Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Denver’s Vanishing Sense of Place- From Larry Anbrose, President of INC - July 2015

By Larry AmbroseLarry Ambrose
The presentation the INC Delegation enjoyed at its monthly meeting on June 9 at the Brookdale Assisted Living Center, was edifying and gratifying. Edifying because, Architect, Jeff Sheppard, whose April 4, 2015 opinion editorial appeared in the Denver Post “Denver is a great city, so why the bad buildings?” explained his theory that Denver’s new, much touted Zoning Code, lacks “heart and soul.” Gratifying because, finally we had the 2014 Colorado Architect of the Year confirm what most of us have been feeling and thinking for the past few years: That Denver’s Zoning Code is not giving us better architecture or neighborhoods.
When then Mayor, Hickenlooper, announced that the Office of Community Planning and Development would be completely rewriting and rezoning the entire City of Denver under the leadership of his Planning Director, Peter Park, and Planning Board Chair, Brad Buchanan, we were told it was intended to streamline and simplify the existing 70 year old Zoning Code. What we got was quite a bit more complex, complicated and longer. Hundreds of meetings between the “Zoning Code Task Force” and citizens resulted in claims of unprecedented citizen involvement and inclusiveness in the planning process.
When the “New” Zoning Code was brought to City Council in 2010, the City Council en masse, gave the massive document their unequivocal, enthusiastic support and their votes. It was as if, close to being divinely inspired, this document was intended to work miracles for the next 70 years.
Fugly 3Now it is clear, that we, the citizens, not being planners or architects, were at an extreme disadvantage in understanding the what effects this new Code would have or what “products” it would produce.  We were told it was contextual and form based. For most of us contextual meant,, don’t worry, what will be built will fit in to our existing neighborhoods. Form based was not as well explained, but somehow it was supposed to provide a template that would make designing buildings much simpler.  Sounded good to us, right?
What we first began to notice in 2012 when new developments began to spring up in what used to be 1 and 2 story, single family zone districts, were homes being built by many developers to get maximum square footage with no concern for quality, design, context or character of the neighborhoods.  The effect was that new development seemed out of place when you looked down the street. In addition, some zone districts seem to be more problematic than others.  For example, in some areas, what was R-2 zoning which allowed duplexes and triplexes, has been replaced by a new zone district of G-MU-3. The replaced zoning allows up to 6 units, on a 6000 sq. foot area with a building height of up to 35 feet and an allowance of an additional 12 feet for a stairway and/or utility shed on top. Six units on what previously allowed only single family or triplexes and duplexes is leading to skinny, tall, building blocks with no redeeming features. Every day, traditional one story homes, zoned in what was previously R2 but now is G-MU-3, are scraped to make way for vertical “living units” which are proliferating and changing the entire context of what are supposed to be stable neighborhoods.Fugly 1
The new code has also promoted many thousands stick and frame construction apartments. The words design and quality never come into the equation when the multi-units are approved or being built. These “people-coops” seem to be intended to house a majority of future residents of Denver. G-d knows where these multitudes will be able to go when they go crazy and want to move out of the slightly larger-than-storage unit sized apartments.
According to Jeff Sheppard, the cheap, shoddy construction is also a result from Denver’s 2010 Zoning Code. He maintains that it does not have to be this way and that changes can be made to the Code which would promote quality design and construction replacing the build and flip, quick profit incentives which exist now. It is clear to most reasonable Denver residents who merely get out and look around at what is happening in many neighborhoods, that something is afoul in our fair City.Fugly 2
It is time to stop the denial, admit that Denver’s Zoning Code is not sacrosanct and demand that our elected and appointed City officials and professional employees stop and listen to the citizen outrage. The Zoning Code needs to be changed based on neighborhood concerns and on information and advice available to them from experts both here in Denver and around the country. Tragically, it may be too late for some neighborhoods, but doing nothing should not be an option.
Pres Sig

Saturday, May 30, 2015

National Stroke Awareness Month - Stroke prevention starts with you‎

Personal note by Gerald Trumbule

National Stroke Awareness Month - Stroke prevention starts with you‎


Last month I became acutely aware of a stroke by having one of my own. Fortunately for me, my partner Pat found me on the floor next to my desk, quickly determined that I had had a stroke, called 911 who quickly came and took me to PSL ER, where they quickly decided to fly me by helicopter to Swedish Hospital Stroke Center (one of the best in the nation). In short, I quickly received all the expert care I needed to prevent the stroke (a middle Cerebral Artery Stroke caused by atrial fibrilation (a heart condition I did not know I had) from becoming worse than it was. I suffered some effects (mild difficulty walking, got excellent rehab at Swedish Hospital and later at Rose Hospital, and am now back home recuperating, thanks to the 10-15 doctors and 30-40 nurses who took care of me. Check out your risk factors and make any lifestyle changes necessary now. Believe me, brain damage is no fun and needs to be avoided. (Click above)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Zoo's renovation plans by Bridget Walsh

Dear Council Members, April 20, 2015


I strongly suggest that City Council put the vote
on the Zoo's renovation plans on hold until there has been adequate time  for meaningful citizen input.
Some people seem to believe that  City Park Friends and Neighbors (CPFAN) was not notified in a timely fashion  about  the Zoo' Master Plan and the Zoo's plan to ask council tonight, to approve the addition of 27 , new buildings over 3000 sq. ft. , was because we are a new organization. 
I would like to point out that many of the local people active in CPFAN, have been park advocates for years and in some cases, decades. CPFAN is celebrating its 1 year anniversary this April. In the year that we have existed, the Zoo could have found us for meaningful discussion about their plans before they were hatched.  We have over 250 members. 
FYI : The Zoo's George Pond was invited to come to a CPFAN meeting and speak on a topic of his choice.  He brought a facilitator and  "clickers" so that attendees could "vote" on "choices" prearranged by the Zoo.  All discussion was micro managed and was pretty much confined to what people would like  to see  planted on the south side of the Zoo. Mr. Pond, said after the voting was in, that the people's "choices" would not necessarily be used to influence the direction of what actually happened. The Zoo master plan was mentioned in passing. there were a couple of slides of a polar bear standing next to a little girl with a glass wall separating them. There was no meaningful discussion, for example, about traffic, parking, animal well being or construction impacts on City Park and neighborhoods 
The Zoo has a habit of presenting their ideas (not asking, before the fact)  to the community in this fashion. Honestly , it is insulting. They make a shallow, PR  presentation to the public and to City Council , get Council's rubber stamp, then proceed, citizen input be damned. 
I recall the Zoo's gasification plant that Council approved last December. I  have spent months researching the negative impact of the Zoo's incinerator  will have on the health and well being of Denver residents. The Zoo uses a PR term, "waste to energy", to describe its biomass gasifier but It is permitted as an incinerator by CO  , the EPA defines it as an incinerator and it is a form of incineration and  it is permitted to dump tons and tons of pollutants into the air in City Park. An uninformed Council made a very bad decision not to heed the warnings of citizens who had taken the time to find out what was really behind the Zoo's PR, about this industrial plant,  and  to allow the Zoo to put this dated ,dangerous, polluting, experimental  technology in the middle of City Park. 
I hope this time that Council has the wisdom and grace to hear the pleas of citizens and  to hold off on the approval of the Zoo's latest fiasco until a reasonable amount of time is allowed for citizen review of the Zoo's plans and then time for the new City Council and the Zoo, to hear citizen input and incorporate it into their plans. 
I think that the entire question of the appropriateness of renovating  a too small zoo with 4500+ animals , in City Park, should be addressed before Council approves a multi million dollar plan to rework the Zoo in its present location. I read in the Denver Post this AM ,that the animal wild life refuge in CO is going to welcome many  large animals that it has rescued from Peru. Frankly, they only had to look close to home, in the Denver Zoo, to find big cats and other large animals.  confined to tiny "cages." 
I hope that Council doesn't make the same blatant mistake that it made when it voted to approve  the Zoo incinerator. 
Warmest regards,
Bridget" Eileen Walsh
Broker Associate/ Owner
720.440.3562 

Monday, March 9, 2015

ELECTRONIC RECYCLING AT EAST HIGH PARKING LOT - MARCH 28 - BUT YOU WILL NEED A TICKET

To participate, click here and register for a time slot.

LOCATION: East High School football field parking lot (1650 Josephine St.), between 16th & 17th Avenues, just south of City Park.

APPOINTMENT: Participation is by appointment only. Select your appointment time slots, then show up on March 28th at your scheduled appointment time with your electronic items.

ITEMS ACCEPTED: Televisions, monitors, CPUs, laptops, printers, scanners, faxes, keyboards, mice, stereos, external hard drives & storage devices, cellular phones, telephones, DVRs, VCRs, digital cameras, video recorders, MP3 players, video game consoles, wires, cables and some small appliances such as microwaves. Items Not Accepted: Air conditioners, large appliances, vacuum cleaners, car batteries or household batteries (rechargeable batteries okay).

NOTES: This event is open and at no charge to any and all Colorado residents. No commercial or business recycling. Electronic recycling costs subsidize by OEM sponsorship.
Questions: Contact Denver Recycles at 311 (720-913-1311) or DenverRecycles@DenverGov.org.
Event Partners: Metech Recycling, City & County of Denver, Denver Public Works, Denver Recycles, Denver Environmental Health

INTRODUCING EAN TAFOYA FOR COUNCIL DISTRICT 9

I had heard Ean Tafoya's name but never met him until our new Denver Direct producer, Bridget Walsh, arranged the following interview. Ean is running against Albus Brooks, who was switched from the old District 8 by redistricting. Brooks has raised a lot of money and will be hard to beat, especially by a newcomer like Tafoya. But Brooks also has the legacy of sponsoring the Denver No Camping ordinance which some say criminalizes homelessness




Friday, March 6, 2015

DENVER COUNCIL RACES HEAT UP

CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1 (NW Denver)

Candidates: Susan Shepherd, Rafael Espinoza, Malachi Martinez
Outlook: This looks like a tough two-person race between the incumbent Shepherd, who critics say has alienated her constituents, and a community activist with an interesting, if somewhat vague, resume in Rafael Espinoza.


Here's an interesting YouTube video just posted today by Guerin Green.

DENVER MUNICIPAL ELECTION MAY 5, 2015 (Yikes, ballots will be out in April)

Yes, its that time already for Denver citizens to vote for candidates to run our City government: Mayor, Auditor, and some City Council members. As an interested voter, your first challenge is to figure out in which City Council District you now live. This is made more difficult by the fact that the boundaries have been redrawn, due to redistricting. Here are maps to help you figure this out.
Old Districts: 
 New Districts:

If that doesn't help, you can go here and enter your address.
I was in the old 8, now the new 9. My former Council member was Albus Brooks, and he is moving to the new 9, where he will be running for "re-election" having fulfilled one term (4yrs) of his 12-year term limit.
Also running in the new 9 is Ean Tafoya, an energetic bright young man who graciously allowed us an hour-long interview. I'll be putting up snippets of the interview in this space. I've also contacted Albus Brooks for the long-overdue interview we agreed to years ago. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

On CitizenFour

Opinion by Dave Felice

As people in Denver and around the world watch the documentary "CitizenFour" about Edward Snowden's disclosure of government spying on ordinary citizens, here is something else to consider.

Almost all of the information gathered by NSA snooping comes from mobile phones and computer devices. People are so fascinated or enamored of the convenience and capability of their electronic gadgets, they either do not realize or choose to ignore the fact that both legal and technical data collection requirements are much more stringent for wired landline telephones.

A cell or PCS (or home cordless) phone is a two-way radio device, broadcasting on a public frequency, just like a radio in your home or car. anyone with a good tuner can listen anytime, anywhere. It's somewhat of an oversimplification, but a wired landline telephone signal is carried by a discrete private pair of wires from Point A to Point B.

Since Alexander Graham Bell first used a functioning telephone to say "Mr. Watson, come here, I want you," in 1876, telephone workers have adhered to a strict practice of protecting the customer's privacy at all costs. Privacy protection was enacted into law by the Communications Act of 1934 and renewed by the 1996 telecomm regulation update. Even today, telecommunications workers are obligated by law to certify they understand and comply with requirements to safeguard customer privacy.

Since 9/11 and the subsequent "Patriot Act," government agencies have used the idea of "national security" as a ruse to trample many basic democratic freedoms. Remember, too, that members of both political parties enthusiastically endorsed the legislation which has little to do with patriotism. We are fortunate to retain enough freedom that more people are not simply plucked from the street for suspicion of violating "national security."

A harbormaster at an eastern seaport once told me he deliberately instructed people they could not go on the dock because of "security," and they complied without question. In fact, all he really wanted was to keep people off the dock when a cruise ship arrived.

If you think you can trust the government, ask a Native American or a whale. Our whole struggle against the Trans-Pacific Partnership is about uncontrolled government involvement and deception, aided by excessive corporate interference. Nobody knows how much of the NSA snooping data go into the hands of corporations such as Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America.

There are always those who are willing to expose government wrong-doing and suppression of freedom. We actually have no assurance that there has been any change in NSA practices since Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and even Daniel Ellsberg told the public about government secrecy.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

GROPINGS IN CITY PARK

from KVDR
DENVER — A safety alert about a string of gropings in and near City Park. The suspect description is a little vague right now as is the number of women he’s groped.
Visitors to the park say they go there to walk, workout or enjoy the view. And now they have to closely watch their backs.
This place of natural beauty and calm is interrupted by the turbulence of a stranger sexually touching several women after approaching them from behind.
...continue reading here