"The Columbine Effect," Alan Prendergast, March 22

Taking Aim

With regard to Greg Reck's letter in the April 5 issue expressing his desire that recreational guns be outlawed by crooked politicians, I want to ask him who, or what, if he got his way, would protect us from these same crooked politicians? He says he's too young to remember Columbine, therefore he's too young to remember Tiananmen Square or Kent State.

J. Charest Golden

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T Marshall
T Marshall

The Parking Issue in Denver

Why we need to solve this problem for the sake of the cars.

Like many people, I live and work in downtown Denver. Everyday I walk by countless cars that are parked illegally on our streets. Cars circle for hours looking for spaces. Valuable police resources are taxed by the constant need to address these issues. Private lot owners must hire outside tow companies to address the cars parked illegally in their lots. On a recent evening, my wife and I took a walk down the streets of downtown Denver near our home. In just a few hours we counted dozens and dozens of cars illegally parked on our streets. I realize that past Mayors have taken several initiatives to address the parking issue in Denver. We commend them for their efforts. However, despite those efforts, there are just as many if not more, illegally parked cars on the streets of Denver and there comes a time when you simply have to say enough is enough.

Today I am putting forward a proposal for a parking ban in downtown Denver. This proposal will make all parking illegal in the city of Denver. As a resident of downtown, I am convinced that people are coming from all over the state, if not from the entire Rocky Mountain region, and parking in our community. This is making it nearly impossible for the good citizens who live here to find a parking place. The parking ban would make it illegal to park anywhere in the downtown area. This important first step will go a long way to what will eventually make our city one that we can all be proud of and a model for others to follow.

As caring people we realize that this will be a difficult transition and we are truly committed to solving the problem and implementing this parking ban in a compassionate manner. Before any tickets are issued or arrests made, Police will be instructed to ask each illegally parked car to move on and give them the opportunity to move along to alternative parking. Our police force has promised that they will only give tickets "as a last resort." While there is no funding at this time for alternative parking, we commit ourselves to locating resources to develop sufficient funding to create additional alternative parking. We will work with local parking providers to develop programs to ensure that the parking needs of each and every car will be met. We must however, move forward. Speaking frankly, I'm convinced that many of these cars have the resources and ability to park elsewhere. It helps no one to allow these illegally parked vehicles to remain on our streets. This law will finally allow us do act, addressing this important issue.

I constantly hear from people who live downtown, the business owners who are trying to make a living and from the tourists who visit our city, choosing to spend their tourist dollars which are so vital to our economy. Here is what some of them had to say. "I have had cars parked right in front of my business all day long," said one local business owner, "and no one else could get to the spot to get to my business. And I don't want to sound bad or anything but not only was the car in the way, but... it wasn't an attractive car at all. It had rust spots and everything. It was disgusting. It was really bad for my business." A woman from Iowa wrote, "I visited Denver several months back and I was simply appalled at the traffic, the pollution caused by the cars that were everywhere. We were trying to cross the street and a car nearly hit my daughter! I will never come to Denver again." The fact is that not only are cars parking illegally in downtown Denver, they also regularly run red lights and have even caused deaths. This is simply no longer acceptable. This ban is not the "criminalization" of parking. It is simply the first step in moving forward to address this difficult problem. Finally, and most importantly, this ban is not about politics or money. It truly is about the cars themselves. They are left on the streets in the blazing sun and through the freezing winter. Many are abandoned on the street in a very unkind and undignified manner. What kind of community are we if we treat our cars this way? This parking ban will be implemented compassionately and all cars will have an appropriate place to park... we promise, someday when we find funding. For now however, we must act and ban parking on all streets of Denver. So we encourage you to support the parking ban. Do it for the cars.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith

I'm going camping with my family and few friends. What are some fun ideas for going camping? helped a lot to get the best campground.