Saturday, April 30, 2011

Plutonium: The Jefferson Parkway's biggest problem

By LeRoy Moore
Posted: 04/28/2011 01:00:00 AM MDT

In late January the Directors of the Jefferson Parkway Authority voted to purchase a 3.5-mile-long 300-foot wide strip of land along the eastern edge of the site of the defunct Rocky Flats plant, where the explosive plutonium pits for nuclear warheads had once been made. The act of Congress that turned most of the Rocky Flats site into a wildlife refuge set aside this sliver of land for possible future highway development.

Unfortunately this piece of land is smack in the middle of the most contaminated area at Rocky Flats. In 1970, after public disclosures that highly toxic radioactive plutonium particles had been released from the plant, two specialists from the Atomic Energy Commission (predecessor to the Department of Energy) came to Colorado to look for plutonium in the soil over a very large area. They produced a map showing that about 30 square miles of land east and southeast of the Rocky Flats site was contaminated with plutonium (see The proposed Jefferson Parkway passes through heart of this area.

People have many reasons for opposing the Parkway. Some say it isn`t needed, others that it will increase air pollution, escalate traffic on nearby roads, add to the cost of driving even short distances, and foster urban sprawl when we should end this outmoded pattern. But without question the strongest reason to oppose the highway is the public health danger that would be created by constructing a major highway along the contaminated eastern edge of the Rocky Flats site.

Plutonium emits a type of radiation that cannot penetrate skin but that may induce cancer or other ailments if it is inhaled or otherwise taken into the body. In 1997 researchers at Columbia University reported that a single plutonium particle lodged in the body could initiate cancer. A 2006 National Academy of Sciences study on low-dose radiation exposure concluded that any exposure is potentially harmful. Physicist Fritjof Capra stated in 1982 that, because plutonium remains radioactive for so long, it should be isolated from the environment for half-a-million years.

What happened historically at Rocky Flats is precisely the opposite of what Capra advised. From the beginning of production in 1952 until it ended in 1989 tiny plutonium particles were released to the environment by fires, accidents and routine operations. Particles were distributed near and far by the wind common at the site. The site is still contaminated. Those responsible for the "cleanup" done after production ended made no effort to clean the site to the maximum extent possible with existing technology. Indeed, the logic of turning most of the site into a wildlife refuge was to reduce the cost of the "cleanup." An unknown quantity of plutonium was knowingly left in soil on the site.

Plutonium is present in the environment both on and off the Rocky Flats site in the form of particles too small to see but not too small to do harm. Brought to the surface by burrowing animals, anything from ants to badgers, particles may be picked up by the wind and inhaled by someone in the vicinity. Years later this person`s health may be destroyed without the individual knowing why. The most vulnerable creatures are human children. This, the situation that exists now at Rocky Flats, is why U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service should never allow public access to the roughly seven square miles of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

A citizen sampling project sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center in April 2010 found plutonium in dust collected from crawl space at a house about one mile from the location of the proposed Jefferson Parkway. There is ample reason to conclude that plutonium must be present elsewhere in this area, especially in the soil of the intended route for the Parkway.

Constructing a highway along the downwind edge of the Rocky Flats site would create a far more dangerous situation than the already hazardous one that exists at the site. A major highway cannot be constructed without stirring up clouds and clouds of dust. And much of the dust stirred to build the Jefferson Parkway would be plutonium-laden, which is to say, plutonium in its most dangerous form. There is no justification for creating this unnecessary and incalculable danger for the workers who would construct the road or for the people who live or work nearby or travel in the affected area during the time of construction. The Jefferson Parkway plan should be abandoned.

LeRoy Moore is a consultant with the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center in Boulder.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The crux of the ranchers' beef with our federal government.

Rep Scott Tipton held a Town Hall meeting in Trinidad, Colorado, April 25th. This clip shows Rancher Cameron Burke summarizing the crux of the Ranchers' beef with our federal government. Take off the Pentagon waiver requested by Fort Carson to expand PCMS in Las Animas County. The Army saying they won't expand for at least five years extends the black cloud of defacto condemnation, adding another half decade to the severe economic distress.

h/t to onedot

OK, quit whining about how many candidates there are in this race and get yourself over to 16th and Gaylord TONIGHT!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why Michael Hancock should not be Mayor of Denver

Not a good fit.

Report from the District 8 write-in frenzy

I know you've been waiting anxiously to see the District 8 write-in frenzy forums, so I went last night to the Scott United Methodist Church at 2880 Garfield St. The forum was sponsored by North City Park Civic Association. Unfortunately, the venue was poorly lighted and the sound system (home stereo) untested.

Here's the first round in which each of 25 candidates got to speak for 30 seconds. You may think that is hardly enough time to judge a candidate, but research shows that you make up your mind in the first 1/2 second, so it should be plenty of time. Council District 8 is often touted as being one of the most diverse, and here we have the proof - at least one candidate from every category - and, I must say, some who seemed very capable.

Here's the official list to date:

Council District 8
Wil Alston
Albus Brooks
Karen E. Brown-Gerdine
Sharon Canady
Loralie R. Cole
Adam Crowley
Steven Dewberry
Warren Edson
Leonard Fanganello
Rene I. Farkass
Julie C. Farrar
Tony Ferrufino
Paul Noel Fiorino
Britt Gallagher
Thomas Gilhooly
Breck Grover
Sarah Harman
Nita (Dwinita) Henry
Mark Iannucci
Thomas Henry Juniel
Angela Knepell
Angela Elaine Lombard
Mark G. Martinez
Owetta R. McNeil
Tom Morris
Steven Lewis Olstad
Theresa O'Sullivan
Thomas G. Perricci
Titus Peterson
Timothy P. Pickard
Greg Rasheed
Tom Rutherford
Dan Stafford
Darrell B. Watson
Paul Weiss
Susan Whitehurst
Rockford G. Williams
Penelope Zeller

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

OK, Albus Brooks gets it.

Big Al-bus and his krew may have a career waiting for them in the music biz.

H/T to the Captain.

Added 4-27: I had to come back to this to make a few comments on the video itself. For Denver, local political production, it's tops. It has a freshness that comes from young minds. The director is responsible for most of the spangle, and this took a lot of work, well-planned and not thrown together in an afternoon. The locations are good with action at the corner store on York nailing it as a ghetto. (Hey, it's my 'hood too, so I can call it ghetto.)

The editor backs the director up with good action and stutter cuts (same person?). Count the scenes and note the sound and movement syncing perfectly over each transition. Check what is going on in each scene because there are multiple actions in many frames. Watch a person who is not the focus of the scene. They are engaged. Note the rivalry between the two lead singers, when "Flight School" grabs his rival at 2:07, giving us another layer. Tres cool.
The music is very good. The chant, harmony, and repetition really work - I was humming "Write it in" a half hour later. The verses really work to tell  the story if you listen to it a few times.

It did not move me to want to vote for Albus, who comes across weak. When he's on camera he looks like "what am I doing here?". He seems meek and apologetic at the end, and the snicker on the sound track doesn't help. It's hard to get politicos to act any different from what they think a politician should act like. (I know, I've tried). Albus needs to lighten up and bust a few moves, but he doesn't think that would be proper for a candidate.
It's too long (by about a third).
It represents many of the things that some people hate, namely rappers, rap music, and rap moves. It doesn't seem to be embedded on the official Brooks website (one link on a twitter feed). Was someone worried it might cost Albus votes? Too rad?

When I first saw it yesterday it had 28 views, right now it's at 244. For Denver, that is going viral. We'll know when it gets picked up by a national outlet, web or TV, as it will start to jump by the thousands. If that happens "Flight School" and his krew should be prepared: get a publicist and a lawyer, go on talk-TV (Oprah if possible), and wait for the contracts to roll-in. You guys are the stars of this vidie. I'm not kidding.

As for Albus Brooks and the election in District 8, I'm not so sure. At the next forum, maybe he should bring the krew with him, spread them out in the audience, and when it's his turn to speak, have them punch on a box, stand up, and start dancing, while he dances on the stage. If he did THAT, he could win. Otherwise, he's just another one of 38 candidates trying desperately to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Oh, you say, who wants a dancing fool for their representative? Can you say Orange Hair?

My other reality

My good friend from undergraduate days at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. David Van Nuys, has a very successful podcast - Shrink Rap Radio - to which he invites me on occasion to discuss my continuing interest in brain physiology and dreaming. He has built an amazing catalog of interviews with today's top psychologist, so I'm not sure why he invites me to participate, other than the fact that we have a lot of fun doing it. Apparently, some people also have fun listening to it. This is part 3 of a 4 part series.

Somebody for Council District 8

Here's your chance to see some of the write-in candidates for Denver's City Council District 8. Let's call it a "crowd" of candidates. If all 38 show up and each speaks for a few minutes...

Tonight 6:45 to 8:30 p.m.
Scott United Methodist Church, 2880 Garfield St.
Sponsored by North City Park Civic Association

Wednesday 7 to 9 p.m.
Manual High School Auditorium, 1700 E. 28th Ave.
Sponsored by Whittier Neighborhood Association

Thursday 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Church in the City, 2280 E. 16th Ave.
Sponsored by SCPNA, COTH and CHUN

Nobody for Council District 8

Editorial by Phil Goodstein

The entire municipal campaign has been lethargic. Indeed. death has been the most defining aspect of any of the city council campaigns. In particular, Carla Madison, who was racked by terminal cancer and in hospice care, managed to cloak her illness until her recent passing while running unopposed for re-election.

Instead of raising questions about the integrity of a candidate who sought to cling to a post when her health did not permit it, the eulogies to Madison have been so intense that apparently the 3500 east block of Madison Street is named in her honor. At no time during her tenure on council did she loudly raise her voice against the sellout of the city's parks to private interests. the turning of Denver into a virtual armed police camp for the coronation of Barack Obama, the continued out-of-control role of the police, or a tax system that assures continual financial crises. On the contrary, Madison was always a vote for the status quo. No wonder she has reaped such praise.

A sitting council member has not lost re-election since 1987. The cowardice of political activists in taking on Madison, despite knowing she was desperately ill, has left the voters of her district with the convoluted choices of opportunists presented by write-in candidates. Those afraid to stand up against her when she was alive have shown they lack the character to challenge the dismal status quo. Seen in this light, it is better to leave Madison's seat vacant, assuring that nobody will betray the interests of the voters while failing to provide a vision or alternative direction to a lurching, lifeless community.

Note: The Naysayers next meet on Saturday, May 7, Enzo's Pizza, 3424 Colfax (between Cook and Madison) 5:30 PM. Subscriptions to the print version of the Naysayer are available for $10/year.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dopers for Doug and other passing thoughts

I had resolved to keep my comments to myself in this current round of municipal elections, but regular readers will remember that I got sucked back in at a recent Mayoral forum at East High because it is just a block from my office.

In the mayor's race, one candidate stands out in my mind - Doug Linkhart. He has represented me as City Council-at-Large since my own councilperson, Carla Madison, was unresponsive. Linkhart seems to be reluctant to tout the one thing that could make a difference in this election - his support for legalizing marijuana. Do dopers even know this? I thought there were 70,000 registered medical marijuana users in Denver. Is Doug too laid back to mention this?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Open letter to Mayor Vidal

Globeville Civic Association #1
Elyria Neighborhood Association

Globevllle Civic Association #2
United Community Action Network

April 22nd , 2011

Mayor Guillermo Vidal
City and County of Denver

Dear Mayor Vidal:
In your speech to Inter-Neighbortlood Cooperation this year you stated you weren't planning to take a passive role during your brief tenure as Mayor. While your career in public service is long and storied , we know your current position as the City's Chief Executive is a unique and authoritative role. We sincerely urge you to utilize it as you see fit. For this reason we are calling your attention to the current "emergencie du jour" in the north neighborhoods.

Mayor manages city, not schools

Commentary by Dave Felice and Cathy Donohue

All the Denver mayoral candidates publicly promise, again and again, to fix or improve Denver public schools. This is a cruel deception. Even with the excessive and unusually strong powers given to the Mayor of Denver, no mayor has any powers whatsoever to control or manage the public schools.

The outlandish pledges of the candidates to improve Denver schools are a ruse to deflect attention from the real issues that the mayor does have the power to correct. Where are the promises necessary to solve the City's governmental problems?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Juanita Gable Gets It.

Finally, someone in Denver has created a goofy-cool YouTube political vidie. Great gimmick - $1 per view from an anonymous donor. I'd vote for her in a minute!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Watson comments on the write-in process

Darrell Watson, now officially a candidate for the City Council District 8 write-in campaign, comments on the Denver Post editorial which called the process a "dogpile".

Write-in News at District 8

Affidavit of Intent as of 4/14/11 9:00am
Council District 8 Albus Brooks
Council District 8 Adam Crowley
Council District 8 Steven Dewberry
Council District 8 Warren Edson
Council District 8 Rene I. Farkass
Council District 8 Tony Ferrufino
Council District 8 Paul Noel Fiorino
Council District 8 Jake Fleck
Council District 8 Thomas Gilhooly
Council District 8 Nita (Dwinita) Henry
Council District 8 Mark Iannucci
Council District 8 Thomas Henry Juniel
Council District 8 Mark G. Martinez
Council District 8 Owetta R. McNeil
Council District 8 Tom Morris
Council District 8 Robert Price
Council District 8 Tom Rutherford
Council District 8 Dan Stafford
Council District 8 Paul Weiss
Council District 8 Susan Whitehurst

Forum News

The Registered Neighborhood Associations (RNOs) in District 8 are working together to hold a number of forums to give residents the opportunity to hear the views of the write-in candidates. As of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13, twenty District 8 residents had filed to be write-in candidates for the council seat left empty by the death of Councilwoman Carla Madison.

A more complete calendar will be created after the April 18 deadline for filing to run for the seat.

These candidate forums are the first two to be scheduled:

Tues., April 26 • 6:45–8 p.m.
North City Park Civic Association
Scott United Methodist Church
2880 Garfield St.
Contact: David Goens •

Weds., April 27 • 7–9 p.m.
Whittier Neighborhood Association
Whittier Community Center
2900 Downing St.
Contact: Cathy Calder

I will be in touch as I get additional information from the District 8 RNOs.
Cathy Calder

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Doug Linkhart for Mayor

Write-in Watson for Council District 8

Click to enlarge
Editorial by Gerald Trumbule

Long time readers of this blog will not be surprised to find that we are whole-heartedly supporting Darrell Watson for City Council District 8. Some residents of this City Park district are feeling overwhelmed by the passing of Carla Madison and the rush of potential candidates signing up for the write-in campaign. "How will we ever vet all of these unknowns before May 3rd?" they ask. With 17 having already signed the Affidavit of Intent and more expected, it seems an impossible task. Some have called for a special election, but that is not the way the rules are written. One candidate has even promised to resign if elected in order to force a special election. But wait, clarity is on the horizon. One candidate has already been thoroughly vetted - and that candidate is Darrell Watson.

Watson ran for City Council four years ago. Although many thought he was the top candidate back then, he was bested by Sharon Bailey and Madison, who came in second. Madison then overwhelmed Bailey in the run-off election. During that campaign, Watson was featured in 12 YouTube videos expressing his views on various subjects. Although now four years old, these videos make it clear what kind of Councilman Watson would be.

Watson's website has been updated. His Facebook page is ready. He's Tweeting. Now it is up to us to WRITE-IN WATSON!

Full-disclosure. In the past I, and this blog, have been accused of "working for" the various campaigns we have supported. Denver Direct is totally independent and takes no remuneration from anyone. I do support candidates of my choice with financial donations and with pro bono video work. Such video work is completely under my own control and not dictated by candidates.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Council District 8 Write-in Candidates

And the candidates keep on coming...from here:

Council District 8 Adam Crowley
Council District 8 Steven Dewberry
Council District 8 Warren Edson
Council District 8 Rene Farkass
Council District 8 Paul Noel Fiorino
Council District 8 Jake Fleck
Council District 8 Mark Iannucci
Council District 8 Thomas Henry Juniel
Council District 8 Owetta R. McNeil
Council District 8 Robert Price
Council District 8 Dan Stafford
Council District 8 Susan Whitehurst

Monday, April 11, 2011

Write-in Frenzy at Council District 8

Well, here we are again in Council District 8 facing an unusual situation - Councilwoman Madison's demise leaves us scrambling for write-in candidates in the upcoming mail-only election. Candidates can't just mount a write-in campaign. "Votes for write-in candidates are allowed in this race. However, write-in candidates must file a notarized Write-In Affidavit of Intent with the Denver Elections Division in order for their votes to be counted. The deadline to file an Affidavit of Intent is 6 p.m., Monday, April 18."

Here is a list of those who have already filed their Write-In Affidavit.

Council District 8 Adam Crowley
Council District 8 Warren Edson
Council District 8 Paul Noel Fiorino
Council District 8 Jake Fleck
Council District 8 Robert Price
Council District 8 Dan Stafford
Council District 8 Susan Whitehurst

We expect to see others join in the fray, among them Darrell Watson, who ran against Madison four years ago, and Paul Weiss, Madison's husband. The office is up for grabs; a write-in candidate must get 50% (of the write-in votes) plus 1 to win. If there is no plurality in the May 3, 2011 election, I assume there will then be a run-off between the top two candidates in the June 7 run-off election. (Update: We verified this with the Clerk and Recorders Office.)

So let's assume that each of the write-in candidates can muster 100 write-in votes. Let's also assume that 5 more candidates join the 7 listed above. That would make a total of 1200 write-in votes, with a plurality of 601 required to win. I doubt that any candidate will be able to garner that plurality, and that therefor a run-off will be held on June 7.

Whatever the case, a small number of aware voters will  determine the outcome. That could be you.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Public Review Draft of Northeast Downtown Neighborhoods Plan Available for Download

A draft of the Northeast Downtown Neighborhoods Plan is available for public review. You can download a copy of the plan from the project website:

As a reminder, the next public meeting for the Northeast Downtown Neighborhoods Plan will be held on Wednesday, April 13th at Merchants Office Furniture, 2261 N. Broadway, from 6:00-8:00p.m. At this meeting the project team will present the draft plan document for public review and input.

Courtland Hyser, AICP
Senior City Planner
Denver Community Planning and Development
201 West Colfax Ave, Dept 205
Denver, CO 80202
(720) 865-2924

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ever Vigilant

The Pueblo Chieftain
Posted: Sunday, April 3, 2011 12:00 am

THE ARMY has no immediate plans right now for expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, according to the secretary of the Army.

John McHugh wrote Democratic Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet last week that there are no plans for expansion in the Army's five-year budget plan. He said expansion is no longer an Army goal. But unfortunately that's not the last word.

Secretary McHugh also has been approached by Rep. Scott Tipton, a Republican representing the 3rd Congressional District, about concerns over expansion. Ranchers whose land might end up being bought by the Army cannot make strategic financing plans with the threat of expansion hanging over their heads, and members of Congress representing the region have sided with those ranchers, as has a majority in the Colorado Legislature.

So, while the Army secretary says expansion is no longer a goal of the service, that very well could change with new circumstances. Right now the Army intends to spend $750 million at Fort Carson to house a new aviation brigade, and with the federal budget being as it is, there probably is no more money for Fort Carson's ambitions.

But the fact is, the Army always wants more land, no matter where it has a post. While the current leadership at the Mountain Post and in the Pentagon may not have immediate plans for Pinon Canyon expansion, that doesn't mean new commanders - military and civilian - won't have different designs.

It was just in 2006 that the Army announced its goal of expanding Pinon Canyon to include a huge swath across Southeastern Colorado. But the Army never was able to make a persuasive case why it needed more land there, being that the training range has been used sparingly.

Meanwhile, Southeastern Colorado has a sorry history of promises broken by past Fort Carson brass, defying court orders and even ignoring a funding ban by Congress for PCMS expansion. Rather, with great fanfare the Army promised it was going to do a great deal of business with merchants in Pueblo, La Junta and Trinidad.

That never happened. So it's no wonder that the people of Southeastern Colorado remain skeptical, no matter what the Army says.

It will be incumbent on all who support the vital ranching industry around Pinon Canyon to be ever vigilant to the Army's future intentions. We support the military, but those in charge today will be gone tomorrow, unlike the three- and four-generation ranching families in Southeastern Colorado.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Go here to subscribe:

Finally, the weekend

It's been a tough week. Here's a song from my childhood to make up for it.


Here is the Mayor's Neighborhood Newsletter - lots of info from Denver to you - but you've got to dig for it. Street sweeping, dog park rules, composting, Open Doors, and voter registration.
March / April 2011
PHONE: 720-865-9018 FAX: 720-865-8787

Friday, April 1, 2011


From Denver Daily News (where I go first for local news):

The Denver Police Department wants to make the community aware of a series of thefts that have occurred recently from motor vehicles. The suspect(s) in these cases fired gunshots into the vehicle or at the vehicle owner when confronted during the theft. These crimes occurred between March 22-29. In many of the incidences, the car alarm sounded and the victim responded to the alarm and was confronted by an armed suspect when they went out to check on their vehicle. In two of the crimes, the suspect fired gunshots into the interior or exterior of the car. No one was been injured, and police are cautioning citizens to be careful if they suspect a car break-in is occurring to call the police immediately. If you have any information regarding these crimes, contact Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867) or call the dispatch center at 720-913-2000.