Friday, January 31, 2014
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Terms described as risky and a threat to the economic future of Colorado
In a deal described by citizen’s groups as “risky and damaging the economic interests of the people of Colorado for the next half century”, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has indicated that the controversial US 36 privatization contract will be ready to sign by Monday February 3, 2014. The 50 year legally binding contract will be signed behind closed doors by the state highway privatization board, the HPTE. The contract will not be read or reviewed by the Colorado Senate or House prior to signing and public input is not allowed.
An investigation by a Boulder based clean energy organization, the Drive SunShine Institute (DSI) has revealed a sweeping ten year effort by corporate lobbyists from the world’s largest toll road developers to create a Colorado state highway privatization board. The new HTPE board is leasing US 36 for fifty years, then will also privatize and add toll lanes to I-70 in the heart of downtown Denver and into the mountains, the rest of C-470 and I-25 between Denver and Ft Collins. View privatization map
“The US 36 fifty year contract is a high risk, bad deal for the people of Colorado that is primarily paid for with state and federal money. Escalating toll rates on the new wave of Colorado private highways will threaten the financial well being of residents who travel for work or recreation,” says Ken Beitel, a clean energy analyst with the Drive SunShine Institute (DSI). DSI research has revealed the intense corporate lobbying campaign focused on Colorado by the world’s largest toll road developers including Cintra and Macquarie. “From what we understand the 50-year US 36 contract has the standard non-compete and revenue guarantees. This means it may be illegal for surrounding communities like Broomfield and Westminster to upgrade roads near US 36 because it could damage toll revenue for the private contractor. In 2008, Northwest Parkway threatened legal action to stop expansion of nearby West 160th avenue.”
Another Colorado toll road, E-470 has non-compete clauses including agreements with the Cities of Aurora, Brighton, and Thornton, the Town of Parker, and Adams and Douglas Counties that provide, for at least fifteen years, these entities will not construct or improve any road (with certain pre-approved exceptions) that would reduce tolls collected on E-470.
In 2002, an E-470 non-compete clause with Commerce City lowered the speed limit on nearby Tower Road from 55 MPH to 40 MPH, and had stop lights installed on Tower Road at 96th, 104th, and 112th Avenues to force paid toll traffic onto E-470, a privately operated toll road.
Revenue guarantees in the US 36 contract also remove control of highway policy from the people of Colorado. For instance, if the now under construction US 36 toll lanes are removed or additional free lanes are added, or if electric vehicles are provided incentives to use the HOV lane to reduce carbon emissions, the State of Colorado may be required to provide toll compensation for the next 50 years to the Plenary Group consortium and its partners.
To ensure private sector earnings on US 36, wages and total compensation for snowplow drivers and maintenance workers may be cut by more than half. Privatized highway workers will not be eligible to participate in PERA, the state retirement plan, or in the state union of public employees.
Colorado Senate/House Denied Opportunity to Review 50 Year US 36 Contract Prior to Signing
Colorado state Senator Matt Jones has repeatedly asked CDOT for the US 36 privatization contract to allow him to review the deal to ensure the public interest is being met. CDOT has refused to comply with the Senator’s request informing the elected official that he can read the contract in a week or two, just like everybody else, after the 50 year binding contract is signed.
“We urge Colorado senators and state representatives to prevent the state HPTE board from signing this risky contract, highly influenced by corporate lobbyists,” explains Beitel, “How can Senate President Morgan Carroll, an advocate of consumer rights and democracy, be comfortable in letting a state privatization board sign a fifty year contract she has not even seen?”
Sign the Petition Now
So far, more than 1,200 people have signed a petition calling for the Colorado senators and house representatives to read the US 36 privatization contract prior to the signing of the 50 year deal. A town hall meeting at 5pm Friday, Jan 31st in Boulder is expected to draw hundreds as anger grows at elected state senators and representatives who seem to be ignoring their public duty.
CDOT Communications Director Amy Ford and HPTE Director Michael Cheroutes will attend the Friday night town hall to discuss the US 36 privatization deal along with hundreds of concerned voters.
In order to read the US 36 contract, the Colorado Senate and House will need to convene an emergency session and pass legislation that suspends the ability of the HPTE board to sign the fifty-year US 36 privatization contract.
“Elected officials must act now to guard the economic interests of Colorado from corporate lobbyists or face the disappointment of angry voters this fall,” concludes Beitel, “The urgency of this matter cannot be overstated. This deal is a clear threat to the finances of Colorado. It is a failure of public duty to sign a risky 50 year contract privatizing state assets without reading it. The multi-generational impact of this lobbyist driven agreement will harm the economic interests of the people of Colorado and our children for the next half century.”
US 36 Privatization Town Hall, 5pm Friday, January 31, 2014, Boulder, CO
at 8:47 PM
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
at 5:27 PM
We are not alone! Millions of people across the globe who realize the damage the TPP would do our lives are going to stage a coordinated protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Act (TPP) on January 31st. Although the text of the bill is classified, we have learned enough from leaks to know that it would spell the end of our democracy.
at 5:00 PM
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Ed. note: From the response to this post, I'd say there will be a great interest in this town hall.
Alfalfa's Market (Community Room)
1651 Broadway, Boulder, CO
5:30 pm - presentation and town hall discussion
6:45 pm - refreshments & one-on-one action planning
DSI strongly object to privatization in secret deals organized by CDOT in partnership with Glen Vaad, former house Chair of Transportation and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
at 10:53 PM
|Rep. Ed Perlmutter|
at 5:44 AM
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Butterfield: ALEC's half-century contract on US 36
at 8:52 AM
Saturday, January 25, 2014
By Robert Ewegen
|Scorched Earth -- Warhorse Rampage|
Removal of the funding ban scraps Congressional restrictions that have also stopped efforts to massively increase military operations and activities by heavy and all-terrain armored vehicles, aviation units, lasers and weaponized drones at the headwinds of the Dust Bowl. Removal of the ban also permits the military to resume secret planning efforts to launch a new land grab at some future date after opposition to such expansion has lost momentum.
"Realistically, we know we can't restore the funding ban to the 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill that passed the House and Senate and was signed by the President January 17, Aguerre said.
"But as John Paul Jones said, 'We have not yet begun to fight when it comes to the greater, ongoing, struggle to protect the site that has been identified as the headwinds of the 1930s Dust Bowl from further abuse such as that afflicted by Warhorse Rampage maneuvers.
And we will be alert to future signs that the Pentagon may be planning another round of purchases or condemnations to expand the site, which it could easily do with future Congressional approval - approval that taxpayers won't know about until it is too late.
"While we thank the many citizens who rallied to this and earlier efforts to save the funding ban, we know it is time to move on to the next fight in our battle for the Southern Great Plains. Our funding ban was originally passed in 2007 after open public hearings and a courageous fight waged by then U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave.
In contrast, this appropriations bill was done in the back room by committee staff people over the holidays - with the connivance of Rep. Cory Gardner, who newly represents the military maneuver site, and of Sen. Mark Udall. They killed our funding ban. It is a done deal with no way to alter it," Aguerre said.
"When Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations bills, twelve of them, start moving next month the funding ban will not be there to renew. That means to restore the funding ban, its language would have to go to the full floor of the House and the Senate. There is not a single member - much less two, one from the House and another from the Senate - of Colorado's current delegation with the guts to represent everyday people against special interests and other delegation members in her own party the way Marilyn Musgrave did," observed Aguerre.
Even though PCMS was not technically in her district, Rep. Musgrave knew the threat that the massive expansion would have posed to family ranchers and the whole Southern Plains region.
Thus, she crafted simple, understandable language that prohibits spending on any aspect of military expansion at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site. Representative Musgrave personally secured the support of her party's leadership and then worked across the aisle to overwhelmingly pass the funding ban.
But in the 2012 Congressional Redistricting, Las Animas County, which hosts the contentious military maneuver site, was moved to the 4th Congressional District, which is now represented by Gardner. That redistricting removed the funding ban from the protective hands of strong, vocal support all around western Colorado and placed it in Gardner's hands to throw under the bus. He wasted no time doing just that for special interests feeding his political ambition.
"Gardner, without any advance public hearings, drafted language that replaced the explicit and comprehensive seven-year-old funding ban with language that is already in the law and is a meaningless substitute for the stronger funding ban that was killed by mutual consent between Gardner and Udall," Aguerre said.
"Udall, for his part, was willing to throw the seven-year-old funding ban under the bus in return for a letter from the Pentagon pretending to have more authority than Congress in determining how much and when land will be seized for military operations. This time the Pentagon produced a letter saying it was withdrawing a piece of administrative technical minutiae that would return expansion back to 'square one.' "
The blue smoke and mirrors gets thicker when we know that by killing the funding ban, it is the Gardner /Udall legislation that opens the door to the next round of secret joint forces military expansion planning while maximizing use and destruction of the existing site at the headwinds of the Dust Bowl.
Why did Udall need to get rid of our funding ban? At Not 1 More Acre! we bet it has everything to do with the new $3.5 billion dollar Heavy Combat Aviation Brigade he ordered up from his committee positions on Army Services and Intelligence to be stationed at an encroached urban military base that doesn't have room to maneuver it. That cash-flush house of cards falls apart when spending on any aspect of expansion at DOD's Piñon Canyon Manuever Site is prohibited, as the funding ban did. The founders called it the 'power of the purse.'
This spring the most lethal integrated electronic warfare weapons system on the market - Udall's new $3.5 billion Heavy Combat Aviation Brigade - will take a significant step closer to turning the headwinds of the Dust Bowl at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site into a 24/7 base of operations.
"We can end this nightmare. And, we should try. The Southern Great Plains belongs to each of us. Here, we can let our eyes and imaginations roam while standing in a 150-million-year-old dinosaur footprint. To the right, we can see the ancient Purgatoire River ribboning into its canyon, while looking left we see tipi rings of the Jicarilla Apache. At the horizon the Santa Fe Trail heads north to Bent's Fort and south through the mountains to Taos. Straight ahead you can see a patina rock wall and be fascinated by pictographs left 17,000 years ago by the first humans to record wonders of this native shortgrass prairie.
Communities of every kind at home on the grasslands - the headwinds of the Dust Bowl at the top of the Southern Great Plains - have achieved a delicate but ongoing recovery from the worst environmental disaster in United States history. That disaster was brought on by bad government policies that required homesteaders to plow lands where the shortgrass ecosystem had supported Native peoples, buffalo and a richly unique array of wildlife for tens of thousands of years. Today, generational ranchlands and National Grasslands keep the shortgrass in place, protecting the soil and the economy of the Southern Plains.
"We must stop misguided governmental policies - here wrapped under the rubric of national defense -- which spell another catastrophe for the Southern Plains. The supporters of Not 1 More Acre! pledge to stay vigilant and fight for every precious inch of the last shortgrass prairie in all the American Great Plains" Aguerre said.
Bob Ewegen had a 45-year career in journalism, including more than 36 years with The Denver Post, before becoming Director of Research and Communications at the Ewegen Law Firm in Denver. The firm, headed by his daughter, attorney Misty Ewegen, represents Not 1 More Acre.
at 11:42 PM
You know that your bank is required to file a form with the Federal government if a transaction in any of your accounts is $10,000 or greater. Even smaller transactions that add up to $10,000 have to be reported.
I went to my bank (UMB) to ask for a list of those actions that would trigger a filing of the report. "We can't give you that", I was told by a VP of the bank. "It's prohibited."
"Is asking for a list one of the triggers?" I asked.
at 10:59 AM
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Opinion by Gerald Trumbule
I know this isn't something most people want to think about, but I have to admit that as I grow old, I find it coming up more often. Especially as my friends die off.
Twice in the last few years I've had friends who I assisted in completing the "Five Wishes" questionnaire which sought to provide a living will, answering end-of-life questions for themselves. In both cases their stated wishes were not followed.
In one case, I got a personal call from the head surgeon, who honestly related to me what had happened in the operating room.
My friend (in his mid-50s) had gone in for open-heart surgery with a well-known surgeon. He had had a heart-attack three days earlier and knew that his heart was in bad shape and was looking forward to the possibility of repairs. I was named as the person to look after his affairs in the Five Wishes document. He had stated that he did not want "extraordinary measures" taken.
During open-heart surgery your heart is taken off-line and your blood is circulated by a pump. "When we tried to start his heart back up, it wouldn't start" the surgeon explained. "And that's when the surgical team split on what to do next. There were six of us involved, and three wanted to stop. The other three wanted to thread a balloon up to his heart which would be externally driven to rhythmically inflate and thereby drive his heart (extraordinary measure). They won, and this device was threaded in place, but then we discovered that he was unexpectedly bleeding out. We couldn't find the source at first but soon learned that we had nicked the blood vessel through which we had threaded the balloon in a nearly inaccessible location behind his stomach. At that point we were 7 hours into the surgery and we stopped."
Clearly my friend would have died with or without the "extraordinary measure". But the point here is that his wishes were ignored.
The other friend had an inoperable brain tumor. She was adamant about not wanting radiation or chemo-therapy. As time went by, her resolve was worn down and she acquiesced. To me it seemed that while there was almost no hope that the procedures would have any effect, they wanted to run her through the very expensive and debilitating treatment anyway. Drugged and diminished, she had given in.
Well, the good news is that there is now a more powerful version of the Five Wishes that is available. It is called the Colorado Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (MOST) and you can get it here. The difference is that your doctor has to sign this one. But the problem is you still have to decide.
I had always chosen "yes" on most of the choices. Yes to CPR, yes to intubation, yes to mechanical ventilation, yes to IV whatever. Until I read this article.
Turns out that doctors choose none of this stuff. Not even CPR, which hardly every works in real life, unlike the movies. Doctors just want to die peacefully, and not in hospitals.
As it happened. I was in my doctors office a few days later and told him about the article and asked if he had a living will with directives. "Yes." he said. "May I ask how you filled it out?" He had said no to CPR and everything else. Why? "Because I don't want to end up in a nursing home."
So, having now spent over 27,000 days on earth, I've arrived at the conclusion that it would be best for me to depart without medical heroics. I haven't filed the form yet.
What's your choice?
at 5:51 PM
Ken Beitel, clean energy analyst & Advisory Board Chair, Drive SunShine Institute (DSI)
ph: 720 436-2465 email: Ken.Beitel@DriveSunShine.org
at 12:38 PM
Monday, January 20, 2014
via email from Friends of Denver Parks:
I have excerpted a few tidbits from the case to give you an idea of what it contains. Here is the link for the complete document.
A party lacks standing to challenge the title of another. School District No. Six v. Russell, 396 P.2d 929, 932 (Colo. 1964). However, a resident taxpayer of a municipality has the right to maintain a suit to prevent the unlawful disposition by the municipal authorities of the property of the town, and to restrain the diversion of property in his town from any public use, which he shares, to which it has been dedicated. McIntyre v. Bd. of Commr’s of El Paso County, 61 ….
Because this issue impacts the disposition of this land, pursuant to C.R.C.P. 105, this Court must also determine whether the land is held for “municipal purposes” or for “open space or park purposes.” It is well settled by authority that a “municipality holds . . . dedicated ground for the use and benefit of its citizens, for the purposes only of its dedication” McIntyre, 61 P. at 239. The trustee cannot impose upon dedicated land any servitude or burden inconsistent with those purposes, or tending to impair them. Id. Neither can it alienate the ground, nor relieve itself from the authority and duty to regulate its use. Id. It does not have the authority to later subvert the purposes of that dedication. See also Turnbaugh v. Chapman, 68 P.3d 570 (Colo. App. 2003). It is undisputed that the dedication here was for “municipal purposes” and that the property has remained undeveloped and in its natural state…….
Here, the property has been used for open space purposes by the public for over 30 years, but it is not clear that it was used for open space purposes by the City. The City did install signs in the 1980s indicating that the land was City open space and the City has never indicated otherwise. Although this Court does so with significant hesitation, based on the totality of the circumstances presented, and applying a plain reading of the City Charter as required, this Court has no option but to find that this property has been used for open space and thus falls within the purview of City Charter Provision 14.3(b). As such, the property may not be leased or sold without a favorable vote on the question of such lease or sale by a majority of the registered electors of the City voting thereon…..
There is an Open Records Act Violation in this case because the decision to develop this land was made behind closed doors.
THE OWL TEAM WILL BE ATTENDING. PLEASE JOIN US.
JANUARY 22nd 6:30—7:30 p.m.
HAMILTON MIDDLE SCHOOL
8600 E Dartmouth Ave, Denver, CO 80231
COMMUNITY MEETING TO SHARE DESIGN PLANS & SCHEDULE
IMPORTANT!! We are looking for witnesses who recreationally used the Cherry Creek pathway/trail to the Hentzell Park Natural Area/Hampden Height North Park near Kenwood Dam before 1955. We understand that picnicking, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, and birdwatching are a few of the recreational uses of the trail. If you have older relatives or friends please ask them about their memories of this time. Contact Judy Case at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you believe the work that we are doing is important please consider joining Friends of Denver Parks as an honorary member or sponsoring a fundraiser. http://www.friendsofdenverparks.org
Thanks so much for your support and hope to see you at the meeting,
Renee - President
Friends of Denver Parks
at 2:34 PM
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Hot topic: Help Fight Colorado Highway Privatization
cell: 720 436-2465
website: Friends of Colorado
at 10:35 AM
Friday, January 17, 2014
|Brown with tomato plants |
(once considered poisonous)
at 6:42 PM
Today we the Friends of Colorado started to FIGHT BACK by issuing a national media release raising the ALARM.
Advisory Board Chair, Drive SunShine Institute (DSI)
at 9:03 AM
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Councilwoman Susan Shepherd, at the same neighborhood meeting, thanked those neighbors for supporting the GDP and for supporting the developer, EFG. While we are disappointed that elected officials don’t primarily care about voters’ views, and about following democratically adopted plans and zoning, our work to effect a positive outcome for this development continues.
As a next step, let’s get involved with the individual developers who will buy portions of this land. Some of them are presenting their concepts next Wednesday, January 22. This is a great opportunity to share concerns that are meaningful to them and will help make this a better development for everyone.
The open house is at: Confluence Ministries, 1400 Quitman, Wednesday, January 22, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Our petition to lower heights to a maximum of 8 stories and to increase open space gathered 690 signatures in under a week. That’s almost six times the number of people who wrote in to comment on the GDP, before the hearing in December. And out of those, the vast majority expressed concern about the excessive scale and lack of open space in the plan.
Please be assured that the Mayor and Councilwoman Shepherd are aware of this petition. They are.
It is a shame that we, collectively, have elected City officials who don’t care about voters’ views. Also, by not making a decision on zoning that fits the intended development of this property now, our politicians kick the can of zoning fights down the road, leaving both developers and residents in uncertainty.
Either way, the good fight for a good outcome on this site continues. Thank you so much for your passion and for your polite and appropriate advocacy to date. Please stay engaged with this process and let’s work together for as good of a result as possible.
Sloan’s Lake Town Center
at 5:32 PM
The Owl team will be attending this event. (See Below) PLEASE SUPPORT FRIENDS OF DENVER PARKS AND JOIN US.
Your presence will be important. Be forewarned this is a sham event. The audience will be loaded with DPS and Parks & Wreck employees invited specifically to be involved in this dog and pony show! The last time they had this event they invited a member of the Greenway Foundation who knew nothing about this project until four hours before the event. He gave his green wash seal of approval and extolled the virtues of the plan to an astounding degree. I've never felt the same about the Greenway Foundation after seeing how this person allowed himself to be a tool in that manner.
This Meeting is clearly a "BIG ME, LITTLE YOU" attempt to bypass the communitie's right to a legal process at all levels. In spite of these undeniable "Power Over" tactics, Friends of Denver Parks will have their day in court on May 19. We have incredibly good news as to how that is shaping up.
We are also in the process of developing a strong public response to the theft of our parks. At last count we have 42 parks that are wide open and unprotected. Or should I say, protected against the vote of the people. We are already getting dictates from Parks & Wreck as to how many acres they plan to set aside for projects in some of these parks. This is an unacceptable bypass of Denver City Charter 2.4.5 that requires a vote of the people before repurposing any park land.
If you believe the work that we are doing is important please donate to support John Case and our court case. John is working pro bono but we will need substantial funds to get this court case done right. http://www.friendsofdenverparks.org
IMPORTANT!! We are looking for witnesses who recreationally used the Cherry Creek pathway/trail to the Hentzell Park Natural Area/Hampden Height North Park near Kenwood Dam before 1955. We understand that picnicking, horseback riding, hiking,fishing, and birdwatching are a few of the recreational uses of the trail. If you have older relatives or friends please ask them about their memories of this time. Contact Judy Case email address: email@example.com
Thanks so much for your support and hope to see you at the meeting,
Renee - President
Friends of Denver Parks
at 11:31 AM
Northeast Neighbors, please come to the Whittier Neighborhood Association meeting tonight (Jan. 15) at 6:30 p.m. at 2900 Downing to help us pass this resolution supporting a request for further study of plans for a playground expansion at City Park. You don't have to have a position on the current proposal, just a desire to see more neighborhood input into what happens at City Park.
at 11:24 AM