ODAAT overtaking 5 year plans in Texas:

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The United Nations report on global warming is the front page story in all the papers.

One of God's little jokes is this coming out as we are experiencing a record-setting cold snap here in Denver.

Molly Ivins obituary in the New York Times is worth reading. I was totally unaware of her living in Denver for a few years. How much of a role did that play in turning Colorado blue? Or turning Texas red?

Friday, February 02, 2007

I just sent this letter to the Denver Post in response to the David Balmer column this morning about turning the GOP around:

So picking the right top guy and the right issues will change the GOP? I don't think so.

Colorado has the opportunity for a state-wide civics lesson every two years with our wonderful neighborhood caucus system. The state is divided into 3000 neighborhoods, and on a Spring (I hope caucus killers won't move it to a winter day like today!) evening two or more meetings will be held in each neighborhood to discuss principles, issues and candidates and how our political system works.

The system was part of the Teddy Roosevelt progressive reforms, but like fire it is only a useful tool. We need newspapers that are willing to cover the very difficult story BEFORE and AFTER, and we need grassroots leaders in each neighborhood that adequate news coverage would help develop.

What would turn the GOP around is the same thing that would revitalize the grassroots of the Democrats, newspapers that decide to provide more of a reader service to average citizens.

Thomas Jefferson said that if he had to choose between having good government or having good newspapers he would not hesitate to choose the later because with it you'd get both.

Right now with rare exceptions we just don't have good newspapers. So we are left with a winner take all brand of politics with a focus on fund raising, phone bands, and phoney attack ads. In two years David Balmer's Democratic counterpart will very likely be talking about what's needed to turn his or her party around.

Newspapers bow to the financial pressure and ignore our last, best hope for returning America to what our founding fathers envisioned: our wonderful Colorado neighborhood caucus system. They need to cover this story between now and 2008. Would any newspaper wait until the day before the Rockies first game to write about the team? Why not put at least one reporter on the neighborhood caucus story now?


I doubt that the post will run my letter, since I had a letter in yesterday's paper (see below). And I doubt that the editors will take it seriously.

Editors at big newspapers like the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News extol the virtues of our representative democracy, but they don't deliver the news today that is necessary to make it work. Like a woman who has been abused, they wear a sexy night gown and sit on the far side of the couch, they whisper a sweet promise just before they leave on an airplane.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Denver Post Letters to the Editor:

Re: "Stacking caucus deck; Dems aim to lift state's stature in presidential race," Jan. 28 news story.

Some have recently suggested the very bad idea of moving Colorado's caucus date up to February in 2008. If anything, it should be moved back to April or even to May. The warmer weather would increase participation, whereas the February date will very likely just kill it off. People who care about grassroots and neighborhoods should speak out about this now.

John Wren, Denver


Rocky Mountain News

Denver voters choose wise course
February 1, 2007

Denver voters left little doubt that they're ready to bring the recording and election functions of city and county government into the 21st century.

Tuesday's special election on charter reform was a blowout, with 68 percent of voters backing Referred Charter Amendment 1A.

The amendment will abolish the Election Commission in May and place the responsibilities of clerk and recorder and election supervision under the control of a single, elected official.

Voters will decide who will first hold that newly created position during the May citywide election, or in a June runoff, if needed.

From the initial returns, it looks as if the commission performed well under the pressure of a tight schedule and the withering scrutiny of the public.

The nightmare of Nov. 7 may have sealed the commission's fate with voters.

But there had been problems aplenty over the years, including frequent staff turnover, blurred lines of accountability, and inadequate training of election workers.

City Councilwoman Rosemary Rodriguez and City Auditor Dennis Gallagher deserve credit for highlighting these concerns.

They pushed for this change in the charter more than a year ago, and continued to champion the special election as the best way to make a forward-looking, structural repair to city governance.

As candidates for the new office come forward, it's essential they receive a full vetting, so that confidence in Denver elections can be restored.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I just got this from Chris Phillips, author of the book Socrates Cafe the inspiration for the groups that meet here in Denver.

hi John, I hope all is great. I can't believe our baby girls Caliope is already 5 1/2 months old. Time is flying.

I wanted to let you know that on friday Feb 23 @ 7 :30 pm I'll be back at the Tattered Cover in the LoDo district to promote my book "Socrates in Love: Philosophy for a Passionate Heart." Anything you can do to help spread the word will be much appreciated.

Hope to see you soon, and I do hope one day you can write that article (about the start and growth of the Denver Socrates Cafes) for our newsletter; we'd much appreciate and enjoy it.


I hope you'll join us to hear Chris on February 23 and that you'll try a
Socrates Cafe between now and then if you haven't already.

Groups in Denver:
Each Friday, 6 p.m., Panera Bread, 13th & Grant. No RSVP required.
Each 2nd Thursday, 7 p.m., Trinity Church, 18th & Broadway, RSVP at


I just sent this to area newspapers:

Some have recently suggested the very bad idea of moving the Caucus date up to February in 2008.

If anything, it should be moved back to April or even to May. The warmer weather would increase participation, whereas the February date will very likely just kill it off.

People who care about grassroots and neighborhoods should speak out about this now.

John Wren
960 Grant St. #727
Denver, CO 80203
cell (720)495-4949

Monday, January 29, 2007

On this day in:
1900 The American League, consisting of eight baseball teams, was organized in Philadelphia.

The first five members of baseball's Hall of Fame, including Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, were named in Cooperstown, N.Y.

The Rocky Mountiain News Editorial today again endorses Denver 1A: