Monday, March 30, 2009

D’s Daily Dish Seed Exchange

The ever-community-oriented Denise Meny of D's Daily Dish has added a new event to her efforts: The Seed Exchange. Come by and lend your support to our "growing" neighborhood community. Planning A Garden? Have Extra Seeds? --- Bring ‘em!! Need Seeds? --- Come get ‘em!! Tomato Seeds, Vegetable Seeds, Herb Seeds, Flower Seeds D’s Daily Dish Seed Exchange Saturday, 4/4/09 and Sunday 4/5/09 10:00am to 9:00pm D’s Daily Dish 1426 East 22nd Avenue (between Lafayette and Humboldt) Denver, CO 80205

Friday, March 27, 2009

Long Time Coming - Hallelujah!


The synagogue at 16th and Gaylord has finally come back to life under the guidance of Pastor Michael and The Church in the City. The rehab was substantially fiananced by The St Charles Town Company, which had an interest in the old Safeway corner at Josephine and Colfax and wanted the Church to move. After I reported on the beginning of the rehab, I met with Pastor Michael. His enthusiasm was contagious. Upon seeing my collection of old articles and letters from the 80's and 90's, he asked for a copy. Rather than make paper copies, I decided to scan and post the collection, from which anyone may print copies. The following documents chronicle some of the problems endured by the neighbors brought on by various attempts to put the building to some kind of use. Understand that this is a partial and incomplete record to which I may add from time to time. I wanted to get it out before the first celebration tomorrow, March 28, 2009, at 3:00 pm. 1981 1986 Dana Crawford (1994) The Irish (2000)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Museum: Er….ah….about that $23 million

...that we said we would raise to match the $30 million put up by the City for expansion?….we don’t have it. Sorry, but we’ve only raised $4 million of our know, the economy and all that. You want to go ahead and build what we can? Oh…and the voters? Sorry, about that. George has it completely covered so I won't repeat the full story here. Amazing how Jeanne Faatz is the only Councilperson with a memory and a sense of fiscal responsibility to the voters.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Denver City Councilman Brown on the Depression

(Sorry about the sync slippage - I haven't been able to correct this problem from Channel 8 footage)

Flash Pan

(def: Panning rapidly across a scene causing blur; also, accidental ignition of gunpowder in muzzle loader) In this new feature I’ll bring topics of minor interest for your brief consideration. 1. Warner Music Group (WMG) goes greedy. When Google bought YouTube they got major deals covering the use of music in videos posted on YouTube. In other words, if I used “unauthorized” music in one of my posts, WMG got paid for each play anyway. But apparently that wasn’t good enough, the contract expired, and now YouTube is systematically removing the “offending” soundtracks but leaving the video up. This explains the missing sound on (currently) 4 of my videos. If you wish to contest YouTube’s actions, they caution you to have a lawyer handy. Fair use? Who knows. For now, I’m leaving them up without sound. I’ll just wait to see what happens. 2. On a positive note, The Huffington Post picked up a DenverDirect video and gave us a little bump. Thanks, Arrianna. Call me when you get a chance. 3. Status Report – a. DenverDirect – 175 videos posted since June 19, 2007 with over 53,000 views to date. b. Magneticbottle (former channel) – 59 videos posted since May 1, 2006 with over 12,000 views to date. c. blog – over 40,000 hits to date. d. blog – over 6,000 hits to date.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Size of Money

In $100 bills (source) $1 million $100 million $1 billion $1 trillion Now you know.

Bailout Outrage

Not so much in Denver, Colorado where eventually 4 people showed up to protest in front of the AIG offices at 1225 17th Street. They seemed well informed. Update: Apparently about 60 additional people gathered at the Wells Fargo offices downtown and marched to the AIG office location where we were, as reported here. We stayed until 1:00 pm but didn't see them. Update 2: This post got picked up by The Huffington Post. I often wonder what it will take to get the people of Denver riled up. Apparently $10 trillion down the rabbit hole (so far) is not enough. The inflation (hyper?) that will result is yet to come. Maybe $10 gasoline or $7 bread will do it. Maybe food shortages will get people going. Yesterday the Federal Reserve Bank announced its plan to devote $1 trillion to the purchase of US Treasuries and to Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. Gold jumped $60 dollars in two hours and the dollar index fell 2 full points as the market weighed in with its opinion. Now the Fed is printing money (on which we pay interest) to buy US debt (on which we pay interest). This sure feels like a tipping point.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Get Used to It

Violent police action against peaceful protest.


Sign up for protest this Thursday (3/19/09)! UPDATE: Protest Thursday March 19, noon at AIG, 1225 17th St., Suite 1700, Denver, CO

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fjord Horses and Legislators at the Denver Capitol

Videotaping horses was a pleasant change on Friday, March 13, 2009. Representative McKinley organized a combo parade through downtown with The Westernaires and the Norwegian Fjord horse group. Not much of the parade included as it is hard to shoot a parade when you are riding in it. Thanks to all who participated.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Denver Councilwoman Montero Makes a Statement

Denver Councilwoman Judy Montero usually has plenty to say at City Council meetings. But Tom Anthony, activist constituent in her District 9, has been emailing her repeatedly regarding hazardous zoning violations in his neighborhood, and can't get a word out of her. Tom was surprised to see Montero outside his residence on National Western Drive this past Thursday morning (3/12/09), along with Denver Fire Chief Gonzales, Jeff Shoemaker of The Greenway Foundation and others, having a "street meet". When he approached the group he was shooed away. When DenverDirect showed up with camera running, the group immediately began to disband. Montero and aide headed for their car. When asked repeatedly to make a statement, Montero replied “I don’t even know who you are”, got in her car and drove away. Doesn’t Montero realize that by refusing to talk to us, she was making a statement? Public officials approached in public with a legitimate request should always respond, lest their refusal be interpreted as a statement in itself. Slamming her car door says a lot.
Addendum: Jeff Shoemaker of The Greenway Foundation was willing to make a statement regarding the meeting. No video, but at least we got some information.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Robert Kennedy Jr: Educational, Inspirational

Watch this two part series of Robert Kennedy Jr. speaking at the New Green Energy Expo Thursday, March 12, 2009 at the Denver Capitol. Unlike many politicians, he speaks in specifics with facts to back up his statements. You think you know green? Watch anyway, you may learn something.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hazardous Zoning Violation

Tom Anthony, President of the Elyria Neighborhood Association, is still having problems with those petroleum-loaded tankers parked across the street from his residence (read more here), in violation of Denver's zoning ordinances. Tom is joined in his front yard by neighbor Allen Jones . Coincidentally, a fire (said to be spontaneous combustion in a manure pile) broke out in the National Western stock yard adjacent to the tracks.

The Big Picture (click to enlarge)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Handmade World

I don't usually recommend specific products in this blog, but I'm making an exception here with Dee's Dews Natural Skincare Products. First, full disclosure, Dee and her husband Jaime are friends of mine, pioneering souls who live in Crestone, Colorado, a spiritual place near Valley View Hot Springs, which I first visited in 1968. The entire San Luis Valley is an exceptional place, and if you haven't been, I highly recommend you make the trip. Caution: your spirit may soar. But more importantly, I'm not really into "natural skincare products", so I approached this product test with my usual skepticism. I ordered a bar of soap - CocoaMint Hand Made Soap ($6.00), and a jar of Sassy Citrus Natural Body Butter ($12.00). Ordering was easy and delivery was prompt. Shipping was $4.80 and tax (Colorado) was $.66. And the products? Oh boy, what great stuff. Talk about aromatic - just opening the box released a cloud of inspiring aroma. At first I thought it was going to be too much, but over time they (and I) calmed down. I had planned to give these as gifts to a lady friend, but decided instead to use them myself. The soap was a beautifully marbled bar with square edges - it stands up on the edge of the tub. When used, the aroma is subtle but lasting. The body butter is a mix of oils that seems to be improving the normal winter dryness of my skin. The aroma is so intriguing that I find myself sniffing the back of my hands long after I've applied it. Okay, I'll admit that I'm not an unbiased observer. I haven't ever used products like these, and I love the people who make Dee's Dews. But if you are into "seriously natural", I think you'll love them too. Give yourself a treat. I'll be placing another order for gifts, and you should too. You'll be transported to Crestone in the beautiful San Luis Valley without leaving your house. Plus you'll be supporting "hand made" and an inspiring young couple who are living the dream.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fire in the Hole

From Councilwoman Johnson: This special bulletin was sent to email addresses within Monaco Parkway, 11th Avenue, Havana Street and Mississippi Avenue. I appreciate your help in sharing this notice with your neighbors. You may sign up for my newsletters and special bulletins at Thank You. Westerly Creek Dam Fire on March 8, 2009 DENVER – Whether you were watching the skies or the news yesterday evening, you know that the open space around the Westerly Creek dam caught fire. The fire consumed much of the grassland above the Lowry landfill on Alameda Avenue, the proposed site for IRG’s Lowry Vista development. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has done an initial inspection of the landfill, and it looks like none of the monitoring devices in the cap have been affected. CDPHE will continue to investigate the area, to see if any damage was done to the landfill cap when fire trucks were forced to drive on it. The grass in the area should spontaneously regenerate because of the fire damage; however, if it does not for some reason, grasses will be replanted. People reported seeing black smoke rising from the fire - this is from the burning cattails in the dam’s wetlands. Gray and white smoke came from the grasslands, and CDPHE says that nothing was released from the materials buried in the landfill. Chief Nick Nuanes of the Denver Fire Department is appreciative of the cooperation from the Aurora and South Metro fire departments. They were able to bring a “brush truck” to the scene, which carries its own water and can move while pumping. Denver does not have one of these engines in its inventory because we have very little open grassland within the city’s boundaries. Chief Nuanes noted, “If the fire station proposed for Lowry Vista were already built, that fire would have been out in minutes.” I advocated for a fire station at Lowry to be part of the 2007 bond issue. Thanks to the voters, we should expect to see a new fire station here in the near future. Marcia Johnson (Ed. note: None of the articles I could find reporting this fire mentioned the fact that it was on a capped radioactive landfill....except for this one by Adrienne Anderson.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Colorado Needs Its Own Central Bank

We should follow in North Dakota’s Footsteps Follow North Dakota? Who would have imagined – a model that’s worked great since 1919, eliminated millions in interest to private bankers, and actually made money! North Dakota is not in trouble. What more could you ask? NORTH DAKOTA'S BANKING SYSTEM A ROLE MODEL FOR ALL STATES Thursday, 05 March 2009 By Ellen Brown author of "The Web of Debt" [Local solutions, local control. On every level, the deepening financial collapse is demonstrating the demise of centralized systems of every kind and the dire need for community and neigborhood solutions.--CB] Reprinted from PROGRESSIVE REVIEW UNDERNEWS California [has] avoided bankruptcy for the time being, but 46 of 50 states are insolvent and could be filing Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings in the next two years. One of the four states that is not insolvent is an unlikely candidate for the distinction - North Dakota. . . What does the State of North Dakota have that other states don't? The answer seems to be: its own bank. In fact, North Dakota has the only state-owned bank in the nation. The state legislature established the Bank of North Dakota in 1919. Fleetham writes that the bank was set up to free farmers and small businessmen from the clutches of out-of-state bankers and railroad men. By law, the state must deposit all its funds in the bank, and the state guarantees its deposits. Three elected officials oversee the bank: the governor, the attorney general, and the commissioner of agriculture. The bank's stated mission is to deliver sound financial services that promote agriculture, commerce and industry in North Dakota. The bank operates as a bankers' bank, partnering with private banks to loan money to farmers, real estate developers, schools and small businesses. It loans money to students (over 184,000 outstanding loans), and it purchases municipal bonds from public institutions. Continue reading....

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Feds Put Denver Neighborhood at Risk

At risk
Full petroleum tanker cars illegally parked near his house, Tom Anthony, President of the Elyria Neighborhood Association, has been raising a stink. Oh wait, that stink is coming from the transloading of these cars, not from Tom. Mixed with the ever-present stench from the Purina dog food plant nearby, it becomes unbearable some evenings. Tom writes
“Smothering fumes of gasoline over our neighborhood tonight. It may not be news but it is hard to be with. Of course since nobody required off site monitoring of Suncor and then you let DRIR (Denver Rock Island Railroad – read history here) start up its fuel loading operation and park its fuel tanker fleet here in Elyria along the Greenway, nobody knows exactly where it's coming from. Gregg, I've asked twice whether DRIR has a letter from the fire department allowing them to violate the 1,000 foot hazardous tanker limit in the zoning code and received no answer. I've currently got about 40 of them within that radius of me. Again, nobody knows if it's Suncor or DRIR or who has the leaking gasoline; of course due to budget restrictions there's no enforcement up here anyway.”
Anthony has been writing to Judy Montero, his city councilperson, but to no avail. She doesn’t answer. I (your blogger) have attempted to force an answer with a CORA (Colorado Open Records Act) request to Montero. At first the request was ignored, but now they are springing into action ... more later. But an answer of sorts has been forthcoming. In a letter dated February 27, 2009, Gregg Thomas, Denver’s Environmental Assessment and Policy Supervisor of Denver’s Environmental Health Department, writes
“Finally, with regards to the railroad tanker proximity issues that Mr. Anthony refers to in D.R.M.C. 59-298, the City Attorney’s Office informed us that, despite our zoning prohibition in 59-298(7)c, Federal Transportation Administration regulations supersede all such local ordinances and we cannot successfully enforce this code section. With any luck, the daily crude condensate transloading operations in Denver will cease in the next 4-6 weeks. ….the White Cliffs Pipeline project is scheduled to open in April 2009. Until now, there has been no way to get the condensate to OK via pipeline. It is expected that this new pipeline will obviate the need for the transloading operation near downtown Denver as unrefined crude from the D-J Basin will be shipped directly from Weld County to Oklahoma, bypassing the need for truck and rail transport. This will also result in about 100 fewer truck trips per day into North Denver."
So to Mr. Anthony, continue sucking down the fumes that are polluting your neighborhood because the City can’t do anything about it because the Federal regulations supersede our local ordinances. With “luck” the new pipeline may make the problem go away. Don’t strike any matches in the meantime. Update: This just in (3-1-09 1:08 pm) from Tom Anthony to Gregg Thomas:
"While I appreciate your inquiries and Councilwoman Montero's behest, and the published results thereof, somehow the information about the White Cliffs Pipeline doesn't leave me as sanguine as one might think. I believe Mr. Mars is thrilled at his discovery that pointing loaded fuel tankers at the general populace is legal. I have a couple propane tanks (1-3 gallon) I use for the barbecue while supporting the local cattle industry and since my family lives in a semi-commercial building the fire department inspects me once a year for $140. They made me move my propane tanks from the basement out to the back shed. The notion the city can force a homeowner to move a one gallon propane tank while at the same time the city cannot enforce where dozens of 30,000 gallon fuel tankers are parked and stored for periods of weeks or months along a major "Platte River Camper Trek Route" is astonishing. To imagine the federal government can offer no protection to its citizens and property owners against this type of land use when the railroad pays next to zero taxes inspires the entrepreneurial modeling node of my brain. Couldn't they simply take over the country by commencing large-scale tanker storage all over the urban areas and then buying the vacant properties out of foreclosure? Can't a municipality implement "day taxes" for this type of damaging use to discourage it? As you know the metro area voters in 2004 approved a multi-billion dollar bond issue with the notion of using underutilized railroad rights of way for new passenger rail applications which would become nodes of "Transportation Oriented Development." In fact, 300 feet from my front door such a TOD location (actually supported by the majority of the study team experts.) Who's going to provide financing for homes and businesses near railroad tracks where such uses can be implemented at the whim of the railroad? Or, are the taxpayers just dupes of our own failed due diligence? Mr. Mars' yard manager, Matt Landers, did drop by last week to tell me they cared about me, just about at the exact moment they moved another line of full petroleum cars front and center to my house. I casually asked what Mr. Mars wanted for his railroad and Mr. Landers said they'd talked about $100 million. Is that a value or a ransom payment? You decide. Tom Anthony"