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.

It may not be felt in the short term, but as time passes, the parks will be diminished by commercialization.

When the word "activation" is used as a reason to allow a huge grandstand, bleachers and a few thousand people to occupy public territory for a price, it is a terrible misuse of the term.

To me, activation of Civic Center and even City Park means daily use by adults as well as children. How much more healthy it would be if we added some swings or a slide so that children who are staying in a hotel nearby could actually play in Civic Center?. Why couldn't the Parks Department schedule some of the countless weekend volleyball games on the Great Lawn in Civic Center? Washington Park is booked to capacity for this healthy activity. The farmers' market is a good idea, and we should discuss other small-scale events that could happen every day. I have a very hard time convincing myself that any of the folks who spend $80 plus cocktails will linger on the open grass before and after the movies.

They will simply hurry from their cars to get to the movie on time and hurry back to their cars so that can get home as fast as possible. When the movie projector turns on, all the lights in Civic Center will be turned off so that all can see the movie,. Civic Center will again become a no-man's-land, like it is every night now, and as every other park in the city is after dark. We don't schedule our picnics after dark, do we?.

When I was reading the open records regarding this issue, one Hickenlooper appointee stated "Why are we paying attention to some old law that someone passed 50 years ago?" I wonder if he ever heard of our U.S.
Constitution or of our State Constitution. To some of us, the lack of interest or attention that has been paid to the city's constitution since 2003 is disheartening. A group of people set up Denver's city government with the laws in the Charter, just as our founding fathers set up our federal constitution. In Denver, Colorado, these kinds of laws are no longer respected. They are simply ignored, and whatever suits the current situation is now acceptable.

The story about the price of admission to our public parks is not yet over.

Thank you for respecting our City Charter.

Cathy Donohue


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