Saturday, December 3, 2005

Anti-Bush Demonstration Denver 11-29-05

I got two or three emails about this demonstration and I decided to try out my new extensible monopod. It's a single-leg support for the Sony VX2000 that can be raised up to 10' and with a lanc wire running back down to hand level, it makes for a steady above-most-heads platform. I'm looking for an inexpensive LCD panel at eye-level. Thanks to the effort of very good driver(s) the billboards on wheels seemed to be everywhere. I called them "fantactic" because I think they are a fantastic tactic. While Bush was inside giving an 18-minute speech, he raised $500,000 for Marilyn Musgrave, infamously anti-gay. Click here to watch 'Denver-Demonstration-11-29-05'

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Seeing is Believing

"For many Coloradans, a tantalizing feature of Referendum C was restoration of the state's Senior Homestead Exemption, a valuable tax break for older homeowners that had been suspended because of state fiscal distress. The Homestead Exemption wasn't specifically mentioned in C, but supporters pledged to use revenues freed up by passage of the referendum to restore the program, which covers residents 65 or older who have owned their homes for at least 10 years. We were glad that state officials have quickly put the wheels in motion. The homestead law exempts 50 percent of the first $200,000 of the actual value of eligible homes. The savings won't mean much for the wealthy, but for other seniors, it could translate into extra groceries or needed medicine. The savings will average about $500 annually per property."

Friday, November 25, 2005

What Can You Do?

Bush is coming to Denver for a fundraising luncheon to support the candidacy of Marilyn Musgrave. How will we respond? LOUDLY! Join other groups from the peace & justice community, Tuesday November 29th at 10:45 in the morning. Bring pots & pans with wooden spoons, noisemakers, drums, whistles, and your loudest voice. WEAR EARPLUGS. Gather at the State Capitol Building at 10:45 AM. Another group is preparing sings to distribute that read: "WE ARE NOT SAFER, OCCUPATION BREEDS HATE" and BRING THE TROOPS HOME WHERE THEY BELONG". Please be prepared to pay $2 for a sign. At 11:00 AM we will begin the short walk to The Brown Palace. We want to be outside The Brown Palace from 11:15 AM to 12:45 PM. (Thanks to the groups and people that have planned this event.)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Keep The Change

As predicted, Colorado voters changed their minds about Referendum C from an initial 60% opposed to a 52% for under the influence of the thousands of trough-feeding groups and their media campaign. Happens every time. But in the big picture, the additional $600 million for the trough next year is merely a "tip" for the government, since they are already taking $16 billion. And I've heard hardly a whimper about Referred Question 1B, which gives the Denver government a 10-year break from TABOR. But since I-100 passed, I guess we can all start smoking pot and forget that our pockets have, once again, been picked.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Not One More

The proposed National Strike has morphed into 1100 demonstrations to protest the illegal war in Iraq and the death of 2000 US soldiers and over 30,000 Iraqis, to be held at a location near you. Click on title above to find one.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

National Strike for Peace

Some are calling for a National Strike on the day after the death toll of American Soldiers in Iraq hits 2,000. The current tally is 1,996. We will probably reach 2,000 on Monday or Tuesday of this week. Are you ready? 1. Stay home from work. Call in and tell them you are out on a National Strike for Peace. 2. Stay home from school. Ditto. 3. Take to the streets. Carry a large sign. "National Strike for Peace." 4. Be disruptive - be creative. A stalled car can stop thousands. 5. Talk to your neighbors about stopping American global aggression. You probably have never seen a National Strike. I was in Peru once when a National Strike was called. All of the workers and students stayed home. They took over the streets. They dragged burning tires into the streets to stop the cars. They threw stones at commercial vehicles trying to drive on the streets. I am not giving any advice as to what you might do. Be peaceful - no violence. Use your imagination. This war must stop - now. "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,..."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

From the Blue Book

Arguments Against 1) Referendum C is effectively a tax increase. It eliminates TABOR refunds for five years and reduces them each year thereafter. The state will spend roughly $3.743 billion that could be better used by Colorado's citizens and businesses. This reduction in private spending could dampen the economic recovery that began in 2003, making the state a less desirable place for business relocation. Not only are taxpayers giving up their sales tax refund, they are also voting to suspend 15 other refunds, such as a child care credit, lower motor vehicle fees, and capital gains credits. The estimated five-year total for all refund methods, including the sales tax refund, averages $1,106 per taxpayer. 2) Referendum C allows state spending to expand without being specific about the programs for which the money will be spent. The broad spending categories outlined in Referendum C cover 83 percent of state government. The new money could replace current spending on health care and public schools, essentially allowing the money to be spent for any purpose. The legislature can change the spending priorities anytime after the election. In addition, suspending the TABOR limit might lead to increases in fees and charges during the next five years because there is no limit on these increases and no requirement that these increases be approved by voters. 3) The perceived budget shortfall could be handled in other ways. TABOR allows government growth at inflation plus population, but it does not guarantee it. Government growth at a slower rate is acceptable and could encourage greater productivity and efficiency. Since TABOR passed in 1992, state spending has increased each year. Rather than spending more, the state could save money by eliminating inefficiencies, consolidating government functions, privatizing certain services, and reforming the state purchasing system.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Greedy Guts

It sure is hard to figure out the truth when you listen to all of the TV ads telling you that Colorado will crumble unless we give the government more of our money and vote yes on C and D. But I found a site that will give you every last detail of the whole debate (click on title). Ari Armstrong of The Colorado Freedom Report has all of the numbers and analysis you could want. I quote the final paragraph: "State government is expected to continue to grow every year into the future no matter what. Under Referendum C, state government would grow much more. If the growth of state spending is restrained under current rules, taxpayers will get back significant TABOR-related refunds -- a total of $3.6 billion over five years. Under Referendum C, taxpayers wouldn't get back any TABOR-related refunds over the next five years, but the legislature would be able to spend even more money."

Thursday, September 29, 2005

C ollect and D istribute

I know eventually I'll have to write about the upcoming Colorado election and its so-called ballot issues know as referenda C and D. My problem is that I remember the results of similar votes over the last 34 years. Every time the Denver or Colorado voters are given a chance to hurt themselves by voting to increase their taxes in exchange for more "services" (or the threat of decreased "services"), we fall for the ads and vote against our own interests. Like letting 62,000 of us who voted for it create the monster that will be the new, world-class Denver Justice Center (Jail). This behemoth will provide us with problems for the next 5 years, and its already started with the land-swap to allow a 35-story building next to Larimer Square. Prediction: If it is actually built, the Final Tab on the Justice Center will top ONE BILLION DOLLARS! Since we gave them a blank check, this won't be a problem (for them). So I say, Go Ahead Colorado, vote yes on C and D and give them another blank check for THREE BILLION + (their estimate). Don't complain when you can't pay your heating bill (cost of natural gas is already set to double from last year) or fill up your tank on that $4.00 unleaded. Just start walking to keep warm!

Fencing on eBay

As noted below, the Denver Police had a "showing" of all of the recovered loot from the Prolific Burglar. None of my stuff was there. In talking with a couple of the cops there I learned that much of what he had stolen in the previous 3-4 years had been sold on eBay, probably including my laptop, camcorders, and jewelry. that's were all of that stuff on eBay comes from. Maybe next time I'll look there first.

Friday, September 9, 2005

Stolen Items Available for Viewing

If you were burglarized anytime during the past few years at your home or office in Capitol Hill, you may want to visit the downtown police headquarters to see if any of your stolen items show up. Apparently this so-called "prolific burglar" had the strange habit of keeping most of the laptops and digital cameras he stole. The story of how he was caught, a second time, by the son of the detective who caught him the first time, is quite interesting. Apparently, the son wrote a paper on the burglar, who was a locksmith, after his father caught him the first time, in 1992. I'm not sure why it took 4 years of burglaries before he was caught the second time, but at least he was finally caught. One of the signs of this burglar was that there was no "breaking" in his "entering". He picked the locks. This finally answers the question I couldn't figure out after I was burglarized - how he was able to get in to my house through a door I knew I had locked. I was only gone for 1 1/2 hours and he cleaned me out. Very proficient, but finally caught trying to sell the guns he had stolen. Good luck getting your stuff back. Items Taken In Capitol Hill Burglaries Available For Public Viewing CITY WIDE -Denver Police investigators will make available for public viewing hundreds of items taken from homes in the Capitol Hill area by burglar Jeffrey Trott (D.O.B. 8-26-53). The viewing will take place on Saturday, September 10, 2005, at Denver Police Headquarters, located at 1331 Cherokee Street, from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Jeffrey Trott is believed to be responsible for nearly 400 burglaries over a 3-4 year period. The items will be made available for the media prior to the public viewing on Friday, September 9, 2005 from 3:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. in the Denver Police Auditorium.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Pedal Power to the People

(Police motorcycle in the background) Something amazing happened on York Street last night. Over 2000 cyclists streamed by my place at about 11:00 pm and completely took over the street. First I heard the sounds; hooting, talking, laughing, ringing their bells. I went outside into the cool night air and was totally surprised to see hundreds and hundreds of these happy riders cruising by. I kept thinking that I should go inside and get my video camera but I was sure that it would end soon and I would miss the action. The first wave that I saw completely occupied the two lanes of York going south; four to six abreast, there were no cars. The silent whooshing of these night riders dominating the street brought me a feeling of what might be. I kept watching as they cruised by, a motorless alternative to the usual noise and exhaust spewing cars and motorcycles. They were laughing and joking as they rode, some in costume, some on “built for twos”, others bedecked in mini-lights, kids, parents, grandparents, a veritable party on wheels. And still they kept on coming. Literally thousands were participating in the river of alternative … what? Was this the Critical Mass movement? Nope, that’s on the 3rd Friday of each month. After about 10 minutes I finally saw a car trapped in the stream – a black stretch limo. Later I saw a single motorcycle cop cruising at speed. He pulled over and just watched. After 15 minutes I went inside and got my video camera. Although the stream had diminished somewhat when I returned a minute later, it was still impressive. Ooops, someone took a spill. Those around him exclaimed “whoooops” and parted carefully to avoid further accidents. Back on the bike after a few joking jeers from friends, the parade continued. At one point there appeared three cars amidst the stream. They were aggressively honking and racing their engines, but to no avail…what were they going to do, run over a few kids to exert their supremacy? No…their powerful poison pistons were rendered impotent … their occupants reduced to hollering and waving their fists out the window… to the laughter of those pedaling nearby. Eventually the stream diminished to groups of 20 to 30, packaged by the traffic light at the intersection upstream. But they continued to come … and laugh, and wave, and demonstrate the power of the people to quietly upset the status quo in a way I had never before witnessed. While watching the video later to extract the frame-grabs above, I Googled and found what I guess must be the origin of this amazing event, the Moonlight Classic. What a wonderful event! It was a sight to behold, and somehow brought me new hope in a peak-oil, Iraq-lies, Bush-Boy-in-the-Bubble world. Pedal power to the people!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Denver Rally for Cindy and Peace

Over 800 people (by my estimate) streamed into downtown Denver's Civic Center Park to "Give Peace a Chance". After a few comments and attempts at group singing, the crowd settled down for 20 minutes of silence in response to Cindy Sheehan's Crawford mission - to ask Bush "what is the noble cause my son died for?" Bush can't meet with Cindy because there is no noble cause - just the lust for the control of oil. Read all about it at the Project for a New American Century, Check out what the neo-rads were saying in the year 2000, Rebuilding America's Defenses, and see what they boldly planned to do, and are now doing. It's no big secret folks.

Friday, August 5, 2005

Meeting of Coleman Manor Neighbors and Representatives

Background Coleman Manor is a HUD subsidized housing project at 22nd and Humboldt in Denver, Colorado. Built in 1968, the project consists of 24 rental units owned by the Campbell Chapel A.M.E. Church, located nearby. In recent years, the project has become a magnet for criminal activities, much to the consternation of its nearby neighbors (see police statistics below). Recently, the second murder in 18 months at this property propelled the neighbors to action. A meeting was called and hosted by the City Park West Neighborhood Association on July 13, 2005. Over 200 flyers, announcing the meeting, were distributed in the project, and the 9 blocks surrounding the project. The following videos were taken at that meeting. Technical Note: In order to view these videos, you must have a broadband internet connection such as DSL or cable modem. First download the free Google Video Viewer. Click on this link and then click on “Download Video Viewer”. This process only takes a few minutes. Part 1 Nearby neighbor voices concerns over drinking taking place on the Church property. Church spokesperson Reverend and Attorney Felicia George counters that this is part of their Ministry. Part 2 Church spokesperson Reverend and Attorney Felicia George explains how to register a complaint. Part 3 A young resident at Coleman Manor explains her point of view. Part 4 Mr. Simpson, representing the Church, responds to the suggestion that Coleman Manor provide security at the site. Part 5 Nearby neighbors and a business owner express concern over panhandling, fighting, indecent exposure and public urination. Reverend Regina Groff, pastor at the church, enters the meeting room. Part 6 Neighbor from across the street speaks about her experiences for the last 4 years and the recent murder. City Councilperson Elbra Wedgeworth details who is responsible. Part 7 Reverend Regina Groff details her concerns and considerations.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Police Report on Coleman Manor

Source: Denver Police Department (edited for readability) Offenses at Physical Address - 2002-2004 Date ---------------Address ----------------Description 1-May-02 --------1438 23RD AVE E-------------FAMILY 2-May-02 --------1438 23RD AVE E-------------BURGLARY 23-Dec-02 --------1414 23RD AVE E-------------SEX OFFENSE 1-Mar-03 ---------2233 HUMBOLDT ----------BURGLARY 28-Sep-03 --------1420 23RD AVE E------------AGG ASSAULT 11-Jan-04 ---------1426 23RD AVE E------------HOMICIDE Murder, 1 degree 27-Jan-04---------- 2233 HUMBOLDT---------BURGLARY 12-Mar-04 --------2241 HUMBOLDT-------- AGG ASSAULT 12-Apr-04-------- 2236 LAFAYETTE-------- DISORDERLY CONDUCT 17-Jun-04 --------1420 23RD AVE E--------BURGLARY 17-Jun-04-------- 2241 HUMBOLDT --------ROBBERY Aggravated 12-Oct-04 --------2241 HUMBOLDT-------- ROBBERY Aggravated Calls for Service at Physical Address - 2003-2004 Date --------------------Address ----------------Description 22-Jan-04 ------------1400 23RD AVE E------------Vehicle stop 22-Jan-04------------ 1400 23RD AVE E------------Vehicle stop 04-Feb-04 ------------1400 23RD AVE E------------Vehicle stop 07-Mar-03 ------------1402 23RD AVE E------------Intruder 11-Mar-03 ------------1402 23RD AVE E------------Burglary 13-Mar-03 ------------1402 23RD AVE E------------Report 19-Mar-03------------ 1402 23RD AVE E------------Suspicious Person 27-Mar-03 ------------1402 23RD AVE E------------Intruder 29-Mar-03 ------------1402 23RD AVE E------------Nature Unknown 29-Mar-03 ------------1402 23RD AVE E------------Check Welfare 08-Apr-03 ------------1402 23RD AVE E------------Unknown Medical 11-Apr-03 ------------1402 23RD AVE E------------Panic 06-Jan-03------------ 1414 23RD AVE E------------Check Welfare 04-Apr-04 ------------1414 23RD AVE E ------------Check Welfare 16-Apr-04 ------------1414 23RD AVE E ------------Child Abuse/Neglect 29-Apr-04 ------------1414 23RD AVE E ------------CMP In Progress 04-Aug-04 ------------1414 23RD AVE E ------------Runaway 24-Dec-04 ------------1414 23RD AVE E ------------Nature Unknown 27-Apr-03 ------------1420 23RD AVE E ------------Domestic Violence-In Progress 28-Sep-03 ------------1420 23RD AVE E ------------Domestic Violence-In Progress 16-Apr-04 ------------1420 23RD AVE E ------------Theft In Progress 17-Jun-04 ------------1420 23RD AVE E ------------Burglary Report 25-Jun-04 ------------1420 23RD AVE E ------------Domestic Violence-In Progress 30-Jul-04 ------------1420 23RD AVE E ------------Domestic Violence-In Progress 26-Aug-04 ------------1420 23RD AVE E ------------Sick Case 12-Sep-04 ------------1420 23RD AVE E ------------Overdose 01-Oct-04 ------------1420 23RD AVE E ------------Family Disturbance 01-Oct-04 ------------1420 23RD AVE E ------------Family Disturbance 27-Nov-04 ------------1420 23RD AVE E ------------Family Disturbance 29-Dec-04 ------------1420 23RD AVE E ------------911 Unknown- Open Line 30-Dec-04 ------------1420 23RD AVE E ------------Family Disturbance 30-Dec-04 ------------1420 23RD AVE E ------------Unwanted Person 3-Jul-03 ------------1426 23RD AVE E ------------Theft Report 11-Jan-04 ------------1426 23RD AVE E ------------911 Hang Up 13-Jan-04 ------------1426 23RD AVE E ------------Abandoned Vehicle 23-Dec-04 ------------1426 23RD AVE E ------------Auto Theft Report 2-Apr-03 ------------1432 23RD AVE E ------------Unwanted Person 11-Jul-03 ------------1432 23RD AVE E------------ Domestic Violence Report 09-Jun-04 ------------1432 23RD AVE E ------------Unconscious 7-May-03 ------------1444 23RD AVE E------------ Runaway 30-Mar-03 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 30-Mar-03 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 20-Apr-03 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 20-Apr-03 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 17-May-03------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------Nature Unknown 5-Jun-03 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------Domestic Violence-In Progress 27-Jun-03 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------Check Welfare 29-Jun-03 ------------1450 23RD AVE E------------ 911 Pay Phone 1-Jul-03------------ 1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 1-Jul-03 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 2-Jul-03 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 20-Jul-03 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 10-Oct-03 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------Nature Unknown 11-Oct-03 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 18-Oct-03 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 30-Nov-03 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------Robbery Just Occurred 11-Jan-04 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 11-Jan-04------------ 1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 19-Jan-04 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 23-Jan-04------------ 1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Unknown- Open Line 09-May-04 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 14-Aug-04 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------Nature Unknown 13-Dec-04 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 13-Dec-04 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 15-Dec-04 ------------1450 23RD AVE E ------------911 Pay Phone 01-Mar-03 ------------2233 HUMBOLDT ------------911 Hang Up 01-Mar-03 ------------2233 HUMBOLDT ------------Burglary Report 30-Jun-03------------ 2233 HUMBOLDT ------------Music / Noise 15-Jul-03 ------------2233 HUMBOLDT ------------Narcotics 29-Aug-03------------ 2233 HUMBOLDT ------------Domestic Violence-In Progress 21-May-04 ------------2233 HUMBOLDT ------------Music / Noise 23-Aug-04 ------------2233 HUMBOLDT ------------Unwanted Person 31-Aug-04 ------------2233 HUMBOLDT ------------Narcotics 04-Sep-04 ------------2233 HUMBOLDT------------ Narcotics 12-Oct-04 ------------2233 HUMBOLDT ------------Person with a gun 17-Nov-04 ------------2233 HUMBOLDT------------ Unwanted Person 05-Jul-04 ------------2237 HUMBOLDT ------------Family Disturbance 12-Jul-03 ------------2241 HUMBOLDT ------------Burglary In Progress 14-Jan-04 ------------2241 HUMBOLDT------------ Auto Theft Report 12-Mar-04------------ 2241 HUMBOLDT ------------Domestic Violence-Weapons 17-Jun-04 ------------2241 HUMBOLDT ------------Robbery Report 05-Jul-04 ------------2241 HUMBOLDT------------ Nature Unknown 02-Sep-04------------ 2241 HUMBOLDT ------------Disturbance 12-Oct-04 ------------2241 HUMBOLDT ------------Disturbance 17-Oct-04 ------------2241 HUMBOLDT ------------BOLO 20-May-03------------ 2243 HUMBOLDT ------------Domestic Violence-In Progress 11-Nov-03 ------------2243 HUMBOLDT ------------911 Hang Up 28-Jan-04------------ 2243 HUMBOLDT ------------Attempt Contact 07-Jan-03------------ 2245 HUMBOLDT ------------Auto Theft Recovery 12-Oct-04 ------------2247 HUMBOLDT ------------Person with a gun 11-May-04 ------------2249 HUMBOLDT ------------911 Hang Up 18-May-04------------ 2249 HUMBOLDT ------------Check Welfare 14-Jul-04 ------------2249 HUMBOLDT ------------Attempt Pick Up 21-Mar-03 ------------2253 HUMBOLDT ------------911 Unknown- Open Line 08-Jan-03 ------------2261 HUMBOLDT ------------Abdominal Pain 16-Feb-03 ------------2261 HUMBOLDT ------------Auto Theft Report 11-May-03 ------------2261 HUMBOLDT ------------Abdominal Pain 05-May-04 ------------2261 HUMBOLDT ------------Seizure 06-May-04 ------------2261 HUMBOLDT ------------Music / Noise 10-Jun-04------------ 2261 HUMBOLDT ------------Music / Noise 26-Jun-04 ------------2261 HUMBOLDT ------------Seizure 05-Aug-04 ------------2261 HUMBOLDT ------------Assault 05-Aug-04 ------------2261 HUMBOLDT ------------Assault 07-Oct-04 ------------2261 HUMBOLDT ------------Domestic Violence-In Progress 11-Oct-04 ------------2261 HUMBOLDT ------------Narcotics 18-Dec-04 ------------2261 HUMBOLDT ------------Seizure 27-Jan-04 ------------2233 HUMBOLDT ------------Burglary In Progress 11-Dec-04 ------------2232 LAFAYETTE ------------Family Disturbance 12-Apr-04 ------------2236 LAFAYETTE ------------Threats Report 18-Apr-04 ------------2236 LAFAYETTE ------------Domestic Violence-In Progress 14-Jul-04 ------------2240 LAFAYETTE ------------Check Welfare 28-Aug-04 ------------2240 LAFAYETTE ------------Threats w/Weapons 25-Dec-04 ------------2240 LAFAYETTE ------------911 Hang Up 02-Feb-03 ------------2244 LAFAYETTE ------------911 Unknown- Open Line 12-Mar-04 ------------2244 LAFAYETTE ------------Auto Theft Recovery 29-Aug-04 ------------2244 LAFAYETTE ------------Fight 04-Jun-03------------ 2248 LAFAYETTE ------------Family Disturbance 09-Jun-03 ------------2248 LAFAYETTE ------------Unconcious 04-Sep-03------------ 2252 LAFAYETTE ------------Altered Mentation 20-Apr-04 ------------2252 LAFAYETTE ------------Threats w/Weapons 21-Apr-04------------ 2252 LAFAYETTE ------------Information Call 16-Nov-04 ------------2260 LAFAYETTE ------------Threats Report 22-Dec-04 ------------2260 LAFAYETTE ------------Family Disturbance

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Voters Sign Blank Check for Jail

I am not sure if the 62,000 voters (of 250,000 registered) knew it, but the "Justice Center" question included a tax increase. "... and shall property taxes be increased by an estimated $17,328,000 for the first full fiscal year (2008) and annually in amounts sufficient to pay such debt?" This, dear reader, is a blank check, since we do not know what the amount will be. I think the hedge jumpers feel that Mayor Hickenlooper scored a victory with the approval by voters. Wait until the cost overruns, delays, strikes, non-budgeted items, etc. begin to pile up and the cost soars. How much will "such debt" be? Any ideas for the name of the Justice Center? How about The Hickenlocker?

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Pile It On

It looks to me like the New Jail referendum 1A is going to pass by a narrow margin. This is just another example of the people of Denver voting to hurt themselves. The construction companies have donated enough money, the names have jumped in, and the TV ads have been chipping away at the 70% who where originally against the proposed $600,000,000 of new indebtedness. But I say, hey, pile it on. What do we care? What's another $1000 per person for our debt 'junkie' nation, currently carrying a total debt of $37 trillion, or $128,560 per man, woman and child. And what's more, isn't the End of Days coming? Don't worry, be happy!

What's Wrong With Our Country?

Thanks to "The Real Cost of Prisons Weblog" (Click on title for entire article). "Nearly 1,000 new individuals incarcerated each week in US... Despite crime being in decline for over a decade, these numbers show a persistent rise in prison population, and push the US’s rate of incarceration to a startling 726 per 100,000-maintaining the US status as the world’s leading incarcerator (*England-142, *China-118, *France-91, *Japan-58, *Nigeria-31---*Incarceration rates per 100,000 citizens). “Unless we promote alternatives to prison, the nation will continue to lead the world in imprisonment,” says Jason Ziedenberg, executive director of the Justice Policy Institute. “While the numbers of incarcerated people continue to rise, some legislators are realizing that by removing the barriers to housing and jobs that formerly incarcerated individuals face when re-entering their communities, we can improve public safety, cut corrections costs, and rebuild communities.” Kaplan said the growth was caused by factors including: increased arrest rates for low-level offenses, particularly in low-income neighborhoods where many residents cannot meet bail, the increased detention of non-citizen immigrants in county facilities, and a rising number of people with mental illness who were formerly residing in mental health facilities. She said jail growth could easily be addressed by implementing the reforms that move people through, and frequently out, of the system faster. "

Money Well Spent

Recently I heard a report on the radio that China had spent $250 million on a stem cell research facility. To date, they have tested stem cell injections on 600 spinal injury patients with positive results. One quadriplegic reported regaining the use of her hands after treatment. She stated that she thought it amazing that she had to travel to China to receive this treatment. I couldn’t help comparing that $250 million with Denver’s proposal to spend $360 million for a new jail. I wonder how many people will be “cured” in our new facility.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Denver Police Scanner

You can now hear the Denver Police Scanner for free online. Click on the title above. Update: This link no longer connects to a live scanner.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Let’s see, you are homeless and you have to pee. No luck at the filling station because RESTROOMS FOR CUSTOMERS ONLY. No luck at the park because the porta-potties are gone.

So you duck behind a dumpster, and five oh rolls up on you and now you have a ticket, which turns into a warrant for your arrest when you don’t show up at court. You could have put up $100 bond and forfeited it when you didn’t show up, but of course you don’t have $100. If you are arrested later, you will generally serve 1 day in jail for each $100 ticket. Loitering, littering, public drunkenness, sleeping in the park, solicitation of passengers … wait a minute, what’s that last one. Solicitation of passengers?

That was the charge against a homeless man I know. Here is the ordinance: Sec. 39-20. Solicitation of passengers prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit passage for any vehicle for hire or gratis upon any park premises without special permission in writing from the manager of parks and recreation. This ticket was issued by officer Patrick Mulhern on August 16, 2004, to a person who was not in a park and had no vehicle.

After this man was arrested on March 30, 2005 and taken to jail, a hearing was held before Judge J Marcucci, who said he did not understand the original charge, so he left it in place and added another violation Sec 39-7. Here is that ordinance: Sec. 39-7. Camping and erection of tents and buildings prohibited. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person to camp or otherwise sleep overnight in or upon any park, parkway, mountain park or other recreational facility, without first having obtained a permit to do so from the manager of parks and recreation. (b) It shall be unlawful for any person, other than authorized personnel, to build or place any tent, building, shack, booth, stand or other structure in or upon any park, parkway, mountain park or other recreational facility, without first having obtained a permit to do so from the manager of parks and recreation.

This man was not sleeping, had no tent, and was not in a park – he was panhandling at 17th and York. Amazingly, Marcucci sentenced him to 5 days in jail. I have to ask myself what the purpose of this incarceration might be. To punish this guy for breaking these laws? No. This is harassment pure and simple. This is one reason we have “overcrowding” in our jail.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Dream of "New Justice" Center

I would love for Denver to have a new Justice Center. In fact, I love all of the new stuff that Denver has gotten over the last 10 years. Even the Webb Building is very cool. Denver deserves the best it can afford. And that’s the problem; we can’t afford a new Justice Center until we can afford school supplies and textbooks for our kids. I know what I’m talking about here, because I am the director of a not-for-profit educational corporation which last year raised over $3,000 in cash and $10,000 in material donations for one elementary school in my neighborhood. These kids wouldn’t have had enough money for paper and pencils without these generous donations from our local businesses and agencies. So let’s get our priorities straight. A new jail would be great. But school supplies and textbooks have to come first. And then upgraded school facilities. And then increased salaries for our teachers. And so on. We can build a new jail for the kids and the adults that they grow into after we have given them the best education we can afford. I’m guessing that if we did that we might not need so many additional jail beds.

You Can't Believe Everything You Read (2)

Was located between York and Josephine at 17th Ave. At a public meeting of the City Park West Neighborhood Association, during a discussion of the homeless people panhandling at 17th and York, a City Park official made the statement that "those people will be removed". Shortly thereafter, these two signs appeared on the large traffic island which separates York and Josephine between 17th and 18th avenues. Because I have gotten to know a homeless man who often stands on one of those corners, I asked him what the effect had been. He reported that he had stepped off the 300 feet and was now in compliance with the sign. I started to wonder what the definition of "Park Property" was and if it included the median, in which case the 300 feet would include where he was standing. So I decided to look it up. I had heard that City Council had passed new ordinances governing the "safety issues" of panhandling on busy streets. I looked up the city ordinances online but could not find one that mentioned 300 feet and panhandling. I had also noticed that unlike many city signs, this one did not refer to an ordinance by number, and that these two signs appeared to be unique, as I could not find any others anywhere else around the periphery of City Park. So …. I emailed my City Council person, whose staff had been helpful in the past. They referred me to a District 2 police phone number. That number had been disconnected, and anyway the sign was actually in Police District 6. So I called them. The police officer who answered the phone had a hearty laugh when I asked the question. “The lawmakers expect us to know?”, he chortled. “They’re the ones who make up these things. How are we supposed to know.” He suggested that I call Parks and Recreation. Which I did. After a few calls I reached the office of Mr. Ron Sanders, in charge of Regulations at Parks and Rec. I explained the situation and asked if it could refer to: Sec. 39-11. Huckstering prohibited. It shall be unlawful to offer any goods, services or thing for sale within any park, parkway, mountain park or other recreational facility, or on the streets and sidewalks within three hundred (300) feet of the boundary of the same, without first having obtained a license or privilege so to do in the manner and pursuant to terms and conditions fixed by the mayor's cabinet. which was the only one I could find that mentions 300 feet. Sanders agreed that panhandling was not huckstering. He said he would check into it. A week later I received a phone message from Christopher, Operations Manager of City Park, who said that the sign referred to: Sec. 54-548. Solicitation on street or highway medians. (a) The purpose of this section is to prevent dangers to persons and property, to prevent delays, and to avoid interference with the traffic flow. Roadways that have center medians often are designed to deal with specific traffic flow problems. The presence of pedestrians on center medians poses dangers to both pedestrians and traffic and interferes with the traffic planning process. (b) It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit employment, business, contributions, or sales of any kind, or collect monies for the same, from the occupant of any vehicle travelling (sic) upon any street, road or highway when such solicitation or collection involves the person performing the activity to be located upon any median area which separates traffic lanes for vehicular travel in opposite directions. (c) The penalty for the first conviction under this section shall not exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00) and the maximum penalty for additional violations shall not exceed fifty dollars ($50.00). This didn’t seem to fit either. Later, Mr. Sanders called me again and explained that after consultation with City Attorney Patrick Wheeler, it was determined that the signs were in error and would be removed. When I checked two days later, the signs were gone. I wonder how many people were ticketed and/or fined based on these bogus signs. Clearly this had been an abuse of power targeted at certain individuals.

You Can't Believe Everything You Read

The other sign as seen looking North on York at 18th See discussion above

Monday, April 11, 2005

Reasons to Vote No on 1A - New Jail

1. We already voted against this in 2001. 2. We don't really need a new jail, we need to rehab the old one. 3. We don't need to put more people in jail, we need to divert them to programs which will help solve their problems. 4. We don't even know who is currently in our jail, or why. 5. We don't need a tax increase, which 1A clearly states: "...AND SHALL CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER PROPERTY TAXES BE INCREASED BY AN ESTIMATED $17,328,000 FOR THE FIRST FULL FISCAL YEAR (2008)..." 6. Nor do we need to give the City a blank check "...INCREASED ... ANNUALLY WITHOUT LIMITATION...." 7. Using prime downtown property for a jail is not the "highest and best use" for which this real estate could used. 8. Moving non-court offices to the Webb Building would create more than enough space for the expansion of the courts in the current City and County Building. 9. The Webb Building is not fully occupied so there is plenty of room for these non-court offices, and moving them would take a lot of hall traffic out of the City and County Building, and put empty space which we already own to good use. 10. None of the "incidents" reported as safety issues involved threats by inmates in the halls. 11. The proponents of this boondoggle have not budgeted for operating this proposed center. How much would this cost? No one seems to know. 12. Using the population of Denver at 550,000, this proposal would cost $1300 for every man woman and child in Denver over the next 20 years. Denver currently cannot afford school supplies for its children. Let's get the priorities straight. 13. Building a jail that does not look like a jail defeats the purpose of a jail. 14. If Denver were to stop ticketing the homeless for meaningless infractions, there would be no overcrowding at the downtown jail. (More on this later.) To be continued ...

Sunday, April 10, 2005

New Justice Center? "It won't look like a jail".

Could the Denver Police Department be systematically rounding up citizens to increase the "overcrowding" at the Denver Jail? This report from a homeless friend who was inside the jail last week: He had been "flying his sign" on the street corner as usual when he was arrested for three outstanding warrants. These warrants were from last December, and although he has been out on the street almost every day since, the officer decided now was the time to take him in. While he was incarcerated, he was taken from his cell and put into a large holding cell with 30 to 40 other inmates. Two photographers came in and photographed them in this large cell. He reports that the police said they needed to demonstrate the “overcrowding” problems they were having, “because we need a new jail”. (More on this report later). Who is in the Denver Jail? “Adults arrested for serious offenses grew by a modest 3 percent. Persons arrested for less serious offenses drove the large growth in adult arrests. Less serious arrests cover such criminal activities as illicit drug possession or sale, fraud, simple assaults, and public order offenses. These arrests grew by 14 percent. Drug arrests (up 32 percent) largely drove the increase in volume among these less serious offenses. Much of this increase in drug arrests was attributable to arrests for drug possession (up 42 percent).”

Friday, April 8, 2005

Vote No On 1A

1A is the vote on building a new "Justice Center" downtown for a cost of nearly $600,000,000. This "stealth" vote on May 3, 2005, when turnout is low, is designed to slip by when we aren't looking. Let's see, didn't we vote this down in 2001 when they were more honest and called it a jail? Of course we did.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Welcome to Denver Direct

In which we will look at issues and topics of direct concern to the citizens of Denver.