Another big thanks to the crowd (somewhat smaller, could use some new faces Wednesday or Thursday!) who sat for parts of the J.D. MacFarlane vs. City & County of Denver trial today! We will start Wednesday at 9 am, 1437 Bannock, Courtroom 269.
Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Aaron Goldhamer and Tony Vaida continued to present the Plaintiffs’ case Tuesday in Judge David Goldberg’s Courtroom. Tuesday’s first witness — put on the stand as part of the Plaintiffs’ case — was Director of Parks & Recreation Happy Haynes, and she was asked numerous tough questions about her knowledge of parks’ policies such as the 2001 City Park Master Plan which recommends Preservation for all of City Park, including the City Park Golf Course. Aaron Goldhamer spent considerable time asking Ms. Haynes about the purpose of the proposed Stormwater Project, about Park Purpose in general, about negative impacts of the project, and whether she knew of any Denver park that had been closed in its entirety for a considerable length of time to install a regional storm water detention facility. He also pressed her as to why she did not allow the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board hold a vote on the Platte to Park Hill project. This editor is not 100% sure, but believes Ms. Haynes did agree that helping CDOT with its highway construction support is not a park purpose. Additionally, Ms. Haynes opined about replacing the “lost” trees with the City’s tree canopy program which can replace “lost” trees (did you know all the trees chopped down in one fell swoop will be considered a “loss”?) with new trees at parks around the ‘hood. She believes replacing only 42% of the canopy at the course itself is a “robust” replanting of trees.
Councilwoman Ortega testified briefly about the evolution of this drainage project to $298Million, that the rate increase was an unusual size, her concerns with passing an IGA without dealing with protection of Globeville at the same time, and the fact that the IGA directly ties I70 together with the Platte to Park Hill Project. Bruce Uhernik, an engineer with public works testified about the 2014 Storm Drainage Master Plan, admitting that Platte to Park Hill was not included in that last-approved storm drainage plan, but stating that parts of the statements in that plan are really not correct because they work in some conditions but not for the Montclair and Park Hill Basins. Chris Proud, who was Happy’s right-hand man to provide her with information about the project, also testified at length about his emails to the “team” his expressing concerns, saying that “at the time” the City really didn’t have an understanding about what the impacts of taking City Park Golf Course might be, and he wanted the team to take these into consideration.
Lastly, we heard from two of Plaintiffs’ experts, including Adrian Brown, the engineer many of you have seen in videos explaining the risk of Globeville Landing Outfall project. Attorney Tony Vaida led Adrian through his testimony, the Plaintiffs “rested” their case. That means Plaintiffs were finished presenting.
At that point the City Attorney asked the Court to issue a Directed Verdict in favor of the City. In other words, the City argued that based on what had been presented, there was not enough for the trial to move forward, and the trial should be ended The Judge laid out the law about issuing Directed Verdicts, and then issued a finding that Plaintiffs had presented enough evidence to establish a “prima facie” case and that the trial would continue.
The next two days belong to the defendants to put on their witnesses. They will put Bruce Uhernik and Happy Haynes on again tomorrow.
Thanks to everyone for the great support. Hope to see a few of you for part of the day tomorrow. Even if you can only drop in for an hour, it is appreciated.
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