Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cheesman Park Attacker

Go here for details.

Local Art Salon gets it right

The Art Salon Gallery and Studios presents:

Scorned Lovers: Tarot Cards, Love Spells and Voodoo Dolls
Saturday, February 12th from 6 to 9pm at 2219 East 21st Ave, Denver CO 80205.

Celebrate the Dark Side of Love at the Art Salon’s Valentine’s Celebration Art Exhibition.

Not everyone sees Valentine’s Day through the rose-colored lenses of puppy love. Come and explore the thorny side of romance; love and loss; elation and betrayal with fine art, tarot cards, and ribald humor. Artists on exhibition include Hannah Walker, Katie Hoffman, and Sasha. Cast your own love spell or hex through the Art Salon’s seven-foot voodoo doll. Exercise your love demons by helping us demolish the Scorned Lovers piƱata.

Literary erotic readings by Denver’s award-winning poet Kate Redmond and a special appearance by Washington-based zombie author Mark Henry.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Phil Goodstein's Associate Naysayer of the Month - Colfax on the Hill

Photo from

Colfax on the Hill has been working for the uplift of Colfax near the Capitol since the mid-1980s. It has been quite skilled in publicizing itself. Through its collateral Colfax Business Improvement District, it has gained quasi-governmental powers, especially the ability to tax landlords and merchants. Amidst this, it has been unending in declaring that the bad old days of Colfax are over-the days when Colfax was both a people street and something of a sex arcade. Under its aegis, generic national chains have become the primary businesses along Colfax while the street lacks a grocery or hardware store from Broadway to Colorado Boulevard.

The group's policies have been so successful that it recently worked closely with the police to install a set of spy cameras along the avenue. The message is that virtual police-state monitoring is necessary to assure its continued success. For so showing its vision and operations, Colfax on the Hill is an associate Naysayer of the Month.

For details see The Denver Daily News.

Friday, January 28, 2011

You've got Cake Crumbs on your Facebook

City Council was recently hit by an "uproar" (as Councilman Brown called it) from friends of Cake Crumbs Bakery and the Denver Cupcake Truck. It seems that Denon and Sean Moore, owners of the bakery, who are modern-day entrepreneurs who use Facebook and Twitter to keep their customers informed about when and where their Cupcake trucks will be located, attempted to meet all of the City requirements for the operation of the trucks, but were constantly harassed by City inspectors. The rules, spread out among 5 different City agencies, were impossible to understand. Fortunately, Denver Cupcake Truck's 8,679 friends proved to be a force to be reckoned with, and City Council and the bureaucracy took note, calling a special meeting to start a special task group, now headed by Councilwoman Carla Madison, with the mission of making it "easier to do business in Denver".

The meeting itself (from Channel 8), edited below for your viewing entertainment, has many gems. One thing I continue to notice is the number of bureaucrats claiming "I wasn't around then" as an excuse for not knowing how things got to be the way they are. Apparently institutional memory is in short supply and 1994 is ancient history.  Another gem emerges when Councilman Linkhart (and Mayoral candidate) notes that "you can't sell a cupcake within 300 feet of a park, but you can take over a park for a festival for 30 days". The current schizophrenic set of rules, as Denver Parks and Recreation continues its efforts to privatize the parks, leaves us all in the dark as we wonder what is, and what is not allowed in the parks that supposedly belong to us.

The Power of Social Media

As first Tunisia and now Egypt erupt with daily riots, fueled by Twitter and Facebook (now turned off in Egypt), it's interesting to note how powerful these tools can be for "the people". Bureaucrats, dictators, and tyrants everywhere, take note, the people are no longer sleeping.

Was Big Air Worth the Trouble? Denver Post

Big Air was to be the poster child for a new Denver Parks Department policy passed last year, ignoring considerable public opposition. It allows fenced-off areas in specific parks, with fees for admission to events, something never permitted in Parks' 150-year history. The city charter stipulates, "No park nor portion of any park . . . shall be sold or leased . . . however may be leased . . . to concessionaires, charitable or non-profitable organizations or to Governmental jurisdictions."
Read more: Ditmer: Was Big Air worth the trouble? - The Denver Post 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Crime Alert - Sexual Assault in Cheesman Park

On Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at approximately 5:40 pm, a female was running northbound in Cheesman Park, along the paved bike path on the west side of the park, south of the playground, when she was approached from behind and sexually assaulted by an unknown male.

Following the assault the victim pursued the suspect who fled the park at the East 11th entrance. He was last seen running southbound in the 1000 block of N. Humboldt Street. The suspect was described as either a dark skinned Hispanic or black male between 18 and 25 years of age. The victim described the suspect as being well groomed and had dark curly hair that was approximately 1” in length. He was approximately 5’8 and 155 pounds with a thin build. He was wearing a dark gray or black windbreaker and dark pants with three stripes down the side. The victim did not observe any scars, marks, tattoos, jewelry or facial hair.

Reference: DPD Case #2011-40311
Detective Brian Norwell #01037

720-913-STOP (7867)
Crime Stoppers collects information on unsolved crimes or individuals wanted by the police.
Callers can remain anonymous. The tip line is answered 24 hours a day - 7 days a week.

Big Air - The Morning After

Photos by Stuart Michals of Parks are For People

Big Air Logo Fest

PortaPotty Park

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Denver Big Air Takes Flight Today in Civic Center Park

by Michael Smilanic of

See additional photos in previous post
The competitors that will be catching "Big Air" straddle a precariously thin line between success and failure, as they launch off the taller-than-the-Brown-Palace-ramp that faces the velvet rope crowd. "Big Air" is a regular competition in which riders and freeskiers are judged on the height and difficulty of the air, the control of the move and the precision of the landing.

The event itself straddles the same thin line between success and failure given the event has become controversial. The controversies have run the gamut and include: ticket prices, concern over the park's prolonged closure, and the thin list of marquee competitors.

The High Price Tickets vs. Free Access For All

Denver Sports, the non-profit organizing the event, has 600 VIP "velvet rope" tickets they are selling at $200 each, which includes entrance to both day's events, food and drink, and an actual seat to sit in. The seats are isolated at the bottom of the City & County Building plaza on a raised platform.

The general admission tickets are $80 and include entrance to both days events, and a first-come, first-served, place to stand in Bannock Street. When Denver Sports was contacted on the number of tickets sold, the estimate was "5,000". Tickets for a single day are $45.

When the event was first announced last October, ticket prices for general admission were $107. After scathing reviews and on-line blog posts, the prices were adjusted down to $80. Attendance figures were originally estimated to be 20,000 and have dwindled to 7,000.

Those wanting to view the event from a less optimum vantage point can check out the small southwest section of Civic Center Park which is open, and free. It is not large and speculation is that overcrowding may become a critical issue. Kevin Scott, from the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, has said that "The whole park will be open," but that rings insincere, once one visits the park and sees how much of the park is fenced off.

The Denver Post quoted Larry Ambrose, the co-chairman of the Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation Parks and Recreation Committee, that "it would be much better if it was free." Another quote from Rob Fitzgerald of Denver had him agreeing, "It should be a free event." Such sentiment is not far removed from the larger events that are annually hosted in Civic Center Park, such as People's Fair and Taste of Colorado.

Closing The Park

Work on the Big Air ramp started January 12, and since that time the park has been fenced off, except for a few access areas along pathways that will facilitate park use once the event is underway. Visitors were not allowed to use Civic Center Park this weekend though construction was complete. When asked how long it would take to return the park to the normal, event organizers declined comment. The estimate from some workers was "about ten, eleven days" with a question mark.

Concerns over how the ramp was to be anchored were debated between Denver's Park Department and the Building Department. It was resolved by using tons of concrete "K-rail" barriers that are normally used for highway construction to hold the ramp down, but will most likely contribute to more wear and tear on the park.

The benefits of a month long closure to the central park of Denver that benefits only a small sliver of the metro population seems a rather indulgent choice for city officials to make. Adding more confusion to the park is the construction on the Broadway side, which has so much fence, it seems like a maximum security facility. How the park will fare once all the ramp elements have been dismantled remains to be seen.

World Class City, World Class Competition

Only by association can Denver be a world class city. Or so it seems. The TV commercial for "Big Air Denver" reels off cities of previous competitions. Quebec, Stockholm, Seoul.

Quebec held Big Air event in a less than ideal place, next to a highway overpass (see attached photo). Stockholm's took place in their Olympic Stadium, while Seoul's was in their downtown square. There are a number of venues close to downtown, with infrastructure, seating, that would have been excellent choices for Big Air Denver. Those venues would have been easier to build the ramp with fewer inconveniences to Denver. And speaking of inconveniences, is it considered world class to hold a five hour event and not provides seats for the majority of your viewers?

World class events require world class participants, and the field is rather thin. The highest ranked Snowboard competitors are listed 31, 35 and 39 in world rankings, roughly about 12% of the field. The lowest ranking participant of the group is ranked 2336, and there is one unranked participant. Organizers promise there are diamonds to be found in this group, although, for a world class competition, some of the top ten in the world should make an appearance.

When Big Air was first announced, names were thrown out such as Shaun White, Tim Wallisch, and Bobby Brown, a Cherry Creek High School grad and reigning Big Air freeskier champion. But they won't participate. Much of the on-line conversation was questioning the timing of this event, given the X Games will take place later this week in Aspen. The strong sentiment was "why do this so close to the premier event of the season?" That sound you hear is the whiff of big massive air, missing the target on getting top competitors to be involved in this world class event.

Success or Failure

Whether Big Air is a success or a failure will depend on who you ask.

Kevin Scott of DOCA will say it was because he's paid to say that, plus he was dead-on about the "whole park being open" during the event. It will be a success for the sponsors because their logos are everywhere to be seen, and will probably be up after the event has closed. It will be a success for the 600 in the velvet rope crowd because they were comfortable, sitting in seats, with free food and drink. Those who watched from the park will agree, because it was free. The fence company will agree it's a success, and one can only agree with them, because they put up huge truckloads of fence to keep the park open. And hopefully, for Denver residents that are challenging the commercialization and privatization of Denver's parks, it will be a success, because it failed, and Big Air won't be allowed to desecrate Civic Center Park, the vibrant gem of the City Beautiful, again.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Big Air Walkabout - Civic Center Park as Carnival Lot

Photos by Dave Felice and Michael Smilanic 

Pinon Canyon Update

(Ed. note: When I spoke with the gentleman whose job it was to maintain the restricted sites within the PCMS last summer, he told me that many of the archeological sites were "disappearing".)


Last week the Army proposed a 'Covenant' to Las Animas County Commissioners as 'good faith effort' to work with local communities. Then turned down the offer of even broader worded resolutions supporting our troops in place of a covenant. (Thank our Las Animas County Commissioners for NOT signing that covenant document.)
The Army planned to take those signed Covenants back to the Pentagon and show how much support there is for expansion. NOT.
And NOW this week they are pushing the use of PCMS with a new Environmental Assessment process to try to justify the expansion AND do so in spite of a Federal court order and against the will of the people.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS - Tell you friends and neighbors - The Army will hold two public meetings for comment: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Feb. 16 at the Otero Junior College student center in La Junta; and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 17 at Trinidad State Junior College's Sullivan Center in Trinidad.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Crime Alert

Received by email from a citizen
CRIME Alert!

Confidence Scheme Targets Elderly in NE District

In the past month, at least two of our NE senior neighbors have been victimized and robbed by a very aggressive group of thugs.  So far, the target areas are where there is a high population of elderly black residents, from Five Points and North Capital Hill to Montebello and East Denver.

The criminals work in a team which comprised of both men and women. The size of the “Ring” is estimated to be between 6 – 12 members.  They use a low class Southern Creole type dialect. They claim to come from Mississippi. This is likely false, since some of the words used also sound like Gullah terms.

One victim reported that the grammar became better with a less pronounced accent after they talked their way into the car of the victim.

In both NE Denver cases, one person approached the elderly victim seeking directions to a nearby address.  They flash money and aggressively request a ride until the victim agrees to drive the person to a location.  Once in the car the Con Artist directs the driver to a location where accomplices await.  This is, essentially, a kidnapping at this point. It is probable that the accomplices follow the victim car as it drives away from the original location.

The accomplice then gets into the victim’s car and “requests” that they travel to the victim’s bank to withdraw from personal accounts. In both cases, our neighbors refused and ended up losing the money and credit cards that were on their purses.

Please spread the word about this crime!


If you encounter a person with the thick Gullah or Creole style accent, leave your parking spot, drive a block or so away and immediately call 911.  Describe the person and the exact location to police dispatch.

Inform store managers and security officers at all of our shopping areas in NE Denver about this activity – One of these ‘kidnappings’ began in the handicap parking space at the front door of King Soopers in Stapleton and ended at the Home Depot further north on Quebec.

Another favorite location of all panhandlers and con artists are gas stations, where they can approach as victims / targets get in and out of the car.

If you have been victimized, but not yet made a police report, please call the Fraud Unit to make a formal report.  Keep these numbers handy:

  • Victim Fraud Unit: 720-913-6752
  • DA’s Office: 720-913-9179
Some elderly are fearful of reporting that they have been duped because of family dynamics.  They fear that their adult children will place them in assisted living or nursing care in reaction to the fraud. 

The community needs to know that these criminals are professional con artists.  Even young people are victimized by criminals daily – these days, its’ mostly construction / home improvement fraud, but the point is: ANYONE can be a target. 

Please speak openly to family members about elder fraud.  Assure your parents that you will not take away their freedom if they become a victim.  Make a plan and keep emergency numbers handy at all times, even posting the emergency numbers on the dash of the car or programming your cell phone with the phone numbers.

Con Artists are talented at changing quickly too.  Once they know that we are on the lookout for Creole or Gullah accents they could move on or continue to stay in the area but change their approach. Therefore, no matter who approaches, unless you know them, do not engage in conversation, move your car out of sight, and call 911 immediately to report the incident.

We need to get this criminal ring pushed out of Colorado or caught and arrested quickly.  We want all community members to be on high alert so no one gets hurt. These things typically escalate to violence.  The sooner these criminals know that we are on to them, the sooner we take away their power! 


From DeFENCE press release:

Dr. Nate Easley - DPS Board of Education
The initial steps to put a recall of Nate Easley on the May ballot has started. A coalition of northeast Denver residents filed the following proposed language for the ballot:
We the qualified voters of Denver Public School District 4 demand the recall of current elected Denver Public Schools Board of Education member Dr. Nate Easley. Our demand is based on Mr. Easley’s activities related to conflicts of interest and allowing these to effect his representation of his District 4 constituency. Specifically, Dr. Easley’s roles as DPS Board of Education president and his job as Deputy Director of the Denver Scholarship Foundation make him subject to undue influence related to his votes as our representative. As a board member, Dr. Easley supervises the DPS superintendent, who also serves as on the DSF Board of Directors, thereby having direct influence over Dr. Easley's employment. As Deputy Director of DSF, Dr. Easley receives a substantial salary, the threat to which compromises his ability to independently represent District 4. As a result, Dr. Easley has consistently voted for policies that are not reflective of his constituents’ interests, closing schools, supporting an atmosphere of distrust among District employees, and failing to provide sound fiscal oversight of DPS monies.
So what does this mean? Once the language is approved, then community has 60 days to collect 5,363 signatures to place the issue on the ballot. At that point, candidates who choose to run against Easley can step forward and collect their own signatures (they only need 50) to appear on the ballot as the replacement candidate.

THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN. We need help to collect signatures from eligible voters, and you don't need to live in northeast Denver to help. We have a meeting/training scheduled for this coming Saturday, Here are the details:

Saturday, January 22
9 a.m.
Oleta Crain Center,2102 Marion Street, Denver
Petition-gathering training and information meeting

This is also a great opportunity for parents to speak up about concerns they have, turnarounds in Montbello, as well as what's coming to near Northeast Denver. Read the Denver Post article about the recall here.

Will you join us? We can't set the course aright for our schools without your help. Please help us stand up and say "No More"!

The DeFENSE Team

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Temp Mayor Vidal wants a what?

Marvin Booker - murdered at new jail
Temp Mayor Vidal wants a "quick resolution" to the murder of Marvin Booker in our new jail on July 9, 2010. Um..sorry Mr. Temp Mayor, but it's a little late for that. This man was murdered in view of video cameras (but we can't see the tape) as he went for his shoes - and the murderers have already been exonerated (they reportedly high-fived each other after putting Booker down). Full story here.

Oh my, this is going to be one big honking lawsuit and settlement, for which we, as usual, will pay. I'm tired of paying for Denver Police Department murderers.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

" I'll do it my way" - Denver Parks and Rec forges ahead

Received by email from Michael Smilanic of

The Twitter account of Denver Parks and Recreation jumped the gun by posting that the "fees set for admission based events- The Denver City Council has recently set the fees and charges..." but the odd thing is it was posted on December 29, 2010. City Council had not even decided at that point, and did not until January 3, 2011.

The fee structure that passed Council runs the risk of a serious negative reaction from some of Denver's largest non-profit organizations because of this particular feature of this precedent setting ordinance. Never before has a fee structure been implemented by Denver Parks and Recreation which charges a percentage of the revenue from an event. This will have ominous implications for some of the largest revenue producing activities, such as pet events, walks, and runs in Denver parks. None of these implications have been explored or examined before Council Committee or the Advisory Board.

The Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board was not given an opportunity to completely vett the efficacy of the fee structure, as they should have.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Congress is broken - here's how to fix it

I'm afraid we can't rely on Congress to fix Congress - they have too much to lose. Here's a better way (received by email):

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months and 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. Term Limits - 12 years only, one of the possible options below..

      A. Two Six-year Senate terms
      B. Six Two-year House terms
      C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3. Congress (past, present and future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12.

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. NOW IS THE TIME.

THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!! If you agree, pass it on.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Traffic lights - they come and they go

From Life on Capitol Hill:

... representatives of Public Works were asked if traffic lights could be installed at 16th.
Initially the city said that there wasn’t enough traffic at the intersections to justify the lights. However, Public Works officials said if 20 children per hour crossed the streets the lights might be allowed. They were informed that more than that number of students cross the street going to and from East High School and installation of the signals was therefore added to future plans for the corridor.
I can add to the history of that corner, as I've lived on the block since 1971 and actually at the corner of 16th and York from 1977-1993. That intersection then had a full set of stop lights. I eventually got used to an accident at that intersection at least once a week. And they tended to be pretty serious, with a loud crash as someone drove full-speed into the side of a car racing through the yellow light - or just running a red light. At first I would jump up to see if anyone was really hurt, and sometimes even go out, but eventually I got so used to it that I would just phone 911.

At some point - I can't remember the exact year, a study indicated that 16th Ave needed to be calmed. I wasn't sure what that meant, but the main effect was the REMOVAL of traffic lights and the installation of stop signs to replace them. So the traffic lights at 16th and York, my corner, were removed and replaced with stop signs. If you drive west on 16th Ave toward downtown you'll go through a number of intersections where they removed the stop lights. Later, flashing red lights were added to the stop signs on 16th at York.

I was told that this would result in fewer accidents, but I didn't believe it - until it came true. The number of accidents at that corner was drastically reduced, but not eliminated. I'm guessing that there were 5 or 6 last year. Obviously, these are just my anecdotal observations, and I'd be interested to see the actual data.

As regards school kids crossing York - mostly on their way to and from East High, I would make two points. One, many of the kids don't cross at the lights, especially when they pour off of the RTD bus at mid-block. Two, a woman was killed at the corner of 17th and York while she waited on the sidewalk for a light to change. A violent crash in the intersection sent a car directly at her, and I believe she died instantly, crushed against the heavy-duty pole holding up the traffic lights.

Interestingly enough, I just happened upon this video, instructive in the matter of removing traffic lights.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Duck Lake Update - Jan 5, 2011

The temporary chain-link fences are down and new trees have been planted, but nothing much seems to be going on at Denver's City Park Duck Lake. The scene of many previous duck die-offs, work on the $1.6 million rehab and excavation of the bottom sediment was halted in early November, 2010, by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) after a complaint regarding worker safety was filed. Testing is said to be underway, but no new information has been forthcoming.

Water containing 157 pollutants and 10 radionuclides from the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site makes its way into Duck Lake by way of the Denver Ditch at Washington Park's Grasmere Lake, where "purple pipe water" from the recycling plant is discharged. Go here and here for more information.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Red Light "Collection Machine"

The issue of extending the "Red Light" contract came up at last night's City Council meeting. As usual, only Jeanne Faatz was on the job, requesting more information on the accident reports at the intersections under surveillance.

Aurora has similar installations and, praise be, a citizens group (CRAG) trying to monitor the use of these cameras as revenue generating machines for the city.

Red Light Camera Investigation

January 4, 2011

(Aurora) - The City of Aurora recently announced the expansion of their Red Light Camera (RLC) system, touting the increased safety aspect as the main goal of the program. 

Jim Frye, a member of Citizens for Responsible Aurora Government (CRAG), submitted two Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) requests with the city to learn more about the validity of the safety claims, determine how much revenue the red light camera's were generating, obtain a copy of the vendor contract and understand what future plans are in the works. 

Go here for the whole story.

Monday, January 3, 2011

An Open Letter to Denver's City Council in re: Events Fees

From:  Dave Felice
Copy To:  City Council, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board
Subject:  Events Fees Ordinance
Dear Council Members: 

Since you are my elected City Council representatives, I urge you to table the Admission Based Events Fee Ordinance coming before Council for final reading on January 3.  I ask that you send this measure to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board where it should have been first reviewed and approved, modified, or rejected prior to it being sent to Council.
You should have grave concerns about timing and transparency of the procedure to approve this fee structure by the Parks Department, during the holiday season, without the benefit of review by the this Advisory Board or opportunity for public comment.  By rushing this fee proposal to City Council, Parks and Recreation has essentially prevented Parks and Recreation Advisory Board members from doing the job for which they were appointed. 
I was an active member of the Fee Committee of the Admission Based Special Events (ABSEP) Task Force.  Only briefly did we discuss the idea of charging a percentage of revenues for these events.  The committee discarded the idea because it became evident that other non-admission based events would also be vulnerable to such charges for use the of Denver's parks.  The simple percentage fee idea was generated after the Task Force and its public hearing processes, exclusively within the administration of the Parks Department, clearly without foresight or the benefit of public discussion. 
Council members run the risk of a serious negative reaction from some of Denver's largest non-profit organizations because of this particular feature of this precedent setting ordinance.  Never before has a fee structure been implemented by Denver Parks and Recreation which charges a percentage of the revenue from an event.  This will have ominous implications for some of the largest revenue producing activities, such as pet events, walks, and runs in Denver parks.  None of these implications have been explored or examined before Council Committee or the Advisory Board. 
In support of the approval of Admission Based Events, Senior Policy Advisor Chantal Unfug made misleading unequivocal public statements on the record last fall.  You and the public should be aware that Ms Unfug informed the Advisory Board that a cost/benefit analysis had been performed for admission based events and the Board was presented with projected revenue figures.  However, it has been learned through an Open Records request that NO such financial analysis was done.  Revenue figures presented were not based on research of other cities as she claimed, but rather on pure speculation. 
This fee structure proposal should be supported by facts and revenue projections based on real research from other cities nationally and even here in the Denver metro area. 
There is another implication which has not been considered by this Council or the current administration of the Parks Department. Comparisons between the actual cost of using a Denver park as a venue for an admission based event versus similar private venues have not been presented.  This is not only important in terms of fiscal responsibility, but also because if rates for Denver parks are set low, the City of Denver will find itself in an unenviable position of providing unfair competition to private sector venues in Denver and the metro area.  Surely, government is not in business to compete with its taxpaying businesses. 
In light of these considerations and Council's commitment to a fair, transparent and democratic process, a full and public review of this fee proposal by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is in order.
Thank you.

Dave Felice

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Contaminated water source to be expanded (Chatfield)

(Ed. note: This post is in response to a Denver Post article published today (1/2/2010) entitled "Chatfield Reservoir expansion would flood bird habitat". Because the Denver Post is actively suing bloggers who quote from its articles, even with attribution, no link to the Denver Post is provided here. If you want to read the Post article, Google "Denver Post Chatfield".)

by Adrienne Anderson

The use of Chatfield Reservoir for drinking water - given the documented saturation of the vicinity's groundwater and underlying limestone formation with the highly deadly and cancer-causing rocket fuel compounds from the neighboring Lockheed Martin/USAF plant - is a macabre public health experiment that should be avoided. Communities getting water from this source risk having children with neuroblastoma and other cancers, as was the tragic experience of communities receiving Martin-contaminated water in past decades. Also, Lockheed Martin built disposal ponds for their wastes on the west side of the reservoir which they used for years. Elevating the water level will subsume these waste discharge pond areas and disperse residual contamination more widely.

The breakdown product of the chief rocket fuel ingredient that was in use at the Martin/USAF plant adjacent and upgradient of Chatfield for the Titan Missile Program, n-nitrorosodimethylamine (NDMA), is so carcinogenic that it is capable of causing a variety of cancers on single exposures, and at doses below which laboratory testing can even detect its presence. A teaspoon of the substance is enough to contaminate a water body the size of Chatfield with related public health risks. The State of California monitors this substance at a stringent level; the State of Colorado, however, has virtually ignored the risk, apparently to deny and cover up its own history of failing to enforce existing laws against criminal-level pollution violations from the Martin/USAF plant going back to the 50's. The regulatory agency and local politicians have caved into longtime political pressure from Martin and Denver Water, which distributed contaminated water downhill from the highly contaminated Martin complex for decades, despite the agency's knowledge that the water was subject to routine poisoning by the rocket plant. Documents evidencing this history was revealed in an independent citizens' investigation during the 1980's and 1990's, when the State of Colorado and EPA attempted to deny the impacts of their histories of negligent enforcement.

Disturbingly, the Denver Post makes no mention of any of this, though a very good environmental reporter at the Denver Post in the late 1980's reported on these conditions.

Note also that there is a public comment period on this proposal.


For more information and background on the Lockheed Martin contamination and Chatfield, see articles Anderson previously wrote and published for the Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center. The articles are archived and can be read here, here, and here. The history of Martin's contamination of the area, and the public controversy over the tragic deaths of over a dozen children in a Denver suburb receiving contaminated drinking water from the area was chronicled by the New York Times in 1987, and can be read here. During the 11 years Anderson served on the University of Colorado at Boulder faculty from 1993-2005, teaching environmental investigation and ethics courses, numerous student groups also added to the documentary record of this contamination catastrophe, and the collusion, corruption and conflicts of interests that allowed it to happen, and which continue, to this date. Those reports are archived and can be read at the CU Boulder Environmental Center's library. Records obtained from CU under the Colorado Open Records Act in 2005 by Environmental Studies students revealed the intense corporate and governmental pressure that was being applied to CU top officials to squelch this research and silence these and other facts of record by liable parties at interest. This spawned an academic freedom fight between CU faculty, students and members of the public, which is chronicled here by the CU chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Nightmare Act

(What better way to start the new year than an editorial by Phil Goodstein? The merry band of Naysayers meets next on Saturday, January 8, at Enzo's Pizza, 3424 Colfax at 5:30 pm.)

Editorial by Phil Goodstein

At a time when ever more bloated military budgets have drained the purses of cities and states, Denver city council has been silent about the country’s criminal foreign adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the contrary, it has been receptive to the Chamber of Commerce with its demands for less regulation and more support of the state’s gigantic aerospace industry, a prime Pentagon contractor. Given this, it is not surprising that council recently went out of its way to endorse a Pentagon scheme, the DREAM Act.

This is among the utopian proposals of those who see injustice, but have no concept of the causes and even less desire for a program of action to bring forth a new order. The DREAM Act stands for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act. Its ostensible purpose is to allow the children of undocumented immigrants to gain citizenship via making their way through at least two years of college. More than that, it encourages such young men and women to join the military: successful completion of service is also a road to citizenship. The Pentagon helped draft the measure in 2008. The proposal comes at a time when many have realized that joining the military is not a means of patriotism, education, and advancement, but a likely path to getting maimed and killed for the most dubious of foreign policy objectives. In this light, the military and Congress have finally agreed that homosexuals too can be cannon fodder.