Friday, March 5, 2010

Call for Task Force Housecleaning

ABSEP Task Force Meeting (5-17-09) with Parks and Recreation Manager Kevin Patterson (foreground) with event promoters Paul Weiss (Councilwoman Madison's husband) and Al Kraizer

Denver, Colorado
March 5, 2010

Kevin Patterson
Manager, Denver Parks and Recreation
201 West Colfax Avenue, Department 601
Denver, Colorado 80202

Mr. Patterson:

Deliberations to re-draft the proposed Admissions Based Special Events Policy (ABSEP) present an excellent opportunity to evaluate the ABSEP Task Force to achieve appropriate community representation.

Here are significant factors to consider:

Actual "community" participation has been and continues to be far outweighed by city employees and promoters.

Everyone on the task force is a member of the community in some fashion. The Task Force needs broad-based representation from Registered Neighborhood Organizations, emphasizing but not limited to those RNOs in the vicinity of impacted parks.

It is a conflict of interest for Parks and Recreation personnel to be in voting/decision-making positions; staff does not represent the public and is obligated to support the decisions of supervisors.

It is inappropriate for members of the same household/family to be on the Task Force.

Actual, potential, and/or perceived conflicts of interest need to be disclosed.

Some members are identified with “community” affiliation when in fact they have a vested business interest in the outcome.

Several members of the “original” Task Force either did not participate or are now gone.

Several members now have an invalid affiliation; members are no longer representing the groups they were named to represent.

Some Task Force members have direct relationships with city officials which may impact decisions by those officials.

From the outset almost three years ago, there was lack of fair representation from the neighborhoods and inconsistent participation. As the decision of the Parks Advisory Board to redefine the policy implies, the stakeholders need to be properly identified and all stakeholders need to have a full opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the proposed policy.

At present, there is a strong public perception that the Task Force was established to carry forth a decision already made by the city administration without regard to public opinion. The current composition of the Task Force is out-of-date and imbalanced.

We urge you to immediately take steps to correct this imbalance by limiting the number of city employees, removing inactive members, and improving true neighborhood participation.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Cindy Johnstone (
ABSEP Member, Friends and Neighbors of Washington Park

Larry Ambrose, (
ABSEP Member, Sloan’s Lake Neighborhood and Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation

Dave Felice (
ABSEP Member, Greater Park Hill Community and Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation


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