Like me, most of my friends are the first Colorado natives in their families. Our parents are all transplants, attracted to Denver from every imaginable corner of the United States, drawn by the sense of opportunity, the allure of the West, the fact that you can get drunk quicker at altitude. That's how many of us were conceived. And not only are we natives, but my friends and I were all born and raised in Park Hill. Our parents, displaying the same good sense that brought them to this city in the first place, moved into that picturesque neighborhood in the late 1970s and early '80s, long before real estate prices skyrocketed. In Park Hill, they found a beautiful community filled with trees and back yards, quaint Denver squares and stately Tudor homes: the perfect place to raise a family. But they also flocked to Park Hill because of its diversity. Long before hip-hop became popular, our parents wisely realized that black people are cooler than white people. So why not live in a spot where both peacefully co-exist and hope that some of that cool rubs off on the white kids?
Matter of fact, suckas, Park Hill was the first integrated community in the area. If you'll allow What's So Funny to get all historical for a hot minute: Before the 1965 Department of Housing and Urban Development's Title VIII Fair Housing Act so much as whispered the notion of socio-economic diversity, a Park Hill resident and state rep introduced a Colorado state fair-housing law. Then the Park Hill Action Committee got with the game, canvassing surrounding communities and working through newspapers and advertisements to attract people of color to the neighborhood. All across the country, people were organizing civil-rights protests and getting sprayed with hoses, and in Park Hill they were recruiting African-Americans to come live on the block, son! That is the Park Hill into which I was born, a neighborhood of advanced tolerance.
My, how things have changed.
But it's not like I didn't see the warning signs. The increase in lacrosse sticks. The surge in horrific McMansions taking over Park Hill's empty lots, despite our noble vandalism efforts at the construction sites. The flight of old-time residents to Stapleton, allowing new Country Club maggots to infest the area. And now a bigoted collection of surface liberals calling themselves Montview Watch.
Last week the group disseminated fliers to homes around Park Hill, warning residents "Homeless Shelter Arriving Soon." And it's true. The Gathering Place -- an organization whose mission is "to support women and their children experiencing homelessness or poverty by providing a safe daytime refuge and resources for self-sufficiency" -- is moving into Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church for at least a year while its old digs are demolished and rebuilt. And although most reasonable residents have greeted this news with a time-to-put-our-liberal-money-where-our-mouth-is attitude, the few mongoloids behind Montview Watch feel the invasion of transients will endanger their Whole Foods-catered dinner parties.
"Did you know?" the flier asks. "According to 2004-2005 data from the police department, over one hundred 911 calls originated from The Gathering Place?" Gee, did you ever think that's because maybe the Gathering Place offers counseling, Montview Watch? That the crimes are not actually taking place at the shelter, but more likely, women are coming in, explaining how their husbands beat them the night before, and then being advised to call the police?
"Did you know?" the flier asks. "Up to 350 homeless women will impact the traffic and safety of our neighborhood EVERY DAY for a year or more?"
And just in case you didn't know, the group has a handy map on the back of the flier, with bus stops circled to show where those hobo strumpets will most likely penetrate the Park Hill perimeter, and the proximity of those stops to local schools. There's also a website, www.montviewwatch. blogspot.com, where Park Hill posers can spew their bile. "Why not locate a nuclear waste dump there as well?" one fatuous fuckhead writes. "Perhaps we could put a psychiatric hospital on the site, too, and maybe an alcohol treatment center annex.... People are trying to LIVE in this neighborhood. Montview Presbyterian has already tried to crush our peaceful lives by selling its space to any crowd of people that will pay. Please, don't let this church encroach any further."
While idiots abound on the site, a few reasonable voices from the old guard appear, too.
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"I am very disappointed in the way that some of my neighbors are responding to the church's decision," one sane soul writes. "I have been to the Gathering Place and have seen the women that are served there. They are not criminals.... They are very courageous women who are struggling to bring the peace and harmony back into their lives that has been taken from them through domestic violence, job loss, single-parenting, etc. We are all too quick to forget that income does not equal character."
Well put, anonymous poster. Were your name on the site, I would buy you a beer. And were the idiots' names available, I would egg their houses relentlessly. And kick their small dogs.
Montview Watch, you need to remember the tolerant ideals that made Park Hill so great in the first place -- if you ever knew those ideals -- and not allow it to become a Hilltop or a Cherry Creek, where helping the poor is great and all that, just as long as we don't have to actually look at them. Let's not allow Park Hill to become an outpost of upper-class liberalism where everything is accepted -- as long as it's white.
We already have Boulder for that.