Gentrification in Denver: The Challenges, The Possibilities and the People

DENVER — The SEED Institute at Regis University College of Business & Economics has joined forces with the Alliance for a Sustainable Colorado to organize a three-night event that will examine in depth the pros and cons of gentrification in the Denver, Colorado metro area.

The first night will focus on the challenges that Denver residents face as population rapidly rises along the front range and competition for housing increases. Some of the key challenges include rising rents, rapid inflation in housing costs and property taxes; however, threats to neighborhood identities is also a pressing issue. These tensions will be examined by a panel of experts who will also facilitate a discussion with attendees. Panelists include: Tammy Lewis & Ken Gould (Professors at Brooklyn College in New York City and authors of _Green Gentrification: Urban Sustainability & the Struggle for Environmental Justice_ (Routledge)), Damien Thompson (Director of the Food Justice Center at Regis University), and Beth Schaefer Caniglia (Director of the SEED Institute and author of _Resilience, Environmental Justice & the City_ (Routledge)).

The second night’s panel will focus on solutions to gentrification that stave off displacement and foster diversity as neighborhoods are renewed. Two neighborhood regeneration projects – Sun Valley and the Federal Corridor – will take center stage as examples of regenerative development that places community engagement and social justice at the center. Three development professionals will be featured on the panel: Callahan Seltzer, CityCraft Ventures; Chris Parr, Sun Valley Eco-District; and Michael Leccese, ULI Colorado. Tammy Lewis and Ken Gould will moderate this panel and the discussion that follows.

The third night of the conference is focused on constructing a local, collaborative vision of the Denver residents want to create in the face of gentrification struggles. Attendees from the first two nights, as well as newcomers, are encouraged to join this visioning exercise, which will be led by Ken Sagendorf, Beth Schaefer Caniglia, and Damien Thompson from Regis University. The outcome will be a collaborative vision of the challenges facing our rapidly growing city and the possibilities for how to shape housing, diversity and neighborhood identities in the face of these challenges.

All conference events are free to the public; however, registration is encouraged. Each evening’s events will begin at 5:30 p.m. with networking, heavy hors d’oeurvres, and a cash bar. Panel discussions and the visioning exercise will take place 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. and the evening will close at 8:30 p.m. Children are welcome at the conference on all three nights, and simultaneous translation will be available for monolingual Spanish speakers.

Those interested in attending can register for each night individually at the following links:

DAY 1: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2730027 [1]

DAY 2: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2730030 [2]

DAY 3: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2730033 [3]

Questions can be directed to Jenna Oliver at [email protected]

gentrification conference flyer with links embedded

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North Denver Tribune

Noticing the people living at Sloan’s Lake

SLOAN LAKE — For many years, I have walked around Sloan’s Lake three or four times a week, in all kinds of weather, and at all hours of the day and night.  I’m usually lost in my own world, listening to Shakira on my iPod, or walking with to my best friend at 5am, engrossed in our conversations about life and love and our children. This summer, we started to notice that tents were set up along the perimeter of the lake… but it didn’t merit much more than a passing comment: we are both very busy and we have so much to talk about when we see each other that we don’t usually notice what is going on around us. Then this fall my friend got too busy to walk much, and I lost my iPod, so I began to notice more.

First I noticed that the brush had been cut around the lake and that all of the tents had disappeared. Except one. There was one tent, near the bridge off Sheridan, that was there day after day. The man and woman who lived there were often sitting outside, and I felt like I was walking through their yard, so we started to say hello.  Then November came, and as I talked to my students and my own children about all of the blessings in our lives, I realized that I knew nothing about these people who I greeted every day, and what led them to be living in a park. So I began to bring them food, (Tamale Kitchen is their favorite!), and the conversation began.

At first, we talked about how the lights from the businesses on Sheridan look like Christmas lights.  Todd and Kim, it turns out, are very positive.  Then one day, I asked how it was that their tent was still up when everyone else had left.  Todd shared that he was a Lieutenant, and had done two tours of duty in Afghanistan, so the police officers respect him and usually leave him alone.  And their story began to unfold.

Todd is a caretaker of all of the people that live in his corner of the park, some of whom have lived at Sloan’s Lake for years.  He and Kim, who are not a couple, came to live together in the most tragic of ways. Todd was good friends with Kim’s husband Joe, who was also a veteran.  Joe had a spinal injury he sustained in the Vietnam War and confined to a wheelchair.  Todd tells me that when Joe would fall asleep at night, all of his worldly possessions would fall out of his chair, and so Todd would pick them up for him and make sure that he kept everything together. As he tells it, Joe and Kim were always together, until a month ago when Kim had to spend some time in jail for vagrancy. When she was gone, Joe was fatally shot in a fight and pushed into the lake.  When Kim got out, she was inconsolable. “She was lost and needed somebody and had nowhere else to go, so I take care of her,” said Todd.

Todd and others who I have met at their tent, have such tenderness for Kim that it gives me faith in the human spirit.  “She’s grieving hard and I don’t know what to do for her,” he says.  He knows something about grief.  Todd had a full life as a fly-fishing and elk hunting guide outside of Glenwood Springs.  He had a wife and two children.  But memories of losing troops in Afghanistan haunted him constantly, and then a year ago, his mother and two sisters were killed in a car accident.  “I got really depressed and started drinking,” he said.  “I could get help, but I’m too proud.  I’m trying to handle this on my own.”

Todd and Kim say that many people come by and offer food or blankets.  “We call them angels,” she says.  Others ignore them or treat them “like lowlifes.”  Life in the park is very dangerous, “sometimes more dangerous than Afghanistan.” People get in fights; they get shot, and they are continually worried about their possessions being stolen.  Todd tells me about a friend of his named Dreamer, who is Lakota.  He was a staff sergeant serving in Iraq, and they bonded over this.  Todd worries because Dreamer disappears for days.  He also says that he knows he can “get it together.”  He longs for a normal life again.

I walked by yesterday, and the tent was gone.  I hope that Todd and Kim are safe and warm.  They knew where the shelters are located, but preferred to be in the park.  I’ll look for them again in the morning, and from now on I will keep my eyes open.  How did I not notice that there was someone living in a wheelchair at Sloan’s Lake? How many times did I walk past him over the years?  So often we don’t see, or we avoid looking.  It’s raw. It’s uncomfortable.  But when we do take the time, it can be inspiring.

By: Morgain Sanchez

The post Noticing the people living at Sloan’s Lake appeared first on North Denver Tribune.

North Denver Tribune

People that count the votes

NORTH DENVER — With all the talk about supposed voter fraud during this current election, I thought people might enjoy my remembrance of folks in North Denver who loved paper ballots and a unique ability to influence some ballots. Of course, with machines counting votes these shenanigans could not happen today. Here is my story.

The old machine men seated around the literature folding tables at Michael Pomponio’s Democratic Club on 48th near Pecos judiciously piled up stacks of literature for distribution for the election pending and complained bitterly about the new voting machines which the city now used.  Sam Dock, a House door keeper at the legislature, bemoaned, “Give me paper ballots any day.”  All harrumphed and agreed. Cigar smoke filled the air. Pictures autographed to Mike from FDR, JFK, and Harry Truman stood at attention like good soldiers on the club’s walls.

I innocently asked Court Doyle, one of Mr. Pomponio’s lieutenants, who went to school with my aunts and uncles at St. Dominic’s school here in North Denver, “Why are these guys so down on the new voting machines which the city has been using for 10 years, Courtlandt?”  Of all the old machine men there, I knew Court would at least answer my question.  I was ‘the new guy,” as referred to me by Mr. Pomponio. I had been finally admitted to the back room at the Democratic Club a year after defeating his candidate against me for the House seat in North Denver.  More cigar smoke hung like ominous clouds in the air of the Democratic club.

“Dennis, the old paper ballots were easy to manipulate and the counters can’t change the tabulated vote count from a machine,” he responded warmly, but sarcastically, as he often did. “Gallagher, were you born yesterday?” Courtlandt chimed, like the voice of Jackie Gleason talking to Art Carney.  More cigar smoke puffs, Democratic incense from a terrible thurible.

“Explain how the counters could change a vote count on paper ballots,” I innocently asked again. “Especially since Democrats with Republicans watching each other counted the old paper ballots? Don’t they keep each other honest? Was that not enough accountability and internal control?” Court laughed out loud. The machine men looked up from their paper work and frowned at Court. They probably wondered why he was talking to the newcomer.

Courtlandt lowered his voice so the machine men at the table could not hear him. “Here’s how it was done. And R and D party counters used to collaborate on the scheme,” he answered. “The party counters helped each other out on this. They were all the same, just like today, you couldn’t tell them apart.” And I intoned, “can’t tell them apart on issues either.”

“The counters would put a band aid on the tip of their right little finger.  Paper cuts from counting, you know.  But inside the band aid, the counter would place a small lead pencil point.  An outsider or even an independent poll watcher was none the wiser on the scheme. Republican counters had their favorite candidates and Democrats had theirs and counters would help each other’s preferred candidate out on the count,” Court whispered. “Dennis, I think the Arabs call it Baksheesh, ‘you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.’”

“So as the ballot counter scanned a particular ballot, and saw his candidate did not get the vote, he simply used his pinky finger to swipe a mark with the lead point on the other candidate’s box. Dennis, that second mark on the ballot invalidated that particular vote on the ballot.” Court concluded with a tisk from his lips.

“And, Dennis, the secret was to make sure that your counter did not spoil all the votes, just enough ballots to help win the election,” Court shared. Pomponio said, “Don’t be greedy, boys, just enough to win, fair and square. This is America.”  Court confessed to me:  “I never did it, Dennis.  But it was clever, huh?” By now Mr. Pomponio had brought in cauldrons full of steaming spaghetti and meatballs for all from his DX restaurant next door.  Gratefully, the strong pungent smell of garlic began to push out the plumes of smoke from this old back room at the Democratic Club on 48th Avenue and Pecos.

So a system, which uses paper ballots, is fine, but the system has to enforce proper internal controls. Machine counts can’t be manipulated like the old paper ballots.  The system has to make sure that the folks overseeing the counting machines don’t get their band aids caught in the counting machines.   

Remember Stalin: “It’s not the people who vote that count; it’s the people who count the votes.”

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North Denver Tribune

Denver therapy: Allowing People to Face Life

Veritas Counseling services can offer you with Denver therapy sessions that will allow you to go through some of the challenges of life with ease. Every session provided by the facility is unique and suited to the specific goals of each person. The standard procedure for therapists at Veritas is to discuss your main concerns and issues in life, so that you can be enlightened about the things that are happening to you. They usually provide weekly sessions, with each session lasting approximately 50 minutes. The therapy could short or long term. Short term therapy focuses on a particular issue while long term treatments take care of more complicated issues and continuing individual growth.

When going through Denver therapy session, there will be occasions were you will be required to do certain actions that are outside of the sessions. These activities can be the recording and tracking of particular behaviors or reading on materials that are significant to your particular situation. Bear in mind that it is essential that you be able to integrate into your life what you have learned in the therapy sessions. You have to participate actively to get the most out of the therapy sessions. For those who are undergoing psychotherapy, it is best that they learn how to be responsible for their actions, create better personal awareness and continue to work on changing their lives.

Some of the things that you can anticipate when you go through Denver therapy sessions include outlooks that will enlighten you on your negative feelings and persistent patterns, respect, understanding and compassion, practical guidance combined with proven and productive methods as well as real tactics for making positive changes in your life. Thus even after the therapy sessions, you will have something within you that will allow you to successfully tackle each challenge that comes along the way.

To locate help visit Denver Therapy

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