Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NOT 1 MORE ACRE! (Pinon Canyon Update)

from Not 1 More Acre!

It's been three months since our seven-year-old funding ban prohibiting spending on any aspect of expansion -- the largest planned military expansion in US history -- at the Pentagon's Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in southern Colorado was thrown under the bus by United States Senator Mark Udall and Congressman Cory Gardner.
Together those politicians opened the money spigot wide, and immediately a new flood of tax dollars are pouring in to realize the Pentagon's vision of turning this vast region into the world's epicenter for developing full-scale electronic warfare.
In the 1980s, the Pentagon located its Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS) on 250,000 acres of fragile shortgrass prairie at the headwinds of the Dust Bowl for political advantage not military necessity. In 1999, the Pentagon secretly began planning massive expansion of land and air for enhanced military operations at PCMS that, despite denials by politicians, continues to this day.
The defense industry's ongoing expanded and intensified use of PCMS with its insatiable greed for land, money and power threaten thousands of generational family ranchers and communities that have fed America and protected the nation's unique and last remaining native shortgrass prairie for well over a century.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

FANNIE MAE PULLS THE PLUG ON CASTLE LAW GROUP, ARONOWITZ & MECKLENBERG

via email
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: J. Moody 303 618-2122
Goldman Gantenbein Law Firm

The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), more commonly known as FANNIE MAE announced today they will no longer be using well-known Denver foreclosure law firms; Castle Law Group and Aronowitz & Mecklenburg.

Fannie Mae had suddenly terminated its relationship and has ceased doing business with both Castle and Aronowitz. Fannie Mae is known for having strict guidelines and low tolerance for violations of any kind.

Fannie Mae has already turned referrals of new foreclosure cases, and transferred existing cases to other law firms.

There has not been any formal comments from the Government-Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) who oversee Fannie Mae although it has been commonly reported the two law firms have been under the Colorado Attorney General’s (AG) investigation for allegedly overcharging fees in serving foreclosure notices to homeowners.

The Denver Post wrote recently, the AG’s office claimed one of the law firms “misrepresented its costs and charged more than twice what it paid for posting services”.

The investigation of these billing discrepancies from Castle Law Group and Aronowitz & Mecklenburg led to the finding of several county Public Trustees in Colorado overcharging their foreclosure costs. Those costs were then passed on to the banks and then to homeowners. There were also claims of collusion and price fixing among foreclosure law firms in the state as well.

The Attorney General’s investigations helped push Colorado state legislature to create new bills to help homeowners in foreclosure.

Real Estate and Foreclosure Defense Attorney Keith Gantenbein helped draft Representative Beth McCann’s bills, HB 14-1130 called “Foreclosure Cure Remit Unpaid Fees to Borrower Act” and HB 14-1295 requiring a single point of contact for a borrower when negotiating a loan modification and prohibits Dual Tracking. Gantenbein also testified for both bills.

Denver Dems (District 8) Spaghetti Dinner


WHAT TO DO THIS FRIDAY AFTERNOON

1. Watch the video and read along with the lyrics. Turn it up, even if you are at work.

2. Absorb the message
3. Take the afternoon off and go outside.
4. Steer clear of wah-wah.

George Harrison – Wah-Wah Lyrics
Wah-wah
You've given me a wah-wah
And Im thinking of you
And all the things that we used to do
Wah-wah, wah-wah

Wah-wah
You made me such a big star
Being there at the right time
Cheaper than a dime
Wah-wah, you've given me your wah-wah, wah-wah

Oh, you don't see me crying
Oh, you don't hear me sighing

Wah-wah
I don't need no wah-wah
And I know how sweet life can be
If I keep myself free from the wah-wah
I don't need no wah-wah

Oh, you don't see me crying
Hey baby, you don't hear me sighing
Oh, no no-no no

Wah-wah
Now I don't need no wah-wahs
And I know how sweet life can be
If I keep myself free - of wah-wah
I don't need no wah-wah

Wah-wah (repeat and fade)
Songwriters: PAGE, JAMES PATRICK / PLANT, ROBERT
Wah-Wah lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Climate Change and I-70

from Denver City Councilwoman Debbie Ortega's April newsletter.

Millennials want a sustainable environment and they are willing to create new paradigm shift in how they live to achieve it. In fact, recent research shows a decline in these young professionals obtaining a drivers license or owning a car; they utilize public transportation and new transportation services that are accessed through on-line applications. They don't own a home and gravitate to creative industries. They get it! I have begun to see people from my generation also using some of these new transportation options. "If the pattern persists - and many sociologists believe it will - it will have beneficial implications for carbon emissions and the environment, since transportation is the second largest source of America's emissions, just behind power plants," according to a New York Times analysis. Science has confirmed that climate change is largely a result of human behavior as reiterated in this recent article.

Climate change is one of the many reasons we need to scrutinize the number of lanes proposed for the I-70 East highway project. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will issue the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for replacing the I-70 East corridor in July. A 45-day comment period and very likely, a public hearing will follow. After the comment period CDOT will complete the EIS and submit it to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The FHWA will issue a Record of Decision approving or rejecting the project. I strongly encourage the residents along the I-70 corridor, especially those in neighborhoods that are most directly affected, to thoroughly review the details of the EIS and submit their input!

The EIS provides an opportunity to re-evaluate transportation assumptions. CDOT Director Don Hunt and his team have worked hard over the past ten years to develop a plan for I-70 that meets the need to move cars and trucks. Through their efforts a proposal to widen the highway, remove the current viaduct, move the highway below ground and cover a portion of the roadway has been developed. The "Partially Lowered Covered" (PCL) concept will increase the footprint of this transportation corridor from 117 feet to 250 feet. Is this wise?

Do we need to encroach this far into existing neighborhoods? The cover or lid may reduce health impacts to the residents caused by moving the highway closer to homes and schools. But the evidence is strong that the further a highway is from homes and schools, the better. I question the proposed width of this corridor in an urban area. When you include lanes, managed (toll) lanes, shoulder lanes and ramps the highway will be 16 lanes wide. In addition, CDOT plans to build two, two-lane services roads. One on each side of the highway. The overall width of the project will be the equivalent of 20 lanes!

The FasTrack East line will open in 2016. The line will efficiently move people along the "Corridor of Opportunity" from downtown to DIA. If ridership is as successful as on existing corridors, there will be less demand for highway lanes.

Do we need four "toll/managed lanes" down the center of I-70 from Brighton Blvd to Tower Road? How will traffic from the "toll/managed" lanes merge into other lanes once it gets to Brighton Blvd? Recent articles raise questions about the use of these lanes. Some communities are finding motorists unwilling to pay for access. The lanes are not as heavily utilized and therefore have not been generating the projected revenues. We know that the devil is always in the details, which we won't see until July 2014.

I understand this reconstruction has to meet transportation needs for the next 50 plus years, but let's not just settle for the mentality that if we build it, they will come! We should all be good stewards of the environment and our neighborhoods. We need to work collectively to leave future generation's a sustainable environment. We need to build a roadway of the future that minimizes negative impacts on neighborhoods and the environment. Let's leave the old thinking that requires we build the roadway to the maximum width behind. Let's use our knowledge and vision to challenge old assumptions and avoid contributing to the environmental and social degradation of these neighborhoods and our city.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

SUNDAY PARKING IN CITY PARK

from Ean Tofoya via FB:
Letter from Parks & Recreation re: Sunday Parking in City Park
Dear Neighbors of City Park –
We would like your input/feedback on a potential operations change we are considering for City Park.
For the past several years, a majority of the park entrances and roads have been closed on Sundays. This dates back to a request that was made by the Denver Police Department years ago when gang issues and violence plagued the area.
Over the years, the social issues in the neighborhood have improved, but the road/gate closures have remained in place. We’ve received some feedback from area residents that this operation procedure has led to increased parking issues in the surrounding neighborhoods on Sundays throughout the year.
We have discussed this with the Denver Police Department and they have given Parks and Recreation their support of re-opening those gates and roads that are temporarily closed on Sundays. In cooperation with DPD, we will monitor the operations change and if there are issues that arise that are a concern to either DPD or Parks we leave open the option to return to how the park has been managed during previous years. By making this change, we estimate it will add 365 parking spaces within City Park on those particular Sundays. I have attached a map of the west side of the park to help understand where the additional parking on Sundays would happen.
This proposed plan to open the gates and roads in the park on Sunday does not include any of the permanently closed roads. We are only proposing to open the roads that are closed on Sundays, but are normally open every other day of the week.
We will still limit access to the area around the Pavilion on Jazz in the Park days, but this opening of the roads (primarily on the west side of the park) on Sunday’s will significantly increase the parking capacity in the park on those days.
Before we move forward with this change, we would like to hear your feedback. Do you support this change or do you have concerns? Please have your constituents email me directly over the next 10-14 days. I will follow-up with you again after that time to let you know what we heard from the collective neighborhoods. In addition, if you would like me to attend one of your upcoming meetings in the next month or so to discuss this change, please email me directly and I will be happy to make time or find another DPR staff member to attend in my place.
Thanks for all your support of City Park,
Scott Gilmore | Deputy Director of Parks and Planning
Parks and Recreation
City and County of Denver
720.913.0665 Phone | 720.837.0489 Cell
scott.gilmore@denvergov.org

COMMUNITY GRANTS AVAILABLE

Community grants to Re-imagine Denver’s Public Spaces A benefit for RNOs. Applications for proposals start April 14 and are open until May 30 at this link on the INC website.

The pilot P.S. You Are Here matching-grant was designed to inspire innovative ideas by community members who themselves would be impacted by the projects. We encourage place-based, grassroots involvement from residents, artists, neighborhood associations, non- and for-profit organizations and businesses to claim, initiate and drive the creation of temporary, authentic demonstrations and activation of public spaces. These short-term, low-cost and scalable projects are intended to transform underutilized urban spaces, increase collaboration, honor heritage, build civic engagement, beautify neighborhoods, enrich communities and inspire long-term change.

LOCK THE KIDS UP AT NIGHT TO KEEP THEM SAFE

Denver SafeNite Program and Curfew Ordinance
From April 4, 2014 through September 28, 2014, Public Safety Youth Programs diversion officers and Denver police officers will team-up to run the Denver SafeNite Program. The program offers court diversion opportunities for youth 17 years of age and younger while police actively enforce Denver’s Curfew Ordinance.
Denver’s Curfew Ordinance prohibits youth from being in a public place or on public property from 11pm - 5am, Sunday through Thursday and 12am - 5am Friday and Saturday unless:
  • The minor is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian (an adult friend does not qualify as a legal guardian)
  • The minor is accompanied by an adult (18 or older) AND that adult is in possession of written permission from the parent or legal guardian
  • The minor is in a motor vehicle being used in INTERSTATE travel
  • The minor is working, traveling to work, or returning from work WITHOUT any detour stop; or attending an official school, religious or other recreational activity supervised by adults and sponsored by the city, civic organizations, religious organizations or another similar entity.
Although the curfew is enforced year-round, youth that break curfew during the active enforcement period of April through September are transported to the Denver Juvenile Services Center at 303 W. Colfax Ave. 1st Floor, Denver, CO 80204. Their parents are then contacted and a citation is issued.
Youth cited for a first time municipal ordinance violation are given the option of participating in a diversion program as an alternative to entering the court system. If the option is accepted by the youth and his/her parent(s), a customized diversion plan is developed based on an individual assessment. Once the plan is successfully completed, the case is dismissed without a court appearance.
The Denver SafeNite Program was implemented in 1994 and is a joint effort between the Denver Police Department and Denver Public Safety Youth Programs.