Monday, July 28, 2008

Hickenlooper: No overnighters in City Park during DNC

The News:
A college-age protest group that wants to camp overnight in City Park during the Democratic National Convention next month is going to have to find another place to sleep.

Mayor John Hickenlooper told radio host Mike Rosen, who writes a column for the Rocky, that Tent State University's plans for a sleepover for as many as 50,000 protesters are out of the question.

The mayor also told Rosen that the city might turn on the sprinklers if the protesters don't abide by Denver's 11 p.m. curfew.
Whoa. Tin soldiers and Chickenpooper coming . . .
[City Councilwoman Carla] Madison, who lives across the street from the park, said one of her concerns is that an influx of people will descend on Denver to participate in a big sleepover.

"We could just get a lot of people just showing up to camp," she said. "People from out of state, if they found out that we were going to open up free camping in the park, would say, 'Hey, we can actually go to the DNC and stay for free. We don't have to pay $500 a night.' "

Madison said other protest groups could make similar requests if Tent State were given permission.

"My concern is all the Re-create '68 folks who've been wanting to sleep in Civic Center Park," she said, referring to the group that promised to make the bloody 1968 Democratic convention "look like a small get-together."

"If we say yes in City Park, I'm not sure how we could say no in Civic Center Park," she said.
If the Democratic National Convention leads to large numbers of arrests, some prisoners could do their time in a tent.

But it's far from certain that will happen.

Still, Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, a senior adviser to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, acknowledged that the tent, which was last used during a rash of overcrowding at the county jail in 2005, would be an option for housing prisoners.

Denver first used the giant tent in the jail recreation yard to house roughly 70 low-security inmates.

Whether it will be used during the convention, which could draw thousands of protesters to Denver, won't be known until the four-day political gathering begins Aug. 25.

Eichenbaum Lent said that even if there are large numbers of arrests, it is likely that most of those hauled in would post bond or be released after a court hearing.

She acknowledged, however, that if convention-related arrests swell the jail population, the tent would be one of the options considered to handle the overflow.

Another in James B. Meadows' hard-hitting RMN series on Civic Center Park: "Mommy, it smells like pee-pee":
[I]t would be a mistake to assume there are but two restrooms in The Park. Actually, there are only two sanctioned restrooms. Take the doorway just off the Greek Amphitheater. It apparently makes a very handy urinal. So handy, that on one recent sunny day, one guy found it irresistible. What the two people who were eating lunch on some steps about 10 feet away thought about the whole thing remains to be seen.

Also seen - and smelled - on frequent occasions is the popularity of the two lion fountains flanking the Amphitheater. By the way, in this case popularity means urinater-friendly.
Isn't that good? Shouldn't the Denver Visitors Bureau be talking up our urinater-friendliness? Anyway, Meadows has a "scoop":
Sometimes, however, it's not just bodily fluids you have to worry about. Two weeks ago, we encountered a large piece of excrement. It was clearly of human origin - unless Big Foot lives in The Park. FYI, it was located near the shuffleboard courts on the west side of the Amphitheater.

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