Saturday, May 30, 2009

Quilters opens at DCTC.
Joan of Arc was burned at the stake on this day in 1431 in France. She was 19 years old, and she had changed the course of history in France. Over 20,000 books have been written about her, she has inspired millions to take their faith into action.

"God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you're from--if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open!" Acts 10:35 The Message Translation.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I just got this email from a friend, one of the movers and shakers in the Denver Dems:

I meant to catch up with you after the SD31 Vacancy Committee Election to let you know how much I thought of your speech that night. It was definitely one of the more compelling speeches of the night. Thanks for your efforts in a great campaign, albeit an abreviated one.

From Whole Foods mission statement:

We Create Wealth Through Profits and Growth

We earn profits every day through voluntary exchange with our customers. We know that profits are essential to create capital for growth, job security and overall financial success. Profits are the "savings" every business needs in order to change and evolve to meet the future. They are the "seed corn" for next year's crop. We are the stewards of our shareholder's investments and we are committed to increasing long term shareholder value.

It has become clear that if the IDEA Cafe and Franklin Circles are to grow, I have to start earning a profit with them. Watch here for an announcement tomorrow.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I just got this feedback from a friend about the post below:

"I think it's awesome you stuck yourself out like that, do it again, you can make a difference. We don't agree on every political point but I respect you so much because you OWN your ideas and respect those of others, even if they oppose you. We need people like that around. Good for you John!"
Nearly all of the 180+ on the Senate District 31 vacancy committee gathered last night to pick a replacement for Jennifer Veiga, who didn't even bother to turn in an appearance herself.

Since she had endorsed Pat Steadman, I figured her not being there would mean trouble for him.

No, quite the opposite. It meant they had counted noses and her appearance just wouldn't make any difference, Steadman had it in the bag from the beginning.

My thanks to Phil Perington, Dan Lynch, and Mark Wonder who spoke on my behalf. And also to Mary who attended and gave me such positive support.

Here's the Denver Post story in this mornings paper, followed by the talk I gave last night in my futile effort to get elected:

Senate seat goes to lobbyist
Pat Steadman will fill the vacancy created by Jennifer Veiga's exit.
By Lynn Bartels
The Denver Post
Posted: 05/21/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT

A Denver lobbyist who has championed civil rights beat nine other Democratic contenders to become Colorado's newest state senator.

Pat Steadman won a vacancy committee election Wednesday night to replace Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, who resigned to move to Australia.

Veiga had endorsed Steadman, who lobbies at the state Capitol. He has said he plans to resign from his firm.

The election caused angst on two fronts:

Adams County Democrats wanted someone from their county to win the election; Senate District 31 comprises central Denver and portions of Adams County.

Others pushed for a minority to win.

"We need some color down at the statehouse," said Julia Hicks of Westminster, who is black. "I'm sick of the lily-white boys club."

Her husband, Butch Hicks, ran for the seat but lost in the first round of voting. She then threw her support to Alex Sanchez, spokesman for Denver Public Schools.

In order to win the seat outright after the first round of voting, a candidate needed to receive 82 votes. That didn't happen, so the top four vote-getters went to the next round.

They were former Rep. Ann Ragsdale, with 56 votes; Steadman, 44 votes; Sanchez, 31; and Jill Conrad, a DPS board member, 10 votes.

Conrad withdrew her name and pledged her support to Sanchez.

"I chose Alex because I am really thinking about the future of the Democratic Party," she said afterward. "He's a bright, young Latino leader who has a vision."

Steadman won the second round of voting with 63 votes, followed by Ragsdale with 53 and Sanchez with 44. The top two went to the third and final round, with Sanchez endorsing Steadman.

Steadman won the third round. He will become the third openly gay lawmaker in the Colorado General Assembly.

The election was held at Morey Middle School near the Capitol, which also irked some Adams County members on the vacancy committee. They argued that the two union halls in Adams County offered air conditioning and more convenient parking.

Here's the talk I gave:

In the interest of time, I’m asking there be no applause until I finish. Laughter, perhaps, but no applause.

Hello, my name is John. I’m a recovering Republican.

Thanks to the grace of God, I sobered up, looked over, and there was Karl Rove and the Republican Party. The first presidential candidate I ever voted for was Hubert Humphrey, so I feel like I’ve come home.

I believe we need to use the principles of recovery for a return to the sober roots that have made this country great in the past. In his wonderful talk over the weekend to the graduates at Notre Dame, and to us, President Obama called for each of us to open our hearts and minds, to seek common ground, to be a crossroads and a lighthouse. We must find ways to listen to diverse opinions, seeking light not heat. I’m uniquely equiped to help us do just that.

What do I hope to do? As never before, we need to find creative solutions to bring good healthcare to all people, restore our economy, support families and the education of all children, a safety net of protection for all citizens from conception to natural birth, fair public financing of political campaigns, and preserving the details of our daily life in Denver and Colorado even down to the level of providing good access into the mountains and restoring the Ski Train and an affordable solution to the I70 logjam.

Today is really the start of the campaign for 2010. Whoever you select tonight will stand in front of you soon for evaluation. You have a unique opportunity tonight to give a fresh voice and a new perspective a trial run.

If you elect me I promise that: 1) I’ll delight you as your representative; 2) I’ll stand for reelection as a Democrat through our wonderful Colorado caucus system and will welcome primary opponents and the healthy dialog primary campaigns create; 3) If elected tonight I’ll listen to you as well as speak my mind on all issues until the Senate caucus takes a position, and then I’ll vote with our Senate caucus. I’ll be a good Democrat.

Why not give a fresh voice a chance? My name is Wren, John Wren. And I ask for your confidence and your vote tonight. Please vote for John Wren.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

After my post yesterday (see below) the emails continued, so I was forced to join in.

Facebook groups are a much better solution, in my opinion. Maybe the CO CS 31 group will continue after the election tonight.

I'll be speaking at 11:30 a.m. this morning on the west steps of the capitol for this, hope you can join us:

The group at 11:30 is Surrounded by Recovery

Then tonight a 7 p.m. the Senate District 31 vacancy committee will meet.

Some of us will be walking from in front of my apartment at 960 Grant Street to Morey Middle School, starting at 5:30 p.m. Join us if you can!

Tonight I'll be talking about:

1. Helping the grassroots recover in business and politics.
2. Restoring Denver's connection with a higher power and the mountains.

The 7 p.m. meeting is free and open to everyone. Hope you'll come and listen to what everyone has to say.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I just sent this email to Tom and the members of the SD31 vacancy committee, explaining why I would like to see our online discussions move to Facebook, so everyone can take what they like and leave the rest. Also, it makes the conversation much less elitist! Let the sunshine in! Use Facebook for political conversations so everyone can see what's going on!

Here's my email to Tom and the others:

Tom (and others),

This email will be my last to this group (I mean it this time!)
for the reasons I discussed before.

Facebook is a wonderful free tool, seems to me continuing
this discussion there makes a lot of sense.

What do the others on this email list think about moving to

If you haven’t signed up, it’s easy and free. Just go to Takes about a minute.

Then use Facebook search, go to CO SD 31 group, and
register as a member if you want to post messages, or
you can just watch what others post.

Facebook is a powerful tool for the voice of the common

If anyone wants help getting started, I’ll give it to you.
Call me! Also call me if you have any questions about me
or why I’m running.

Since I’m sending this anyway, I’ll say this: I base my opinion
of what to do about I70 on a long conversation I’ve had with
one of the other candidates who has studied it carefully.

Yes, Tom, you are right. We have to be careful Denver doesn’t
become a mega-Aspen, any more than it already has.

But why not make it a goal that every kid in Denver Public Schools
learn how to ski? Also important they go to the symphony. These
are not just activities for the rich, anymore than subscribing to the
Denver Post is just for he elite. These are activities that can be used
to bring us together as a Denver community.

I made this release to the media last Friday. Notice that I'm inviting supporters to walk with me from 960 Grant Street to the meeting tomorrow. Can you join us?

Here's the release:

May 16, 2009

Contact: John Wren, (303)861-1447

Wren asks for the support of the Senate District 31 vacancy committee, of which he is a member.

Denver__ Long time community activist John Wren announced today that he is a candidate for the Senate District 31 seat to fill the vacancy created when Jennifer Veiga resigned. Wren is a Democrat and one of the 186 members of the SD31 Vacancy Committee that will meet Wednesday night to make the selection. Wren lives at 960 Grant Street (Denver 80203) in the Colburn Apartments, and may be contacted on (303)861-1447 or

“I decided to jump into the race at the last minute when no candidate addressed the issues that I think are most important to bringing about real change. I’m the grassroots recovery candidate. The issues that I’ll be addressing in this campaign will be: 1) Strengthening our wonderful Colorado Caucus for nominating local candidates to the primary ballot; 2) Adopting the Arizona system for the public financing of elections while preserving 1st Amendment rights as advocated by You Street; 3) Forming a non-profit organization to advocate for mass-transit from Denver into the mountains, starting with the restoration of the Ski Train; 4) Promotion of the principals of recovery, being part of the solution and giving back to the communities we live in.

“I pledge to be an active voice for these issues, a servant to the residents of my district, and that I will follow the decisions of the Democratic caucus in the Colorado Senate and to stand for reelection in 2010 Democratic caucus-assembly.”

Wren will be at the Denver Speakers Corner tomorrow (May 17), 4 p.m., Civic Center Park North Pavilion on Colfax. He will be discussing the issues and answering questions on the CO SD31 Facebook Group

Supporters are invited to walk with Wren from 960 Grant Street to Morey Middle School where the vacancy committee will meet next Wednesday, May 20. The walk will start at 5:30 p.m.

John Wren is a business consultant and adult educator. Previously he was Assistant-to-the-President of Outdoor Sports, Director of Marketing for the Denver Symphony, a Business Analysis for the George S. May Company and Sales Manager for Sentinel Newspapers. He was one of the founders of Save the Caucus, which defeated Amendment 29 in 2004. He attended Cornell College and the University of Denver (BA ’69, MBA ’79) where he was President of the Graduate Student Association. He has also served President of the Denver City Club, the Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association, and the Denver South Optimists Club. He is on the Board of the Denver Lion’s Club. He started the IDEA Café startup workshop in 1994, the first Franklin Circle in Denver in 1996, and the first Socrates Cafe in Denver in 2002. He is a Democratic Precinct Committee Person, and was elected the Finance Chair of House District 5B. He is board member of the Colorado Chapter, Democrats for Life of America.

He is the father of 4 grow children, and grandfather of 4. He is engaged to be married to his high school sweet-heart Mary Clement who is an active Democrat in Arapahoe County, they both graduated from Denver’s Thomas Jefferson High School in 1965.

Monday, May 18, 2009

On the abortion debate: Pres. Obama at Notre Dame this weekend:

Discussions and news about the CO SD31 Race:

Election Wednesday evening. Join in the discussion now!
I'm a candidate for Colorado Senate District 31:

More here later today about why I'm doing this and what I hope to accomplish as your State Senator.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Another comment about my post this morning about startup in the Denver Business Journal:

Greetings, John,
I can see the comment... but, "This article is for Paid Subscribers ONLY." (Caps and punctuation courtesy of American Cities Business Journals, Inc., an organization that fails fairly miserably at customer experience...)

I tried to log in using our Phoenix Business Journal account, and the poor customer experience exacerbated itself. We will need to think long and hard about whether the Business Journal is a valuable business tool. Its online exclusion policies stand firmly in the way of business value.

Off my soapbox and on to your comment...

You are spot on, and that is why I am interested in providing Daring Mighty Things to Start Up Now workshop participants. VC is fine for the next Google or the next iPod. Or a cancer remedy that faces a decade of development and FDA approval processes. However, for the majority of entrepreneurs (and the majority of the economic vigor past, present, and future), bootstraps and shoestrings are perfectly adequate funding philosophies.

Similarly as you see in Denver, in Phoenix we see small businesses starting at the pace of about once a week in our Start Up Now workshops. Funding? Well, SBA Express, so up to $25K, but VCs are neither necessary nor appropriate. At least for now.

Kindest Regards,

Jim Graham, MBA
Maximum Business Advantage

I just got this email from my friend Joe Sabah in response to the email I sent him about the article in this morning's Denver Business Journal:


Joe Sabah

On May 8, 2009, at 7:53 AM, John S Wren wrote:

((PLEASE FORWARD to your friends who have an interest in entrepreneurship, OK? John))

Recession can't stop innovation. See my comment, what do you think?

I subscribed to the Denver Business Journal so I could post this comment. Are you able to read it? You are supposed to be able to even if you aren’t a subscriber from a link like this. Please let me know if you can’t read it, OK? Otherwise, hope to see your comment!


Sunday, May 03, 2009

In 1933, the first Comic book, Funnies on Parade, was published by the Eastern Color Co. of Waterbury Conn. Its format , 7 x 9 inches, was determined by the size of a standard American newspaper page: four pages were printed to the page and foilded twice. It was produced in four colours and contained reprints of 'Joe Palooka', 'Mutt and Jeff', 'Hairbreadth Harry', 'Keeping Up with the Joneses' and 'Connie'. It was not sold to the public, but issued as a gift premium by such companies as Procter and Gamble and Canada Dry.. The first to be sold regularly on the news stands and the first to be issued as a periodical was Famous Funnies, published by Dell Publishing Co. at a price of 10 cents in on this date, May 3, in 1934.

The New Shell Book of Firsts/ CBS Sunday Morning
In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

"In Blackwater Woods" by Mary Oliver, from American Primitive. © Back Bay Books, 1983.
Glenn was with us Friday to share about his very interesting new book, to tell his startup story and to brainstorm (thanks Glenn for changing your schedule so you could be with us!), along with Dan and Carol who were both also very interesting. Check out his website,