Denver Direct: March 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
By Dave Felice
Employees of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Denver celebrate their Unite HERE Local 14 union contract
with their clerical representatives, Daniel Klawitter (center left) and Aaron McEmrys (center right).
with a union workforce are celebrating restoration of their
collective bargaining agreement. With help from several advocates on
the Denver City Council, employees at the city-owned Hyatt Regency
now have a contract running until 2013.
Local 14 workers were shocked to learn that because of what was
termed a “legal technicality,” Hyatt would no longer recognize
the union as the exclusive bargaining agent. The contract has
finally been reinstated after a year of negotiations.
14 gathered at Emily Griffith Opportunity School to
observe the contract restoration success. City Council members Chris
Nevitt, Paul Lopez, Susan Shepherd, Robin Kneich, and Debbie Ortega
joined the observance.
in reducing the housekeeping work load at the hotel, as well as
securing affordable health care and better wages for the hotel staff.
criticize Hyatt for mistreatment, disparagement, and mistreatment of
rallied on International Women’s Day, March 9, to protest the
firing of two women at the Hyatt Hotel in Santa Clara.
Denver Direct. The home delivery newspaper does not carry the story.
Critics claim management of The Denver Post has a strong bias
against organized labor.
Update: “Both sides are to be commended for the peaceful settlement of the labor dispute at the Hyatt. This strong and diverse workforce stayed united and focused on their goal of seeing the contract honored, and after a long period, the Hyatt finally agreed with City Councilmembers that it was in the best interests of the City and the Hotel to honor their contract and avoid an unnecessary legal battle. I commend them for doing so.” Councilwoman Robin Kniech.
at 10:55 PM
Privatization erodes public control and oversight. Nowhere is privatization more insidious than in the corporate takeover of our criminal justice and immigrant detention systems. For-profit corporations own and run hundreds of prisons, jails, and detention centers in this country. For these companies, every prisoner is a profit center, every crime a business opportunity, and rehabilitation is bad for business
That's why I signed a petition to The Colorado State House, The Colorado State Senate, and Governor John Hickenlooper, which says:
"We believe that no one should profit from the incarceration of human beings. Abolish for-profit prisons and immigrant detention centers in Colorado."
Will you sign this petition? Click here:
at 1:46 PM
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
In which I take a stroll around my neighborhood to see what catches my eye. Today, the "Woolley" Dog Park and Gardens at 16th and Josephine is up for review. (See header photo above.)
Recall that the City of Denver paid $6 million for this property which it had previously assessed at $1 million. After that The Better Denver Bond money kind of ran out so instead of the Recreation Center we voted for we got a dog park and garden.
The sign heralding the rec center is getting a little worn, but the dog park seems to be a huge success as a place to park your car. Today there were 44 cars parked around the dog park and about 15 - 20 dogs.
The garden looks like it hasn't gotten a spring cleaning yet, but it's still early so I'll give the gardeners the benefit of the doubt - it's probably too early to plant - but it looks like winter may be gone for good this year. Still, April, like March, is said to be among our snowiest months. But then again, this March may be one of the driest.
On the way back, I stopped to photograph the East High Parking lot block house. It gets painted every year by the graduating class. A few years back the graffiti got a lot more extensive (all over the pavement at 16th and the Esplanade) and way more obscene. The principal complained that it wasn't her sidewalk and all but threw me out of her office after I delivered a photographic portfolio of the most obscene stuff to her desk. Nonetheless, the graffiti was removed later that day.
at 4:00 PM
A pattern of activities by the Denver Police Department including: appointments of all-male leadership to the Chief and Deputy Chief positions; the violent assault of Latina women by police in the Denver Diner case; the brutal beating of two young gay men of color in Lodo; and the demotion of a prominent woman of color division chief who championed gender and racial responsiveness within the department have raised significant community concerns about fairness and gender equity within DPD.
A group of professional women, grassroots organizers and allies are mobilizing to ensure that gender justice is not left to chance within the leadership and practices of the Denver Police Department. We are holding an organizing meeting this Friday evening. If you are interested in joining us, please respond to firstname.lastname@example.org for the time and place.
at 2:53 PM
Monday, March 26, 2012
Dear Councilwoman Kniech,
My family and I live in the middle of the Stock Show property and have for 14 years. This makes us a bit vulnerable to voicing our opinions on Stock Show matters since we're also trying to be "good neighbors." A bit hard when "management" sees you as an obstacle to their goal of owning everything in sight.
The new concept of splitting the Stock Show into a profit/non profit two headed hydra is predictable; since they're showing a profit now when four years ago they were showing a loss, they have more money to spend on CRL Associates, even though they're supposed to be maintaining the "old, decrepit buildings" along the way; tradeoff for the $1 a year lease rate and no property taxes.
The modern business model for a profit-making business is to get the government to subsidize you, at which point once that public investment has been made the stream of public dollars just keeps broadening to make sure they didn't make a mistake the first time.
As to the Stock Show itself, besides being a cultural anomaly, I think they're a worthy beneficiary of a certain amount of largesse because frankly it's a unique venue with a unique constituency: lots and lots of "landed gentry" who may wear cowboy hats and jeans but probably represent real estate holdings equal to the states of California and Texas combined. Giving them an excuse to drive to Denver in January is a stroke of public genius that should continue to see play. In fact, more play.
As to unleashing the "for profit" venue management monster to compete with every other programming site in the region at public expense; from the standpoint of the North Neighborhoods at minimum, that's like tossing the Baltic states to the Soviets. The Denver March Pow-Wow came to the Coliseum this weekend and the Stock Show website didn't even mention it (for example.)
Another case in point, the Stockyards sit empty 11.3 months per year, and are slated to have a brand new commuter rail station next door by 2016. They are a perfect site for a major weekend outdoor public market. The North Neighborhoods proposed this to the Stock Show in 2000; however we were told that Aramark had to manage all the food and beverages, even though they had no current business in the stock pens and the Market couldn't succeed without the diverse mix of ethnic foods we envisioned from hundreds of small business people. The fact that Stock Show pays $1 a year lease and no taxes didn't seem to merit any consideration of overarching public benefit.
Instead of providing a matrix for a thriving small business community north of I-70, the Stock Pens still sit empty 12 years later. Frankly, capitulating to a few minimum wage jobs with Aramark as a tradeoff to helping 750 small entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams and the Denver Metro area find a new source of pride and community never has seemed a viable choice.
Senator Michael Johnston is proposing a bill to create a District which would allow for expansion of the Stock Show and other activities, such as sports venues which could help Denver host the Winter Olympics. This possibility could mesh with the Platte River Greenway development north through Adams County and provide for a rejuvenation similar to the Stapleton success story. However, the existing neighborhoods need to have a seat at the table to ensure all boats float with the rising tide. It's much too easy to turn loose a tiger to devour all it can amongst the defenseless "villagers." In fact, Auditor Gallagher's notion of having the City own the facility (like the Coliseum or Convention Center) and lease it to Stock Show during January seems the best business model by far. The City would have a self-interest in seeing complementary small businesses thrive and pay taxes; the Stock Show will only see dollars that somehow escaped its clutching paws.
5001 National Western Drive
Denver, CO 80216
at 1:14 PM
The acoustics at Red Rocks are superb. A whisper on stage is audible at the back of the amphitheater. Or so Barry Fey reports in his memoirs, Backstage Past (n.p.: Lone Wolfe Press, 2011). He does not ask why, if that is the case, musicians have to have overwhelming amplification for their concerts there. The omission is typical of the book. It is filled with juicy stories and boasts of the man who dominated the promotion of rock concerts in Denver during the last third of the 20th century. At no place is there any retrospection. Even so, Backstage Past a marvelous document outlining the operations of the music machine and its culture of decadence and death.
During the 1960s, some had the belief that loud, technologically driven noise, i.e., rock and roll, was somehow on the cutting edge of liberation and a new age. The trite and the foolish continue to believe this. Champions of environmentalism, for example, cannot conceive of their ecology celebrations without the energy-draining technological of high decibel level “music.” The understanding that instruments combined with the power of the human voice do not need microphones and that people have been able to sing and dance for millennia without amplification is beyond these individuals who claim they are working to give the earth a chance. The same has been true with the Occupy movement. Traditional and contemporary songs of protest have been missing from it while backers have seized whatever amplification they can find for their reproductions of the music machine as part of their festivities. The human microphone are Occupy events is more a product of weakness—the inability of speakers to project their voices—than an alternative to business as usual.
Rock music emerged amidst the technocratic fixation of the mid-20th century. More than telling a story, it emphasized loudness. Far from being a people’s music whereby everyday individuals could join in the lyrics and share a message, it was designed to be passively consumed by audiences in the same manner than schoolchildren are the captives of teachers who endlessly lecture them. While some musicians, especially those who came out of the folk tradition, did have lyrics of social commentary, the entire industry was geared to the norms and values of Wall Street.
The power of the protests of the 1960s literally rocked the music machine. It responded by seeking to co-opt them. Simultaneously, the rock industry was an ever more profitable commodity. The music machine was also an opiate, a seeming way of protesting the system by having listeners emulate performers with the heavy use of drugs and alcohol. The evolution from Woodstock to Altamont was rapid: from a seeming free festival to the brutal beatings and murders of those who dared question the corporate control and culture of the rock music industry.
Shortly before Woodstock, Barry Fey put together the Denver Pop Festival in the summer of 1969. Violence was its essence, complete with clashes between protestors and the police outside of Mile High Stadium. In the process, the men in blue gassed the crowd. The fumes wafted onto the football field. Far from questioning whether this was a deliberate, cynical ploy by the police, Fey simply accepts the police’s version that Denver’s finest did not know the gas could blow onto the field. Meanwhile, the rock promoter created his own self-professed goon squad as enforcers to assure the music machine functioned as an efficient means of merchandizing amplified noise in a semi-hysterical setting having resemblances to Nazi rallies at Nuremberg.
Even at that, Fey repeatedly emphasizes the need for a promoter to assure the well-being and enjoyment of the audience. That he has to repeat this point is indicative. an extreme contempt for those willing to pay immense sums to be barraged with noise is the essence of the rock music industry. As much as anything, Backstage Past is valuable for its numerous stories of the way performances have scorned their audiences, promoters, lovers, and each other. Their extreme personal decadence has seemingly been the hallmark of their success. Many of the stars such as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix soon died from the way they abused their bodies and everybody else.
Namedropping is at the center of Backstage Past. More than anything, it is designed for those who believe gossip is the heart of musical criticism. (Classical music commentators are just as bad if not worse than writers on pop music in this regard.) Even so, in passing Fey does an excellent job of bringing out the corporate success of rock music. The author outlines the way ticket prices soared. The immense service charges of monopolistic ticket providers is illustrative of the corruption of the field. Promoters get a share of these charges. Consumers, in turn, have shown themselves willing to submit to any indignity and pay virtually any price to be part of the music machine’s performances. As much as anything, this is the true success of the rock phenomenon.
All the while, Fey has some fascinating stories. While he muffs many of the specifics, his tale of the collapse of the Denver Symphony and the birth of the Colorado Symphony is indicative. The Denver Symphony failed primarily from the sterile elitism and scorn of ticketbuyers of the masters of the culture industry. The Colorado Symphony originally succeeded by emphasizing a rapport between musicians and listeners. Once it stabilized itself, it eagerly sought to emulate the worst of the Denver Symphony.
Backstage Past is a collector’s item. It has an excellent, creatively designed dustjacket that can be converted into a poster. While the book’s typography is problematic and Fey desperately needed a good copy editor, he tells a captivating story, one that is far more entertaining and enlightening than anything he ever put on stage.
at 8:18 AM
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
at 4:38 PM
Lord Christopher Monckton will address the Colorado General Assembly beginning at 1:00 p.m. sharp
Where: Old Supreme Court Chambers
Colorado State Capital, Denver
When: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Time: 1:00 p.m.
State Representative Wes McKinley has lined up more excellent speakers to speak April 11th. To our knowledge, this will be the first time Lord Monckton has ever visited Colorado...possibly the Rocky Mountain Region. You won't want to miss this historic event!
at 12:15 PM
Monday, March 19, 2012
by Dave Felice
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would have serious negative effects on CenturyLink's customers and could force tough decisions and reduced investment in CenturyLink's business in Colorado.
SB 12-157 singles out CenturyLink and targets its customers and employees with damaging reform while other carriers benefit.
What does the bill do?
· CenturyLink loses ~$50 million from the state High Cost Fund to provide voice services to customers in high-cost rural areas
· CenturyLink loses ~$12 million as the bill reduces the prices long distance companies pay to use our local CenturyLink network
· Prevents CenturyLink from recovering any of those losses while allowing other providers to recover their losses.
· Takes up to $40 million a year from the High Cost Fund to go to a government agency for rural broadband expansion, but without adequate oversight or controls.
· Claims to remove most regulation in Colorado but comes with many, many strings attached.
How does the bill impact CenturyLink in Colorado?
· Jobs and broadband investment at risk - A loss of $62 million will force CenturyLink to make tough decisions:
o Where does CenturyLink need to cut back to make up the loss?
o Can customers afford to pay the costs to provide service to high costs areas?
· Risks hundreds of millions of dollars in federal broadband grants - The bill would drastically change Colorado's regulatory landscape and that could result in Colorado missing out on its share of the billions of dollars the FCC set aside for broadband development.
· Threatens broadband and voice availability and affordability for most rural consumers - Many rural consumers could lose their service altogether, or be asked to pay the actual cost of providing that service (which exceeds $200 per month in many areas).
· Chooses winners and losers among telecom providers and customers:
o Long distance carriers win: long distance phone companies save more than $10 million each year at our expense.
o Rural carriers win: their customers get continued high cost support, regulatory flexibility, and the ability to recover lost revenue. The bill cuts CenturyLink out.
o Unregulated, unaccountable broadband providers win: they get the opportunity to bid for broadband projects funded by dollars meant to keep rural phone rates low, with no process to ensure that the broadband networks ever get built.
o CenturyLink customers lose - without high cost support, the cost burden is left on the shoulders of our customers
o CenturyLink employees lose - $62 million per year means tough choices. If the bill passes, costs will have to be cut.
What can you do?
If you are interested in supporting CenturyLink employees and customers, you can send an email to legislators telling them Senate Bill SB157 is bad for Colorado. The following legislators will be discussing this bill in the first committee.
Sen. Lois Tochtrop: Senate District 24; email@example.com Cap phone 303 866 4863
Sen. Irene Aguilar: Senate District 32; firstname.lastname@example.org Cap phone 303 866 4852
Sen. Ted Harvey: Senate District 30; email@example.com Cap phone 303 866 4881
Sen. Cheri Jahn: Senate District 20; firstname.lastname@example.org Cap phone 303 866 4856
Sen. Shawn Mitchell: Senate District 23; email@example.com Cap phone 303 866 4876
Sen. Jean White: Senate District 8; firstname.lastname@example.org Cap phone 303 866 5292
Sen. Suzanne Williams: Senate District 28; email@example.com Cap phone 303 866 3432
If you wish to get more information on this bill, you may call Edie Ortega 303 992 5846 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Jeff Wirtzfeld 303 992 5814 or email@example.com
at 3:43 PM
"In a stunning move, on March 16, 2012, Barack Obama signed an Executive Order stating that the President and his specifically designated Secretaries now have the authority to commandeer all domestic U.S. resources including food and water. The EO also states that the President and his Secretaries have the authority to seize all transportation, energy, and infrastructure inside the United States as well as forcibly induct/draft American citizens into the military. The EO also contains a vague reference in regards to harnessing American citizens to fulfill "labor requirements" for the purposes of national defense.
at 3:42 PM
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
DENVER, CO - March 13, 2012-
The Denver Police Department and Crime Stoppers are teaming up to get illegal weapons off Denver's Streets. Crime Stoppers has agreed to pay rewards for information that leads to the arrest of a previous felon in possession of a weapon, a juvenile in possession of a weapon, or the recovery of a weapon used in the commission of a major crime.
This project will surely assist in both solving crimes and preventing others from occurring.
Lt. Matthew Murray
Chief of Staff to
Denver Police Chief Robert C. White
at 5:21 PM
Friday, March 9, 2012
But just this week the Colorado Supreme Court decided that it will allow Personhood Colorado to move forward in placing a third “personhood” measure on the Colorado ballot again this election season. This means that for the third time Colorado voters will be presented with an anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-family measure that will insert politicians, the courts, and lawyers into the most personal and private medical decisions women in consultation with their doctors and families make every single day.
“No wonder women and men who support women’s health, have been asking themselves, ‘what is going on,’” said Cowart.
It’s time to take a stand, and the PFPC coalition encourages any concerned member of the public to join us on Monday, March 12. We will rally to protect women’s health and our voices will be heard. We will send a strong message to our state’s lawmakers—stop the war on women!
WHEN: Monday, March 12, 11 am -12 pm
WHERE: West steps of the Colorado Capitol (Lincoln & Colfax)
WHO: Speakers to be announced
WHY: It’s time to take a stand and protect women’s health!
at 4:49 PM
Thursday, March 8, 2012
by Dave Felice, March 8, 2012
I am re-stating my staunch opposition to admission based events in public parks.
Your chairperson has stated that the Advisory Board accepts the policy as written and that there would be no further discussion about policy. This is erroneous. In fact, this is precisely the forum, the time, and the body to re-examine this policy.
There is a new administration, new council members, and new members of the Parks Advisory Board. It only takes one of you to have the courage to admit that the admission based events policy is fundamentally unacceptable and should be rescinded.
You all know the policy is wrong, but are willing to accept it because it holds an as yet unfulfilled promise of lucrative revenue. I say again, the parks are not for sale. The tax-payers own the public parks and the parks must be free and open to the public at all times.
Furthermore, City Charter prohibits the lease of public parks. You and other government officials have conveniently chosen to either ignore this fact or be deceived by faulty opinions from the City Attorney and Manager of Parks.
Commercial enterprises have absolutely no prerogative to usurp public property for profit. It is egregiously wrong to close park property and exclude those who do not, or cannot, pay admission.
Parks are public property, not sources of imagined revenue. If you want to generate revenue, find a way to build a dedicated full-time event facility. Perhaps the Greenway Foundation could include a festival park as part of proposals for the River North area.
I call upon you, members of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, to tell the city administration this odious policy needs to be rescinded.
at 10:04 PM
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
- WHAT: 2012 Colorado Activist Bootcamp
- WHERE: Casselman's, 2620 Walnut St, Denver
- WHEN: Sunday, March 18th, 12pm - 5pm
- WHAT: Now that the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol has qualified for the ballot, the campaign has exactly eight months to get its message out to Colorado voters and make sure they are ready to vote YES on Amendment 64 this November. To get things rolling, the campaign is holding a huge volunteer boot camp where it will present its game plan, go over some of the resources that will be made available to supporters, and provide useful materials that can be taken back to communities around Colorado.
The NORML Team
at 3:11 PM
Congratulations to Colorado Senator Mike Johnston for:
1. Effective use of YouTube vidies - keep them coming. Finally, someone gets it!
2. Taking up the "inactive voter" issue with SB 12-109.
3. Starting a new website at www.mikejohnston.org. Nice clean look.
at 8:07 AM
Thursday, March 1, 2012
from INC Safety Committee
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2012 11:50:14 -0700
at 4:51 PM
A pair of studies suggest that marijuana users are more responsible drivers: German academics (again with those Germans) stated last year traffic fatalities in medical marijuana states like California have gone down as much as 9 percent. Why? They argued that pot users get stoned-in at home and don't go out drinking and driving as much. Really.
Likewise, researchers at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut and the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine found that stoned drivers did just about as well as sober ones. (High five). Researchers there noted that high drivers slowed down and were more deliberate. (emphasis mine)
Additionally, no one seems to be talking about the cost of determining how many nanograms of THC you have in your blood. I've seen DUI arrests thrown out because the authorities could not prove that the alcohol measuring device was calibrated properly. Nanograms are really, really tiny - 1 billionth of a gram. Imagine the cost of maintaining and calibrating these machines. It makes my head hurt.
at 12:55 PM
- Hotel workers get contract back
- Abolish Private Prisons in Colorado
- Walkabout - March 27, 2012
- PROMOTE GENDER EQUITY and JUSTICE WITHIN THE DENVE...
- Open letter to Denver Councilwoman Kniech from Tom...
- Backstage Past - book review by Phil Goodstein
- People's Fair Auditions - Free
- Personal Observations: Testifying before Committe...
- The man Al Gore refuses to debate will be in Denve...
- Serious negative effects on CenturyLink's customer...
- New Obama Executive Order Allows Slavery
- Civic Center Park closures
- Denver Police & Crime Stoppers teaming up to get i...
- Lynn Bartels tweeting from the Capitol
- March 12th Rally to Protect Women’s Health
- A Public Statement to the Parks and Recreation Adv...
- From NORML
- Congratulations Sen. Mike Johnston
- He's an Old Cowhand
- The explanation
- Women's self-defense class
- What I haven't heard in Colorado's discussion of s...
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