I was fascinated by Jared Jacang Maher's article on Northglenn. I'm a lifelong resident of Denver, and I think its central core's diversity is exciting and wonderful.
In the 1970s, Denver faced challenges like a declining downtown, integration of its schools, pollution and crime. Tens of thousands of people "voted with their feet" and moved to the new suburbs. Suburbs that grew like weeds because the Poundstone Amendment froze Denver's boundaries in place. Suburbs that sneered at Denver, filled with people who wanted nothing to do with Denver's problems and felt they could walk away from them.
So now Northglenn, Aurora and other inner-ring suburbs have the same problems that Denver has. Many of those suburbs want to cooperate with Denver. Imagine that. The reason is obvious: People are people, no matter where they live, and will create the same opportunities and challenges. I shouldn't engage in schadenfreude, but part of me does.
Yet people still push ever outward, chewing up more and more prairie and productive farmland, moving into new "exurbs," in a vain hope to escape problems. Suburban denial, "voting with your feet," won't work.
The article on Northglenn's problems was great. I lived in Northglenn for 35 years and saw some incredible blunders. The city failed to annex the electronics plant (Western Electric) and sealed its ability to grow forever. Then the city built an expensive new water system to handle 250,000 users, even though there are only 35,000 residents in Northglenn. Apparently the city fathers never figured that neighboring cities already had their own water systems and Northglenn has enormous debt. The last screwup occurred when the city left out a 1,600-spot parking lot, a transit-only tunnel and future development possibilities from FasTracks planning. This park-n-ride is right across the highway from City Hall. Talk about lack of vision.
Northglenn is the only metro-area city to vote against FastTracks. Three strikes and you are out of business.
I'd love to take a gander at the appraisal report that'll eventually be used to secure a loan on the house that Bill Sullivan is rehabbing on Leroy Drive in Northglenn. I love good fiction!
You dump $275K into rehabbing a house surrounded by 7.5 miles of fifty-year-old, $50,000-$80,000 HUDs and $125,000-$150,000 individual-owned Perl-Mack crackerboxes, and you'd better be prepared to take a helluva loss, hope to find someone with an extra $200,000 they don't know what to do with, or have a really crooked appraiser in your pocket. And a little hint for sixty-something Mr. Sullivan, who's enamored of huge lots: Unless you can subdivide it (and you can't) or raise livestock on it (nope), all that dirt is pretty useless. To most younger homebuyers, a 20,000-square-foot lot looks less like God's half-acre than it does a half-acre of back-breaking labor from March to October every year. To say nothing about Northglenn's infamous, historical and currently barely solved water problems, something neither Jared Jacang Maher nor any of the cheerleaders in the article seemed to know a thing about. Hopefully, Sullivan and his pet appraiser won't put someone into what will be a fraudulently over-valued house who can't afford it and will allow it to become just one more HUD repo blighting the Denver real-estate landscape.
Pie-in-the-sky pipe dreams are fun. Getting smacked in the kisser by a lead-pipe pie? Not so much.
There was a slight mistake in your wonderful article on my home town. The Northglenn Mall was torn down in 1998. The sight of it being torn apart will always remain in my memory, as I was born and raised in the Thornton/Northglenn area. I even worked at the new version of the old Office Depot store in late 1999 and early 2000.
The Northglenn Marketplace, while full of great stores, will never come close to the Northglenn Mall and all the memories I have of walking along the rows of old favorites. Remember Woolworth's, the store where you could purchase a car battery, a parakeet, a chainsaw and have dinner afterwards?
"Pucker Up," Off Limits, November 30
Once again, your wonderful reporter Alan Prendergast has written about a subject that many other reporters are afraid to touch. Alan fully understands what many don't. CBS lost its objectivity the moment it "hired" Michael Tracey as a consultant. And Trip DeMuth's "I am shocked" was the poorest acting job I've ever seen.
San Diego, California
Great, funny article. I e-mailed 48 Hours because I had problems with statements like "the evidence shows blah-blah" without the show telling us what that evidence might be. The producer and Erin Moriarty both wrote me back. The most interesting thing the producer said was that while traces of DNA have been found in unopened packages of underwear, the foreign DNA in JonBenét's was ten to twelve times that amount. That was news to me.
Walnut Creek, California