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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyJuly 27, 20174min451

One could argue that most folks are less than ecstatic when new construction comes to their neighborhood, especially with those lovely 8 a.m. jackhammer or dump truck wakeup alarms on their day off.

That at least appears to ring true for residents of many of Denver’s 78 neighborhoods, which have experienced swift growth and ubiquitous development.

In the wake of that booming development, Denver residents have voiced their dismay, inundating the city with complaint calls related to all that darned construction. In fact, as Denverite’s Adrian Garcia reported on Wednesday, the city fielded more than 700 such complaints last year.

As is true for most issues in the city of Denver, residents can call 311 or file a complaint online when they are experiencing problems related to construction such as work being done with construction noise before 7 a.m. and after 9 p.m. during the week, streets and alleys being blocked and work being done without a permit.

An educated Denver populace has done its homework on contractors and notified the city when there’s possibly work being conducted without a permit.

Complaints about work being done without a permit more than tripled from 2014 to 2016, the data show. The city has a searchable database of licensed contractors and last year Denver Community Planning and Development started classes to tackle the permit problem through educating people on the city’s process.

Garcia and company put together some quite useful charts and tables detailing the rise in construction complaints over several years and what action the city has taken to remedy a particular issues. Read the full report here.

 


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 19, 20173min275

Denverite’s Adrian Garcia reports this week that Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is touting post-election audits as a new, enhanced safeguard against election manipulation in Colorado:

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office has been traveling to different counties this year to train clerks how to conduct the audit, office spokeswoman Lynn Bartels said Monday. … Williams told Politico in a statement Monday that the audit will allow Colorado to say, “with a high level of statistical probability that has never existed before,” that official election results have not been manipulated.

If the audit process is implemented successfully, Politico reports, Colorado would be the first state to “regularly conduct a sophisticated post-election audit that cybersecurity experts have long called necessary.”

All of which has become a supercharged political issue — and notice the curious cross-currents at which a Republican like Williams finds himself. Election manipulation, long an obsession of the Republican right, has become a newfound target of Democrats amid persistent allegations Russia’s government attempted to meddle in last November’s presidential election to undermine Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton (remember her?).

At the same time, Republican President Donald Trump maintains that purportedly massive voter fraud — by undocumented immigrants, some would allege — cost him the popular vote even as he won the Electoral College. Hence, his controversial Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which has rankled Democrats by requesting voter information from Colorado and other states.

Which, if we may crack wise, means Wayne Williams has to be on the watch for Russian hackers trying to hijack the electoral vote for Republicans as well as for immigrants attempting to pump up the popular vote for Democrats. Give the guy a raise!


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 24, 20174min514

Colorado’s General Assembly might as well have set out to revise the U.S. tax code — and then seek a lasting Mideast peace — and it still wouldn’t have been as complicated as trying to untie the Gordian Knot constricting retail liquor sales in the state.

Compromise legislation passed by the legislature over a year ago was supposed to usher in historic regime change. The 2016 session’s Senate Bill 197 was going to kick-start a number of wide-ranging changes to be phased in over time. Among those changes: Grocery stores stuck with selling low-alcohol 3.2 beer, a post-Probition legacy brew, were at last going to be able to transition to the full-strength stuff starting in 2019. Also, chains like King Soopers and Safeway that have been allowed one location selling full-strength beer as well as wine and liquor are going to be able to expand the number of such locations starting this year.

There are many other moving parts to the 2016 legislative deal, including changes that also sweeten the pot for the state’s many independent liquor stores that are still the go-to retail source for full-strength beer and craft beers as well as wine and liquor.

But here’s the thing: Particularly the evolution from 3.2 to regular beer will be on hold until a “working group” of beverage industry reps convened under the provisions of SB 197 figures out exactly what steps are needed to make the change happen. Once they resolve that, more legislation would be needed to implement the tweaks. But given the Byzantine intrigue, long-standing mistrust and entrenched rivalries in the industry, getting even that far is going to be no small task.

That was certainly the takeaway of Denverite’s Adrian Garcia following a task force meeting that went nowhere last week. Reports Garcia:

(T)he group had little to say to each other during its first gathering since the 2017 legislative session. So little, in fact, that what was scheduled to be a three-and-a-half hour meeting on the 30th floor of the Tabor Center ended more than an hour early.

Garcia explains:

A “consensus bill” that aimed to bring easy fixes to the legislation passed in 2016 — allowing grocery stores to eventually transition from selling 3.2 to full-strength beer — ended up falling apart during the session, leaving each player to work in its own best interest. Now it’s unclear if the group can come back together this summer and agree on recommendations for how to phase out 3.2 beer.

To repeat, it’s all very complicated; you still have some homework to do. Garcia’s full story is a good place to start. Here’s the link gain.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirApril 20, 20178min301
While the annual “4/20” cannabis bacchanal gets underway this morning at Denver’s Civic Center Park — in search of some cause beyond satisfying the basic human need to party — a couple of observations from Colorado’s media gallery seem especially apt. First, Denverite’s Adrian Garcia notes today how a fissure has opened up in the marijuana world — pitting, for the […]

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