Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hickenlooper: Protesters could be bused to and from City Park

The Post:
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper suggested alternative campsites and buses Tuesday to resolve a controversy over allowing thousands of protesters to camp in City Park during the Democratic National Convention, according to those involved in the closed-door discussions.

"We're open to any resolution," said Tent State University organizer Adam Jung, who is urging the city to allow anti-war demonstrators to pitch tents in City Park. He detailed conversations he had Tuesday with the mayor and other city officials.

As many as 20,000 protesters are expected daily at Tent State University, Jung said. And he expects about 5,000 would like to camp overnight.
Only 5,000 who'll want to camp? That's the lowest number I've heard predicted. Anway:
"I don't think having suburban kids sleeping in City Park is a safe idea," said Councilwoman Carol Boigon.

"The effects of the organization if we don't let them camp in the park could be as bad as if we do let them," Councilman Doug Linkhart said. "It's a question of which is worse."

The group will have its own security, sanitation and lighting, Jung said.

"We want to keep it safe and secure," he said. "If people aren't allowed to camp, we will facilitate their removal by 11 p.m. Once they leave the park, they are no longer our responsibility."
Gee, thanks.
Jung said his organization is speaking with area churches and other organizations to find places for people to stay. . . .

But it makes more sense economically and environmentally to allow people to camp in the park, Jung said.

"Democrats are trying to make this the greenest convention," he said. "We're content to make this as sustainable as possible. We are going to encourage people to bike in. We'll be recycling and minimize our carbon footprint."

Hickenlooper spokeswoman Sue Cobb said the meeting was productive, but no decisions were reached.
They're gonna cave.

(via EP at SP, who notes that if it rains while Tent State is there, City Park will become a "pit." Unh-uh. It'll be Woodstock, man.)

Update (1:00 p.m.): KOA just said the place Hickenlooper suggested for protesters to camp was the Denver Stock Show yard. If true, I just gained some respect for the ol' Chickenpooper.

Update II: And, I should point out, the idea actually makes sense. The stock show yard is close to downtown, has room for lots and lots of tents, meal facilities, and bathrooms all over the place. Chickenpooper, you're a genius!

Update III: New info on the treats in store for Denver's homeless during the DNC:
Hundreds of Denver's homeless could be cooling their heels in a movie theater or museum while the Democratic National Convention is in town next month.

The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless plans to get 500 movie tickets as well as passes to the Denver Zoo, Denver Museum of Nature and Science and other cultural facilities for the people it helps.

Bus tickets will be provided for events beyond walking distance, said John Parvensky, the non-profit's president.

Many day shelters will have expanded hours during the convention, and big screen TVs are being donated to some shelters so patrons can watch convention goings-on without being caught up in the mayhem.
The what now? Anyhoo, I have a better idea: Let's let all the bums hang out at the main library 24 hours a day during the DNC instead of just during open hours like they do now.

Update IV: Why only 500 tickets? Allegedly there are at least 3900 homeless people in Denver. What if there's a bum stampede?

Update V: Full disclosure: once, long ago (but not that long ago) I was threatened with arrest and kicked out of the main library after passing out from drinkin' and readin' all afternoon. That wasn't my only bum characteristic, neither (having no money and drinking all the time were others).

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