, to build a Central Denver Recreation Center, dependent, of course, on future bond-financed borrowing.
Ooops, ain't gonna happen' now! Maybe in 5, 10, or 15 years, they say. Soooo... (bait and switch), how about a dog-park or a garden, or, better yet, how about both of those at the same time! Presumably separate, one hopes, but very, very expensive. Thank you Councilpersons Robb and Madison for bringing us the most expensive Central Denver Recreation Center Dog Park Gardens.
at 5:24 PM
Friday, August 20, 2010
|Limited to 7500 people once a week|
Denver's Parks and Rec Advisory Board considered, for a second time, the Mayor's proposed Admission Based Events Policy. If you have 2 hours and 45 mins of free time, you might consider watching the proceedings here, as I did. (Hat tip to Channel 8). With 80 percent of the presenters opposed to the policy, the Advisory Board voted 10 to 7 in favor anyway. You will probably notice the difference in some parks when you see areas fenced off that you will have to buy a ticket for if you want to gain admission. My impression is that many, if not most, of these events will sell booze.
You can't drink alcohol in the parks legally on your own, but if you pay the promoters, they will enable you to drink legally in the fenced off areas of the parks that you (the people) own.
BTW, businessman-mayor-gubernatorial candidate Hickenlooper has promised he won't do to the State what he has done to our City if he is elected Governor. From Joanne Dittmer at the Denver Post:
I recently was at a mayoral event. The mayor greeted me, and I said, "John, if you become governor, keep your hands off the 42 state parks. People are worried." Before he could answer, someone snagged him for a photo. But when he left the event, he came by to tell me: "I promise, if I become governor I won't put admission-based private events in the state parks."
at 8:22 AM
My, what a refreshing idea - a Councilperson who actually sent out a questionnaire to her constituents asking for their opinion. We should all be so lucky. (You can enlarge font size with control+).
at 7:07 AM
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I was wondering what had happened to all of the talk about "off-leash" dog fight, er, dog play areas when I got this:
This update was received by some and not by others. Apologies if you received it before. It appears Denver Parks & Rec is intent on charging for Dog Parks and has done nothing to integrate Animal Control into their redundant dog tag/fee plan.
Here's a snip from the Master Plan (the whole thing here)
- Fees: For Denver residents, a $25 annual user fee and coinciding color-coded dog tag will be required for entry into all Denver dog parks. This annual fee is for one dog. Additional dogs under one owner may be eligible for a discounted annual user fee for each additional dog. Non-Denver residents will be required to pay a $40 annual user fee for use of all Denver dog parks. Volunteer efforts in helping maintain dog park facilities and helping with educational outreach will be recognized through a discounted fee program. Fees will cover costs for additional enforcement in Denver parks, will go toward matching funds for building new facilities, and will provide a more sustainable revenue stream for maintenance.
- Fines: To stress the education and requirement of licensure, vaccination, and payment of the annual user fee for access to Denver dog parks, fines for falsification of any of these requirements is being recommended.
- Owner Responsibility: In order for dog owners and dog park users to have a full understanding of the rules and regulations and requirements for use of Denver’s dog park facilities, owners will be required to review and sign off on educational materials clarifying these elements at the time of purchase of the annual dog park user fee.
I've owned many dogs over the years but I've got a lot of misgivings about this whole idea. Some of my dogs would not have been good candidates for an off-leash park as they would have wanted to dominate all the other dogs.
Once when I was walking my dog on-leash in City Park, an un-leashed German Shepard came running up with a panicked ownergirl running way behind, wailing out her dog's name. Did I mention that my dog was a 135-pound Great Dane? In one swift move she grabbed the Shepard by the throat and flipped him over on his back. I'm not sure what would have happened if I hadn't pulled her off.
I'm sure that all of the visitors to the off-leash parks will have their dogs under strict voice control, so it doesn't turn into this: Federal Cop Shoots Dog at a Dog Park.
at 3:56 PM
With 19 million houses now sitting empty, the mortgage banking industry continues to grind through the foreclosure process, although apparently without enthusiasm, to evict even more delinquent home owners. However, there may be hope on the horizon. You've probably heard of a case or two where the bank couldn't produce the mortgage paper to prove that they owned the house. What if they couldn't prove that they owned 62 million of them? From here:
That means hordes of victims of predatory lending could end up owning their homes free and clear—while the financial industry could end up skewered on its own sword.
The latest of these court decisions came down in California on May 20, 2010, in a bankruptcy case called In re Walker, Case no. 10-21656-E–11. The court held that MERS could not foreclose because it was a mere nominee; and that as a result, plaintiff Citibank could not collect on its claim. The judge opined:
Since no evidence of MERS’ ownership of the underlying note has been offered, and other courts have concluded that MERS does not own the underlying notes, this court is convinced that MERS had no interest it could transfer to Citibank. Since MERS did not own the underlying note, it could not transfer the beneficial interest of the Deed of Trust to another. Any attempt to transfer the beneficial interest of a trust deed without ownership of the underlying note is void under California law.
I'm no expert in these matters but I would certainly read the entire article, and then demand (get an attorney?) that your mortgage holder (bank) prove that it actually has the paper proving that it is legally able to kick you out! Who knows, you could be one of the 62 million "winners"!
at 8:07 AM
Monday, August 16, 2010
So we went "upstream" to see what City Park Lake looked like, with a quick check of Duck Pond.
Duck Pond - birds gone, water almost completely evaporated. Dried bottom has that same gray-white chalky look that they were sandblasting out of the Thatcher fountain here before they switched the fountain over to tap water.
Ferril Lake - going green fast - algae about to bloom. Only one duck in the lake who hadn't gotten the memo.
(Music by Gilliam Welch - Time, the Revelator )
at 5:44 PM
from 5280 Magazine:
Why the Water in the South Platte River Is Bright Green
Here's another concern for the "brownliner" anglers who fish the less than pristine waters of the South Platte River, as well as those who brave the unpredictable rapids. Bright green water, caused by algae, is flowing through the river, reports 9News, which consulted Denver wastewater worker Al Ortiz, who traced the sludge to a major storm drain from a City Park lake in east Denver. Witnesses tipped off the television station to the problem near Globeville Landing Park, where green water flowed from a culvert near 38th Street and Arkins Court. "In probably seven or eight years of riding this path almost daily, I've never seen anything like this," says Denver bicyclist Eric Michieli. Ortiz had his crew pull dozens of manhole covers along the storm-drain line to determine the source of the green water. He does not know if anyone from Denver Parks and Recreation had informed his office that the lake would be drained of the brightly colored goo.
at 11:33 AM
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
City Councilman Doug Linkhart tells DenverDirect that when Hickenlooper wins the race for Colorado Governor, he will run for Mayor.
Let the fun begin. I am guessing that this is going to more fun than a barrel of monkeys. I've heard so many names mentioned as possible contenders that I've lost track. Could we have a field of 10 or more?
at 3:09 PM
at 10:26 AM
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Hard Truth About Easements - The Pueblo Chieftain
(Ed. note: The Colorado Department of Revenue has changed its mind about some of the Conservation Easements it granted as far back as 7 years ago. Now, claiming the appraisals it approved were too high, Colorado wants to go back in time and change the appraisals. And they want the tax credits back, even though they may have already been legally sold. Can you imagine a buyer, after waiting 7 years after a deal has been closed, coming back with a lawsuit claiming the appraisal, which it accepted at the time, was too high?)
Over-appraisals are pushing some to bankruptcy.
Posted: Friday, August 6, 2010
DENVER — The Colorado Department of Revenue’s refusal to honor conservation easement tax credits isn’t just frustrating citizens — it’s taxing their patience.
A room full of angry landowners, most of them from Southeastern Colorado, told a legislative special committee on Wednesday that the Department of Revenue has cast a menacing shadow over their lives by its challenges to their tax credits.
“I’m more comfortable irrigating or rounding cattle” than speaking to a table full of legislators and bureaucrats, said Sylvia McComber of Rocky Ford. About 40 heads in the room bobbed in agreement. But McComber said the trek to the State Capitol was worth her time in order to get answers.
In December 2003, McComber and her husband entered into the conservation easement tax credit program. Participants agree to leave spaces on their properties unused and open. In turn, they can claim a tax break from the state.
Colorado allows the sale of those tax credits, and many family farms sell the credits at less than their actual value to folks with steep tax implications.
Many, like McComber, use the proceeds from selling tax credits to subsist or keep the family farm afloat.
McComber gave little thought to the tax credits she’d collected and sold seven years ago, until February, when the Department of Revenue sent her a bill for $70,000 (of that, $20,000 was interest and penalties) and threatened to seize her bank account if it wasn’t paid within 10 days.
She delayed that step when she filed a protest with the Department of Revenue, but it was denied, and now she has less than one month to pay up.
“There’s no money left,” she said. “It’s a bankruptcy issue.”
McComber’s situation fits with about 97 percent of the conservation easement tax credits that the state has denied. They stem from disagreements between the Department of Revenue’s perceived value of a property and the appraisal the landowner commissioned in order to qualify for the tax credit, according to Roxy Huber, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue.
In 2008, the Colorado Division of Real Estate became suspicious of the high appraisal values the state was seeing on land used for conservation easement tax credits. In the aftermath of the suspicion that appraisals had been inflated, a higher degree of scrutiny was applied, and internal Department of Revenue reviews began rejecting the tax credit claims at a higher rate, some of them retroactively, like McComber’s.
Since 2000, the Department of Revenue has approved 2,847 conservation easement tax credits valued at $554 million, according to Huber.
During the same time, 355 have been denied. More than 20 percent of the denied credits are concentrated in two Southeastern Colorado counties, 48 of them in Bent and 33 of them in Prowers.
“Every other county has less than 10” denied conservation easement tax credit claims during the past decade, Huber said. “Geographically and from an appraisal standpoint, we realize that (area) has to be the focus of the expertise.”
According to legislative fiscal analysis, $169 million in revenue is at stake in disputed claims.
Peppered with a barrage of complaints from landowners that the Department of Revenue’s stance has only served to worsen complicated legal entanglements with the IRS and tax credit buyers, Huber offered guarded sympathy.
“The emotional side of this is exactly that,” she said. “People have taken steps that put their livelihoods at risk. There’s a lot of stuff to unwind in these situations. It’s a ‘buyer-beware’ situation when you enter into this.”
Jillane Hixson of Lamar is struggling to unwind the knotted legal and financial nightmare of her conservation tax easement.
After the state rejected Hixson’s 2003 easement claim, lawsuits ensued between her and the buyer, leaving her with not only a sizeable tax burden that she had presumed wouldn’t exist, but also a $200,000 judgment in court that includes paying the credit buyer’s attorney fees.
“It seems to me I have been denied due process at every turn,” Hixson said. “What do you do? You call your lawyer, and then you’re out another $2,000.”
She’s been beset with threats of garnishment and asset seizure by the Department of Revenue, some of which they’ve made good on and others that have been by mistake.
“I don’t see the end of it,” Hixson lamented.
Rep. Wes McKinley, D-Walsh, hopes to provide that end. He ran legislation last session seeking to require the Department of Revenue to honor the conservation easement tax credits issued before 2008, but it was killed.
Instead, a process was established for the Colorado Attorney General’s Office to mediate disputed conservation easement cases in hopes that settlement agreements can be reached. The first round of conferences are set to begin in September.
Huber isn’t confident that the process will resolve most of the disputes. Those that aren’t mediated to resolution will likely become lawsuits.
“Some of these are going to go to court,” Huber said. “We’re just so far apart that we’re never going to get there in the negotiation process.”
Some of the appraisals that landowners cling to for valuing their credits are 400 times higher than the value placed on them by the Department of Revenue, Huber said.
McKinley said if he is re-elected he will carry another bill seeking amnesty for landowners with conservation easement tax credits.
That drew a favorable reaction from the landowners in attendance, one of very few for the government officials on hand.
Warren McDonald, a property owner from Weston, said a current of general mistrust of government runs through some rural communities, and when he was set to enter into a conservation easement pact with the state many neighbors warned him that he was dancing with the devil
“Today, they were right,” he said.
at 12:22 PM
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
from Tom Morris:
Mayor Hickenlooper wants to rent out our parks. Those who oppose this plan contend that renting out our parks is a violation of the City Charter. The Charters says that the city may not sell, lease or rent any park or portion of a park without a vote of the people.
The mayor has no doubt told his city attorney to find a way to ignore this section of the Charter. They do it with words. They’ve changed the name of what is illegal and, because they’ve come up with these new words, the Hickenlooper administration proceeds undeterred.
In point of fact the Charter doesn’t ban renting our parks. It doesn’t, however, leave the decision up to the mayor. It says that you can rent our parks if the people of Denver approve it.
John Hickenlooper doesn’t trust his constituents. And, as in all relationships, I urge his constituents to assume the reflective position and not trust the mayor.
There is no reason to believe that renting out our parks is a harmless action. His first subdivision of a park will be City Park, if the mayor gets his way. He will rent out the large meadow west of the Museum of Nature for movies. Once established, this policy will extend to all city parks.
The large meadow is recognized by television networks, postcard producers, tour guides and the city itself as an iconic view of Denver. The city has protected the view with a view plane ordinance which prevents thoughtless greedy developers like John Hickenlooper and other pirates of real estate from blocking the view.
During the replanning of City Park, historic preservationists suggested recreating two paths which once extended from the rose garden to the big lake through the big meadow. The stake holders involved in the planning process objected, pointing out that the meadow is the largest expanse of green grass with a classic view anywhere in the city. The plan preserves this meadow as a part of the iconic view.
But John Hickenlooper is going to allow a movie company to construct a bank of bleachers, a 30 foot tall movie screen, probably an advertising fence to keep out non-payers and banks of portable toilets and trash dumpsters in the big meadow for almost two months at the height of the tourist season for every summer for years to come.
It is for this reason that I urge all Denver voters to support Hickenlooper's bid to quit his job and vote for him as governor.
Reply from Councilwoman Madison:
I understand that you are clearly against Open Air and any other admission based events. You have worked for decades preserving the green space of City Park for passive purposes (and some active uses, like City Park Jazz) and so I in no way expect you to see things differently but I do want to address a couple of things.
Below is the language from the charter:
§ 2.4.5 Sale and leasing of parks.
Without the approval of a majority of those registered electors voting in an election held by the City and County of Denver, no park or portion of any park belonging to the City as of December 31, 1955, shall be sold or leased at any time, and no land acquired by the City after December 31, 1955, that is designated a park by ordinance shall be sold or leased at any time, provided, however, that property in parks may be leased for park purposes to concessionaires, to charitable or nonprofit organizations, or to governmental jurisdictions. All such leases shall require the approval of Council as provided for in Article III of this Charter. No land acquired by the City after December 31, 1955, shall be deemed a park unless specifically designated a park by ordinance.
The underlined part was added by the voters in 1996 and completely eliminated the original charter prohibition on parks leasing, allowed leasing of park lands with voter approval in some situations, and allowed leasing of park lands with City Council approval in other situations. The charter empowers the City Council to approve or disapprove any “leasing” of city-owed real property, park land or otherwise, in excess of 30 days.
Also, Open Air will not be occupying the open meadow in front of the DMNS. They will be located off to the south, out of the view plane. Still visible, certainly, but not blocking the view. This is a contract for 2 years and the liquor license will have a new hearing every year. The neighbors will, through this mechanism, always have a say so in whether this event happens and/or continues as well as the contract will have to go up before council again if it is to continue beyond 2012.
City Councilwoman District 8
2713 Welton Street, 80205
at 7:24 AM
Monday, August 9, 2010
by Dave Felice
Members of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB):
I am a member of the Admission Based Events Task Force that supposedly recommended this policy to this Board. I have been and am unalterably opposed to allowing commercial interests to close parts of Denver public parks and charge admission for events in the parks. There were many of us, mostly neighborhood representatives, who volunteered to serve on this panel that also believed and expressed over and over that without the citizens of Denver being able to vote on this issue, public parks must be free and open to all people.
at 3:56 PM
at 11:52 AM
Sunday, August 8, 2010
In 1977 I met with the owner of Ceavco, the biggest video and film equipment rental house in Denver at that time, with a revolutionary idea - using video to create tapes of houses and land for sale. Sony had just come out with the Porta-Pak, and it seemed like a natural combination. The idea was met with a big yawn. Who would want to look at video tape when you could just go there and see for yourself?
Today many real estate sales listings include a short slide show (virtual tour), but most still don't use video. The great exception is Todd Gatza at Trinidad Land Realty. He makes a video for every property. I love the way he points on camera to distant mountain peaks and ranges. His videos are rough and ready, and they convey a real feel for the property.
I've always dreamed of owning a mountain property and Todd sends me an email once a week with a new listing and video. We can still dream.
at 9:05 AM
Friday, August 6, 2010
Come on down to Acoustic Music Revival, 3445 S. Broadway, at 6:00 pm TODAY, Friday, Aug. 6, to meet Rep Wes McKinley and Billy Whitfield. Wes and the boys will be kickin' it with their cowboy songs and stories. McKinley is running for a 4th term to represent HD 64 and needs your support. I'll be there to videotape, as usual.
at 7:00 AM
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Dr. Kristen Iversen, professor and author of "Full Body Burden", (coming soon) spoke from the Colorado Capitol steps in Denver at the press conference announcing the findings of breathable plutonium in the crawl space of a house downwind of Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, now decommissioned but still contaminated.
at 2:59 PM
At a press conference on the steps of the Colorado Capitol in Denver, Rep. Wes McKinley, in reporting the findings of a new citizen-led plutonium sampling test that found breathable plutonium in 2 of 4 samples gathered near Rocky Flats, suggests that the only real solution would be to cover the 6000 acres with two feet of cement, and pray. And he's not kidding - that's what he was told by a scientist who worked on the remediation of Rocky Flats. The scientist later died of cancer, and his remains were confiscated by the FBI.
Further reporting from Westword.
at 8:09 AM
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The results from the citizen-led sampling study are in: 2 of the 4 samples contained plutonium.
from today's AolNews:
Plutonium particles were present in dust from a crawl space in an older home near the plant, Kaltofen said. He said the highly toxic substance presumably accumulated during the period from 1952 to 1994, when workers assembled the plutonium pits used as triggers for hydrogen bombs.
at 8:34 PM
Monday, August 2, 2010
Rep. McKinley will be on the Capitol steps on Wednesday, Aug. 4, at 11:00 am along with Dr. LeRoy Moore, to announce the results of their recent laboratory tests for plutonium at locations near Rocky Flats. The Rocky Flats Workers, their claims still not settled, will be there as well.
Later that day, at 6:00 pm at the Mercury Cafe, McKinley will be at a book signing of "The Ambushed Grand Jury", which he co-authored. It reads like an espionage novel, but its all real. The FBI raiding the US Energy Department. This will be a chance to meet Wes, listen to some authentic western music, and pick up a copy of a great book.
Oh and by the way, he's running for a fourth term in HD64. Colorado needs Wes McKinley - so donate what you can.
at 2:41 PM
- Deja Pu
- Hot Sludge
- Parks are for People (continued)
- Central Denver Recreation Center Dog Park Gardens ...
- Central Denver Recreation Center Dog Park Gardens
- Parks are for ... making money
- Denver City Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz Polls Her Co...
- Dogs on the Loose
- New Hope for the Upside Down?
- Contamination from City Park Lake Flows to Platte
- Bright Green
- Democrats Unity Rally
- Linkhart for Mayor
- Dancing with the Devil
- Parks are for people, not profit (continued)
- Parks are for people, not profit
- LIP Service
- Dream On
- McKinley at Acoustic Music Revival Today
- Downwind of Rocky Flats
- Two Feet of Cement
- Rocky Flats a Local Hazard - Forever
- McKinley Press Conference - Plutonium at Rocky Fla...
- More on Bennet's Anschutz Activity
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