Friday, May 29, 2009

New Senators Sworn-in

Michael Johnston (SD33) and Patrick Steadman (SD31) were sworn-in this morning in the Colorado Senate chambers.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Update on Former Planned Parenthood Site... 20th and Vine. From architect Peter J Hynes:

I have attached the latest rendering that currently seems to be most palatable with the neighborhood. We are still in the process of working with the adjacent neighbors on the zoning of the property. Our project is 100% affordable senior housing with home health services. The project is 5 stories with 45 underground parking for the residences and 20 surface parking spaces for the home health agency. It is our mission to help seniors age in place within their communities while designing sustainably. This project is proposed on an existing underutilized site and will not displace any families in the community. We do anticipate housing seniors from within the community which could result in making available existing housing stock for new and young families. Finally, through the use of our planned shared community space, we hope this project will foster intergenerational dialogue, create a wealth of interaction between seniors and younger families, and encourage sustainable/smart growth.

Commercial Use of Denver Parks

By Dave Felice Denver Parks and Recreation Manager Kevin Patterson is reviving a controversial proposal to allow park lands to be closed for exclusive commercial events such as music concerts. About nine months in his new position, Patterson is now summoning members of the Admissions-Based Special Events Policy (ABSEP) Task Force to a public meeting May 21 at La Alma Recreation Center to discuss moving forward on the policy which would prevent free and open public access to parks. The meeting, open to everyone, will be from 3:00 to 5:00 at 1325 West 11th Avenue. Patterson earlier indicated he would pursue the development of a policy to govern closed commercial events in public parks, but declined specific comment. “Parks and Recreation has an admission-based special events task force that has been in place for several months. The department will continue the process already in place and continue to develop a policy,” said Patterson shortly after taking his new post. “Once the task force draft policy is completed, we will vet it through the proper channels, including neighborhood organizations, City Council and others.” The policy would affect all Denver parks, but focuses on seven so-called “festival parks” where selling and serving alcoholic beverages is already permitted. The seven “festival” parks are Sloan's Lake, City Park, Confluence Park west of lower downtown, Civic Center, Creekfront Park along Speer Boulevard between Lawrence and Larimer, Skyline Park along Arapahoe Street in downtown, and the DCPA Sculpture Park. Former Parks Manager Kim Bailey set up the Task Force in late 2007 after promoter Chuck Morris proposed taking over the western two-thirds of City Park for a multi-day, multi-stage rock music festival. When the Denver Zoo and neighborhood advocates objected, that festival was successfully moved to a sports field complex in Commerce City. “Last year Denver Parks and Recreation asked (the Task Force members) to consider the idea of allowing Admission Based events in Denver's Parks,” now writes Patterson in his meeting notice. “This conversation was put on hold to allow me to get up to speed on the issues surrounding this subject. Though it has been some time since you all have met as a task force, I would like to ask you to come together again to review the final recommendations of each committee and discuss the viability of this policy moving forward.” In 2008, ABSEP committees discussed organizational matters such as policy and legal considerations, fees, park locations, and site plans. The Task Force gives the appearance of public involvement. Morris publicly presented plans for his festival in November 2007, even though documents show he was in private talks with Parks and Recreation as early as July of that year. Neighborhood advocates are outnumbered by about three-to-one by event organizers and city officials on the ABSEP Task Force. Numerous neighborhood representatives contend it is improper to prevent open access to public park land. They declare parks are public property and should not be turned into sources of revenue. Other skeptical neighborhood representatives are concerned about the adverse environmental impact, noise, and congestion. Former City Councilwoman Cathy Donohue has said closing the parks for private, profit-making ventures would constitute a lease, in violation of city charter. Former Parks Manger Carolyn Etter has stated emphatically: “The parks are not for sale.” Cindy Johnstone, of Friends and Neighbors of Washington Park (FANS) and former Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board member, questions how Parks and Recreation actually determines the overall wishes of city residents. Larry Ambrose of Sloan’s Lake Neighborhood Association has repeatedly said that “there is a right place, right time, and right type of commercial activities charging an entrance fee”, maintaining that a new park like a “Red Rocks in the City” would be the only acceptable admission based park. Bailey said there appeared to be little or no interest in development of a genuine permanent festival site in Denver. While some neighborhood representatives continue to suggest the city develop a specific site for commercial events, Bailey commented “I doubt Elitch's is moving” and noted that a festival park has not been considered as new neighborhoods and city facilities were built in recent years. Several neighborhood activists have also expressed strong sentiment that any draft policy should be presented to the public for approval, through public hearings and a vote. Cheesman Park area resident Steve Lang contends “it makes sense to find out what voters want,” since the policy would “take public facilities and convert them to private or semi-private uses.” He described the policy as “a significant change to the way public facilities are used and managed.” Although allowing closed commercial events would be a major change in parks management, Assistant City Attorney Patrick Wheeler claims the Parks Department can make the change under its rule-making authority and a public vote is not required. Wheeler has said the “festival” concept is not defined in writing, but is part of the various categories of permits issued for the use of city parks. Generally, he says, a festival would involve some primary event, beverage sales, and vendor booths which would make up the “character of activities.” He also draws a distinction between a festival and an assembly which is considered an event for the expression of free speech. Bailey said developing a policy on commercial closure of park lands was not on her agenda and was generated by the proposal from Morris as head of Anschutz Entertainment (AEG Live). “We are not pushing this (policy),” said Bailey. “When the (AEG) proposal was presented, it was a time to reconsider and rethink our policy.” Bailey acknowledged she was “not comfortable” with the idea of exclusive commercial events in parks, but said the city needs a policy to deal with such proposals. Parks Marketing Manager Jill McGranahan has admitted that the exclusive commercial events policy is an effort to "look at alternative ways to offset the cost" of running the parks. She contends that current nonprofit events effectively result in closure of sections of parks anyway. Bailey also emphasized that Parks is not responsible for regulating alcoholic beverage sales. “(Organizers) have to follow (city) Excise and License rules,” she said. “It is the organizers' hurdle to work with (beverage sales) regulators.” Denver Parks and Recreation has "internal guidelines" on what might be considered objectionable during a festival event. One requirement is that no permanent signage is allowed. Promotion of firearms, tobacco, or alcoholic beverages is not permitted. At one point, Bailey did acknowledge, however, that if nudists presented a proposal for a park event, they would be considered. Architect Tom Morris, of the Capitol Hill area, is highly critical. “As a citizen who has expended years defending City Park mostly against the hair-brained schemes of municipal government, I urge you (Patterson) to join your predecessors…in keeping our parks for public access,” wrote Morris. “Please…stop the latest scheme to fence off parks for private gain. The public does not invest its treasure in our parks so that a few entrepreneurs can harvest the fruits of this investment.” District 4 City Councilwoman Peggy Lehmann, chair of the Public Amenities Committee, and Committee member Marcia Johnson of District 5 have not commented publicly on the issue of exclusive commercial events in parks. District 8 Councilwoman, Carla Madison, also a member of the Amenities Committee, was an early and enthusiastic backer of the Morris festival proposal for City Park. Madison appeared in a promotional video prepared even before the proposal was made public. She is also a member of the ABSEP Task Force. Her husband, Paul Weiss, has been active organizing non-profit events in parks. Parks analysts have presented comparisons of Denver's City Park with Grant Park in Chicago, Zilker Park in Austin, and Piedmont Park in Atlanta. At Grant Park, the Lollapalooza festival runs three days with 75,000 people per day, nine stages, and 65 percent of the park is closed of 17 days. Austin City Limits handles 70,000 people per day over three days, with seven stages and one youth stage in half of the park space. The concert area of Zilker Park is closed for 19 days. Atlanta’s Piedmont Park, subject of continuing legal controversy over management, hosted one concert with attendance of 52,000. The concert section, 20 percent of the park, was closed for six-and-a-half days. The City of Milwaukee provides a dramatic precedent for a permanent festival facility. Milwaukee Summerfest is a yearly music festival held at the 75-acre Henry Maier Festival Park along the lakefront. The festival lasts for 11 days, and attracts almost one million people each year. The festival grounds have 10 permanent stages and a 23,000 seat amphitheater. Summerfest is run by the non-profit Milwaukee World Festival Inc. The Maier Park property on Lake Michigan is actually owned by the Port Authority. Milwaukee World Festival sub-leases the property to various other groups for other large festivals throughout the year. For example, Irish Fest in Milwaukee is the largest in the world, hosting up to 150,000 people over four days. Patterson has no actual park experience. He comes to the post of Manager of Parks and Recreation after being the city’s Director of General Services. As Parks Manager, Patterson's official salary is $130,531 per year. Patterson is also a member of the Denver School Board. Residents can send comments to Parks and Recreation Manager Kevin Patterson. His name, address, and phone number are not posted on the Parks web site at Patterson’s city e-mail is Kevin.Patterson He can be contacted in his capacity as an elected School Board official at kevin_patterson His postal address is Department 601, 201 West Colfax, Denver 80202. Patterson’s phone number is not listed. His assistant, Angela Casias, can be reached at 720-913-0741. Written and e-mail communication is a public document, subject to provisions of the Colorado Open Records Act.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Colfax Marathon

I wasn't really planning on shooting the beginning of the Marathon, but since I woke up early and it was only 1 block away... Later, I ambled down to 17th and Gaylord where a group of enthusiastic supporters stood and cheered as the runners turned north. I was told that the front runner was way out in the lead and had passed there about an hour and a half earlier. Cheers to all who participated. Update: From

Hear are the winners: Half marathon men's winner: Andrew Smith and his time was 1:10:10. Half marathon women's winner: Becky Pretty and her time was 1:25:54. Full marathon men's winner: Matt Kempton and his time was 2:41:10. Full marathon women's winner: Heather Utratra and her time was 3:13:48.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Vote is In.

Mike Johnston won the delegate vote on the first ballot, with 64 votes out of 126. Rosemary Marshall, former state Legislator for 8 years, with 41 votes, was thrown out with the bathwater, and Anthony Graves, with 18 votes, was put on hold for another time. The result was predictable solely from a media usage perspective. Sitting in the "video catbird seat" as I do, gives me a unique point of view. I get to see the daily hits coming in and, surprising to some, where they are coming from. Johnston ran a media savvy campaign with a robust group of volunteers, and, most importantly, he had the goods; youth, vigor, articulateness, intelligence, good looks, money (see ActBlue) and the ability to project his vision to the small group of delegate voters. As we left the school, I happened to cross paths with Rosemary Marshall. "Looks like you'll have to get ready for the primary now," I said. "No," she replied " this was a wake-up call for me to start enjoying the rest of my life." Congratulations to you Rosemary, you may be the biggest winner after all, I thought, as we walked into the night.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Johnston Wins in SD33

Mike Johnston was selected by the SD33 Democratic Vacancy Committee on the first ballot - with 64 votes, exactly the number needed for a plurality. Rosemary Marshall received 41 votes and Anthony Graves received 18. Video to follow.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

SD33 Forum Closing Remarks

Ok, ok, so you've had enough of SD33 Forum already! Having done this much I figure I might as well post the closing remarks. Even if you are not voting it is interesting to hear what the candidates think about the issues. A friend recently said "It is amazing to see what people think qualifies them to run for the State Senate".

Friday, May 8, 2009

SD33 Forum Question 4 - Tuition Equity

SD33 Forum Question 3 - Marijuana

SD33 Forum Question 2 - Diversity

SD33 Forum Question 1 - LGBTQ

First question to the four candidates - gay marriage, civil unions. (Tech note: All of the candidates answers are here in order they presented. I've cut out the applause to save time.) (Just in case....from Wikipedia: The first term used, “homosexual”, was thought to carry negative connotations and tended to be replaced by the terms “homophile” and, subsequently, “gay”. As lesbians forged their own identity, the phrase “gay and lesbian” became more common. This was soon followed by bisexual and transgender persons also asking for recognition as legitimate categories within the larger community. However, after the initial euphoria of the Stonewall riots wore off, starting in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, there was a change in perception; some gays and lesbians became less accepting of bisexual or transgender people. It was thought that transsexual people were acting out stereotypes and bisexuals were simply gay men or lesbian women who were afraid to come out and be honest about their identity. The movement underwent identity conflicts with various entities including or excluding various LGBT communities; these conflicts continue to this day. Not until the 1990s did it become common to speak of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people with equal respect within the movement. Although the LGBT community has seen some controversy regarding universal acceptance of different member groups (transgender individuals, in particular, have sometimes been marginalized by the larger LGBT community), the term LGBT has been a positive symbol of inclusion. Despite the fact that LGBT does not nominally encompass all individuals in smaller communities (see Variants below), the term is generally accepted to include those not identified in the four‐letter acronym. Overall, the use of the term LGBT has, over time, largely aided in bringing otherwise marginalized individuals into the general community. Many variants exist including variations which merely change the order of the letters; however, LGBT or GLBT are the most common terms and the ones most frequently seen in current usage. Although identical in meaning, “LGBT” may have a more feminist connotation than “GLBT” as it places the “L” (for “lesbian”) first. When not inclusive of transgender people it is sometimes shortened to LGB. LGBT or GLBT may also include additional “Q”s for “queer” and/or “questioning” (sometimes abbreviated with a question mark) (e.g., “LGBTQ”, “LGBTQQ”, or “GLBTQ?”). Other variants may add a “U” for “unsure”; an “I” for intersex; another “T” for “transsexual” or “transvestite; another “T”, “TS”, or “2” for “Two‐Spirit” persons; an “A” or “SA” for straight allies; or an “A” for “asexual”. Some may also add a P for pansexual or polyamorous, and an O for omnisexual or other. The order of the letters has not been standardized; in addition to the variations between the positions of the initial “L” or “G”, the mentioned, less‐common letters, if used, may appear in almost any order. Variant terms do not typically represent political differences within the community, but arise simply from the preferences of individuals and groups. The terms transsexual and intersex are regarded by some people as falling under the umbrella term “transgender” though many transsexual and intersex people object to this (both for different reasons).)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Denver Democratic Party SD33 Candidate Forum

Pull out the stops, there is a vacancy to be filled. With the resignation of Peter Groff on his way to the Obama Department of Education, his position as Senator from District 33 must now be filled. The procedure for doing this involves a vote by Democratic officers from Precinct Chair People (PCP) up to Mayor – a group of approximately 150 individuals. The vote will take place May 11, next Monday. This Forum gives the candidates a chance to present themselves to the Vacancy Committee. Although well over 200 people attended the Forum, it was estimated that only 1 in 10 were actual Committee members. Four candidates have announced (alphabetical order): Renee Blanchard, Anthony Graves, Michael Johnston, and Rosemary Marshall. I have a dismal track record in picking candidates, so I’ll keep my choice to myself. You can see for yourself.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Colorado Legislative Trailride - 2009

Colorado Representative Wes McKinley has done it again - sponsored a Legislative Trailride in SE Colorado. In conjunction with John Duvall and the Duvall ranch, Cal Hoffman, Pat Palmer, and a beautiful day near Granada, Colorado, nearly 100 riders of all descriptions enjoyed a trek through the eastern Colorado country, cowboy style. If you like horses and all things western, you will enjoy this glimpse into a lifestyle far removed from Denver traffic. See also AP reporter Steven Paulson's great in-depth article here.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

D's Daily Dish Distributes

It will be up to you to make the transformation, but D's Daily Dish will get you started.

D's Daily Dish

4th Annual Tomato Plant Give-Away

1426 East 22nd Avenue, Denver

(on 22nd Avenue between Lafayette and Humboldt)

May 9 and 10 from 10am til 4pm.

She is growing 300 tomato plants to distribute, plus some flowers and some basil. Come and get one or more. If you have extra plants in your garden, bring them along to swap and someone will put them to good use. Some folks are bringing more tomatoes and lots of herbs. So, come on by, and remember... all gardening advice is free, although none is guaranteed.

Denise Meny

Owner, Operator D's Daily Dish