Notebook entry, Dec. 19, 2010
Wow. Has it been that long since my last entry? I guess so. I do believe that I am done writing about evolutionary psychology and just plan to keep the web site up until Dec. 31, 2012 making occasional entries here noting my progress in the outside world. My newsletter, THE BACK FENCE is doing quite well. The response is 95% positive feedback from those who read it on a regular or semi-regular basis. The next step is to set some goals: see below now. Having done that, I think I have to go back to the beginning and create a more detailed: "About THE BACK FENCE."
You folks have a grand 2010 Holiday Season and hope this mess called the "Great Recession" goes away so that people can resume their positive spin on life.
Goals of THE BACK FENCE
- Creating a unified “Place-Making brand” to the West Corridor.
- Continued successful use of THE BACK FENCE.
- Using a web site to be the “bulletin board” for social interaction along the corridor; job offers, housing, help wanted – a sort of “West Corridor Craig’s List.”
- The establishment of Police Bicycle Substations located inside public schools along the West Corridor; open 24/7
- To create a safe education environment
- To create a safe neighborhood environment
- Change the auto-centric culture through the constant vision of bicycles used in relation to education.
- To lower educational costs by cost sharing with police departments.
- Establishment of an Art Mural Project for the sound walls along the corridor (secret: it’s really an anti-graffiti program).
- Establishment of a semi-annual bike rodeo for kids
- The promotion of student living aimed at the student population of the six institutions of higher learning within walking distance of the West Corridor.
- Lobby the three cities to pitch in with renovations and perhaps pay for free Wi-Fi at every apartment.
- Establish zoning for car-sharing co-op, car-free apartment living attempting to steer students away from the car culture.
- Utilizing the TOE6 (Transit Oriented Educational Six) to aid teachers to tutor students along the corridor via web based educational methods.
- Seek senior/youth mixed housing emphasizing the utilization of the students along the corridor. ….educational grants to pay for loans in exchange to work in health care assistance, transportation of elders and constant interaction with elders.
- Lobby for pedestrian friendly streets including “round-a-bouts”, traffic calming crosswalks with signs promoting “state law states –yield to pedestrians,” raised & colored crosswalks.
- Promote Co-housing and Car-Sharing condo or apartments in the Lakewood zoning codes.
- Promotion of urban farming along the corridor; local, community based; commercial; industrial, which includes large, vertical farming.
- Lobby for RTD to power to power the West Corridor light rail with alternative energy sources.
- EV (Electronic Vehicle) garage hood ups in RTD Park & Ride garages. [power through solar gardening???]
- Seek the installation of free Wi-Fi along entire West Corridor amongst businesses. “Wi-Fi It and they will come.”
- Create a “Bike-Bus.” A rapid transit bus strictly for bicycle use.
- 26-mile Trolley line along entire east-west distance of Colfax Ave.
- Encouragement of energy conservation in poor neighborhoods through the taking of inventory of old homes. Insulated?
- Under-Grounding of High Tension Wires along the West Corridor starting with Sanchez Park and Lakewood Gulch areas utilizing “solar gardening” by turning towers in alternative energy towers.
- Costs offset by Solar-gardening subscriptions.
- Turn towers into “Alternative Energy Art Towers” tapping into Art and Tourism dollars.
Notebook entry, June 30, 2010
Howdy folks. My outside excursions in the public rhelm on going smoothly -- for a former hermit -- with an occasional bump or two here. The newsletter that I am producing is getting great feedback within the transit and environmental movement -- and of course, the best part, it's being done behind a computer screen in my study. That's the good news. The bad news is that my wife has total control of the inside of the house and lets me know it almost daily; sometimes I feel like a dog on a chain and Diana is the one pulling on it.
This last week there was a power station that blew up and I just know that my wonderful internet provider is reducing power to chip in to help. As a result, my desktop computer screen goes totally blank almost daily. Or maybe it's just God telling me to go out into the heat of the day (it's been in the mid-90s for several weeks now) and get out from behind my website.
Ewan, my step-grandson is growing like a weed and is begining to read quite well. He is still quite difficult to handle; what would you expect me to say at age 64 -- Biologically, I should just be doing the grandfatherly thing as in traveling and rocking in the easy chair.
I've made a decision to shut down Evolution's Voyage on Dec. 31, 2012 -- So if you're going to download anything, you better get cracking!!
Take care til the next entry.
Notebook entry, March 15, 2010
Here's an article I found where surfing on Facebook. It is just one more article that supports my theory that liberalism and a far superior mind can be found in a highly evolved person versus a de-evolved, knuckle-crawling conservative. It is mind power that will win the evolutionary race, and not blind, physical donimance.
(CNN) -- Political, religious and sexual behaviors may be reflections of intelligence, a new study finds.
Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women. The findings will be published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.
Read the rest of the article here
Notebook entry, March 04, 2010
I just made one small entry today. Our American culture is changing rapidly right before our eyes, and many can not accept the changes. Politically, the TEA Party -- a so-called fiscal conservative band of minority haters has taken control of the American Republican Party. This party has deep connections with corporate media giants and their small numbers are given overblown importance.
The article below is just one more nail in the coffin of the rich, white male's dominance -- which includes their wives who enjoy their evelvated perch. . Worry: a corrned animal, when it knows the end of its dominance is very near, will do desperate behaviors.
My So-Called Wife
By SANDRA TSING LOH
Published: January 23, 2010
I am stricken with the peculiar curse of being a 21st-century woman who makes more than the man she’s living with — first with a husband for 13 years and now with a new partner. It’s an increasingly common situation, according to a recent Pew study that found that the proportion of American marriages in which the wife makes more money rose to 22 percent in 2007 from 4 percent in 1970.
Notebook entry, January 08, 2010
I've just posted a new message on my front page. While I am out and about working on my social skills meeting people in the flesh that I have so cleverly avoided for over 40 years, I thought that it might be a good time to go back and put up some of the essays that I believe were my most insightful. William A. Spriggs, Jan. 2010.
Notebook entry, December 22, 2009
I've come to a decision about the web site, Evolution's Voyage. I'm going to close out the web site at the end of 2012. I'll continue to write occasionally now and then, but what I do add will be to transfer most of my writings to a data back up company and put the personal stuff up on Facebook. I've begun the public, social phase of my life; it's hard because I've been such a recluse and packed rooms give my angst. I've given four or five stand-ups in front of groups from 15 to 60. My first was my action plan for the Citizen's Transit Alliance. If I ever get my confidence level up to a reasonable state, I think that I'll be pretty good at them.
Notebook entry, December 8th, 2009
Yeah, I know, it's been a while since my last entry. I think I can say in complete honesty that my passion for evolutionary psychology is cooling a bit. I think since the summer of 2008 I have been spending more time outside the confines of this notebook and mixing with real people. I slowly writing another Dr. Helen Fisher book review, but it seems that the will to pick up the book and finish the review has taken a back seat to my efforts to put out THE BACK FENCE newsletter. Since August of 2009 I have been sending out regularly weekly newsletters that send people to other web sites and blogs for articles related to the new urbanist movement -- the movement away from the far-flung suburbs. I subscribe to a newsletter service called "The Other Side of the Tracks" by Jeff Wood. The cost is about $50.00 a year and this guys sends me about 20 articles a day -- Monday thru Friday. From that 100 or so links, I pare them down to the one's that take the best overview of all things transit and urbanism -- including such articles as an urban chicken farm.
I also am devoting more time to my temporary web site and the address is: The Back Fence Project It's not pretty, but at least its free. I can't put advertising on it except what google picks. Oh well, I suppose that it's a fair trade.
So, that is where my time is going these days. I think I've studied enough and now plan on going forth and putting the ideas that I have formulated and develop out into the cruel world of competitive ideas. I know that they will live on far beyond my lifetime, but isn't that the goal of finding and spreading the truth? This is not good bye, but I'm just saying that the notebook entries will be far and few between.
I also posted my yearly updated evolutionary Christmas tale
An Evolutionary Christmas Tale:
Musing About Scrooge and the Conservative Male Mind ©
William A. Spriggs
Origin, Dec., 1997
Updated, November 2009
"We choose this time because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices..." Charles Dickens
Notebook entry, November 2, 2009
I guess you have noticed that I do not make as many entries in my notebook as I have been. I believe that is because of my outside activities has opened up to doors into which I am now entering. In some ways that is good,
but on the other hand it also makes it more difficult to focus on any one subject. If I'm busy thinking about politics in my neighborhood it takes focus away from reading about evolutionary subjects.
However, I have noticed something in my behavior that is important: Whenever I encounter a set-back in my political or social outreach, I tend to return to my evolutionary roots -- books -- website, etc. -- for comfort and solace. Perhaps, more on this later. In the meantime, read the September 15, 2009 entry.
Notebook entry, October 8th, 2009
There was another editorial in The New York Times about the discovery of Ari..." These are tremendously important discoveries, recasting the story of hominid evolution and making us eager for the next chapter." Read the editorial here...
On another matter: I'm still re-working the What is Evolutionary Feminism? page. I'm slowly getting there.
Cold and wintery day in Lakewood Colorado today, high of 42.
The Colorado Rockies won the second game of the playoffs. Hope the Philies like the cold.
Notebook entry, October 6th, 2009
The New York Times had an editorial this morning on evolution. It's title:
No Going Back...
"The standard cartoons about evolution always look forward: A fish emerges from the sea and begins to walk more and more upright; or a row of primates strides ahead, each one more erect and human in appearance. We take it for granted that, in evolutionary terms, time’s arrow points ahead.
But, until recently, scientists had never really tested the biological law — first proposed in 1905 — that evolution couldn’t run in reverse. No one expects whole organisms to mutate back into their evolutionary antecedents. But what about the proteins we’re made up of? Under the right circumstances, can they find their way back in time? "
Notebook entry, October 6th, 2009
Spent a good part of the day yesterday re-working my What is Evolutionary Feminism? entry page. Here the Link
Notebook entry, October 2, 2009
An interesting article in The New York Times online edition yesterday about the fossil discovery of another physical link in our long evolutionary line. Sorry creationists.Please click on the link, and when you arrive at The New York Times page, please poke around and purchase one of the many fine products that they have to offer. The investigative arm of this institution is too critical to lose. Here's a brief introduction:
Fossil Skeleton From Africa Predates Lucy, by John Noble Wilford, Oct 1, 2009
"Ardi, short for Ardipithecus ramidus, is the newest fossil skeleton out of Africa to take its place in the gallery of human origins. At an age of 4.4 million years, it lived well before and was much more primitive than the famous 3.2-million-year-old Lucy, of the species Australopithecus afarensis."
What the major importance of this article, at least to me, is the little noticed quote from one of the scientists on the project: "By replacing Lucy as the earliest known skeleton from the human branch of the primate family tree, the scientists said, Ardi opened a window to “the early evolutionary steps that our ancestors took after we diverged from our common ancestor with chimpanzees.” I have long argued that humans evolved from the chimpanzees, based primarily on the behavior of the male chimpanzee and human chimpanzee's agressive behavior -- with of course, the human female's acceptance of the human male's behavior as a postive evolutionary force to benefit their progeny. This quote helps to solidify my theory. Thanks, science!.
Here's the link to the article
Notebook entry, September 15, 2009
Well, September 12th has come and gone, and I'm spending my time elsewhere working fiendishly on my TOE-P theory -- The Theory of Everything Political in Power Point form. I'm at the far edges of a Colorado State Senate race for 2010 and I've been asked to participate by editing a newsletter of the candidate. But, on the other hand, I have decided that I wanted to spend time writing this theory and then take it on the road to the various Democratic candidates. I have no idea how long it will take to present (right now, there are over 30 slides) or when I should finish the project. All that I know is that I have a burning desire to work on the theory that has been in the back of my mine for several years now.
On another note, some good news about the newsletter. While attending the Lakewood City Council meeting on Monday, September 14th, Ms. Inman, the third highest-ranking Lakewood City official came to where I was sitting, bent over and asked me if I was still writing THE BACK FENCE. She wanted me to add her to the email list. I was a bit surprised but then it seemed to fit with my "reports" section of Constant Contact that reveled that many City employees are clicking on the links of the newsletter that I send out on Sundays. So, I sense that the newsletter is receiving a favorable "buzz" at City Hall and with other planning employees.
Notebook entry, September 8th, 2009
A bit of disaster occurred yesterday while trying to update my evolutionary feminist page. Well...I made the following entry...read it yourself and weep.
On September 07, 2009 at 5:25am MST, while working on new, more simpler explanation to the question above, the power in my home was shut off and restored within seconds. My son-in-law and I both agree that Comcast.net was working on a power transfers related to moving utilities for the future construction of the light rail that will pass near our home in 2013. Even though power was returned, connection to the internet was lost for over four hours.
After attempting to resume my rewrite, I discovered that the main entryway to this section -- What is Evolutionary Feminism? -- was lost. That was just the front doorway; 80% of the information is still saved, but it has to be all put back on the front entryway page. Upon a more detailed search, the worst that I can see that happened is that perhaps, 200 book references with links to Amazon.com were lost.
They tell me that things like this happen for a reason, and if that is the case then I believe that God or whatever power is out there wants an updated piece of work.
And so, it shall be. I will make an attempt to have most of it completed by September 12, 2009
William A. Spriggs
September 7th, 2009
Notebook entry, August 23rd, 2009
I just got back from vacation spending time in Las Vegas to see my daughter and grandkids. It was a bummer trip because my son-in-law blew out his back and had to have surgery to scrape a couple of disc that erupted. That means that Diana and I had to take care of the three kids while my daughter spend the time next to her husband's bedside. My daughter also told me that their family were now Mormons. I hope my daughter realizes that Mormons don't like their women working outside the home and that having several wives is just an excuse to have serial sex. Sigh...
I've been busy working outside the evolutionary community and concentrating on my neighborhood by writing my newsletter, THE BACK FENCE. Lots of work to do -- I need to create a website, but so far the method I selected six months ago failed miserably. It's a long story, and I don't want to rehash it.
I'll be using Constant Contact to send out my emails. I started last week, but this Sunday will be the first major email blast. So far, the response has been very positive. Stay tuned.
On another matter, The New York Times has hit the ball out of the park with the follow new series. It is almost a minor miracle. World Peace is only possible through the empowerment of women.
The Women’s Crusade
By Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Published August 17, 2009
IN THE 19TH CENTURY, the paramount moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was totalitarianism. In this century, it is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape.
Yet if the injustices that women in poor countries suffer are of paramount importance, in an economic and geopolitical sense the opportunity they represent is even greater. “Women hold up half the sky,” in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos. There’s a growing recognition among everyone from the World Bank to the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid organizations like CARE that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. That’s why foreign aid is increasingly directed to women. The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution.
Read the whole article
Notebook entry, August 13th, 2009
I've been really busy behind the scenes with my newsletter, THE BACK FENCE (One neighbor talking to another neighbor over the back fence). I finally got my logo finish from Susan Tyler, the wife of our newly appointed State Representative, Max Tyler, HD23. Let's see if I can put the image here:
Notebook entry, July 20th, 2009
The below link to New York Times Op-Ed Columnist, Thomas Friedman was too good not to include. Once again, if you seek world peace, empower the female of your species
Teacher, Can We Leave Now? No.
Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times
by Thomas L. Friedman
published July 18, 2009
“When a girl gets educated here and then becomes a mother, she will be much less likely to let her son become a militant or insurgent,” he added. “And she will have fewer children. When a girl learns how to read and write, one of the first things she does is teach her own mother. The girls will bring home meat and veggies, wrapped in newspapers, and the mother will ask the girl to read the newspaper to her and the mothers will learn about politics and about women who are exploited.”
Notebook entry, July 5th, 2009
Interesting article in The New York Times today under the title of Editorial Observer. Not sure what that means...kinda -- sort of -- an Editoral or perhaps a "Muse?" Well, any ways, I thought it interesting enough to lead you to the Times' web site and read it because it mentions Bonobos.. While you are there, take advantage of the many fine products for sale.
Tales of Republicans, Bonobos, and Adultery
By Eduardo Porter
Published July 2, 2009
"You’d think the family values branch of the Republican Party would have this down pat: Americans disapprove of adultery. They disapprove of it so much that they rank philandering as less morally acceptable than the death penalty, cloning humans or suicide."
Notebook entry, June 30th, 2009
Good news from the Obama administration concerning women. It will be interesting what this office does and says for women in our long march towards world peace.
An Advocate for Women
An Editorial from The New York Times
June 30th, 2009
Domestic violence is a serious law enforcement and public health problem affecting as many as one in four women in this country. Yet Washington has devoted too little attention to reducing domestic violence and sexual assaults generally. We welcome President Obama’s decision to create a new post, White House adviser on violence against women, and his appointment of a seasoned advocate for victims to fill it.
Notebook entry, June 26, 2009
Well, my "let's-pretend-to-be-a-tough-guy" neo-conversative OP-ED writer with The New York Times, David Brooks, has come forth with a new piece on his take of his understanding of Human Nature. I suppose that he is writing his push-back to evolutionary psychology because of Geoffrey's new book, Spent. "Evolutionary psychology has had a good turn" writes Mr. Brooks, "but now there is growing pushback." I'll spare you the dribble in between the beginning and ending of this fluff piece. Of course, once again, Mr. Brooks has forgotten to double check what his understudies have written and, once again, has made himself look bad. The final paragraph:
"The allure of evolutionary psychology is that it organizes all behavior into one eternal theory, impervious to the serendipity of time and place. But there's no escaping context. That's worth remembering next time somebody tells you we are hardwired to do this or that."
Well, obviously, his substitute writers have not gotten around to my web site in the last 10 years or so...Right here on the my front page (called the index) is the answer: I've placed a quote from Dr. Helen Fisher's 1999 book, The First Sex: Perhaps his knuckle-crawling substitute writers missed Dr. Fisher's entry becasue the book hints that women are the superior gender.
"“Environment and heredity are eternally intertwined, locked in a pas de deux”. P. xvi. Dr. Helen Fisher from her 1999 book
The First Sex: The Natural Talent of Women and How They Are Changing the World
It's a combination of NATURE & NURTURE. In fact, the good news for Mr. Books and his substitute writers is that I argue that Nurture has the upper hand in this dance with Nature and Nuture. I argue that it is about 40% DNA -- Nature vs. CULTURE - Nurture. Well, here's the link to Mr. Brook's entire dribble below; the title is Human Nature Today.
. When you arrive at The New York Times, website, please purchase one of the many fine news-related items there.
Human Nature Today
Notebook entry, June 6th, 2009
It's good to be back, and once again, I apoligize for the long absence. Below, you will find a link to a New York Times article comparing the early American history of Ann Lohman in 1878 and Dr. Tiller, the recent killing of the abortion provider (one should always frame this "occupation" as "free choice provider). Please shop at their varied merchandise and keep this great liberal institution alive. The link to the full story is provided after the lead sentence. Once again, the ability of the female of our species to have free choice in all of her reproductive decisions is paramount; it is the basis for the original split from our primate relatives through the sexual selection process.
Abortion Wars, the First Time Around
By Kate Manning
The New York Times
June 5, 2009
A first glance, the recent killing of the abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in Kansas appears to be a modern phenomenon, the heinous byproduct of the politics of the last several decades. In fact, Dr. Tiller is just the latest in a line of brave people who have died for providing abortions. Perhaps the most infamous of these was a midwife named Ann Lohman, who killed herself in New York in 1878 after decades of harassment."
Notebook entries, April & May, 2009 -- none due to my busy schedule and technical problems with the several. My deepest apologies to my regular readers. Much has transpired and I will try to get everyone up to speed.
Notebook entries, March 17th, 2009
Below is another local electronic newsletter concerning the Garrison Street Station located nine blocks to the east of where I live. However, my main concern is the light rail station at Wadsworth Blvd. and 14th Ave.
THE BACK FENCE
THE TIMELY NEWSLETTER
ON MATTERS CONCERNING
THE WEST LIGHT RAIL CORRIDOR
In Denver, Lakewood, and Golden Colorado
This is Bill Spriggs covering recent events and happenings around the RTD light rail west corridor in the Lakewood Colorado neighborhood and beyond; this coverage is also sent out of state to various transit agencies and three developers. It is primarily intended for all citizens in west Denver, Lakewood and Golden that live within ½ mile of the west corridor’s light rail system that will make its westward commute, or those who want our country to be free of foreign oil. It is informational in its content and carries no critical need for response. The opinions expressed, if any, are my own.
As of Sunday, March 15th, 2009 there are 38 days until Earth Day 2009, and hopefully, the launch of the web site, THE BACK FENCE.
Sub: Reflections of the Garrison Station meeting 03-10-2009 via THE BACK FENCE in Lakewood, Colorado
The Garrison Street Station workshop held its semi-monthly meeting on March 10th, 2009 at the Lakewood Methodist Community Church, 1390 Brentwood St., Lakewood, Colorado with the primary discussion scheduled as Design Guidelines – 14th Avenue Corridor.
Notables present were Ward 2 City Council members, Cindy Baroway, Debbie Koop; Scott Kooop, (In a private conversation with Mr. Koop, he indicated to me on a scale of 1 to 10 if he intended to run for the Ward 2 seat that will be vacated by Debbie Koop this year -- he firmly stated - a 5). Also present were Planning Commissioner, Ray Schoch, and former RTD District M board member, Dave Ruchman. Dave has indicated that he will run for the State Senate seat in SD24 when Moe Keller is term limited in 2010. In addition to City senior planner, Holly Boehm and associate planner John Wachtel, was the presence of Roger Wadnal, senior planner with the City; his presence was an indicator of the meeting’s intended course.
Beth Wicht, President of the Eiber Neighborhood Association opened the meeting with the usual round the table introductions of all present; there were approximately 20 in attendance, not counting City staff.
This was followed by John Wachtel of the City Planning Department taking the lead.
First order of business was reviewing the concerns that came up during the last meeting on Feb. 17, 2009 that dealt with that portion of the neighborhood that had the majority of large lots, 1-R, and that the group had previously identified as an area of stability and should maintain its zoning and character over the long term.
To the group’s credit, Mr. Wachtel mentioned that those were two of the biggest priorities that were addressed at the City’s Subdivision improvement process that is currently being conducted by the City Planning Department. And those were concerns over flag lots and the notification process when lots are sub-divided. Since all of the details of this subdivision process are not finalized, Mr. Wachtel could not give definitive answer; he mentioned that there was another open house the very next (March 12th) night at City Hall’s north building. (I have not been able to attend these meetings because of my enrollment in the Citizen’s Transit Academy class being held on the same nights).
Proposed changes to the ordinances will discourage flag lots in the City of Lakewood and will actually not allow flag lots into areas that would developed for the first time, and there will be more specific criteria than before that will strongly discourage those lots in the older areas of the City; there may be exceptions though, but the City will most likely add restrictions for frontage accesses.
The second concern was notification; currently residents within 500ft of a proposed subdivision are notified prior to the director reviewing applications if someone files a preliminary map indicating that they want to subdivide their property; HOAs within a 1000 ft of that property are notified. The suggestion for the proposed changes to City ordinances are as the application comes in; have the director review it, and then send out a notification. The advantage to that is the neighbors would get notification of the action that would be recommended, instead of just the idea that someone wants to subdivide. If neighbors wanted to appeal, the proposed changes for the time allowed would be upgraded from 14 days to 14 business days, allowing the residents more time to respond.
Currently when someone indicates that they want to subdivide and the residents are notified, the developer could wait six months to a year before their final plat and then the residents would not be notified. There won’t be any of that process where notification won’t go to the property owners within the distances noted above.
Mr. Wachtel signaled to Beth Wicht if she wanted to make an announcement, and she did. She announced that the Eiber annual meeting is scheduled for April 16th to be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 10th and Garrison; open house at 6:30pm with the meeting starting at 7:00 p.m. On the agenda will be the Colfax redevelopment plans with FasTracks taking a big chuck of the allotted time; Jerry Goldman, the new Lakewood Ombudsman will also be there and hopefully, Matt Cohen, our new RTD District M board director.
Then Mr. Wachtel directed the group to re-visit the issue we discussed before the subdivision issue, and that is to re-visit those areas outside the area of stability that most likely will be subject to greater pressure for redevelopment where the Garrison Street Station opens. The areas that we were directed to visit were those areas that we weren’t quite sure what would happen. Those areas were identified as east of Carr Street and west of Ammons Street of the planning area and in the northwest corner of the planning area. The Planning area boundaries again are 14th Ave. Parkway on the north, Ammons Street on the east, 10th Ave. on the south, and Independence St. on the west. We were asked to take the preference survey of designs that we took in previous workshops, and then focus on those three areas and try to apply those themes that came out of the preference survey and get more specific in those areas and how they should relate to the surrounding areas.
We were then instructed to break into three groups in which Jonathan, Holly, and Roger, all three Lakewood City Planners, would ask us some general questions about the areas and hopefully define the areas in more detail. At this time, Jonathan also mentioned that next time that they meet they would like to re-visit the areas north of 13th, west of Carr St., 14th Ave Parkway on the north, and Garrison Street on the west. It was mentioned that this area could be a highly beneficial area to the area in terms of commercial and office development.
When a workshop breaks into separate groups, suddenly the entire room is filled with a cacophony of competing voices making it all the more important to focus on the subject that centers at your particular group’s table.
Let’s make a long story short and describe the purpose behind the mechanism of the entire evening’s process, and then backtrack to our group. In the center of each of the three groups is a large aerial map of the action area plan; also at the table are three 8 X 10s goggle photos of the three geographical areas under study this evening. A large onion skin overlay is placed over the large map and then the City planner guides the group through what is know about the area in question and then asks the group what are their issues, concerns, suggestions, and comments about those particular areas. Also, keep in mind that the group then takes several of the designs development photos that were present in the above mentioned design survey. Whatever is decided at our table group is then jotted down in a blue felt tip pen on top of the onion skin. Before the next meeting, the three City planners will combine the three groups and see if there has been a consensus reached on any of these areas. Now, I am not a city planner but I suppose that any unresolved matters will continue to be put on the table for later discussion. The goal here is to eliminate as much conflict between the citizens present over the entire process.
Now, pay attention as this ONLY relates to our group, which is just one third of the opinions of the entire room focusing on just one area of the three areas under discussion at this meeting. The area that I will describe is located south of 13th Ave., (the light rail’s path), Ammons St. on the east, 10th Ave. on the south and Carr St. on the west, with a small rectangular insert that jots west from Carr St for approximately 150 to 200 ft and parallels Carr St. running north and south. The area to the east is currently zoned 4-R and this rectangularly shaped area to the west of Carr St. is zoned 5-R. (4R is zoned and is sort of a townhome type of district for 12 dwelling units per acre and 5R is zoned for 25 du/ac and used to be one of the highest density zoned areas in Lakewood, but has since been replaced with the Roadside zoning found in the Colfax Mixed-use ordinances that now carry a designation of 45 du/ac.
City Planner, Holly Boehm lead our group by telling use to look at this area as a “kinda of a bubble” and think about it in terms of relating to the Transit Mixed-Use zone district that we have just to the east, and then think of it going into the 1R properties to the west and look at this situation as to how is this going to translate; what do we want to see in terms of future uses if anything in this area.
I emphatically stated my property’s location as being six blocks from the Wadsworth Station and nine blocks from the Garrison station. My meaning was very clear; that the gravitational pressure of the massive station complex at Wadsworth (in terms of north and south traffic on Wadsworth and the future parking garage at 14th and Wadsworth) should have a greater design impact on the 12th and Balsam area six blocks away in terms of density and height requirements then the minuscule “kiss & ride” drop off area at Garrison street nine blocks away and the surrounding “stability zone” of the larger 1R properties. There was no substantial response other than our group generally decided to keep the area east of Carr St. as a 4R; the rectangular area to the west as a 5R; and to keep future developments within this small area at a reduced density level of perhaps 8 to 10 per acre. The areas that generated some heated discussion and intense interest was the property just south and north of this rectangular area west of Carr St., in particular the property that was now for sale at the NW corner of 10th Ave. and Carr. St. We all generally agreed that this area would come under intense transitional pressure as a cross road area and we generally decided to stick with design #9 or #12 that was part of the design guidelines handout (Sorry, I can’t show you the designs). These designs were more a smaller version of the multi-unit complexes we were shown, but we seem to agree that the area should not go beyond a 2R in density.
Moving on to the northeast corner of the Action Plan area, our group quickly decided that this area should be moved from “an Area for Further discussion” to “an Area of Potential Change with Redevelopment ok w/guidelines.” We came to this conclusion because we referred back to the beginning of the workshop sessions in October 2008 and recalled that the Eiber neighborhood is divided into two distinct areas: the area north of the future light rail line and the area south of the 13th Ave. line. As for the third area in question, we briefly decided that this area would also see higher transitional pressure being closer to Colfax Ave. and that perhaps a PD – Planned Development area might be suitable with a possible 4R density level; we thought that the design #19 grouping would be suitable (Sorry, again about not being able to show the designs); the group decided to revisit the area for future study.
For the sake of brevity, I wanted to end it here because nothing is set in stone that I have written about, and we as neighbors will still have to wait until all three of the groups’ opinions are combined by the City staff.
P.S. A quick comment about 14th and Wadsworth; Gaylon Foster and Kim Synder.
In an online Denver Post story dated March 12th, 2009 it appears that the good folks at 14th and Wadsworth have settled with RTD for an agreed upon price of $595,000 for their property providing that RTD drop commercial development on the area and just use the area for a parking garage.
I took a quick detour to the Jefferson County’s Property Appraisal System’s website and saw that the property was bought for $297,000 in 1999. Hmmmm…Hey, that’s the 50% rule, doubled! I’m glad to report that the ugly and disrespectful signs have since been removed, and that both parties have come to an agreeable settlement.
Since it appears that the 50% doubled rule was in place (you know I’m just joking here, right?), I say that all the neighbors along the corridor who are paying a price of disquieted discomfiture during this transitional period be justly compensated in the same manner!!!
William A. Spriggs
Keeping you informed
Along THE BACK FENCE
In Lakewood Colorado
Notebook entries, March 4th, 2009
Natalie Angier had a great book review of Sarah Blaffer Hrdy's new book, Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding," which will be publicshed in April from harvard University Press. The book extols the extraordinary social skills of an infant and are at the heart of what makes us human. The link to the review is below.
Notebook entries, March 3rd, 2009
I've decided to start including direct links to valuable articles from The New York Times here concerning women's issue. Over the past several months I have been sending out news alerts to my neighbors directing them to articles concerning light rail issues. It's a valuable resource for me from a time perspective and increases the working knowledge of my readers. Hopefully my readers will help out The New York Times and buy services and products from them as well. Here's the first news link:
Idea of Afghan Women’s Rights Starts Taking Hold
By Kirk Semple
The New York Times
Published: March 2, 2009
KABUL, Afghanistan — Mariam was 11 in 2003 when her parents forced her to marry a blind, 41-year-old cleric. The bride price of $1,200 helped Mariam’s father, a drug addict, pay off a debt.
Notebook entries, March 1st, 2009
As you may have noticed, I've added a new picture of yours truly in my new role of student at the prestigious Transit Alliance. The reason that it is prestigious is because there were only 60 individuals picked out of 100 applications. I made a few calls and drew on a few favors at RTD to lobby on my behalf. I'm supposed to present an action plan for homework. I hope that I can measure up. At least the photograph has caught up with the cartoon character's nose.
Notebook entry, February 11, 2009
Today is Charles Darwin's 200th birthday. Happy birthday Charlie. Despite your stand on birth control and the minor flaw in your Sexual Selection theory, you did good. Some people don't believe in you and your theory that we evolved from the primates, but they also don't read too many books or use their human brain.
Notebook entry, February 06th, 2009
Below is another local electronic newsletter concerning a development proposal that is just east of Lakewood, Colorado. The meeting was pretty contentious, as all these meetings tend to be.
Sub. Reflections about 5050 West Colfax Lofts meeting via THE BACK FENCE in Lakewood Colorado.
THE BACK FENCE
THE TIMELY NEWSLETTER
ON MATTERS CONCERNING
THE WEST LIGHT RAIL CORRIDOR
In Denver, Lakewood, and Golden Colorado
EARLY FEBRUARY 2009
This is Bill Spriggs reporting on recent events and happenings around the RTD light rail west corridor in the Lakewood Colorado neighborhood and beyond; this report is also sent out of state to various transit agencies and two developers. It is primarily intended for all citizens in west Denver, Lakewood, and Golden that live within ½ mile of the west corridor light rail system that will make its westward commute, or those who want our country to be free of foreign oil. It is informational in its content and carries no critical need for response. The opinions expressed, if any, are my own.
There was a public meeting for the proposed West Side Lofts development by the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless planned for the location at Colfax Ave. and Zenobia in Denver.
The venue for the meeting was at the Confluence Ministries building located at 1400 Quitman St. The meeting was held in the large community meeting hall which has been converted nicely with exposed brick and refinished and polished wood floors. If the ceilings were lower and had someone placed ferns hanging from the ceilings and the lighting was subdued, you would think that it was an up scale yuppie bar in an up and coming neighborhood. The white Holiday lighting also gave the room a pleasant atmosphere.
But on this night it was not a fun place to be, nor, was the subject flippant as evidenced by the absence of laughter.
The meeting hall was packed to standing room only; omnipresent Lakewood resident, Max Tyler who had to sit on an uncomfortable wooden bar stool behind me counted 60 or more neighbors in the room. Also in attendance from Lakewood’s Two Creeks Neighborhood Association, was Co-Chair Carrie Mesch.
The meeting was opened by Denver District One Councilor Rick Garcia; thankfully with a standup microphone assist because at least his resonate deep voice carried over the annoyingly squeaky floors protesting as late comers filtered in looking desperately for seats.
Councilor Garcia told the neighbors that the Renaissance Lofts were part of a ten year plan in Denver to help bring affordable housing throughout the City of Denver. He related his knowledge of homeless shelters and found that most of the homeless were women and children on the edge of despair; some were one paycheck away from the streets; some victims of abuse or domestic violence [Please make a mental note of those remarks about women and children, they’ll come in handy later]. The councilor stressed that no final decision was made on the project, and that was the reason for these meetings; to engage the community and to hear factual information. The project still need further financial backing and support of the neighborhood and asked the attendees to maintain openness to the idea and to see the larger picture.
The meeting was then turned over to David Klimut, Director of Housing Development, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. Mr. Klimut stressed that the housing project had two main goals: 1) that they wanted to be totally available by phone or by email and to be open to all questions from the community. 2) And that they intend to be good neighbors with the ultimate goal of becoming invisible. He then went into a brief history of the Coalition stating that they started in 1984 and found that the best solutions for helping the homeless were by outright purchasing of properties in neighborhoods that they thought were in the processes of changing for the better. In fact, during one phase of the questioning, Mr. Klimut made the statement that the Coalition made the decision to purchase the property at 5050 West Colfax Ave in 2007? because “We knew that we couldn’t afford it the following year.” (Hmmm…It must be that same Crystal Ball that RTD uses for the 50% Rule about the probability of rising real estate values, and the one that Lakewood City Councilor Vicki Stack uses concerning the certain probability of more water main breaks due to light rail construction). The Coalition has found that providing stable, high-quality residences had a major positive impact on the homeless psyche as in uplifting their spirits and going a long ways to returning them to society as productive citizens. The semi-permanent residences were more of an emotional anchor than warehousing them in temporary designated motel rooms, as there were plans to ask the ‘clients’ to commit to a one-year’s lease.
It was at this time that questions were taken from the floor and the deep and cautious mood of the neighborhood rose to have its emotional say.
A Jewish orthodox gentleman (Sorry, I’m stranger to these parts and know few names) spoke of his concern for the neighborhood’s safety stating that there were 52 known registered sex offenders in the neighborhood and 33 within 1,000 feet from a high school. He expressed his fear that the Lofts would over saturate the neighborhood and would have a damning affect on the neighborhood (the majority of the room then applauded). He continued his vent that the sensitivity to the needs of the neighborhood was not being considered; that raising children here was a priority and that the Lofts would dampen the credibility to maintain religious institutions in the neighborhood (again, this was followed by applause).
The questioning then deteriorated into minutiae concerning rents (as low as $25 a month), to criminal background checks, questions about violent felony offenders, and questions about crime being committed while living at the Lofts. Also were several stupid questions from one Limbaugh ditto head who wanted to know if the residences of the Loft were Americans, and not Illegals, and whether or not did management check on residents who paid just $25 a month and take to the streets with a sign begging for the day.
It was at this time that Mr. Klimut took a statement from the developer of the future project and he stated that video security cameras would be in place and that the Lofts were be more secure than some high rise apartments.
Soon after that remark, I decided to leave at 7:30 p.m. because I had heard enough to know that there will be many more meetings of this group and I could pick up the same questions and replies later down the road as the project moves forward; and I am sure the meetings will once again be contentious. But, in my humble opinion, the overall big picture of the project, despite its many disadvantageous, would be an enormous benefit to the surrounding neighborhood by eliminating the blighted and unused Shuffle Inn. This unsightly blemish should be viewed by the neighborhood through a “broken window” perspective, which, by its blighted presence alone attracts drug and graffiti users to the neighborhood. New, clean, high-quality structures built in neighborhoods send a clear message to other developers driving past on Colfax Ave., that perhaps, this would make an excellent location to make a new investment in other Lofts, especially located so near the future light rail Park & Ride. Newness means rebirth and vitality, although it tends to be messy at times when the free market gets thrown into the mix.
The overall tone of the meeting was that the neighborhood would be saturated by the homeless living in these Lofts and tip the scale toward a general decline in quality of life issues, and thus, home values -- thus the general tone of the resistance. Recall that I asked you to remember Councilor’s Garcia’s remarks about the women and children? The conservative, and cautious views expressed in that room were more focused on the masculine violent offenders who they believe would roaming and stalking children in the neighborhood; compassion, even though given a passing note, was not present in the mood of the majority in that room; the elders of the tribe rose in protest, as well as they should be expected.
Fear of the unknown and protection of one’s resources is a common thread shared by all humans. In the Social Dominance theories of Social Psychology in regards to intergroup conflicts, it is one set of established and rooted neighbors, town, villagers, clans, etc., coming together and forming a set of social norms that usual form resistance to any newcomer who his seen as a perceived threat to those resources; be it a tribe called Homeless, individual persons of an unknown origin, or a corporate giant like Wal-Mart.
The importance of these meetings is to air all the concerns of the receiving neighborhood that will live with the consequences of the Denver City Council’s final decision down the road. Right now, I score it 1 for the neighbors and 0 for Lofts; but it is early in the process, and if the cause if right and just, the Lofts should win in the long term, but many concerns have to be calmed.
Stay tuned; I’ve signed up to be alerted when the next meeting will be held. (psst…keep them on Wednesdays – I’m booked on Tuesdays and Thursdays)
William A. Spriggs
Keeping you informed
Along THE BACK FENCE
In Lakewood Colorado
Notebook entry, February 5th, 2009
Below is another local electronic missive. Secretly, I'm really enjoying the whole process of going outside the house and going to these meetings and like trying to be neutral, but sometimes the passion juts its head out and I express those liberal priniciples I value.
THE BACK FENCE
THE TIMELY NEWSLETTER
ON MATTERS CONCERNING
THE WEST LIGHT RAIL CORRIDOR
In Denver, Lakewood, and Golden Colorado
EARLY FEBRUARY 2009
This is Bill Spriggs reporting on recent events and happenings around the RTD light rail west corridor in the Lakewood Colorado neighborhood and beyond; this report is also sent out of state to various transit agencies and two developers. It is primarily intended for all citizens in west Denver, Lakewood and Golden that live within ½ mile of the west corridor light rail system that will make its westward commute, or those who want our country to be free of foreign oil. It is informational in its content and carries no critical need for response. The opinions expressed, if any, are my own.
As of Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 there are 73 days until Earth Day 2009.
Sub: reflections on Garrison St. Sta. Workshop Jan. 27th 2009 via THE BACK FENCE in Lakewood Colorado
This is my first report on the workshop meetings that are currently being conducted and guided by the Lakewood City Planning Department (CPD) & staff concerning the Light Rail west corridor Garrison Street station action plan in Lakewood Colorado in accordance with the Eiber Neighborhood Plan of October 2001. To quote from the Lakewood City’s web site to define a neighborhood plan:
“A neighborhood plan is a policy document that provides guidance to city officials and city staff regarding decisions in a neighborhood and serves as a tool to enhance the character and quality of a neighborhood.
To date, neighborhood plans have been adopted for nine neighborhoods, including the neighborhoods of Molholm/Two Creeks, Edgewood, Jefferson Gardens, Lasley, South Alameda, North Alameda, Eiber, Morse Park and Addenbrooke/Belmar Park.”
The simple premise behind these neighborhood workshops is to ensure that all neighborhood resident concerns are heard. And that brings up another simple premise: Planning Departments have full time staff members, and if a city goes ahead with plans for a specific area of the City, and neighbors are not brought into the process, then, just from past experiences alone, City planners have found that someone will object to something and could rightly put forth an objection that their rights have been violated through the legal system; legal defenses cost the taxpayers money and, more than that – time which also ticks away while City staff get paid.
The two planning associates for the Garrison Street Action Plan are Holly Boehm and Johnathan Wachtel. Holly is the senior planner for the workshop, with Jonathan taking the lead as he expands his experience with neighborhood groups. Even though Jonathan is the junior planner, ever since the first workshop on October 7th 2208, Jonathan’s firm hand and level fairness are equating to exemplary guidance. Holly and Jonathan are two of the nicest planning associates that I have yet to become familiar with at the CPD. It is very tough being fair when at some times the neighbors attending these planning meetings can, at times, seem to be verbal bullies in defense of their own concerns.
The semi-monthly workshops are being held at the Lakewood United Methodist Church, 1390 Brentwood St. These are the wonderful folks who have opened their parlor to the City and to the Eiber Neighborhood Association where our organization meets every third Thursday of the month, with exceptions of course. I don’t know if the City pays the church for a rental fee or not because I have never asked. To some who have been chilled in the winter and roasted in the summer in the church parlor, I personally yearn for a better community meeting hall with better lighting and modern amenities. Perhaps when rebirth comes to the Eiberhood because of the light rail, we will see several pop up; all within walking distance.
The workshops began on October 7th, 2008 with a discussion lead by Paul Ditson, current vice-president of the Eiber neighborhood association presenting his view that the Eiber hood has a historical character and, presumably feels that a good chunk of it should be persevered. Although I did not speak up about my concern at that time in the workshop, in a separate meeting with City staff on October 13th 2008, I noted that “just because my back yard has dirt older than Napoleon, that doesn’t make it historic and needs to be preserved.” I also told City staff that I felt that there was no overwhelming architectural unity to the neighborhood, and that most of the old homes here in Lakewood were constructed because large lots were available at reasonable costs and that they were suitable for backyard farming or pet horses.
A reliable source once told me that another driving force behind the move to Lakewood was that back in Colorado’s early history, downtown Denver was consumed by a large fire that destroyed many wooden homes; Denver then passed city ordinances requiring homes within close proximity of each other to be built in brick. Those who could not afford the brick construction requirements moved west to Lakewood because it would be cheaper to build those houses with wood and the large lots gave them more comfort then the messy vitality of an urban setting. In the 1950s and 1960s when the muscle car was king, highway US 6th that slices through Lakewood east and west became a fantastically easy way to live close in to the major city growing to the east, yet still stay far enough away from city life. The new light rail traversing the northern territories of Lakewood will also provide the same access while at the same time help to clear the air of fossil burning fuels.
On October 28th 2008 the workshop was the onion skin overlay concern meeting. This workshop is met to discuss developmental pressures that most likely will occur when developers want to place high-quality, high-density businesses and living units within walking distance of new stations. The neighbors attending were asked to break into four or five groups, and with additional staff members present to guide them, all the neighbors got to register their concerns or wishes and those concerns and wishes were transferred to the onion skin map overlay.
The CPD staff then took those onion skins back to the City office, and all the staff who attended got together and voiced their general opinions of the onion skin workshops. From this, the map was then divided into major areas of agreement and concerns. To make a long story short, everyone could agree that there was a core area of stability with 13th on the north, 10th Ave on the south, Independence on the west, and Carr St on the east. Let’s not go into future detail, here, but let’s say the rest of the Action Area is open for discussion and most likely, some of it will be heated.
The November 18th 2008 meeting was a continuation of the Land Use Recommendations. It was at this point that city staff provided new maps of the Garrison Station Area with the identified areas colored into three separate colors: Pea Soup Green, Kool Aid Orange, and Lime Jello Green (sorry, I needed a laugh break). PSG equated to Areas of Stability – No Change; KAO equated to Areas of Potential Change – Redevelopment OK w/guidelines; LJG equated to Areas for Further Discussion. If you want a copy of this color-coded map of the Action Area Plan, please call Jonathan Wachtel at 303-987-7510.
On December 9th 2008, CPD staff brought us photos of 23 different high-quality development housing designs and business and then asked us to consider each of designs and how appropriate those designs would be on a scale of 1-5 in those areas that we had identified. #1 being the least appropriate, and 5 being the most desirable. If you want to know the results of the survey, please come to future workshops.
The January 6th and January 27th 2009 workshop meetings were a review of all those designs and their applications assigned to those areas by the neighbors. Staff had announced through prior emails and verbally at the January 27th meeting, which was scheduled to discuss the Future Potential Subdivisions of 1R properties would be held on February 17th 2009 instead. Please come to this important meeting if you are interested.
There was a good attendance at the January 27th 2009 meeting. I counted 26 in attendance, some new, and some old from the very first meeting in October 7, 2008. Beth Wicht, the Eiber Neighborhood president, led the meeting off with introductions; Eiber Neighborhood vice-president, Paul Ditson was also present.
Also in attendance were Ward One, City Councilor, Vicki Stack, Ward two Councilors Cindy Baroway, and Debbie Koop who both left half way through the work shops for other meetings. Planning Commissioner, Ray Schoch (At-Large - Ward 1) has been a regular since the start and in attendance with him was a new Planning Commissioner whose name I did not quite catch. Other Eiberhood neighbors were newcomers David and Leasa Peterson, Ryntha Johnson, and along with some of the regulars to the meetings: Bob Hennessy, David Rothenberger, Ralph Fieselman, Larry Foiles, Merry Hansen, and semi-regular Jim Esteban, Natalie Menton’s web designer.
And something new in attendance: a toddler whose name was not mentioned in the introductions, but who was the daughter of meeting newcomer, Mike Goodman of 13th and Estes. At the last regularly scheduled meeting of the Eiber meeting on January 15th 2009, I mentioned that “I have attended everyone of these workshops meetings and just from a cursory glance, I suspected that no one in that workshop had children at home less than seven years old.” I continued, that without children, “this (Eiber) neighborhood will die a slow death.” Perhaps that was a bit melodramatic, but the statement is true at its core of any neighborhood. The Eiberhood has a core region of social stability, but at its northern and northeastern perimeters it badly needs revitalization to prop up the social fabric that surrounds it.
Also in attendance were the three gentlemen from New Urban, LLC; Moe Bonakdar, Gray Yoshimura, and Kerry Smeester whose site within the Eiber neighborhood is simply called 13th and Independence St. The developers have been absent for several months of the workshop meetings and all of the Eiber neighborhood association members had thought that the collapse of real estate values and the stock market may have had something to do with their absence. But talking with the philosophical guru of the company, Moe Bonakdar at the January 27th meeting, it was simply a matter of a severe foot injury to Mr. Bonakdar, and the holidays that contributed to their absences.
In closing, please remember the importance of the February 17, 2009 meeting to discuss future potential subdivisions of 1R properties.
Psssst. The City of Lakewood provides cookies and water for your consumption if that tips the scale in getting you off your couch.
All meetings will be held from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., in the parlor room of the Lakewood United Methodist Church, 1390 Bentwood Street, Lakewood, Colorado
William A. Spriggs
Keeping you informed
Along THE BACK FENCE
In Lakewood Colorad
Notebook entry, January 27, 2009
Had a good day today at Red Rocks Community College. Got to meet Mariza Vesquez who is a new member of the ACICs Diversity Education Committee. She's going to be a great assest to the City of Lakewood Colorado. Lakewood has about 13% Hispanics here, but very few in major City governmental roles.
Notebook entry, January 22, 2009
I continue with my community organizational efforts. THE BACK FENCE is now in full swing. Below is my first attempt at editorializing while covering a Ward One meeting.
Sub: Reflections on the 50% rule Ward One meeting of 01-17-2009
As of Sunday, January 25th, 2009 there are 87 days until Earth Day, 2009.
This is Bill Spriggs reporting on recent events and happenings around the RTD FasTracks 13th Ave. corridor in Lakewood and beyond; this report is also sent out of state to various transit agencies and two developers. It is primarily intended for board members of the three neighborhood associations that FasTracks will traverse in Lakewood Colorado and also includes interested political persons of a progressive nature. It is informational in its content and carries no critical need for response. The opinions expressed, if any, are my own.
The Ward One meeting was held to discuss the 50% rule provision the State Law which allows RTD to acquire partial portions of property along the West Corridor and, through a complex series of formulas, only offer property owners 50% of the assessed value of that partial property. The basis for the 50% law, as I understand it, is to save the taxpayers of Colorado money because, the reasoning goes, the partial property being acquired, being in close proximity of the new Light Rail system most likely will increase in value. Now, the good news here, according to RTD, if the property in question increases more in value than 100% beyond the original assessment -- say, goes up 300% -- is that the good folks of Colorado have put a on limit’s RTD acquisition to only 50% beyond the increase of the original assessment. To represent RTD at the Ward One meeting to explain to those present was RTD’s general counsel, Marla L. Lein, a wisp of a woman dressed in her best casual Saturday attire of blue jeans and red flannel shirt. In retrospect, she was a courageous woman to face the generally negative crowd. She knows her stuff and explains it well despite her reliance on legal language.
Vicki Stack, Ward One City Counselor for the City of Lakewood who hosted the meeting, serves her constituents very well. The meeting held on January 17th, 2009 at the Lakewood Libarary on 20th Ave and was a true display of democracy in action as her conservative base was out in full force expressing their concerns and comments toward Ms. Lien.
Unfortunately, the presence of Jessica Peck Corry of the Independence Institute was there as well. Does everyone know that the “free market think tank” which is located at 13952 Denver West Parkway, is actually located in Ward One of Lakewood? One of Ms. Corry’s projects is The Property Rights Project, so I can see the connection. Also there was Dave Minshall, a former TV personality, now property rights advocate, a TV cameraman (I don’t know what media outlet he was from), Gaylon Foster and Kim Synder (both from 14th and Wadsworth fame), Natalie Mention, the-all-politicians-are-cheaters fame, therefore they have to account for every penny they spend like an cheating spouse who has to be controlled, and now also the 50% rule abolishment advocate), Jim Esteban, her web designer, Ward Four Lakewood City Councilor, Doug Anderson, and Mike Mueller of the Lakewood Underground fame gave the small meeting room that was packed to standing room only, a sort of intense urgency to the attending Ward One constituents.
I think I can sum up the mood of the conservative crowd in one short sentence: “The Bogeymen Barbarians are at the gates and we need to rally our forces before they pillage and take everything we own.”
That’s the good side of Democracy -- when people are impassioned enough to speak their minds and organize themselves in a just cause (or one they think is just) democracy has its finest moments. The bad side to all this is that it also inflames those many passions toward our more deep, visceral, and de-evolved passions that most of us left behind in the jungle when we evolved from the primates. During one heated moment, one constituent thrust his arm straight out toward Ms. Lein, and with a scurrilous scowl on his face shouted beyond sensible audible levels, “You’re a Communist!!!” “The taking of someone’s property is Communism!!!” To his credit, Gaylon Foster walked over to this person and calmed him down, obviously because he knew that such behavior would be more detrimental to his cause than positive.
Another constituent, (who actually lives in Ward Two), began yelling that “RTD can’t be trusted!” They lie to you anyway they can!!” “They tell you one thing and then do something else!”
One constituent rose up and expressed that it was pretty clear that the sentiments in the room clearly had shown that this 50% rule should be repealed. Dave Ruchman, prior District M RTD director, who arrived late, (but most likely has heard these arguments before) calmly and clearly pointed out that this 50% rule has never been used yet and that if we return our memories to the 2004 election, even before gas prices hit their sky high levels, the voters of Colorado overwhelmingly passed FasTracks by a 60% to 40% margin. “This is something the voters clearly wanted,” he said. Then Someone in the back of the room shouted, “Yeah, but what if the elections were held today!?” I think the person who shouted that comment must have believed that the entire Colorado voting population was present in that room at that time. It is amazing the depth of the human experience in its ability to express issues when it is blind to all other issues.
It was somewhere along this timeline that Lakewood Counselor Doug Anderson brought to the attention of Mr. Bruce Daly, a newly elected board director of RTD, to the possibility of eliminating this 50% rule. Mr. Anderson asked Mr. Daly if he would be willing to bring before the board the suggestion to the entire RTD board. Mr. Daly said that he might consider it. Given the hostile mood of the room and the pained expression on his face, I think Mr. Daly would have agreed to make the presentation naked before the RTD board.
Now, because of a remark made by Doug ?Stratton (sorry, if I got the name wrong) of the former Action Bikes on Colfax Ave, I would like to interject my opinion on the matter. He made the remark that he was wondering why the 50% rule only applied to partial pieces of property which was based on future potential increased values. He continued that the law does not apply in the case of the entire property at 14th and Wadsworth, whose owners may lose that entire property to acquisition by RTD without any mentioning of increased value beyond the present value assessed by RTD in current market value dollars.
I agree. In fact, I think that the legislature should keep the 50% rule, but reverse the current objective and whatever the current assessed value of the property that is in the NOW, then the owners should be given 50% MORE because of the trauma of putting up with construction and dealing with the anxiety of losing parts, or all of their homes. If the assumed “benefit” of increased property values is almost a certainly, (which, I believe can be calculated by measuring real estate values of other light rail projects around the country in pre and post construction phases) than I strongly suggest that the Colorado Legislature should understand that reversing the 50% rule to the land owners advantage is worth the possible loss of future votes through public humiliation suckered by the press on such a visceral issue – and should we not also look into our crystal balls and see any legal expenses on the horizon to the good taxpayers of Colorado because of this issue?
Listen folks, having the construction preparations tear up your streets and pulling out 100 or more year old trees is no laughing matter. It is traumatic in its scope. It is the controlled chaos of a massive construction project where we won’t reap the real benefits for years to come. The light rail construction that is tearing through our neighborhoods now is no joy to watch as we experience, up close, the controlled destruction of the old and familiar. We don’t see any “benefit” down the road where we sit today.
My second opinion (I get two cents worth, right?) is that the Independence Institute should change it’s name to the Lets-Keep-America-Addicted-To-Foreign-Oil Institute, or for short, The Dependence Institute, for using this issue in the upcoming elections to gain seats in the Colorado Legislature on the backs of scared home owners who just want to get ahead and want a decent break after working so hard all their lives. The cancellation, delaying, or even worse, the redesign of any future Park and Ride structures would only hurt ridership and the air we all breathe. Why is the Independence Institute not heeding the words of Al Gore from July 18, 2008?:
“We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet.” What Mr. Gore didn’t mention is that we also send the money to the Persian Gulf so that these countries can invest in religious schools that spread hate and destruction to the United States and its ally, Israel; we then also send money we borrowed from China and send it to Israel who then buys our weapons that kill innocent civilians on the other side.
Mr. Gore continues:
“Just two days ago, 27 senior statesmen and retired military leaders warned of the national security threat from an "energy tsunami" that would be triggered by a loss of our access to foreign oil. Meanwhile, the war in Iraq continues, and now the war in Afghanistan appears to be getting worse.”
What’s going on here? Are we all living in a bubble and don’t know what’s happening in the world?
But then, helping the little people under the guise of Protector against the Barbarians is not really the goal, is it? Could it be that the using of little people like pawns in a chess game for one’s ultimate political goal really what’s going on? Is it a testosterone spitting contest to see which politicians can outsmart the other politicians on a State level? How come the Independence Institute isn’t raising money to help these people move into a future McMansion with plenty of room for prize horses to roam? You can’t take free legal advice to the bank to buy a new home or go shopping for luxury items. How about a “Light Rail Relocation and Construction Trauma Relief Fund?”
Not one person in that room on that day stood up for the children of the future who have to live with the decisions that we have to make today. No one in that room who spoke spiteful, negative towards RTD is going to help clear the air over Denver on a high-red pollution day, and none in that room who only care about their immediate concerns are ever going to make sure that my grandson’s allergies are mild instead of severe when he grows up in this neighborhood.
Except for me. I was in that room.
And this newsletter is my way of standing amongst my 450 neighbors along the light rail corridor – not just in Ward One.
This is Bill Spriggs
Expressing my opinion and
Keeping you informed over
THE BACK FENCE
Notebook entry, January 18th, 2009
No response from Pete Roybal, see December 10th entry.
I hope everyone reading this had a good Holiday season. But despite the season to celebrate the Prince of Peace, once again, there is organized violence on the planet as the Israelites have struck back at militants in the Gaza strip, and once again, we see overwhelming force trying to dominate smaller, submissive subjects. When we this crap end? I know that a country has the right to defend itself, but does bombing the shit out thousands of civilians really the way to go? Would the cost of all the bombs dropped equal health care, food production, and education for the entire area? Or does the thrill of domination outweigh everything?
Below is my first attempt at community organization. I've sent out 380 letters with pre-paid postcards asking those recipients to respond to send me their email addresses. I have dropped them into the mail stream on Saturday morning -- so that they will all arrive on Tuesday morning -- inauguration Day for BO. From there, I intend to lead them to a new web site that I am developing. I think I will call it, THE BIG TOE: Transit Oriented Everything. I am developing it with the help of my friend, Max Tyler. Max is a true Liberal. They are hard to come by here in Lakewood Colorado. The Mayor of Lakewood, wants me to meet with him and one official from the City Manager's Office. He wants me to chair a committee called the CCC, The Complete Count Committee. It's to promote to the population of Lakewood that the Census is coming to town and not to be afraid. I've told City Council member, Cindy Baroway that I was 75% certain that I would take the position (it does not pay) but that I was worried about expenses.
Below is the letter to the Young Dems in my Eiberhood.
THE BACK FENCE
KEEPING NEIGHBORS INFORMED
ON MATTERS CONCERNING
THE WEST LIGHT RAIL CORRIDOR
My name is William A. Spriggs, and I am a progressive Democrat who lives within the Eiber neighborhood where you live. I am writing to you to let you know that I am launching a free internet newsletter called THE BACK FENCE which will keep neighbors like you informed about all matters related to the new RTD light rail which will travel across the northern part of Lakewood. The West Corridor originates in Denver, flows west through Lakewood, and returns via the Jefferson County Administration and Courts Complex in Golden.
Just like a neighbor talking to you over THE BACK FENCE, the newsletter will get you up to date about things that are current, swift-moving, and important to you. Most likely the newsletter articles will be about light rail meetings and happenings, city-sponsored work shops on action plans, town hall meetings, zoning hearings, and at times, or perhaps, only contain links to articles in the two major hard copy dailies in the Denver area about RTD.
With each free electronic newsletter sent to you, the email will always contain a link on the bottom that will send you to a soon-to-be-developed web site where more in-depth information can be found (No title yet, but sign up for the newsletter and be there for the opening!). The web site will also contain back issues of the newsletters for reference.
As an activist who was inspired by the 2008 National elections and the possibility of real change coming to our great land, I want to see that the promises of the new administration concerning transit construction, infra-structure, alternative sources of energy, and green job creation become a reality here in our neighborhood. I want my children and grandchildren to breathe clean air emancipated from 19th Century coal and oil carbon based fuels; I want my country to be free from the welfare dependence on foreign oil which has made it lazy to find alternatives.
I’m hoping that you will want to be motivated to get more involved by joining us at zoning workshops, neighborhood meetings; voicing your opinion, writing letters – all designed to help bring about these positive changes. But right now, the least I ask of you is to allow me to keep connected with you at no cost or commitment. Having knowledge is the greatest weapon you can possess. Please fill out the enclosed pre-paid post card and drop it in the mail. You’re email address and other private information will remain exactly that – Private. Keep Change as a major goal in our lives; keep change moving forward.
William A. Spriggs
Eiber Neighborhood board member
email and phone placed here
Notebook entry, December 10th, 2008
Below is a personal letter that I sent to my friend Pete Roybal. Pete is a 20-year retired Army guy who works the back alleys of Denver. He has his own business and works hard at what he does. He described his business at this: The garbage is collected via back alleys in the Denver system, and very, simply, sometimes the garbage trucks back into citizen's garage doors or siding; the citizens get mad, call City Hall, and City Hall calls Pete and the problem goes away.
December 10, 2008
I decided that I would write to you using the US Postal Service as a form of communication. I find it more relaxing and it allows time to ponder what I am about to say (or should I say “write.”). I actually can communicate better with the written word than through verbal conversations.
It was great meeting with you and breaking bread on Saturday, the 6th. I’m glad that you and I are very much alike in that we understand that the most important things in life are not things, but family. Family unity is how our species rose up from the jungle and separated us from the primates. It is also how minority populations survive in a hostile social environment.
I’m sorry for your financial loss about the house on 14th and Knox. As I told you, I can relate a similar tale of loss because of my step-daughter’s stroke in December of 2005. My wife, Diana and I, lost a considerably sum gross pay by retiring earlier than expected, but on the bright side, before we retired, we shifted all of our 401K funds out of the stock market equity funds and into governmental securities. They did not lose a dime during this recent financial debacle, in fact, the funds are still rising at about 4.5% a year; but, it won’t be too long before we have to tap into that reserve. Diana and I are both waiting to reach age 66 to resume some sort of part time employment to have money to travel to see my expanding family of grandkids (three, and one on the way, out of state – one here, full time).
I only had a few moments to discuss my vision for a massive mural art project that would benefit minority populations along the light rail development and, secondarily, to help in the fight against graffiti and vandalism. The larger benefit here is that art stimulates the creative right side of the brain to complement the practical, and realistic left side of the brain. (See the enclosed article, Art and How it Benefits the Brain) Here is the bottom-line: It helps to stimulate the problem-solving parts of the brain so that the individual can learn to use creativity instead of aggressive, and sometimes violent acts to find a way out of the “barrio of poverty.” The long term goal: so that individuals don’t have to depend on gangs as a substitute for that sense of bonding and security that is missing when poverty destroys families.
Don’t misinterpret my words: I’m not a crusading do-gooder: This all just makes good common sense. The reduced cost to taxpayers for the removal of graffiti and vandalism is obvious (I’m attempting to collect the data on exactly how much now).
This Mural Art vs. Graffiti has been a project of mine since taggers put graffiti on the walls at the VFW community center at 1196 Balsam St. in the summer of 2007. Recently after that, I stumbled across a Time magazine article about the Philadelphia Art Mural project, which was started to fight graffiti. I bought a DVD of the program, made copies of the DVD, and handed them out to Ed Peterson, Sue King, Debbie Koop, and then Ward II Councilor, Bob Murphy; the Councilors I thought would have the biggest problems with graffiti. Well, I think it finally has lit a fire under someone’s curiosity.
It wasn’t until just this summer that the City Council handed down an assignment to the Public Arts Commission of the ACIC to investigate the use of art to curtail graffiti. I send five copies of the DVDs to John Weston, the chair of the Public Arts and suggested that he connect with the Youth Commission to see if they could do a joint assignment, which he did.
The situation now is that the assignment is stalled in both of the committees because, for one, this guy John Weston just announced in the November’s meeting that they need a new chair for Public Arts Committee because he was resigning in January. (This is between you and me -- I think it’s going nowhere because this guy, John Weston, is a Texas Good Ol’ Boy who still talks with a thick accent – And he probably thinks only Hispanics do all of the graffiti in Lakewood! – Yeah, right). And the second reason is that in the Youth Committee, no one is showing up (or should we say, the current chair doesn’t shows no leadership for calling people and asking them to come to meetings).
So right now, Patricia Gaffney-Kindig, who has just been elevated to chair of the Diversity Education Committee and I have been talking about seizing this assignment and making it a three-way group assignment in which we would look into the possibility of partnering with RTD in an art project along the entire 12.5 mile west corridor link.
So, that is where you come into the picture if you care to join us. I need your help in introducing us to the Denver City Council members that back up against Lakewood and, if you know any more, to please tell them that “there’s this crazy guy out there in Lakewood that wants to see if he can get art scholarships for the kids who live near the light rail line and will be affected by the new light rail as it runs from downtown Denver and heads west. He thinks that it will help end vandalism and graffiti and he wants to set up a coffee or an appointment in your office. I’m sure that Patricia and I could do it alone, but I think it would have more impact if you did the introductions and were there with us. It could also, perhaps help to further strengthen you ties with Lakewood City Council when, and if, you decide to run in 2011.
On another subject, you did mention briefly about a westward migration pressure from Hispanics in their attempt to find decent jobs and housing. And where I live, in the Eiber neighborhood the migration has been noticed and is being met with hesitation, anxiety, and subtle words being whispered about “those people” moving into their neighborhood. In my experience with the Diversity Committee, I know that the basis for all of this comes from the territorial location, educational attainment, ethnic origins, but mostly, economic social position of these people who feel threatened by change in any form; the approach of light rail moving westward across the northern tip of Lakewood is being met with particular anxiety by this group because of “those people who ride transit.”
I’m going to be really blunt here: What is shaping up out here is a classic territorial battle for the soul and character of a particular neighborhood between two groups of people: Hispanics and Whites. In another favor that I would ask of you, is for you to start attending the workshops that are being held in this neighborhood by the city of Lakewood Planning concerning the zoning guidelines for the Garrison Street Action Plan. (see the enclosed material). What these people want to do is de-zone (it’s called downsizing) areas currently that allow multi-family dwellings (like apartments) and make the area permanently single-family dwellings. That means that only single family homes in the future will be allowed to be built. They also intend to draw a line at the 13th Ave. corridor and allow no new development south of 13th Ave.
Why do I want you to attend the meetings? To be the 800lb unspoken gorilla in the room, and the fact that I am outnumbered about 11 to 1. (I’ve got ‘em right where I want ‘em!, but why should I have all the fun?). And, of course, so that we could have a beer before or after. If interested, jot January 6th 2009 at 630pm on your calendar.
FYI, I’ve also included some printouts from the City of Denver Planning Department and their visionary plans for the Sheridan Street Station. On includes a drawing for 11th Ave and Sheridan looking west. Enjoy them.
If I don’t speak to you, or don’t bump into you in the next three weeks, have a great Christmas Holiday season!
1201 Balsam St.
Lakewood, CO 80214
Notebook entry, December 3rd, 2008
The Obama tranisition team, or what's left of the old campaign staff, have a web site called, Change.gov. It has an idea section for little people like me to submit ideas to the top of the pyramid. I sent the following about five days ago.
It’s real simple. Develop transit in cities through Governmental incentives to encourage TOD (Transit Oriented Development) lifestyles by dropping money into areas around light rail stations like bomb sites: the closer to the station area that has light rail transportation, the more money that should be dropped into that area via a program that generally should be called, LEFs – Location Efficiency Funds.
Non Rocket Science Funding: Two types of LEFs….draw a circle, one quarter mile from a light rail station, and another one, one half mile away. It has been established in cities that have developed TODs, that one-half mile is the maximum limit that pedestrians will walk to use light rail transit. Beyond that, they revert back to their cars. You devise a monetary program around those two areas. A certain set of funds gets put in the one-quarter mile area, and a lesser chunk of money gets dropped into the one half mile area. Period -- Slam Dunk.
The principle is based on the established LEM program – Location Efficiency Mortgages – http://www.locationefficiency.com/ – which exists in only four major cities. The closer one lives to transit, the finance companies believe that you will have more money available because of reduced costs to the mortgagee due to one-car family expenses vs. a two car family budget. Ergo, one should therefore be able to devote a larger portion of their income to a mortgage. The LEM program adds on to the amount that a family or person can borrow based on the nearness to transit; hence the “efficiency.”
So, why not expand that idea to all transit oriented developments?: not just mortgages, but commercial development that encourages jobs located near transit, and yes, why not small manufacturing along the transit lines as well? And how about financing senior homes because the elderly have no desire, nor the extra money, needed to drive anyways. How about encouraging child day care centers near transit? Or, get this – fund elderly centers that combine child care with the mobile elderly to tutor the young in exchange for paying for their elderly real-time assistance, and perhaps future nursing home care?
Oh, well, just a pipe dream.
Excellent reference material:
November 12th, 2008
I was going through some of my old MSDoc's trying to free up some old disc space and came across an email that I had sent out to all of the female members of the HBES (Human Behavior and Evolution Society) and thought that I would share it with you. It was sent out approximately on September 18th, 2008
I have never sent an email message to any of my fellow HBES members before, but because of the nature of the discovery that I am about to share, I am moved by concern to write; please excuse the interruption to your busy schedules. This will only take a moment.
This message is primarily meant for female scientists and educators who are embedded within the evolutionary community. Hopefully the message will spread to anyone with a concern for our species’ future.
For the past 15 years I have been studying evolution, evolutionary psychology, and in particular, over the last five years, I have focused on evolutionary feminism and have found many supporters.
At the very core of this movement is the belief that female sexual choice created the split from our ancestral primates. Since evolution is about survival of the progeny via the passage of genes into the next generation, another core belief is that ultimately, with a fundamental grasp of the evolutionary perspective, the modern female of today will lead the future generations of females to demand peace on this planet that benefits all God’s children.
But, it is with great concern that I have found, even in this enlightened day and age, many individuals and organizations, who still believe that the female of our species is a threat to our civilization.
As a species we can not afford to return to any fundamentalist beliefs that bellow the inferiority of females.
Don’t believe such organizations exist?
Visit this website:
On it’s masthead it has the following:
“How feminism and matriarchy are destroying civilization.”
As you will discover, it is a well-organized and has a professional appeal to the website; it has many links to even more misogynist websites.
What I am hoping for is that having you explore this website and its numerous links, it will motive you and your students to fight this ancient, malicious meme. It is time to evolve.
Thank you for your time.
William A. Spriggs
November 11th, 2008
Today is my 63rd birthday. Happy birthday to me.
November 10th, 2008
below is another entry concerning my "reporting" of events and happenings around my neighborhood as the light rail construction begins to have its affect on the neighbors and the neighborhood here in the northern part of Lakewood, Colorado. It is dated November 4th, 2008.
11.04.2008 Tri-Neighborhood corridor report, Lakewood Colorado & beyond
This is Bill Spriggs reporting on recent events and happenings around the RTD FasTracks 13th Ave. corridor in Lakewood and beyond; this report is also sent out of state to various transit agencies and two developers. It is primarily intended for board members of the three neighborhood associations that FasTracks will traverse in Lakewood Colorado. It is informational in its content and carries no critical need for response. The opinions expressed, if any, are my own.
The Lakewood City Council held a Study Session on Monday November 3rd, 2008. Only one City Councilor was not in attendance: Vicki Stack
There were seven items under study including presentations for the proposed Colfax Mixed-Use Comprehensive Plan Amendment/Legislative Rezoning; JPRC- Rooney Valley Development Standards; Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. The reason that I, and many others in the audience showed up was the City Soundwall Program presentation. It is the sole subject of this report as it impacts the citizens of the 13th Avenue corridor the most.
Rebecca Clark, Director of the Community Planning & Development gave the presentation and instructed the City Council to follow along with the Memorandum that was sent to the Mayor and City Council dated October 29, 2008, with the subject: November 3, 2008, City Council Study Session, Proposed Program Management for Sound Wall Options.
A copy of the Memorandum is available at:
To get some of the readers up to speed, in summary, I quote from the memorandum:
“As part of the Regional Transportation District’s West Corridor light rail project, 6-foot sound walls will be constructed on identified segments of RTD’s right-of-way to meet the Federal Transit Administration’s requirements for sound mitigation. The sound walls are to be constructed only on certain residential segments identified by RTD between Sheridan Boulevard and Oak Street.”
The Memorandum was divided into two parts. Part I summarizes background information pertaining to the sound walls, and Part II outlines a recommended Program Management for assisting affected property owners with noise mitigation.
Part I of the Memorandum dwells into Federal requirements for noise mitigation, RTD’s noise assessment; RTD’s sound wall policy for moderate impacts; RTD’s sound wall location criteria for severe impacts; RTD’s sound wall locations; FasTracks noise barrier change policy, and lastly, community outreach and education.
Backing up for just a moment, it is important to note that based on their criteria, RTD identified 109 properties that will receive a 6-foot sound wall, for a total of 13,782 lineal feet of sound wall.
I must also mention is RTD’s Noise Barrier Change Policy which was developed to provide a procedure for affected parties to request changes to a proposed sound wall design on a FasTracks project: RTD gives three options; Option 1: Keep the wall; Option 2: Increase Noise Barrier Length or Height, and Option 3: Decrease Height and/or Length of Noise Barrier or Eliminate Noise Barrier.
Of note in option 2: Property owners behind a wall segment may increase the sound wall height or length based on certain requirements. 75% of the affected property owners behind a wall segment agree to an increased wall height AND the property owners finance the increase in cost. The cost to increase the sound wall height is $30.00 per lineal foot of wall.
In option 3 above, if the affected property owners opt out of the sound wall they can receive either a cash payment for RTD or an alternative treatment including improved windows, trees, landscaping or fencing. This alternative treatment option was developed by the City in partnership with RTD to provide additional choices for mitigation measures. This is being funded 1/3rd by the City and 2/3rd by RTD. The City’s portion is $35 per lineal foot of property fronting the track.
Sorry to bore you with details up till now, but this is where the study session began to get lively as Part II of the Memorandum was brought forward into the presentation, which was: Preliminary Staff Recommendations for Program Management. The most important part of this portion of the Memorandum is this statement: “At the August 22, 2008, city Council budget study session, City Council agreed to fund sound wall mitigation options with the remainder of the court remodel budget.” It was at this point that Larry Dorr, Finance Director came before the Council and noted that the amount of that remainder was the sum of $186,000.00.
Under Option 1 where property owners decided to keep the sound walls, all costs would be borne by RTD.
Under Option 2, CPD staff broke it down into two programs, 1 and 2.
Under program 1, the City does not fund the cost for an increased sound wall. Under this option, the City is available to assist homeowners with developing a self-taxing district to assist with payment for his/her share. Under this program, the cost to the City would be staff time and expertise.
Under program 2, the City pays for 50% of the increased wall height cost along the entire corridor with an anticipated total cost of $1,006,440. Maximum cost to the City would be $503,220.
Now, since Ms. Clark reported that only five property owners along a small stretch of 13th Ave near Garrison St. have requested an increase of the sound wall from 6ft to 10ft, the cost, after some discussion with Ms. Clark, the Mayor, and Mr. Urbanowski of the Planning Commission, was determined to be approximately, $89,000 for the City and the affected owners. Under this option, the five property owners requesting the height increase would have to pay $17,800 each. The Mayor asked Ms. Clark if the five property owners were aware of the cost that they must bear, and she replied that she did not think so.
Moving on to option three; Decrease Height and/or Length of Noise Barrier. Since there were no requests for decrease in noise barrier height or length, this portion then would be used to manage the alternative treatment option including landscaping, fencing, and/or windows. The CPD staff recommended that this portion be managed similar to current Economic Development grant programs. Estimated cost to the City would be $408,800, but it would be these projects that could be budgeted over many years as the City, RTD, and the property owners all must coordinate their home projects with cost analysis combined with when those projects would go forward.
In the final part of Part II of the Memorandum, option 4: Enhance the Appearance of the Recommended Noise Barrier. No requests were received for this option. Councilor Koop asked Ms. Clark why she thought there were no requests. Ms. Clark did not have a solid answer other than she thought that since the property owner had to bear all the costs, that the option was ignored. I call it a sign of the economic times in 2008.
The Mayor then moved the study session to questions and comments, and very rapidly, as almost like a viral infection spread across the room, each Councilor commented that they were not inclined for one reason or another to vote for City funds to pay for an increase in the height of the sound walls. Councilor Allen pointed out that the City has no obligation to help out, and expressed worry that “if we help out one owner, then others will come forward to ask for assistance. She also expressed concern by dipping into the past and commented on US 6th Ave. and what if those people who were affected by that highway’s passage through their neighborhoods many years ago decided to come forward and ask for mitigation. In a later comment, Councilor Allen did bring up a compromise proposal by suggesting that the City’s contribution could be reduced to 40% vs. 50% and that the height of the wall should only be built to eight feet vs. ten feet. No other Councilor had a compromise suggestion, but Councilor Anderson did express concern that the FasTracks going through one’s neighborhood took away the property owner’s “quiet enjoyment of their property.”
Since all of the Councilors did not want to spend City funds on increasing the height of the sound walls except Mr. Anderson, Mayor Murphy put forward an Executive Ruling that the City no longer pursue Program 2: (Under program 2, the City pays for 50% of the increased wall height cost along the entire corridor with an anticipated total cost of $1,006,440. Maximum cost to the City would be $503,220).
During the discussion portion of the sound wall mitigation, the matter of residents of 13th Place came forward. It was during this section of the discussion that Councilor Anderson’s remark about the citizens who lived at 13th Place were having their “quiet enjoyment of property” being taken away from them and that it was a derivative form of eminent domain and that these residents should be compensated for having something tangible being taken from them.
It was at this time that Mayor Murphy interjected and respectfully told Mr. Anderson that the 13th Place sound wall incident was a separate issue that was not under study with the November 3rd session and promised that the 13th Place issue will be taken up at another session. The Mayor also mentioned that he had written a letter to RTD for further clarification and hopefully would get a response soon so that the matter could be addressed at a later date.
And now, for a bit of personal comment:
As a resident of the 13th Ave corridor, I wanted to offer some, what I would consider to be, wise advice to the City Council: Be wise not to avoid or respond with platitudes to the residences of the northern territories of Lakewood.
In national politics, it has been said that everything changed after 9/11. In just a few short years, massive changes will occur as the Steel Tornado called FasTrack prepares to lumber across our northern neighborhoods. It has already started to rip up our streets by removing and replacing sewer and water lines; in its wake it leaves road closures, uneven and bumpy traffic lanes, dust, (and now mud), and construction noise. It slows and reroutes traffic which affects our neighborhood’s normal daily migration habits, and now there are rumors about tree removals and reports in the major daily papers about notices being sent out by RTD to acquire properties; all of which add to anxieties.
And that is just in present time. In the future it will swish through our neighborhoods swiftly delivering passengers to and fro. Streets will be closed, and sound walls will cut off some of our neighborhood passages that we once depended upon, and occurring to some, obnoxious bells and whistles will signal the light rail’s approach at some street crossings. But, most of all, the biggest change will be the visual presence and potency of the Steel Tornado as it moves across our corridor many times during the day and night.
I call it the Steel Tornado because that is what’s happening with the beginning of the construction of the light rail. It is a slow moving tornado that is tearing up the neighborhood and traumatizing the long-time residents that will affect them for the rest of their lives; they are going through a thought process in which they feel that they are the only ones that must sacrifice that which they hold dear – while the rest of the City reaps the rewards of increased real estate and sales tax revenues. They feel that fairness has abandoned them.
I wanted to conclude this portion of the report to remind the City Council to review the Public Comment section of the October 13th, 2008 of the City Council session, when a petite woman came forward to read a letter of lament. It was Ann Johnson of 13th place. Here was a Lakewood resident who came forward confused, angry, and traumatized over the seemingly overt show of disconnect from her elected City Officials when RTD admitted an error in its sound wall study. I’m not a psychologist, but it was not difficult to hear the quiet despair that was going through this woman’s thoughts.
You can view her Public Comment in full during the October 13th City Council meeting by clicking here:
A few weeks ago I asked a City Council member what would happen if a real-life tornado touched down along the 13th Ave corridor and traumatizes its citizens. I asked, “Would the citizens of Lakewood respond to help their fellow neighbors?” Her reply, “Without a doubt.”
The first presentation of the study session on November 3rd, 2008 was the proposed Colfax Mixed Use Comprehensive Plan. If you study large maps of the plan you can see various land use and design configurations called Roadside, Neighborhood, and Community sandwiched in between the two Park and Ride Stations of Wadsworth and Oak Streets. As you step back and take a good look of all the territory marked over for future zoning; you begin to sense the massiveness of the entire project that is coming and how the entire northern tier of Lakewood will change.
And once the light rail is built, it will change everything in Lakewood.
Notebook entry, November 5th, 2008
The USA had its national election yesterday, and we elected the first man to be President who was of African-American descent. For the first time in American, the voting population did not fall for stupid negative advertisements that failed to give them answers to the nagging questions about how to keep their homes, jobs, health care, and their kid’s education and voted for hope instead of hate.
Surprise, surprise, surprise; it was the economy, stupids.
The mean, cruel, and dark conservative forces in American have run out of lies and deception and the American people – for a glimmering moment at least -- finally grew up. The conservative movement is in shambles for one simple reason only: THEY DID NOT TRICKLE DOWN THEIR WEALTH. Now they must endure "tolerated threat" from the people below them in their social heirachy or suffer the consequences.
Notebook entry, October 31, 2008
My wife, Diana is running around getting the house ready for Halloween. That's a strange American custom in which children dress up in their favorite outfits and go house to house and shout, Trick or Treat. The usual custom here is to say, Oh, and Ah....what a wonderful custom that you have there!, etc., while at the same time throwing candy of various kinds into their sacks which they carry with them. Personally, I like the idea of seeing who comes to your door and giving them a bribe not to do harm to your home in the future. But, that is silly 'ol me.
On another note, below find a letter that I sent to the Diversity Council of the Red Rock Community College. I am the local citizen's representative for Lakewood's Diversity Committee of the ACIC -- that's the Advisory Committee on an Inclusive Community. It's a long story that I have not told yet in this voyage, but the short version is this. Local City Council comes under criticism that it does not reach out to its citizens enough and scrambles its old system. It comes up with nine sub-committees with about five or six person each. I'm assigned to the Diversity Education Committee, and within a few meetings, I am assigned to be the link for the College. (I'm leaving a bunch out here for time sack, and promise that I will return to the matter at a later date).
So, the college is trying to move away from celebrating heroes and events and concentrate on teaching diversity to its educators. I sent them this email with suggested that they look at this Social Dominance theory published in 1994.
It was sent earlier today.
Dear members of the Red Rocks Community College Diversity Council.
At the meeting that I attended on October 9th, I mentioned that I was glad to see that the RRCC Diversity Council was evolving from concentrating on the great heroes and events of the civil rights, equality, and gender confrontations of our collective past. I mentioned that history was about to be made in the Presidential race in 2008 by either electing a man of African-American descent presiding in the White House, or a woman being a mere heartbeat away from the Office. I didn’t ask the question then, but I ask it now: Is the battle over racial, religious, ethnic, and gender biases over? And if you correctly answered, no, then the question morphs into -- what comes next? There has to be a change because obviously, there has been a social and cultural paradigm shift in 2008 America.
On Wednesday, October 29th, you handed out the RRCC Diversity Council Executive Plan for the campus that, if my understanding is correct, you attempted to initiate in 1997. The plan was not implemented at that time for various reasons, but mostly it boils down to a lack of driving purpose. The revival of the plan in 2008 indicates to me a renewed sense of purpose that has given rise that something must be done beyond what already has been done; exploring new territory is always difficult.
I quote from your handout:
“The College [RRCC] and the Diversity council have been separately working on these types of Diversity Issues. The College addresses EEO situations when they arise, and the Council tries to increase awareness through activities (Celebrations and Conferences). Now it makes sense to combine efforts and proactively work on our commitment to diversity together.”
In one proposal that you are considering is the ADL program called Train the Trainer. I am not sure what the ADL would teach all of your instructors at the College, but before you even look into their program, I want the Diversity Council to be aware of a theory of social psychology that was published in 1994 in a book titled Social Dominance. It is my humble opinion that this is one of the most important and powerful theories to correctly identify universal human social behavior that I have ever come across; it transcends skin color, religions, ethnic cultures, and gender roles. It rises to the occasion in my opinion because of its broad scope and it also fits nicely into another theory of human behavior called evolutionary psychology. In order for theories to endure the test of time and debate, they must reinforce other similar theories and not conflict with them.
I have no idea if the authors of the Social Dominance Theory conduct Train the Trainer seminars, but there is no need to search for that unless you all wish to go forward with this particular theory has a teaching tool.
Below is an updated text from an online book review of Social Dominance that I did in 2002 for publication on my web site. Be advised that this entire attached MS.DOC is close to 6,000 words.
Social Dominance : An Intergroup Theory of Social Hierarchy and Oppression
by Jim Sidanius (Author), Felicia Pratto (Author)
If you are a liberal-minded person who has held compassionate perspectives for most of your life, you most likely have been horrified by the amount of oppression in all human societies that you have studied and been exposed to in the media. How can human cruelties and violence shown by one group of people against other groups of people not only exist, but also seem to continue, flourish, and even be sanctioned by some governments? How can it exist when all humankind condemn its practice? What props them up? What keeps numerous violations of the human spirit going? What, evolutionary, social, and, yes, biological pressures keep them alive?
Social Dominance is a social science textbook that answers such questions. What this book accomplishes is to firmly attach citations and specific names to various group behaviors you have witnessed and may have always known existed around you for decades but could not articulate and categorizes them properly within a scientific context. The textbook, Social Dominance will bring into clear focus such group behaviors as racial, class, economic, gender, and age discriminations and the possible physical violence that could flow from these discriminations. The major appeal of this textbook is that if you understand and absorb the book, you will grasp the underlying motivation of social group behavior in 2008; it identifies the motivational bricks that form the biological and social foundations upon which all human societies are built. The benefit from this is that upon understanding the basic causes, policy makers can then make decisions that create positive social change. Those policy changes won’t be easy.
Although the book is written from a social psychological perspective, those who are members of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, followers of Frans de Waal and other primotologists, regular readers of evolutionary behavioral based books, and regular visitors to this web site should find that transforming the major points of the book into an evolutionary perspective relatively easy and, in fact, be stunned by its easy placement within that perspective. The authors do touch upon one evolutionary theory (The theory considered in Social Dominance would not be considered correct by the majority of the evolutionary community in 2002) in one of four past and current grouped overview theories, but that only covers two pages of the 403-paged book.
The book's main thread is the argument that there is a predisposition amongst humans to form groups along hierarchical lines and that these groups tend to fall into two categories, dominate and subordinate, with a large section of the middle population attempting to assimilate into the dominate hierarchy because of the advantages this attachment carries. The authors argue that there is "a grammar of social power" shared by all societies, or in other words, mental mechanisms, that cultural anthropologists would call "universals" of shared behaviors; these shared behaviors of all human populations, of course, evolved from the same human brain shared by our ancestors that were forged in the EEA (Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness -- the period from 1.6 million to about 10,000 years ago when domestication of plants and animals began [farming].
The book then lays out its arguments in four crisp and decisive chapters and opens with a graphic statement from an 18 year old Muslim Bosnian woman on her revelation on being repeatedly raped by Serbian warriors; the authors then proceed to ask
Despite tremendous effort and what appear to be our best efforts stretching over hundreds of years, discrimination, oppression, brutality, and tyranny remain all too common features of the human condition. Far from having escaped the grip of human ugliness in the civil rights revolutions of the 1960s, we seem only to have increased the overall level of chaos, confusion, and intergroup truculence during the post-civil rights era and the resolution of the cold war. We see signs of this brutality and oppression all around us, from the streets of Los Angeles and Brooklyn to the hills of Bosnia and the forests of Rwanda. Rather than resolving the problems of intergroup hostility, we merely appear to stumble from viciousness to viciousness. Why? p. 3. [Please note: all direct quotes from the book are in Italics].
Before Sidanius and Pratto attempt to argue their all-encompassing social dominance theory, they wisely recall the most prominent theories to date regarding group inequality and divide them in four major headings with the theories listed in order of importance. I feel that it is important to set the tone of this review by closely listing them below:
· Psychological Theories
The Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis -- formulated by a group of Yale social scientists, the theory suggests that aggression towards less powerful people resulted from frustration at not achieving highly desired goals and that aggression toward more powerful people would be considered quite dangerous, (like one's boss), and as a result, aggression would entail less danger of a resulting backlash if one's aggression would be directed at groups of people below one's hierarchical standing.
Authoritarian Personality Theory (APT) -- arguing under the banner that there is a personality syndrome labeled authoritarianism, social scientists in the 1950s argued that APT resulted from child-rearing practices that humiliated and deprecated the child (corporate punishment) and predicated parental affection on the child's immediate and unquestioning obedience to the parents. This kind of subjugating environment was thought to predispose children toward thinking of human relations in terms of dominance and submission and to teach a particular orientation toward hierarchy; the vilification of those thought of as weak, humane, or deviate (e.g. ethnic minorities), and the glorification of those perceived to be strong and powerful (John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, The Marlboro Man, etc.). As such, authoritarians were hypothesized to hold conservative economic and political views, and also be generally xenophobic, racist, and ethnocentric. p. 6.
Psychological Uncertainty and Anxiety Models -- theory that fear of the uncertain creates preference for safe and conventional vocations, fear of death, and dislike of ambiguous art, which tends to enhance conservatism. Another theory stemming from this fear ethos is the terror management theory (TMT). TMT predicts that people find those with different cultural world views existentially threatening and are motivated either to assimilate their views, to convert them, or to derogate or even exterminate them, all in an effort to restore the cultural anxiety buffer. p. 9.
Value and Value Conflict Theories -- Theories that emerge from attempting to understand people's attitudes and beliefs about politics, outgroups, and social policies by examining people's underlying values, or the priorities given to basic principles of attitudes and beliefs that relate to both freedom and equality (emphasis mine). Research has shown that the importance one attaches to freedom is unrelated to one's political leanings, although equality values are quite influential. Supporters of left-wing political parties and policies place much greater emphasis on the value of equality than do supporters of right-wing political parties. The value of equality has been found to be not only extremely important in determining people's political ideologies and party preference, but also quite important in determining attitudes toward specific policies (e.g. affirmative action). p. 10.
Social-Cognitive Approach to Stereotyping -- The underlining theories emerging from stereotyping is that social stereotypes should first and foremost be seen as the result of basic and entirely normal information processing. (This comes from 1954 -- think separate, but equal water fountains). In 1976, scientists theorized that people learn stereotypes because of a predisposition to perceive associations among events. In particular, they reasoned that people perceive relatively unusual negative traits or behaviors and relatively unusual people, such as ethnic minorities as going together, resulting in negative group stereotypes. Since...social stigma increases psychological salience, this would then explain why these negative features and stigmatized social groups become associated in the mind. p. 11.
The Facile Activation of Social Stereotypes -- Based on evidence that people learn covariations very easily, and even unconsciously....[then]....once learned, social stereotypes are then quite easily and facilely activated. p. 12.
Stereotypes as Causal Explanations -- Very similar to above, except driven by the need to explain and understand the behavior of others who belong to a variety of social groups. In 1972, scientists argued that when certain social groups disproportionately perform certain roles within the social system, people come to assume that all individuals within these groups have personal characteristics consistent with those roles. (e.g., illegal Mexican immigrants in dishwasher and car wash roles in America). This suggest that when people make internal attributes to explain behavior attached to a role in society, they are likely to come up with a stereotype they already know as an explanation.. p. 12 & 13.
The Contextual Sensitivity of Stereotypes -- In 1984, studies showed that when people's outcomes were positively linked with those of a stranger, they paid more attention to individuating features of the person and relied less on stereotypes to form an impression of that person. In 1993, a scientist argued that people in positions of power, which is more typical of dominant group members, are unlikely to have to pay more attention to subordinates, and so are especially likely to stereotype. Thus, power inequalities are particularly likely to contribute to stereotyping. p. 13.
The Tenacity and Self-Fulfilling Character of Social Stereotypes -- Research has shown that stereotypes are often quite robust, tenacious, and long-lived. In fact, with the admission of tokens (e.g., women in a male-dominated profession) this tenacity persists because people are more likely to make internal rather than situational attributions for the actions of these tokens. Stereotypes not only can provoke self-confirming behavior in stereotyped others, but also can bias memory in ways that get people to recall sterotype-confirming "evidence." p. 13 & 14.
Unlike the psychological models above that human's focus on with the internal thought process (the "nature" end of human nature), the next section covered is the social-psychological behaviors of individuals as they begin to construct the "nurture" part of their world. These include the behaviors that develop the as the individual tries to connect to, and become deeply embedded with, the absorption of cultural norms. Also influencing the individual is the strong desire to "fit in" and become accepted in the community.
· Social-Psychological Theories
Socialization and Social Learning Theories -- This approach of study assumes that the primary reason that individuals exhibit hostile, racist, and discriminatory behaviors toward others is because, from early childhood on, they have been socialized and trained to feel and behave this way. p. 15.
Modern Racism Theories -- Despite vast changes in attitudes toward blacks in American, most social scientists are in agreement that even though blatant and extreme forms or racism against African-Americans are now relegated to the past, more subtle and indirect forms of racism remain. In particular, research has now focused on the principle-implementation gap, or the apparent contradiction between White Americans' expressed support for the principle of racial equality and their consistent opposition to the implementation of any concrete policies that might actually promote racial equality in practice. p. 16.
Realistic Group Conflict Theory -- This is really important because it comes very close to the evolutionary theories in vogue today about in- and out-group conflict seen in chimpanzees today and most likely evolved from our primal ancestors. RGCT is the perception that one group's gain is another's loss and translates into perceptions of group threat, which in turn causes prejudice against the outgroups, negative stereotyping of the outgroups, ingroup solidarity, awareness of ingroup identity, and internal cohesion, including intolerance of ingroup deviants (let me also add punishment of those deviants), ethnocentrism, use of group boundary markers, and discriminatory behavior. p. 17.
Social Identity Theory (SIT) -- The theory argues that humans have a general desire for positive social identity. When it is unclear what the meaning of the minimal group membership is, they construct the meaning to be positive so that it can reflect well on themselves. They do so by presuming their group's superiority and by allocating more to ingroups than to outgroups. This suggests that the more stable group boundaries are perceived to be, the more members of different groups will discriminate against each other. (Think of this in terms of the gap between a very rich neighborhood and a very poor one). This also argues that group conflict is likely to be minimized when both the superior and inferior groups accept the legitimacy of the status distinction between them. (In this last respect, the more minorities accept the legitimacy of the elites rule, the less conflict there will be, and vice versa). SIT regards power as an instance of social status.....studies have shown that power is more important than the degree of group identification or group status in predicting intergroup discrimination. p. 19. But one of the most important points to make is that low-status groups often acknowledge the superiority of high-status groups with respect to the high-status dimension and often discriminate in favor of high-status groups rather than in favor of their own low-status groups. p. 20. This is very important because if we mention a few famous people that can be identified as "minorities," such as, Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerlly, Linda Chavez, (in Colorado -- Rita Montero, supporter of Amendment 31 in 2002), this concept becomes crystal clear. Subordinates deny their origins as "hopeless" vehicles of advancement and "attach" themselves to the dominates in hopes of obtaining a better life for their children. (In my own evolutionary writings, this is what I have called Origin Denial, Resource Re-alignment). Sidanius and Pratto touch upon this behavior again on page 44 where they call it asymmetrical ingroup bias. They describe this group thought process as so strong that subordinates actually favor the company of dominants over their own ingroups.
In the series above, focus was on individual motivation and cognitive processes, but in the next set of theories, social-structure and elite theories, emphasis is placed upon relationships that groups have with each other, and in essence, elite theories argue that social systems are hierarchically and oligarchically organized and disproportionately controlled by a small group of people who are variously labeled as a ruling class, a ruling elite, oligarchs, or dominants. p. 22.
· Social-Structural and Elite Theories
Group Position Theory -- The group position model asserts that when groups are in a state of power inequality or power imbalance, the more powerful groups will endeavor to maintain their position over less powerful groups. Powerful groups will do so by promoting social attitudes and policies that advantage themselves.p.21.
Marxism -- complex -- but here in a nutshell is the theory: Social dominates own technology but "exploit" workers to use this technology to produce economic surpluses that go back to the dominants which is then unevenly distributed. Because those who own capital have a major advantage over those who sell labor, these owners are able to structure economic transactions in ways that almost always benefit themselves at the cost of the workers. p. 21. This income inequality gap, Marx theorized, creates a "struggle" between the two classes where eventually a "revolt" would occur. (A "revolution" did occur, but one hierarchy was merely replaced by another, producing the same unequal distribution of resources with an illusion or promise of resource distribution).
The Neoclassical Elite Approach -- the basic assumption that whatever the manifest content of political discourse, all social systems are inherently undemocratic and are ruled by a small elite who rationalize their power by use of some system of justifying ideologies. Instead of declaring that they rule because they simply want to rule, members of the ruling class argue that their rule is based on and justified by notions such as "divine right," assertions of their political expertise, or allusions to "the popular will." Because of its controls over both private and public organizations and institutions of the state, an organized minority will almost always triumph over a disorganized majority. p. 23.
The theory covered is the old, 'neo-social-Darwinistic' model that teaches us that the elites in our society are there because they possess the physiological and behavioral attributes that allow them to survive over time. Several critics have decried the misuse of this evolutionary perspective promoting the idea that certain classes, races, or genders of people are "superior" in general, and are more "fit" than others so that social inequalities appear justified by science and nature. p. 28. And that criticism is 100% correct. In the last few years, greater emphasis has been placed on a complicated combination of understanding human behavior from a combination of "nature and nurture" with about 55% to 60% of the scale tipped toward "nurture;" the differences are then "tweaked" to match the exact longitude and latitude on the planet to match the cultural social norms found there (which has a great affect on emotional norms). As such, the new synthesis is causing excitement (non-published communications between colleagues) because it fits in all models, both biological and social
Ok, now that Sidanius and Pratto have summarized the classical theories of social behavior, they now attempt to integrate these insights into one coherent and comprehensive theoretical model which they call Social Dominance Theory (SDT). (And, as I mentioned above, the most likely outcome of this synthesis, is that their theory will be "swallowed," absorbed, and integrated into the very recent evolutionary perspective, which is an even larger fish). As they tell us, their theory...is neither strictly a psychological nor a sociological theory, but rather an attempt to connect the worlds of individual personality and attitudes with the domains of institutional behavior and social structure. p. 31.
SDT begins with the basic observation that all human societies tend to be structured as systems of group-based social hierarchies, and that, the dominant group is characterized by its possession of a disproportionately large share of positive social value, or all those material and symbolic things for which people strive. p. 31
The authors then lay out the advantages that would motivate people toward this positive social value, and why they would move away from a negative social value:
· Positive Social Value
Political authority and power
Good and plentiful food
The best available heath care
High social status
· Negative Social Value
Low power and social status
High-risk and low-status occupations
Relatively poor health care
Modest or miserable homes
Severe negative sanctions (e.g., prison and death sentences). p. 32.
I think that the motivating forces at work here can be safely summed up by remembering the poster titled POVERTY SUCKS. For those of you not old enough to remember this photographic classic dated from 1979, it pictures a physically "soft" (someone who obviously has not done manual labor all their life) male in his mid-thirties, attired in a polo outfit, standing in front of a Rolls-Royce limousine. The Rolls-Royce is parked in front of a building that represents the "welfare office;" there is a champagne bucket on the bumper of the Rolls, and the male has a glass of champagne in his hand; he has a very smug and contended look on his face as he stares out to us visually sending the message printed below the photo. Every bit of the image conveys positive social value (Or at least, those “things” that humans think will bring them happiness).
After making the observation that all human social systems are group-based hierarchies, the authors then enter the most important stage of their theory: How the social dominance theory maintains itself through various mechanisms. Sidanius and Pratto then discuss Group-Based versus Individual-Based Social hierarchies. In an individual based hierarchy, the person enjoys high ranking in a hierarchy based solely on his or her own ability: e.g. artistic, musical, political, athletic, mathematical, or scientific abilities. Although not mentioned in the book, one must reach the conclusion based on statistics alone, these people (like Oprah, Billy Graham, Andy Warhol, Albert Einstein, or Bill Gates) are extremely rare. If this is reality, then how do the vast majority of successful people get to the top of their respective hierarchies? The authors lead us to the obvious explanation by teaching us about group-based hierarchies in which one's position is based on individual abilities plus the ascribed membership in groups based on race, religion, clan, tribe, lineage, linguistic/ethnic group, or social class. Below is an example of the power of group-based hierarchies: (pay attention, this is important).
For example, two children may both have the same level of native talent, individual drive, and personal ambition. However, if one child is of the upper class, has ambitious and well-connected parents, and attends the "right" schools, the chances are that this child will do quite well in life. On the other hand, for the other child growing up in an impoverished, dangerous, and sociogenic neighborhood and afflicted with inferior schools, chances are that the child will not do quite as well in life. This, of course, is simply to state the obvious. Even in modern, democratic, and multigroup societies, the achieved component of social status is, to a very significant degree, dependent on the social status and power of one's ascribed group membership. p. 32 & 33.
[A quick note to liberals: Now can you understand the forces behind some ethnic groups calling for school vouches and the creation of charter schools. These last four paragraphs should give you a good understanding of the forces that are at work behind the impetus in "creating" a system that mimics the dominate culture that processes positive social value. Minorities/submissives truly believe that "acting" like the dominate culture will bring them the same benefits for their children as it as does for the dominates -- and the unfortunate side of this tale is that the dominates "know" this impetus exists (through a long history of eliminating choice amongst the submissives — i.e., union busting, etc.) and they "mentor" this thought process along. But, here’s the “gotcha clause,” – I argue that the dominates will only consider financial support of “minority groups” unless they get to keep control of the purse strings in the mentoring process -- or use the support system as a pressuring device to influence policy of the submissive group. It would the group behavior equivalent to "Parental Control," -- and upon close inspection behind the scenes, one would most likely find males (patriarchy) as head of this "family"].
The next factor to consider in the book’s Social Dominance Theory and how the system maintains and supports itself is The Trimorphic Structure of Group-Based Social Hierarchy.
This is based on the overall observations by scientists that human groupings consist of three distinct stratifications:
· An age system -- in which adults and middle-age people have disproportionate social power over children and younger adults.
· A gender system -- in which males have disproportionate social and political power compared with females (patriarchy).
· Arbitrary-set system -- The arbitrary-set system is filled with socially constructed and highly salient groups based on characteristics such as clan, ethnicity, estate, nation, race, caste, social class, religious sect, regional grouping, or any other socially relevant groups distinction that the human imagination is capable of constructing. In such systems, one group is materially and/or politically dominant over the other. p. 33.
It is this last discriminatory structure in which we find the greatest degree of viciousness found in human history discussed in the opening of this review. Although, women and children have been discriminated in various degrees throughout history, the level of "barbarism" and bloodlust is mostly leveled at this arbitrary-set system.
This now leads us to the basic assumptions of their social dominance theory in which the authors have divided into three major parts: pp. 38 & 39.
1. While age-and gender-based hierarchies will tend to exist within all social systems, arbitrary-set systems of social hierarchy will invariably emerge within social systems producing sustainable economic surplus.
2. Most forms of group conflict and oppression (e.g., racism, ethnocentrism, sexism, nationalism, classism, and regionalism) can be regarded as different manifestations of the same basic human predisposition to form group-based social hierarchies. Here's an important footnote to this section -- pay attention -- ...phenomena such as prejudice, racism, stereotypes, and discrimination simply cannot be understood outside the conceptual framework of group-based social hierarchies, especially within social systems of economic surplus. (The underlined emphasis is mine). It has been my strong position for several years now that the basis of modern political motivation swirls around the preference for, the attainment of, and constant maintenance of, resources by group identity. In the most recent evolutionary theories, the meaning of resources produces a broad brush stroke over all human behaviors, but can be nicely summed up as: anything --that includes biological mechanisms or social interaction -- that will advance one's gene's into the next generation. Yep. Even before physical resources, the motivating force behind most of our adult actions is the very basic biological drive to have sex with a mate and pass our genes. Geoffrery Miller's famous 2000 book, The Mating Mind (among evolutionists), describes these "things" in terms of Peacock feathers -- they are the excesses that we gather around us to attract the best possible mate choice that we can find -- both male and female. That includes whiter teeth, broader shoulders, a "six-pack" abdomen, a systematical face, a body that would fit in Victoria Secret's underwear, a large house in the "right neighborhood," a bank account that would sink a ship, multiple academic diplomas, a creative wit, multilingual skills, the ability to tell jokes, or anything -- anything that could advance one's position in a particular hierarchy, which in turn, helps to create the allure to attract MR/MS right.
3. Human social systems are subject to the counterbalancing influences of hierarchy-enhancing (HE) forces, producing and maintaining ever higher levels of group-based social inequality, and hierarchy-attenuationg (HA) forces, producing greater levels of group-based social equality. This last section of their social dominance theory is, in very simple terms, the descriptive “struggle" that various social scientists have argued about that they see occurring between the very rich and the poor. In evolutionary terms, scientists see this "conflict" in terms of Alpha males dominating a tribe or clan, and the Beta and Charlie males and females attempting to gain access to the resources that they control. In November 2002 political terms, the Republican hierarchies, which want to maintain ever higher levels of group inequality -- HE -- could be seen as winning a momentary victory over their Democratic opponents who can be seen as a force as attempting to create equality -- HA -- by taking those resources away from the dominates and distributing them for the common good. The good news for liberals: the human mind which was formed in the EEA (see paragraph four), is based on the hunter-gatherer nomadic tribe principle that their group could not survive unless all shared resources with each other -- A kind of United We Stand, Divided We Fall -- kind of philosophy; of course, conservatives in 2002 believe that the great unlearned and unwashed -- that's us -- could not survive without their benevolence, guidance, and "trickledown-ness."
A good way to sum up the three points just covered by the authors is on page 39:
A perusal of recorded history across all known non-hunter-gatherer societies testifies to clear and sometimes extreme levels of group-based social inequality. The relatively recent system of chattel slavery in the United States is perhaps one of the most brutal examples in human history. Group-based social inequality is often directly produced by the unequal distribution of social value (both positive and negative) [Once again recall, Sidanius and Pratto equate "social value" as I equate to "resources."] to various groups within the social system. This unequal distribution of social value is, in turn, justified and defended by use of various social ideologies, beliefs, myths, and religious doctrines.
* * *
It is at this point that I am going to leave the detailed review of this fascinating book because it now goes into detail HOW these various ideologies, beliefs, myths, and religious doctrines provide the veneer of social justice and advancement while actually perpetuating the inequalities that lead to discriminations and, could ultimately lead to, the "bloodlust" oppression mentioned at the beginning of this book. I am leaving the review at this point to motivate and excite you enough to learn more – because, what lies ahead is the proof; the evidence; the citations you need to continue the debate needed to help others advance our societies; and more importantly, help our species to evolve to a higher level of mental capacity. And after all, I want you to get up off your butt and go out and purchase this book because that is the way you can help support and contribute to helping scientists advance our society for the better.
You may not believe this, but I have only reviewed the first of four parts, and some sections of the second chapter of this book; there are three more parts and eight more chapters to cover; I will give you a peek at some of the items yet to come.
In Part II, the book covers: Oppression and Its Psychological-Ideological Elements; Chapter 3 covers, "The Psychology of Group Dominance: Social Dominance Orientation; Chapter 4 covers, '"Let's Both Agree That You're Really Stupid"': The Power of Consensual Ideology.
In Part III, Sidanius and Pratto lead us to: The Circle of Oppression: The Myriad Expressions of Institutional Discrimination; Chapter 5, '"You Stay in Your Part of Town, and I'll Stay in Mine"': Discrimination in the Housing and Retail Markets; Chapter 6, '"They're Just Too Lazy to Work"': Discrimination in the Labor Market; Chapter 7, '"They're Just Mentally and Physically Unfit"': Discrimination in Education and Health Care; Chapter 8, '"The More of 'Them' in Prison, the Better"': Institutional Terror, Social Control, and the Dynamics of the Criminal Justice System.
In Part IV, the authors guide us to, what I consider to be, one of the most important chapters in the book: Oppression as a Cooperative Game; Chapter 9, Social Hierarchy and Asymmetrical Group Behavior; Chapter 10, Sex and Power: The Intersecting Political Psychologies of Patriarchy and Arbitrary-Set Hierarchy. The textbook then concludes with the Epilogue, from which, I want to conclude with one important quote:
We have focused on the problems of inequality for two major reasons. First, it is exactly because we would like to see societies with democratic and egalitarian pretensions actually live up to these ideals that we have been so focused on trying to better understand why the achievement of equality appears to be so mind-numbingly difficult. Second, we hope that by directing scientific attention on this problem, group dominance will be recognized for what it is. Calling social dominance by more palatable names, pretending that it is only a feature of other people's societies, assuming that it is merely a dying legacy of the past not only are exercises in self-delusion, but also contribute to the tenacity of group dominance by obfuscating its very existence, and thereby making it that much more difficult to change. p. 309.
As I wrote in the opening of this review, the theories presented in Social Dominance help to identify the motivational bricks that form the biological and social foundations upon which all human societies are built. They have cleared my vision and thought processes and answered many questions that I have anguished over for many years. This book has made a tremendous impact on me and has become a part of my soul. But also remember this: this is a book about the way our human societies are -- it does not even begin to provide solutions as what to do about them. Attempts have been made, no doubts, but they have failed to achieve their lofty goals; in fact, we find ourselves politically in 2008, perched on a slippery slope, threatening at all times to tip us over the edge toward old behavioral patterns.
Notebook entry, October 22nd, 2008
I received a really nice email from a one James Bonaiuto on the 17th, but I've just gotten around to post it here. It really makes all the study, writing, and web work worth it. Here's the Email:
"I found your site when I was an undergraduate in college and it really got me into evolutionary psychology. I'm now pursuing a PhD in neuroscience. Several of my labmates had also seen your site and have similar stories. I just wanted to say thanks and to keep up the good work!"
- James Bonaiuto
I replied that I was glad to see that all my work was starting to take root and that perhaps in 200 years they will start providing
Notebook entry, October 21st, 2008
In my attempt to clear up my disc space and clear it of correspondence, I've decided to beging to place them all on my web site in this section and place them in the proper date location (I'm writing this to you on November 23rd, 2008) The below letter was actually a Public Comment made by one of Lakewood's residence before the Lakewood City Council. She made the comment on Oct 13th, 2008, and I was so moved by her presentation because it close to home with the subject of RTD and the Light Rai that will pass near my house.
l Ann Johnson’s appearance before the Lakewood City Council, October 13th, 2008
My name is Ann Johnson and I live at 103050 W. 13th Place.
I do not want to be here tonight; I am angry that I have to be here tonight.
I am angry that I have to come and plead with you to do your jobs.
I am angry that as a citizen of this community I have not received your help, support, or advocacy in dealing with RTD and the light rail behind my home.
At every step of the Light rail process RTD has misled us, reniged on their promises to us, manipulated us, withheld information from us, and taken advantage of our powerlessness.
I expected better from you! I believed I had the right to expect your help, but you appear to have don little else but placate and patronize those of us living along the tracks, while allowing and what seems like encouraging, RTD to do whatever they please and however they please.
Why aren’t you angry? Why aren’t you demanding from RTD not only what was promised to us BUT MORE!?
The way I see it, you have sacrificed every one of us who have light rail in our front yards or backyards! You have chosen to overlook and belittle our situations and our rights.
You have expected us to be the only ones to pay the price for the entire City of Lakewood.
You have expected us to be the only ones to pay the price for the entire City of Lakewood.
Those of us living along the tracks are the only ones who are REQUIRED to:
Lose the value of our homes and property;
Lose our privacy by living in a fishbowl;
To live with the noise/vibration of trains going by every 2 and half minutes for 19
hours a day.
Lose all or part of our property;
Lose our sense of security and well-being from being in our homes and yars;
To lose the quality of our lives!
And this doesn’t even begin to describe the stress, anxiety, sleepless nights, frustration and anger that we have been living with and will continue to have to live with for the foreseeable future.
So What do I want? I want fairness! I want equality. I want to see you take action on our behalf!
I want RTD and the City of Lakewood to acknowledge that we who are living with light rail in our front or backyards are the ones with everything to lose and very little if anything to gain.
And in exchange for that sacrifice I want you and RTD to do whatever it takes to make this more fair for those of lus who aren’t the ones with everything to lose and very little if anything to gain.
And in exchange for that sacrifice I want you and RTD to do whatever it takes to make this more fair for those of us who aren’t getting anything even resembling fair.
I want you to make sure that we get soundwalls, and landscaping and just compensation for the loss of property and tress, and windows and anything else that would help to compensate and mitigate the effects on our lives.
Does this seem unreasonable? Well, Look at it this way. What are you and all the rest of the citizens of Lakewood having to sacrifice for this light rail? Tax dollars? The inconvenience of street closure or delays? Well guess what? We pay taxes too, and I’ll have all those same inconveniences too. But only those of us living on the tracks are required to pay the higher price.
Do you value your quality of life? Do you care about thye value of your home and land? Do you care about your privacy? If you can sleep at night? If you homes is safe and secure?
To allow this injustice to continue is inexcusable; you are our City Council: you are our representatives whose job it is to help make our lives better, not worse.
It’s way past time for you all to take a stand and take action FOR us, not against us! [End of Public Comment by Ann Johnson before the Lakewood City Council, Oct. 13th, 2008]
Notebook entry, October 17th, 2008
10-16-2008 Tri-neighborhood corridor report, Lakewood Colorado & beyond
This is Bill Spriggs reporting on recent events and happenings around the RTD FasTracks 13th Ave. corridor in Lakewood and beyond; this report is also sent out of state to various transit agencies and one developer. It is primarily intended for board members of the three neighborhood associations that FasTracks will traverse in Lakewood Colorado. It is informational in its content and carries no critical need for response. The opinions expressed, if any, are my own.
During the month of September and October, RTD has been conducting a series of Public Meetings designed to inform the community about the general status of RTD; it also is asking the same citizenry that it serves what action should they do concerning several options. On Wednesday, October 15th it was the west corridor and Lakewood’s turn and was held at a conference room next to the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway. The turnout was somewhere around 60 or so, including RTD staff. Not bad considering that our 13th Ave. corridor is not threatened by construction slowdowns or cuts in service like the other branches planned in the total regional plan meant for completion by 2017.
Lakewood notables present were, Mayor Bob Murphy, City Councilors Karen Kellen & Vicki Stack, City Traffic engineer, Dave Baskett, Community Development and Planning Director, Rebecca Clark, Planning Commission Board member, Rich Urbanowski, & Citizen’s Advisory to RTD, Charles Choi. Other notables were RTD District M manager, Dave Ruchman, and RTD candidates Matt Cohen & Ramey Johnson, State Senate candidate, Natalie Menton, and resident Kim Snyder.
The Lakewood presentation was given by RTD staff facilitator, Pauletta Tonilas, FasTracks Public Information Manager, and all that I can say is that I was highly impressed not only by her knowledge of the subject, but also her poise fielding questions from some of the usual negative-RTD attendees. She gave a well- rehearsed, fact filled, and graphic Power Point view of how RTD (and all of us) got into the financial mess that we all find ourselves. If you have been to any of the RTD elected officials’ briefings or read these tri-neighborhood reports, then you heard it all before. Basically the story goes like this: a perfect storm of raising cost of labor and materials, plus the slowdown in spending by the general population because they are losing their jobs, home values, and falling 401K balances. When consumers buy less, that means that less money flows to RTD in the from of a percentage of the sales tax revenues while at the same time, RTD is being squeezed by rising material costs.
The presentation then takes us to the fact that RTD has done all that it can to slash cost, consolidate facilities and personnel, and has even increased it fares. There is good news around this, and that due to the soaring price of gasoline and traffic congestion, ridership is up some 8 to 10 percent over last year.
Now the presentation takes us on a magical mystery tour of past inflation rates from 1991 to 2003 and tells us that the inflation rate was 3.3%. Then the chart extends from 2003 plus and it takes a jump off the map due to hyper inflation brought on by over-zealous and greedy commodity traders. Well, to make a long presentation short, RTD has come up with what are called The Basic Assumptions – Well, OK, there’re guesses on what the projected revenues from ridership and sales taxes will be in the future and what the projected costs in the future will be -- which are then thrown into a pot of expected inflation rates.
From these assumptions of cost analysis and revenue projections, RTD then turns the presentation to the audience and gives them five options that it asks the public present to vote on. The voting is done with a small hand-held device with a numerical and alphabetical pad similar on your cell phone which sends an electric pulse to a central computer which then projects the results instantly and neatly tabulated in front of the audience on the power point screen. Man, this techno stuff is neat.
Option #1: Basic Assumptions plus Segments of other corridors by 2017 – end of the program. Pros: Does not require additional funding and longer segments could be built if economic conditions improve. Cons: Does not build out entire program and all corridors not completed.
Option #2: Basic Assumptions plus one additional complete corridor by 2017 – end of program. Pros: Does not require additional funding and provides full build-out of one additional corridor. Cons: Does not build out entire program and would involve prioritization of corridors that would require regional consensus.
Option #3 Basic Assumptions plus segments of all other corridors by 2017 and build the rest over time as revenues allow. Pros: Does not require new revenue sources; builds out the entire program; build out could be accelerated before 2034 if economic conditions improve. Cons: Some corridor schedules would be delayed and would have overall program budget increases.
Option #4 Basic Assumptions plus longer segments of all other corridors built with limited service by 2017 – build the rest over time as revenues allow. Pros: Does not require new revenue streams; builds out the entire program; provides longer sections of each corridor by 2017 & the build out could be accelerated before 2034 if economic conditions improve. Cons: Does not build out entire program; service levels are reduced as compared to original FasTracks plan & the overall program budget would be increased.
Option# 5 Build complete FasTracks program by 2017 and seek additional revenue sources. Pros: Builds out the entire program by 2017 and is consistent with the original FasTracks plan. Cons: It would require additional revenue streams. It could require legislative approval for revenue measures and public votes.
Without drama and fluff, the winner was option #5 with a 58% voting that they are strongly supportive of the option. Yes, that’s right, the people in that room, in an economic era of national financial crises and uncertainty voted for higher taxes to get the job done, although the word tax was never used. Get used to it. After the noble, and wise experts running our country have nationalized the American banking system, higher taxes will be a breeze to get passed from now on; the words TAX and TAXES are not four letter words. They mean –EVERYONE’S FAIR SHARE.
Calm down, Bill
As RTD looks ahead to 2009, it will continue to collect input and opinions from all the districts and by mid-November of this year it will conduct public opinion phone surveys and enter that into the input already gathered. When it gets to Q1 of 2009 the regional agencies will report to RTD Board on the preferred option for future implementation of the FasTracks program.
Because of the many questions that the audience had, the meeting lasted way past the time needed, and I was too late to attend my other meeting; but as always, RTD answered every one.
See you around the Lakewood Neighborhood.
William A. Spriggs
Notebook entry, October 13th 2008.
A note to my regular readers. Once again I apoligize for not keeping up the notebook entries. It's just that various outside activies are keeping me away from the computer. One respect this is good because it helps me to go outside and meet people. I've often told my family that if it weren't for them, I most likely would be a hermit. What good are my theories and thoughts if no one knows anything about me or my work. The vastness of the internet helps, but it does not substitute for outside human contact. Oh, well, below is another entry concerning my "reporting" of events and happenings around my neighborhood as the light rail construction begins to have its affect on the neighbors and the neighborhood here in the northern part of Lakewood, Colorado. The email "report" goes out to about 100 addresses. It also helps when I am out in public to hear positive feedout that the reports are having.
10-13-2008 Tri-neighborhood corridor report, Lakewood Colorado & beyond.
This is Bill Spriggs reporting on recent events and happenings around
the RTD FasTracks 13th Ave. corridor in Lakewood Colorado and various states beyond.
It is primarily intended for board members of the three neighborhoods that FasTracks
will traverse in Lakewood Colorado. It is informational in its content and carries
no critical need for response. The opinions expressed, if any, are my own.
On October 10th, 2008 RTD held another semi-monthly West Corridor Elected Officials’ Briefing at the West Corridor Project Office,
10445 West 6th Avenue hosted by David Ruchman, RTD district M representative. Notables from Lakewood included, Mayor Bob Murphy,
City Councilors, Cindy Baroway, Ward II, Sue King, Ward III, Adam Paul, Ward IV, Tom Quinn, Ward V.; David Basket, traffic engineering,
& Kathie Beard, Public Information officer. Also, of note in attendance were Galen Foster and Kim Synder, 1398 Wadsworth and
representatives from Golden, Ken Salazar’s office and, of course, construction and engineering staff from RTD and DTCG.
Mr. Cal Marsella, RTD general manager was also present.
There was not too much new construction news to pass along except that the Kipling Street bridge
is done except for some minor detail work, but we were warned by Terry Martin? that underground
work by DTCG still needs to be done. In fact, please note the following from RTD concerning work
along the east side of Kipling Street starting on Oct. 20th:
From RTD: Denver Transit Construction Group will be upgrading the storm drainage system from the Kipling
Street Light Rail Bridge east to Pikeview Street along the north RTD right-of-way. They will also be
upgrading the Sanitary Sewer System from the bike path south 220 feet to the manhole on Pikeview Street
This work will begin on Monday, October 20, 2008 and continue into November, 2008. Construction work
will require "local traffic only" access on 13th Avenue west of Independence Street. Pedestrians and bikers
will also be temporarily detoured around this work.
Also be advised that sewer removal, followed by water line construction that was heading west on 13th Ave.
has now reached Wadsworth Blvd. I don’t know how this will affect traffic on Wadsworth Blvd. at this writing.
I am sure if Wadsworth is affected by the crossing over onto the western side of 13th Ave, we will get an email
alert from the City or RTD. Dennis Cole, RTD project manager reported that the 100% designs are in and are now
currently being reviewed. As soon as that is done, the Lakewood City officials will be informed. Also, Mr. Cole
mentioned that work is continuing at 1290 Harlan, the site where the new police evidence building will be located.
He reported that one building has been removed and that removal of the other building is half completed.
The mock sound wall is now down and, as Kathy Berumen reported, received mostly negative comments.
Most at the meeting agreed that the construction of the mock sound wall was not really a good representation
of how the real sound wall would be because the cost of building a true replication would not be justified
in this challenging cost environment; the goal of the mock wall was to give the residents a feel for the height of the wall.
Then Mr. Cole brought up the possibility that there may be a situation in the future,
after the sound walls are built, that some residents may want the sound walls to be taken down, and then
who pays to have them removed? Another issue that Mr. Cole brought up (he was on a roll) was that since the
sound walls are eight feet high and run east and west, that in the winter months the walls would cast a shadow
on the northern bike path, creating a possible dangerous black ice situation there.
Concerning public information updates, Kathy Berumen mentioned that her office has targeted over 300 business and
schools within proximity of FasTracs in which contact information about FasTracs was given in the form
of posters or handouts making sure that all those contacted were aware of the
contact information available to them.
She handed out a nine-paged alphabetical listing of the businesses and high-lighted in yellow the ones her office
had contacted; a quick glance appeared to indicated about 85% of the list was contacted so far.
Ms. Berumen also thanked me and City Councilor Stack for helping to distribute 500 copies of the online RTD newsletter.
She also mentioned that in the upcoming October issue there will contain information about tree removals along the corridor.
This will have a major impact on the character of the neighborhood as mature trees are a major part of the landscape along the
three corridor neighborhoods; this also raises the possibility of emotional anxiety on the part of some residents, and City Councilors should
be advised to be prepared to field questions regarding the degree and details of the tree removals. Ms. Berumen also mentioned that no tree will
be removed unless absolutely necessary, which, of course, is merely common sense.
This is a tough call. We need light rail and transit oriented development so that our children and grandchildren
will be able to breathe clear air some day and not be dependent on one form of transportation.
The trees will be missed; but knowing that new ones will be planted in their place and will one day grow up alongside
our future progeny in a healthier environment makes the sadness seem a bit more tolerable.
The next meeting of the West Corridor Elected Officials Briefing is tentatively scheduled for November 14, 2008
On another note of interest to the tri-neighborhood, On October 7th , the City of Lakewood
began a series of workshops focusing on the Garrison Street Station plan.
I will have more on this after the next Elected Officials’ Briefing in November.
P.S. To those in the tri-neighborhood who are in the know, the refrigerator magnets
are almost ready to roll….just testing various surface materials.
Notebook entry, October 9th, 2008
Two nights ago, my neighborhood, which is called the Eiber Neighborhood, held it's first Garrison Street Station Action Plan workshop hosted by the City of Lakewood. Basically, the City is holding these workshops to get feedback from the neighborhood as to what they would like to see in terms of development around the light rail station at Garrison Street. The bad news here is that the Eiber neighborhood Association i s dominated by a group of conservatives that do not want to see change in the neighborhood. I'm the exception, and just recently, a developer has moved into the neighborhood called, New Urban, LLC. They want to develop a high-density development at 13th and Independence Streets. The below letter is one that I sent to the principles of the group asking if we could form an alliance to help in the developments of TODs (Transit Oriented Developments). The letter struck a positive cord and we ment the following Monday.
Views from the Garrison Street Station Plan meeting
Dear Kerry and Moe (Principles of New Urban)
I can’t thank both of you enough for being at the Garrison Street Action Plan meeting last night and expressing your views
To sum it up: it’s a tough crowd, tempered and forged by words like Eminent Domain and high-density developments; having your there helped to alleviant some of the frustrations that I have been going through for the past 12 months.
The usual crowd that was present was expressing the old ideas and philosophies that refuse to see the benefits of TODs. It is very similar to present day politics: sometimes you just can’t see how people can vote against their own best interests. But still, the smart politicians know how to exploit these philosophies for their own gains.
I don’t want to get into specific views or persons expressing those views at this time, but it still comes down to who shows up and who controls the tone in the room. As you noticed, there were no young people there; no young families with toddlers that will form the core of our future neighborhood.
I refused to condemn my grandchildren to a society that is addicted to oil and the automobile; we need choices in our world, not paths dictated by old, destructive habits.
I would very much like to work closely with you two and your company, New Urban, to try and encourage new, high-density, high quality development along the 13th Ave. corridor within the Eiber neighborhood, or, as I mentioned in the final minutes of our conversation, TOD developers will pass over the Eiberhood and go elsewhere because they will be treated with more respect and a welcoming atmosphere.
Would you be interested in meeting on a semi-regular basis outside the confines of the 1390 Brentwood venue to develop strategies to help combat these obstructions?
In the meantime, I will do all that I can to locate and encourage young people to join the workshop discussions and attend the meetings.
Eiber member director
Notebook entry, September 9th, 2008
I've begun to place the first entries of my detailed look at sex differences from Helen Fisher's book, The First Sex.. But I won't put the many pages, (there are at least 55 pages so far) online until I have finished the whole project. I'm sorry, but with my outside activities, I don't expect to be finished until mid-October, or perhaps, beyond. Below is a snapshot of my step-grandson, in Boulder. It has just started pre-school in his 32nd month.
Notebook entry, September 2, 2008
A nice piece by Natalie Angier with the online edition of The New York Times titled: “About Death, Just Like Us or Pretty Much Unaware?”
“As anybody who has grieved inconsolably over the death of a loved one can attest, extended mouring is, in part, a perverse kind of optimism. Surely this bottomless, unwavering sorrow will amount to something, goes the tape loop. Surely if I keep it up long enough I’ll accomplish my goal, and the person will stop being dead.”
The article tells us the tale of of Gana, an 11-year-ol gorilla at the Munster Zoo in Germany, holding the body of her dead baby, Claudio. The “humanlike” mechanisms shown to the outside world created thongs of onlookers her heaped praise upon the animal for her compassion and obvious signs of grief.
The article then goes into the list of animals that show some forms of reactions to death that might be interpreted as “human.” Ms Angier touches on several species, including the great apes, lions, naked mole rats, honeybees, and the African elephants. The reactions of the elephants “to the death of one of their prominent matriachs”…was “extraordinary.”
Some day soon all this hard work in science will prove God’s connection runs through all of Her/His/It’s creatures – large and small.
Notebook Entry, August 30, 2008
I’m still working on the third book of Dr. Helen Fisher’s four books,The First Sex. But I have decided to expand the work by including, not just a book review, but also, a detailed breakdown of the gender differences into two columns so that the common person can easily view the differences. I also intend to place her references as well. Since the work is very large, I have decided to break up the columns into, perhaps, five or more pages. I have included one short page below. I hope to have the book review and columns up by mid-October.
“Men have many natural talents. Among them is a superb understanding of spatial relations, a talent for solving complex mechanical problems, an ability to focus their attention, and a gift for controlling many of their emotions. P.xvii
Women have many exceptional faculties bred in deep history: a talent with words; a capacity to read postures, gestures, facial expressions, and other nonverbal cues; emotional sensitivity; empathy; excellent senses of touch, taste, smell, and hearing; patience; an ability to do and think several things simultaneously; a broad contextual view of any issue; a penchant for long-term planning; a gift for networking and negotiating; an impulse to nurture; and a preference for cooperating, reaching consensus, and leading via egalitarian teams. P. xvii
In this Chapter I maintain that women, on average, take a broader perspective than men do – on any issue. Women think contextually, holistically. They also display more mental flexibility, apply more intuitive and imaginative judgments, and a greater tendency to plan long term – other aspects of their contextual perspective. P. 4
Psychologists report, however, that women more regularly think contextually; they take a more ‘holistic’ view of the issue at hand.[McCelland 1975; Gilligan 1982; Tannen 1990. That is, they integrate more details of the world around them, details ranging from the nuances of body posture to the position of objects in a room.[Hall 1984; Silverman and Eals 1992, pp. 533-49]. P. 5.
Notebook entry, August 13, 2008
A really nice column from the online edition of The New York Times written by guest columnist Olivia Judson, titled: Optimism in Evolution. Basically, she gives a lament that school is about to start again and the issue of evolution vs. creation is still raging. She thinks that this is a travesty and is dangerous. I’ll quote in brief:
“Evolution should be taught – indeed, it should be central to beginning biology classes – for at least three reasons.”
“First, it provides a powerful framework for investigating the world we live in.
“The second reason for teaching evolution is that the subject is immediately relevant here and now. The impact we are having on the planet is causing other organisms to evolve – and fast.
“The third reason to teach evolution is more philosophical. It concerns the development of an attitude toward evidence.
“But for me, the most important thing about studying evolution is something less tangible. It’s that the endeavor contains a profound optimism. It means that when we encounter something in nature that is complicated or mysterious such as the flagellum of a bacteria or the light made by a firefly, we don’t have to shrug our shoulders in bewilderment.
“Instead, we can ask how it got to be that way. And if at first it seems so complicated that the evolutionary steps are hard to work out, we have an invitation to imagine, to play, to experiment and explore. To my mind, this only enhances the wonder.”
Here, here Ms. Judson. And thank you for your knowledge, and thanks to the editors of The New York Times to allow this intelligent woman to change our world for the better.
On another matter, you may remember a few entries ago I wrote that I did not know if I should include my non-evolutionary writings into this notebook because it did not cover evolutionary psychology or related matters. Well, heck -- if I'm involved in all of this stuff, then eventually it will all involve evolutionary matters because all of life is based on evolutionary psychology. Naw....not really, but I really think that it will give my regular readers information about what I am doing. And what I am doing is not sitting around doing nothing when they see large gaps between entries.. Below is a long email that I sent out today that revolves around a meeting that I attended on Friday, August 8th, 2008.
This is Bill Spriggs reporting to the Lakewood Citizens Collaborative and the tri-neighborhood associations of Eiber, 2 Creeks, and the 13th Ave coalition on comments made at the West Corridor Elected Officials’ Briefing held August 8th 2008 at the RTD West Corridor Project Office, 10445 West 6th Avenue, Lakewood Colorado. It is also intended for any interested elected Colorado officials, or out-of-state parties involved in transit development. If you are reading this in Maryland, Oregon, Arizona, or Texas and are associated with your local transit authority, -- welcome -- and please reply at any time with comments or suggestions.
Notables attending the meeting hosted by Dave Ruchman, RTD district M board director included Colorado State Senators Betty Boyd and Sue Windels; Lakewood Mayor, Bob Murphy, Lakewood City Council members, Karen Kellen, Debbie Koop, and Vick Stack; David Baskett, Lakewood’s City Traffic Engineer; Becky Martinez and Kathie Beard, both Lakewood Public Information Officers. Fran Yehle and myself from the Eiber Neighborhood; Sara-Farrar Nagy from 2 Creeks, and representing her corner, Kim Snyder. Also present were RTD District M candidates, Ramy Johnson and Matt Cohen.
The meeting started with a FasTracks Budget Video that really didn’t add much to our knowledge already known by our groups. It summed up that because of escalating costs of fuel, construction materials, and labor in combination with the double whammy hit of reduced sales tax revenues coming into the coffers because of the public has run out of pocket money, RTD had to “think fast on it’s feet” by combining RTD facilities, substitute less expensive materials, and shift manpower into a more cohesive and coordinated working unit. It also reminded us again that it had to strengthen it ties with private industries to combat the “challenging” environment of the above mentioned conditions.
Next came Trent Newton of The Denver Transit Construction Group to brief us on what RTD was doing to make this project as safe as possible and to insure us that materials were not being stolen from the project sites; in particular the material of copper. Mr. Newton responded by saying that “keeping processions of materials is in our best interest.” Stolen material from a work site could not only represents an expense to replace, but lost time while paying crews under contract, which, in itself, unfairly adds to the cost in an environment of already escalating costs . Since school was about to restart, Mr. Ruchman wanted to know what was being done to make sure that children from the Eiber elementary school stayed away from the project site along the corridor; he asked if the principle and teachers were briefed to instruct the kids to stay away from the project. Mr. Newton responded that the construction crews are very aware “of all the tricks that kids play” and that all the construction crews are briefed on the safety matters involving children near constructions sites, including the DTCG has two-keyed power systems on all machinery. Brenda Tierney, of the public involvement team spoke that the principles at Eiber were contacted and briefed. Councilor Koop wanted to know if Creighton middle school and Lakewood High School were also contacted. I’m not quite sure of Ms. Tierney’s response that they were or not briefed, but knowing the thoroughness of Ms. Tierney’s team, I know that it has been done or will be done.
Next on the agenda was the report from RTD West Corridor Project Manager Dennis Cole. Funds from the Federal Government have been approved for the West Corridor in the amount of 308 million and should be received by December 18th 2008. Also covered was the 100% design schedule. This is really important because so many events swirl around, or depend upon the final design -- including moving forward on acquisition s of land for right-of-ways. Mr. Cole mentioned a date of August 19th for the final designs to be finished, but then there still was the matter of final review by the design team and then the coordinated communication with all the various community officials, etc. Now, because of the Democratic National Committee being in town, access to the RTD building downtown will be restricted, further delaying the final design review -- so here’s the bottom-line: expect the 100% number to be ready for public consumption (that’s you and me) around the end of September, or the first week of October. If it comes before then, I’ll send out an alert. Mr. Cole contributed some very interesting information concerning the cost of copper for the entire project. It seems that for every penny rise in the cost of a ingot of copper, that small hike increases the cost to the project by $10,000. The price of copper has escalated from 69 cents a pound to over $4.00.
Next on the agenda was Project Implementation which includes public information. On that matter RTD will be constructing a mock noise wall at 13th and Reed St. so that people can see the exact scale of the noise walls; It will be 100 ft X 8th high. The purpose of mock wall is that it will help better inform those involved as to whether or not to opt into or out of the noise walls; the wall will be made of painted plywood on a chain link fence. Humor flew around the room as to how soon the wall would be recipient of graffiti; I commented to a friend that perhaps it will turn into a Wailing Wall so that we all could pray that we’ll survive until the FasTracs opens [my attempt at humor]. Ms. Bauemen and Ms. Tierney handed out a list of trash and delivery companies within the project’s area. Did you know that you have the choice of 14 trash companies in your area? If you need the names, reply here. Ms. Bauemen and Ms. Tierney also mentioned that all should visit online to the RTD comment line.
[[[The following is from the RTD West Corridor web site: Construction Discussion Visit the newest feature of the West Corridor Web site. Submit your questions regarding construction activities or chat with your neighbors about the West Corridor light rail line!]]]
Becky Martinez mentioned that she found it very responsive and easy to get an answer to her query concerning the RTD project. Under Utility relocation Ms. Tierney mentioned that Qwest is doing most of the utility relocation at the moment, and that spot is occurring at 13th and Wadsworth; expect traffic slowing, but not delays.
Under the construction update, the most important project at the moment is the sewer replacement by the City of Lakewood on 13th Ave corridor. Currently the work is progressing west along 13th Ave and is currently located just east of Reed St. The most important thing you need to know is that the project is moving west at the rate of 170 feet a day. So if you live on the 8800 west block of 13th, that means the physical disruptions, noise, and dust will arrive???…..hmmmm…when?
[[[this just in: This is a email from Deb Jones, Secretary, 2 Creeks Neighborhood Association to RTD’s Brenda Tierney:]]]
Date: August 11, 2008 8:59:08 PM MDT
Subject: Air Quality Construction issues (West Corridor)-Need your attention ASAP
This issue is of great importance to the safety and health of my community.
I'd like to address the problems being created by various entities involved
in relocating sewer, water, electrical, etc. utilities between Harlan and
Pierce (and their progressive westward movement) and the air quality surrounding
There seems to be an inordinate amount of dust coming from these projects
during and after the close of the work day and even after they have vacated a
construction zone. During TRex and other CDOT projects (as well as other
construction sites that involve moving large amounts of pavement and dirt) there
were/are mitigation procedures (sprinkling water onto the areas to ease dust
and hazardous materials that migrated into the air around these projects).
That does not appear to be happening along this area and I would like to see
it addressed and corrected immediately.
I am happy to provide you with photos of these clouds of dust that engulf
the area 24 hours a day due to construction and then later due to traffic
driving over the areas left untreated.
I would also be happy to provide you with contacts specializing in lung
health and other health related effects caused by even short levels of exposure
to this type of air contamination. Much of the area under construction has been
designated as Industrial for many decades so it is unknown what types of
contaminates are really being released into the air. This is of concern to not
only adjacent residents, it should of concern to the workers involved in this
This could easily be taken care of if someone would mandate these sub
contractors to do basic mitigation -- ie, at least watering down the areas they are
working in to ease some of this pollution. I am certain that the EPA and
even OSHA encourage, if not mandate such practices. Do we residents need to be
the ones to contact the authorities, or will RTD take on this task?
I am sure I need not remind you that there are humans living in close
proximity to this construction zone-- all living and breathing the air. Many of
them are the same residents who saw asthmatic or other lung related problems
increase when RTD failed to properly maintain horrible weed and grass
proliferation along the West Corridor site prior to the approval of the Fast Tracks
The residents understand the sacrifices we are making while this Corridor is
being constructed (interrupted utilities, extreme noise, losing access to our
homes, loss of property value during construction, etc). However, excessive
air pollution that COULD be mitigated easily is not something we are willing
to put up with.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to hearing from
7020 W. 13th Ave.
Lakewood, CO 80214
Brenda Tierney’s rapid response was that she would check into with the Lakewood permit office who issue the permit to the contractors at that location. Her quick response:
From: "Karen Phillips" <KarPhi@lakewood.org>
Date: August 12, 2008 1:24:19 PM MDT
Cc: "Kathie Beard" <KatBea@lakewood.org>, "Kathy. Berumen (E-mail)" <Kathy.Berumen@rtd-fastracks.com>, "Tierney, Brenda" <Brenda.Tierney@rtd-fastracks.com>
Subject: Dust concern on West Corridor
Good afternoon Ms. Jones,
Your email was forwarded to me from Brenda Tierney with RTD to address your concern related to air quality. John Anderson, Construction Coordinator for the City of Lakewood, conducted a site visit this morning to investigate your concerns in detail.
There is also a City inspector on site on a daily basis who will continue to monitor the site conditions. If you see specific areas of concern during the day, you may contact him directly. His name is Daniel Steinshouer and his cell phone number is 303.910.9409. You may also contact John Anderson at 303.877.9155 (cell) regarding any construction issues,
There are two contractors presently working in this vicinity. One is relocating/installing a sanitary sewer main and services for the City of Lakewood. The Consolidated Mutual Water Company is also working here to relocate a water main. These jobs are in the West 13thAvenue right-of-way, and they are both currently working between Pierce and Harlan Streets.
Both the City’s contractor and Consolidated Mutual Water Company have water trucks on site to water down areas that can potentially cause dust problems. We will reinforce the need to use these on a daily basis as needed to address the initial dust concern. The construction yard is presently watered once a day. We will have that increased to twice a day as needed to further mitigate any further fugitive dust problems in the vicinity. During the visit today, the site was dry but there was no visible dust created from vehicles entering or exiting the construction yard. Further, street sweepers should be making a trip down that stretch of roadway at the end of each day. We have asked that the sweeping occur both mid-day and at the end of the day, in addition to hand sweeping as necessary where the sweepers aren’t able to effectively remove the accumulated dust. The street sweepers are equipped with water so that it will dampen the dust as they are trying to sweep it off the traveled roadway.
The pavement has been removed due to installation of the sanitary sewer line between Harlan and Lamar. Asphalt millings are scheduled to be placed to create a temporary hard surface later this week and repaving of asphalt is scheduled for the first of next week. This should also help greatly reduce dust problems.
It our sincere hope that these additional measures and reminders from us to the contractors will reduce the fugitive dust problem you have experienced. Please contact us if you observe further problems.
Thank you for your inquiry.
Karen L. Phillips, AICP
Permit Counter Manager
I’m going to end the report here because of its length, but if our neighborhood associations have learned anything, it’s this: If you have a concern, take pen in hand, (or let your fingers fly on the computer) and write your concerns – do not be silent! In this day and age, the internet email seems to be the best venue as there are no sounds of anger passing over the phone and all remarks are set in stone to eliminate mis-understanding. (It also allows me to be at my vacation location at this very moment yet allows me send this report).
This business with the sewer line replacement is a very messy, messy project in terms of physical disruption, equipment and labor movements, noise, and dust, but it has to be done. It is the admission price that our City of Lakewood has to pay for its greatness that is approaching. Stay tuned.
Notebook entry, July 22, 2008
A nice little piece in the OP-ED section of the online edition of The New York Times yesterday by Steve Ross about the mistaken belief by zoo visitors to Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago who did not realize that chimpanzees were endangered but understood that gorillas and orangutans face serious threats. The title of the piece: Chimps Aren’t Chumps.
It is Mr. Ross’ contention that because of multiple uses of “cute” chimpanzees in TV commercials and such, that the public assumptions are highly skewed in that direction. Not only does Mr. Ross see a danger in this practice, but also considers this a moral issue.
“A progressive society should weigh the moral costs and benefits of practices like these. Misrepresentations of chimpanzees may not be as repugnant as racism, bigotry or sexism. But they can still serve as a benchmark for our society’s moral progress."
I agree. I think we should use knuckle-crawling male conservatives in their place and dress them up in pink ballerina outfits while eating bananas.
Mr. Ross is the supervisor of behavioral and cognitive research at the Lester Fisher Center for the Study and conservation of Apes at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
On other matters, I am still heavily involved in my neighborhood projects, which does involve creative reporting writing. Most of my efforts are keeping track of all the emails surrounding this subject. My “job” is to keep track of incidences surrounding the construction of the new light rail line that will transverse our neighborhood (of which I am a great fan). This includes notifying all my neighbors when a street will be closed due to construction and when to expect certain work (like utility pole extractions) or sewer line removal will begin and how long it will last.
On the evolutionary front, I am still working on the third book of Dr. Helen Fisher: The First Sex. Since much of the book involves gender differences, I am going page by page and separating the two genders into two columns as a more visual method of “seeing” the differences. Don’t ask me why I am doing this, I just am. But I think it really helps my brain to understand it better, and hopefully, the common person who will be reading the book review.
Notebook entry, July 5th 2008
I just put the new book review out on the internet. It took me long enough! Enjoy.
Anatomy of Love: The Mysteries of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray.
By Helen Fisher, Ph.D.
Fawcett Columbine, New York, 1992
Book Review by William A. Spriggs
Origin: July 4th, 2008
Notebook entry, July 4th 2008
Happy Independence Day in America.
I wanted to apologize to my regular readers about my lack of entries lately. It’s just that I have really been focused on my new volunteer duties with my neighborhood and the City of Lakewood. I did not realize how long it would take reading so many email messages and then keeping track of who wrote to whom about what. It’s quite a challenge.
I have placed one of those missives that I wrote below, and I haven’t quite decided that this notebook is the place for them. Hmmm….will the science readers get bored and go elsewhere? Would people care??? Hmmm….if an obscure person makes an entry on a blog, would anyone read it? (If a tree falls in the wilderness, does anyone hear it fall?).
I'm also finished with my book review of Helen Fisher's book Anatomy of Love and expect to have it up tomorrow. I've alread started reading the third book, The First Sex.
Notebook entry, June 15th, 2008
The following is a copy of an email that records some of my latest activities in the local community. My new “job” is to jot notes of any construction related meeting with RTD officials revolving around the building of the new transit oriented light rail system that will pass through my neighborhood. My neighborhood is called the Eiber Neighborhood and the light rail will slice through the northern portion. It will close some roads and restrict movement in some areas, but Diana and I are very excited about the prospect of the new system. Part of the reason: We will be less than one half mile from one of the stations, and from there, with one or two transfers, we will be able to go to the Denver International.
June 13th Elected Officials Brief fm Bill Spriggs, Eiber Construction info co-chair
This is Bill Spriggs, co-chair of the Eiber neighborhood assoc construction info committee reporting to our neighborhoods about the Elected Officials Briefing on Friday, June 13th.
The meeting was held at the new West Corridor Denver Transit Construction Project Office located at 10455 West 6th Ave, west entrance, and was chaired by Dave Ruchman.
In attendance were, State Senator Sue Windels, State Senator Betty Boyd, City Councilors Adam Paul, Karen Kellen, Vicki Stack, candidate Remy Johnson, Lakewood City Traffic Engineer, David Baskett, principles from DTCP, Dennis Cole, I think, lead engineer with RTD (sorry, I’m still new at this), Sara Farrar-Nagy, 2 Creeks spokesperson, Ann Johnson, 13th Ave Coalition spokesperson, Bill Spriggs, Eiber Neighborhood spokesperson, filling in for Fran Yehle, and of course, work horse Brenda Tierney, and newcomer Kathy Beuman, both with the public relations arm of RTD.
The briefing opened with the same power point given to us on June 11. Liz Rao of RTD again gave the power point. The “Scope Deferment Presentation” that you received on June 13th is the power point presentation that was given on both June 11th and 13th.
Nothing really new learned from the presentation except that the second half of the presentation was more technical in its scope from the construction angle and from the engineering perspective folded into cost considerations now that the final bid as been determined from the contractor. Nerd Heaven.
You know already about the construction schedule and the road closure for Kipling on the evening of Wednesday, June 25th.
What we did learn of significance was the in the question and answer period. During the second half of the presentation, Brenda Tierney once again did her large graphics show and once again explained the reductions from the “intra-urban” designs to the “craftsman” amenities.
During this session, Ann Johnson from the 13th Ave Coalition and asked about the bells and whistle question at the road crossings. “If the PUC denies our request not to have the noisy bells and whistles, does that mean that RTD would have to do a re-assessment of the sound, and would the cost of that reevaluation come out of the contingency fund?” The answer was, “yes.”
Senator Betty Boyd asked about the latest information on the Painter family on 13th Ave. Brenda Tierney quickly responded that said that she had directly worked with the family, and that the source of the problem was Qwest; a mole abatement study was done and found that nothing needed to be done; the Painter’s have a new furnace and hot water heater and are back in their home.
Adam Paul and Karen Kellen both chimed in that they did not want to have a repeat of having one of our neighbors put out on the street on a Friday night again.
The following is important:
Brenda Tierney responded that “ had I known about it, I would have taken care of it.” She strongly emphasized that if someone had called her cell phone, she would have answered and handled the situation. The implication here is subtle, but important. I interpret this to mean that RTD will step up and use their influence and smooth over any problems with utility construction if it occurs again in our neighborhoods --In a sense, taking responsibility for the whole project. This is what Paul Ditson has stressed in his argument before the Lakewood City Council. It’s not rocket science; all this activity by Qwest and Comcast is a direct consequence of the RTD line moving through our neighborhoods. I’m sure that the utilities companies would have loved staying home and saving their money.
Just after this exchange Sara Farrar–Nagy spoke up and wanted to know if there were streets to be torn up and lanes closed, how were the neighbors going to get their mail deliveries and trash picked up? “Has anyone notified the Post Office and the Trash companies?” I don’t remember a response because I believe the Ms. Tierney and Ms. Beruman didn’t have a direct response to the question of mail delivery and trash pick-up.
But, I do remember Ms. Beruman saying that all efforts are being made to notify the residents of construction schedules by referring them to the web site; she also mentioned that she was going to have interns distributing posters with information in apartment lobbies and that some neighborhood associations have volunteered to distribute the RTD monthly newsletter. I also remember Ms. Tierney mention that the Hotline phone line now has a new option to speak to a live person.
Oh, by the way folks, I’ve used the Beth Witch method of recruitment in my phone conversation last week with Kathy Beruman telling her that there would be volunteers available from the three community associations to distribute the monthly newsletters that she plans to produce. Very soon, I will be asking for volunteers to distribute the RTD monthly newsletter one block north and one block south of the RTD line (I told her the 1200 blocks and 1300 blocks—but I forgot that the line moves beyond those streets in it’s journey west). It really is the most effective way to get the news out to the residents -- and I mean everyone -- that includes apartment dwellers who usually are the last to know, and those who are not fortunate enough to have internet access.
In another matter of importance, Dave Rucman asked Liz Rao about the 16 properties under eminent domain’s umbrella. Ms. Rao was very tight-lipped about the information other than to say that of the 16, 2 have closed and 2 have not had offers made to them; of the remaining properties, she would not elaborate.
In conclusion, Sasa a Farrar–Nagy sked about the relocation of the power lines to 14th Ave and wanted to know how much electrical discharge would be occurring to the residents once the trains start running. Mr. Cole from RTD responded that the discharge is called EMI – Electro Magnetic Interference and he responded to Sara that it was “nothing more than a power drill.”
The TLC 2.0 group wants more input on the power output and wants to keep up the pressure on the PUC bells and whistles issue.
At this time, everyone was anxious to end the meeting, and so it did.
One final mention – Cal Marsella on June 11th and someone else at this meeting mentioned that NBC Nightly News is preparing a piece for Monday, the 16th on a sharp rise in transit ridership and that they came out and filmed (or will film) the Kipling street bridge construction, with a mention to the west corridor. However, I have a feeling that with the death of Tim Russet this past week, that this might delay the broadcast of that report. I’m going to TIVO the whole week.
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers on this list.
The best things in life are not things.
Notebook entry, June 10th, 2008
After I wrote my notebook entry below about the Times article, I opened my Time magazine a few days later than I normally would and found another prominent feminist writer contributing her 20 cents worth in what Time magazine labels their Viewpoint section. The article title: Gender Bender: Hillary Clinton was the strongest female presidential contender ever. Why didn’t more women vote for her?, Time magazine, June 16th, 2008, page. 36.
Ms. Sullivan starts her piece with what she perceives was the perception behind the Clinton view of the female vote: “[That] women a generation older would be safely in their camp. Younger women would be susceptible to Obamamania…Clinton’s team thought that those in Klobuchar’s demographic -- professional, well-educated women who came of age during the modern women’s movement -- would be moved by the very real opportunity to put one of their own in the White House.”
Ms. Sullivan continues her evaluation of the actual voting percentage in the primaries and teaches us that the Clinton campaign barely won a majority of women’s votes instead of the 60 to 70% percent expected. The author explains that her supporters have charged sexism for the loss, “but it seems more likely that women themselves cost her to nod. The reasons more women haven’t voted for Clinton tells us something about the evolution of feminism and what the future may hold for female politicians.”
Ms. Sullivan the female vote in the 2008 election into two spheres: optimist and pessimist feminists. The pessimist see sexism all around and continue to see barriers all around them in the workplace and look back the 1984 election with Geraldine Ferraro and conclude that this opportunity only comes around once in a generation. The mantra: If not now, when? If not her, who?
The optimist feminists, on the other hand, have no doubts that a women can become president in their lifetime because, “when these women look around, they see themselves making up half of business and medical school classes. They are law partners, CEOs, and university presidents. And they don’t want to rally behind a female candidate simply because she is a woman.”
Ms. Sullivan also makes an important observation about the two campaign styles between Clinton and Obama that lends strong confirmation of my theory that gender is really approximately 60% social construction and 40% biological differences. She quotes Marie Wilson, head of the White House Project:
“He’s the girl in the race. Clinton came out tough; she voted for the war. Obama came out as the person bringing people together and offering messages of hope and reconciliation.”
In the concluding paragraph, Ms. Sullivan does deliver the powerful truth:
“Clinton has shattered long-standing assumptions about whether a woman could seriously compete for the White House. She not only avoided the label of “novelty candidate,” but embraced that of “inevitable nominee.”
As for my own view I believe that this is a momentous moment in our evolutionary voyage. I know for feminists reading this notebook entry that time seems that it is passing by at a glacier’s pace. But from an evolutionary perspective in knowing how pressures build and then change behaviors within local enviornments, which moves behaviors, things are moving at the speed of light. The biggest challenge is that once the West is convinced in the overwhelming advantages of female empowerment, how will we progress toward changing the other male dominated and authoritarian cultures?
Notebook entry, June 8th, 2008
There has been a confluence of events that have occurred concerning the Hillary Clinton campaign and the general culture at large. The three events: The Hillary Campaign calling a suspension of their presidential campaign, the opening of the new Sex In The City movie, and the third, a response from feminist Judith Warner in The New York Times. The New York Times has the article placed under the tags: Hillary Clinton, misogyny, sex and the city. The title of the opinion piece is: Woman in Charge, Women Who Charge, June 5, 2008. I think that it is an important piece and I may decide to ask the Times for permission to place it on my web site after the profitability factor of the article subsides; in science, time is an ally, but we still need to be sensitive to the profit motive of corporations.
The article correctly points out the harsh truth to feminists, that despite the amazing passage of sexual freedom, political, and economic progress of women crying out “we’ve come a long way baby,” something is still not right. In the article, Ms. Warner links to the British magazine The New Statesman “in which things like the formation of a Hillary-bashing political action group, “Citizens United Not Timid,” a “South Park” episode featuring a nuclear weapon hidden in Clinton’s vagina, and Internet sales of a Hillary Clinton nutcracker with shark-like teeth between her legs (the New Statesman page has a photo of the offending nutcracker), passed largely without mainstream media notice, largely, perhaps, because some of the key gatekeepers of mainstream opinion were so busy coming up with various iterations of the nutcracker theme themselves.”
Here’s a great quote that follows that theme:
“In a culture that’s reached such a level of ostensible enlightenment as ours, calling a powerful woman “castrating” – however you choose to put it – ought to be seen as just as offensive as rubbing your fingers together to convey a love of gold coinage when you talk about a Jew.”
But then Ms. Warner takes a swipe at our culture by panning the Sex in the City movie:
“How antithetical Hillary’s earnest, electric blue pants-suited whole being is to the frothy cheer of that film, which has women now turning out in droves, a song in their hearts, unifeied in popcorn-clutching sisterhood to a degree I haven’t seen since the the ugly, angry days of Anita Hill…How brilliantly does “Sex” – however atrocious it may be – sur our current zeitgeist, sugar-coating ia all in Blahniks and Weswood, and yummy men and yummier real estate, and squeakingly desperate girl cheer.
And that is a major point that Ms Warner misses: How can the modern “girls” go for all this crap? Doesn’t it just link everything back to the old days of women’s dependence on rich men, over inflated real estate, expensive clothes and disregard for women’s rights?
The point that Ms. Warner misses is the evolutionary perspective: “what is the best path for me, as a woman, which will give my children the best chance at survival and success?” In the case of Samantha, who has dedicated her life to childless days of passion, the “sisterhood” of alliance bonding still helps her “extended family” achieve the same results.
Much progress has been made in female enpowerment, but until all women are aware of the evolutionary perspective, we still have many paths to travel in our evolutionary voyage. Until then, none of the dichotomy in the feminist movement in conjunction with the present culture will make any sense.