New public murals cause the wrong kind of awe

In addition to facing both criminal and ethics investigations into his alleged misuse of public dollars, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has spent months responding to criticism that he intimidated and suppressed voters with his anti-fraud crusade.

As part of his office's effort to prevent illegal votes from being cast, Gessler identified thousands of individuals who successfully registered to vote but could in fact be non-citizens. In August, he sent letters to those people asking them to prove that they are citizens or otherwise remove themselves from the voter rolls.

Now that the election is over, Gessler's office is sharing a letter from a Canadian immigrant to the Denver Elections Division; his staff says the note illustrates how non-citizen residents could accidentally sign up to vote.

Here's the text of the October 31 letter:

"Dear Ms. Johnson:

"I am returning the enclosed Voter Registration Information card, and request that my name be removed from the rolls, because I am a Canadian citizen, and not eligible to vote in an election in the United States.

"I was approached by a voter registration volunteer at a mall recently, and she informed me that as a legal resident of Colorado, having lived here for many years, I was eligible to vote in local elections but not national ones. I was sure she was wrong, but at her insistence, I filled out a brief application, which she described as merely a request that would answer my doubts one way or the other. I did check the box stating I was not a citizen, and expected to hear further (that I was not eligible), but instead received the enclosed card.

"I regret any inconvenience to your or your staff. I do wish that volunteers would be properly trained, and hope that this person did not obtain more signed requests due to this misinformation on her part."

The mural of the story: Be careful messing with a beloved public mural — even if the public doesn't realize they love the thing until it disappears. People are still complaining that when the Video One Building at 1301 East Colfax Avenue was sold to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado a few years ago, the center wiped out artist Jae Choe's, huge, illuminated mural of downtown Denver with James Dean and his motorcycle in the foreground.

Last week, it was Johnny Cash's turn. The portrait of the Man in Black that had been painted by Tommy Nahulu, a longtime booster of the local music scene, on the eastern wall of the former home of Bender's Tavern at 314 East 13th Avenue suddenly morphed into Jerry Garcia, in honor of the space's new status as the new home of Quixote's True Blue.

But after numerous people complained about the painting — and the fact that Garcia seemed to have sprouted from Cash's forehead — the wall suddenly went black, and artist Kenneth Hughes returned to the drawing board.

The furor reached Nahulu in Hawaii, where he now lives. "I can't help but see this as anything other than someone drawing a Salvador Dali mustache on picture of a face," he writes. "The intent may have been more of a creative challenge, but still one I would have passed on, respectfully."

Which local murals would you pass on? The flowers on the side of Pasquini's, at 777 East 17th Avenue? Which would you miss if they were gone? E-mail nominations for the art you love or loathe to editorial@westword.com.

 
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14 comments
patricia.calhoun
patricia.calhoun moderator editortopcommenter

It's a column from our print edition that includes two separate items. but you're right; it's confusing on the web. We'll divide the stories. thanks.

David Barton
David Barton

It's entirely possible to like Johnny Cash AND the Grateful Dead. Don't like jambands? Fine, don't go to Quixote's. Realistically Bender's sucked, and increased foot traffic in the hood's not a bad idea, especially in light of some random violent crimes in the last few weeks. Defacing the mural is unnecessary. Don't like "stoner dreadheads"? LOL you must really hate your existence in Denver. Move to the 'burbs. You won't be bothered by them there.......

Mitch Adams
Mitch Adams

Mr foxtrot pile of shit. Can you please tell me how cannabis users can ruin a town? Im confused cuz im stoned.....

Ana Maria
Ana Maria

I agree with all of you. I read it twice thinking I missed something. LOL

Alicia L. Dawkins
Alicia L. Dawkins

I'm with Tiffany on this one... Did someone proofread this? It's two totally different stories?

Nicki Swearingen
Nicki Swearingen

This article made very little sense in the fact it jumped from one story to another without really switching stories

Tiffany Burnham
Tiffany Burnham

Ummm, did nobody notice that was two separate news stories????

Justin Jones
Justin Jones

If people loved that JC they should have bought more drinks and seen more concerts, then Benders wouldn't have went belly up.

Kendall Thiessen
Kendall Thiessen

My reaction? Get a life. It is just a mural and not anything that had such a history or resonance. A bunch of whiners.

Jonny D Foxtrot
Jonny D Foxtrot

It's stupid...just another stoner club with a bunch of stoner dreadheads fucking up yet another Denver neighborhood and Denver landmark...

MaryLou92
MaryLou92

Can someone explain to me the relevance of Scott Gesler trying to clean up the voter roles to this story about crappy murals on buildings?

Jessica148
Jessica148

Glad I'm not the only who read this and thought 'What the hell was this article supposed to be about?"

 

 
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