Can't stop the music: I was angry and disappointed when I read T.R. Witcher's "Last Dance," in the November 9 issue. However, I was more surprised by my reaction: favoring the club over the residents. I, too, live in LoDo. My loft is directly above a bar. My floor is the bar's ceiling; the patio of the bar is only a few feet from my window. As you can imagine, the music gets loud -- especially on karaoke night, when the patio crowd permeates my living space. I have complained; I have thought of direct legal action. I have been mad and frustrated, too.
Yet I still side with F-Stop over the residents for five major reasons: 1) The residents there aren't nearly as infringed upon as the residents in my building -- a building that is very old and does not have the sound-barrier technology of these residents' lofts. 2) It is obvious that the residents are concerned more with the demographics of the club than the actual sound problems they claim are present. 3) The club, unlike the bar below me, has spent a great deal of money, effort and labor to satisfy the residents' complaints. 4) Remember Calvin's and other great places that used to be here? Because LoDo is becoming more residential, it is becoming more suburban -- which brings suburban businesses, mainly chains, into what was once an artistic and independent business area. Soon clubs like Rock Island, where I have been a customer and now a DJ for years, could be shut down after fourteen years by residents who will be moving across the street and could be prompted to take actions like those against F-Stop. 5) The business, the bars and the clubs were here first. These residents know what to expect. They should not be allowed to bully exciting entertainment businesses in order to prolong or promote their own very dull, very exclusive, very white lifestyles.
This isn't the suburbs, after all, and you can't have it both ways. These residents will slowly eat away the diversity and entertainment of downtown, which they claim is the very reason they moved down here. A bumper sticker by UnAmerican Activities sums up this problem very well: "Go back to your suburb!"
Singing the blues: I'm having a hard time just getting past the title of Patricia Calhoun's November 2 column, "This City for Sale," because it doesn't look like this city is for sale. It's been sold. When I am anywhere near downtown, the glowing blue Qwest signs are all I can see. Mile High Stadium will never look like it's in Anywhere, USA. Whatever the name, it will inevitably land in unsightly Qwest Town, USA.
The fringe element: Regarding Stuart Steers's "The Big Squeeze," in the November 2 issue:
Denver has many wonderful neighborhoods whose preservation and health ought to remain a priority. But if those neighborhoods refuse to accept greater density at their fringes, we all suffer. Denver can become either a chichi city preserved in aspic or an evolving and vibrant city with varying socio-economic scales. Let the suburbs, with their monoculture of kitschy ranchettes, cater to the nostalgia crowd. Denver's soul is not Republican...even if the frightened householders of Washington Park suggest otherwise.
Little unaffordable house on the prairie: As a voter who struggled with the implications of Amendment 24, I voted against it only because I felt it had some ambiguities in its enforcement (Patricia Calhoun's "Snap Judgment," November 9). But I felt that its heart is and was in the right place. Many felt that this amendment would have "ended rural life as we know it." Growth in some ways already has. Farmers are pushed out because they can't afford to keep water rights anymore or "new rural-ites" don't want those smelly farms near their McMansions. I certainly felt the anti-24 campaign became repugnant in its last days, breaking out the cowboys and ranchers for that last heartstring tug at the "Old West" life to be lost. Then Governor Owens said that affordable housing would end as we know it -- which was false. It's gone already. I can honestly say that, given the chance, 90 percent of the people in this state would flatly vote against affordable, infill housing in their neighborhoods. Affordable doesn't mean slums, crackhouses and Section 8; it means aesthetically pleasing housing that a mid- to low-income family can afford that isn't a sh*tbox.
I'm a native of Colorado, and to think I'd actually have to move out of state to find affordable housing within city limits is ludicrous. We needed a statewide initiative to enforce responsibility of actions between cities and counties. The people of Colorado need to stop acting like Manifest Destiny is alive and well. Ranchers and farmers would rather keep and work the land they love, but when the state doesn't give them an economically viable alternative to selling out to development, we have no room for complaints. Responsible growth is intertwined with smart planning, straight zoning, increased but livable densities, walkable communities, sustained water sources for all of Colorado and a mass-transit system that works.
Keep building bigger and wider highways, and the concrete jungle will spread. If anything, the people had better wake up and make sure they understand that "this growth thing" will only get worse before it gets better. People can't let the sleeping legislators lie. Now is the time for concerned citizens who want growth dealt with responsibly to make sure the legislature hears their concerns and deals with them -- or Amendment 24 will come again, and next time it will pass.
Power to the people: The primary function of capitalism and private property is to maintain the wealth and power of the upper classes. If the spread of democratic principle to the common people interferes with the primary function, then of course the people lose.
Amendment 24, the growth-control initiative, made the capitalist upper class and their politician boot-lickers tremble. With such huge amounts of money at stake, real estate developers and their ilk could not allow land-control decisions to be transferred to the masses.
Memorize this! The interests of the elite upper class (capitalism) and the interests of the working class (democracy) are forever opposed to each other. Capitalists and workers are not brothers, and they are not partners. They're enemies!
Sprawl for one, and one for sprawl: Calhoun's denigration of the opponents of Amendment 24 shows her total lack of understanding of the purpose and goals of the proposition and its backers. The environmental movement has found that protracted study is an excellent way to stop all progress. Most "studies" proceed interminably. Their goal is not to "predict and control the effects of future development"; their goal is to delay and stop whatever "development" they disagree with.
As I asked one of the signature-collectors when signatures were being solicited at our local grocery store, "Who do you think lives in that sprawl?" Her answer: "People who just moved here." When I asked if she thought her own house was an example of sprawl to those who were here before, she left. For the record, she was in her twenties, so at 56, I'm pretty sure I was here before she was.
Every one of those homes belongs to a homeowner. The answer isn't to limit development. The answer is to limit people. The signature-collector's parents obviously didn't care about that.
The measure's sponsor, John Fielder, is almost pathetically classic in his attempt to "lock the door behind him." The state definitely has natural beauty. It had a lot more before he got here. Fielder has proven himself to be the cabin boy on the Good Ship "I've Got Mine." It's fairly obvious that he has grown up rich, spoiled and self-centered without having to suffer the inconvenience of considering others. His flip comment that "owners of mountain property will see their property values fall" was made with full knowledge that owners of homes in Genesee and Breckenridge will see their values skyrocket. His own property would fare quite well, thank you very much.
He is right when he says that courts have allowed local jurisdictions to limit what people can do on their own land. And he is right that the courts provide redress against excessive restrictions. Being wealthy, he doesn't realize or doesn't care that most people, right or wrong, do not have the resources to sue local jurisdictions to redress wrongs. Property owners in Boulder County can tell you what happens when the petty bureaucrats within a local jurisdiction decide to run roughshod over property rights. Developers didn't defeat proposition 24; voters did. And they will again. Being an owner of several properties (all within Colorado city boundaries), I can promise you that my retirement will fare much better if the voters ever do pass such a proposition. And those voters will finance it.
Maybe for the next go-round, Patricia could do a little more research and show a little less mindless acceptance of the "pure" motives of some petty politician -- as Fielder has become.
This bill's come due: Thanks for the final comments on 24. For future reference, 24 was the idea of a group of land planners, local officials and environmentalists. I came on board at the tail end of its crafting, then took the bull by the horns. I thought my visibility from the Jackson re-photography project would make me a good spokesperson, and the group agreed. Coincidentally, I had been speaking about growth management in general for the past year while promoting the Jackson project.
For your information, a broad group of individuals, many of whom had worked to write Bryan Sullivant's Responsible Growth Act (dead on arrival but a good bill) last year, convened last Thursday at the Colorado Forum to begin the process of finding a legislative solution. There is much common ground, and numerous tenets have been placed on the table already that have the makings of a recipe for a good bill. Though 24 failed, it seems to have made an impact on many folks and created a sense of urgency. Thank goodness, because I had so much fun this past year promoting 24 that I and others wouldn't mind testing the patience of voters in 2002 with something more palatable if the legislature, the governor and the developers don't act next year.
Pumpkin patch: I had the unfortunate experience of visiting Aurora's annual Pumpkin Launch (Eric Dexheimer's "Going for the Gourd," October 26). The few thousand people who attended were directed to park directly on top of active prairie-dog fields. (And they wonder where all the eagles have gone.) I asked the officer directing traffic about this and received a "Gee, I don't know" look from him, complemented with a giggle. There was a school bus shuttling attendees right past what must have been an arduous quarter-mile walk to the event. All this while thousands of parking spaces sat idle two blocks away at the mall. Brilliant planning, folks, and a great lesson for the kids on what is important in life (not to mention the glorious waste of edible nutrition).
If this type of event is what the city puts on in order to evoke civic pride, they may as well run rush-hour car tours of the beautiful new cracker-shack housing developments. Wake up, Aurora, you hideous cancer! You could still save your rapidly decreasing endowment of aesthetics if you were not so hopelessly devoid of a progressive sense of planning.
Patrick B. Hogan
The blight stuff: If Aurora really wants to enhance its neighborhoods' visual appeal (Megan Hall's "Don't Fence Me In," October 19), a first step would be to eliminate the advertising signs on RTD benches. It's interesting that you don't see such blight in Cherry Hills!
With regard to privacy fences, Aurora might also consider using surfaces that don't invite graffiti, unlike the unpractical design used in Eastridge.
Peter D. Wulfsohn
Light makes right: I am always impressed when a media outlet can make light of being used itself. However, Michael Roberts's November 2 Message on Jon "Steppin' Stone" Caldara, "Lighting a Fire," did not point out one obvious feature of his use of the media: Somehow, Caldara has become an "expert" commentator. What has he done to get this role? Not much other than be available when the press wants a quote, whether he is knowledgeable or not. Most interesting, however, is the lack of acknowledgment by such outlets as 9News of his relationship to an ultra-conservative "think" (oxymoron) tank. Instead they play him as some impartial, intelligent talking head. It's the worst and most irresponsible form of journalism, and what really sinks in is how lazy the reporters really are.
Keep up the good work.
via the Internet
Horsing around: I always enjoy the horse laugh I get whenever someone with a gored ox starts bleating, "Not me!" Media man Michael Roberts's assurances in "Lighting a Fire" that individual media personalities never -- no sirree, Bob, ever, ever, ever! -- let their own biases show in their reporting is, let's just say, somewhat less than convincing. No, wait. Let's call a spade a spade, shall we? It's horseshit.
It's pretty clear that lefties in the print and broadcast media (and they are legion) were actively and overtly campaigning for their favorites also -- coincidentally! -- on the left. What I saw amounted to a cynical and un-American attempt by the Democrat's Fifth Columnists of the column-inch and the pixel dot to get out the vote -- in reverse. The plan? Simple: Through the incessant drum-beating of polls of questionable parentage and treble-headed offspring, they hoped to convince as many undecideds as possible (who typically end up voting Republican) that since this thing was all but in the bag for their boy, why bother getting out of the La-Z Boy at all on Election Day? Sort of like VW vanloads of eager, bright-eyed Young Democrats going out into the neighborhoods, but instead of driving voters to the polling places, giving them a forty of Schlitz and a TV Guide. Once real pollsters began showing that this thing was whisker-close and, in fact, Bush was ahead, the media bongo-bangers started tapping a different dance. Suddenly they were telling us to pay no attention to the pollster behind the curtain.
Regardless of the outcome, if nothing else, this year's presidential election should put to rest any lingering doubts -- if you were stupid enough to still have any -- that individual media personalities have any intention of being objective in their political reporting.
via the Internet
Funny money: Oh, what an ugly web we leave when a very big platitude we do weave. I was quite offended by Kyle Wagner's statement in the November 2 "Overload" that "nowadays Morton's is for nearly everyone, because nearly everyone has money." While I'm aware that Kyle did qualify her statement with the adverb "nearly," and that the economy of Denver is much healthier now than it was when Morton's first came to Denver in 1984, I still think this is a very big overstatement.
In my own case, after returning to Denver in late August this year after two years in the Peace Corps, I was able to procure a part-time job working weekday mornings as an English as a Second Language tutor at the Community College of Denver. While the wages I earn from this job are acceptable, I could not live on them, and I receive no benefits. For this reason, I went shopping around for a retail job that would allow me to work evenings and take my days off on Tuesdays and Thursdays. As the cost of renting an apartment in Denver has increased quite a bit over the last sixteen years, I had hoped to find a job that would pay me $8 an hour. Several unacknowledged applications later, I was only too happy to accept a full-time job at a local bookstore.
I am not alone in this situation. I know of two colleagues who are working two jobs, and I suspect that there are many more like us who work close to, or over, sixty hours per week just to make ends meet. In addition, I know that when I go to Mass on Sunday, the priest does not tell me that the number of homeless people in Denver, with need of food, shelter and clothing, has dropped so severely that I can just keep the extra dollar or two that I would normally add to the collection. I suspect that secular charities, such as Mile High United Way, are also not asking donors to tone down their giving enthusiasm this year.
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With this in mind, I can only assume that Kyle Wagner is right. Morton's is, indeed, for "nearly everyone" (Kyle, her family and her intimate circle of friends), but those of us who don't fall into the category of "nearly everyone" are thankful if we can afford to pay our bills and go out to eat at an inexpensive restaurant once a week -- or less. Try to show some charity of spirit, Kyle, toward the "common folk" who, unlike yourself, won't be able to afford a meal at Morton's, perhaps not even McDonald's, anytime soon.
via the Internet
Location, location, location: I just read Kyle Wagner's comment on why the restaurant Rue Cler closed its doors (The Bite, November 2). I have been a fan of Tante Louise for years. Therefore, I was excited to hear of Rue Cler's opening. The first time I went, I couldn't believe the poor quality of the food. It was like eating at Racine's but paying a premium for it. I gave it a second chance, believing that the kitchen was having opening jitters. It was the same. The reason Rue Cler closed is not location -- look where Tante Louise is. It was mediocre food for premium prices.