Park Hill Golf Course debate: Land under conservation easement is not for building – The Denver Post

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Re: “A counter proposal for Park Hill Golf Course development,” Sept. 18 commentary
First, Megan Schrader omits explaining the critical fact that the Park Hill Golf Course land conservation easement is governed by the Colorado conservation easement statute. In accordance with this statute, the conservation easement cannot be terminated, released, extinguished or abandoned without a court order that–based on changed conditions on or surrounding the land—it has become “impossible” to continue fulfilling the easement’s open space and recreational conservation purposes. There are no such “impossibilities.”
Now there can’t be any meaningful “negotiation” about the Park Hill Golf Course land issues because the City and the developer Westside Investment Partners have failed to seek and secure such a statutory court order. Just like the City’s expensive “planning” process for the land, any such “negotiation” would be putting the proverbial cart before the horse because the land cannot now be legally developed under state law.
Second, Schrader discusses Westside’s proposed “gift” to the City of 100 acres for park and open space as a “good start.” This proposed “gift” is worth no more than the fair market value of this 100 acres of land as encumbered by the conservation easement. Generously, this fair market value would be no more than about $3 million. Even accounting for this proposed “gift,” any possible breaking of the conservation easement would constitute a massive gift from Denver taxpayers to Westside of at least $60 million.
Woody Garnsey, Denver
Re: “America must break the cycle of mistrust,” Sept. 18 commentary
There is no doubt that mistrust is rampant across our country, weakening faith in our institutions. It’s a sad reality, as Jim Martin points out, that “distrust is now society’s default emotion.” The need for a “great reconciliation” that he calls for is right on target. But to understand our current state of mistrust, we must go deeper.
We need to examine the degree of societal injury and disappointment our country has endured by our foundational institutions over recent decades. This injury has resulted in feelings of disgust and betrayal, which are much more powerful emotions and difficult to ease. Adding to Martin’s outline of instigating events to make the point are: corporations hiding the negative impacts on our health and environment with cigarette and opiate use as well as chemical and fossil fuel manufacturing; suppression of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America; law enforcement departments concealing officer misconduct and district attorney offices putting conviction rates ahead of justice by withholding exculpatory evidence; and, one of our two political parties supporting the claim of a stolen election are a few more contributing factors.
Serious misdeeds by so many institutions have programmed us to distrust. It’s time we all do an honest self-assessment of our moral and ethical character, especially our leaders who have an oversized influence on our cultural norms and behaviors.
As a society we must move beyond self-interest and self-preservation and begin to take others’ interests to heart.
Marc Lubine, Littleton
As midterms rapidly approach, commentators from the left are asking for a coming together to support more spending, more debt, a green economy and one-party rule. The drastic economic, cultural and social changes the left seeks have bred dysfunction and confusion, diluting support for their brand and candidates. The hope for Biden-Harris-Pelosi and Schumer is that they can convince America that better days are ahead. Broader support for their progressive cause, given more time, will blossom in reconciliation, national healing and renewal of trust in their leadership.
There is no question that a free press and unbiased media are required to ensure that the people’s representatives remain fair and honest. But today how can the media be the objective finder of truth when six large corporations own the majority of them?
The hope of our founders was for self-rule. Over time those governing have moved away from connection with the people toward one that is centered on special interests. Mistrust is earned and with us for the foreseeable future.
Forrest Monroe, Aurora
Jim Martin is spot on; America must break the cycle of mistrust. He goes further and gives ways to combat this mistrust and divisiveness: teach! However, many Americans have swallowed the lies and put no faith in our educational system either. I still believe, as many others, that America can be saved, and I, like Martin, will do whatever it takes: listen to people, attempt to educate/teach, stand up to the lies, and motivate people to exercise their right to vote! There is too much to lose to do nothing but complain and feed the divisiveness.
Larry “Lew” Ellingson, Parker
Assuming your figures for the erosion of trust are correct, I regretfully suggest that the erosion cannot be reversed. Your suggestions are admirable but don’t address a fundamental fact. Humans are tribal and controlled foremast by the amygdala. When that is combined with the proliferation of social media, we are hard to move out of our silo. Online, one rarely seeks information outside one’s bias or silo. (I’m guilty of staying within my silo.)
As Will Durant wrote: “Civilization begins stoic and dies epicurean.” With the advent of social media, perhaps epicurean can be replaced with polarized. Our tribalism will not allow us to be depolarized. Authoritarianism appears to be the future of our democratic civilization. Like frogs in a pot of boiling water, we won’t object until it’s too late.
Jack Petersen, Glenwood Springs
Re: “Colorado’s defense in Supreme Court case underscores the state’s attack on free speech,” Sept. 18 commentary
Jonathan Scruggs claims there is a Colorado law that requires his client to “design, create and then publish websites that promote same-sex marriage.”
I think what the law he is referring to actually says is that if you run a business in Colorado, it must be open to all.
If 303 Creative is a business that creates web sites that celebrate marriages, then the law says the business must be open to anyone getting married. It does not say anything about what the owner personally must do, it only says what the business must do.
If the owner has a religious objection to serving a specific client, that is her right. But as a business owner she is obligated to provide that service. The simpler answer than going to the Supreme Court, to get legal permission to say, “I do not serve your kind,” would be to hire a subcontractor to do the work.
Douglas Willey, Highlands Ranch
Re: “ ‘Another place to warehouse people’,” Sept. 18 news story
I read with dismay the negative article about the Colorado Community Corrections system. As a member of the Arapahoe County Community Corrections Board for 12 years, — retired due term limits — I can speak with direct experience about the efforts of our judicial Services Department to ensure compliance with DOC standards while simultaneously seeking to assist clients from re-offending.
As a board member it was our function to review prospective candidates and recommend their acceptance to a facility. There was always a natural conflict of decision making; “Do we approve those inmates who clearly do not need transition assistance into the Community from DOC thereby assuring a successful outcome, or do we admit those inmates who have demonstrated issues in corrections because they desperately need help?”
These decisions were made most importantly in consideration of public safety and secondly in consideration of the welfare of the client (inmate). One only needed to see the change in attitude and gratitude of our clients in their successful completions to be reassured of the benefits of Community Corrections. I challenge detractors to attend a Peer One graduation and then ask if a tear is not brought to the eyes after listening to the tales of redemption. I was a law enforcement officer for forty three years and initially cynical of the program. After 12 years of reviewing cases and making hard decisions, I was and am convinced of the value of Community Corrections.
Please do not let the few supposed failures undermine the benefits of the whole. The alternative is no preparation to return to society, we know how that works.
Philip Arreola, Denver
Colorado crime victims have known for years that our community corrections (halfway house) system is an abject failure. You stated that halfway houses are a revolving door to prison. That’s bad.
But buried in your article is a far more dangerous fact: halfway houses are a revolving door to crime. Twenty-two out of every 57 people who graduate from halfway houses are convicted again within two years (38.6%). The cost of incarceration is high, but the cost of crime is higher. Most criminals commit several crimes before they get caught.
It’s time to stop listening to management promises and establish a task force to collect data on best practices in other states. It’s not enough to get tough–we need to get smart!
Ray Harlan, Aurora
Re: “Is Lauren Boebert a Christian nationalist?” Sept. 15 news story
The hit piece on Rep. Lauren Boebert largely ignores the historical fact that Americans have a long and storied tradition of amalgamating efforts to evangelize the heathen with political crusades aimed at enforcing biblical morality.
Boebert’s Christian nationalism faithfully echoes the sentiments of President John Adams about the exclusivity of America’s unique form of democracy only for a “moral and religious people” (per Adams’ famous declaration).
In contemporary culture, we uphold the separation of church and state, but what should modern rationalists make of Justice David Brewer’s 1892 Supreme Court decision in Trinity vs. U.S. referring to our country as a “Christian nation”? Or President Truman’s 1947 reaffirmation of Brewer’s pronouncement?
President Teddy Roosevelt couldn’t imagine American civic and social life without a biblical foundation, and President Richard Nixon also recited Brewer’s phraseology, as did many other notable and obscure politicians over the years.
I’m an ardent Trump supporter who would take issue with Boebert’s article of faith that an iconoclastic carpenter and stonecutter of the first century — living in a backwater province of the Roman empire, no less — “created” both mankind and the vast expanse of our observable cosmos.
But I’m willing to overlook some kooky conspiracy theories, outdated racial attitudes and politically incorrect beliefs for a strong border, energy independence and freer markets.
The reporter might not believe that America can survive another “resurgence” of Christian nationalism, but I don’t think our way of life will survive the Biden presidency.
Mark David Travis, Lakewood
Concessions are a part of normal politics. Continuing the work that one’s predecessor started, when the idea was morally responsible and successful, makes good political sense.
This week, however, President Joe Biden’s Customs and Border Patrol confirmed that it has resumed construction on Trump’s border wall. For our president, who campaigned as the one who would redeem the “soul of America,” to resume a morally misguided project like this is wrong.
The wall embodies the racist “America First” mantra. That mantra divides us from our neighbors below our southern border. That racism corrodes any sort of “American soul” that Biden is meant to be saving. Further, to allocate billions of dollars to a wall during a housing crisis is a bad choice. Millions of Americans are fighting off evictions, foreclosures, and skyrocketing rents. This is an immoral political choice. President Biden, this cannot be what you meant by “Build Back Better.”
Nate Craig, Boulder
After reading about the challenges families are facing meeting the needs of aging loved ones, I wondered how we in Colorado might prepare ourselves for the bus loads of immigrants seeking asylum in our country that will be sent here someday by Govs. Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott. Instead of demonizing those who seek to start better lives, let’s address our need for workers in nursing and home care, hospitals, construction, our vast food and hospitality industry and schools. Our economy has always relied on our newest immigrants to fill essential but lower-paying jobs. Business and government leaders need only to put their heads together, throughout Colorado, to orchestrate this win-win opportunity. Let’s do it!
Mark Zaitz, Denver
Sunday, I went to the Broncos game with a friend who is disabled. We arrived about two and a half hours early to secure a parking spot close to the stadium.
We were told over and over that accessible parking was full. We ended up finding a lot over a half mile away. Not a difficult walk for most people.
My friend, on the other hand, recently endured two lung surgeries and can walk only a short distance at a time before he needs to stop and rest. He is a very proud man who is a veteran, a loyal city worker of nearly 40 years and a season ticket holder for 51 years. I would think the stadium officials could do better than that for patrons who genuinely need help.
Chris Sandoval, Arvada
Re: “Will voters back “transformative” housing program or TABOR?” Sept. 21 news story
I’m all for more affordable housing. But taking away tax refunds is, in effect, raising taxes. And if TABOR refunds are distributed per-taxpayer, Proposition 123’s approach will impact lower-income people the most.
So before I would vote for such an approach, I’d like to see the legislature impose jobs-housing linkage fees on all new commercial and office development. Those fees would be set to cover the cost of providing housing for those people whose jobs in these new buildings do not pay salaries or wages sufficient for them to afford regular market-rate housing.
In addition, the legislature should require that all new residential development have at least 25% permanently affordable units, or however much more is needed to ensure there is enough affordable housing for the people that need it.
Both of these would take the excess profits made by developers, commercial and residential, and put them to good use. And they won’t cost ordinary people because new development has to compete with the far greater supply of existing development.
Steve Pomerance, Boulder
Re: “Protests roar over woman who died in custody,” Sept. 22 news story
You reprinted an article from The New York Times describing mass protests in Iran after the death of a young woman in custody by morality police for not wearing a headscarf. The authors incorrectly stated that under the Islamic Republic’s law, “women above the age of puberty” must comply with wearing headscarves and loose clothing.
Puberty in girls can begin by age 8. Eight-year-old girls are not women. Getting this right is important. Just as the invention of “underage women” to describe the girls molested by Jeffrey Epstein is important to call out.
The subservience and abuse of females in its myriad forms do not have a chance of ending if respected news channels cannot recognize the difference between 8-year-old girls and 18-year-old women.
Jamie Daniels, Littleton
I think solving the problem of banning books is easier if we think of it this way: If you don’t like a book for whatever reason, for heaven’s sake, don’t purchase it or read it.
But don’t turn around and tell me I can’t get the book because you don’t like it. I don’t care what you like. I am free to make my own choice.
If you don’t think a particular book is suitable for your child, fine. That’s a parent’s prerogative. However, don’t try to keep others who may not agree from accessing the book.
It strikes me that the whole effort to ban books can boil down to the suppression of new ideas and information. Lord knows, new information and viewpoints can be so inconvenient.
Robert Ward, Highlands Ranch
Re: “Governors intensify fight over immigration,” Sept. 16 news story
Govs. Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, in a coordinated effort, engaged in the act of trafficking humans across state lines.
These human beings, including children, were not told where they were going, nor how.
They were not allowed to communicate their dilemma to anyone. This is coercion at the least, yet tantamount to kidnapping — forceful victimization.
These humans are serving the political gain of DeSantis and Abbott (both up for reelection), without any compensation for their employment as political pawns. Certainly, they didn’t sign up for this job.
The Department of Justice should immediately seek a cease-and-desist order to this illegal human trafficking. Then it should investigate and pursue charges.
Pam Paricio, Littleton
I, for one, find that the relocation of the illegal aliens to sanctuary cities, Martha’s Vineyard and Kamala Harris’ neighborhood to be a stroke of genius.
Our dearly beloved president and vice president refuse to visit our besieged border, so why not bring it to their attention by bringing it to them.
Kay Robbins, Denver
When we have a White House led by President Joe Biden, who has held out a sign, “welcome to the USA” on the border, what can we expect to happen?
People in New York, Chicago, D.C. or Martha’s Vineyard have not given a hoot about the problems that the folks in Texas, Arizona or Florida face when almost 2 million people have crossed the Mexican border and camped out on their streets.
Under President Donald Trump, the head of the Border Control says that the border was virtually secure, especially with the stay-in-Mexico policy for immigrants.
So Democrats are screaming about the governors sending immigrants north, but it is to be remembered that under Biden many people who came here illegally or claimed asylum have been sent to places around America, often at night when they could not be seen by the general public.
For those of us in Denver, we might want to keep our eyes open as our city is a sanctuary city and we could soon see bus loads of immigrants heading our way.
Maybe Vice President Kamala Harris should make a trip to the border to see firsthand what is going on, and she might wish to get busy fixing the problem, which is listed in her job description.
Joanie Jones, Denver
I had to laugh. Here are a pair of Republican governors trying to “own the libs” by spending monies that came from Democrats for the benefit of the people of their states to bus and fly immigrants to other states.
Now the hardcore Republicans are always accusing the Democrats of “human trafficking,” but the actual instances of someone meeting the definition of trafficking, lying to someone to get them to go somewhere by telling them that they will have a better life there and then dumping them into a bad situation, have only been documented by being done by Republicans.
Makes me glad that I am a Colorado boy and my Mom and Dad taught me right about treating people like I would want to be treated if I were in their shoes.
And of course, that’s what the “libs” did in the states where those people were sent. They rushed to help them get shelter, get a bed with sheets and pillows (no My Pillows, though), and fed them .
Denley Kester, Florence
Re: “Assault from the left,” Sept. 10 letter to the editor
After experiencing day after day of record-breaking temperatures in Montrose along with virtually no rain at our home all summer, it was very difficult for me to read the letter to the editor in which she says the green policies of Democrats will kill people.
Has she not read nor heard about the extreme weather events through out the world that have resulted in devastating widespread destruction and the death of many?
Has she not read about or experienced the smoke from 70 fires that are burning in the West?
Yes, she is correct that increasing production of fossil fuels may result in lower gas and energy prices. However, if we care at all about the well-being of future generations, we must stop our reliance on fossil fuels and adopt green energy policies.
David Ryan, Montrose
To all of you who are in favor of ending the extraction and burning of fossil fuels:
I’m sure that you live off the grid, since scalable wind and solar is only possible thanks to natural gas.
And I’m sure that you only wear clothes made of cotton, wool, hemp or bamboo, since the stretch in your yoga pants and the nylon in your outerwear are made from petrochemicals.
And I’m sure that you don’t care about feeding the world since tractors run on gasoline and fertilizers are made from natural gas.
Surely, you eat solely from your organic, hand-farmed vegetable garden.
Too bad the rest of the world can’t live the life that you do.
Susie Law, Denver
Re: “ ‘Didn’t have to be that way:’ Officers involved in shooting … needlessly rushed, failed to de-escalate, experts say,” Sept. 20 news story
I am writing because I could be Christian Glass. My kids could be. Anyone really. Anyone who has the misfortune to break down or crash in Clear Creek County in the dark of night, in the middle of, well, Clear Creek County. When Christian crashed his car in early June, he took reasonable action and called for help. When help arrived and menaced him, he became terrified and refused to exit his vehicle.
When help (aka the local police) decided that was not acceptable, they smashed in his window and then finally shot him six times.
Christian died a terrifying, tragic, horrendous death — in America — having broken no laws. At the hands of “peace officers.” Officers who were never at risk of harm. If they had been, they would have known to keep their distance and take cover. They would not have stood on the hood of the car and fired into the vehicle. Instead, they could have simply asked, “Are you OK? Do you need a lift?”
Paula Tawa, Lafayette
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