Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Politician Unfit to be Governor

(Editor's note: Phil Goodstein, author and historian, publishes a monthly print-only newsletter called The Naysayer. He also gives us permission to publish it here, for which we are very grateful as his writing lifts the prose of this site considerably, to say nothing of the benefit of his historical insights. The Naysayers next meet on Saturday, February 6, Enzo's Pizza, 3424 Colfax (between Cook and Madison) 5:30 PM.)

by Phil Goodstein

From the time of the Pikes Peak gold rush, Colorado has been a magnet for financial swindlers, con artists, and snake oil salesmen. Not surprisingly, the state was in the vanguard of the savings and loan swindles. It has produced a rich crop of Ponzi scheme perpetrators. The only reason the recent banking crisis mostly skimmed the state's surface is because Colorado's longtime dominant banks-First National, Colorado National, and United Bank-had previously sold out to Wall Street manipulators. Even so, the collapse of the $1 billion New Frontier Bank in Greeley was the country's largest bank failure in 2009. New Frontier's collapse stemmed from bad management, deceit, and swindling. Colorado bank regulators mostly turned a blind eye to such practices as the financial institution's problems escalated.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bad video is bad for the candidate

Using YouTube in your campaign is a must these days. I've encouraged a number of candidates to "talk into the camera" in order to convince viewers/voters of the sincerity of their message. However, this video doesn't do the candidate any good. Bennet's flat tone coupled with the poor internal edits (makes one wonder what was so bad that they had to cut it out) results in an overall impression of insincerity. And what is this "silliness" that Bennet refers to three times?

Compare and contrast with Romanoff's recent video.

"The answer, my friend...

is blowing in the wind."

If you've been following the Rocky Flats/Plutonium story, you will want to go the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center to read Dr. LeRoy Moore's op-ed piece in the Boulder Daily Camera and the dust it stirred up.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Another Attempted End-Run by Hickenlooper

Help Stop the Pro-Billboard Zoning Change

(from Protect Denver Skyline)

The Denver City Attorney, with the support of Mayor John Hickenlooper, is working to cover-up the city’s failed oversight of zoning regulations for billboards by introducing an ordinance that will protect these big billboard companies that are in violation of the law. (Go here for more info and to sign petition.)

Denver’s Zoning Administrator Mike O’Flaherty has knowingly allowed the illegal alteration of billboards throughout the city. The approval of this pro-billboard ordinance will not only reward these well-funded out-of-state companies for breaking the law, it will also let several city agencies off the hook for not doing their job.

On Wednesday, January 27th the pro-billboard ordinance will be introduced to the Blueprint Denver Committee. The committee (all city council members) has been provided misinformation from these billboard companies to confuse them and the public.

Denver taxpayers are paying the price for this City Hall cover-up. These oversized, illegal, and unsafe billboards are polluting our city’s streets. Meanwhile, the City Attorney is spinning this pro-billboard ordinance as nothing more than a clarification of language!

Contact the City Council and demand them to hold a public hearing on the Mayor’s pro-billboard ordinance so they can learn the full story.

• We need full enforcement of Denver’s current zoning laws and require that every identified illegal billboard in Denver come into compliance with current law.
• Demand the resignation of Zoning Administrator Mike O’Flaherty for serving the interests of the big billboard companies and not the people of Denver.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hickenlooper for Governor

The race heats up -

Sit! Down! Roll over!

Off-leash dog owners will need "voice control" - like Cesar

Report: Public Meeting Dog Park Master Plan
Scheitler Rec Center, Berkeley Park
January 16, 2010
From: Jay Rust and Larry Ambrose, Members, Dog Park Master Plan Task Force

The "public hearing" on the Dog Park Master Plan on Saturday, January 16 was reorganized to be a "meet and greet" affair: story boards showing what other metro areas are doing, status of Denver's dog parks/off-leash sites, recommendations. People were asked to share their thoughts personally in writing or talk to staff. A staff person revealed that the mayor wants off-leash parks/sites be no more than two miles apart so that driving to a site could be reduced.

Dog owners will still be asked to sign a waiver stating that their dog is under voice control and that they have read and understand rules and regulations. Hours are still during night time during some months of the year. I guess dogs will wear head lights? Special tags that allow off-leash will be sold to non-Denver residents. Denver has over 140,000 dogs. City Park is proposed to have the next off-leash, not fenced, dog site(s). Perhaps in more than one location -- four locations were identified (one is where the buses unload school children by the museum, two are by play fields/picnic area and one is by a popular statue and close to 17th Street).

Saturday, January 23, 2010


At Tuesday's City Council meeting, four Council members voted against the illegal leasing of parks to US OpenAir - Faatz, Lopez, Montero, and Linkhart. Here Cathy Donohue, former City Council President, graciously thanks them for their votes.

by Cathy Donohue

Honorable Councilmembers,

After what was for all of us a long and arduous evening, I want to give my heartfelt thanks for your vote on CB 23.

The nature of this action on the part of the City Administration and the supportive councilmembers is something that will always be a negative mark for their legacies. The Charter is our constitution and to have it be regarded in such a careless and cavalier fashion will mark any historical record of their political careers.

City has golden geese, not just in parks

Commentary by Dave Felice

If Denver’s government leaders persist in turning the parks into sources of revenue, there are many more money-making ideas that are just as outrageous.

Eight members of City Council have capitulated to unlawfully allow a Massachusetts company to close parts of Civic Center Park and charge admission for outdoor movies. There’s no need to stop there.

Here are some suggestions:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lawsuit Time

Watch the entire 6-hr meeting here.
If the members of City Council vote to do something illegal, what recourse do the citizens of Denver have but to sue? In approving this non-competitive contract with OpenAir Cinema to fence off  8% of Civic Center Park this summer, and then move to City Park for the next two years, City Council may well be in violation of the City Charter. As usual, Councilwoman Faatz makes the most cogent argument against doing so, but is in the minority (8-4) and the illegal lease is approved. When will City Council wake up and stop trampling on our Charter?

I sincerely hope that some group of civic-minded citizens will step forward and sue the City to stop this denial of the citizens right to vote on issues drastically changing the use of our parks.

P.S. As usual, Kenny Be has it nailed over at Westword.

Click to enlarge

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cowboy Concert at the Colorado Capitol

Representative Wes McKinley, from Colorado House District 64, conducted his 2nd annual Cowboy Concert in the capitol rotunda. Linda Osteen stood out with her powerful rendition of "God Bless America". Thanks to Wes and Linda for a moving experience.

Romanoff is THE Man

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Denver City Council Medical Marijuana Hearing 1-11-10

Denver City Council held a "courtesy" public hearing on January 11, 2010 on CB34, a bill to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, the fastest growing business in Denver. Apparently over 500 people showed up for the hearing. A reported 92 people signed up to speak. I've clipped out 5 of the speakers for your viewing enjoyment. The bill, opposed by most of the speakers, was later unanimously passed by Council. You can watch the entire 3 1/2 hour Council meeting here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

National Western Stock Show Parade

The 104th National Western Stock Show kicked off with a parade in downtown Denver with Todd Helton as Grand Marshall. Some of the horses were a bit skittish at the steam rising from Denver's underground heating system, but things went smoothly, and the crowd saw yet another fine parade of cowboys, cowgirls, beeves, horses and tractors. True West!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Urgent Message from Cathy Donohue

To: All interested Citizens
Re: Change in use of City Parks

On Tuesday, January 19, 2010, at 5:30 P.M. in City Council Chambers, Room 451, City and County Building, a Public Hearing will be held by Council to hear comments from the public regarding a contract Council wishes to approve allowing a private, for-profit corporation to rent a major part of Civic Center Park for one year and a part of City Park for the two following years.

Civic Center Park, City Park and 10 other city parks have been placed on the City's new "Festival Parks" list. These parks will be used for admission based events.

The Council will vote on this contract which allows US Open Air Cinema to fence off parts of these parks in order to show films for 30 days, with set up and removal of equipment for an additional 20 days.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mayoral Succession

KDVR Channel 31 lays it all out. Oh my, let the fun begin!

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Second Bill of Rights to End Corporate Personhood

My own study of current problems, local, national and global, has led me to one conclusion: the mistaken establishment of corporate personhood lies at the root of most of these problems.

Michael Melio, speaking at a Be The Change meeting, reveals plans to do something about this, starting with initiatives in Colorado Front Range cities.

For more information on the Second Bill of Rights Initiative in Colorado, visit Democracy Unincorporated or email Michael David Melio (

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bennett in the Senate, Ritter in the Shitter, Colorado all Atwitter

When Ritter appointed Bennett to the Senate, the above phrase popped into my head, and it wouldn’t go away. Democrats that I know were very unhappy with that appointment, thinking that Ritter should have chosen Romanoff instead. Ritter’s numbers seemed to be on a slow decline, for reasons I couldn’t quite fathom. The campaign funds rumored to go to Ritter from Anschutz (via 527) in return for his Bennett appointment seemed not to be forthcoming.

I bumped into the Ritter announcement of his withdrawal late last night. Searching for a reason (sorry, to spend more time with family just doesn’t make it) I found this at Red State:

Governor Ritter was embroiled in a separate controversy this year when he nominated his scandal-plagued chief of staff, who he is rumored to be having an extramarital affair with, to be the state’s top federal prosecutor. Stephanie Villafuerte abruptly withdrew her nomination to be Colorado’s next U.S. Attorney when the media exposed her role in illegally accessing a restricted database involving an illegal immigrant drug dealer who sexually assaulted a child after Ritter, then Denver District Attorney, gave him a probation deal.

I have no idea if this is true, but it does fit a pattern. Inside sources tell me that “there is a lot we don’t know about Ritter”.

Could this have been Romanoff’s rationale in starting his campaign early to oppose Bennett? Will Romanoff now change goals and run for Governor? I hope so.

Ritter’s 11:00 am press conference coming up - I’m all atwitter.

Read more here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rep. McKinley Announces Bid for Re-election in HD64

We caught up with Rep. Wes McKinley (D-Walsh)in his office at the Capitol where he announced his bid for re-election for Representative from House District 64, in southeastern Colorado. In the last go-around, he won handily with 76% of the vote, including an amazing 100% of the vote in Prowers County - 2,623 votes for McKinley and not one for his Republican opponent.

Representative Wes McKinley is the Colorado State Representative for House District 64, which encompasses the counties of Baca, Bent, Huerfano, Las Animas, Otero, and Prowers. Most recently he has served on the Agriculture, Livestock, & Natural Resources Committee as well as the Local Government Committee.

Rep. McKinley is a cowboy, a small business owner, an educator and an author. He believes in a representative democracy, not a special interest democracy, and also believes that small business owners, working families, and family farmers and ranchers should be the major influence in state government and the political process.

Rep. McKinley is co-owner of Kirkwell Cattle Company, a cattle and horse touring company that provides guided tours through southern Colorado, northern New Mexico and Oklahoma. He served as the foreman of the grand jury that investigated the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant from 1989 to 1991, and co-authored the book, Ambushed Grand Jury, which discusses his experiences with the Rocky Flats investigation.

Rep. McKinley received a BS in Mathematics from Panhandle State University in Oklahoma. He and his wife, Janice, have been married for over 43 years and are foster parents to more than 25 children from around the world. Rep. McKinley and Janice have eight children of their own.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Denver as Brewpub

It has finally dawned on me that the latest of what I’ve been calling the Parks for Profit movement by our City government, is perhaps more correctly seen as Parks for Liquor Profit.

Our current laws prohibit drinking alcohol in our parks (See 39.10). But without any government interference, many citizens would take their normal booze to their parks, and drink peacefully while picnicking, making and listening to music, and re-creating. Of course some would have more than a few brews, fights would break out and the police would be called, just what happened back in the ‘80s. Back then, as law and order was tightening up, spontaneous human activities like hanging out were disallowed, and then selectively “permitted” in return for payment. Thus, a right to normal behavior is controlled and sold back to us.

Current practice is selective law enforcement. People drink in the parks anyway, and the law is selectively enforced. The bums get busted with their brown bag beverages, and the attendees at the Jazz in the Parks concerts drink their wine in plastic cups while nibbling Brie.

Now comes the Hickenlooper Plan to Monetize Everything (HPTME), one facet of which is euphemistically labeled Admission Based Events (ABE, but I call it Another Booze Event), and predictably, every event will be a platform for the sale of booze. Thanks to Councilman Rick Garcia for making this clear.

The latest in the Admission Based Event scam being proposed is this silly Open Air movies platform, a drive-in without the cars. Don’t we have enough screens in our faces already. Aren’t we saturated in media at all times? What’s the big deal? We get to drink and eat “high-end” food while watching a “just-out-in-DVD movie”? That sure sounds like a $50 experience to me. (But I must add that in Sydney, Australia the entire 2010 season sold out and crashed the server in the first hour of internet sales.)

We are fighting two wars, in the midst of an economic collapse, and our City wants to promote the sale of booze in the parks as a source of revenue?

I understand liquor sales did quite well during the last Depression.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Denver Parks and Recreation Department Running Wild

Mock-up of US OpenAir proposed 30-day cinema at Civic Center Park

It's hard to say what's really going on at Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) these days. So many proposals are on the table that keeping track of them all is a full time job. For example, the proposed Admission Based Events policy is still under consideration and has not been approved by City Council, and yet DPR is going full steam ahead with a contract to allow US OpenAir to show movies at Civic Center Park this summer, and to expand to City Park in 2011. No mention is made of this at the DPR website, so you have to subscribe to their newsletter to keep up.

From the newsletter of 12/31/09
Open Air Cinema Coming to Denver in 2010
Part of the Biennial of the Americas

US OpenAir is a spectacular cinema and lifestyle experience, a seductive combination of:

· fine food and wine
· panoramic views
· cutting edge cinema technology
· a season of great film

Thanks to Dave Felice for keeping up with this open letter to City Council:

Members of the Denver City Council:

The ordinance on a contract for park movies must be rejected because
it seeks your approval of unlawful acts proposed by the administration
of Mayor Hickenlooper.

Both the Charter and Zoning Code prohibit placing and operating movies
in city parks.

The contract was negotiated in secret, without any perceivable public
involvement, and the contractor was not competitively selected. The
proposal violates both the spirit and intent of polices proposed by
Hickenlooper’s Denver Parks and Recreation Department on civic
engagement and admissions based events. Hickenlooper’s City
Attorney’s office has continually tried to deceive both council and
the public into thinking park movies are acceptable.

In attempting to approve a LEASE of two public parks, it must be noted
that Charter permits leases only for “park purposes” and only three
types of lessees. It is NOT a park purpose to place and operate
movies in parks, restricting public access for an extended period and
requiring a fee for entrance.

Despite the City Attorney protestations to the contrary, US OpenAir,
whose very base of operation is dubious, is not a charitable or
nonprofit organization, government jurisdiction, or “concessionaire”.
(Charter 2.4.5; McLauthlin v. Denver, 280, P.2d 1103, 1106, 1955)

Under current Zoning, the Code prohibits outdoor movies in districts
where the parks are located (B-8-G and R-1). Even if outdoor movies
are considered “special events” under temporary permit provisions of
the Zoning Code, the provisions would apply only to Civic Center Park,
not City Park. However, such a “special event” would be prohibited
because the US OpenAir activity would exceed the 12-day maximum
duration allowance of the Zoning Code.

Under the Zoning Code, “park uses” are conditional in the B-8-G
district (Civic Center Park). The city has not complied with the
required procedures for proper review of this conditional use.
(Zoning Code 59-202, 59-117, 59-86, 59-205).

Charter 3.2.6 defines such use (i.e. setting up and operating outdoor
movies) as a lease and the City Attorney is seeking improper Council
approval. Charter 2.4.4 cannot excuse the requirements of Charter
2.4.5; they must be read together as intended.

City government must comply with the Zoning Code in effect until the
“New” Zoning Code is adopted. Even under the “New” Code, the
Hickenlooper administration proposes to take park zoning authority
away from Council and place the authority in the sole hands of the
Manager of Parks and Recreation, an appointed bureaucrat.

Council can amend the language of the Zoning Code (i.e. re-zone) only
by following due process of Charter 3.2.9 (D) and (E).

It appears Parks and Recreation is speaking of outdoor movies in parks
as a fait accompli and seeking a “courtesy” Public Hearing on January
11 as a means of hastening its plans to inappropriately control
taxpayer-funded property and conduct unlawful activities.

Council should schedule the Hearing for January 19, 2010. If the
Hearing is held on January 11, this message must be considered part of
the public record since I will be away from the city and unable to
appear in person.

Unless there are overwhelmingly compelling arguments to the contrary,
Council must avoid complicity in the improper and unlawful acts of
admissions based outdoor movies in public parks.

David P. Felice
City Council District 8
Director, ABC Streets Association
At-Large Delegate, Greater Park Hill Community (GPHC) Board of
Delegate, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation (INC)
Member, INC Parks and Recreation Committee
Delegate, Denver Area Labor Federation (DALF), AFL-CIO
Steward, Communications Workers of America

January 1, 2010