Davoren sets the record straight - Colorado Politics

Davoren sets the record straight

Author: - June 6, 2009 - Updated: June 6, 2009

Dear Editor,

Thanks much for running my review of Phil Goodstein’s new book on South Denver in the May 22 issue. It felt so good!

While reading it, I realized that there was a very fuzzy sentence in the fourth paragraph that some readers would interpret as claiming I served alongside several South Denver legislators — Joe Shoemaker, Robert Wham and Don Friedman, which just ain’t so. The fuzziness (age-related on my part? — I’ll be 83 in July) occurred because I’d been leafing through the book and noting very well-known names to mention. Unfortunately, the sentence definitely implied that I’d served with them.

I did serve with Carl Gustafson. He was a fair-minded majority leader when I was in the minority party (1979-1984), and the only serious fight I ever had was with Don Friedman when he worked as a lobbyist for the mobile home park owners and I was carrying a bill to give individual park residents some rights. Don owned a “trailer park” in Adams County, and one day, in the basement cafeteria, we argued about the bill and almost came to blows. I’m sure that if it had gone any farther, Don would have decked me. Luckily, my son, Mike, a natural-born peacemaker, calmed us down. I admire Don — he’s tough, and he’s good.

I might also mention that the Shoemaker/Wham/Friedman names have been very big in Colorado legislative history, and I wanted to call attention to their names in the book. Also, Robert Wham’s wife, Dottie, was elected to the Senate in 1984, my final year in the House. My problem is that I’ve followed legislative action since 1955, and it all seems so real and important that my memory banks are overcrowded with names and events.

A few years ago, I had a letter to The Post that complimented Joe Shoemaker on his key role in the rejuvenation of the South Platte River, and wrote about Perry Eberhart, a writer and Colorado historian (Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps), who was the first director of the South Platte Area Redevelopment Committee (SPARC). Perry and I worked together in the late 1950s for the Denver bureau of the old Hearst wire service, International News Service (INS), under Denver bureau manager Harvey Kadish, one of the best bosses I ever had. He died too young.

Right above the Goodstein book review on your page 3 this week, you had Jerry Kopel’s column about his work on legislative bills when he was still a law student in 1957. I had no idea that Jerry was there in the Capitol during the years 1955 to June 1958, when I worked for INS and covered the Legislature. After United Press “merged” (actually purchased) INS in June 1958, it fired us all. UPI rehired me to cover the silly “Grasshopper Session” in the summer of 1958. Just before Christmas of 1958, about two weeks before I would have had tenure, the rascals at Scripps-Howard’s UPI threw me out onto the Denver streets 50 years before all the good people at The Rocky were tossed. I tried to freelance the 1959 session and that didn’t work out, but I lucked out when I was hired by KOA/Channel 4 in March 1959, enjoying the place for the next 10 years until General Electric fired everybody except Leo McGuire. I didn’t get back to the Legislature until I was elected to the House in 1978.

I’ve been getting and enjoying The Statesman for how many years? And I don’t recall getting a renewal notice lately, so I’m enclosing a check for another year.

Again, thank you so much for printing the review.

Best wishes,
John Davoren

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