On March 30, 2015, Friends of Denver Parks filed its Reply Brief in the Colorado Court of Appeals. Friends is asking the appellate Court to declare that Hampden Heights North Park is city park land, which cannot be sold to DPS without a vote of the people that is required by Charter Section 2.4.5. The issue before the court is bigger than one park. At stake is the right of Denver citizens to participate in their city government, as the Charter requires, and whether the court will permit a public trial in which Denver citizens can present their case to a jury. Here is a quote from the conclusion of the Reply Brief:
“Will the Court of Appeals enforce the peoples’ right of constitutional self-governance embodied in Charter § 2.4.5? Mayor Hancock took 10.77 acres from a park that, by Charter, belonged to the people of Denver. City officials denied citizens their right to vote on the taking. The Denver District Court entered a summary judgment that prevented citizens from presenting evidence to a neutral factfinder in a public trial. DPS used the land to build an elementary school in a flood plain below a dam that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers declared unsafe in 2014. Appellants respectfully submit that placing 800 school children in the path of a future flood – without the voter approval the Charter requires – so the Mayor can claim the political benefits associated with opening a domestic violence center is the opposite of constitutional self-government.”
To read the entire brief, click here: Other filed documents can be found here. The full report from the U.S Army Corp of Engineers can be found here
Posted in Hentzell Park Update
Tagged Army Corp of Engineers, Charter Section, Cherry Creek Dam, Colorado Court of Appeals, court of appeals, Denver citizens, Denver District Court, Denver Public Schools, Flood Plain, Friends of Denver Parks, Friends of Denver Parks appeal, Mayor Hancock
Attached is our reply brief in the Colorado Supreme Court in support of our Petition for Writ of Certiorari.
When you read the brief (it’s only 11 pages double spaced and written in plain English), you will see that the city turned over a treasure trove of documents in discovery on February 6.
The documents show that HHNP always was considered a designated park – when the Charter was amended in 1955, when it was amended in 1983, when it was amended in 1996, and especially when the city adopted the new zoning code in 2010.
In other words, I am brimming with optimism that we will prove our case and get justice.
To all of you who have worked tirelessly to locate witnesses, donate money for court costs, and help us and encourage us in so many ways, I am truly grateful.
Please see document here
February 2014 Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle
Former Councilwoman Thrown Out of Key-Park Meeting
City Boards Cleansed of Pro Park Members
See PDF provided by Dave Felice
By Keith Thompson
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has been bedeviled by citizens who are protesting his administration’s commercialization and giveaway of Denver Parks and open space, including protesters who have shown up at public appearances of the mayor and members of his cabinet. Moreover, there has been increasing media coverage of his actions regarding parks and open space to his administrations ire. Westwords front page story for its December 31 edition was Titled “Parks and Wreck – In Mayor Hancock/s world-class city, everyone matters – except park lovers,” written by Allen Pendergast. The story blasts Hancocks commercialization of the city’s parks and the giving away for development of a portion of Hentzell Park.
Former Mayor Contributes
Park advocates are also gaining important allies in their fight against the powerful Denver mayor. Wellington Webb, the popular former mayor of Denver, and his wife Wilma recently joined Friends of Denver parks, the group that is fighting for Hentzell Park, and is the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the City. Reportedly the couple also made a generous financial contribution to the no-profit group. Webb wrote to the group, “I believe in the protection of Denver parks within the city and in the mountains. I do not support the use of park space for development.” He added, “I believe we should maintain what we have and acquire additional park space for future generations.” the fact that Webb, who was Denver’s first African American mayor, supports Hancock’s opponents in the Hentzell Park fight was a serious blow to Hancock’s pride and his standing in the African American community, according to insiders.
Hancock Publicity Campaign
In response Hancock has gone on a public relations campaign to bolster his deteriorating public image while privately retaliating against any and all parks advocates that hold positions on boards and commissions within the City and County of Denver. In December the mayor’s office announced that Hancock was forming a new group to be titled “Mayors for Parks” with Fort Worth’s Mayor Betsey Price to purportedly advocate for more federal funding for municipal parks. He wrote in an article in the Denver Business Journal: “Preserving and expanding our green, open spaces in Denver is not only smart, it is critical to the future success of our city.” Parks advocates in Denver found the mayor’s transparent public relations attempt to be somewhat disingenuous if not dishonest. Jamie Johnson ruefully noted, “He is nothing more than a world class hypocrite. While forming groups for concepts he apparently doesn’t believe in, why doesn’t he get together with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and start ‘Mayors for Marital Fidelity.’ It is not what you say in public it is what you do behind closed doors that counts. ” Parks advocate Dave Felice was equally blunt, “Frankly, I think this mayor is intent on destroying the parks.”
Hardball Or Dirty Politics?
While the mayor is publicly trying to soften his anti-park public image, his administration is purging all boards and commission of any and all parks advocates according to insiders. Continue reading
Posted in Hentzell Park Update, Park Advocates
Tagged Central Rec Center, City Charter, Denver Charter, Denver Parks and Recreation, Hampden Heights North Park, Hentzell Park, Jeanne Robb, Jeanne Robb Central Rec Center, Mary Ewing, Mayor Hancock, Mayor Wellington Webb, PRAB