Tuesday, April 29, 2008

City Council Develops Verbal Diarrhea, Can’t Stop Talking, Meeting Runs Nearly 10 hours, Ends at 3:20 a.m. With a Yes Vote ...

on a flawed individual down-zoning application for West Highlands, R-2 owners dismayed at illegal taking.

Blogger records entire meeting, creates 1.1 Gigabyte file, refuses to look at it.

Update: Go here for a more thoughtful analysis, and here for a more complete report.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Memories are Made of This

Popular restaurant closing; another relocating to site

The well-known East Colfax restaurant Goodfriends is closing May 17. Another popular restaurant, Annie’s, is set to move from Colorado Boulevard to the Colfax location.

Employees say owner Lee Goodfriend apparently signed the final papers last Wednesday and told them of the impending closure the next day. Goodfriends has been an East Colfax landmark since it opened in 1982 at the site of The Factory striptease showbar.

Over the weekend, restaurant patrons found notices of the change placed on the tables. Restaurant personnel and patrons expressed shock, dismay, displeasure with the development.

“All good things must come to an end,” read the table cards. “Thanks for eating drinking and having fun for nearly thirty years at Goodfriends.”

According to the notice, “the folks from the legendary Annie’s Café will be moving here from 8th and Colorado. The last day for Goodfriends will be May 17.”

Goodfriends is one of three restaurants established by the partnership composed of David Racine, Dixon Staples, and Goodfriend. Staples, a former chef as well as the acknowledged leader and mentor, died in 2004. Goodfriend was a waitress and Racine a bartender when the three met.

Goodfriends, Dixons, and Racines restaurants are said to have filled a particular niche in the Denver market, setting high standards for comfortable neighborhood eateries. Goodfriends is at East Colfax and Steele, Racines is at 650 Sherman in the Golden Triangle, and Dixon’s is on 16th and Wazee in Downtown.

Annie’s is apparently being force to relocate because of plans by developer Charles Biederman to raze the existing 1939 building and put up an “extended stay” hotel at 8th and Colorado. When plans for the 160-room hotel were made public last year, there was some discussion that Annie’s could stay on the ground floor after construction was complete.

Annie’s has operated at the location for 27 years. Biederman was quoted as describing the restaurant as “an icon” and “an institution” and said he really wanted the restaurant to stay. Dianne Williams, one of the owners of Annie’s, said she would be looking for an alternative location during the year required for construction.

The University of Colorado Health Sciences Center has vacated its buildings about a block away from the restaurant. Shea Homes is redeveloping the medical center. The hotel would be designed to serve nearby Rose and National Jewish hospitals.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

This Just In.....Pot Goes to Trial

As received:For Immediate Release April 24, 2008 Contact Mason Tvert, SAFER executive director, 720-255-4340 Brian Vicente, defense attorney, 720-280-4067 Legal Challenge of Post-Initiative Marijuana Enforcement Headed to Trial for First Time on Wednesday (4/30) Initiative proponents call on City Attorney's Office to drop case against 24-year-old college student who stands to lose his financial aid and establish policy to uphold the will of Denver voters Defense files for initiative proponent Mason Tvert to serve as expert witness regarding Denver marijuana initiatives DENVER -- For the first time since voters called for an end to arrests for adult marijuana possession, a case challenging Denver's continued marijuana enforcement will go to trial on Wednesday, April 30, at 8 a.m. The case of 24-year-old Timothy Arndt, a full-time Metro State College of Denver student who stands to lose his financial aid, will be heard by Judge James Breese and a six-person jury in Courtroom 117M in the Denver City and County Building. Proponents of the successful marijuana initiatives in Denver are calling on the Denver City Attorney's Office to drop the charges against Arndt, who was cited solely for private possession of a couple grams of marijuana (far less than one ounce) when police randomly stopped him in Capitol Hill in February. (Statement from Tim Arndt to the Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel below.) "The People of Denver have made it abundantly clear they do not want the city punishing adults for simply possessing a drug less harmful than alcohol," said SAFER Executive Director Mason Tvert, the lead proponent of the initiatives. "The City Attorney's Office has prosecutorial discretion and could legally drop this case at any time without violating the state marijuana law. They have no excuse for taking this case all the way to trial -- let alone using the city's crime lab to identify a substance nobody disputes is marijuana -- and they could establish a policy ending such practices today." Mr. Arndt's legal counsel has filed a motion calling on Tvert to testify as an expert witness regarding the nature and intent of the successful 2005 and 2007 marijuana initiatives. Tvert is also a member of the Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel, which has met twice since passage of Initiated Question 100 in 2007, designating private adult marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority for Denver police and prosecutors. At its last meeting, a representative from the City Attorney's Office admitted the office has made no changes in how it handles such cases and is being directed not to do so by Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey. At its next meeting on May 28, the panel will be voting on a recommendation that calls on the Denver City Attorney's Office to no longer handle cases of private adult possession on behalf of the District Attorney's Office. "Mitch Morrissey has no right to circumvent Denver voters and tell our city attorneys how to do their jobs," Tvert said. "We hope the Denver City Attorney's Office will do the right thing and stop needlessly taking their cues from this state official." In Missoula, Mont., where a similar "lowest law enforcement priority" measure was adopted in 2006, Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg adopted an official policy to uphold the initiative and stop prosecuting in cases of simple adult marijuana possession. Seattle also adopted a "lowest priority" initiative in 2003, and since then the city has seen arrests and prosecutions for marijuana possession drop dramatically. WHAT: First jury trial regarding legal challenge of post-initiative marijuana enforcement WHEN: Wednesday, April 30, trial set for 8 a.m.; Mr. Arndt, his attorney, and Mason Tvert will be available for comment after decision is rendered WHERE: Courtroom 117M, Denver City and County Building, 1437 Bannock St. WHO: Timothy Arndt, 24-year-old Metro State College of Denver student charged with private adult marijuana possession Mason Tvert, SAFER executive director and proponent of 2005 and 2007 marijuana initiatives Brian Vicente, Mr. Arndt's attorney Statement from Timothy Arndt to Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel - Hello Members of the Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel. My name is Timothy Arndt, I am 24, and I reside in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver. I currently work part-time at LGC Associates, a local staffing agency, and I am also a full-time student earning an undergraduate degree at Metro State College of Denver. First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to consider my comments, as well as for the time you have dedicated to this panel and exploring this very important issue. I understand you are all very busy so I did what I could to keep the statement I prepared brief. While I realize this issue may not be important to everyone, it is to me. That’s because last month I was arrested and cited solely for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in Denver, and now I stand to lose the financial aid that enables me to pursue my college degree. I realize you may be thinking, why did you use marijuana if you knew it could get you into trouble? Well, I guess I just had a little more faith in the law and the democratic process than I should have. When the petitions for these ballot initiatives came around, I signed them. And I was very happy when I saw that the action I had taken translated into our city taking such a progressive stance on marijuana But on February 10th, despite the very clear message sent by voters not once, not twice, but three times, that they did not want the city’s police spending its time worrying about marijuana possession, I was arrested. I was walking from my home in Capitol Hill to a friend’s home nearby. I had a small amount of marijuana on me – less than one-eighth of an ounce – and I purposefully did not drive because I knew I would be using marijuana that evening. I was minding my own business when a police cruiser shined its spotlight on me and asked me to stop. Of course I did. Another cruiser arrived and the two officers asked if they could pat me down for weapons. Having none on me – and not thinking the marijuana was a big problem – I said sure. The officers found the marijuana, and the next thing I knew, they were being MORE aggressive with me, patting me down hard in a way that I felt was inappropriate and made me very uncomfortable. I was handcuffed and placed in a police cruiser where I spent about 45 minutes with these two officers before they finally released me with a citation and a mandatory court appearance. I had heard of other students at Metro who had been charged for marijuana and that they would have lost their financial aid if they simply pled guilty and paid their fines. Even worse, upon looking further into these laws, I learned that in Colorado (unlike some states), state-based aid is tied to federal aid, and I stood to lose it all. So I decided I would not “just pay the fine” because, like them, I rely on financial aid to get my education and I am not going to lose it without a fight. Especially when the majority of the people in the city in which I live have made it clear they do not think I broke the law. In fact, I understand the city has the right to stop issuing citations for marijuana possession and city prosecutors can drop these cases at any time. So I have to ask, why cite people or bring these charges to begin with? Why have two police officers who could be breaking up a fight outside a bar or responding to other real crimes spend 45 minutes of their time with me? I heard the city dropped the marijuana possession charges against the other Metro students, and I hope they do so with me. It does not appear likely, though, as I am scheduled for a full jury trial on April 30th. When I was in court for my arraignment, I paid attention to who else was in there and for what. 20 for disturbing the peace. 9 for assault. 4 for vandalism. Others for threatening people, indecent exposure, flourishing a weapon, disorderly intoxication. And there were 11 – I repeat 11 – people there for simply possessing of less than one ounce of marijuana. 11 in that one court room on that one day. And each one stands to have a drug conviction on their record for the rest of their life. They might lose their jobs. They might not get jobs in the future. Me, I’m pretty sure I will still be able to get a job. It’s simply a matter of whether I am able to apply for those jobs that require a degree. If the people of this city say they do not want the city spending its time and their tax dollars arresting and prosecuting me; and if the city can drop the charges against me at any time; why am I going to trial? Why are six of those people going to have to show up and sit in a jury box? And another behind the judge’s bench. And others behind the prosecutor’s table. And others doing the paperwork. It doesn’t make sense to me. It doesn’t make sense to the majority of voters in Denver. And I expect it may not make sense to many of you. Thus, I urge this panel to take swift action to address this issue and put an end to these arrests and prosecutions as soon as possible. I realize this may not get me off the hook. But hopefully it will prevent other college students and Denver residents from having to come here and make a similar statement in the future. Again, thank you all very much for your time and for your work with this panel. I sincerely wish it the best in accomplishing its goal. # # #

Monday, April 21, 2008

Denver Zoo Gets “Hypocritical” Label for Booking Rock Band

(Ed. note: Welcome aboard to Bob McBride, who will be publishing here at DenverDirect. Let 'er rip, Bob).

by Bob McBride

The Denver Zoo is being criticized from all sides for scheduling the rock band Starship for a fund-raising event at the Zoo in June. The Zoo’s rejection in December of the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) proposal for a summer music festival in City Park is cited as a major reason the festival was moved to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City. When plans for the April 20 “Green Apple Festival” in City Park became public in March, many people looked to the Zoo for its opinion on how the music might affect animals. The Zoo expressed no serious concern. Now, the Zoo itself has booked Starship to perform for the 18th annual “Do At The Zoo” event on June 19, top raise funds for Asian Tropics, a 10-acre exhibit devoted to endangered Asian animals. Zoo representative Ana Bowie said there is a big distinction between the music festival and the zoo event. She is quoted by Rocky Mountain News as saying: “We can completely control our sound levels and have the absolute ability to cut anything off at anytime if we are witnessing animal behavior that we think is inappropriate." In the 1990s, the zoo had amplified concerts on the grounds, staged by Chuck Morris, the Denver concert promoter who now heads AEG. News reporter Daniel Chacon also quotes Glenn Fee, a supporter of the music festival. “"For them to have a concert in the zoo itself, I think, is a little bit hypocritical,” Fee reportedly says. “If they're claiming, as they did with the event in City Park, that there was going to be stress on the animals, any music is going to cause stress on the animals.” The Denver Post mentioned the scheduling in a brief article, but several readers responded with negative comments. Some responses are actually directed against the zoo’s choice of performers. Cam Neely says: “How much money do I need to donate so they (Starship) don't perform? That's cruelty to animals.” Another comment, apparently from Fee, says: When an opportunity comes up to make money for (the zoo), they bring an awful retread nostalgia act. Good job on making yourselves out to be quite the hypocrites.” “Boycott the zoo,” says a respondent identified as Ho Ho Homes. In a heading for his on-line commentary, John G. Martin of Denver says “Somebody call PETA,” but comments seem more about the band selection. Festival opponents and some zoo supporters are asking why the zoo made such a decision, suggesting that scheduling a rock performance at the zoo is inconsistent with the zoo’s position on protecting animals.

Band formed in late 1970s The group Starship, led by Mickey Thomas, is the evolution of Jefferson Airplane, founded by Marty Balin in the mid-60s, featuring singer Grace Slick and guitarist Paul Kantner. In “Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock, and Soul,” author Irwin Stambler writes: “The original band had its roots in the rapidly evolving folk-rock music indigenous to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury during its hippie period.” Bill Graham of the famous Fillmore Auditorium managed the group playing a sub-genre of music called “acid rock.” The group is known for its first two LPs, “Jefferson Airplane Takes Off,” and “Surrealistic Pillow,” featuring “Somebody to Love,” and “White Rabbit,” a psychedelic reference to “Alice in Wonderland.” Jefferson Airplane disbanded in 1974, replaced by Hot Tuna with Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady from the original group. Kantner, Slick, and later Balin, carried on as Jefferson Starship. Slick left in 1978, Thomas replaced Balin, and Kantner left in 1979. After a legal dispute over using the name “Jefferson,” the band reorganized as Starship, with Slick returning for some vocal work. Kantner, Balin, and Casady formed KBC Band in the mid-80s. Grace Slick became known for her artwork. Starship had three number-one singles, “We Built This City (on Rock and Roll),” “Sara,” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.” According to his own web site, Thomas has “the soaring voice that propelled Starship through the decades of the 80s and 90s. With his soulful and compelling vocals, Mickey has established himself as one of Rock Music’s most recognizable stars.” (http://www.mickeythomas.com/) None of the other current members of Starship were associated with the original group that formed in 1979. The “Starship starring Mickey Thomas” web site lists the performance June 19 at the Denver Zoo. Hudson Gardens in Littleton is also advertising a Starship performance on June 13, but that concert is not listed on the web site. Starship is represented by agent Jim Lenz of Paradise Artists of Ojai, California, 805-646-8433 or jim@paradiseartists.com. Zoo event popular “Do At The Zoo,” a major annual fund-raising event is scheduled for 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 19. The theme this year is “Silk and Spice,” with guests encouraged to wear “cocktail attire with a tropical twist.” No guests under 18 will be admitted. According to the Zoo web site: “Net proceeds will help construct Denver Zoo’s new exhibit Asian Tropics, a 10-acre conservation center devoted to highly-endangered Asian species including elephants, Indian rhinos and Malayan tapirs. All funds raised from the event will be matched dollar for dollar by zoo improvement bond funds thereby doubling the effect of each gift and contribution.”

Guests are invited to “dine on exotic dishes from around the city as more than 40 of Denver’s top restaurants serve their best menu items, while toasting spirits from around the world.” The promotional material says participants will “experience music, dancing and close-up animal encounters in the incomparable setting of Denver Zoo at twilight.”

Individual tickets are $150 for Zoo members and $175 for non-members. There is a “Junior Ticket” non-member admission of $125 for guests 21-29 years old. Patron tickets are $275.

“Do At The Zoo” is presented by Haselden Construction Company. Sponsors include the law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Schreck, Scott and Katie Schoelzel, Hogan and Hartson, Taste of the Wild Zoo Catering, US Bank, and White Wave Foods. “Corporate Benefactors” are Butler Rents, EnCana Oil and Gas, and Wagner Equipment Company. For further information from the Zoo, call 303-376-4864 or email rdavis@denverzoo.org.

Green Apple Festival - Earth Day - City Park Denver

Denver's City Park finally got its music festival, and a good time was had by all. Staff estimated the crowd at 3500 to 4000, and aside from a few faintings, considerable drinking, a wiff or two of 420 celebrating, and some sunburn, there was nothing negative to report. Nearby streets were posted with "Local Access Only - No Event Parking" and many rode bicycles. I even returned this morning to check on the clean-up, and everything looked good. It was, however, clear that a crowd of 50,000 (AEG's proposaed Mile High Music Festival) would have been way over the park's capacity. (Anyone recognize the group playing? I wanted to give them credit but forgot to ask their name. Please comment if you know.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Official's Response

Councilperson Doug Linkhart took seriously a letter I handed him and emailed me his reply in just a few days. In my letter, I called attention to the serious toxic pollution being added to Washington Park’s Grasmere Lake and City Park’s Ferril Lake (and various grasslands) by way of the input to our recycling system from Lowry Landfill Superfund Site at a rate of 15 to 25 gallons per minute. I included The List (of 158 pollutants and 10 radionuclides).

Linkhart’s reply:

Dear Mr. Trumbule:

Thanks for the letter you handed me Wednesday night (dated December 29, 2007). It gave me an opportunity to look into an environmental issue that is certainly worth being concerned about. Here’s what engineers from the City’s Department of Environmental Health told me:

It is true that there are a number of pollutants permitted: what’s important, however, is that the chart which you attached to your letter (for the Lowry Wastewater Discharge Permit) establishes an absolute upper limit to what can be released, or the permit can be revoked. The list of pollutants isn’t pretty, but these are materials already rampant in our environment, and the goal has to be to restrict them to the point of elimination. The engineers assure me these upper limits are small. More importantly, when blended at the nine-million-gallon Reclamation Plant (which focuses on removing other types of pollutants, like phosphates), the amounts are diluted to miniscule amounts.

Reclaimed water is never considered potable, and that message is posted widely. City engineers monitor all lakes regularly, and publish their reports online:


Reclaiming water is a far-from-perfect science. But I think the goal of conserving fresh water, while keeping our public parks alive and green, isn’t just worthy, but essential. We just need to keep improving the system as best we can.

Doug Linkhart

Councilman at-Large
1437 Bannock St., Rm 451
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (720) 865-8000 FAX: (720) 865-8003

My reply:

From: Gerald Trumbule
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 7:36 PM
To: Linkhartatlarge - City Council
Subject: Re: Response to your letter

Councilman Linkhart:

Thank you for your prompt and thoughtful reply to my concerns. While I disagree with most of the points provided you by the Department of Environmental Health, I don't expect you to become the intermediary between us. However, for your own information, I should point out that:

1. Records show that there have been many "exceedances" of the limits, and the permit has not been revoked. Also, in comparing the current permit with the previous one, the volume of all of the pollutants has been increased and the allowable level of one pollutant, Beryllium, was increased 2490%. Also, 5 new pollutants were added. Clearly the "allowable" levels are determined by what is coming from Lowry, and not what is safe for humans and animals.

2. Many of the pollutants and radionuclides are not "rampant in our environment" and certainly not in Ferril and Grasmere Lakes before the relatively pristine Denver Ditch water was switched to "recycled" water with the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site highly toxic water in it.

3. Adding more of a pollutant does not aide in reducing the amount to zero.
4. The adage "dilution is not the solution to pollution" is still true.

5. No amount of radionuclides should be added to our parks and lakes. These heavy metals do not evaporate and only accumulate over time. They are all carcinogens.

6. The City of Denver regularly violates the dictates of State Reg. 84, concerning the use of recycled water. For example, Reg. 84 states that the water should not be allowed to "puddle", but Denver is filling lakes with it.

7. If the amount of Lowry water is small, then adding it to our sewer water is unnecessary. Recycling the large volume of sewer water is, in itself, a good, environmentally sound idea. Adding the Lowry toxins, not so good.

The only purpose served by the current 50-year contract is to alleviate the cost of cleanup for the major polluters at Lowry, some of the largest corporations in our state. Incidentally, records show that these same corporations were directly implicated in the removal of one of our outstanding teachers at CU, who was making these same points public. Reference the American Association of University Professors report at http://www.aaup-cu.org/whatwedo/anderson.html.

Your reference to the Lake Reports was very helpful. I followed up on it and spoke with the engineer who writes the reports. He was very cooperative, even promising to add some of the listed pollutants to his upcoming tests, and to provide me with the longitudinal data necessary to demonstrate the changes resulting from the addition of the Lowry water.

I look forward to working with you on this issue in the future, as I am sure that we both have the same goal in mind: to provide a clean and safe environment for the citizens of Denver. The solution is actually quite simple. The Lowry Superfund Site Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permit No. 2360-3-1A must be permanently revoked.

Jerry Trumbule

And Linkhart’s follow-up:

Dear Mr. Trumbule:

I’m glad you found some of the information useful, and city staff helpful. It can be challenging to keep up with technical information on every issue, so I appreciate you keeping me informed.

Best regards,
Doug Linkhart
Councilman at-Large

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Busy Day at the Parks

From the Rocky Mountain News: First this: AT ISSUE: Setting the record straight about City Park events Kim Bailey and Carla Madison Tuesday, April 8, 2008 While we respect letter writer Tom Morris' right to his opinion of Denver Parks and Recreation, we take exception with the inaccuracies in his April 2 letter, "No checks on Denver Parks and Rec." The city did not approve the AEG concert in City Park. No permit was ever issued and no endorsement was given. We heard from hundreds of citizens who were excited by the idea of a Mile High Music and Arts Festival; however, the Denver Zoo's opposition ultimately forced AEG's decision to pursue an alternative venue. Continue reading.... And then this: Denver Parks and Rec manager resigns By Daniel J. Chacon, Rocky Mountain News Originally published 10:51 a.m., April 8, 2008 Updated 10:51 a.m., April 8, 2008 Denver Parks and Recreation Manager Kim Bailey has resigned, Mayor John Hickenlooper announced this morning. Hickenlooper and City Council members praised Bailey, calling her "talented" and "hard-working." "We're going to miss Kim Bailey, probably more than you think," Councilman Charlie Brown told Hickenlooper. Bailey's resignation is effective May 27. Continue reading... And this from Denver's Channel 8 Online:

Carla's Contributions 4-7-08

As Carla Madison becomes more comfortable with her role as City Council member, her contributions become more substantive.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

How Green Turned Purple

Think of it this way: Recycling our sewage effluent after proper treatment is a good idea. No problem. Very “green”.

Denver Water says it saves the equivalent of 40,000 households water use by not using potable water to irrigate the park grassland. Now we can use the recycled water, in the purple pipes, for that, and fill the lakes too. Hey, I’m all for that. (I'm not even going to complain about the $154,000,000 cost.)

So where’s the beef? The beef is Permit No. 2360-3-1A (see below), which allows the vile toxins from the bottom of the Lowry Landfill site to be pumped into the supply side of our recycling system, that is, into our sewers. Sure, they treat it on site but only to an economically feasible point. The “cleaned up” Lowry stuff still contains measurable levels of 158 pollutants and 10 radionuclides, and that’s just what’s being measured now. 5 new pollutants were added since the last permit.

Why would we want this stuff added to our sewers, and thence into our valuable and perhaps very cool recycling system? Are we being paid large amounts of money to accept this toxic crap? Who benefits?

Well, it ain’t you babe. No, the beneficiaries can easily be traced to the major polluters who were identified at Lowry from the beginning. Slipping their toxic essence into our sewer system saves them millions. Too bad the high cost to the health and welfare of the citizens will not be known for years. And let’s not forget the ducks, who can’t read the signs.

Twenty years from now, when we (and our children) look back at the current practice, we will be amazed and appalled. “How could we have allowed them to pump all of those carcinogens onto our fields and lakes? What were we thinking?”

(click to enlarge)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Denver Water

Q: Who is the largest consumer of Denver Water?

A: Deep Rock Water

Source: Anonymous Denver Water employee who stated that Deep Rock is pumping tap water into their artesian well so that they will have something to pump out, bottle and sell.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Pinnacle

The Pinnacle at City Park (Vertical panorama composed of two photos)

Walking around City Park in Denver as I have for the last 37 years, I can’t help but admire The Pinnacle, the first of the high-rise buildings to be built on the edge of my favorite park.

I am so damn old that I remember the wrecking ball smashing down mansions around Cheeseman Park as that high-rise community got started. There was no Historic Denver, and they didn’t even remove the woodwork and hardware from the building first. Of course that was so far back that you could buy a 4000 sq ft mini-mansion for $30,000. No one seemed to want these old buildings – too big for a single family, too costly to convert to apartments (condos hadn’t been invented yet). Denver's population was diminishing as the flight to the suburbs continued. Urban Renewal was razing downtown, and Dana Crawford was just getting started.

Coming from the east coast, I was amazed at the low value Denver put on its history. I tried to organize a limited partnership to buy up some of these Victorian gems, but the regulations were onerous and the (east coast) interest in the idea was slim. I was a little ahead of my time, as usual.

Studying the situation around City Park, I soon discovered Denver’s silly secret – The View Planes. These ordinances are, to me, a prime example of “illegal taking”. Thousands of property owners are stripped of the potential value of their property as these height restrictions predetermine what can and can’t be built. But don’t get me started on these antiquated limitations. I’ll save that rant for another day.

The old Mercy Hospital site sat empty for years. When would the high-rise movement around City Park get started? Who could have imaged it would take until 2005.

But now the first tower of the Pinnacle rises from its town-house base. To my way of thinking it looks great – a prime example of City infill for the Poundstone-landlocked Denver. When you can’t build out, up is the only way to increase the tax base. Density is good.

But in today's uncertain real estate market, what does the future hold for Denver? The "bubble" has burst, but Denver's overbought speculative mania has not been that great. I read that we may have a 10% drop in price but nothing like the 35 - 50% experienced on the coasts.

(Click to enlarge)

Aside: I have a wave theory of real estate for the U.S. It acts like a giant slow-motion wave machine. When the coasts are up, the center is down, and vice-versa. It has happened twice in my life-time and it takes about 20 years per cycle.

But, I digress. Tower One of the Pinnacle is finished, and is said to be fully occupied. Looking closely at the balconies, I began to wonder if that were true. From The Pinnacle
The first tower, boasting 27 stories, will have 144 units with one, two and three bedroom floor plans available and unit square footage ranging from 940 square feet to 2,269 square feet.

A quick trip to www.realtor.com revealed 42 units in Tower One for sale at this time. Almost a third of the units are for sale. Speculators failing to sell in time? People wanting to move? I have no way to tell, but I wonder what the effect is on the current sales of Tower Two units.

Any readers live at The Pinnacle?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Denver Parks Policy (continued)

(Ed. note: Sarcasm ahead.) A small group of delusional citizens met at the Denver Museum last night to whine about their lack of input into the Denver Parks and Recreation Department decision-making process. Despite the fact that graduate student Kim Bailey, the part-time manager of this Department has made it exceedingly clear that she, directed by the wishes of the Businessman Mayor (BM) John Hickenlooper, will establish parks policy based on ROI (return on investment) without regard to precedent. This has led to the mayor’s endearing moniker “Roi-Boy”. Hickenlooper plainly and truthfully stated his position when running for office: I am not a politician (no listening to the people) but I am a businessman (City as profit center for wealthy friends and donors). Time and again Bailey has stated the obvious: there is no place for citizen input into the process. Charades like the ABSEP (Admission Based Special Events Policy) task force are conducted to allow citizens to pretend that their input is important, even as decisions to rent or lease the parks, although strictly prohibited by the City Charter, go forward before any ABSEP proposals can be enacted. Promoters apologize for not having citizen outreach after they have secured the required permit. Citizen activists would be well advised to use this opportunity to create their own advantage rather than standing in the way of progress and profit. Hint: selling beer is the best fun(d) raising activity. Quit whining and call Coors. More from the INC meeting of 3-15-08 regarding this issue.