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Letters to the Editor

Response To The Fairfax Land Swap Deal

Editor’s Note: We received numerous responses about last month’s coverage of the city’s proposed park land swap with the developer of Park Hill Commons (the news package can be read online at

Two people were critical of the news story and timeline of events detailing how the proposed deal has unfolded, calling it biased. However, those writers declined to have their letters published. Additional letters to the editor appear below.

On May 9, Parks and Recreation Executive Director Happy Haynes issued a statement recommending the land swap be approved by the city council. Additional updates on the controversial deal can be read here.  

Failure To Participate

In politics, “Kabuki theater” describes a performance in which much is said to cover for nothing of substantive being done. After secretly signing a Letter of Intent to give a “sweet deal” to a developer last November, Denver Parks and Recreation put on a Kabuki theater for the Park Hill community about a potential Fairfax pocket park.

As reported in last month’s news coverage of the deal, the Denver Parks Department spent $30,000 (for outside consulting) to stage their Kabuki theater. At four performances with about 100 attendees each, that’s $75 per ticket.

The Parks department concluded its performance on May 9, issuing an unsigned public letter affirming its plan to present the land deal to City Council for approval.

I am not surprised.

And I’m pretty sure neither Parks and Recreation nor City Councilman Chris Herndon ever intended otherwise.

The zoning code gives all power over parks to a single political appointee: the Director of Parks and Recreation. While none of us elected the department’s current director, Happy Haynes, we do elect the mayor to whom she owes her job.  When the previous Director, Lauri Dannemiller, listened to the neighborhood and cancelled plans to build a 15-acre attraction in City Park, Mayor Hancock fired her.

In Denver’s 2015 municipal election Mr. Herndon ran unopposed, so, whether you voted or not, you didn’t have a choice. In our last election just 9,583 people in District 8 voted, representing 25 percent of our 38,995 registered voters and just 15 percent of our approximately 62,000 citizens. The result of our failure to participate is that the sitting representatives – both in council and in the mayor’s office – have no reason to be engaged with and responsive to our community.

So, no, I am not surprised at what has happened in the 2800 block of Fairfax Street.

And I will campaign for candidates to replace Mr. Herndon and Mayor Hancock.

Nancy Francis, Park Hill

Tacit Radicalization

Last month’s article about the city’s proposed land swap deal, Pitting Neighbor against Neighbor. was a great piece of journalism. I left the last city-sponsored meeting (in March) about the pocket park so troubled at the tacit radicalization that occurred.

When black people stand and talk in front of a liquor store, it’s referred to as loitering and considered a blight to the neighborhood. When white people hang out in front of a microbrewery, they are welcomed with long tables to sit, relax, and enjoy.

Steve Bialostok, PhD, Park Hill

Open Letter To Councilman Chris Herndon

I read with great interest in the May issue of the Greater Park Hill News the letters to the editor authored by Nancy Francis and others, concerning recent issues involving the 2800 block of Fairfax.

The page one top-of-the-fold article in that edition addresses additional issues related to Fairfax in Editor Cara DeGette’s excellent article.

My wife, Mary Mullarkey, and I deliver this great newspaper on our block and have lived in Park Hill since 1973.

I must say that I am disappointed in how things are developing. People who live in this neighborhood, which you represent, truly expect our council members to appear at these meetings.

There is way too much over-development in Denver.

We need our open spaces – even if they are small parks. They should be available to all.

Tom Korson, Park Hill

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