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Om, Om on the Range

In 1492, Columbus started a controversy that isn't through.

The spy files are gone now, purged from the department as part of the city's settlement of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of several individuals and highly suspicious groups -- the American Friends Service Committee, for example, whose Nobel Peace Prize wasn't enough to keep it out of Denver's spy files.

"We don't have those files anymore," says DPD lieutenant Judy Will, who's working to make sure the bureau follows the settlement's agreed-upon procedures in any future intelligence-gathering. (The first audit of the bureau's compliance is set for November 11.) "The computers are blank, the drawers are empty." And while the DPD will be out in force this weekend -- just how much force, Chief Gerry Whitman won't say -- "unless it's criminal activity, we won't care," Will says.

Last October, when the spy-files controversy was raging and many of the usual suspects were stopping by DPD headquarters to see if they rated a file, the city made only seven arrests. This year, the police are hoping for even fewer. "We have to maintain the integrity of the parade route," says Whitman.

Guzman didn't bother to see if she had a spy file. But given her role in the community, she says, "I'm sure that I had one."

Until two months ago, though, she "hadn't even dreamed of working for the city. When I walk into the City and County Building, sometimes my stomach hurts, because on that lower floor there, you see people in chains. As a pastor, I remember walking through, trying to help."

On Tuesday, she was in the mayor's third-floor office for the announcement of her appointment to a job that netted her an eleventh-floor office in the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building. "I have all those levels in mind," she says.

And so Guzman's taking a long view on Columbus Day. "I don't see this as a terrible thing I have to deal with," she says. "In a way, even though it's very painful for both sides, I see it as one of the greatest challenges to this city -- the challenge to move into the profound, painful history of both of these peoples, to uncover the current-day perspectives that are running into this history that's real for some and unjust and dishonest for others.

"It's going to take time, but it will come in time."

And it will come with or without transcendental meditation, Peckman's suggested means for reducing stress. But only suggested. Should 101 pass, the city will have six months to see who -- or what -- can satisfy the proposal. "It's really a competition of ideas," he says, "like an architectural competition." The city's stress-reducing tactics could be art. Or better meals for kids at school. Or yoga. Or the end of stubborn cell phones -- "my stress," Peckman says.

Or just having Guzman as part of the administration.

"I'm going to have to be very grounded," she says. "I'll have to pray a lot."

Om.

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