First Birds, Now Bugs
Mark Silverstein’s photos of birds are absolutely fabulous! I look forward to seeing one every month on page 3 in the Birdland photo feature. And Mark is making me like bugs with those incredible photos that now run in the Bugland photo feature each month (see page 14). But then, I missed one in the March edition: A bee is a bug?
Thank you for the great job you are doing with the Greater Park Hill News.
Ruth Steiner, Park Hill
A Little Disappointed
I really enjoyed reading about Cara DeGette’s bout with the coronavirus in the May issue with one exception, which I’ll return to later. I am thankful that she is on this side of it now, and sincerely hope she will have no lasting residuals from it. What a nasty and brutal virus this can be!
I also enjoyed reading Stephen Leonard’s articles on the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 (in the May and June issues), and found it hard to believe the similarities of 1918 to 2020 – on symptoms, as well as solutions. It’s hard to believe that in the 100-plus years, from then to now, we haven’t figured out how to protect ourselves any better. How very scary it was for them as Denverites and for the nation, and how scary it is for all of us today.
I look forward to reading future segments on this pandemic, and the histories of other pandemics or near-pandemics.
Ms. DeGette certainly showed her good writing skills in her column, as she unraveled her battle with this virus, as well as her frustrations with the difficulties of being tested. But it was disappointing that she allowed herself to get political versus just telling her story and the facts.
She stooped to her politics when she brought President Trump into the story and touted that he was lying and she would no longer believe his lies. Some of us don’t think the “Pres” was lying, but was perhaps “misinformed” by what he was advised by so many. Add to this the seemingly obvious, to some of us, that he was trying to stay positive, in his message to the people of the U.S., in spite of a very negative growing reality.
There’s a difference between journalism – the telling of a happening; and the telling of political agenda – the telling of one’s political opinions.
But, as has been said, some writers can’t ever let a good crisis go to waste.
C.J. Adams, Park Hill
Learning From The Pandemic
I wanted to thank you for Tracey MacDermott’s Climate Crisis article in the June issue, and I agree with the points listed in the column. I do feel that our nation’s response to the current COVID-19 pandemic foreshadows and/or mimics our nation’s response to climate change.
I’m optimistic that as a society we can learn something from the current pandemic and adjust our society’s trajectory. And I feel that the only way to do this is with major policy changes backed by the public. Hopefully, people can use COVID-19 to connect the dots between greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, social injustice, biodiversity loss, and sustainability.
I’ve wondered what Park Hill would be like if there were no cars and just more parkways, bike paths and trolleys. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic it was surreal to walk on 17th Avenue and not see a single car speeding down the parkway.
I know the idea of not having so many cars in the city seems radical, but every time I drive, I have a subtle guilty feeling that I’m dumping carbon into the atmosphere contributing to climate change and biodiversity loss. And I struggle with the current trajectory of our society, because I want it to be more sustainable.
Thomas Worley-Morse, PHD, PE,
Facts Are Disputable
In response to statements in the June issue by Sandy Robnett and Blair Taylor, both members of Save Open Space Denver.
In her letter to the editor, Robnett claims “indisputable facts” related to the conservation easement [on the Park Hill Golf Course land]. Unfortunately, those would be better characterized as opinions. All the words matter in agreements and while SOS chooses to focus on the words that support their inflexible position, the conservation easement states that no use of the land shall be permitted that would be a detriment to the existence and operation of an 18-hole regulation length golf course and driving range.
Supporting the easement means you are supporting the land as a golf course. I believe we can do more with this property. I understand SOS interprets the agreement differently and that’s why your “indisputable facts” are actually in dispute. That is also why we believe there needs to be a more inclusive community conversation about the future of the land – yet SOS opposes even having a planning process. SOS has gone so far as proposing a ballot initiative to put the future of the golf course to a citywide vote without any planning. SOS should not silence the voices of the local neighborhood with a citywide ballot initiative.
Westside Investment Partners has already committed to at least 60 acres of park on the property, the size of 79 football fields. Combined with existing stormwater land, the park would be the size of nearby Cheesman Park. However, the reasons we can’t just build a park go far beyond just economic. With respect to Ms. Taylor, green gentrification is such a big issue that there is an entire field of study around Parks-Related Anti-Displacement Strategies (PRADS).
It is well understood that parks need to be combined with additional diverse housing choices, job creation/training and community engagement strategies to avoid gentrification.
To learn more about green gentrification, start with this National Recreation and Parks Association article on the subject: nrpa.org/parks-recreation-magazine/2019/december/greening-without-gentrification/.
It is more important than ever to look at land use policies with an equity lens, especially in majority minority communities such as Northeast Park Hill. Our city has changed a lot in the 20-plus years since the easement was negotiated. We are awakening to inequities that structures like zoning and privilege have created.
As the landowner, we believe that we can do better than a golf course in that location. Westside supports a civil, transparent community process that helps achieve an equitable outcome and we hope you join us.
Kenneth Ho, Stapleton
Note: The author is a principal in Westside Development Partners, which hopes to develop the Park Hill Golf Course land.
Stop With The Spin
I was elected to three terms by Denver voters as Denver’s first African American mayor because they trusted me to represent all residents.
That’s why it infuriates me that some people are trying to spin an open space issue into a racial divide. They are attempting to pit neighbor against neighbor and create a narrative that nobody outside of the Park Hill neighborhood cares that Denver’s last large tract of open space could turn into another concrete jungle.
Let me set the record straight.
It is false that the 155 acres of open space at the Park Hill Golf Course is just a neighborhood issue. This is a Denver issue. This tract of land – the last large tract in Denver not gobbled up by developers – is just as important as our mountain parks and other land our forefathers had the wisdom to purchase and set aside for generations. What if their attitudes had been similar to some of our council representatives today? Red Rocks likely would be a subdivision.
Most importantly, I take very seriously a promise I made to voters citywide in 1998 who agreed to pay $2 million to protect that golf course land from development.
I’m urging the Denver City Council to place this issue on the November ballot because all voters should have a say.
Last month, some city council members made misleading statements. One council member mentioned that that Park Hill Golf Course used to be less inviting to Black golfers, which was true more than 50 years ago during the time that African Americans could not buy homes east of York Street.
But in the last 30 years, the course was very popular with Black golfers, including the late Councilman Bill Roberts, former District Attorney Norm Early, Denver School Board member Ed Garner and many Black residents golfers. It is misleading and unfortunate that anyone would create a narrative that this is a racial issue.
Bringing race into this issue is just an attempt to muddy the waters. People of all races enjoy and value open space. And Park Hill residents know when a developer is trying to use them to line his pockets.
As mayor I made a promise and let me make it very clear I will not stand by quietly while people – some of whom worked side by side with me for decades – now are getting paid by the developer to undo that promise. Voters in this city deserve to have their voices heard.
Let the people decide. Why be afraid of your electorate? Let the people decide.
Wellington Webb, Whittier
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 email@example.com, 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.