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May 2015 • Online Edition

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Letters To The Editor | Print |  E-mail

More Police/Potties In Washington Park

Hello, Mr. Ferguson (Letters to the Editor, May Profile):

It has been a few weekends and I wanted to check in with you on how things are going around Washington Park.

As you know we have taken this issue very seriously and have attempted to address the situation. We have increased the number of rangers patrolling the park on the weekends and increased the number of port-o-lets in various locations in the park. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated on how things are going. Hope you are doing well and looking forward to hearing back from you.

Scott Gilmore, Deputy Manager of Parks and Planning, Denver Parks and Recreation

Things Looking Up In Wash Park?

Hi Scott and all:

Things are much improved; parking is still a problem but the situation at the park is so much better. The porta-pots have made a huge improvement in the situation in the alleys. I love seeing the volleyball players enjoying the park; it no longer looks like a huge drunken brawl. There are even children playing in the park. My neighbors with children told me their children could not go to the park on weekends due to the “bad language” and drinking. That also seems to have subsided. Has the Parks Dept. done something to cut back on the drinking of alcoholic beverages? There is still drinking, but it’s ever so more civilized.

We are very appreciative of all the efforts of the Parks Dept.; it makes our lives better and I believe makes the park a better place for all.

Thank you! Thank you! 

Robin Stinson

No, No ... Please: Thank YOU!

Hi Robin,

Thanks for your positive feedback. The reduced drinking is most likely a result of increased ranger coverage. They are making proactive contacts with folks who are drinking to make sure it is 3.2 beer and contacting DPD if need be. We appreciate your working with us to make the park a better experience for everyone, and please know we will be diligent throughout the summer with special concentration on holiday weekends when we know the crowds stretch the park to capacity.

Additionally, we are phasing in the Administrative Citation authority of the rangers, and they will be writing tickets if education and warnings do not suffice after we do an outreach campaign to give citizens a heads-up.

Lauri Dannemiller, Manager of Denver Parks and Recreation

Neighbor Upbeat Re: Parks’ Response

Dear Editor,

I want to follow up to my letter of April 28: “Here comes summer 2013 in Washington Park West.” Scott Gilmore called me from the Denver Parks Department on that Sunday morning about an hour after I sent the email, which was also published in the Profile. He told me he had arranged for additional porta-potties to be put in Washington Park that Sunday morning and had reassigned two park rangers to Washington Park for that Sunday as well. That fast response was effective. On Sunday the park was once again heavily used, but there was not a recurrence of the obnoxious behavior in our neighborhood on the west side of the park.

We will all be looking to see what happens this coming Memorial Day weekend. I am optimistic that the outcome will be positive. I spoke to Scott again recently, and he told me the rangers assigned will continue at the augmented level, and that the rangers will soon be granted powers to issue citations for illegal behavior, focusing on high alcohol content beer, glass containers and speeding cyclists.

I do want to give credit to the Parks Department for their excellent responsiveness, and not just leave the negative impression from my first letter.


John Ferguson

Personal Safety May Trump Gun Control

Dear Editor:

I have read both your opinion pieces on the 2nd amendment (Publisher’s View, April/May). I embrace the idea of constitutional change, assuming we follow the prescribed constitutional process that safeguards minorities. Trying to take shortcuts by using the legislature or courts to undermine the constitution should never be acceptable.

However, I think you have not framed the discussion properly. It should not be a discussion limited to gun control; rather it should be a dialogue on personal safety.

The response to the tragedy in Connecticut has been primarily about controlling guns, rather than the broader concept of the safety of our children. It took over 10 minutes for the police to respond to the slaughter of young children. That is clearly not acceptable. What should be done? More police? Armed schools? Home schooling? Better doors, walls, locks and security? I’m really not sure. All solutions have plusses and minuses, and a cost that will take away from other societal needs. Talk, debate, prioritize and decide.

The same process needs to apply to the larger issue of personal safety. We have seen numerous examples of how quickly the world can move from the appearance of security to chaos and a loss of safety. Libya, Egypt, Syria and many others litter the international landscape with extreme cases of individuals losing all safety and security in mere days and weeks. In the U.S. we are not far removed from riots in LA, anarchy in New Orleans, and the extreme danger of many American inner cities.

We Americans also believe we are somehow immune to martial law, military takeovers, and lawlessness that many areas of the world have and still suffer. It is naive to assume we are somehow exempt simply because we are America and that just couldn’t happen here.

I believe each and every American should be responsible for their personal safety. If you are comfortable abdicating that responsibility to local police and the state national guard, you are welcome to do so. If you want those agencies to consume a huge percentage of our public budget to meet your safety needs we may have a problem. I also want a strong economy, excellent education, and reasonable social services. A difficult and controversial balancing act.

I believe we will never be reasonably secure at a price the community can afford relying simply on local police. A 10- minute or more police response allows anyone sufficient time to kick in your front door and throttle you. I believe it is my right and responsibility to defend myself and my family and I am very certain I need a gun to do it.

You pointed out the government has placed restrictions on many aspects of our lives. We restrict business, doctors, motor vehicles, and even cigarettes. The government also restricts the use of guns.

I can’t blow smoke in your face and I can’t discharge a firearm in your front yard. Not that I would want to, but it’s against the law to discharge a firearm in the city limits. You can only get a driver’s license if you prove you are capable; same thing with a concealed carry permit. We have carefully defined self-defense in our laws and we have strict criminal penalties for crimes involving guns.

Society does place restrictions on our wants, needs, and in very special cases our rights. We should accept these restrictions but with paranoia when government wants to limit our rights. Free speech and the rest of our rights can evaporate quickly if we are not very diligent.

So let’s have a discussion of how to reasonably guarantee my personal safety against current and future threats. But let’s not have a discussion on controlling guns in a vacuum.


Patrick Crom

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