CPFAN Contacts: Maria Flora 303.345.7811 / Bridget Walsh 720.440.3562

Government Secrecy Largely Prevails in MacFarlane et al v. Denver Fight Continues to Save Historic City Park Golf Course (CPGC)

While Richard Nixon could not assert an “executive privilege” to prevent the public from knowing the truth behind Watergate, the City of Denver, is using “deliberative process privilege” to withhold information in City Park Golf Course law suit.


On June 5, 2017, the Denver District Court heard arguments regarding the City’s assertion that 220 documents (7,400 pages) should be protected by the “deliberative process” privilege—which stems from the “executive privilege”.
The Court ruled that the 7400 pages should not be handed over to the Plaintiffs
(people suing the city to protect CPGC) in the CPGC lawsuit. The City has repeatedly claimed in public and under oath, that they are committed to transparency and have nothing to hide. However, in court, the City
sang a different tune, claiming that disclosure of the 7400 pages of emails and documents would somehow chill future candid discussion among city leaders and staff.

The Court relied on the City Attorney’s representation that Plaintiffs have been provided with all final drafts of the withheld documents and didn’t need to see anything else. The Court also sided with the City regarding subpoenas that were issued to proposed contractors for the project. Despite having two proposals in hand from contractors for the planned work at CPGC, neither Plaintiffs, nor the public, will be able to view the proposed plans until the City says so.

However, the Court ruled in Plaintiff’s favor on another discovery issue. The Court ordered that the City—by this Thursday, June 9—revise and expand upon its responses to various Requests for Admission (questions). The more complete answers may provide Plaintiffs with ammunition to demonstrate the unprecedented nature of the City’s proposed use for City Park Golf Course as a component of the Platte to Park Hill storm drain system.
Plaintiffs are grateful for the many contributions, to date, towards legal costs. However, our reserves are dwindling. We need additional funds to cover our costs for this last stretch leading to the August 21 trial date—including the production of exhibits, additional filing fees, process server fees for trial subpoenas and expert witness fees (several experts are donating their time, but Plaintiffs have engaged two “paid” experts).
Attorneys Aaron Goldhamer and Tony Vaida, are counsel of record and are donating their time.
Additional contributions are necessary and will be well-utilized.
There are two ways to contribute:
1. Send a check made out to Keating Wagner Polidori Free, P.C., with “MacFarlane Costs” in the memo line, and mail
to 1290 Broadway, Suite 600, Denver, CO 80203.

2. Go to

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Tuesday, June 6
Ford Warren Library . 2825 High St, Denver 80206

We are happy to announce that Phil Goodstein, independent historian, renowned speaker and one who knows where all of the bodies are buried….. will be our featured speaker at CPFAN’s June meeting.

Phil Goodstein

Well known Denver historian and prolific author,  Phil Goodstein will talk about where Denver is headed.
The city is in a crazy building boom. Vintage buildings fall victim to development  as developers and the media tout trendy new builds in LoDo, RiNo, Hi-Lo, and more.I 70 expansion compounds  environmental and social injustice.

What’s going on? How does development impact Denver residents? How does the city’s history affect current development decisions? What part does Denver’s energy economy and its boom-and-bust cycles play? How does Denver’s sports fixation affect its future?

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City Park Master Plan Update


Public Open House
Tuesday, May 30th
5PM to 7PM
City Park Pavilion
1700 N. York Street
Project: City Park Master Plan Update
Purpose: Join Denver Parks & Recreation and Historic Denver at City Park Pavilion to learn about the master plan update, discuss what makes City Park “the people’s park” and share your ideas for this planning process!
For more information, visit or contact Kelly Ream | Project Manager 720.913.0671 |

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A Denver native who’s not ready to say goodbye to City Park Golf Course as he knows it

DENVER – Driving around town you might have seen some “Ditch the Ditch” signs in people’s yards. Long story short, it all has to do with the expansion of I-70 – and a citywide construction project in Denver to reshape the storm drainage system.

RELATED: I-70 expansion given the green light despite neighborhood objections

The city will tell you the two aren’t connected. The critics say they are. That’s not what this story is about.

Part of that drainage project would build a huge retention pond at City Park Golf course. That means the course will close at the end of this year, and the whole thing will be redesigned. A brand new golf course will open in 2019, but one Andy Lyford is a Denver native with a strong opinion on that.

“I grew up playing City Park Golf Course. It’s one of my happiest places on Earth … It’s in the middle of the city. It has the best views of the city … It’s suffocating. I guess that’s the word I would use because we’re Western people. We’re Colorado people. None of us were originally from here, so we want people to come here. We welcome it, but a lot of times, we feel that the traditions and things that we love are being trampled on. I’m almost 50, but it seems like I’ve seen the amount of growth that most people would see over the course of 100 years…”

Andy was emotional describing what growing up on the course has meant to him. You can hear from Andy in the video above.

The city says this drainage project is necessary to relieve flooding problems in neighborhoods. A group is suing the city over the City Park plan, claiming the city is trying to illegally convert the course into non-park use land

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Birding for science: Denver Field Ornithologists is leading a citizen-science initiative in the heart of the city

By Colleen Smith, Special to The Denver Post

In City Park, on man-made islands in man-made lakes, tall, old trees offer refuge to large colonies of wading birds. The park provides breeding habitat for approximately 100 black-crowned night herons, roughly 300 double-crested cormorants and several species of milk-white egrets, ethereal as angels.

The bird enthusiasts of Denver Field Ornithologists (DFO) hope to focus their 400-plus members’ binoculars on the breeding, nesting and fledging habits of these birds — not just for the joy of birding, but to collect data for their recently launched citizen-science initiative, the Colonial Waterbirds Nesting Project.

The nesting project is one of two citizen-science initiatives at DFO. The second involves data collection that will contribute to the work of Denver Museum of Nature & Science Curator of Ornithology Garth Spellman, who is mapping the occurrence of eastern and Rocky Mountain forms of warbling vireos and white-breasted nuthatches.

“Since we have a quasi-home at the (Denver Museum of Nature & Science), we think it’s worth monitoring the backyard birds here,” said DFO president Chuck Hundertmark.

Hundertmark recently led one of DFO’s field trips to observe City Park’s colony of night herons on the island in Ferril Lake, due east of the boathouse pavilion. Dozens of the sharp-beaked, ruby-eyed birds stoically sat on nests, incubating eggs. Some cruised in and out with nest-building sticks. Others engaged in territorial behavior or courtship dances.

On the island in nearby Duck Lake, approximately 200 nests crowded trees, and cormorants raised a cacophony. Hundertmark, using his spotting scope, pointed out the double crests that resemble feathery horns, visible only during breeding season.

Cormorants have nested in City Park for 80 or 90 years, said DFO member Pat O’Driscoll in an email. “Somebody once relocated half a dozen fledglings there from the big colony that still exists at Barr Lake,” O’Driscoll said.

The DFO database will chart dynamics of the waterbird colonies and the condition of the sites.

 “If the sites begin to fail, we want to follow the birds, faithful returnees year after year, as they relocate to other sites or even start new colonies elsewhere. We also want to document the timing of the nest cycle to see if there is a response to climate change,” O’Driscoll said.
The birding club is recruiting citizen-scientists to help compile data on colonial waterbirds in Washington Park, Belmar Park in Lakewood, the Wheat Ridge Greenbelt, as well as City Park.“In the case of City Park’s Duck Lake, it’s a minor miracle that its tall trees — nearly dead now, possibly from decades of cormorant guano — are still standing under hundreds of three-foot birds and their big nests of sticks,” O’Driscoll said.DFO and other citizen-scientists can use an app called eBird to compile field notes for the waterbird study, Hundertmark said. “There’s no fee or registration, and you don’t need to belong to DFO to help. This is how DFO can harness the collective power of observation and eBird for vital citizen-science. It’s fun and interesting and will enhance knowledge and appreciation of birds.”When people share lists on eBird, “they’ll just type in ‘DFO waterbirds,’ ” O’Driscoll said. At the end of the season, DFO will compile a report on the first year’s worth of data. “We’re piggybacking on the ability of using eBird’s way of compiling and organizing data. It’s just a lot easier than if we sent people out with clipboards.”

Birds of a feather

Birders possess keen powers of observation and curiosity inspired by the natural world. A new DFO board member and the newsletter editor, Sharon Tinianow said, “You’re out in nature. People who know birds usually know wildflowers and trees, mammals, reptiles.”

Tinianow’s favorite birds are chickadees. “They’re acrobatic little critters, such charming birds.”

At her Denver home, Tinianow maintains three birdfeeders and a suet hanger. She noted that birding is an audio-visual activity. “Birding by ear, you don’t have to spot the bird to identify it.”

On the field trip, Hundertmark heard a chipping sparrow, traced the song to a tree and deftly centered the bird in his scope. Birders also heard the avian operas of house finches, calls of northern flickers, trills of red-winged blackbirds.

Hundertmark has almost 800 species on his Life List.

Birds of a feather, as we know, flock together. And birds bring humans together, too. The DFO flock includes 470 members. And wherever birders congregate, other people gather like hummingbirds to nectar. With their command of flight and mysterious migration abilities, birds captivate the imagination.

“Every time I’m out birding, somebody comes up to ask a bird question,” Hundertmark said.

As if on cue, a woman walking her dog stopped to inquire about the large white birds. She mentioned the bald eagle she saw. Later, a rangy man wearing a black cowboy hat wandered over to inquire about the cormorants.

Isaac Ho, a retired chemical engineer and DFO member, focuses more on photography than his Life List. For Ho, bird-watching was a family interest shared with his wife and children.

“By watching birds, you gain a lot of interesting experiences. If you have an awareness of behavior, you can realize there is a lot of humanity in wildlife,” he said. “Nature deserves our respect.”

Ho’s favorite birds are raptors. “I like to photograph them in flight or action,” he said. “Springtime is a perfect time to watch birds.”

The City Park field trip also yielded sightings of mallard and blue-winged teal ducks, violet-green swallows and barn swallows, ring-billed gulls and black-billed magpies, American robins and Canada geese—including goslings yellow and fuzzy as spring pollen.

For fledgling birders, Hundertmark suggested picking up a field guide.

“Get a good bird book and learn how to use it,” he said.

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City Park Tours in April

photos by Phil Hainline

Doors Open Denver 2017 is sponsoring tours of City Park on Saturday, April 29 (10:30 am) and Sunday, April 30 (1:00 pm). City Park enthusiasts, Patricia Paul, Barbara Wright and Georgia Garnsey will lead the tour, “City Park, Crown Jewel of the Queen City” for the third year. Tour participants will stroll though City Park’s green expanses and past its lovely gardens, fountains and statues for 60-90 minutes. We’ll explore City Park’s history and also its intrinsic beauty, sculpted by the vision of Denver’s pioneer founders and leading designers. Historic photos will be passed around.  Meet at the  Snowmastodon sculpture at the NW corner of DMNS

To register and see all the other great tours being offered in 2017, go to Tickets are $10 each. Pre-registration is required.

Photos by Phil Hainline

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