Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

On OpenAir Cinema

As OpenAir Cinema goes forward with its plans to close a large section of City Park and charge admission to outdoor movies, the company is expected to seek a tavern liquor license to sell and serve alcoholic beverages.

Renowned Denver historian, author, and social critic Phil Goodstein has this commentary exclusively for Denver Direct:

The all-so-sophisticated arts crowd cannot think of having an event without alcohol, even as the righteous decry drinking by "undesirables," i.e., the poor who hang out in Civic Center. Affluent modern alcoholics cannot conceive of an activity without liquor. When attending a "cultural" event, many people head straight for the bar even before finding their seats.

When it comes to liquor, hypocrisy trumps everything. For example, thanks to the liquor interests led by John W. Hickenlooper, there is a hideously ugly fence on Colfax by East High School. The fence is supposed to assure that the liquor license at the converted Bonfils-Lowenstein theater does not violate the rule of no liquor too close to a school.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

From DenverGov
Photo Red Light Enforcement Program

Updated May 24, 2010

Current Red Light Camera Intersection Locations

There are currently 4 red light camera intersections. The locations for these intersections are listed below.

All incidents captured by the red light cameras are reviewed by employees of the Denver Police Department. If the review determines a violation of Denver Revised Municipal Code 54-101(3)(a) has occurred a notice of violation is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.

Each of the red light camera locations has a white stop bar painted prior to the crosswalk. Vehicles must be stopped behind this white stop bar when the light is red. If a right or left turn is permitted, vehicles must come to a complete and full stop behind the white stop bar before proceeding.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Editor's note: We had originally planned to do an extensive story on our "Four Days in Fairplay" coverage of a hearing at the Park County Courthouse, with Judge Stephen A. Groome presiding, to determine whether or not a temporary restraining order against rancher Vern Wagner should be made permanent. This hearing would determine whether Wagner was "fit" to carry on his free-range cattle business, in which he has been engaged for over 50 years.

Judge Groome denied our request to videotape in the courtroom.

In light of the fact that the matter will be going to trial, we decided not to publish our opinions at this time. Instead, we present what video we were able to record. Go to The Flume for current print coverage.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Further reflections on the election of Paula Sandoval to Denver City Council

by George Seaton

I seen my opportunities and I took ‘em.
George Washington Plunkitt of Tammany Hall fame…or infamy.

Okay. So no significant—or even piddling, for that matter!—blow was struck for democracy with the election of Paula Sandoval to serve out the remaining year of Rick Garcia’s incumbency as Northwest Denver’s city councilperson. Indeed, if you look at the numbers, you might be startled, amused, or indifferent to the fact that only about 33% of “Active Registered Voters” in Council District 1 bothered to cast a ballot in this all-mail election. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that Ms. Sandoval garnered only 22% of the 7,738 votes distributed amongst ten candidates.

They tell me—I honestly didn’t know—that Ms. Sandoval has been our (I live in the district) state senator in the Colorado Legislature for eight years. Go figure. Of course, since she is term-limited in the legislature, she needed a job. Where else would a professional politician go to get a job at this particular time? Duh! is, of course, the obvious answer.

Reflections on the recent election of Paula Sandoval to Denver City Council

by Cathy Donohue, former City Council President

"Big City" power brokering is the game that was played to put Paula Sandoval in office as the District 1 City Councilmember. This win was based more on endorsements of her political friends and personal finances than her ability as a successful legislator.

State Senator Paula Sandoval, who could not take contributions because State law prohibits contributions while the Senate is in session, simply played it safe and spent $40,000 of her family's money to win the council seat. The runner-up spent $25,000 of her own money to win second place.
Both candidates were able to gamble sizeable amounts of money, betting on the come. Why were they so sure they could win, or was gambling that much money small potatoes to them?

I watched 8 public forums where each of the candidates presented themselves and their political ideas for District l. Paula Sandoval said nothing but tired, old platitudes; but she did mail six pieces of literature to all constituents that listed the names of prominent political figures who were endorsing her. Neither she nor the runner-up had any record of ever being involved in City issues.

Monday, May 24, 2010

More on the commercialization of Denver's parkland

From Parks and Wreck:

Below is a list of current and proposed Parks and Recreation Temporary Vending sites.  Please review the list and let us know if you have any questions about the addition of the 9 park sites, 5 athletic field sites and the 15 outdoor pools as new temporary vending locations.  Please offer feedback to by May 31, 2010.

The Temporary Vending Permit provides licensed vendors the opportunity to temporarily sell food and non-alcoholic beverages at designated sites approved by the City and County of Denver. Only stationary, non-mobilized food vending carts are permitted.  Permits are offered on a monthly basis.  Non-permitted vendors are not allowed within 300 feet of a Denver park.
Temporary Vending Sites

Park Locations

Barnum Park
Skyline Park - North Block     -           2 locations
Confluence Park
Skyline Park -  Mid Block        -           2 locations
Garfield Park
Skyline Park -  South Block     -           3 locations
Houston Park
Sloans Lake Park
Washington Park (4 locations)

Cramner Park
Cheesman Park
Berkeley Park
Stapleton Central Park
Rocky Mountain Lake
Falcon Park
City Park (3 locations)
O’Fallen Park
Civic Center Park

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Your opinion on allowing parks to be closed for profit-making commercial events

by Dave Felice

District 8 City Councilwoman Carla Madison has a brief survey on her web site, seeking opinions on commercial outdoor movies at Civic Center and/or City Park.

The survey is designed to register what respondents think about the acceptability of the movies at one site or the other, and a possible reason for opposition.

The survey does not focus on the primary issue of keeping parks free and open to the public and not allowing parks to be closed for profit-making commercial events. The survey also does not present the argument that the city’s legal contract with OpenAir Cinema is a fundamental violation of City Charter.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pay a Fee to Register to Pay a Tax? No Thanks, I'll OPT Out

In his never ending search for additional tax revenue, Mayor Hickenlooper has invented a new fee. If you want to pay the so-called Occupational Privilege Tax (OPT), you will have to pay a registration fee first to then pay a tax for the privilege of working in Denver. (Hickenlooper himself called the fee "crazy" and the tax "wrong-headed" on the Mike Rosen show.)

Council to mull fee cut
Bill would reduce OPT fee in half for small business owners
Gene Davis, DDN Staff Writer
Monday, May 17, 2010
The Denver City Council today will consider a bill that would reduce a fee the city placed on Denver’s smallest business owners.
The council bill would reduce by half the $50 biennial registration fee one-person business owners now have to pay the city to process their occupational privilege tax (OPT). The bill comes after small business owners protested having to pay the same flat registration fee as large corporations.
The measure up for consideration this evening would allow the estimated 7,000 one-person businesses in Denver to pay a $25 OPT registration fee every other year.
One of those small business owners who would have their fee cut in half is Gerald Trumbule. Trumbule believes the proposed bill is a step in the right direction, though he remains opposed to the idea of having to pay any kind of a fee for the city to process a tax. “If they need to raise the tax for the privilege of working in Denver, then let’s do that,” he said.
The OPT requires employers to annually pay the city $48 for every worker they employ. When trying to generate extra revenue for the city this year, Mayor John Hickenlooper told his budget department to only consider raising fees in areas that hadn’t been raised in a while. The OPT has not been raised since 1983, and any attempt to raise the tax would have to go through the voters because of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
But after Hickenlooper’s administration implemented the OPT registration fee and small business owners objected to having to pay the same amount as large corporations, the mayor and gubernatorial candidate promised on the Mike Rosen Show in March to look into the issue. “I went to the revenue folks and said, ‘Why are the little guys paying the same thing that the large guys are?” he said on the following Mike Rosen Show that aired last month. “They went back and said, ‘Well, it looks like you’re right.’”
Denver City Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz responded in March by saying she was shocked that Hickenlooper seemingly didn’t fully understand a budget measure that was pushed by his administration.
“It never occurred to me that he did not know about it or understand it or anything like this,” she said. “I’m beginning to think that any fee increase like this, perhaps (Hickenlooper) should come and present himself so we’re absolutely sure that everybody is in sync here.”
Around the same time that Hickenlooper promised to move quickly on the flat OPT registration fee, Denver City Councilwomen Jeanne Robb and Faatz approached Hickenlooper about the issue, Robb said.
Faatz, who opposes the OPT fee in general, said Hickenlooper’s decision to cut the registration fee in half for a one-person business is a “small step in the right direction.” “It is an improvement over what it was,” she said last month.
Meanwhile, Trumbule is considering disbanding his largely inactive one-person business because he doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of having to pay an extra fee. He believes that some of the estimated 7,000 one-person business owners that aren’t generating much revenue might do the same.
“My contention is that they may end up collecting less money in the long run,” he said. “How many of those, like me, will…just drop their business?“
See previous post.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Inflation is Here

If you've been shopping lately, I probably don't have to tell you about what's happening now. But when I saw the figures, I was surprised:

Percentage increase year over year:

Fresh vegetables 56.1
Fresh fruit 28.8
Fresh eggs 33.6
Pork 19.1
Beef 10.7
Dairy 9.7

I guess that's why they don't include food in the Consumer Price Index.

Take the time (1 hour) to watch this very well produced and informative documentary.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Denverite treks cross-country

By Dave Felice
Denver Direct Exclusive

A Denver man is in the midst of walking across the United States to have what he calls “intentional conversations” and independently raise awareness of a global micro-credit program designed to connect individuals.

Twenty-seven-year-old Jonathon Stalls, accompanied by his dog Kanoa (Hawai’ian for “free one”), is trekking from Delaware to California.

“For many years I have longed to engage in a long-term adventure involving the simplicity of a backpack, my two feet, and the rugged and unpredictable terrain of our country and those who inhabit her,” says Stalls. “I am eager to connect, share, and learn from the unique people I will encounter along the way.”

On his web site,, Stalls explains that he is supporting the Kiva Microfunds program: “Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.”

Stalls emphasizes that he is not directly affiliated with Kiva and is not taking financial donations for the micro credit program. “My number one goal in supporting Kiva is encouraging people to join as members.”

Stalls graduated from Metropolitan State College of Denver last spring, with a degree in Design and Entrepreneurship in the Independent Degree Program. Before embarking on his cross-country walk, he worked at the ECDC African Community Center, a refugee relocation organization in Denver.

“Since living in Ireland (2005-2006), visiting Honduras in 2007, and swapping life stories with many ‘travelers,’ I have craved an adventure that would challenge my daily activities, expectations, and priorities,” writes Stalls. “The speed and growth of our commodity driven and over-communicated culture feeds a personal call to engage in quieter, slower, and more intentional experiences with less.”

Stalls says walking provides a “joy” of meeting new people, and a “thrill of new communities.” He says he anticipates “moments that will challenge my mind, body, and heart.” Stalls is documenting his experiences in a blog he is calling “Walks of Life.”

Stalls says he learned about Kiva in his Fall 2007 social entrepreneurship class at Metro State.

“Kiva empowers individuals to lend $25 or more to an entrepreneur across the globe,” Stalls explains. “By combining micro finance with the Internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending. Micro-finance is a significant first-step in helping low-income communities build contributing members who are confident, strong and capable.”

Stalls is using the southern portion of the American Discovery Trail as the foundation for his route. He’s has walked through Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio Kentucky, Indiana. He’ll cross Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado Utah, and Nevada, on his way to California.

Stalls is making a video diary of his travels ( and can be contacted at

Thursday, May 13, 2010

News from "Create Denver"

Fashion Denver + Westword
Designers, this is an amazing opportunity to get your designs out to thousands of people at the Westword Music Showcase! Each registered designer will get a vendor space to sell and display fashion and handmade goods. Westword will accept up to 30 vendors, aiming to create a flea market atmosphere near the VIP area and across from the main stage outside. Cost is $200 to be on-site. Approximately 10,000 people will be in attendance.

June 19
Noon-10 p.m.
Please contact Anya Strauss at to apply and for questions!

Monday, May 10, 2010

An Open Letter to Mayor Hickenlooper

from Tom Anthony, President
Elyria Neighborhood Association

Dear Mayor Hickenlooper,
It's a hard year to be an incumbent; a hard year to be anyone for that matter. Hopefully, we're all doing the best we can and trying to work a little smarter.

As a gubernatorial candidate with an existing job in public service you have the ability to demonstrate your aptitude for performing and getting results for your constituents. I think in many cases you've been able to do that and enjoy significant support as a result. However, the same can be said for the Catholic Church (although how many of those folks actually get to heaven isn't exactly known) which by and large does a wonderful service, but then you have the lapses in which, as you know, the reputation gets tainted. Up here in my neighborhood we have been complaining about being abused for six years and so far, the results keep getting worse.

As Mayor you no doubt know that CDOT has been studying I-70 and right alongside, RTD has been studying the North Metro FasTracks line. Last month the last hearing for RTD was held, and the site in Elyria, a block from where the house at 4778 Williams Street sold last week for $35,000, RTD wants to place a commuter rail stop.

At the same time, the Keystone Process is going on, a $700,000 study of two devastating alternatives for I-70, either which would virtually eliminate Elyria. This $700,000 "add-on" brings the total I-70 DEIS budget to well over $16 million. Add the $7 million for the RTD North Metro study and I think you've got an idea what kind of an impression you're making: $23 million in studies to conclude that both a transit oriented walkable neighborhood will be built and then destroyed by a new 12 lane interstate highway. Meanwhile despite all our pleas, petitions, meetings with Bill Vidal, Jim Bemelen, etc etc our own plan for mitigating an expanded highway through Elyria has been rejected without the merest whisp of evidence as to why.

It doesn't stop there. Your New Denver Zoning has displaced the "Implementing Blueprint Denver" plan for the west bank of Globeville--mixed use-- with heavy industrial designation all along the Platte River Greenway from 47th north. This same area holds 22 single family homes and 3 multi family developments ALREADY. We have been opposing this since we first saw the map in July last year, all to no avail. In addition, the land opposite all the homes on 48th Avenue, on three sides of Elyria Park and three sides of North Side park all is slated for heavy industrial, when literally only one heavy industrial use even exists on any of this property. Blueprint Denver shows 48th Avenue in Elyria to be urban mixed use across the street from the dozen or so homes looking directly across. Yet, the New Denver Zoning makes it heavy industrial again.

At the same time your administration has de-funded our 100 year old recreation center, while slating a new 37 unit transitional housing development at the Elyria School, which is displacing El Centro Su Teatro to another location on Santa Fe Drive, all of which is being publicly funded. What possible motivation your administration could have in cutting loose our rec center, the only recreational opportunity in Elyria which has been in existence since time immemorial, when a new transitional housing development is being moved in, and a commuter rail stop is planned, and our underprivileged kids really don't have any other good options, is mystifying. Meanwhile week after week we see line items in the City Budget for graffitti removal, law enforcement, jails, and even enormous new parks and recreation improvements. So, we know where we are on your priority list.

When you first ran for Mayor in 2003 we asked at the Business Association meeting to have a planner for our neighborhoods. So far, we have NO neighborhood plan other than the one we developed in 2005 and your administration refuses to adopt. Consequently, especially considering the New Denver Zoning your staff is foisting upon us, WHO is going to invest a dime up north of I-70? Is that what you want: Limbo? We proposed a huge outdoor public market in the National Western Stock pens that would provide 750 small business entrepreneurs a head start on their business ideas, and a huge community matrix for people to people engagement; not to mention up to $60 million a year in commerce. What has anybody done with it but secretly meet with the Stock Show Board about funding a move to Bennet?

If we hadn't spent $22,000 opposing the publicly subsidized 10 million gallon per year biofuel refinery your administration permitted on the banks of the Platte River Greenway in Elyria, and spent another $6,000 developing our own neighborhood plan you refuse to recognize, we'd have some money to respond to an RFP which was never re-issued for the neighborhood to take over operations of our rec center, since the City is washing its hands. All we really know about Colorado Miners, which is taking over our rec center, is they successfully competed against our neighborhood association and won. Now, you want us to send our kids there to be coached by them? How moronic is that?

And now with the New Denver Zoning seeking to institutionalize another fuel refining facility which boils millions of gallons a year of sulfuric acid and methanol to make road fuel adjacent the Platte River Greenway and the National Western complex, obviously the threat of hazardous chemicals alongside the Platte River is ongoing. If not, why the Heavy Industrial zoning in your Draft 4 map, and why did Peter Park state at the INC Zoning Committee meeting that the Biofuel refinery would be permitted under the New Zoning, next to the Greenway? Elyria believes this is contrary to what most of the citizenry would support, much less what the neighboring property owners would support.

Does it sound like a big cluster f*** going on in your city? If not, you should try paying attention like we do. No, we can't believe our eyes and ears either, but guess what? That doesn't mean it's not happening!

A cancer study completed in 2003 showed 8 elevated cancers in our neighborhood, and CDPHE blamed them all not on the highway and industries here, but on our bad genes and poor health habits. You can keep blaming us for our own problems, but small and poor as we are, we know better. And the people of Colorado might be able to figure that out too. As long as we, thank God, have e-mail.

Tech Note: Google’s Chrome

I tried out Google’s browser – Chrome – when it first came out, and I wasn’t impressed enough to switch from Firefox. Recently, upon hearing of some new features, I downloaded and installed Chrome again. Now I’m impressed enough to switch. It’s faster, and has a few new features that I like – click and drag on tabs to create side-by-side windows – specifically great for bloggers - and collects all of the info from your current browser for a fast transition. Download here

Saturday, May 8, 2010

What I Didn’t Know About the “Oil Spill”

Apparently we have yet to learn the whole truth about the geyser of oil opened in the coastal waters off Louisiana. Basically this was a fumbled attempt by BP  to tap into an enormous high pressure, deeper than the permit, gas and oil pool, 125,000 sq miles in size. Maybe the largest on the planet.

Seleted quotes from Paul Noel’s at PESN: “Mother of all gushers could kill Earth’s oceans”.

The deposit is one I have known about since 1988. The deposit is very big. The central pressure in the deposit is 165 to 170 thousand PSI. It contains so much hydrocarbon that you simply cannot imagine it. In published reports, BP estimated a blow out could reach near 200,000 Barrels per day (165,000) They may have estimated a flow rate on a 5 foot pipe. The deposit is well able to surpass this.
Well, this time they hit a pocket of oil at such high pressure that it burst all of their safety valves all the way up to the drilling rig and then caused the rig to explode and sink. Take a moment to grasp the import of that. The pressure behind this oil is so high that it destroyed the maximum effort of human science to contain it.
The oil industry has knowledge of the deposit more than they admit. The deposit is 100 miles off shore. They are drilling into the edge of the deposit to leak it down gently to be able to produce from the deposit. The deposit is so large that while I have never heard exact numbers it was described to me to be either the largest or the second largest oil deposit ever found. It is mostly a natural gas deposit. That is another reason not to blast too willy nilly there. The natural gas that could be released is really way beyond the oil in quantity. It is like 10,000 times the oil in the deposit. By yesterday morning, the nature of the crude had changed, indicating that the spill was collapsing the rock structures. How much I cannot say. If it is collapsing the rock structures, the least that can be said is that the rock is fragmenting and blowing up the tube with the oil. With that going on you have a high pressure abrasive sand blaster working on the kinks in the pipe eroding it causing the very real risk of increasing the leaks.

More than that is the very real risk of causing the casing to become unstable and literally blowing it up the well bringing the hole to totally open condition. Another risk arises because according to reports the crew was cementing the exterior of the casing when this happens. As a result, the well, if this was not properly completed, could begin to blow outside the casing. Another possible scenario is a sea floor collapse. If that happens Katie bar the door.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Andrew Romanoff - "We are winning!"

At a fundraiser on Thursday, May 6, attended by many enthusiastic supporters, Andrew Romanoff announced that a recent poll shows him pulling ahead in the primary race against Ritter-appointee Sen. Michael Bennet.

Could this be a reason Bennet's numbers are going down?
Senate appointee Michael Bennet was formerly at the head of Denver Public Schools. He was at the helm when the decision was made to invest the teachers' pension fund into a derivative 'swap' deal. Now, two years later, Denver Public Schools is paying about 3 million per month in losses on this swap.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sen. Johnston at Denver Dems

Colorado Senator Mike Johnston spoke at the Denver Democrats District 8 Annual Spaghetti dinner.