Jerry Kopel

June 29th, 1998



Greater Park Hill News

2823 Fairfax Street

Denver, Colo 80207

Dear Editors:

I'm sorry you only publish once a month, since that makes any kind of continuity in a "debate" rather fruitless. You will be printing a response from Councilwoman Barnes-Gelt to my letter and by that time all issues regarding the city ordinance will have long been decided. I will not write a response to her actual response, but I do want you to have additional information by which to judge whatever she does write.

Councilwomen Barnes-Gelt and Foster last attended a Sunset committee meeting on August 27, 1996. And yes, we did have meetings subsequent to that date. Mr. Wallach did not attend any meetings for close to three years. The dates, time, and place for meetings are always scheduled by the Office of Regulatory Reform, not by me. They do check to see if I will be available.

Most of the "fireworks" at the May 4th Sunset Committee meeting occurred during the thirty minutes that the two councilwomen and I awaited the arrival of a fourth member, who happened to be Margaret Browne. I'm sure she was perplexed by the atmosphere encountered when she arrived.

In my letter I stated "the city attorney could, without notice to the restaurant owners, get an "ex parte restraining order.."

Sec. 37-72 (p)(1) provides posting of a notice by the nuisance abatement coordinator at least ten days before filing a civil action. But then (p)(3) says the notice does NOT have to be posted if certain extremely broad conditions exist, including "the public nuisance poses a threat to public safety" and "other emergency circumstances exist". And the decision is in the nuisance abatement coordinator's "SOLE discretion".

As a now retired, but once practicing attorney, I don't believe the coordinator's decision can be successfully challenged under that language. Thus, what appears to be a right to notice is no right at all.

I also mentioned that if a restaurant is in receivership, even if you win in court you don't get your property back unless you give a complete and unconditional release to the city and its employees for any liability. Actually, no one really knows the answer because there has never been a receivership and there has never been an appeal of a receivership.

Under 37-78 (2), receivership cannot occur until the existence of a Class One Public Nuisance is established in a civil action..."

But the ordinance is silent as to what happens if the receivership is overturned by a higher court. The "release" is procedural, not substantive.

I have just one criticism regarding publication of my letter. I have no quarrel with deleting material. As a copyeditor at the Rocky Mountain News in the 1950s, I did that on a daily basis to make copy fit the space. But I never added material.

I understand you were probably trying to give your readers a description of who I am when you added three "formers" after my name. I have always felt that people who wear "formers" like medals are priggish egoists, and you have now placed me in their company. If I do write a letter in the future, please don't add that sort of thing.




Jerry Kopel

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