Tag Archives: Denver Mayor

Brief Filed With Colorado Court of Appeals on February 4, 2015

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your continuing support of Friends of Denver Parks and efforts to protect open space in Denver.

Attached is a copy of the brief that Evans Case LLP filed for plaintiffs-appellants in the Colorado Court of Appeals on February 4, 2015.  We are asking the court to reverse the decision of Judge Stern so that, in accordance with Charter Section 2.4.5, the people of Denver may vote on the issue of whether 11 acres of park land should be traded to DPS for use as a school.  We filed a lis pendens on the property in 2013 before the City conveyed it to DPS, so our interests are protected until all appeals are exhausted.

If we are successful, there are a number of possibilities that may come into play.  One, there could be a vote of the people.  Two, could be an agreement reached between the plaintiffs and the city and DPS to eventually restore the 11 acres to its original protected park-natural area status after the useful life of the school expires – say in 15 years, or even forty years, as the original contract between the city and DPS contemplated.

Another factor may be potential danger to elementary school children if there is a severe rain event which requires the Corps of Engineers to release a sudden large volume of water from Cherry Creek Reservoir, through the floodgates of the Cherry Creek Dam, into the flood plain where the school is constructed.  This possibility was once considered extremely remote, but in my opinion, a careful reading of the Corps of Engineers 2012-2013 report on front range dams shows that, if a big enough rain storm dumps a sufficient volume of water into the Cherry Creek Reservoir and surrounding drainage basin, flooding of the new school with loss of life may be an actual danger unless the dam is modified or other precautions are initiated.  According to a former engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers whom I consulted with, risk of flooding can be minimized by releasing all of the water in Cherry Creek Reservoir through the floodgates in measured discharge before the rainy season starts, and hope that enough rain will be recovered in the rainy season to re-fill the reservoir. One of the missions of Cherry Creek Reservoir is recreational use. Draining the reservoir in the summer to avoid risk to a school that was unwisely built in the floodplain 50 yards from the creek, would not be popular with the Cherry Creek Yacht Club, jet skiers, water skiers, paddle boaters, swimmers, campers, environmentalists, beach people, or fisherman.

Members of the Friends board of directors who attended the Corps of Engineers presentation on January 24, 2015 were told that the Corps of Engineers has no control over local officials who authorize development in a flood plain.  Because development of real property in a flood plain is a dangerous choice for inhabitants, the Corps of Engineers discourages development, but cannot prevent it.

Once again, thanks to all of you for your hard work and support. J

John Case

EVANS CASE, LLP

 Opening Brief Colorado Court of Appeals Filed Feb 4, 2015

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Judge Stern enters judgment for Defendants

Dear Friends,

On Friday May 2 Judge Stern granted judgment for the Defendants City and County of Denver and Denver Public Schools.  A copy of Judge Stern’s Order is attached. 

There will be no jury trial on May 19.  All witnesses are released from their subpoenas. DPS will continue to build the new school in what used to be Hampden Heights North Park.

First, I want to thank everyone who supported the effort to save this beautiful open space park.  Hundreds of people contributed their time, talent, and treasure, and there is not space to personally thank everyone.  I want to specially acknowledge the plaintiffs Steve Waldstein, Zelda Hawkins, and the board members of Friends of Denver Parks, Inc., Renee Lewis, David Hill, Shawn Smith, and Judy Case, who never gave up; Maggie Price, who created and manages the Friends Website; KC Keefer, who donated the film “Hampden Heist;” witnesses Wellington Webb, Susan Barnes-Gelt, John Bennett, Neil Sperandeo, Susan Baird, Jim Kellner, Amy Laugesen, Dave Longbrake, Dawn Mayo, Dave Norden, Joan Biggs, Sandy Dennehy, Charlie Gallagher, Willis Carpenter, and Tom Noel,; my law partners and faithful staff at Benson & Case; Bob and Nancy Stocker, Kathleen Wells, Dave Felice, Brad Cameron, Joe Halpern, Mary Ewing, and all the volunteers who gathered signatures for the referendum petitions that the city refused to count; Larry Ambrose and the dedicated members of INC who supported and honored our efforts; Wendy Warner and Ed Hall, chairpersons of the Denver Republican and Democratic parties, who passed resolutions condemning the city’s actions; Chuck Bonniwell, who provided expert testimony about Denver’s acquisition of land for recreation along Cherry Creek in the 1930’s, and gave our effort media coverage in the Cherry Creek Chronicle; Jennifer Doran and Pam Quigley, who researched and copied newspaper articles about the flood of 1933 and the city’s acquisition of parcels of land along Cherry Creek at the Denver Public Library and Colorado History Museum; Joe Marisco, who spent six days at the clerk and recorder and assessor’s offices in Arapahoe county, copying deeds to parcels of land along Cherry Creek that the city acquired in the 1930’s; Richard Hentzell, Bill Stanfill, Dick Laugesen, Laura and Linda Gravina, and all of the financial donors who so generously provided funds for petitions and court costs.

Second, I am pleased to announce that Friends of Denver Parks will appeal Judge Stern’s decision, because we believe it is an injustice that the people of Denver were not allowed to vote before their park land was taken.  We will post news of the appeal on the website.

Third, in the near future Friends of Denver Parks will launch a ballot initiative to protect all remaining Denver parks from sale. We want to make sure that what happened here does not happen again.

Thanks again to all of you for your generous help and support.

John Case

BENSON & CASE, LLP

Court Document can be found here

 

Notices of Deposition

Dear Friends of Denver Parks,
Attached are copies of the notices of deposition for city officials and officials of DPS.
The deposition of city witnesses will take place March 13, 2014 at 9:00 am at the offices of Benson & Case.  The topics to be covered are listed in the notice of deposition.
The deposition of DPS witnesses will take place March 18, 2014 at 9:00 the offices of Benson & Case.  The topics to be covered are listed in the notice of deposition.
If anyone has any solid factual information about any of the topics in the deposition notices, please email such information to Judy Case at jjrcase@msn.com.  Please include the name and contact information including phone number and email of the witness who can verify the information.
Thanks for all your help.
John Case
BENSON & CASE, LLP

Please see documents here

2014-0227_pls_30_b_6_notice_for_city__county-1.pdf

2014-0227_pls_notice_30b6_depo_dps-1.pdf