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Letters to the Editor

The Lungs Of Our City

This mature pine is one
of 261 trees slated to be removed from City Park Golf Course this month as part of a city stormwater drainage project. The 261 trees represent one-third of the total tree canopy at the golf course, which is bordered by Colorado Boulevard and York Street, between 23rd and 26th avenues. The city plans to plant new trees as part of the stormwater project.
Photo by Cara DeGette

Regarding what is happening at City Park Golf Course: As a former 17-year member of the Denver Parks & Recreation Advisory Board back when it had solid participatory inputs from all council districts, it is extraordinarily painful for me to see what is happening to the very lungs of our city in the semi-desert ecosystem. And I’m a 70-year golfer, too.

Past, present and future, the city is practicing clear-cut logging at Hentzell Park, now Globeville Landing, City Park Golf Course and next, Park Hill Golf Course. The latest related insult is the mayor’s rejection of the Green Roof’s initiative on the Nov. 7 ballot. It’s a sustainably sound measure that pays for itself in a few years, besides doing local small-scale urban drainage as a side benefit. The criteria that any property less than one acre does not require surface drainage is absurd. I refer you to the state-of-the-art new Natural Grocers solution on site at 38th and Brighton Boulevard. It was my good fortune to learn these techniques in the late 60s, when we were in the highly wet cycle, i.e. the 500-year flood in 1965.

There is wisdom in the old adage, “The trees can live without us, but we cannot live without the trees,” especially in these once-prairie grasslands from the Flatirons through Iowa to the Mississippi. A modest-sized tree produces the equivalent of one-half ton of air conditioning per day. The U.S. Forest Service indicates that the life span of a mature tree is worth $100,000: the massacre of these trees in City Park represent a loss of more than $25 million of benefit to our city.

Tom Bendelow’s design for City Park Golf Course was a low-water need, small-greens, high plains links layout with magnificent views over a city center that had 12-story height limits until the 1950s with two exceptions: The D&F Tower and Mountain States T&T headquarters.

John Prosser, Denver

They Were Scapegoats

I am writing in response to the excellent editorial that appeared in the October edition of the Greater Park Hill News, entitled “Questions Linger Over East High Cheer Report” (online at greaterparkhill.org).

I have known Andy Mendelsberg, the former East High Principal, since 1999. I have known Lisa Porter, the former Athletic Director, since 1995. I admire and respect them. I believe Mendelsberg and Porter were not treated fairly by Tom Boasberg, the superintendent of Denver Public Schools. They were scapegoats.

On June 6, videos were taken during an East cheerleading camp. On Aug. 23, 9News aired the videos. Young women were being pushed down into the splits, screaming in pain, held down by coach and teammates.

The Denver Police Department immediately announced the launch of a criminal investigation and Boasberg announced that cheer coach Ozell Williams had been fired. The district hired Davis Graham & Stiubbs to investigate. Boasberg stated the police would “take the lead” … “While they are doing their own investigation we do not release information or perform our own interviews.” But on Sept. 22, before police finished its criminal investigation, Boasberg called a press conference. He presented a report from DPS. Boasberg announced Mendelsberg was retiring. Porter resigned.

Why did Boasberg pay a law firm for an investigation his own staff could have concluded?

I note that in the report (which is also available online) DGS indicated that three “internal investigators with DPS … witnessed some of the interviews.”

Why did Boasberg release information before the police completed its investigation?

Finally, it seems ironic that Mendelsberg and Porter, two longtime employees, were forced out by Boasberg. But later the cheer coach was not even charged by the district attorney.

Earl Wylder, Park Hill

Editor’s Note: We love your letters, and give preference to those that address an issue that has been covered in the newspaper, or a topic that is Park Hill or Denver-specific. Join the conversation and make your voices heard. Send letters to editor@greaterparkhill.org, and include your full name, and the neighborhood in which you live. Deadlines are the 15th of each month, for the following month’s issue.


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