1H – H=Hell, NO Means NO

Yeah, a little harsh, huh. But, consider the consequences of a “yes” vote for the NEW CONSTRUCTION encompassed by this bond question.

1H – $70 million to finance NEW CONSTRUCTION of Cultural Facilities, including, but not limited to: Classrooms, labs, a teacher education center and other facilities for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and, the Reconstruction and expansion of Boettcher Concert Hall.

From an earlier entry, comes this:

What is it that a city is supposed to do for its citizens? Two things come to mind: Essential city services and quality of life. We all know what essential city services are. And, much of what is proposed by the bond packages, as well as the 2.5 mill property tax hike, encompass essential city services…although, a few of the proposals scrunched up in the eight bond/tax questions defy any semblance to essential city services. But, what about quality of life? When we talk about quality of life issues, one would hope that we’re talking about quality of life for all citizens, not just a few. And, for me, therein lies the rub with regard to the $40 million proposed for Boettcher. Such, as Buckley Jr. said, reflects on the egomania of democratism…something Buckley Jr. saw as a troublesome, inconvenient tendency of the masses to suggest their–the masses–interests were, if not tantamount, at least equal to the interests of the elitist few who never want for cake, much less bread.

Where, I wonder, are the fat-cat benefactors of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and their venue, Boettcher Concert Hall? Oh, I know, the CSO has its benefactors. But, apparently, no, obviously not that many to assure this so-called “first rate” orchestra has a “first rate” venue in which to comfort their sensibilities. Methinks even the most probable fat-cat benefactors have focused their philanthropy elsewhere–hunger, health care, education. A matter of priorities maybe.

And, finally, I guess that’s what it comes down to for me. Priorities. I look at the $40 million proposal for Boeottcher and balance that against the $20 million price tag placed on the Berkeley Park Master Plan, completed several years ago. I look at the $40 million proposal for Boettcher and balance that against the $39 million for a new police crime lab. I look at the $40 million proposal for Boettcher and balance that against the $18 million for a new animal shelter facility. Okay, enough. You see where I’m going with this.

The fact that Hick is asking for $550 million in bond money, and an additional $27 million a year for infrastructure maintenance through a property tax hike has got to flash that proverbial light bulb: Denver’s got a problem. Yes, maybe Jeanne Faatz is right: The city isn’t allocating its present resources adequately. I don’t doubt that is true, to a point. But, given the enormity magnitude of Denver’s needs, needs that will benefit ALL THE PEOPLE, the specter of handing over $40 million to affirm Carol Boigon’s conclusion that the “…culturals are essential,” begs the question: Essential to who and at what cost?

I would like to see Boettcher Concert Hall improved. I would like for the Colorado Symphony to have a first-rate venue. But, not this time. Not within the context of the most of the other urgent needs of this city articulated within the bond/tax questions we will see on the November ballot. And, no, I don’t want to pay more property taxes for a Boettcher conversion.

It just doesn’t make good sense.

From another entry comes:

Taxpayers, smart taxpayers will hopefully ask that question when they cast their vote. At what cost culture? The deferred maintenance question on culturals includes Botanic Gardens ($18.6 million), Boettcher Concert Hall ($20.7 million), Champa Street side of the auditorium and the Buell Theater ($2 million), and the Denver Museum of Science and Nature ($19.3 million). The NEW CONSTRUCTION question on culturals includes Boettcher Concert Hall ($40 million), and Denver Museum of Nature and Science ($30 million). Once again, both these ballot questions amount to $114 million. AND, the NEW CONSTRUCTION for culturals will jut Denver’s bond indebtedness beyond what is legally allowed and, therefore, require an ADDITIONAL increase in property taxes beyond the 2.5 mill increase provided for in question 1A.

As hard as Boigon tried to stack the deck for the culturals, did she, in reality, provide an opportunity for voters to actually balance the almost “must have” deferred maintenance for culturals against the “we can do without for a while” NEW CONSTRUCTION for culturals?

Bond indebtedness, like credit cards, accrue interest. I know you know that. But, did you know that the anticipated 20 year payoff on all the bond questions will amount to $1,140,272,843.00? That’s billion. Not even including, here, the anticipated $27 million per year generated from the 2.5 mill increase on property taxes.

I have been searching for information relative to publicly-owned venues which house “great” orchestras across the country. Looked at Boston, Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Philadelphia. Can’t find any “great” orchestra whose primary venue (home), is a publicly-owned space. Seems most of the halls which these “great” orchestras call home have been built and maintained by private means; endowments, contributions, fund-raisers. Yes, those who love the orchestras and the music they perform actually provide the wherewithal for those “great” orchestras to survive.

The Colorado Symphony is a good orchestra. It isn’t “great.” And, methinks there are more than a few folks out there who believe that the venue provides the means to accomplish the end: to become a “great” orchestra. Tail wagging the dog? Cart before the horse? Yup. (By the way–just a personal bias–I’ve wondered for quite some time why the Denver Symphony Orchestra became the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Was it kind of a bringing in the sheaves; a hope that since Denver didn’t really seem to be that interested in supporting the symphony, maybe a gathering in of those symphony lovers in Grand Junction and Paonia, Pueblo and Greeley might turn the red ink to black? Don’t know. Suspect I’m not half wrong.)

As to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, I rely upon David Harsayi’s (Denver Post), column of October 10th, which reads, in part: (Mayor’s ABCs…)

The museum [of Nature and Science] argues it needs more space. Well, join the club. Perhaps it’s time to scale back your expectations. You know, throw something out.

Many folks will tell you that failing to support institutions like the Denver Museum of Nature and Science means you’re an iinferior member of “the community.” But no other major city has used tax increases to keep similar facilities afloat.

If a citizen is inclined to support the Museum of Nature & Science, please do so. Join. Donate – as many individuals and corporations already do…

Okay. I’ve beat this horse enough.

1H – Hell No!

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