Thursday, January 31, 2013

Candidate Forum for Denver School Board Vacancy Appointment

Nate Easley is stepping down from his position on the DPS Board to spend more time with The Denver Scholarship Foundation. Thanks to DPS.tv for livestreaming the candidate forum and for providing the complete video of the proceedings last night. Ultimately, this will be an important appointment on a evenly divided Board. (When you are watching a livestream, you can see how many people are watching with you. Last night, only 5 of us were watching the parade of 23 candidates live, so the following should help you catch up if you missed it. Warning: because DPS.tv is using the free version of Ustream, there are unavoidable ads. I wish they would upgrade to the Pro version.)



Video streaming by Ustream



Video streaming by Ustream

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

ACTIVE SHOOTER

from Dave Felice


The most recent edition of the Security Guide booklet for the Auraria Campus now contains a section called “Active Shooter.”  The section advises students, faculty, and staff on what action is appropriate when confronted with gunfire.


ACTIVE SHOOTER
An active shooter scenario on campus is probably the most difficult situation to
predict, and the events will happen very quickly. Please be aware that if we are
faced with an active shooter scenario, that ACPD may implement several types of
activities, such as campus lockdown, shelter in-place and protect, AND
evacuation.
• Seek sanctuary by proceeding to a room that can be locked, close and
lock all windows and doors and turn off all lights OR exit the building if
safe conditions exist.
• Get down on the floor and ensure that no one is visible from outside the
room.
• Call 9-1-1 from a campus phone or dial (303) 556-5000 from any other
phone to access the Auraria Campus Police Department (ACPD) and
advise the dispatcher of the events.
• Inform him/her of your location, and remain in place until the police give
the “ALL CLEAR” signal.
• If you are in a room that cannot be locked, place large, heavy objects in
front of the doorway to impede the path and vision of an intruder.
• If an active shooter enters your office or classroom, try to remain calm.
Call 9-1-1 from a campus phone or dial (303) 556-5000 from any other
phone, and if possible, alert police of the shooter’s location. If you can’t
speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen to what’s taking
place.
• If the shooter leaves the area, proceed immediately to a safer place and
do not touch anything that was in the vicinity of the shooter, as these
items could be POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS to you and others.

The Naysayer by Phil Goodstein - February, 2013



Heads up!


THE SEGREGATION AND RESEGREGATION OF DENVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Dear Community Leaders:

CBRT, Urban League, NAACP and Denver Public Schools will sponsor a BLACK HISTORY MONTH Community Education Forum on "40 YEARS AFTER KEYES: THE SEGREGATION AND RESEGREGATION OF DENVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS ".
This insightful community education event will allow the community and the school system to reflect on a critical historical period in Denver's attempt to provide equal educational opportunity to all students.
In addition, there will be a viewing of the documentary film, "REBELS REMEMBERED: THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN COLORADO - OUR NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS" and a recognition program acknowledging educational pioneers in our city.
This event will be held on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at Manual High School from 8:30am-3:00pm.
              PLEASE SAVE THIS DATE-PLAN TO ATTEND-PASS THE WORD 
                   THANK YOU, THE COLORADO BLACK ROUND TABLE 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All Things A64 with Jessica LeRoux - January 28, 2013

Printed here, as received, with the expressed permission of Jessica LeRoux. Please do not copy without her permission.


Hey Now, 
... Today's news interrupted by this message from our sponsor!....
I hope you all have printed & posted the flyer for the festive superbowl party packs... you absolutely must get me your Party pack orders at least 48 hours before your regular delivery day... if you arent sure when that is drop what you are doing and call me right now at 303 922 3661 and here is the flyer again if you missed it last monday (if you didnt read last monday's catch up news, go back and read that too, it has all the links to all the bills re marijuana posted in the legislature so far in 2013...) print it, post it, sell the hell outta it! 

and this is important... 
Children's Caucus regarding Marijuana impacts... Tomorrow at Noon, Colorado Capitol, senate committee room 356... please try to attend and provide a voice of reason, especially if you are a cannabis committed parent with super achieving kids!  Thanks to newly elected Vicki Marble of Aspen for the heads up on this important event!

Ok back to the politics you all love to tune in and read about! and for the record I love you almost all like BFF's, but I still do want some of you to step up your sales! Most of you are still stellar... 

This Task force is so caught up in regulating some aspects of A64 to death, that they are overlooking major stumbling blocks... #1 they want to punt on regulating Hemp until 2014, but if Sen Schwartz's hemp bill passes this year, before recreational grows are licensed and operating and there is no attention paid to zoning and distances pollen can travel, all we will have in Colorado is Hemp... I've read 64 a few times, so how is a DA chairperson of a subgroup that recommends limiting the plant count per household, no matter how many adults live there... and limiting the stored product of the 6 plant home grow to 2-3 "a few" ounces per household as well. Cause that is not the language of the new law, and the last I checked the state (tax payers, that is me & you) doesnt have money to throw down the drain on guaranteed loser court cases.... more issues in A-64 workgroups for wednesday... nonmedical roadside blood draws... read as: roll up your sleeve of your parka to your armpit, its 1am, its 17 degrees out, and this officer is gonna do a complicated intervenal procedure on you out here on the side of an icey two lane highway with headlights coming at you, cause he doesnt want to spray your diseased pothead blood all over his cruiser, why is he worried about spraying your blood? #1 because he isnt worried about you, you druggy dirtbag... #2 because he's a cop not a phlebotomist... your choice. The concerned lazy parent community demanding a childproof resealable (re-child-proofed) plastic packaging... (y'all know my compostable committed ass aint going for that, you can parent your kid out of eating what they should not, but you can not out parent a massive plastic landfill's impact on the next generation and beyond, are we truly "concerned about the kids" or simply too lazy to turn off the TV and talk to our spawn and lay down the law about family underage impairment rules). Lastly... A-64 Advertising presentation today wants to ban all commercial advertising outside of retail shops state wide (no print ads, no radio, no tv, no sponsoring events or teams, no internet ads) and restrict in shop marketing/branding to no product claims, no comparison statements, no health claims, no frequent shopper programs, no coupons, no discounts, no samples or cross marketing... limit any allowed print advertising to publications solely distributed at bars, and make all print adds black & white only with text but no characters or images, and no product claims.... The "rational" was that 64 only allows possession of cannabis, and was not intended to compel the state to allow the industry to expand its user base or frequency of use through marketing techniques... but not all the Workgroups are this bad... some reasonable people with unexpected provenance proving the maxim that some of the times you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right! 
read more and learn what I know now! 
before we get too deep into the A-64 stuff here is the latest stuff from the MMED website... some of this is good news! 
Next MMED Rule Making Stakeholder Forum 

Friday,  February 15thMMED Headquarters 
455 Sherman Street, Suite 390 
Denver, CO 80203
9:00 AM - Noon


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Film review: Beware of Mr. Baker

Opinion by Gerald Trumbule

Last February I wrote about a call from Jay Bulger that got me involved in his documentary movie about Ginger Baker, the infamous drummer in Cream, Blind Faith, etc. Jay came to my place, taped an interview with me, and started negotiations to access the 8 hours of Baker footage I had in my possession. Clark Burch, bass player and neophyte videographer, had been insistent that I help him with this Baker project. We trudged down to Parker on numerous occasions to shoot inadequate (needed better lenses) footage of Baker on horseback. Burch became Baker's buddy and had many "Ginger" stories.
 Before he died, Burch finished a short jazz video of Baker, but when I later tried to post it on YouTube, it was rejected because it contained the music from Baker's album, "Falling Off the Roof", and, of course, Burch, ignoring my advice, had failed to obtain any written permission from Baker's people to use the music, or any of the videotape for that matter.
"Negotiations" led to my agreeing to let Jay use our footage (about 1 minute, they said) in return for screen credit for both myself and Burch as "additional video". Sad to say, Burch was not given any credit and I was listed under "Thanks", which came after "Special Thanks", which was the very last category in the credits. So much for fame and fortune.
The film is being shown at the (unfortunately named) SIE Film Center at the Lowenstein Complex on Colfax. Screen 1 is a 55-seat box with a digital projector in the back. As the patrons began to assemble, I noticed a guy in the back row apparently setting up his laptop to record an illegal copy of the film. While I was contemplating letting management in on this creep's intention, the manager came in and asked him to leave. No bootleg copies, for now at least.
As to the film itself, I have to give Jay Bulger a lot of credit for getting this thing done. He's taken an unpleasant subject (Baker) and stitched together (with animation, stills, and bits of film) a decent story of his indecent life. At once arrogant and miserable, Baker is a world-class, self-centered jerk. Everybody agrees that his drumming was stellar, but no one likes him. Even at his now advanced age, he is unable to be gracious. His mistreatment of his 4 wives and various off-spring is pathetic. Especially sad is the testimony of his son Kofi Baker, who I met during our videotaping. Kofi is himself now a drummer, but he has not much positive to say about his Dad, who, having been paid $5 million for the 2005 reunion of Cream, had no money to share, even for expenses.
About halfway through the film, I began to ask myself who on earth would want to see this film. Drummers? Cream fans? Rock and roll historians? Maybe.
If I'm not mistaken, the film was bankrolled by one individual. Jay Bulger got a chance to learn filmmaking as writer, director and producer. And I must congratulate him for not pulling any punches. Ginger Baker, now broke again, got a chance to totter, at the end of the film, to one more session at the drums. Just barely.
Allowed YouTube video of Baker drumming in Parker.
Denver Post review, and SFGate review.

2012 a Champion Year for Denver Area Home Sales

Compliments of Jacquie Finholm

Market News

Last year, buyers in the Denver area closed on $12.945 billion in homes. That is a $2.88 billion increase from the $10.063 billion in 2011, the biggest year-over-year increase on record. To put that increase in perspective, the increase is about the combined size of the GDPs of the countries of Belize and Bhutan. 
If every season ticket holder at Sports Authority Field at Mile High had decided to sell their ticket to the Broncos vs Ravens playoff game at $300 each, the increased home sales dollar volume would have been enough to fill Mile High more than a dozen times over. Unfortunately, the Broncos aren't going to the Super Bowl, but if the Denver housing market was a team, Team Denver would have been a comeback champion in 2012.

There were 46,299 home closings last year, a 17.5 percent increase from the 39,387 in 2011. The number of closings were the equivalent to every man, woman and child who lives in Greenwood Village, Capitol Hill, Highland and West Highland and Cherry Creek buying a home.

Homes placed under contract were even more impressive, growing by 19.1 percent to 56,412 last year, compared to 47,375 in 2010, which bodes well for continued strong sales in the first part of 2013. The average price of a home, year-to-date at the end of 2012, was $304,176, an 8.7 percent increase from the $279,856 at the end of 2011. "The stellar housing market provides a boost for the entire economy," noted Patty Silverstein, chief economist for the Denver Metro Denver Economic Development Corp."In 2012, the sheer number of sales was much bigger than any expectations. It was huge. And home prices steadily rose," Silverstein said. 

"Home sales have quite the multiplier effect," Silverstein continued. "Obviously, it is money in the pocket of the seller. Whether they used it to buy a bigger home, a smaller home or become a renter, it is money that will find its way back into the economy. Then there is everyone involved in the transaction - the mortgage broker, the title insurance officials, the Realtor. And once somebody buys a home, they generally go out and furnish the home and the ripple effect continues."

The price increase easily bested the inflation rate of about 2 percent, but wasn't the double-digit returns found in formerly beat-up housing markets such as Phoenix, leading to worries another mini-bubble might be forming. Denver-area buyers, however, had fewer homes to choose from in 2012 than in almost four decades. There were only 7,706 unsold homes on the market in 2012, the lowest point since 1973.

The last time there were fewer homes for sale, Richard Nixon was President, the war in Vietnam was ending, and mortgage interest rates were at 8.54 percent compared with 3.35 percent for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan at the end of 2012. That also was the year that the Broncos posted their first winning season.

Yearly Sales (in Billions)

Residential Market Data
December 2012This MonthPrior MonthYear Ago
Active6,3667,3368,854
Under Contract2,4423,1192,253
Sold2,7252,9752,531
Average Sold Price$315,451$306,773$275,610
Months Supply2.342.463.50

Condominium Market Data 
December 2012This MonthPrior MonthYear Ago
Active1,3401,5112,139
Under Contract648774579
Sold675717625
Average Sold Price$186,877$198,080$166,420
Months Supply    2.002.103.42
*Based on information from Metrolist, Inc. for the Denver housing market for the period 12/1/12 to 12/31/12. This representation is based in whole or in part on content supplied by Metrolist, Inc.

To find more information, photos, and current real estate market data for popular cities across the Denver Metropolitan Area, please visit our Metro City Info page on DenverRealEstate.com

Market Movers

  • New rules aim to make mortgages safer. No one wants to repeat the recent real estate recession, the first national housing collapse since the Great Depression.
    Read more >>
  • The Highland neighborhood is becoming one of the most sought-after in Denver, with new homes cropping up priced at $1 million or more.
    Read more >>
  • The closely watched Case-Shiller index shows that the Denver-area housing market rose by almost 7 percent on a year-over-year basis, the biggest percentage gain in more than a decade. 
    Read more >>
  • A shift in demographics will mean more all-cash home buyers and more emphasis on housing for those 55 years old or up.
    Read more >>
  • Last year is shaping up to be a good one for Denver-area home building activity. Permit activity was up in the first 11 months of the year, shows the latest report by the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Denver. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

School Selection Commentary‏


Denver resident and parent Kristen Tourangeau says strong neighborhood schools and the involvement of parents and the community are more important to children than the actual selection of schools.  Tourangeau says the author of an item posted at www.ednewscolorado.org, misunderstands the importance of the community.  She shares her thoughts with Denver Direct: 
 One often hears the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child."  While that may seem unfitting in an urban setting, in fact, it is speaking to the value of community.  Humans desire and thrive because of community.  Rather than upending communities, we need to strengthen our Denver communities to benefit all people, young and old alike.  One place to begin that process is to focus on the quality of neighborhood schools.  The resources and effort needed to do to that vary greatly from community to community, but if we were to "roll up our sleeves" and get working on each school, it could be done.  Replacing neighborhood schools with new types of schools, i.e. charters or innovation schools, is a hopeful "quick fix" to a problem that cannot be solved by market forces alone.  In fact, there is evidence that while these schools may be ideal for serving certain types of students under certain conditions, their success as an antidote for the traditional public school system across the board is far from certain.
Choice does not aid in the desegregation of our school system.  In fact, it has done quite the opposite.  Let's take the case of our Denver high schools.  How do most kids choose a high school?  They choose the school where their friends are going....so, in effect, they prefer to stick with their "communities."  Denver's schools are no less segregated today than they were when I was bused to Manual in the first year of busing almost 40 years ago.  If you review the makeup of the student bodies in our high schools, and visit each of those schools, you will find that we have re-segregated ourselves.  GW is the black school, East is the white school, and Lincoln is the Latino school.  In general, our kids, and their parents, have "chosen" to be where they are most comfortable, with their communities, not necessarily where the education is the best.
There is no easy solution to integration and economic equality.  There is, however, great value to access for all to a good public school system.  For families with limited resources, access needs to be easy and within walking distance.  A community needs to be built around each neighborhood school, so that it can offer children the resources they need in order to succeed.  There are people all over Denver who care about their communities and their neighborhoods, and were they asked to participate in an effort to improve their neighborhood school, and offered true assistance to succeed in that endeavor, I believe they would.  
We should use boundaries in a way that strengthens schools at the elementary level, and provides students nurturing communities, and then we should widen those boundaries at the middle school and high school levels in ways that begin to eliminate segregation and encourage the integration of varying neighborhoods into a larger community.
It is not an easy, or a quick, fix, but it could be done if we had the resolve.

Kristen

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Notes from the A64 meetings with Jessica LeRoux - January 23, 2013

Issues in A-64 workgroups for today... nonmedical roadside blood draws... read as: roll up your sleeve of your parka to your armpit, its 1am, its 17 degrees out, and this officer is gonna do a complicated inter-venal procedure on you out here cause he doesnt want to spray your diseased pothead blood all over his cruiser, why is he worried about spraying your blood? #1 because he isnt worried about you, you druggy dirtbag... #2 because he's a cop not a phlebotomist... your choice.

I've read 64 a few times, so how is a DA chairperson of a subgroup that recommends limiting the plant count per household, no matter how many adults live there... and limiting the stored product of the 6 plant home grow to 2-3 "a few" ounces per household as well. Cause that is not the language of the new law, and the last I checked the state (tax payers, that is me & you) doesnt have money to throw down the drain on guaranteed loser court cases....

Lastly... A-64 Advertising presentation today wants to ban all commercial advertising outside of retail shops state wide (no print ads, no radio, no tv, no sponsoring events or teams, no internet ads) and restrict in shop marketing/branding to no product claims, no comparison statements, no health claims, no frequent shopper programs, no coupons, no discounts, no samples or cross marketing... limit any allowed print advertising to publications solely distributed at bars, and make all print adds black & white only with text but no characters or images, and no product claims.... The "rational" was that 64 only allows possession of cannabis, and was not intended to compel the state to allow the industry to expand its user base or frequency of use through marketing techniques... sounds completely unpassable, but got at least 50% or more support for every point I just listed...

Ed note: Support Jessica's Twirling Hippy edibles - ask for them at your dispensary. 

Toward developing a commercial use policy for Denver Parks and Recreation

Dody Erickson
Director of Special Projects
Denver Parks and Recreation
Department 601
201 West Colfax
Denver, Colorado 80202

Dear Dody:

Thank you for your invitation to be a member of the stakeholder group to develop a commercial use policy for Denver Parks and Recreation. Since I had previously volunteered, I look forward to working with you as a neighborhood representative for this group.
In response to your inquiry about key points to consider, I should make it clear that my first position is against commercial activity in public parks, consistent with the INC Platform for Denver's Urban Parks. I see no rationalization for the notion that commercial enterprises have a prerogative to use public property for profit-making activities. (City Charter 2.4.5 does not allow leasing of park property.)
If commercial use is to be allowed, I advocate the highest level of revenue and the lowest use possible. Under Parks and Recreation’s cost recovery model, these commercial enterprises should pay the full cost of what the property is worth because the activity is only predicated on profit-making use by a few individuals.
The commercial use policy should prohibit any activities involving animals, such as dog training or grooming. These activities are inappropriate for general park use, and contrary to existing regulations requiring animals to be on leash. If these commercial enterprises are to be allowed, they must specifically be confined to areas designated as “dog parks.”
Signage, even temporary, is unacceptable. There should be no “naming rights” involved. Again, if the ultimate decision does allow signage, there should be an additional charge for such privilege.
In other words, the public parks are not commercial property for sale to the highest bidder. Commercial enterprises should understand that open space does not confer any usage advantages that would be gained over an ordinary “brick and mortar” business establishment.
Subject to stakeholder consensus and final decision, the proposed model for Santa Monica (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/its-fight-over-fitness-santa-monicas-parks) should serve as a pattern for Denver. There should be an open and serious examination of what policies are in place in other comparable cities, e.g. Seattle, Portland, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Phoenix. Any commercial user must be registered with the Colorado Secretary of State. Any user must possess and display the applicable state and city business license(s). Commercial users must pay all applicable taxes. Users must post bond and be responsible for full restoration of any damage to park property. Permits must be renewed frequently, at least once every three months.
I do have questions about enforcement. How is Parks and Recreation going to determine legitimate licensed users from transient activities, and how is Parks going to collect the applicable fees?
Denver Parks and Recreation must set rules limiting the number of commercial use permits, define acceptable use, size of activity, and number of permits. Only certain areas and specified parks can be used. For example, Washington and Cheesman Parks are already overwhelmed by activity and would not be appropriate sites. The time of commercial activity must be limited to specified hours, preferably at lower park usage times.
Any activity which the community considers inappropriate and/or unacceptable must cease immediately with no questions and no recourse by the operator. Parks should provide a specific phone number for complaints.
Operators must adhere to noise level regulations, e.g. no amplified sound audible beyond 25 feet.
The policy must specifically reiterate prohibitions against alcoholic beverages, firearms, and other lethal weapons.
I appreciate your consideration, recognizing that I have given you more than the three key points you requested. Please let me know if you’d like any more information.

Cordially,

Dave Felice

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Denver Slated to Lose Critical Natural Area

Photo by Ray Ehrenstein

On January 2, 2013, Denver Parks and Recreation Manager Laurie Dannemiller removed the Natural Area designation from a portion of Hentzell Park (aka Hampden Heights Open Space Area). This action flies in the face of the recommendation of her own Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the majority of whom voted on December 13, 2012, to deny Mayor Hancock’s request that de-designation occur. The Mayor wanted de-designation so that the City can convey the land to Denver Public Schools. DPS plans to build a new school on the site; in exchange for the land, the City would get a DPS building at 1330 Fox Street that would be used for a domestic
violence center. This exchange of property will next be considered mid-February by the
Government and Finance Committee of the City Council, and then by the full City Council,
which has the final say, some time in March.

Why Losing 9 Acres of Hentzell Designated Natural Area Should be Opposed
1. We need more not less urban parkland, in light of Denver’s expected population
increase, and this action would set an unacceptable precedent that could erode the quality and
size of Denver’s park system;
2. The land in question, though described by Mayor Hancock as “blighted”, is in fact an
area that was designated as having significant biological value in 2007 by Denver’s Department
of Parks and Recreation, and the unique seed stock and vegetation on this site has not changed
significantly since that time. Those who consider the area unsightly are responding to the way it
looks superficially rather than to its biologic significance;
3. The Hentzell site is in a flood plain: Building a school on this site, as a result, is
unwise on the face of it; moreover, schools in Denver have a long history of being opened,
closed, re-opened and even demolished-- the latter possibility would open the way for
commercial development of this property. Loss of a rare Natural Area (Denver has only166
acres of land deemed worthy of Natural Area designation) for such development would be a real
loss;
4. All parkland managed by DPR including natural areas is held in the public trust. It
should not be used (or sold) for purposes removed from conservation, preservation, and
recreation. The City Charter provides the model for how this land should be treated. The
Charter prohibits the sale or leasing of land designated as a park by ordinance without approval
by a majority of registered voters. Conveying 9 acres of Hentzell Park to DPS without a vote of
the people violates the spirit of the City Charter.
What You Can Do
 Write Denver City Council members to express your opposition to this land transfer, to
encourage designation as Denver Parks all legally-available land, and to alter the City
Charter to require a vote of the people for de-designation of all lands managed by DPR;
 Attend the Government and Finance Committee Meeting and the City Council Meeting at
which the land transfer issue will be discussed and consider speaking, if there is a
hearing; and
 Find more information, including updates at www.denvernature.net.
1/17/ 2013 Advocates for Denver’s Parks

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

All Things MJ with Jessica LeRoux - January 20, 2013

Ed. note: This article is reprinted here with the expressed permission of the copyright owner, Jessica LeRoux, and may not be reprinted elsewhere without her permission. Linking to this site is encouraged, but cutting and pasting is expressly prohibited.

*** to preface, 1/2 this was written last week, then the computer died in the middle of type up, and I had to spend days getting 1/2 what i'd spent about 6 hours working on recovered, I've finished, redone, and or added the new info from this week's meetings because after driving to Durango & back on Saturday/Sunday I will be too late and too beat to do it all again on Sunday night.

Hey Now,
Sorry I am running really behind on the news this week. actually now is as good a time as any to point out to you gentle reader that this project used to take me about 6-8 hours each week, but in light of the fact that I have attended 31 hours of A-64 and MMED public meetings in 8 days (by time of rewriite the hours were at 46 in 12 days) I'd safely say that the scope of this newsletter project is getting pretty overwhelming. I have written a review of the local and national MMJ scene every week now for 3 years, and I hope you are learning a lot by reading it, but I would like to say that this is a massive labor of love, and it would really make my day if you (my reader) and my business were in a 2 way relationship of mutual support. By this I mean that if you have been reading and learning, staying ahead of the changes that will affect your business or lifestyle, but not supporting the writer by offering Twirling Hippy Confections for sale in your MMC, you are not being very cool. I have never demanded anything in return of the readers of this newsletter, more that I've been waiting for you to get the hint that we were offering you more value than the average MIPs! I know that many of you also industry people, and most of you tell me how much you rely on this source of news, well newsflash, nothing is free! The letter you are reading right now will have roughly 40 hours of my personal (free) time devoted to research and write up. In coming weeks I will be changing over to a secure document, and the information (which is my intellectual property which I have generously and freely shared with you out of altruism) in coming newsletters will be copyrighted, which means you will not be allowed to forward or repost or create into a blog (gerald you already have my permission to keep doing your thing) without my expressly granted permission. If you want to keep getting these newsletters you need to respond to this email & actually talk to me and let me know who you are and that you are aware of the work & time spent and why you should continue to get the news if you are not currently a client of my business. Pretty much anybody will be eligible, but I need to thin the herd of those who rarely read, and more importantly those who have been taking without giving anything in return. * if you are wondering if I mean you, ask your self when the last time your MMC ordered product was, if the answer is never and you've read more than a dozen of these notes, yes this tirade is directed at you personally!

Now that I've scolded the selfish lil children the rest of you shall have your news!

This was a massively busy week in CO cannabis, as i mentioned I attended 28 hours of A-64 workgroup meetings as well as the MMED's stakeholder meeting. Today I will review the highlights as well as some stories from around the state and nation concerning the path ahead. Unfortunately the DOR's A-64 website is idle and hasn't been updated since Thursday the 11th, so the meeting notices are falling behind. Tomorrow, Tuesday the 15th, is the next Consumer Safety meeting from 3-5 at the CDPHE building 4300 Cherry Creek Dr. Also this means that I cant link you to every handout from every meeting as some havent been posted yet.., (oh well, at least the state stuck to respecting the sunshine laws for almost 2 weeks).
of course none of us could have seen this coming could we have? http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2013/01/amendment_64_decline_medical_marijuana_registry.php

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Notes from the A64 meetings by Jessica LeRoux

reprinted with permission

today's Criminal Enforcement sub-workgroup meeting of the A-64 task force was not very encouraging... 10-15 minute E-warrants for blood draws, and non-medical professional applied blood draws were on the list, as well as the "conflict" in 64 over possessing the whole weight of a 6 plant grow in the home when the wording clearly states possession limit is one ounce... Banning of "social clubs" discussed and endorsed, removing a child from the home for child endangerment if parents smoke in front of them (lets recall that seeing dad having a beer with dinner is what most kids see everyday, and we voted to regulate like alcohol.) Limiting plants counts per house no matter how many adults live in the house, and about 20 other bullet points along this vein were given serious credence, and worst of all the public was forced to speak 1st , so we were unable to rebut any misguided or unscientific points that the working group of 4 members made...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ginger Baker documentary opens in Denver on Friday, January 25



Regular readers may remember my story about an upcoming Ginger Baker documentary. It's called (appropriately) "Beware of Mr. Baker" and it's opening here in Denver on Friday, Jan. 25 at the SIE Film Center, 2510 E. Colfax. Call the box office at 720 381-0813 for times and tickets. This is, for me, a MUST SEE!

1/25: Asbury Park, NJ - The ShowRoom
1/25: Atlanta, GA - Plaza Theatre
1/25: Columbia, MO - Ragtag Cinema
1/25: Dallas, TX - Texas Theatre
1/25: Denver, CO - SIE FilmCenter
1/25: Ft. Collins, CO - Lyric Cinema Cafe
1/25: Los Angeles, CA - The Downtown Independent
1/25: Miami, FL - O Cinema
1/25: Minneapolis, MN - MSP International Film Festival
1/25: Nashville, TN - Belcourt Theatre
1/25: New Orleans, LA - Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
1/25-1/27: Pittsburgh, PA - Hollywood
1/25: Providence, RI - Cable Car Cinema and Cafe
1/25: San Francisco, CA - Roxie Theatre
1/25: Santa Fe, NM - The Screen
1/25: Springfield, MO - Moxie Cinema
1/25: Tucson, AZ - The Loft Cinema
1/25: Washington DC - West End Cinema
1/28: Austin, TX - Alamo Ritz
1/29: Philadelphia, PA - The Trocadero
1/30: Aspen, CO - Wheeler Opera House
2/1-2/4: Chicago, IL - Gene Fiskel Film Center
2/8: Grand Rapids, MI - Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
2/17-2/20: Albuquerque, NM - Guild Cinema
2/21: Boulder, CO - International Film Series
3/1-3/7: Seattle, WA: Grand Illusion Cinema
3/29-2/30: Detroit, MI - DIA









Friday, January 11, 2013

and is Gun Control a Red Herring?

Dear Congresswoman DeGette,


Ray Ehrenstein writing you again. Salutations - with a word or three please:  

It seems to me that the re-focusing of citizens' attention on Gun Control is an effort (deliberate or not) to turn our eyes away from issues much more pertinent and important to the lives of us ordinary citizens.  Instead, I see a Red Herring.  

At the same time we are deluged with another illogical distraction;  an endless War on Drugs which has really only "re-distributed wealth" while taking countless lives around the world. All that has been accomplished in this "war" has been establishing a new wealthy Mafia class and lining the pockets of gun manufacturers. 

Our Nation has a huge national debt to address; folks need jobs; our immigration quarrel must be brought to a just conclusion.  Perhaps most importantly, the necessity of Health Care for All Americans, should by now be plainly and painfully obvious.

Cannot you, Diana DeGette (whom I respect) look away from television's current preoccupation with guns and fights with the NRA? The media will always seek after the sensational and will soon enough find another Hot Topic.

As the uncle of a paranoid/schizophrenic who was at least fortunate enough to be stricken while serving in the U.S. Army (and consequently has enough government money and free doctors to see him through a reasonable life)...I would rather see your attention directed towards other issues than gun control.  Help the mentally ill find treatment as best we can under the present system. 

However,  please do not believe that you and your members can stop mad men from outrageous acts - with further limits on clip sizes and background checks. The recent school shootings proves exactly how easy it is to murder one's mother; then with her Legally Purchased weapons, create havoc. If "Madmen are in the streets!" no amount of laws will dissuade them. 

ONLY Universal Health Care for all Americans can help take most of the mentally ill off America's streets - would you agree? As things stand now, if people do not become crazy at the "right moment", like my nephew, they are forced to wander the streets or will be kept "Hush, Hushed" in Mother's house, until they burst forth to kill.  

I believe addressing universal care for Americans will accomplish more than passing unenforceable laws on gun control.


Respectfully yours,

Ray Anderson Ehrenstein
Denver

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hentzell Park Natural Area decision unjustified


Analysis and commentary
by Dave Felice

Denver Parks and Recreation Manager Laurie Dannemiller uses misleading arguments in her decision to give up nine acres of Hentzell Park Natural Area for a school building site. The fundamental aspect of the decision is the destruction of rare, valuable, and irreplaceable natural land.  The decision is compounded by the secrecy and deception of the city and school district administration.

Parks now steps away from the final determination.  “To be clear, the recommendation Manager Dannemiller made is not going to City Council for approval.  The Land Swap Agreement before City Council is going to be led by the Denver Real Estate Office,” says Angela Casias, a spokesperson for Parks.

In exchange for the park land, the city would get a school office building at 13th and Fox to assist victims of domestic violence.

It is very difficult to stay objective on this matter.  People throughout the city are distraught and traumatized by the decision.  The level of emotion almost rivals that of the ban on outdoor sleeping.

Many Denverites and members of the Parks and Recreation Board, while acknowledging the decision posed a dilemma, saw that preservation and protection of the natural area is not at odds with victims’ assistance, education, or even budgetary considerations. 
Instead, as many Parks Board members stated at the public meeting December 13, it is inappropriate to view these as mutually exclusive options that are in competition with each other.  There is no evidence that the city has exhausted all other possible efforts to fund acquisition of the building desired for the victims’ service center, or that Denver Public Schools (DPS) has considered all options available to it, including exercising condemnation powers to acquire a commercial site for redevelopment as a school.
The decision, in fact, is wrong and is bad public policy.  It sets an extremely dangerous precedent that the administration can do what it wants with public lands and that loss of natural park land is not important.
Parks and Recreation Manager Lauri Dannemiller’s assertion that the nine acres in question should be viewed as a stand-alone tract is completely at odds with the detailed findings in the Hentzell Park Natural Area Management Plan.  This plan served as the basis for the Parks Advisory Board’s unanimous vote in 2007 to designate the natural area, and the then-manager’s decision to adopt the board’s recommendation.  As the Management Plan made clear, these nine acres, on the south side of Cherry Creek, have important natural values (including natural vegetation and native seeds for plains species found almost nowhere else in Denver) deserving of preservation and restoration.
Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s letter stating that this area is “blighted” represents complete ignorance of the essential character of any undeveloped natural area.   It also ignores the Hentzell Park Management Plan’s carefully conceived multi-year plan for preservation and restoration of the natural area—a plan that unfortunately was not carried out because of the city’s severe budget cuts in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008.  In other words, the city’s own inaction has resulted in this area not achieving its full potential as a refuge for native vegetation and species. 
As many people have said, the area was supposed to be restored, and just because the city didn't have the money in 2008-2012 to do the job, the claim by Parks now that the land has no significant natural area values is a circular and cynical argument.  
Dannemiller’s after-the-fact rationale that there is no “no net loss” is also specious.  She never stated, in any of her communications with the board or the public prior to issuance of her decision on January 2, 2013, that her entire analysis would be driven by the Parks Department’s acquisition of adequate parkland elsewhere to offset this loss of acreage. 
Moreover, all parkland is not fungible.  Each tract has attributes unique to its setting and characteristics, and to the citizens who view it as special.  Would Dannemiller argue that it would be acceptable to sell off Cheesman Park for commercial or residential development if the city acquired an equal number of acres of parkland elsewhere?
Councilwoman Peggy Lehmann’s suggestion of dedicating that remaining 15 acres is nothing more than appeasement.  If the remaining acreage has value, one cannot claim that the lost area does not have the same value.
Further, to say that adding natural area acreage to Heron Pond is an adequate substitute for destroying Hentzell Park Natural Area is a false comparison.  Heron Pond is a reclaimed polluted Superfund site, only made acceptable for public use by scraping away and replacing 12 or more inches of top soil, and with it any native vegetation that may have existed on the site.  By contrast, both the Hentzell Park Management Plan and Gayle Weinstein, former naturalist for Denver Parks and Recreation, confirm that the intact soil at Hentzell Park contains precious native prairie grasses and seed.
Dannemiller’s written decision makes a mockery of public process and the purpose behind the charter-created Parks Advisory Board.  The mayor and DPS made their deal long before the matter came to public attention, and then sought ratification of their plan with as little public notice and hearing as possible.  Despite inadequate notice, there was an outpouring of public comment in opposition to the plan at two separate meetings of the Parks Advisory Board.  Nevertheless, neither this citizen involvement nor the Parks Board’s 11-6 vote to retain designation of the Natural Area had any impact on Dannemiller’s decision.
Dannemiller falsely claims in her decision that there was confusion at the Parks Advisory board’s December 13 meeting about DPS’s need for the Natural Area property as a school building site.  The board had before it a written communication from Benita Duran in the DPS superintendent’s office stating that “we cannot guarantee [either an ECE center or elementary school] nor the timing” and all plans would be placed on hold “if population shifts dramatically.”   
Therefore, the School District has made no commitment to actually build a school on the Hentzell property.  In fact, some members of the School Board question the wisdom of even suggesting that the site – in a flood plain and next to a busy highway – is appropriate for a school.  Dannemiller attempted to disguise DPS’s complete lack of any concrete commitment by soliciting and attaching to her decision a new letter from the DPS superintendent dated December 20, 2012.  Note that nowhere in that letter does the Superintendent Tom Boasberg confirm that a school will in fact be built on the Hentzell Park land.  Instead, he states only that “this land will only be used for school purposes”—an ambiguous, legally nonbinding assertion offered to counter concerns by the parks advisory board that DPS is simply “warehousing” this land on speculation. 
Dannemiller can no longer be trusted as Manager of Parks.  She shows herself to be a political agent.  The honorable thing to do would be to request reassignment, or resign altogether.  There is a complete lack of confidence in her ability to function as steward of public lands. 
In supporting the decision, the nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL) must have some political motivation for a breach of fiduciary responsibility.  Only a few years ago, TPL said Denver was sorely deficient in per capita park and open space, yet now TPL says it’s acceptable to give up natural open land.
Councilwoman Peggy Lehmann supports the swap, and, by tradition, Council usually approves a matter affecting a specific district.  Approving the exchange, Council would tacitly condone all the egregious questionable behavior surrounding the scheme.
Council must act in two ways:
1.  Refuse to transfer the Hentzell land to DPS, and declare that the natural area should remain part of Denver’s parks system; and,
2.  Designate ALL of Hentzell Park, including ALL of the Designated Natural Area, as a designated park that will then be subject to the Charter’s Section 2.4.5 requiring public vote on sale or lease.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

All things MJ with Jessica LeRoux - January 8, 2012 - Meetings report

Hey Now,


Well I survived about 7 hours of Amendment 64 Meetings today (1st the criminal law workgroup, then the 4 hour general task force meeting) and i have plenty to tell you about it all. Plus reviews of the other two workgroup meetings I have participated in as well... and there is some non-64 related industry news too, so get your late night reading glasses on, and I will get a plate of food to sustain my typing, and here we go, cuddling up for some regulatory good times! 

how I am planning to review these meetings is by doing a recap of the general task force meeting today, where each workgroup presented a review of their workgroups meetings to date, (then in each of the workgroup sections I will expound with my notes from that workgroup's meeting in a different font to make it clear we have a differing perspective being offered) ***my own personal asides and observations will be the more colorful stuff, and that will likewise appear in a 3rd, colored font.... to my mind this is the easiest way to prevent redundancy and still give you all the info you need to be fully informed. I am also attaching a scan of documents and hand outs I gathered at these meetings, please overlook the notes I've scrawled in the margins, those meetings get long and boring! if you have legit questions about what you are reading you can call me anytime for a QUICK Q&A, and please bear in mind that there is nothing set in stone yet so I cant advise you yet on the best plan for October right now, but if I know about something, you can all rest assured that in a jiffy you will too! 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Parks and Recreation Advisory Board resignation


from Dave Felice:

The apparent repercussions [of the Board's Hentzell decision, since rejected] are underway.  Mayoral appointee Dan Smink, who voted to retain the natural area designation for nine acres of Hentzell Park, is leaving.  At the Advisory Board meeting December 13, Smink spoke sincerely about how he faced a dilemma as a mayoral appointee voting against the wishes of his patron.



Dear Fellow Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Members, I wanted to let you know that I am resigning my position on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.  As many of you know, I am a former teacher and working in education and with kids is an area of great personal interest to me.  I have offered and accepted a position to serve on the Board of Directors of a Charter School organization in Denver.  It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve with all of you, and I wish you all the best in the future. Sincerely, Dan Smink