Saturday, October 30, 2010

Walkabout - Friday Oct. 29, 2010

 Once in awhile I get out to walk around my neighborhood, and of course, take a few pictures.

 The Fox, well-known graffiti artist, seems to be back with her stencils. Pleasant change.

 Water catchment area in the northwest corner of the Woolley Dog Park at 16th and Josephine - a few days earlier.
After it was finished,
the East High teachers apparently didn't know what it was, and because their parking lot to the east was closed for repairs, they parked on top of it.
 Solitary dog enjoying the the Woolley off-leash dog park. To date, there are no rules about who can use the park.

Corner of Colfax and Josephine, where the new 7-11 is being built - across Colfax from the old 7-11, which lost its lease. Thirty years ago there was a filling station on that corner. I think they dug up the old underground tanks, but I never actually saw them being removed. The building in the back ground is the completely remodeled Floyd's Barbershop, which originally served as a pinball parlor.
When John Hand bought the Park View Hotel (below) and the pinball parlor, he put them to use as part of the Denver Free University.
I think a new sushi restaurant is going in on the corner, replacing the old sushi restaurant.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bob Ragland - Non-Starving Artist

I've known who Bob Ragland is for the last 30 years or so, but I got to know a lot more about him and his art when I invited him over to make a YouTube clip. I love his attitude and his art. Bob's philosophy has carried him through thick and thin. He keep his oil paintings within a reasonable price range ($65 - $100) and his subject matter mostly from the neighborhood.
If you are going to have an event or party, consider inviting Bob (303 839-5259) over for a "shoe-box" show. It's an especially good time of year to pick up a meaningful, one-of-a-kind gift for yourself or a friend. I have to admit, I couldn't resist - and I bought two. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Park County Judge Groome, reversed by Colorado Appeals Court, will now play by the rules.

After receiving a reversal of a Contempt of Court case against Vern Wagner, Judge Groome, facing a vote on retention on Nov. 2, will now run his courtroom “by the book”. Yet another Contempt of Court hearing for Wagner, scheduled for October 26, will instead be only to “read Wagner his rights”. The actual hearing is now scheduled for Nov. 23.

Groome was reversed and reprimanded in the earlier case because: Wagner was not "(1) afforded a hearing; (2) not afforded the opportunity to plead either guilty or not guilty to the charges; (3) not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (4) not afforded an opportunity to offer testimony and to call witnesses in his behalf; (5) not afforded an opportunity to cross-examine adverse witnesses; (6) not afforded an opportunity to have subpoenas issued to compel attendance of witnesses at trial; (7) not afforded the right to remain silent; (8) not afforded an opportunity to testify at a trial; and (9) not afforded an opportunity to make a statement in mitigation."

Judge Groome needs to stop acting like an arm of the Park County Sherriff’s Animal Control Department and more like an impartial judge. Having sat through 4 ½ days of an earlier hearing, in which the Department of Agriculture, run by John Stulp, was allowed to confiscate 379 of Wagner’s cattle, sell them, and then put the money in escrow where Wagner can not use it, I saw first hand the bias against Wagner. The “evidence” presented by Animal Control officer Bobbi Priestly was a joke, but Groome allowed it anyway. The arrogant testimony of Scott Dutcher, now infamous for his incessant tweeting as “Skinnyhorse”, should be stricken. The entire proceeding, in my opinion, was a sham, and should also be reversed.

The continued harassment of Vern Wagner must cease. The man is 77 years old and has until now had a successful life as a rancher. The proceedings thus far have made it almost impossible for him to continue in the ranching business.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Amazing what $7 million will buy

Woolley Dog Park opening tomorrow, Saturday, October 23rd from 1 p.m.- 4 p.m. 

from Jill McGranahan
Director of Marketing and Communications
Parks and Recreation 
City and County of Denver
After several community input meetings, the site at Josephine between Colfax and 16th Avenue, was purchased in March 2010 as the future home of the downtown area recreation center.  In March and May, two community meetings were hosted by Council members Robb and Madison where a dog park and a community garden were chosen as interim uses until funding for the actual building could be identified.
Capital Hill residents are excited to welcome a dog park and urban garden; both needed amenities to the downtown core.   
Although voters approved up to $11 million in bond funding for land purchases, planning and design of a new recreation center in central Denver, the City was able to purchase the land and complete the land remediation, demolition of the existing building and other design and planning for less than $7 million.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Denver Rock and Roll Marathon

When the story appears on your street, it's hard to pass up. I'm told 15,000 signed up. This clip was shot at around 9:00 am on mile 9 at 17th and York. Great first-person account here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Best Explanation of the Current Financial Crisis

(Ed. Note: Although I spend 2-3 hours a day reading financial newsletters, I rarely write about it on this blog because I don't want to influence readers to make fiscal decisions that they may latter regret. You've got to do your own research and make your own decisions.)

However, the following newsletter, The Subprime Debacle: Act 2 - John Mauldin's Weekly E-Letter, was so incisive that I couldn't resist passing it on. It's a free signup if you want to keep receiving it.)

There's trouble, my friends, and it is does indeed involve pool(s), but not in the pool hall. The real monster is hidden in those pools of subprime debt that have not gone away. When I first began writing and speaking about the coming subprime disaster, it was in late 2007 and early 2008. The subject was being dismissed in most polite circles. "The subprime problem," testified Ben Bernanke, "will be contained."

My early take? It would be a disaster for investors. I admit I did not see in January that it would bring down Lehman and trigger the worst banking crisis in 80 years, less than 18 months later. But it was clear that it would not be "contained." We had no idea.

I also said that it was going to create a monster legal battle down the road that would take years to develop. Well, in the fullness of time, those years have come nigh upon us. Today we briefly look at the housing market, then the mortgage foreclosure debacle, and then we go into the real problem lurking in the background. It is The Subprime Debacle, Act 2. It is NOT the mortgage foreclosure issue, as serious as that is. I seriously doubt it will be contained, as well. Could the confluence of a bank credit crisis in the US and a sovereign debt banking crisis in Europe lead to another full-blown world banking crisis? The potential is there. This situation wants some serious attention.

This letter is going to print a little longer. But I think it is important that you get a handle on this issue.

Where is the Housing Recovery?
We are going to quickly review a few charts from Gary Shilling's latest letter, where he review the housing market in depth. Bottom line, the housing market has not yet begun to recover, and it is not only going to take longer but the decline in prices may be greater than many have forecast. I wrote three years ago that it could be well into 2011 before we get to a "bottom." That may have been optimistic, given what we will cover in this letter.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Free Car Wash

The students from Denver Christian conducted a free car wash at The Church in the City. I couldn't resist. Thanks for creating a bright spot in my day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

$6 Million "Woolley" Dog Park to Open Oct. 23, 2010

Woolley Dog Park at 16th and Josephine, photographed on Oct 13, 2010

Since Charles H. Woolley II, long-time Hickenlooper friend and associate, was able to sell this property to the City for $5 million more than the City's most recent appraisal of record, I propose that we name the dog park, which was supposed to be a Recreation Center, after him: Woolley Dog Park. Kind of has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

I sure am glad that we were able to get this done with Bond money, so we can continue to pay for it for the next 30 years, with interest, which will add at least another $5 million to the cost by the time it's paid for. I hope our dogs appreciate it, as it will probably rank as the world's most expensive dog park of all time.

Oh, and about that recreation center? When politicians say it will be 5 to 10 years for something to happen, they really mean never, because they will be gone by then. Unfortunately, the citizens of Denver will still be here paying for it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rock and Roll Marathon, This Sunday, Oct 17th

Marijuana Advocates to Blast Former Booze-Dealing Gubernatorial Candidate Hickenlooper Over Hypocritical Opposition to Marijuana Reform

Thumbs down on Hick, thumbs up on Garnett and several state legislative candidates

DENVER -- Colorado's largest marijuana advocacy organization will hold a news conference in front of the Denver City-County Building on Wednesday, October 13, at 11 a.m., to discuss the results of the first-ever marijuana-specific Colorado voter guide. The event, which will occur just as voters begin receiving their mail-in ballots, is being coordinated by the SAFER Voter Education Fund (SVEF), the social welfare lobbying arm of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER).

** Voter guides available on-line here.

At the news conference, advocates will blast gubernatorial frontrunner and former alcohol dealer John Hickenlooper for continuing to oppose the legalization and regulation of a far safer substance -- marijuana. The group will also praise attorney general Stan Garnett, as well as several other state lawmakers, for supporting a system of marijuana regulation similar to that of alcohol.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wes McKinley and Vern Wagner

Vern Wagner, long-time Hartsel rancher, who recently suffered the legalized theft of over $250,000 of his cattle by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and in particular by the arrogant Scot Dutcher, now in the news because of his incessant "tweeting", gets the respect he deserves from Rep. Wes McKinley and friends on a recent trailride. (Thanks to Keith Wells for this excellent video.)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Update on Duck Lake

The small Duck Lake in City Park is sure getting its share of attention. New walls and curbs are being installed now, but excavation of the (toxic?) bottom has not yet begun. Apparently it's going to cost another $200,000, for a total of $1,627,000, to do that properly. I wonder where the excavated material will go?

BILL/ RESOLUTION REQUEST (h/t to Adrienne Anderson)
1. Title: Approves an ordinance request to appropriate an additional $200,000 of Capital Improvement Funds for Duck Lake restoration in City Park.
2. Requesting Agency: Department of Finance
3. Contact Person with actual knowledge of proposed ordinance Name: Gordon Robertson
Phone: 720-913-0615 Email:
4. Contact Person with actual knowledge of proposed ordinance who will present the item at Mayor Council and who will be available for first and second reading, if necessary
Name: Gretchen Hollrah Phone: 720-913-5516 Email:
5. Describe the proposed ordinance, including what the proposed ordinance is intended to accomplish, who’s involved
a. Scope of Work - This ordinance request will appropriate $200,000 of Capital Improvement Funds (CIF) to supplement renovations to Duck Lake in City Park. This supplemental will allow deeper dredging of the lake bottom and additional sediment removal, which are key factors in improving the lake’s water quality. The total project cost will be $1,627,000, which includes edge restoration, island renovation and improved water exchange. Other sources of funding for the project include $607,000 from the Denver Zoo; $550,000 of Better Denver Bond funding; a $200,000 GOCO grant awarded to the City; and $70,000 from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). The balance of the CIF 2010 contingency after this $200,000 appropriation will be approximately $1.1M.
Appropriate: 7011102 RK030 Duck Lake Restoration 32105 $200,000.00
b. Duration - Through 2011
c. Location - City Park
d. Affected Council District - District 8
e. Benefits- Improved park asset; addresses environmental hazard.
f. Costs - $200,000 supplemental to $1.427M project.
6. Is there any controversy surrounding this ordinance, groups or individuals who may have concerns about it? Please explain: No.
Bill Request Number: BR10-0815 Date: 9/13/2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

One Sky One World Kite Fly for Peace, This Sunday

Dreamworks Studios “How to Train Your Dragon” to Sponsor
25th Anniversary One Sky One World Kite Fly for Peace in Denver

For 25 years, Denver resident Jane Parker-Ambrose has been promoting world peace and respect for the environment through the One Sky, One World Kite Fly; an event that happens around the globe on the second Sunday in October. But this year a few dragons will be crashing the party. In celebration of the October 15th DVD and Blu-ray release of “How To Train Your Dragon”, Dreamworks Studios has announced it will be a major Sponsor of the 25th Anniversary One Sky One World. The movie, has been a smash hit since it it was released in the spring of 2010 and tells the story of a Viking boy who befriends his village's traditional enemy, a “Night Fury” dragon. “I like the message of peace and cooperation that the movie supports,” says Parker-Ambrose. “Instead of killing the dragons, the people learn to work with them. It’s just the kind of ideals our event supports. There are no boundaries when it comes to promoting world frendship and respect for life on earth.”

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Here's something you can do about the Purple Pipewater

(Please refer to index for background info.)

Ok. You've heard about this Lowry stuff being distributed to our parks and lakes and you are kinda wondering if there is some way to get this changed. Dang it! You walk your dog in that park and you want this purposeful pollution stopped.

Decentralized Information Distribution (DID)

Print a flyer for 5 of your park-friends. Go here and download or print from there. It's designed to be a front and back of one sheet of paper so you may have to finagle that.

Next time you take the pooch out for a walk - take the flyers. Talk it over with your friends. Take action.

Since 2004 its been pumping at a rate of 25 gallons per minute, night and day. I'll do the math: 25 gallons per minute * 60 mins = 1500 gal/hr * 24 = 36000 gal/day * 365 = 13,140,000 gal/yr * 7 yrs = 91,980,000 gals (152 Olympic-sized swimming pools) since they started, and they estimate that they will need to continue pumping for the next 50 years.

Monday, October 4, 2010

"I See By Your Outfit That You are a Cowboy" - from The Streets of Laredo

(Ed. note: I made my first professional movie in 1970 (Winter’s Isle – sold to CBC) while I was an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. I taught a course entitled “Control of Human Behavior”. On the first day of class, I showed a movie called “King Video”. It was a documentary examination of video advertising using then-current TV ads. Unfortunately, this film has not endured, as I cannot even find it on IMDB.

Since that time, I have been an observer of trends in TV advertising, most recently concentrating on political ads. It is thus that I reflect on the ads of John Hickenlooper, now Denver mayor and candidate for governor.)

I pay a lot of attention to the ad's produced by political candidates. Senator Bennet's first ads, for example, were so bad that they actually hurt the candidate. It was hard to imagine who thought those ads were good.

Hickenlooper, from the beginning of his political career, has gone for the cute approach in his ads - motor scootering, jumping out of airplanes, dancing with giant red letters, etc. He has avoided any statement of policy, relying instead on "the cute" to carry the day. In this election cycle, his quick-change-artist-in-the-shower ad continued that tradition. But what is the intent of the latest ad - "Rodeo"?

I understand that Hickenlooper has majority support in Denver and Colorado Springs, but is about even in the rest of this vast state where the real cattle ranching takes place. Is this ad aimed at the ranchers and farmers? If so, I should relate the reaction of one such rancher - "phoney, not real, could not climb a fence, sickening". Surely this is not the desired reaction.

Here is the ad, followed by actual footage of Hickenlooper on horseback.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Huerfano World Journal endorses Wes McKinley

(Ed. note: This local newspaper, formerly owned by candidate Kellogg, has now endorsed Rep. McKinley.)

30 - September - 2010
by Brian Orr

WALSENBURG- It has been the policy of the Huerfano World Journal, for as long as Gretchen and I have been publishing it, to try and present unbiased reporting in our newspaper--the exception being our stance against the expansion of the PiƱon Canon Maneuver Site, which we came out against in our first issue.

We have never endorsed a political candidate before, preferring to let the candidates state their opinions and let people decide for themselves.