Monday, May 29, 2006


Berkeley Lake this morning.

Memorial Day - 2006

Memorial day has become many things to many people. Some honor the war dead. Others honor those who served in the armed forces. Others simply honor family who have passed on.

Let me just acknowledge my and my father's contribution to the nation, small as it may have been. Here's a few nostalgic photos of bygone days.

The photo above is that of my father, circa 1939, at Fort Sill, Oklahoma where he appears to be a sergeant and, no doubt, where he went out of his way to raise as much hell as he could.

After my father graduated from Officer Candidate School at Yale University, he pinned on the brass bars of a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps.

My contribution began at Fort Polk, Louisiana, in June, 1972.

And, yes, that's me reloading my M-16 on the firing range at Fort Polk, Louisiana, circa 1972.

I honor those who have died in military service to this country.

I pray for the return of those who are today in harm's way fighting the war without end, the war that cannot be won.

I pray that the strutting peacock, George W., will, one day, be required to answer for what he has done to this country, it's proud soldiers and their families and for the destruction he has visited upon the wretched of the earth.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sweet Melissa

Sweet Melissa, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

This week's obligatory Sweet Melissa pic.

Butt, What About His Poop!

What goes in must come out.

I had thought I had seen everything with regard to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's and the Denver media's sickly obsessive infatuation with one another. But, no, this morning's Rocky Mountain News carries a piece (three entire pages) by Alan Guthright entitled, "Hectic schedule governs mayor's menu." The piece (Pulitzer material, no doubt) details the contents of each meal hizzoner consumed for an entire week.

My question is, shouldn't the reporter's follow-up--given this mutual admiration bond that's been established between the Hick and the media--be on the Mayor's poop? Maybe a week long detail of when, how much, consistency? I mean, isn't that a reasonable expectation?

GAWD! Who gives a shit!


(Photo by Marc Piscotty)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Oh What a Tangled Web...

As a follow-up to my Suzy Sycophant rant, and references therein to her apparent apologist role for the Civic Center Conservancy's infatuation with Daniel Libeskind's vision for the revitalization? remake? ruination? of Denver's Civic Center Park (upon which I also ranted), my buddy Suz At Large sent over a piece in the May 20th edition of the Rocky Mountain News in which columnist Voetz Chandler weighs in on the Civic Center issue.

FIRST OF ALL the unveiling of the Libeskind "vision" for Civic Center Park which was commissioned by the Civic Center Conservancy, will be JUNE 15 AT THE COLORADO CONVENTION CENTER.

The Chandler piece is so intriguing and revealing that I can't help but provide it here verbatim. It's a good read and, for me, affirms what I've known for a very, very long time: each city administration (the mayor and his/her appointees)--no matter how "reformation minded" or "revolutionary" or "fresh" or "new age" they may claim themselves to be, by the time the mayor is elected there is already established and entrenched at city hall, plain and simple, that Good Ol' Boys/Girls Club of backscratchers whom the public rarely sees or is even aware of. These are the folks who know what's best for you and me, the common slugs who vote occasionally and who watch--some of us more intently than others--the collapse of the city's infrastructure--especially our parks.

Voelz Chandler: A forum for big ideas

Town-hall meeting ready to firm up Civic Center plan
Mary Voelz Chandler
email bio

May 20, 2006

Civic Center watchers got the news they have been waiting for this week: the day when the public can see what architect Daniel Libeskind is proposing for this most public place in Denver.

The unveiling sponsored by the Civic Center Conservancy will be in the afternoon of June 15 at the Colorado Convention Center.

Thus will end months of guessing, gossiping and fuming over a process that has turned the remaking of Denver's civic core into a private discussion between a group of volunteers and the city's Parks & Recreation Department.

This town-hall meeting on Libeskind's Civic Center plans surfaced Tuesday during a meeting of the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission. Earlier, the Denver City Council's Public Amenities Committee was briefed on the pending cooperative agreement between the city and the conservancy.

But many questions remain, including what we will see. Even the parks planner working on this could only say that it would be a "framework" for ideas. That means "starting with big ideas" and moving from there, looking for a way to have people "respond to one idea of several ideas."
They want dialogue and they want it quickly: the public comment period on the plans is just 30 days after the presentation.

OK, then. Please remember to bring renderings.

Lingering suspicions

The landmark commission last fall took hits for its resistance to the city's pressure for remaking a historic district so a developer could build a tower in Bell Park. And for months, members have been asking just what their role is in terms of anything involving the city's Parks & Recreation Department.

Last Tuesday, city parks planner Helen Kuykendall, who was presenting information on the conservancy (and is a member of its board), said she knew the commission's agenda was full until Aug. 1. So, to fit into that 30-day public response period, could they hold a special meeting to consider Libeskind's proposals? The parks department really wanted to give a presentation to the commission, since it "looks to the commission for guidance."

The response at first was muted. Perhaps they, too, were wondering why there was a fast-track 30-day limit, during the summer, for a proposal that began brewing last fall when the conservancy retained Libeskind.

Commission member Stephen Leonard noted the group's role really was just advisory, right?

Not true, said Everett Shigeta, a planner who is part of the commission staff. They could have a meeting on this topic. And Leonard responded, "Without question, this is the most important issue the landmark commission will consider in the next 10 years. Civic Center is absolutely the most important collective piece of land and buildings in Denver."

As for that rush, "I want to see something in the same way we see other projects," Leonard said. "Many small projects come back to us two or three times to discuss whether it should be a 6-foot fence or a 4-foot fence."

It's getting chummy

The vice chairman of the commission was acting chair Tuesday, and as the meeting began, acknowledged he was on the conservancy board and would recuse himself if anyone had a problem with that.

"But we're not going to have a public decision or testimony or make a decision," said Dennis Humphries. "This is strictly informative."

Well, not really. Planner Kuykendall asked for something - that special meeting - about half-way through her presentation.

Humphries responded to her request by saying there was value in having a special meeting within that period, and the staff would coordinate it. He also prompted Kuykendall, reminding her of bits of information about the conservancy's plans for the big June rollout of this new look for Civic Center.

In the future, it might make more sense for conservancy representatives to sit at one end of the table and commission representatives to sit at the other, or for those who wear both hats to move away from the table altogether.

Surely, someone from the conservancy could have been there to support Kuykendall, and not someone who is supposed to be devoted to the interests of the commission and the public.
The city is broke, most of the time, and there is not enough money to help restore Denver's beloved but financially beleaguered park system. That is how the idea of a private group such as the conservancy has gotten so far on this plan with the public left basically in the dark.

The word on the street is that the mayor is drumming up major gifts to implement the conservancy's plans. Those grow out of the city's own master plan for Civic Center, which calls for $40 million in construction and renovation work.

"The mayor has spoken to several potential donors regarding the opportunity to help preserve, restore and invigorate Civic Center park," said mayoral spokeswoman Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, who had no dollar amounts to confirm or provide. "They have all asked to remain anonymous."
Which brings up the cooperative agreement, ready to be signed by the mayor, Parks & Recreation manager Kim Bailey, and city auditor Dennis Gallagher. The pact is for 20 years, and spells out that Parks is the final decision-maker and will receive numerous reports of conservancy activities and fundraising; that the conservancy's administrative budget will not exceed 20 percent of the funds raised annually for Civic Center, and other issues concerning the relationship and use of money.

And the conservancy's meetings are spelled out in terms of who can be on the board and other housekeeping issues, but not that the meetings are open to the public. Nor is it clear that these financial reports will be passed on to the city auditor for perusal. Before people warm up their pens, these are things to consider. It shines a light on the future and is an idea that needs no framework.

Mary Voelz Chandler writes about art and architecture. 303-892-2677 or

About Mary Voelz Chandler Mary Voelz Chandler has written about art and architecture for the Rocky Mountain News since the early 1990s. A native of St. Louis, she is a graduate of the University of Missouri. She has covered arts issues including funding and public art for several newspapers over the past 30 years. She is author of Greater Miami Opera: From Shoestring to Showpiece and is co-author of The Binghams of Louisville. Chandler lives in Denver.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mike Keefe Cartoon May 21 - The Denver Post


Suzy Sycophant

Susan "Sycophant" Barnes-Gelt, former Denver councilwoman, writes a column for the Denver Post that consistently plugs, in a fairly sickening syrupy manner, the administration of Denver's mayor John Hickenlooper. Her latest column, "Hick rolling to another term?" takes the proverbial cake.

Suffice it to say, Barnes-Gelt was, during the period of my incumbency with the City and County of Denver as an insufferable bureaucrat, was one of the brightest and outspoken councilpersons for the entire eight years she served in that body. Rumor was, however, that when Hickenlooper became mayor, Barnes-Gelt lusted after the appointed position of planning director. She didn't get it.

So, she started writing for the Denver Post. This past Sunday's column reads, in part:

Word is John Hickenlooper will stroll to re-election. The popular first-term mayor - after wisely deciding to stay put instead of running for governor - continues to enjoy a perpetual honeymoon. Nobody is itching to run against him, no scandal lurks, no interest group whines and his approval ratings approach triple digits.

In short, the economy is up and homeless numbers are down. Though job creation is stagnant, building cranes are visible around the city and garbage gets picked up every week.

Now, not that I doubt her conclusions about Hickenlooper's chances of winning a reelection (although I would take issue with his approval ratings approaching triple digits; the only triple digit poll number I'm aware of is 100. So, watch your pluralization there, Suzy). I, for one, if polled, would not support this guy. So, Suzy, there goes the "...triple digits..." I'm also betting there are a whole lot of Denver cops and city employees (no small numbers there!) who would gladly observe that their lives have never been more miserable with the possible exception of when Federico Pena moved into the mayor's chair back in 1983. Guess who was part of Pena's inner circle: Yup, Susan Barnes-Gelt.

Barnes-Gelt notes in her Post column that there are good reasons to keep Hick in the mayor's chair. She mentions the Denver's planning director, Peter Park who, Barnes-Gelt says "... is spearheading revolutionary changes that will transform the city into the place Denverites envision." That kinda scares the bejesus out of me. Barnes-Gelt was pretty much of an apologist for the secretive Civic Center Conservancy's honeymoon with Daniel Libeskind (the architect of the abortional [sic] addition to Denver's Art Museum) with regard to the "revitalization" of Civic Center. If that's the kind of "...revolutionary..." transformations Barnes-Gelt is suggesting, then, excuse me, I ain't buyin' it.

This era of politicians and political hacks and their more than willing sycophantic base believing they know best what the "people" want and need in their communities is bullshit, plain and simple.

Barnes-Gelt also tells us that the manager of parks and recreation, Kim Bailey, is one of the diamonds in the Hickenlooper administration because she's reactivated five of Denver's water fountains. This, in Barnes-Gelt's mind, is a rejuvenation of Denver's City Beautiful legacy from the dawn of the twentieth century. (These are not the fountains that provide you with a drink. These are the fountains you, um, watch.)

I love those fountains. But, guess what. The infrastructure of all Denver's parks is in horrible shape. There is no money in the honey pot to improve those components of a public parks and recreation operation that provide, not prettiness, but usefulness to the citizens of Denver. I guess one's meditation might be enhanced by the sound and sight of a fountain in a park. But, truth is, fountains are one of the most costly, maintenance intense endeavors a municipality can undertake.

It is bothersome to contemplate that city of Denver employee's merit increases, "bonuses," have suffered because the fountains had to rise. If that's not government by sham rather than substance, I don't know what is.

Well, anyway, Barnes-Gelt ends her Sunday column with: "Four more years! It's beginning to feel like a campaign."

Before I discovered the word, "sycophant," the term "kiss ass" sufficed. Take your pick, they both mean the same thing.

P.S. I think Suzy really, really wants to get back into Denver city government...the last refuge of unabashed liberalism, other than the Denver Post, that is.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The "Hate State" Revisited

A modest rally at the Colorado State Capitol on Saturday marked the ten year anniversary of the 6-3 decision by the Supreme Court (delivered by Justice Kennedy) in Romer vs. Evans.

You may recall, that a majority of the citizens of Colorado had, in a 1992 referendum, generally referred to as "Amendment 2," voted to interject into the Colorado Constitution verbiage obviating and prohibiting any political subdivision (and other government/political entities) from enacting laws/ordinances, policies or regulations that would provide equal protection under the Constitution of the United States to gay folk.

The story by Claire Martin from this morning's Denver Post is here. (Kathryn Scott Osler was the photographer.)

It's hard to believe it's been ten years already. And, now, both nationally and here in Colorado the drum beat of that same old hot button is echoing in the halls of capitols and the hearts and minds of good Christian folk who've seemed to have lost both their political party and their president to, um, more important matters. But, the shame for Colorado is, of course, that our dour, dimwitted, Dubya buttboy, Senator Wayne Allard, is leading that hate brigade; is renewing those vivid memories of those dangerous and dividing times of more than a decade ago.

Haven't we come just a wee bit closer in over a decade, Senator, to an understanding of what the words "equal protection" mean.

We must conclude that Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else. This Colorado cannot do. A State cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws. Amendment 2 violates the Equal Protection Clause, and the judgment of the Supreme Court of Colorado is affirmed.

Justice Kennedy writing for the majority

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Little Smile for a Thursday

For those of us who do not have children (other than the four-legged variety)!

Monday, May 15, 2006

The madness of King George

So, tonight Georgie will tap dance through the illegal immigration issue in order to, 1) attempt to pacify 90% of the American people (who've given up on this idiot) with regard to the shameful illegal immigration imbroglio he has ignored for six long years; and, 2) attempt to rally his "I'm melting, I'm melting..." (wicked witch of the east) base with some jingoistic nonsense about placing National Guard troops on the border for a while to "protect our borders from terrorist insurgencies" while singing the praises of "Guest Worker" programs that--get a life ya'll!--equal amnesty for up to twenty-million illegal aliens who inhabit the United States today.

Dubya doesn't know what the fuck he's doing unless Uncle Dick (Cheney) explains it to him and Cousin Karl affirms it. And, in case you're wondering, Dubya giving ya'll the finger is not a manufactured "illusion."

God save us from this bumpkin!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sweet Melissa

Sweet Melissa, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

A smile from Sweet Melissa. (Obligatory weekly dog picture.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Good Question! Significance of "Immigration" March On May Day!

An op-ed piece in last Saturday's Rocky Mountain News by Dave Kopel reads, in part:

"...the Denver dailies failed to report some essential parts of the story. For example, why was May Day picked as the nationwide date, rather than, say, Cinco de Mayo? The News said nothing at all, while the Post (April 26) made a single delicate reference to May 1 as a 'traditional day for labor protests.'

"More precisely, in 1889 the Marxist Second International declared May 1 to be international workers day, and forever after the day has been one of mass communist demonstrations against capitalism.

"Unlike The Washington Post and CNN, Denver reporters never acknowledged the role extremists played in organizing the May Day demonstrations. Syndicated opinion columnist Roger Hernandez wrote the only article in either paper (the News) to point out that International ANSWER was a key mover behind the demonstrations nationally. ANSWER is an ultra-left, anti-American organization with strong communist ties, and which supports tyrants such as Kim Jong-Il and Fidel Castro."

Kopel also reports that:

"...novelist Elena Poniatowska, who is cultural adviser to Mexican presidential candidate Manuel Lopez Obrador (currently in a close race for the July election), has done more than almost anyone to popularize the reconquista. In a July 2001 interview with the Mexican newspaper El Imparcial, she exulted, 'Mexico is recovering the territories yielded to the United States by means of migratory tactics.'"

The remainder of the Kopel piece speaks to the several other issues related to illegal immigrantion, including the prostitution of the English language to characterize this invasion from the southern border.

Stephen Colbert v. Dubya

Gotta watch Stephen Colbert's remarks at the White House Correspondent dinner last Saturday.

Democratic Representative Steny Hoyer thinks Colbert's remarks were in bad taste. Alternet provides this retort, which reads, in part:

Bad taste?! Bad taste?! Are you f-ing kidding me? If anyone came to me, as a nationally recognized figure, and asked with the camera and lights on whether I thought Stephen Colbert's speech was in "bad taste" I would try to avoid the drool accumulating in the corners of my mouth and say:

You know what's in bad taste? Trampling on the Constitution, sending people to other countries to be tortured, starting a war on false pretenses that has taken the lives of over 2000 soldiers and untold Iraqis, many of whom were women and children, sending people, without trial, in the most un-American fashion to a black hole off the coast where they sit and rot without hope of release, tortured because the president has played with the law to make it difficult to prosecute, spying on Americans illegally and claiming he can do it like some kind of a monarch.

And you wanna talk about a comedian's jokes being in bad taste? Shame on you.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Couple Things (First-Year Law Students - Newspapers - Writers)

First -Year Law Students

It is probably axiomatic that first-year law students who have fallen blindingly in love with the law--somewhat like adolescents experiencing their first crush--are indubitably egoists of the first order, pretentious to a fault. Even if, before they entered law school, these kids beamed normality, nice smiles and pleasant personalities, that first year of reading the law focuses those fine minds like blinders on a nag.

I was reading a first-year law student's blog the other day and he was opining about desecration of the flag of the United States of America. To paraphrase, he said (correctly) that desecration of the flag is not a crime in this country, that there is substantial case law that confirms that fact. He then went on to suggest that if an illegal alien wants to wipe their ass with the flag of the United States of America then, yes, that's their prerogative, that's their right...under the law.

Of course, the first-year law student--his infatuation with the law all-consuming, obsessive--neglects to realize that an illegal alien is an illegal alien. Operative word: Illegal. Yes, federal mandates require emergency health care, education and a number of other benefits for illegal aliens. But, I'm pretty sure that rights under the Constitution and the overwhelming paucity of case law (with regard to illegal aliens) do not give illegal aliens the same inalienable rights as citizens of the United States of America who can, indeed, wipe their ass with the flag of the United States of America if they're so inclined.

What the first-year law student fails to understand (those blinders keeping his focus so, well, focused) most citizens of the United States of America find the desecration of the flag, the disrespect for the flag of the United States of America at least offensive and, at most, actionable (a punch in the face, perhaps). Yes, those of us who lived through the Vietnam nightmare and the Civil Rights Movement of the '60s and '70s do, most likely, not object to the Stars and Stripes serving as a patch on the jeaned ass of some young thing or a Stars and Stripes hat or shirt. But, those of us who served our country in the Armed Forces and, indeed--probably more importantly--those of us who cradled our country, who prayed for our country, who feared the destruction of our country, who saw our country precariously close to the abyss, the final abyss whispered by the events of the '60s and '70s (including Kent State, Jack); those of us who came to love our country with an intensity younger generations don't seem to get; yes, we still find wiping one's ass with the Stars and Stripes offensive; we still find flying the Stars and Stripes upside down and below the flag of Mexico offensvie...regardless of Constitutional protections and case law supporting the same.

I do believe first-year law students gradually move beyond the inviolable notion that the universe revolves on the axis of the law and do come to understand that the rule of law in a free society is a necessisarily stabilizing influence--not the *fingernail of a saint to which one kneels and prays.

(*Whittaker Chambers)


It has been my contention that newspapers are the dinosaurs of the media, that their usefulness, their days are numbered.

From the Drudge report, comes the report that newspaper circulation has declined, on average, 2.6%.


Finally, from Garrison Keillor, comes a great article for writers. I'm providing a link to the Salt Lake Tribune, because our Rocky Mountain News (which also carried the piece) doesn't seem to have been able to post it on its website. The piece reads, in part:

Okay, let me say this once and get it off my chest and never mention it again. I have had it with writers who talk about how painful and harrowing and exhausting and almost impossible it is for them to put words on paper and how they pace a hole in the carpet, anguish writ large on their marshmallow faces, and feel lucky to have written an entire sentence or two by the end of the day.

It's the purest form of arrogance: Lest you don't notice what a brilliant artist I am, let me tell you how I agonize over my work. To which I say: Get a job. Try teaching eighth-grade English, five classes a day, 35 kids in a class, from September to June, and then tell us about suffering.

The fact of the matter is that the people who struggle most with writing are drunks. They get hammered at night and in the morning their heads are full of pain and adverbs. Writing is hard for them, but so would golf be, or planting alfalfa or assembling parts in a factory.

The biggest whiners are the writers who get prizes and fellowships for writing stuff that's painful to read, and so they accumulate long resumes and few readers and wind up teaching in universities where they inflict their gloomy pretensions on the young. Writers who write for a living don't complain about the difficulty of it. It does nothing for the reader to know you went through 14 drafts of a book, so why mention it?

The truth, young people, is that writing is no more difficult than building a house, and the only good reason to complain is to discourage younger and more talented writers from climbing on the gravy train and pushing you off.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Breed Specific Legislation (Dogs)

Better yet, let's ban people who turn beautiful animals into extensions of their particular sociopathic tendencies.

Kinda sappy video, but it does get the message across.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Handsome Boy

Handsome Boy, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

Okay, here's the "handsome boy" that should provide the balance to the "pretty girl" shot from yesterday's trek around Sloan's Lake in Northwest Denver.

Illegal Aliens - An Informed Source

My niece, Mimi, sent this to me. It documents some thoughts on illegal immigration from a retired and authoritative source.

This piece reads, in part:

Since I have lived and worked on the Mexican border all of my life, I am most familiar with the problems presented by illegal Mexican immigration and I would like to focus on that aspect. -

According to former Chief of Police, Ruben Ortega, 80% of the street level drug dealers in Salt Lake City, Utah are illegal Mexican Aliens. I believe we can extrapolate that percentage to any major city in the Southwest. - According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, 24% of those incarcerated in the United States are foreign born, most of them Mexicans.

According to the California State authorities, that state must build the equivalent of one grammar school a day in order to accommodate the population growth of school aged children, again, largely due to illegal immigrants, most of whom are illegal Mexicans.

I submit to you that Mexico has instituted policies which encourage its citizens to sneak into the United States. For example: - Mexico has discontinued the government subsidies for propane, diesel, tortillas, beans, electricity, housing, bread and commodities for poor people.

Mexico has opened additional consulates in practically every state in the union in order to assist its citizens obtain U.S. benefits, "rights" and to assure legal help in the instances of "discrimination" in employment, law enforcement and in any other legal matter.

Lawyers retained at the behest of Mexican officials quickly take civil action against any U.S. citizen who chooses to protect himself or his property against illegal Mexicans. This is designed to deter any interference by U.S. residents in the free flow of aliens and drugs across our borders.

Mexican school children, from the primary grades, are taught that the United States "stole" (from Mexico) the land now called California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and Utah. Furthermore, these children are taught that were it not for the United States "stealing" California and the gold therein, that Mexico would be a superpower today. I have heard that with my own ears. That is no exaggeration.

The President of Mexico actively encourages its citizens to illegally emigrate to the U.S. and in fact frequently refers to those who do so as "heroes".

I can give you the names of eight high-level Mexican politicians who have left office in the last decade with a minimum of $700 million each. These ill-gotten funds could have been used for the good of the Mexican people. Based on the above facts, I see no reason for any change in U.S. immigration laws. But I see a great need for change in the way Mexico imposes upon the United States. The American people are expected to provide free medical care, housing, education, food and other basic needs to illegal Mexican aliens. These are all services that should be provided to our own elderly, handicapped and poor. I do see a need to alter the way in which the United States administers its immigration laws however.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Gray day on the lake

Gray day on the lake, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

Walked to Sloan's Lake today and caught this pretty girl just hangin' out.

Kent State Anniversary - Thirty-Six Years Ago

Ohio (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young)

Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming, we're finally on our own.

This summer I hear the drumming, four dead in Ohio.
Gotta get down to it, soldiers are cutting us down. Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground?
How can you run when you know?Gotta get down to it, soldiers are cutting us down.
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground? How can you run when you know?
Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming, we're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming, four dead in Ohio, four dead in Ohio, four dead in Ohio, four dead in Ohio, how many more?Four dead in Ohio, four dead in Ohio, four dead in Ohio, how many more?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Every Picture Tells a Story

This was a flyer passed out during Monday's "A Day Without Immigrants" march in Denver.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Fuel to the Fire -- Illegal Aliens -- Are We Intimidated Yet??

This morning, Denver's Immigration Rights Day (is that what they called it? Or, was it "A Day Without Immigrants??") began at 9 A.M. in Viking Park in Northwest Denver, just blocks from my and David's 1893 Victorian. Suffice it to say, for now, that David and I have lived in this house, in this neighborhood for about twenty years.

I had made the decision two days before to attend the immigration event; to walk the route of the event and, of course, to capture the event in pictures.

My parents were married in Northwest Denver at Saint Dominic Church which is across the street from Viking Park. The fist image I captured this morning was that of the Padre (a Domican priest) watching the beginning of the gathering across the street with one of the young participants--an altar boy, perhaps--by his side.

The park is called Viking Park because it is directly across the street from North High School (thus, the North High "Vikings") which, today, is primarily Hispanic. And, it is the high school that my mother graduated from in, I believe, 1923. It is, I believe, an architecturally beautiful school that deserves the money being dedicated to (results of a ballot issue that raised our property taxes) it's maintenance.

I should also tell you that my mother--Denver born--lived only blocks from North High School as she grew up, the child of second generation immigrants: Her father Irish, her mother Italian.

And, I am obliged to tell you that my parents lived across the street from Viking Park during the first years of their marriage.

The reason I advised that David and I have lived in our wonderful neighborhood for twenty years (and let's get this out of the way at the outset) is that among the sixty or seventy or eighty thousand participants in today's event in Denver, the only physically threatening episode I encountered was a young Hispanic man dressed in a t-shirt covered with the Mexican flag and, as I was walking down the street (I am, by the way, an old white-haired, white-skinned, white guy) the young man said, "Hey, get outa the hood you peckerwood." He paused a moment to see what my reaction would be. I simply stared at him as if he were, at least, stupid and, at most, "challenged." He then saw another white guy and walked over to him and said the same thing: "Hey, get outa the hood you peckerwood."

This was a very well organized event. There were red-shirted parade monitors everywhere who advised folks to get out of the street and move here or move there. Also, today's uniform was white; a display of hope, so said the parade honchos several days ago. And, American flags were abundant.

Even one with Che peeking out from behind it.

There was also an abundance of Mexican flags and t-shirts today which, of course, is nothing new. And, as I read the reports from around the country, the placards carried by the folks were pretty much the same from LA to Houston, from Chicago to New Jersey to Denver: "Today we March, Tomorrow we Vote;" "I Am Not A Criminal; "We are America; "Si se puede! (Yes, it can be done.)"

Once again, these are highly controlled, ingeniously orchestrated events.

I walked south on Speer Boulevard from Viking Park. The demonstration route was to follow Speer Boulevard into downtown Denver, eventually terminating at Civic Center Park and the State of Colorado Capitol, and I wanted to get a good vantage point for some descriptive pics. (That's the downtown Denver skyline behind the green arcs of the Speer Boulevard bridge over the South Platte River."

The event kicked off precisely at 10:30 P.M. and, from my vantage point near the Speer Boulevard bridge, the front line of the demonstration, march, parade, whatever, was quite impressive, quite colorful.

You'll note the presence of many red-shirted functionaries who kept the event moving and under control. And, yes, I saw none of the participants become angry or violent or aggressive (to non-participants) other than my peckerwood friend who, at the beginning the event--as I noted--made something of a fool of himself.

Dare I point out that the tallest flag in the entire demonstration was that of Mexico. I'm not sure what significance that has. (No, I am sure what significance that has. Sorry.)

I walked with the folks into downtown Denver. Now, most big city downtown environs are canyons of steel and stone, tall buildings that provide great acoustics. And, this particular point in the parade/march/demonstration was one of the best spots to hoot and holler and whistle...which most of the trudging folks quickly figured out. It was quite impressive.

I did not follow the folks all the way to Civic Center Park and the State Capitol where, of course, the rhetoric was spewed and the comfort of all those compadres was felt. I've heard it all before. And, frankly, I'm growing quite tired of their polemic; a polemic that does not include the word "illegal."

I walked back home (about three miles) with my iPod shuffle cranked. I wondered, as I reentered my Northwest Denver neighborhood, if I could have kicked the peckerwood kid's ass. As much as I run and walk, yeah, I probably could have. Better yet, could I have engaged the kid in a conversation about me and my partner who've lived in the "hood" for twenty years and my mother who grew up in the "hood" and my mother and father who lived in the "hood" and... Ah, shit... Let me give myself a break here. The peckerwood kid wouldn't have understood the significance of any of that. Afterall, all of us white folks stole this land from him personally in 1848. We're the immigrants. Right?