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Letters to the Editor

Thoughts Turn To 2019

It’s a new year and time to begin thinking about the 2019 Denver municipal election. In 2015, District 8 Councilman Chris Herndon ran unopposed. So even if you voted you had no choice, and no role in the outcome.

For the democratic process to be effective, we need both participation by voters and competitive races. Candidates who run unopposed have no reason to care about the community, either before or after the election. They don’t have to earn your vote, because they simply don’t need it.

Here are some recent votes and policies of Mr. Herndon’s we find troubling:

• Lame duck council approval of the I-70 Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with CDOT. The vote came after the 2015 election but before the new council could be seated. The vote was scheduled by then-council President Herndon, who of course voted to approve the IGA. (See The Denver Post, July 6, 2015.)

• Stormwater project that spends $383 million, the lion’s share ($270 million) for drainage to protect the I-70 highway as required by the IGA. Herndon voted for it. (See city council minutes from June 13, 2016.)

• Closure and destruction of City Park Golf Course. Neighbors in Councilman Herndon’s District 8, which includes Park Hill and Stapleton, filed suit against this action. Mr. Herndon’s response to his constituents? He never spoke to them and voted to approve contracts to destroy the golf course before the trial even took place (Aug. 7 and 14, 2017).

• A zoning change adjacent to Stapleton’s Central Park for a developer was approved by city council on July 24, 2017, despite requests by Stapleton neighbors for a modification to reduce its height and increase setbacks. Herndon shut down negotiation, and, of course, voted to approve. (July 24, 2017.)

• Back door negotiation by the city to provide a land swap to a developer in the 2800 block of Fairfax Street in Park Hill, despite neighborhood requests to be kept informed. Facilitated and kept secret from the community by Councilman Herndon. (News story in the December issue of GPHN, December, 2017.)

Herndon is up to run for reelection in Spring, 2019. We believe there’s untapped energy in our neighborhoods of Park Hill and Stapleton to support a competitive race for District 8. Now is the time. Citizens, please get involved. Candidates, please step forward.

Hank Bootz and Nancy Francis, Park Hill

A Grave Harm To Democracy

On Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] repealed net neutrality – the rules that require internet providers to allow access to the full internet and a protection against upcharging for access to specific websites or censorship of information.

Without net neutrality, consumers will likely pay more for access to streaming websites, like Hulu or Netflix, social media websites, like Facebook or Twitter, and news websites, like the Wall Street Journal or the Denver Post. This means that some Americans will be able to afford access to communication options and information, but others would be left in the dark. In short, a repeal of net neutrality means higher prices for all of us and lower access for some of us.

Net neutrality is not a purely progressive or conservative political issue; this issue should concern all of us. Access to information and the ability to communicate information is fundamental to our constitutional republic. By limiting access to news sources and social media platforms, internet providers limit access to the foundation of democracy.

We need to urge members of congress to pass a law to re-establish net neutrality and educate our fellow citizens on this infinitely important issue.

Erik Clarke, Capitol Hill

View Of The Golf Course

I can’t tell you what I know about the future of the land that is currently the Park Hill Golf Course, which happens to sit a stone’s throw away from the place my wife and I are proud to call our very first home. I can’t tell you, because that changes weekly. I’m involved. I’ve attended the meetings for months. I’ve read the news. I’ve received the countless emails. The speculation has already been exhausted.

I can tell you, though, what I see.

I see a large chunk of money sitting on 155 acres of incredible location in an amazing and booming city.

I see land that speaks of community and rich history: A former dairy farm turned into what’s now Denver’s second oldest golf course.

I see a struggle for survival: A dated golf club/banquet hall that could use a refresh, but also a priceless sanctuary where people come to relax, vent, celebrate, practice, compete with themselves, and strive to be better.

I see loyal and hardworking employees who love what they do, but are desperate for the leadership to keep their vision of the land’s potential alive.

I see opportunity.

I see my adjacent neighborhood; a beautiful mix of diverse families, retirees, and young couples, of all different backgrounds, looking to simply maintain the peace – many of whom are unaware of the possible impacts.

I see a group of people who are being told they have a voice, but find it hard to believe they’re being heard.

I see a common, but fading story, a fight to keep natural space alive, to hold onto fresh cut grass, not artificial turf.

Take away that space and you’re taking away something sacred we’re quickly losing – our connection with the earth, the community, and the importance of play. Spaces to calm our busy minds in, to let go in the warm sun, to enjoy stunning snow peaked mountain views and crisp fresh air. Spaces that teach vision, confidence, action, follow through, and consistency.

With great city growth comes changes and compromise. No, I’m not an idiot. I understand the land is valuable and the city is in too much of a housing shortage not to be developed in some areas. I’m an open-minded business owner after all. It’s clear a good amount of the 155 acres could be paved over to put up a parking lot. I see the hunger in the eyes of the developers. I see them licking their chops. But in this always sunny city that so many of us call our home, it would be nice to see some of paradise still remain natural. Let’s keep the Rocky Mountains in sight.

To the powers that be, please keep one of Denver’s last outdoor adult playgrounds alive. In this crazy stressful world we live in, never before has it been more important to have spaces for play, disconnection, reconnection, and community – spaces of sublime open landscapes, which are essential in fighting depression, anxiety, and isolation.

I will fight to protect the simple things we still need as a society, for the benefit of our mental and physical health, for my community, for my city, and for the future individuals that choose to call this little haven their home as well.

I understand everyone has an opinion about what the space should turn into. No matter what that vision is, if you are simply against the entire space being developed, please fill out this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3N3ZKFD

Jeff Romeo, 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. 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. Past issues can be read at greaterparkhill.org.


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