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.


  1. sporobolus5:11 PM

    your municode link doesn't display a specific part of the code (did you try the "link to this page" link?), but i assume you refer to section 39.10, which does say "It shall be unlawful to sell, serve, or consume alcohol beverages at or within any park [...]"

    i've been specifically informed by community police officers that they can't enforce this in the case of individuals drinking liquor on their own-- i don't recall the exact reasoning, is it perhaps a state law superseding local charter?

  2. Most important to realize here that under State liquor laws, only non-profits can sell alcohol at special events. So the Mayor, a Tavern owner by trade, has twisted the arm of the Dept. of Revenue to allow our parks to be defined as Taverns in order for Open Air to apply for a Tavern License for the piece of City Park they have leased from the City. So they will apply for a Tavern License for a year and only use it for a month. Of course, this is not what the Legislature intended and if this ploy goes unchallenged and is successful, it sets a very dangerous precedent. Why, if a piece of land in a park is an establishment for purposes of a Tavern License, couldn't a vacant lot with a tent on it become a Tavern? Answer: Neighborhoods might object. Not so with the park land. There's no neighbors within a 1000 feet to object!