Friday, January 26, 2007

Sarah's Happy Friday (Sort Of!)

After chasing her tennis ball for a half-hour
and walking the lake this morning, Sarah
contemplates yet another snow storm this
weekend (our sixth in as many weeks).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

So, You Want To Vote in Denver -- Good Luck!

Ruminating now on the Denver Election Commission's Keystone Kop performances, backed up by the stalwart scurrility Sequoia Voting Systems has inflicted on the citizens of Denver (aided, certainly, obviously by the woo-hoo collaboration of the DEC), it has become expected that yet another effort to disenfranchise Denver's electorate, or a goodly portion thereof, is inevitable. Could we expect anything else?

Dare I provide the litany: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Seems the DEC may have disenfranchised about 17,600 of Denver's citizens for this coming January 30th "Special Election," that will decide the fate of the Denver Election Commission itself... the single ballot question asking whether or not to disband the Denver Election Commission and establish an elected Clerk and Recorder who would then hire a Director of Elections.

Please recall that it is estimated that 18,000 of Denver's citizens were disenfranchised during the most recent General Election on November 7th, 2006, due to the DEC's bungling and reliance upon Sequoia Voting Systems (the above links provide the whole sordid tale).

Reports today from the Rocky Mountain News and Colorado Confidential, explain that --here we go again--the DEC relied upon Sequoia Voting Systems to prepare ballots and envelopes for the January 30th election (an all-mail election). Problem is , the DEC didn't update voter addresses by cross-checking current voter lists with the National Change of Address database, as suggested by the United States Post Office, before mailing the Sequoia produced packets to voters. The consequence: 17,600 ballots were returned to the post office an undeliverable as addressed. Further, the return envelope produced by Sequoia was identified by the US Post Office as "non-compliant" and could not be read by the Post Office's automated machines, thus requiring hand-sorting by postal employees, costing the taxpayers of Denver at least $22,500.00.

US Post Office district manager, Dean Granholm advised that nine teleconferences were held to assist county election offices with mail ballot procedures, none of which saw the participation of the Denver Election Commission. Additionally, Granholm said, "Unfortunately, Denver City and County did not provide communication needed to achieve success [with the all-mail ballot]. They did not send any information regarding the date of the election, volume of the mailing, the design of the absentee ballot envelopes, the final packet, or the actual date of mailing until it was too late to make any needed changes."

The DEC's response: Alton Dillard, DEC's spokesman, was quoted in the News as saying the DEC " aware of the letter [from Granholm] and will meet with USPS [United States Postal Service] officials when time allows. These are the kinds of issues that can occur when turning around an election in three weeks." Do the word "smug," come to mind, ya'll? "When time allows..." Give me a fuckin break!

"Man who trip over same stone twice, deserve to break neck."

I had reservations about abolishing the DEC via the January 30th "Special Election." No reservations now, bro.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The More Things Change... 32nd Avenue - Highland Park - Fags Beware

Supposing, not surprisingly, that the more things change, the more they stay the same (as they say), I can report that evidence of this supposition has, of late--for, at least, the past three or so months--materialized (as Medusa arising before Perseus), as David and I walk, each workday, the stretch of road on 32nd Avenue between Federal Boulevard and Tejon. Yes, David walks to work every day from our old house near 32nd and Lowell to 17th and Lawrence. Each afternoon, Sarah (our Alaskan Malamute) and I walk the same path David takes in the morning, where we meet him on the other side of the newly opened Highland Bridge, over I25, just this side of the South Platte River. We then walk back home together.

Several times now--in as many months--as we walk 32nd Avenue from Tejon to Federal Boulevard back toward our West Highlands neighborhood, epithets have been hurled from passing vehicles and from passersby on the other side of the street. The epithets, of course, emphasize the word "fag," or "faggot," and, just this past Thursday, the tag-end of the now familiar harangue was: "You don't deserve to live!" Another epithet opined that faggots shouldn't be allowed to have that kind of dog.

Why faggots should not be allowed to have an Alaskan Malamute, slips beyond my--albeit feeble-- ability to understand the cogencies (or lack thereof) of those who strut their stupidity with such superb temerity. But, of course, such is the democratization of a politically correct society (or segment of society), where absurdity of thought is necessarily wrapped in respectability and given credence in spite of better minds suggesting the same is baloney.

Like Perseus, David and I do not directly confront the innate wickedness of the those who toss the epithets they surely, likewise toss as off-hand, extempore, screeching harangues at the face of their color teevees when one quarterback or tight end or wide receiver fucks the play. No, they are safe from a retort--perhaps physical-- from the little men in the teevee . They are also safe from David and me who, of course, intellectually conclude--without a word between us--that life is too short; dipshits will be dipshits and, besides, I don't have a conceal/carry permit for my Colt .45 automatic pistol which I may or may not (I'm not tellin!) carry with me on my daily trek down 32nd Avenue.

It is instructive, perhaps, to link here to pieces I wrote more than two decades ago with regard to the particular kind of hate lately emerging (or, perhaps, it's been there all along?), along 32nd Avenue. Suffice it to say, hate spewed from Latinos along 32nd Avenue and the "love the queer, hate the sin," hate from the religious Fundamentalists isn't much different, isn't much removed, one from the other.

Curiously, for more than the last three months, our daily trek has seen--beginning in Highland Park, at 32nd, between Grove and Federal Boulevard--drunks and derelicts, druggies and delinquents carousing, passed-out; smoking, popping, injecting their particular ticket to Nirvana in Highland Park while, on 32nd Avenue itself--usually along the stretch that borders North High School--soliciting funds (spare change, a dollar, a quarter), of passersby. Um, yes, they even side-up to the faggots (who, surely with such incredible disposable income, can spare what they've got in their pockets!), unabashedly claiming they need change for the bus or, incredibly, in one case, a young man claimed he had diabetes and he broke his blood-sugar tester (grabbing it from his pocket and holding in front us), and that he could buy a new one for nineteen dollars and couldn't we help him out 'cause he had to check his blood every other hour and ...

To the point: Stuff is goin' down on 32nd Avenue and in Highland Park.

Monday, January 15, 2007


In spite of (or, perhaps, because of), it being only 19 degrees in Denver today, this is something you will probably never see in LA or NYC.

Now, that's blue!

Denver's 311 - Don't Hold Your Breath! (RE: Highland Bridge)

Accessing the new Highland Bridge that crosses I25, is possible, or course, from either end of the bridge by crossing Platte Street from the sourth or Central Street from the north. (I know, it's not technically "south," or "north." But, you know what I mean.) Problem is, CDOT and the City have yet to mark the crosswalks, install PED CROSSING signs or--as the case with Central--four-way stop signs. Crossing Platte Street is usually no problem. Platte Street fronts the charming apartment/condo/business development just north of the Platte River and, on most days (yes, Sarah and I cross Platte Street five days a week--from 34th and Lowell--to meet David who walks to and from work every day), and traffic there is relatively light and slow. Central Street is, however, an issue for the pedestrian. Central Street is one of the access/outlets to/from the 20th Street ingress/egress to/from downtown Denver, with on and off ramps along the way to/from I25. Suffice it to say, most traffic on Central Street past the Highland Bridge mirrors the proverbial bat-outa-hell. The pedestrian who crosses Central Street had better beware. Not only is the traffic fast and furious on Central, vehicles turning onto Central from 16th Street ignore the stop sign. Drivers seldom "totally pause" when making the turn from 16th to Central unless they fear mayhem from the oncoming flow down Central.

Okay. Still with me?

Back in July, 2006, John Hickelooper's (Mayor of Denver) administration ballyhooed the establishment of "3-1-1: Denver Gets it Done." In the mayor's words and the accompanying hype, here's what this "revolutionary" service to citizens was supposed to accomplish:

“The 3-1-1 system will revolutionize Denver’s approach to customer service by enabling residents and businesses to reach a live, knowledgeable person with just one call to City Hall,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper. “Gone are the days of sifting through over 1,200 listings for Denver City services in the phone book’s ‘blue pages.’ Whether you need a park permit application, a pothole filled, or merely have a question, all you need is one number: 3-1-1.”

When calls come in to 3-1-1, trained customer service agents will provide information on the spot or assign a tracking number to the inquiry if a service is requested, such as fixing a broken traffic light. The tracking number allows citizens to follow their requests for service through the City system online at Callers can also find out the status of a specific request or add more information or comments by referring to their specific 3-1-1 tracking number by phone, e-mail or fax.

In preparing to launch the 3-1-1 system, the City documented business processes in agencies throughout the City to find opportunities for greater efficiency and accountability. By assigning a tracking number to service requests, the City is able to better evaluate its performance.
So--you know me!--I thought, okay, I'll try it. So, I opened a case via Internet with the online utility the mayor told us all was a "...revolution[ary]...approach to customer service..." I opened a case (regarding the pedestrian issue on both sides of the Highland Bridge) on January 4th. And, each day since then, I've checked my case to see what resolution the city would provide and, to date, the only notation in the "Manage Case" functionality is, and I paraphrase, "No solution found for this case." Now, I had to paraphrase because, for two days now, the full functionality of the online 3-1-1 has been down, dead, unresponsive. Here's the menu that hasn't worked for two days.

"Revolutionary," huh. The Hick must use a different dictionary than I.

Hedging my bets a bit, on the same day I opened a "case" on the 3-1-1 system, I sent an email to Councilwoman Judy Montero as follows:

Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 11:09 AM
To: Montero, Judy H. - City Council District #9
Subject: Highland Bridge

Dear Councilwoman:

I am perplexed by the absence of stop signs, crosswalks at both Platte and Central Streets, at either end of the Highland bridge. Are these forthcoming? It is very dangerous crossing both of those streets, to access the bridge.

Thank you
Six days later--there was an weekend in there--I received this response from Councilwoman Montero's aide, Kim Kucera:

Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 1:09 PM

Subject: RE: Highland Bridge


The information I have is as follows:

On the Central Street side CDOT is saying the curb ramps are in place for the crossing. Brian Mitchell, Traffic Engineer for the City of Denver is coordinating with the project team to get the stop signs in place. I will try to find out a more definitive timeline for you and e-mail that shortly. Once the stops signs are in place the city has agreed to place the crosswalk.

Platte Street: the curb ramps are in place, the crosswalk and ped warning signs (not stop signs) have been ordered but have been delayed because of the recent weather. They should be there shortly.

Way to go, Kim!

As for the Hick's "revolutionary" customer service enhancement; an enhancement hyped by Hick 's Administration as something that had evolved from a thorough review of " processes in agencies throughout the City to find opportunities for greater efficiency and accountability..." All this to better serve citizens, taxpayers of Denver. Well, um, it ain't workin' guys. At least, in my case, it didn't.

Snake oil hype--in case the Hickies don't know it--creates expectations in the minds of those who buy it. I never have bought it. But, the curiosity of this whole thing is that a vast majority of Denverites still just love the Hick; this cocoa and sleds, Vespas and Saturns, Happy Holiday's--oops!--Merry Christmas mayor.

Go figure!

P.S. This morning, January 16th, the 3-1-1 site was again functional. Here's the 3-1-1 "Manage Case" verbiage, verbatim (note the "solutions considered comments):

Manage Case

Case Information

Status Routed to Agency

Problem Summary

Date Created
01/04/07 1:55PM
Date Closed
Incident Address

Notes Summary

Summary Added By Date

Highland Pedestrian Bridge - No Pedestrian Walkway
At either end of the newly opened Highland bridge across I25, there are no pedestrian walkways (stop...
George 01/04/2007 1:55PM

Solutions Considered

There are no attempted Solutions for this Case

Sequence Number

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ah, More Snow - Really Cold in Denver

This, verbatim, from this morning's Rocky Mountain News
(Pictures--not from the News--are of Denver's measly 19" in 1913)

Snow forecasts run 1-12 inches
Only agreement: It will be bone-chilling, with subzero lows

By Laressa Bachelor, Rocky Mountain News January 11, 2007

Forecasters remain a bit at odds on exactly how much snow the next storm will bring to the area, but they do agree frigid weather is on the way, beginning today.

Meteorologists said the storm will likely start with light drizzle before it turns to snow.
A second arctic front is expected on Sunday, and it will keep temperatures near the zero mark before things start to warm up on Tuesday. Winds could be a problem, though not all forecasters agree. Some forecasters say that gusts of up to 30 mph will create visibility problems. Others said they don't believe that winds will be a factor. Predictions for when the storm will move out of the area range from Saturday to Monday, with the worst-case scenario for snow-weary residents being one that has flurries lasting through Monday. Snow totals are all over the map, with the National Weather Service saying that as little as 1 to 3 inches might fall in the Denver area, while others expect from 6 inches to a foot. Predictions Forecasts by different agencies on the storm arriving at the end of this week are:

National Weather Service Thursday night 1-3 inches Friday high 13, lowminus 8; Saturday high 6,low minus 1; Sunday high 12, low minus 4 Sunday nightinto Monday Thursday night 4-8 inches Friday high 20, low 6;Saturday high 21, low 7; Sunday high 18, low 3 Sunday afternoon

Weather Central Thursday night 3-6 inches Friday high 8, lowminus 10; Saturday high 7, low minus 4; Sunday high 12, low minus 4 Sunday night

CBS 4 News Late Thursday into Friday 6-12 inches Friday high 9, lowminus 7; Saturday high 6, low minus 5; Sunday high 11, low minus 4 Sunday

Denver's 7 Late Thursday into Friday 3-6 inches, 6-12 in foothills Friday high 17, low zero; Saturday high 10, low minus 2; Sunday high 3, low minus 7 Sunday

9News Thursday night into Friday 5-7 inches Friday high 12, lowminus 5; Saturday high 10,low minus 3; Sunday high 13, low minus 4 Monday night

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Visit From Flat Stanley

I suspect there are a whole lot of parents with small children who have heard of Flat Stanley. I have no children--except, of course, for the four-legged ones-- but I do have nieces and nephews and one of them, Jack from New Jersey, has asked his Uncles George and David to participate in his third grade project centered on the adventures of Flat Stanley.

Flat Stanley emerged from a children's book which chronicles the unfortunate incident of a bulletin board falling on Stanley, thereby flattening him. At first, Stanley was distraught about the inability of the doctors to "cure" his flatness. However, he soon found out that being flat had its advantages. For example, he found that he could mail himself to his friends and, therefore, partake of adventures anywhere in the world.

My nephew, Jack, mailed Flat Stanley to me and David. My mission is, therefore, to provide an adventure for Flat Stanley--in words and pictures--that will be sent back to Jack where he can share Flat Stanley's adventure in Denver with his classmates.

All of this to explain that posts to this blog will necessarily be sporadic until I can put together the greatest adventure ever for Flat Stanley on behalf of my precious nephew, Jack.

So, for the few who check-out this blog on occasion, I'll be back...just as soon as I give Flat Stanley a memorable adventure.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

From "Shock and Awe," to "Stay the Course," To "Surge and Accelerate," To "Sacrifice"

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann (video) provides yet another articulate, pointed (stabbing, even), denunciation of George W. Bush's war. And, the metamorphosis of John McCain--now, taking on the neocon mantra; courting the neocon base of pundits and preachers, warmongers and profiteers--does not escape Olbermann's eloquence.

The video linked above (more than ten minutes), provides, in part, the following:

"And our sons and daughters and fathers and mothers will be sacrificed there tonight, Sir, so that you can say you did not 'lose in Iraq.'

"Our policy in Iraq has been criticized for being indescribable, for being inscrutable, for being ineffable.

"But it is all too easily understood now.

"First, we sent Americans to their deaths for your lie, Mr. Bush.

"Now we are sending them to their deaths for your ego.

"If what is reported is true — if your decision is made and the "sacrifice" is ordered — take a page instead from the man at whose funeral you so eloquently spoke this morning — Gerald Ford: Put pragmatism and the healing of a nation, ahead of some kind of misguided vision.