Sean Penn spoke at the Ralph Nader Rally at DU last Tuesday. Fortunately, Juliette Mondot was there to record it for DenverDirect. Penn has a thoughtful and interesting premise. He believes that as the US constitution is degraded by government action, fundamentalist domestic violence will rise in opposition. Instead, he proposes, we must act first by electing a president who will uphold the constitution, and that would be Ralph Nader. Synchronistically, I happened to have a Netflix DVD of Into the Wild, screenplay written and directed by Penn, waiting to be viewed last night. A very good movie which I highly recommend (downer alert).
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I decided not to go downtown to document the demonstrations. I could see hundreds of video cameras in use in the many vidies already appearing here and there on the tubes. I figured the people would have it covered. And they have. Here are the best of the Denver Cop Violence Vidies. I'll add as necessary. So far.... Woman knocked to the ground Producer arrested Best of police stupidity Overview
at 7:56 PM
Last night at City Park Denver Dems Watch Fest a magic moment occurred for me when Max Kennedy spoke. Having attended a rally for his father, Robert Kennedy, in 1968 in his bid for the presidency, I was enthralled with a deep sense of deja vu. The sun had set, Chuck Pyle had finished singing, and it was getting dark. I opened my camera shutter all the way and hoped for the best.
(If you double click on the picture above, you will be taken to YouTube, where you can choose to view in a higher resolution, and then rate the video.)
at 10:35 AM
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
4/20 at Civic Center
That Mason - he's always working. Support his efforts at http://www.saferchoice.org/
DENVER -- A city panel appointed by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has officially recommended that the Denver Police Dept. "refrain from arresting, detaining, or issuing a citation" to any adult for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver next week. (See full recommendation and PDF of memo below.) The panel's recommendation comes in response to news reports in which a spokesman for the Denver Police Dept. said police would be arresting or citing adults for marijuana possession despite ballot measures approved by Denver voters calling on them to refrain from doing so. In 2005, Denver voters approved a ballot measure making possession of small amounts of marijuana legal for adults, and in 2007, voters approved a measure designating adult marijuana possession Denver's "lowest law enforcement priority." "The People of Denver have made it clear they do not want adults in this city punished for simply possessing a drug less harmful than alcohol,"said panel member Mason Tvert, who led the campaigns for the two ballot measures. "Now a panel appointed by the Mayor of Denver has echoed that call, and we hope police will not defy the people of this city or its mayor when the international spotlight hits the Mile High City next week. "Tomorrow we will deliver an official memo from the panel to the chief of police and the mayor, and we expect police to abide by this very logical recommendation," Tvert said. "If police expect the taxpayers to cover their $1.2 million in overtime during the DNC, it is only fair that they respect the laws adopted by those taxpayers. There will be plenty for police to do during the DNC aside from arresting or citing adults who are simply making the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol."
at 10:39 PM
at 10:10 AM
Monday, August 18, 2008
The U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of Wind
at 12:41 PM
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Grasmere Lake in Washington Park Excavated (2007) for Effluent Evaporation Pond Lining (Editor's Note: Phil Goodstein is a Denver historian and author. This commentary was originally published in his newsletter, “The Naysayer,” in August 2008, and is reprinted with permission. While this commentary does not deal directly with closed commercial events in parks, it expresses what the writer sees as the contempt with which the city treats parks and citizens. It is this contempt which leads to the city’s assumption that all the public parks are alternative sources of revenue. By allowing admission-based events in parks to derive revenue, the city prevents free and open access and encourages lucrative sales of alcoholic beverages in parks.) A City for the Tsar: The parks look terrible by Phil Goodstein Last year, voters authorized a massive bond issue. The results have been predictable. Botanic Gardens is using the money to try to build a virtual fortress at the price of public spaces and rights-of-way. The Symphony is more disdainful of listeners than ever while it eagerly seeks to ruin its concert hall. Most of all, the parks look terrible. Some of the pious exponents of good government have lamented the massive brown spots in park lawns. They are especially concerned because the Democrats are coming. Denver, they insist, must present a smiling face to the visitors. In the process, they show their intense hatred of the city and its inhabitants. Such individuals simultaneously show an inability to link cause and effect. No one embodies this more than Jeannie Robb, the woman recently elected president of city council, a representative who disdains answering constituents' letters. Gregory Potemkin is the true inspiration for her and other local boosters. He was prime minister of Catherine the Great in the late 18th century when massive peasant revolts tore through the tsarist empire. When Catherine announced a tour of the countryside to see whether the populace had any reason to be dissatisfied with the status quo, Potemkin led the advance party. He spiffed up towns and saw that workers built impressive facades. Simultaneously, a heavy military presence kept rebels gagged during the tsar's visit. After she left, seeing everything was wonderful, Potemkin allowed the peasants to return to their everyday misery. Denver adopted the policies of Potemkin for the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1993. It repeated them when Bill Clinton and company occupied the town in 1997 for the Summit of the Eight. In the process, the police swept the homeless off Colfax. In no time, the masquerades created for the visits of the dignitaries were falling apart. Indeed, proponents of last year's bond issue made their repair, especially at the Civic Center, a prime reason voters had to hike taxes. That ten-year-old "improvements" have crumbled is indicative of the shoddiness of a city administration that emphasizes appearances for wealthy and influential visitors over the amenities and comforts of everyday residents. The more city hall has awarded contracts on the basis of a "public/private partnership" to politically well-connected firms with the proper sexual, racial, and ethnic ownership, the less concern it has had about the quality of work. A scorn of the populace has been at the forefront of many park efforts. During most of this decade, Washington Park users have been confronted with a huge mud hole on the southern half of the greenery, the empty Grasmere Lake. At the behest of the Denver Water Department, crews repeatedly drained the pond in the name of saving water so the city could sell it to the suburbs to enhance sprawl. Now that the lake has again been filled, algae problems besmirch it, especially near its inlet by the City Ditch, another amenity the DWD has done its all to ruin in the name of selling water to the suburbs. Even worse are conditions on City Park Lake. A massive draining and waste water effort have seen it emerge as more an algae swamp than a beauty spot. Much to the surprise of the planners, the recycled water is rich in nitrogen, fueling the growth of algae. Anybody concerned about the appearance of the parks would be asking why the administration never foresaw this most predictable result. Instead of doing so, they resort to banal rhetoric. By insisting the city put on cosmetics for the Democratic convention while failing to redress the endemic incompetent management of city hall, they show their intense contempt of the populace. Given this background, the city has screamed that protesters wish to besmirch the park by camping in it. In the process, the administration has been silent in dealing with those who deceitfully call on national activists to "Do it in Denver!" Those frustrated with the political status quo, but who have little vision and no original thought, have promised "free food, free music, free thought, free political education" in the community. Here they truly wish to recreate 1968: a manipulative deceit of idealistic young people fully worthy of the worst of the establishment. Part of the chaos of 1968 in Chicago stemmed from the arrogant lies of those sponsoring "The Festival of Life," the anti-war protests. They promised lodging and food, making no serious effort to provide them. Mayor Richard Daley and the Democratic establishment, in turn, showed they understood only crude physical force and were unwilling to admit that street politics are a full and worthy form of participation in the commonweal. Similarly, those objecting to having these political activists camp in the park have been silent in explaining why the city so fears protest. The administration is ready to close roads to assure the security of the Democrats while complaining about the traffic disruptions of political demonstrations and parades. Seemingly, the Democrats are so fragile that an exposure to dissident opinions would send them into convulsions and ruin their convention. If the city had any wit, it would observe that the people who really hate protest and a free, full political debate are many of those behind Re-Create 68. This specifically refers to individuals who have readily employed stormtrooper tactics in silencing ltalian-Americans celebrating Columbus Day. Far more than Hickenlooper or even Daley, they have allied themselves with ideologues in the American Indian Movement who despise reason and celebrate crude physical force and intimidation. Instead of standing up to them by celebrating Denver as a tolerant community that can handle dissent and deal with the deceit of the "Do it in Denver!" promises, city hall has acted to try to make a police state its beau ideal. Consequently, it has turned to the tactics of Potemkin to cloak its essence. At the most, citizens can hope that nothing goes too severely wrong while they wait for conditions to return to their usual shoddiness and decay once the nuisance of the Democratic convention/visit of the tsar has passed. ---------- As a historian, Goodstein prefers postal mail instead of e-mail. He can be reached at Post Office Box 18026, Denver CO 80218.
at 10:30 PM
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Associate Dave Felice wrote to the open forum at the Denver Post today: Editor: The hypocrisy of the Democratic National Convention is amazing. City leaders continue to insist “the city is open” and “it’s business as usual” while: - streets are closed - snipers are on rooftops - city establishes “secret” jail in unused warehouse at East 38th Avenue and Steele/York - public transit schedules change, service cancelled, parking lots closed - air space is restricted - chain link fences confine citizens to specific spaces - the SWAT team sets up a field HQ at a downtown building - police set up a staging area in the main public library - classes on the Auraria campus cancelled for a week - downtown post office is closed - a number of residents deliberately leave Denver - anyone carrying a bicycle lock subject to questioning - city suddenly does park/street maintenance - hotels, service businesses doubling/tripling prices - hundreds of extra police officers imported from other jurisdictions - downtown workers finding ways to stay home Democratic Party delegates will be holding their convention in a facility belonging to a staunch anti-union Republican. Delegates are staying in non-union hotels, using non-union transportation, and dining at non-union restaurants. The amount of money being spent, officially and unofficially, on an unneeded event is absolutely obscene. How much better could even part of that money be used for schools, housing, other social programs, and infrastructure? While Denver tries to shed its self-conscious “cow town” image, convention participants are likely to run to Rockmount Western Wear for shirts with pearly snap buttons and cowboy boots of exotic skins before dinner at the Buckhorn Saloon where even the New Yorkers and Bostonians will try to talk with a western drawl. Since city officials heavily tout the “economic benefit” of the convention, will the city VOLUNTARILY offer verifiable evidence? For example, the city ought to be able to report increased revenue from sales and lodging taxes. Denver International Airport could report revenue on increased traffic. The city should encourage other businesses, such as taxi companies and private security companies, to offer some kind of report of percentages of increased revenue. It’s highly unlikely that anyone will ever know how much the Democratic Party pays for using “The Can” or “The Diaphragm”. All hail, the Anointed One, and those who hope to touch the hem of his garment. Dave Felice
at 5:15 PM
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
This short vidie is dedicated to the earnest young people coming to Denver to make their views known. Let's welcome them as guests and show them hospitality whenever we can. Enough with the razor wire. If you double click on the picture you will be taken to YouTube where you can choose to view in a higher quality (and rate the vidie please). Crank up the sound if you can.
at 7:51 PM
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
(Cross-posted at www.savecitypark.org)
at 3:31 PM
Sunday, August 10, 2008
This Tuesday, August 12, is the big day in primary politics. Our own District 8 seat in the State House is being sought by 3 fine Democratic citizens: Bergles, Lowery and McCann. The victor in this primary will be unopposed in the General election. So this is the finals for these three. The tally was very close at the caucus - its hard to guess who might win this time. All three were hard-working campaigners, and kept the level of discourse high, without any negativity. McCann started off with over 5 times the amount of contributions as the other two. Her long public service adds up to name recognition, and she has the most experience in government. Lowery's service with the Young Democrats may give her an edge with the under-34 demographic. She's 100% for gay marriage with no equivocation, unlike her opponents. Bergles brings a straight-ahead energy backed by a broad range of experience with classroom teaching in the main, and a PhD to boot. The guy is a determined power house. He got the blessing of Rosemary Marshall, the current holder. Here they are speaking on the mortgage crisis and its effect on neighborhoods. If you haven't made up your mind, here's some evidence, not opinion. McCann Lowery Bergles If you want more, go to YouTube and search on DenverDirect+candidate name.
at 10:32 PM
Friday, August 8, 2008
Editorials and comments called upon Councilperson Carla Madison to show some leadership and call a neighborhood meeting. When finally it happened on Tuesday, 8/5, it was soon rendered moot by the decision of Tent State announced on Friday, 8/8, to move to Cuernavaca Park.
But interesting, none the less. She spoke to the issue for about 30 seconds.
Update: From Carla
Hello Neighbors; I just returned from a press conference where we announced that Tent State University will be moving their event from CityPark to Cuernavaca Park and the Denver Coliseum. I feel this is a win-win for everyone. Their assembly events will be held in that park which is within the Special Event Zone. This means that there the City provides the portables, sanitation and water which will save them that expense and planning. They also won’t have to meet a list of conditions like they would have had to for City Park because, again, it is within the extraordinary event zone. They will be closer to the DNC events and the Pepsi Center and this site will better fit all their needs. The large concert on Wednesday is going to be held in the Coliseum and they will be allowed to camp on the grounds of the Coliseum every night of the DNC. Many are still wanting to go down to the protest area to spend the night but at least they will have an option and they can choose where they want to spend the night. Tents will be allowed at the Coliseum. I have been encouraging the City to help find them a better spot and I want to thank the Mayors Office, Theaters and Arenas and especially the Parks Department for all their help with this new solution as well as their help all along with the Tent State arrangements in City Park. I want to thank the neighbors for all their cooperation and the fact that we were all prepared to allow this event to happen and welcome these kids into our Park. I am very proud to say that although there were the extreme views expressed, overall the neighborhoods were very supportive of Tent State being able to exercise their First Amendment Rights and hold their event here. I also want to acknowledge Tent State for their efforts to reach out and meet with the neighborhoods to make people feel more comfortable and inform us of what they are all about. I know that many of us were looking forward to some aspect of having Tent State here in City Park but I think all of us will be a bit relieved that they won’t be leaving the Park and walking through our neighborhoods to get to wherever they were going to sleep for the night. I know that I personally will sleep better at night and be able to enjoy the DNC more knowing that late night confrontations at City Park will not become a reality. We’ll be sending out a list of events that are open to the public, including some at City Park within the next week. Thank you all again, Carla Carla Madison
City Councilwoman District 8
303-587-6543 cell 303-298-7641
Office 2713 Welton Street, 80205
at 5:38 PM
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Tent State will announce that they will be moving their operation to Cuernavaca Park where they will hold their educational/entertainment rallies and camp nearby in the Coliseum parking lot with the blessings of Mayor Hickenlooper. I understand the City will even be throwing in some sanitation stalls.
Looks like the Tent State threat of marching each night from City Park to the Pepsi Center worked. It was the only legal option left to them and they played it well. These kids got brains.
at 9:01 PM
Tent State’s Adam Jung, nominee for the MPYO award, announced Wednesday that the Tenters, forced to leave City Park each night at 11:00 pm due to the rigid enforcement of the No-Sleeping-In-The-Parks-Ever ordinance, will walk to the Pepsi center, where they will seek refuge in the City-erected Freedom Cage. This is a majorly kewl move and will end each night with a long stroll to the Pepsi Center and a Pajama Party in the Cage. City Mocked Jung continued, "But we were not seeing the big picture. The city of Denver does not oppose free speech. They love free speech so much they just want to protect and secure it with razor wire and caging. Because of their passion for the First Amendment the city has provided one place for demonstrators to be overnight - the freedom cage. Each night demonstrators will take the freedom cage and transform it into the 'Freedomville Shantytown.' " How big is the Freedom Cage? Answer = 50,000 sq/ft. Sleeping bag = 3 x 7 = 21 sq/ft 50,000 / 21 = 2,380 = sleeping capacity of Freedom Cage. Tenters must get cozy, perhaps double up. Managing Safety "We have to give the police the ability to act in certain circumstances where the intent the circumstances is clear, to act before something happens," LaCabe said, somewhat unclearly. But did you get that, the Manager of Safety, LaCage, wants to preempt “something” that may be going to happen. Oh boy, he won’t be disappointed. The way things are going, "something" is definitely going to happen. It always does. Why protest at DNC?? Well, for one, have the Democrats stopped the WAR? Nooooo. Or impeded it in any way with off-the-table Pelosi in charge? Noooo. Will the Democrats’ own children being gassed and hauled off to the Freedom Jail get their attention? Yessss. So I say right-on to the Tenters, and the SDSers (are they still around?) and the others. But what about the perves and creeps who just want to “sleep with” the coeds. The kids seem to prefer that homeless look, so maybe the perves can get away with it. (What’s that tent in your sleeping bag?) I hope the perves don’t get outed and beaten to a pulp inside the Freedom Cage. I mean, it’s not that free in there. And what if the cops wade in to rescue the perve? Oh, boy, we got us a love fest in a cage. WASHINGTON — Federal and local authorities are girding for huge protests, mammoth traffic tie-ups and civil disturbances at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this month, fearing that the convention will become a magnet for militant protest groups.
Madison Optimistic "I personally choose to be optimistic, and I choose to believe that everyone wants to have peaceful demonstrations," Councilwoman Carla Madison said. "I can be optimistic, and you can be optimistic. But it's not the job of the police to be optimistic." Madison said, swirling the tent that she now carries with her over her head and dancing away.
at 8:53 AM
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I just got back for videotaping another community meeting about Tent State, this one hosted by Carla Madison. Over 100 people showed up to ask the same questions that have already been asked by other citizens at other meetings, and Adam politely, if somewhat exhaustedly, answered them to the best of his ability. As he pointed out, no other “free speech” permit (oxymoron) holder is being forced to meet with countless neighborhood organizations, etc. Adam is extremely mellow, and drones on in response to this or that. Aggressive speakers demand to know how much money Tent State has raised. Adam explains that they are not required to give out that information. Old ladies lecture him on how he is going to control things that are not under his control. And on and on. The big news is that Monday night the Denver City Council passed an ordinance that gives the police the right to stop and search anyone with a backpack to see if they have any of the newly “forbidden” items, which include a bike lock, and to determine their “intent”. Jung mentioned that they had stopped advising people to try to ride their bikes to the park as they felt that might put them in jeopardy as they would probably have bike locks in their backpacks which would subject them to arrest. I have not seen the ordinance. I jumped in with a question about how they are going to protect their group from the effects of 4 years of radionuclide irrigating in City Park, especially in view of the fact that Denver is in violation of State Reg 84 by not having adequate signage. Adam replied that they are going to put up their own signs warning of the dangers. And the Tenters have been warned to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Later the Acting Director of Parks and Recs mentions that they will have to “irrigate” two or three times during the time Tent State will be in the park, in the very area where the Tenters will be tenting. The grass is almost totally brown there now. One woman demands to know what he has mentioned will be announced Wednesday regarding the “camping” dilemma. She wants to know right now. Sorry, says Adam, we’ll be announcing that tomorrow. Let’s see what Adam announces on Wednesday. As it stands, the impasse is still unresolved. More at DenverPost.com.
You already know that I think if the City had one iota of common sense they would let the Tenters camp in City Park during this Extraordinary Event, just as the Indians were allowed to camp overnight at Civic Center Park in 2006. Otherwise, we descend into chaos.
at 10:05 PM