Denver Direct: Latest news on Hentzell Park hearing – June 14, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Latest news on Hentzell Park hearing – June 14, 2013

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Good morning Friends of Denver Park

Just a brief summary of the request for injunction proceedings 6/12-13/2013

If you want to decide a case based on the preponderance of evidence then I can say that John Case was a machine for two days. I was worn out each day as the testimony was so engaging. John just kept on and on, and didn’t let up. The opportunity to see this experienced trial lawyer in action was an amazing privilege.

I did find Chuck Bonniwell’s testimony to be very valuable. He will be publishing an article about the hearing in his newspaper, the Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle. We really needed to establish that this area was used for recreation prior to 1955, and he put everything in perspective easily. We knew that people rode horseback up and down the creek, and had some historical riding stables to refer too. But he simply stated that of course people used the corridor because in a short grass prairie land environment unless it is an irrigated area the only place that was green and full of trees was Cherry Creek or the Platte River. He also established what government experts could not was the fact that even though the City and County of Denver bought up all the flood plain lands along Cherry Creek post dam collapse in 1933 to have control of the flood plain areas. Because it was the depression most lands were bought easily but not all sold the land, one in particular was the Cherry Creek Country Club (he wrote a book on the history of the club). So Denver City and County had to buy “right of way easements”, so that people could use the paths recreationally unimpeded.

In the meantime, some of our not so stellar city officials had some prize moments. Yes, Happy Haynes was overheard stating loudly “that son of a bitch” and stomped back into the courtroom while shaking her finger at John Case stating “how dare you “ she said more but I’m not sure exactly the words, but it was in reference to the question that John had asked about her sister getting a position on DP&R after her deciding DPS vote. She had the hardest time recalling this information on the stand.

Yes, David Suppes was decidedly out of line by implying that the DPS vote that night, yes that night (they made us stay until 11PM before they voted on the matter). He stated that “the minorities” often voted in often unexplained ways, and the vote was often 4-3. I was a bit puzzled because that night all the votes were unanimous except this one. And since Landry Taylor and Happy Haynes are considered minorities and they voted in the affirmative, and Jeannie Kaplan is not considered a minority and she voted nay then I’m thinking it was a balanced vote if you are looking at the minority vote. So yes, it was in my opinion an attempt to slur the minorities who did not vote for “The Agenda.” As you can see this probably makes them persona non grata in this environment when they stand up for what’s right.

So please remember these folks at the voting booth. Arturo Jimenez, Jeanie Kaplan, Andrea Merida. Also Meg Schomp is working at our side to get signatures. She will be running for Jeanie Kaplan’s vacating seat.

There is so much more to say. Susan Baird was an amazing witness, she is so knowledgeable about the Park system. And she discussed how the acreage had always been treated as one contiguous piece. She also testified that the DPR Manager has the right to DE-designate land but it had never been done before in the history of Denver Parks.

I’m thinking that this statement will be a key element in the decision to grant an injunction as the citizens of Denver where caught off guard as they had no idea that these lands are not protected from the predation that we are witnessing.

In the meantime, we have a big weekend planned for signature gathering. The Judge will be handing down his decision on June 28th. So we will need to get those signatures as we have no idea if we will get the extra time for signature gathering that we asked to be granted.

Please call Mary Ewing as she is scheduling and pairing up folks for petitioning this weekend. We have some big events that will likely be fruitful for signatures.
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We need your help,
Renee Lewis
President, Friends of Denver Parks
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