Saturday, October 31, 2009

Denver Water Responds

KDVR Ch31 News Logo

Alleged (friable) cement asbestos pipe photographed at Dry Gulch on Oct. 27, 2009

In response to the recent allegations (here and here) of the dumping of cement asbestos (CA) pipe and other toxic substances at Dry Gulch (12th and Sheridan), Denver Water (DW), our quasi-governmental water agency (Penfield Tate III, President), has issued the following press release:

October 30, 2009 - In response to recent claims that Denver Water 20 years ago dumped hazardous materials and cement-asbestos pipe near 12th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard:

The area at 12th Avenue and Sheridan is an old landfill and rubbish dump. Old landfills are not uncommon in the metro area and are usually a legacy of solid waste disposal that occurred before environmental regulations were adopted. Development projects often encounter such landfills and must take appropriate measures during construction.

Denver Water takes care to comply with all applicable environmental regulations, and we have no reason to believe the allegations made on Oct. 28 by former employees. Denver Water did not own, operate or have any responsibility for the landfill at 12th and Sheridan. It is possible that Denver Water disposed of solid waste there when the landfill was in operation, but if so, disposal would only have occurred in accordance with regulations current at the time.

Here is some important information about cement-asbestos (CA) pipe:

* Asbestos is dangerous only when it is “friable,” or, according to asbestos-industry experts, can be crumbled, crushed, or reduced to powder by the pressure of a human hand. Unlike asbestos in dry wall and other products, the asbestos in CA pipe is bound up in the cement and is not friable. Even if CA pipe is broken, the asbestos does not become friable. It does not move or cause any problem unless the pipe is damaged by aggressive cutting or sawing.
* Until recently, the standard industry practice when working with CA pipe was to leave it in place underground and to bag any cut pieces. CDPHE now has requirements that CA pipe that is disturbed must be bagged, removed, labeled and sent to a proper disposal site.
* CA pipes are safe for carrying water and have been widely used for that purpose because they are highly resistant to corrosion and deterioration. Almost every major urban utility has such pipe in the ground.
* PVC and newer steel pipe on the market have eliminated the need to use the heavier, more-difficult-to-work-with CA pipe. CA pipe is no longer used for new installations, but existing pipe in place is safe, because the asbestos is bound to the cement and does not present a risk if left undisturbed.


Denver Water proudly serves high-quality water and promotes its efficient use to 1.3 million people in the city of Denver and many surrounding suburbs. Established in 1918, the utility is a public agency funded by water rates, new tap fees and the sale of hydropower, not taxes. It is Colorado's oldest and largest water utility.

Stacy Chesney
303-628-6584 (office)
720- 232-7214 (cell)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Denver Dogs

I couldn't resist putting up this picture of my last dog, Kea, who loved to take a bath.
She stood over 6 ft tall and weighed 125 lbs.

Licenses are required for dog and cat owners in Denver. I have read (but can't find a reference) that only 5% of Denver dog owners have a current license for their dog. Yet we are apparently preparing to establish off-leash dog runs in City Park.

Correspondent Cathy Donohue weighs in:

This morning I attended the Dog Park Master Plan Meeting at 7:30 a.m because I was told they were going to make recommendations about the New Off-Leash Program (Off-Leash hours would be from 5:00 am to 9:00 am in the morning, and from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm in the evening at several parks in the City.)  I wrote some comments because I was told they would not be taking any testimony; and, as usual, I wanted to get my 2 cents' worth into the record.

They decided to try a pilot program some time next year in an open area of City Park and one other park that they couldn't quite identify. We will all have to wait for the final decision.

By the way, we were allowed to ask one question at the end, so I asked the Manager of Animal Control just what one would do if she were on the ground with an injury that would make it impossible to chase down a loose dog or it's master so that the victim could pursue action against the dog owner.  He smiled and said "call the dog catcher and they would find the dog and its master if the victim could give them a description".

I thought that was the most ridiculous reply, since I have called the Animal Control several times over the last 40 years and it took more than an hour to get to the area of the problem.  Needless to say, they were unable to find the animal in question.

I think the matter of allowing dogs to have free reign for 8 hours a day is a bit too much.

Confessions of a Denver Dog Owner
by Cathy Donohue
October 28, 2009

When I moved to Denver and the Cheesman Park neighborhood from Wyoming in 1963, I brought my German Shepard with me. I have owned or rescued about 12 or 13 dogs since that time. Over a period of 45 years I have used City Park, Washington Park, Cheesman Park, the Platte River and many other pathways in the city to walk these pets. All of them went to dog training classes and were trained to heel, walk properbly on a leash, sit, come and stay. None of them ever bit a human being; however, several could not be trusted to refrain from arguing with another dog.

I tell of these matters because I wish to have the powers that decide dog issues in Denver realize that I am an experienced and competent dog owner. The plan being proposed to allow approximately 8 hours daily of off-leash activity in Denver's parks is one that will place countless human beings in danger. The vast majority of dogs are not under the voice control of their masters and never will be.

I participated in an informal “dog group” in the late 70's  that existed on the top of the Cheesman water reservoir in Congress Park. This dog group had about a dozen participants. No one could see the activity from the street and no high rise dwellers were able to watch the group.  This bunch of dog owners and their pets enjoyed the pleasures of each other's company until the time that an irresponsible owner of three wolf-hybrids decided to join. He never cleaned up after his dogs (as we all did) and he allowed them to attack other dogs. This bad behavior began at the boundary of Congress Park and his animals made their destructive way to the reservoir on their own. He believed that his dangerous pets should have a “free run” of pure enjoyment. The neighbors around Congress Park finally called the dog catchers and the Water Department.  The “dog group'”owners were ticketed, along with the owner of the wild dogs, and the group disbanded. The Water Department securely locked the reservoir.

Today we have a “dog group” many times larger than the group that existed in the 70's. They have taken over a large section of Cheesman Park. I would imagine that few of the owners of these dogs  have genuine voice control of their pets. Even after many years of training, I can honestly say that I had true voice control over only a couple of my dogs.

If the Parks Department decides to allow free running dogs in any of our city parks, many people (young, old or frail in any way) would not be safe from being knocked over by a loose dog. Being bitten is an even greater threat. Trying to chase down the dog's owner would be a task of impossible proportion if the victim were injured in any way. Given my age (70) and my state of health, I would never enter a park during the time that dogs would be running off leash.

Do we need dog parks? Yes. They need to be properly fenced so that the dogs that people love so much are not able to harm anyone. We are no longer able to buy or maintain more park land in the city. Every plot of green oasis needs to offer rest and pleasure to as many people as possible. Dogs are often a pleasure as well as a necessity, but our parks cannot be turned into dog runs. Yes, I have, for 5 or 10 minutes at a time, left one of my many dogs off the leash--to run freely. I disobeyed the laws very early in the morning or after dark; and I was very careful to see if anyone was nearby, so the illegal action did not threaten other park users. Was I wrong to disobey the laws? Of course, but we have all been tempted to allow 5 or 10 minutes of stolen freedom for our dogs. I received two tickets over a 45-year period. The city is unable to enforce its laws. I have not let any of my dogs off leash for more than 10 years. I came to a realization of my duties as a dog owner. We need to consider everyone's needs. There is a need for safe parks and a need for fenced dog parks. 

Dogs owned by Cathy Donohue from 1963

1.     Falco – German Shepard
2.     Jacque – Standard Poodle
3.     Gretchen – Airedale
4.     Rascal – Scottish Terrier
5.     Sophie – German Shepard/Doberman mix
6.     Penny – Doberman
7.     Misty – Scottish terrier/Schkipperke mix
8.     Little Guy – Miniature Pinscher
9.     Callie – Miniature Pinscher
10.  Mr. Jiggs - Pomeranian

Note:  I have rescued several dogs that were abandoned in Cheesman Park and kept them until I found suitable homes for them.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Asbestos Dumped by Denver Water

Denver Water (DW), our quasi-governmental agency, run by a Board of Commissioners with no water or environmental experience among them, got nailed yesterday for one of its many past sins.

Former employees, with assistance from Adrienne Anderson of CO Watch, went to the site of past dumping of cement-asbestos pipe and other nasty stuff to disclose DW's latest incompetence.The site just happens to be in the path of our western light-rail corridor.

Takeaway from the video - we still have over 200 miles of cement asbestos pipe in the ground delivering our water while Colorado Springs has banned its use. As for the stuff partially buried at Dry Gulch, one tiny asbestos fiber, kicked up in the dust from a passing light-rail car, can lodge in your lungs and eventually cause cancer.

Denver's Channel 31, KDVR, also carried the story. Heidi Hemmat seems to be the only reporter in Denver with any interest in environmental issues (all of the local TV and news outlets were sent advance notice of the press conference). She, and her cameraman and editor, did a great job on this story. See for yourself here.

Note to Commissioner Tate: Wouldn't it be a smart move to hire Anderson as a consultant so she could tell you everything you should know now, rather than wait for it to come in, one lawsuit at a time? After all, she knows more about Denver water than all of the Commissioners put together!

Oh, and by the way, DW voted unanimously this morning to raise your rates.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bad Moon Arising - in Zombieland

I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin.
I see bad times today.
Bad Moon Rising lyrics by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Although I spend the major portion of many days reading and listening to financial news, I don’t usually devote much of this blog to those topics. Today, I make an exception.

Instead of listening to the talking heads on cable TV, why not listen and read from those who correctly predicted the current state of affairs? Can you handle the truth?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tavern Hospitality Group - Neighborhood Update (Next to Tattered Cover on Colfax)

Click to enlarge

From a flyer on my porch:

Dear Neighbors:
My name is Frank Schultz and I'm the owner of the Tavern Hospitality Group. We are currently under contract to redevelop and open our newest restaurant, at the former site of the Neighborhood Flix. We're very excited to be a part of the Congress Park neighborhood. We feel we have an opportunity to bring a business to the neighborhood that will assist in the continued revitalization of Colfax. There has been a great deal of misinformation spread about this project. I want to clarify our conceptual plans and reaffirm our commitment to work with the community.

TYPE OF VENUE - We plan to open a friendly neighborhood restaurant offering good food and service. It will be much like our Tavern Wash Park and Tavern Lowry locations, both in neighborhoods similar to Congress Park. The focus will be to bring the neighborhood a comfortable place to go for an enjoyable lunch or evening out (seating capacity of 100). The additional multi-use space will build off of the wonderful characteristics of the existing space. With a seating capacity of approximately 450, the new space will have a similar occupancy to the old Neighborhood Flix theatres. It will be a unique location for community events such as wedding receptions, bar/bat mitzvahs, fundraisers and movie screenings. We recognized there was a need in this area of Denver for an upscale venue for these types of events. Similar to our Soiled Dove Underground location, we will also feature music (jazz, blues, singer/songwriters and other adult contemporary artists) along with comedians and children's shows.

UNDER CONTRACT - We are under contract for this building. We are the only buyer whose proposal was accepted by the bank. Early this past summer, there were other offers on this property that did not qualify for the purchase.

LIQUOR LICENSE - There's been a great deal of confusion regarding this license. A liquor license already exists from the previous company that was in that space; therefore, we are already able to serve alcohol. We are merely adhering to Denver regulations which require a dance cabaret license in order to allow dancing for events. In addition, the all-ages classification will allow us open attendance at events. Examples of these events would be weddings receptions, bar/bat mitzvahs, fundraising galas and other similar events which might feature dancing and be attended by people of all ages. This modification request is for the multi-use space facility only and not for the benefit of the restaurant use.

IMPACT ON EAST HIGH SCHOOL - I don't feel we will negatively impact the school. In fact, having a healthy restaurant across the street for a lunch option will be an added benefit to both students and teachers. Additionally, the multi-use space might be a good option for school events (i.e., fundraisers, school performing arts, etc.). We have a no-tolerance policy when it comes to serving alcohol to underage patrons. We have been in business for 13 years with 6 different liquor licenses without a violation. We are proud of this, and feel it is a testament to our stringent policies.

As with all our businesses we approach each project with a long-term vision for success. It is important that you understand our company philosophy for establishing new locations within a neighborhood to become a fixture there for years to come. Additionally, we're very responsible restaurant operators and take a lot of pride in the way we run our business. It's of the utmost importance to us that we continue to operate in a respectable manner, which is why we've reached out to all the neighborhood associations in advance. We're are currently working on a neighborhood agreement like we've done with our other Tavern locations. We feel this is an important step in our process to let the neighborhood know our commitment to our new neighbors. In the past, there have been problems in this area of Colfax with drugs and other disagreeable elements. Our goal is to help make the neighborhood safer and more welcoming, thereby contributing to its growing vibrancy and revitalization. The Lowenstein Development has done a wonderful job so far with Twist & Shout and The Tattered Cover. We look forward to contributing to their continued success.

I would like to thank all of those who attended our neighborhood meeting on September 24th, it was encouraging to hear all of the positive feedback. It's important to me that we have a good relationship with all our neighbors. As with any project, there are always different points of views and opinions. During this period of the project I would appreciate any positive or negative comments, questions and concerns. Please feel free to e-mail me with any of these at


Frank Schultz
Owner, Tavern Hospitality Group

Why is Charlie Brown Making So Much Sense?

Have you been paying attention to the New (Proposed) Denver Zoning Code? My guess is probably not so much. You may have heard about it but have you looked up your property to see what our City masterminds have in store for the future? You can go here and locate your address and see what the new code dictates for you. Then you can look up the new designation and see what that actually means...maybe.

With your new designation in hand you can go to this Interim Draft and...totally lose your mind as you try to figure out what the heck is going on. I have to admit, with all of the strike-throughs and cross-outs it is almost impossible to see what will or may happen to your property designation. Keep in mind that the ultimate value of your property will depend very directly on this new designation.

But wait,

Denver City Council and Denver Planning Board are hosting two public listening sessions in November on the proposed New Zoning Code. This is another opportunity for you to provide comments on the proposed New Zoning Code and ask questions.

We thank the thousands of citizens who helped shape the first and second drafts of the New Zoning Code. A third draft is being completed that will be published on for community review and comment in advance of the listening sessions.

Come Join Us On:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm (Sign–up to speak between 5 pm and 5:30pm)


Thursday, November 19, 2009 from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm (Sign-up to speak between 12 noon and 12:30pm)

Both sessions will be held in the Webb Municipal Building, 201 W. Colfax Avenue, Fourth floor conference rooms 4G2/4F6.

-The sessions will be held in a public hearing format. Speakers are limited to 3 minutes and one opportunity to comment or ask a question over the course of the two listening sessions.
-Input will be used to inform the final draft code to be released in December.
-Adoption of the New Zoning Code is planned for February 2010.

The New Zoning Code fixes Denver's 53-year-old, unwieldy, patch worked zoning code. The New Denver Zoning Code, a comprehensive rewrite, will support a growing economy, a sustainable environment, a diverse mix of housing, strong neighborhoods and a high quality of life. Learn more at www.NewCodeDenver.Org.

I'm always suspicious when government asks for "citizen input". Countless times I have seen citizens express their opinion before City Council only to be totally ignored when it comes to a vote. "Listening Sessions" sound even more bogus, but maybe that's just my anti-government bias showing, especially when I learn that a consulting firm has been hired to conduct these sessions (not clear who will be listening in this case).

And then I discovered this 3-part gem, Downzoning Denver, from KBDI on YouTube. I'm posting Part 3 here but if you are concerned you should watch all three parts. Councilman Charlie Brown speaks to the issue of property rights. He is one of my favorites since he made the abusive "Overlay Railroad" (my term) to which my neighborhood was subjected require a 50% agreement of the owners before passage. The new code incorporates many of the existing overlays.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Trumbule Trail

The old sign at the Trumbule Trail

Because of the unusual spelling of my last name, it is easy for me to track the activities of my relatives with Google Alerts. Thus, this heartening piece came to my attention, about the renewal of the Trumbule Trail in Hyattsville, Md., where I, my older brother Robert, and our siblings, grew up after moving from Greenbelt, Md. in 1954.

Robert Edward Trumbule, “Bob”, was a heroic character, father to five, active in Boy Scouts, church, and community. His sudden death in 1984 by heart attack was totally unexpected, as he was only 47 years old, a marathon runner, and thought to be in good health.

The Trumbule Trail, in Magruder Park, was one response to his passing. As I recall, his four sons and their Troop built the trail, a nature walk through a swamp, without government assistance of any kind. A few months ago, I noticed that the City of Hyattsville had designated $18,000 for the rejuvenation of the Trail.

 The new sign at the Trumbule Trail

Now the work is done and a fine slide show is available. Thanks to the City of Hyattsville and to all of the volunteers for their effort in keeping the trail, and the memory of my brother, alive.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pinon Canyon Expansion Revisited

The tireless Colorado Representative, Wes McKinley, of House District 64, organized a trailride along the southern border of the Army's Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site on September 26-27, 2009. Riders gathered at the La Quinta Inn in Trinidad, and traveled to the trail head. There they mounted up (Trinidad Bill's fancy buggy for the cameraman, thank you) and proceeded east along the canyon's edge. The video is a compilation of both days, and includes a visit to homesteader's ruins, Jack's Canyon, and then to the rim of Pinon Canyon with the Purgatory River below.

For reasons unknown to civilians, the Army keeps trying to expand their already mammoth Maneuver Site. US Congressmen, Colorado Representatives, and ranchers have come together to try to prevent this naked land grab, but the Army keeps coming back for more (despite promises in 1983, during the largest eminent domain land grab in US history, that they wouldn't).

Although unknown to many Colorado residents, this area is a treasure of wildlife, archeological sites (over 1,500 on the current site), Indian burial grounds and petroglyphs, and home to over 17,000 farmers, ranchers, business people and their families. Please visit here, and here for more information on how you can join in the effort to stop this unwarranted expansion. Also go to this site's index for Pinon Canyon.

Report from the Elyria Neighborhood Association

by Thomas R. Anthony, President
October 3rd, 2009

The Elyria Neighborhood Association Board of Directors learned yesterday that the Anna Louise Johnson Recreation Center, a fixture in Elyria since 1939 and just the latest iteration of Elyria's recreational program which began upon founding of the town in 1881, may be closed by the City and County of Denver. This is "ostensibly" in response to the new budget mandate to save money, and not because Councilwoman Montero wants to run a new highway past Elyria park. Perhaps the $271,232 proposed to be saved by shuttering Johnson Rec will be re-allocated for staffing the new $11 million Forest City Recreation Center approved with the $500 million in new bonding projects in November of 2007. Or perhaps Denver needed a supervisor to administer the $60 million General Obligation Bond for restoration in the Boettcher Concert Hall. Recently, a $1.5 billion state subsidy introduced by ex-Senator Jennifer Veiga of Senate District 31 in Elyria was passed by the Legislature as an impetus to building a new $200 million home for the National Western Stock Show, whose $30 million buildings and equestrian facilities were constructed by Denver taxpayers in Elyria in 1993.

Although Denver Public Schools recently announced an incoming student boom which drove up the registered students' roster by 2,600 kids this year, largely in the Northeast Denver area where Elyria is located, for some reason the $271,000 a year it takes to operate and staff the Johnson Recreation Center has become surplus funds. Although Nestle Purina added a $50 million automated warehouse to its operation in South Elyria this year, generating millions of new taxes to Denver County while making every Elyrian's supper smell like dog food, the budget for Elyria's only community activity center simply cannot be sustained in the face of all the needed budget cuts, which may in some way relate to the 70% loss of property value we've endured.

My 5 and 7 year olds play PAL sports for Elyria's Johnson Center Chargers and the Blue Jays. They are the lighter-skinned component of the 92% minority teams, which are made up of children where, according to the Piton Foundation, comparing us with the rest of Denver: we average 200% more families with children, and more than 200% higher rate of those children born to teenagers; where 91% of the kids qualify for DPS free lunch; where we earn 70% of the average household income while supporting double the number of occupants per house, and where 31% of the homes are over-crowded; where we have 260% of the average household poverty rate, yet our heads of household hold 500% more manufacturing jobs and 300% more construction jobs, per capita; and have a 200% higher unemployment rate and 1/8th the average number of college grads. As far as getting in trouble, while we have 300% of the average burglary rate, only 64% of the average Denver neglected child rate. It must be someone else sneaking into our neighborhood to steal things.

And as long as we're looking at statistics, according to an administrative training manual published by the US Dept of Education: "In Rochester, N.Y., gang members reported committing 68 percent of all adolescent violent offenses; in Seattle, Wash., gang members reported committing 85 percent of adolescent robberies, and in Denver, Colo., gang members self-reported committing 79 percent of all serious violent adolescent offenses....According to James C. (Buddy) Howell, Ph.D., a long-time gang researcher and former director of research and program development at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: "Communities overreact and attack the problem in the wrong way, there is an emphasis on trying to sweep them out of the area [through law enforcement]. When their roots are in the area, that's not likely to be effective. Instead, communities must analyze the problem and address the origins with prevention and early intervention. It's a harmful myth to just think you can drive gangs out of an area and that will be the end of it. It's not. They regenerate themselves." I might add, especially when you close down their recreation center after 100 years.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bennet v. Romanoff

Be The Change USA is a progressive democratic group originally organized around the campaign of Mike Miles. Now they espouse progressive causes, sponsor events and support liberal candidates. At their meeting on September 21, 2009, they listened to supporters of Michael Bennet and Andrew Romanoff discuss why the group should endorse one or the other.

Adam Dunstone for Michael Bennet

Gwyn Green for Andrew Romanoff

By vote the group decided to wait to make an official endorsement.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

World Kite Day

The 24th annual event unites citizens across the world through the art of kite flying 
Earth Day Founder, John McConnell to Appear 

DENVER – Stapleton, former site of Denver’s original airport, will for the second year, once again become a flight zone during One Sky One World’s annual kite festival on Oct. 11, 2009, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Stapleton’s Central Park. Thousands of people will gather and launch their own kites at Stapleton's Central Park for the One Sky One World Kite Fly presented by Forest City Stapleton, Inc. There, they will enjoy numerous musical acts performing on a solar-powered stage, kitefliers and celebrities from the world kite-flying community. Every second Sunday of October since 1986, millions of people around the world celebrate “World Kite Day,” and for the second year, the spotlight in Denver is on Stapleton’s 80-acre Central Park during the 24th annual global event.

Read more

Get Yours Now!

I got mine, and you can too! You've heard about the Army's desire to add another 100,000 (or is it really 400,000) acres to their already huge Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in the southeast corner of our square state. They want the entire corner - from Pueblo east and south to our Colorado borders. A coalition of ranchers, politicians and activists has mounted a campaign to end this threat. Go get your beautiful, suitable-for-framing deed for only $10! (Also see Westword's recent coverage here and here.)

Who Will Control Our Parks?

Original photo from Denver Water, taken down after toxins, including uranium, from Lowry Landfill Superfund Site were added to recycled water in City and Washington Parks (Don't let your dog do this!)
When Cathy Donohue spoke to Denver City Council Public Amenities Committee, it was as if no one was really listening. Council members and the City Attorney apparently did not understand the importance of her statement. Here, in an email, she reiterates:
Honorable Councilmembers, Because the three points that I spoke of on Wednesday at the Public Amenities Committee meeting were so poorly interpreted and the opinions given by the City Attorney were so incorrect, I want to put my words and thoughts in written form for councilmembers as well as others concerned about our parks. The first point is that City administrators should take the time to write clear and understandable rules and regulations for the new Parks Zones. The City family has been able to write hundreds of regulations for all of the zones for private land, so it seems to me that the task of promulgating parks rules is possible as well as necessary. The suggestion to promulgate park zoning rules similar to PUD rules was made in order to give you some idea that a similar process could be used to write parks' rules. The citizens that I have been working with for many years do not trust an appointed official to protect our parks. Elected officials are accountable to their constituents, appointed officials are not. David Broadwell's assurances that the vague terms ("parks uses") mentioned in the Charter are sufficient to give the public comfort about the actions of an appointed official are just not acceptable. The new Zoning Code should not be adopted until specific parks rules are included. Despite the confusing and unprofessional comments made by the City Attorney about the second point that I made (Charter changes), the simple answer to the question should have been if the powers granted in the Charter are changed, the people need to vote on the change. It is not possible to rewrite the powers granted to the Council in the Charter with a simple ordinance revision. The system for amending the Charter has been in place for about 120 years, and it cannot be altered by any ordinance procedure enacted by Council. The third point, to which no one responded, regards the inability of the citizens to vote on any administrative actions of the non-elected Parks Manager. This point is of vital importance. If the Council convinces the public to vote to amend the Charter to give their powers to an administrator, the people will be unable to remedy any grievances in the same way that they can today. They will have no way to use their referendum rights to seek redress. Council and the Parks Manager can write as many political, insider mechanisms (as described in the 15 point list of "check and balances") imaginable. None of these so-called "checks" is an ordinance that people may vote upon. Today, if the citizens do not like land use decisions made by the Council, they may express their objections with a referendum. Whenever a petition drive is started, all ordinance procedures cease. The day after a group of citizens began the petition drive to stop the State History Museum from destroying park land, the State changed its mind about building in Civic Center Park. Once petitions are started, no bonds can be issued and no money can be spent. The loss of referendum rights is the greatest of the losses proposed by the City Administration and the Council in removing Parks land use from the authority of an elected official and giving it to an appointed one. The word of a City Attorney is not law, it is merely an opinion about the law and, in the past, they have made mistakes or interpreted the law in the interests of the Executive Branch for whom they work--that is why we have courts; and, occasionally, dissenting councilmembers. Cathy Donohue