Monday, March 28, 2011

The Filthiest Campaign of All

Editorial by Phil Goodstein

When the city faced a severe financial crisis in the l890s, councilman Martin Currigan called for cutting the salaries of elected officials as a means of showing that office holders were serious about retrenchment. In 1968, Currigan's grandson, Mayor Thomas G. Currigan, resigned from office when voters refused to give him a raise. Far from appropriately saying good riddance to Currigan II, the political class reacted to his departure by removing from voters the power to determine pay raises for elected officials. It set up a mechanism entitling the mayor and members of council to almost automatic raises.

As compensation to members of city council has constantly soared over the past 40-plus years, the city legislature has more become a home for professional officeholders than a body composed of everyday citizens. Some council members have done virtually nothing but hold some public post or another for decades. At the most, they have alternated between "public service" and stints with politically charged non-profits that frequently work hand-in-glove with city hall.

Denver Curfew

From Denver Daily:

Intensified citywide curfew enforcement by the Denver Police will run April 2-Sept. 25. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, youth will be ticketed and taken to the SafeNite Curfew Site located at Denver Police District One station, 1311 W. 48th Ave. Reducing any possible threat of violence by and against youth is the goal of the curfew program. Denver’s Curfew Ordinance requires that youth 17 years of age and younger must be off the street on Friday and Saturday nights from midnight through 5 a.m., and Sunday through Thursday nights from 11 p.m.-5 a.m. Exceptions to the ordinance include:

- Youth who are in a motor vehicle involved in interstate travel;
- Going to or from work without any detour or stop;
- In the custody of and accompanied by an adult, only if the youth has a note, signed by the parent or guardian, dated for that night that clearly states the youth is allowed to be in the company of a specific adult;
- In the company of a parent or legal guardian.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Notice of Rule & Regulation Amendment To Parks and Recreation’s Alcohol Policy

CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER

Notice is hereby given that effective May 13, 2011, the Alcohol Policy adopted by Parks and Recreation is amended with regard to the addition of two sites and language changes to the “Manager’s Authority” section and the “Application Fee”. The sites added are Stapleton Central Park Pavilion and the Aqua Golf Event Facility. A copy of the full Alcohol Policy, as amended, is on file with the Manager of Parks and Recreation and is available for public inspection on the website. Click here to view or go to www.denvergov.org/parksandrecreation. Click on PRAB on the right. A public hearing will take place May 12, 2011 at 5:30 pm in the Wellington Webb Municipal Building Located at 201 W Colfax Ave., 4th floor room 4.F.6.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Denver Mayoral Forum

I attended the Mayoral Forum on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at East High School sponsored by the NAACP. There were 7 candidates in attendance, but I only got usable footage for 5 of them. I apologize in advance to Romer and Linkhart, who just happened to be first, and therefor subject to the foibles of my aging camera. Like me, it is taking longer and longer to warm up and operate properly. I keep telling myself I'm going to have to get a new camera, but the $4000 price tag is holding me back. Maybe I'll start a donation drive.

Here, in the order they spoke, are the candidates:

James Majia:


Danny Lopez:


Kenneth Simpson


Michael Hancock


Carol Boigon

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chris Romer: "I'm NOT the front-runner"

Despite my vow not to cover Denver's mayoral race, I was drawn to the NAACP forum held at East High on Saturday - it was only a block from my office.

As we were waiting for the show to start, candidate Chris Romer was working the audience, and noticed my camera. He asked me what the video would be for and I mentioned Denver Direct and this blog. He said he wasn't aware of it. I suggested that he should read it as I was writing about him.
"My ears are always red in this town" he replied. "What are you writing about" he asked.
"I'm writing about how you are the front-runner and how..."
"I'm NOT the front-runner" he replied emphatically. "Carol Boigon is the front-runner."
Before I could finish he was called to the stage.

My conclusion - Romer desperately doesn't want to be seen as the front-runner in this race despite the fact that he has over 500K in the bank and the highest name recognition. In recent elections, the front-runner has lost. His statement proves that he will say anything to win, even denying the obvious.

I recorded video for the entire session. Unfortunately, my aging VX2000 glitched up on the first two speeches - Romer and Linkhart, and their footage is not usable. I'll post the usable footage of Mejia, Hancock and Boigon later today.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

ASARCO's Toxic Legacy to Continue

by Tom Anthony

Back in the Age of Clinton, in 1996, I co-formed a group called CLEAN-IT (Citizens Loving their Environment and Neighborhood, Invincible Together) in response to Region 8 EPA's decision to permanently bury 130,000 cubic yards of toxic radioactive waste at the old Shattuck Chemical site at 1805 S. Bannock, two blocks from the old South Broadway business district. In consequence, the residents of Overland Neighborhood became the first and so far, only, successful "overturners" of a completed EPA Record of Decision.

Fast forward to 2011 and my new neighborhood for the past 12 years, Elyria, neighbor to Globeville which sits directly across Denver's only river, the South Platte. While several news stories have already touted the upcoming wonderful "cleanup" of the old ASARCO Globe site, citizens of Denver and particularily Globeville, have to ask themselves what there is to celebrate. As the "deal" was presented to the Globeville Civic Association #1 on March 9th, Region 8 EPA will give its landlord, Opus Northwest, $14 million (or $16 million) in "cleanup" funds, Opus expects a $10 million Tax Increment Financing bond to pay for another $10 million in "cleanup" costs, and Opus itself will pay for a liability bond, a cost represented as $1.6 million. Liability "for what" is not quite clear.

Meanwhile, the "Plan" itself is to stir up all the contaminated soil on the ASARCO site and mix it with "slurry" to "remediate" it; and leave it on site. This would include the buildings and even the bricks. As to the 100 acre slag pile on the river side of Washington Street, now called Heron Pond Open Space and Heron Pond, that's not in the deal and presumably will remain a toxic sump for the rest of time. Next, Opus can sell the ASARCO land, nominally either 85 acres, 77 acres, or 70 acres, depending on whose account you're reading, 80% of which is in Adams County, nearest voting residents over a mile away, for whatever it can get. And what will be the future use of the site? Well, underlying zoning on most of the site is I-3: heavy industrial. The site is rail served. The site is being identified as an industrial park in every news release I've seen. Therefore, the residents of Globeville can expect another industrial use, possibly a heavy industrial use, directly behind the 600 student Laradon Hall, directly behind Globeville Townhomes, just uphill from Heron Pond Open Space and the South Platte River. For those of you who have never lived next to hundreds of thousands of gallons of explosive chemical storage, asphalt or concrete batching, backup alarms continually going off day and night audible a mile away, auto crushers, diesel trucks using your neighborhood streets and idling for hours, unattenuated compressor pumps operating night and day, the occasional odd fire and explosion and spill and the scent of newly mixed aromatics of either volatile organic compounds or animal by products, the joyous cheers for the "up to 250 jobs" the site uses are expected to create don't necessarily resound across the historic north neighborhoods. With industrial vacancy rates at near historic highs and lease rates near historic "inflation adjusted" lows, the wisdom of subsidizing another million or so square feet of centrally located industrial space has to cause at least a twinge to dozens of existing hand-wringing landlords. Doing so by creating an 80 acre toxic monolith is even less comprehensible.

Taking things a step further, while Region 8 did clap its collective hands together when nobody in Globeville objected to taking all the VB/I-70 Superfund waste to the Globe Smelter site for disposition, let's not forget the ONLY VB/I-70 soils to be remediated came from residentially used lots. Since over 80% of the north neighborhoods are zoned industrial, only a tiny fraction of the "waste formerly blamed on ASARCO" has been remediated.

While Opus Northwest happily continues to receive its multimillion dollar lease payments from Region 8 (oops, the federal taxpayers) and Councilwoman Judy Montero's campaign treasurer joyfully continues to receive her environmental education grants from Region 8 EPA (the latest of 10 posted being in the amount of $142,455 in 2009 for giving a 3 day seminar) expecting Globevillians to be awestricken at the sound of transistor radios and the sight of sulphur matches is only in keeping with the times.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Weekend is Here!

Hey, I almost forgot.

(Note Nixon's voice on intro, and beware of lewd cartoon at the beginning.)


Flash flashback..


This is turning into a thang!



Have a nice weekend, but don't get TOO crazy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

You are living in a nuclear experiment


Jerry Harden, nuclear worker, tells it like it was at the Nuclear Weapons plant at Rocky Flats.

Denver and the surrounding metro area is an ongoing experiment in the effects of nuclear radiation on human beings. You probably weren't aware of it when you were raised here or moved to Denver. The accumulated effects of nuclear weapons production at Rocky Flats, resulting in contaminating fires, accidental releases, and purposeful redistribution of radioactive materials (see purple pipe water) has contaminated our entire Denver Metro environment. You would have to do a lot of research to verify that for yourself, but fortunately we have the current efforts of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center to help us out. The presentation tonight should be particularly helpful.

On Thursday, March 17, 7:30 at the Nalanda Campus of Naropa University, 6287 Arapahoe, Boulder, this issue will be explored in a presentation by Marco Kaltofen of the Boston Chemical Data Corp., who heads Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s investigations into nuclear releases. In April 2010 he detected plutonium in dust collected by a citizens group from crawl space in a house downwind of Rocky Flats.

Mr. Kaltofen will be joined in his presentation by biologist Harvey Nichols, PhD, and meteorologist W. Gale Biggs, PhD. Nichols examined airborne radioactive particles released from Rocky Flats in the mid-1970s. Biggs assessed air monitoring at Rocky Flats and investigated the size of plutonium particles released from the plant. The March 17 event is the sixth in the six-month Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship series co-sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Naropa University’s Environmental Studies program and the Alandi Ashram of Boulder. The public is invited; donations will be welcomed.

Nuclear Guardianship combines art, science and remembrance to address the seemingly intractable human-caused problem of nuclear contamination with insight and creativity. By raising awareness about the long-term dangers associated with exposure to tiny particles of radioactive plutonium knowingly left in the soil at Rocky Flats after cleanup of the site, the project builds community on behalf of ecological responsibility and greater democracy.

“Each generation shall endeavor to preserve the foundations of life and well-being for those who come after. To produce and abandon substances that damage following generations is morally unacceptable.” This is the first value of the Guardianship Project Ethic. The project was first conceptualized by author, scholar, Joanna Macy. It is the basis of the Rocky Flats Guardianship Project.

For more details about the project, including a calendar of events and bios of presenters, visit www.rockyflatsnuclearguardianship.org/

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Denver City Council Immune to Perception: Votes for Salary Increases

Note: Councilpersons Boigon, Faatz, and Sandoval voted against the pay increases, and are exempt from the following comments.

In voting for a RAISE in salary for elected officials in the near future, Denver's City Council distinguished itself last night. While on previous occasions I've heard them talk about "sharing the pain" and "doing our part" this time it was - GIVE US MORE MONEY.

Whatever the case, these bozos seem to have forgotten that it is the PERCEPTION that counts. While many of their statements were true - haven't had a raise in a long time - it's really, really little - I give it back anyway - the perception is the same - YOU VOTED FOR A RAISE FOR THE ELITES WHILE YOU CUT EVERYTHING ELSE. Shame, shame, shame. You just don't get it.

While we are on the topic of City Councilpersons, please tell me why we need 13 of them. Let's divide Denver into 4 quadrants and have one at-large position, for a total of 5 rather than 13. Those 5 would have to do the work of 13, just like everybody else who still has a job and now does the work of three. The 5-member council would be able to rubber-stamp everything just as well as the 13-member gang does now.

That would save millions.

Note: I was getting ready to put the entire 40-minute discussion up on YouTube, but it was mind-numbingly long, so I just clipped out the "best" and the "worst" (quotes to indicate that it's just my opinion) for your viewing entertainment, thanks to Channel 8.

___

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hey, it's (almost) Saturday!

Denver Direct Over 100,000 Page Views

Hey thanks, folks, for stopping by from time to time to see what's going on at Denver Direct. As the counter at the bottom of the page will attest, we've just passed 100,000 hits. And since we're talking stats, here are some more:


And from YouTube:

372 vidies uploaded - 130,068 views,
Age demographics


Not bad for a bunch of freelance volunteers. So when are we going to get a woman to join in our merriment? As soon as one sends us samples of video or writing to editor@denverdirect.tv.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Heads Up!


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    
TRAFFIC ADVISORY
 
Full Closure of Colorado Boulevard and 17th Avenue Intersection
8:00 P.M., Friday, March 11 – 5:30 A.M., Monday, March 14
 
DENVER, CO ­— Thursday, March 10, 2011 – In order to ensure Denver’s wastewater system continues to operate without failures, and to provide a 75-year improvement, Denver Public Works Wastewater Management will install a new sanitary sewer pipe liner in an existing sanitary sewer pipe in the Park Hill neighborhood, starting the night of March 11, with work continuing through the weekend. This project is essential to the operation of the sanitary sewer system in the area and will require a full closure of the Colorado Boulevard and 17th Avenue intersection.
 
The intersection of Colorado Boulevard and 17th Avenue will be closed starting at 8:00 P.M., Friday, March 11, reopening 5:30 A.M., Monday, March 14. Local access will be provided to the Museum of Natural History, the Denver Zoo and residents during the closure. No other access will be allowed through the construction area.
 
Detour Information:
Major delays are expected due to this closure and drivers should use alternative routes.
 
Drivers traveling northbound and southbound on Colorado Boulevard are encouraged to use Josephine Street, York Street or Monaco Parkway as alternates.  Montview Boulevard, 23rd Avenue, East 26th Avenue, Colfax Avenue, 14th Avenue or 13th Avenue can be used to access alternate roadways from Colorado Boulevard or adjacent areas.
 
Uniformed Denver Police Officers will be on scene to help direct traffic and the public’s patience is appreciated during this closure
###
 

The Hard Facts of Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant



The folks at the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center are undertaking a monumental task in the form of a 6-month, 15-part series covering all aspects of the former Nuclear Weapons Plant just 16 miles northwest of Denver. You may know that the current plan is to turn this into a Wildlife Refuge which will be open to the public, despite grave concerns that it is, and will remain, unsafe for visitors. Here's the latest announcement:

By JUDITH MOHLING

“I'm a Rocky Flats ranger, happy as a clam;
'Cuz' there ain't no danger, working where I am.
There's plutonium dust as far as I can see,
But I'm not gonna let that stuff bother me,
'Cuz' it's way outside the scope of my CCP,
Tippee ai o kayee.” From “Rocky Flats Ranger” by Gary Ball, sung to I'm An Old Cowhand, composer unknown.

Is highly radioactive plutonium present in dust blowing in the wind at Rocky Flats? The question is important because the surest way to be harmed by the plutonium left in the environment at Rocky Flats is to inhale airborne particles.

On Thursday, March 17, 7:30 at the Nalanda Campus of Naropa University, 6287 Arapahoe, Boulder, this issue will be explored in a presentation by Marco Kaltofen of the Boston Chemical Data Corp., who heads Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s investigations into nuclear releases. In April 2010 he detected plutonium in dust collected by a citizens group from crawl space in a house downwind of Rocky Flats.

Mr. Kaltofen will be joined in his presentation by biologist Harvey Nichols, PhD, and meteorologist W. Gale Biggs, PhD. Nichols examined airborne radioactive particles released from Rocky Flats in the mid-1970s. Biggs assessed air monitoring at Rocky Flats and investigated the size of plutonium particles released from the plant. The March 17 event is the sixth in the six-month Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship series co-sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Naropa University’s Environmental Studies program and the Alandi Ashram of Boulder. The public is invited; donations will be welcomed.

Nuclear Guardianship combines art, science and remembrance to address the seemingly intractable human-caused problem of nuclear contamination with insight and creativity. By raising awareness about the long-term dangers associated with exposure to tiny particles of radioactive plutonium knowingly left in the soil at Rocky Flats after cleanup of the site, the project builds community on behalf of ecological responsibility and greater democracy.

“Each generation shall endeavor to preserve the foundations of life and well-being for those who come after. To produce and abandon substances that damage following generations is morally unacceptable.” This is the first value of the Guardianship Project Ethic. The project was first conceptualized by author, scholar, Joanna Macy. It is the basis of the Rocky Flats Guardianship Project.

For more details about the project, including a calendar of events and bios of presenters, visit www.rockyflatsnuclearguardianship.org/

Monday, March 7, 2011

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Round Robin - From the Elyria/Globeville Trenches

by Tom Anthony


Lisa Bardwell is Judy Montero's campaign treasurer. Judy and Region 8 EPA recently brokered a deal where Opus Northwest, the group that built and owns the new "green" office building that houses Region 8 near Union Station, and rents it to the EPA through the Federal GSA, was "sold" the ASARCO smelter site, 85 acres in Globeville, for $1. Fearing a potential bankruptcy, the Department of Justice forced ASARCO to set up a $100 million trust to cover liabilities for impacted U.S. communities. Opus agreed to take over the liability from the toxic waste at the site, which includes toxic sludge beneath Heron Pond and Heron Pond Open Space containing lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury, which is expected to remain there in the South Platte River watershed forever.

The liability agreement with Opus Northwest allowed Region 8 EPA to release a portion of the $100 million bond which had been posted by ASARCO for other activities, which appear to include grants to Earth Force, Inc. a non-profit run by Councilwoman Montero's campaign treasurer. Surprisingly, the Globeville Civic Association #1 recently got a new website, although after Fr. Joe and Paulette Hirsch both died suddenly last year the entire Association was incommunicado for months. A petition by local residents to extend the comment period on the VB-I70 OU3 Record of Decision, which allowed an unremediated and uncompensated arsenic plume beneath homes on Grant, Sherman and Pearl Streets and beneath Argo Park was not supported by Globeville Civic #1 or Councilwoman Montero.

Earth Force/Lisa Bardwell also received a $40,000 Supplemental Environmental Program (SEP) grant from Suncor Refinery in 2006, which had been seeking to expand the refinery capacity to 90,000 bbls/day. The expansion was approved on the northern boundary of Judy Montero's District 9 neighborhood, Swansea, which had been the subject of a 2004 Cancer Study showing 8 elevated cancers.

The ASARCO site, which borders Globeville Townhomes, and surrounding area was zoned industrial in the New Denver Zoning plan approved by Councilwoman Montero in June, contrary to several stipulations of Blueprint Denver and the 2000 Comprehensive Plan, and with virtually no neighborhood agreement.

Obviously, Opus Northwest wouldn't want any actual residents near the future North Metro commuter rail station at 48th and Brighton Blvd to actually ask why Heron Pond is off-limits to virtually all human activity. Like the animals, they're not supposed to know.

Tom Anthony, President
United Community Action Network, Inc.

Neighborhood Walk-about March 2, 2011

I'm Getting Mine - Are You Getting Yours?

In my neck of the woods (16th and York), money is raining down from the sky. The Better Denver Bond money ($550,000,000 for construction, $500,000,000 for the banksters plus interest) is having a very big local effect. If memory serves, about $3,800,000 will be spent on about 8 square blocks of Josephine and York from 13th Ave to 17th Ave. If you have driven by lately, the traffic congestation may have gotten your attention.

New traffic lights, poles, curbs, gutters, streets (all the way down to the dirt) are going in. I was pleased to see that they are keeping the old stone curbs but adding new concrete gutters. I was somewhat surprised that they are taking out the old road bed (concrete in some areas) and replacing it with asphalt, and lowering the surface by a few inches. One thing for sure, when the real financial crises hits (dollar collapse), Denver will have some of the finest curbs in the nation. I'm not exactly sure what good that will do us, but right now it is providing jobs.

Me: "I see they are keeping you guys busy".
Foreman: "Yes, and thank god for that. It's a beautiful thing."

New stoplight going in at 16th and York
This little corner at 16th and Josephine has never seen so much attention (looking north)

Same as above, looking south
Josephine at 13th (looking north) Note roadbed reduction.
Josephine at Colfax (looking south)


Half finished at Josephine and 14th (looking south)

New gutter using old curbstone

Gutter detail

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Are you paying your Denver OPT Tax and Fee? or are you "hiding in your home"?

If you don't remember the details of my previous stand against paying a newly disquised-as-a-fee tax called the Denver Occupational Priviledge Tax Registraion Fee you should go here first.

I became curious as to how many of the people who have started businesses in Denver are actually registered and paying the tax itself and then also paying the fee on the tax. I called the number on the notice I had received, and spoke (for about 20 mins) with a somewhat irritated lady, who was not used to answering my kind of questions. I learned that:

1. They find new start-ups by sending inspectors to office buildings to look at the directory. My own little building used to get regular visits (when I had a directory on the outside of the building). Inspectors also watch local newspapers, notices, etc.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

SquareState calls out the Denver Post and then fades...

Yesterday, the SquareState blog published a very assertive piece attacking the Denver Post and published a long excerpt from the Post, practically daring the Post to retaliate. http://squarestate.net/diary/1314/the-denver-post-can-eat-a-bag-of-dicks. The post, promoted by "Fong" and so unusually inflammatory that it caught my attention and prompted me to comment on their site, is gone today. Eventually it will show up on The Way Back Machine. I'm sure Righthaven is on it.

Who is on Drugs?

Editorial

This picture was randomly selected from today's headlines and is not meant to represent a person on drugs
Today's question - Who among our "leaders" elected officials is on drugs? We, of course, have no way of knowing for sure because, although we drug test high school students, we do not test those empowered with making the decisions that control our lives. It would seem to me that we would want to know if these leaders elected officials are drug impaired. It sure seems to me that they are.

Given the statistics on drug consumption, and I'm talking prescription drugs here, we could guess that at least half of those we see every night on the TeeVee Nues are under the influence of some drug or other. And I don't necessarily mean "high" on drugs. Often the behavior of a drugged person is a lack of affect, or inappropriate crying, or inappropriate laughing, or too perky, too sweaty, too jerky, or just plain too wacky.

Just to pluck a name from today's headlines - how about that Qaddafi? Delusional with shades of megalomania? Too many LSD trips in the desert? Or what about Sarah Palin? Too perky? She hails from the meth capitol of Alaska - maybe it's in the air - I'm just sayin'.

We know that Hitler was a dedicated methamphetamine user - his personal doctor invented the stuff. Towards the end of his infamous career, it took multiple injections just to get Hitler out of bed.

We often learn after the fact that a beloved leader was on drugs:

It's now well-known that John F. Kennedy's vigorous public image was a facade. In fact, it concealed infirmities that often left him unable to climb a flight of stairs or put on his own socks. His pharmacopoeia was terrifying, as historian Robert Dallek writes: "Steroids for his Addison's disease, pain-killers for his back, antispasmodics for his colitis, antibiotics for urinary-tract infections, antihistamines for allergies and, on at least one occasion, an antipsychotic ... for a severe mood change that Jackie Kennedy believed had been brought on by the antihistamines."
Mutual friends introduced JFK to Jacobson (Dr. Feelgood) during the 1960 campaign. The first shot elevated his mood. From then on, it was clear sailing. Miracle Max shot up the president before the Kennedy-Nixon debates, the major state addresses, and even the 1961 Vienna summit meeting with Nikita Khrushchev. Secret Service files and the White House gate log confirm that Jacobson saw JFK no fewer than 34 times through May 1962.
Did Kennedy experience any of the impatience, irritability, and grandiosity, an exaggerated sense of personal power, that amphetamines so often produce? Clearly not: Kennedy's court historians maintain that his illnesses and drug use didn't affect his presidency. In any case, in June 1962, when Attorney General Robert Kennedy advised his brother to stop using Jacobson's concoctions, the president replied, "I don't care if it's horse piss. It works."
Outside of the realm of politics, drug use is known to be rampant - see Charlie Sheen. The behavioral after-effects of drug use are often just as obvious as the use itself.

The next time you are watching the erratic behavior of an elected offical, you may want to ask yourself - What drugs are they on? Remember, they should not be operating the heavy machinery of state while on drugs.