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October 12, 2011 05:41 PM UTC

Hickenlooper To #OccupyDenver: Please Consider Getting Off My Lawn

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: A letter from Occupy Denver demonstrators to Gov. John Hickenlooper was delivered today, requesting permission for the encampment to stay “indefinitely.” Excerpt:

We respectfully request that your administration honor our constitutional right to peaceable assembly: we are formally requesting a variance or waiver pursuant to the municipal code of the City and County of Denver and Colorado state law that would allow us to continue occupying the park area surrounding Veteran’s Memorial…

We, the people of Colorado, have no proper institutional forum to organize and address the issues that confront us. As such, the tent city that we have constructed serves not only as a symbol, but a forum in which to organize, voice our concerns, and demonstrate solidarity with our under-represented brothers and sisters across The United States of America.

If you have concerns of public safety or health, we invite you to work with us to ensure that we have adequately addressed public safety and health issues.


Westword’s Michael Roberts reports:

The area where campers have set up is under the jurisdiction of the CSP — and rules forbid overnight camping in the park. Nonetheless, plenty of Occupy Denver types have been doing so as part of the demonstrations, which have gone on for more than two weeks.

[Tuesday], during an appearance on Mike Rosen’s KOA talk show…Hickenlooper said his representatives have told protesters they can’t stay on the spot overnight — instructions they’ve ignored to date. What next? That’s complicated.

“As close as I can understand, they’re on state property — but we don’t have a jail to put them in, and we haven’t been able to find a way that the city, that the district attorney will prosecute,” Hickenlooper said…

Such a stance in regard to Occupy Denver doesn’t mean his administration is hostile to free speech, he said. In his words, “We have always supported the First Amendment,” and he went on to mention policies put in place during the 2008 Democratic National Convention to encourage peaceful expression. He has no problem if Occupy Denver participants “want to stamp their feet and hold up signs and point out problems they see in this country.” However, “we’d like them to leave every night by, like, nine o’clock, and then come back at, say, 6:30.”

Oh boy–we’re thinking that suggesting the Occupy Denver protesters put themselves to bed at a decent hour off state property is not going to elicit the, you know, desired response. In fact it’s liable to merely encourage them: word of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s comments spread quickly through the Occupy Wall Street Twitterverse yesterday, and a snarky, defiant trend of responses ensued. On the heels of mass arrests at the Occupy Boston protest, and with growing numbers of “occupiers” bedding down in public spaces across the country, it’s getting kind of tense out there. For the protesters, surviving this early period with their numbers and tactics intact is critical: they’re not going to go willingly. Hickenlooper, safe to say, is not the only public official trying to balance the First Amendment with the rule of law right now.

Hell, even Rep. Wes “Cowboy Dem” McKinley has pitched his tepee.

An apropos side story we have a little background knowledge of: in 1999, Seattle Mayor Paul Schell, a staunch liberal, was confronted with a massive protest in his city during a ministerial-level conference of the World Trade Organization. Mayor Schell had no desire to use police force against the huge crowd that had gathered, but a “soft” initial response by police led to an explosion of violent and disruptive acts–as a comparatively small faction of lawless anti-globalization protesters overran the city, caused tremendous property damage, and effectively shut down the WTO conference. Caught between citizens enraged at the eventual attacks on protesters by police and others angry that a strong response from police was too late in coming, this incident played a major role in the premature end of Schell’s political career.

The point? This stuff is very difficult, especially for urban Democrats, whose natural constituency, as well as personal inclination, is always going to be sensitive to civil liberties and the rights of demonstrators. We know Gov. Hickenlooper well enough to take him at his word when he says that no “line in the sand” has been drawn, and we don’t think he has any desire to send the State Patrol in to dismantle the Occupy Denver encampment “with people in their tents.” If we do come to a point where police enforcing the law must evict these protesters, we have to believe that will have come in response to a legitimate and urgent public safety need. One we can’t see now.

Because Hickenlooper knows Paul Schell’s story, too. A poll that he probably will see follows.

Should Hickenlooper evict Occupy Denver tents from state property?

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52 thoughts on “Hickenlooper To #OccupyDenver: Please Consider Getting Off My Lawn


    Freedom Plaza is three or four times larger, if memory serves, than the park area in Denver and requires a permit for large assemblies, demonstrations. Story and editorial in this mornings Washington Post:

    After a meeting with protest leaders, the Park Service on Tuesday extended the permit through Dec. 30. Bill Line, spokesman for the Park Service, told us efforts were made to reach an agreement because “we hold the First Amendment in high regard. . . . we are aware of the need to accommodate free speech and expression as much as we can.”

  2. That seems to be the solution for the mentally ill, homeless and veterans that have fallen through the safety nets.

    I can’t find the figures for what Denver and other sponsors of the 9/11 Anniversary spent on that jingoistic love fest, but hey, the US spent $1.25 trillion in Chinese yuan to finance two wars, lost 4,447 men and women in Iraq, 33,151 wounded.  In Afghanistan 1,802 Killed in Action. Since Tommy Franks set the rules on body counts, it is hard to say how many Iraqi and Afghanistan wedding parties have been vaporized. But, “Freedom is on the March”

    My wish is for Hickenlooper and Hancock to move the protesters to Civic Center Park, place some porta potties and mobile shower facilities and encourage coherent dialogue and free music, just ANYONE but the Beach Boys.  Anything but drawing a line in the sand, all a movement like this needs is a martyr.

    As far as the protestors having a legitimate gripe, yes they do and they want to be heard and most importantly they are looking for leadership.  The truth is not forthcoming, corporate media owns the airwaves AND government, hence they have editorial license.  I don’t have to spell out what passes for news, Tim Tebow, fatal car wreck, 7/11 robbery, another car wreck, policeman shoots suspect, mother in tears, sports, weather recap.  

  3. I am very disappointed, Pols. I can hardly believe that you are not 100% on the side of the rule of law, which you normally are even as a leftist propaganda mouthpiece. Hickenlooper is dead right that he can’t give these protesters special liberty to camp on state property without extending the same leniency to everyone. There is a law prohibiting campaign on this property. How can you possibly say there is not a “legitimate public safety need?”

    If we don’t enforce the laws, they become meaningless. Hickenlooper knows that, and he can’t allow these squatters to stay. I might add that veterans groups are getting really upset that hippies and bums are camping all over their memorial. There’s another group they’ve alienated.

    One thing for sure, this blog just proved it is much more leftist than anyone has ever given you credit. Siding with anarchists now? So much for YOUR credibility.

    1. Because they are protesting it makes them Anarchists?  This is a fundamental right of Americans to protest.

      :eyeroll: Sorry they are getting the press you so need for your annoying tea party wackos.  

      1. Tea Party rallies always had permits. Tea Party rallygoers always obeyed the law.

        There is absolutely no comparison between lawful Tea Party patriots and this anti-American squatter mob. None. You are a fool.

          1. stop putting up facts that disprove what ArapaGOP is saying this early in the day.  Its just going to spook him.  I was kind of hoping he’d stick around today.

      2. It is particularly disgraceful that a Democrat legislator is joining in on the squatting. Wes McKinley should either remove his “teepee” immediately or resign from his office. How can a lawmaker break the law right in front of his office?

        I mean BESIDES Sal Pace urinating on Colfax?

        1. All elected officials who break the law should resign, right? Misdemeanor or felony? applies to those convicted, too, right? Let’s clear it up now ahead of your next bout of hypocrisy.

          Maybe we can start with W’s drunk driving…

          1. Craig Meis is a well-known scofflaw and speeder.  Clearly he deserves to be removed from office, if he doesn’t have the integrity to resign immediately.

            Turning to national politics, there is still the issue of Sen. ‘Daiper Dan’ Vitter, patron of prostitutes, law-breaking adulterer.  

      3. it appears to be coming close.

        Occupy is so much more vibrant and better informed than the tea baggers ever hoped to be. The baggers had to go home everyday to look for their govt checks. Did they ever walk anywhere or just take busses paid for by the Koch Bros?

      4. it appears to be coming close.

        Occupy is so much more vibrant and better informed than the tea baggers ever hoped to be. The baggers had to go home everyday to look for their govt checks. Did they ever walk anywhere or just take busses paid for by the Koch Bros?

            1. …….to run cross legged and find a bathroom at the same time.  As a matter of fact it is most impossible to find a place to relieve oneself in most American cities.  Even ancient Rome had restrooms and public baths.  I have got to hand it to the guy, at least he didn’t shit in the mail box.

              “Nor man nor beast can stop the urge, when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.”

    2. ……. and an awful example of those that actually believe and have reverance for the rule of law.  Starting with their insistence on removing the separation of church and state, waving the Bible instead of the Constitution, dismantling the FCC, PBS and NPR to insure their strangle hold on jingoism, fear mongering and fictitious history in the class rooms.  Worshiping ideology over truth is not only wrong, it is un-Godly.

      Your quote:

      If we don’t enforce the laws, they become meaningless.

      You said a mouthful there, but you failed to mention the pledge we all make:

      I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.

      God IS truth and nothing else

      We have two America’s which is another way of saying we have a plutocracy defended maliciously by a group that have voted rich and lived poor all their lives and will never become a member of the lucky sperm club no matter how they grovel or the number of mindless yeses they spout while assuming the position.

      The following is a quote from a law breaker who got two years to gain a very small audience:

      “This is really the heart of what this case is about. The rule of law is dependent upon a government that is willing to abide by the law. Disrespect for the rule of law begins when the government believes itself and its corporate sponsors to be above the law.” Tim DeChristopher-Environmental Hero

      1. You used an apostrophe when saying “two America’s”.  

        That denotes either a possessive or a contraction, when I glean from your post that you were aiming for a plural. -2 for grammar.

        Plus your [just kidding – you’re] a lunatic and are blathering on about corporations and how their existence somehow justifies trespassing with no consequences.

        1. …..those that have little to say other than “-2 for grammar, lunatic, blathering on and consequences”  You are of the type who would rather build jails and churches than schools.  You also probably prefer radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology to the messiness of democracy (There is aword for this, but I ain’t sayin’).  Do your best to look through the grammar and try to have an intelligent discourse.

          1. Busted.  I think we should outlaw all schools and just build jails and churches.  Together!


            I’m a huge fan of radical-authoritarian-nationalist-political-ideology.  Yes, that’s right.

            Maybe the “aword” you were looking for is RANPI.  No?

            Keep the faith, good man.  


      2. On the day of his sentencing, DeChristopher addressed Judge Benson and federal prosecutors with an official statement:

        “I know Mr. Huber [Federal prosecutor] disagrees with me on this. He wrote that ‘The rule of law is the bedrock of our civilized society, not acts of “civil disobedience” committed in the name of the cause of the day’. That’s an especially ironic statement when he is representing the United States of America, a place where the rule of law was created through acts of civil disobedience. Since those bedrock acts of civil disobedience by our founding fathers, the rule of law in this country has continued to grow closer to our shared higher moral code through the civil disobedience that drew attention to legalized injustice.”

        The U.S. Attorney’s office issued a memorandum addressing DeChristopher’s case that stated, “To be sure, a federal prison term here will deter others from entering a path of criminal behavior.” DeChristopher responded to this statement during his court address: “The certainty of this statement not only ignores the history of political prisoners, it ignores the severity of the present situation. Those who are inspired to follow my actions are those who understand that we are on a path toward catastrophic consequences of climate change. They know their future, and the future of their loved ones, is on the line. And they know we are running out of time to turn things around. The closer we get to that point where it’s too late, the less people have to lose by fighting back. The power of the Justice Department is based on its ability to take things away from people. The more that people feel that they have nothing to lose, the more that power begins to shrivel. The people who are committed to fighting for a livable future will not be discouraged or intimidated by anything that happens here today.

        And neither will I. I will continue to confront the system that threatens our future. Given the destruction of our democratic institutions that once gave citizens access to power, my future will likely involve civil disobedience. Nothing that happens here today will change that. I don’t mean that in any sort of disrespectful way at all, but you don’t have that authority. You have authority over my life, but not my principles. Those are mine alone.”

        Judge Benson explained to the court and to DeChristopher that were it not for DeChristopher’s “continuing trail of statements” post-auction, he [DeChristopher] might have avoided prosecution and prison time. Judge Benson stated, “The offense itself, with all apologies to people actually in the auction itself, wasn’t that bad.”

    3. Would that entail shooting unarmed female US House members?

      Are you a veteran?  I am and I am not alienated and I know many, many, many liberal veterans.  By veterans groups, I hope you are not referring to the American Legion, their member prerequisites do not require participation in a shooting war, not that there is anything wrong with that, what is wrong is the perpetuation of the lie and self deception of “my country right or wrong.”  There are 420,000 veterans in Colorado, meaning there are approximately 140,000 each, Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

      As for active duty, Reserve and National Guard troops, the last two lines of the Soldiers Creed-

      I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.

      I am an American Soldier.

      I am of the mind that having a sitting president in a flight suit with his nuts cinched up tighter than a roping saddle is much more alienating and preposterous than “bums and hippies” camping and protesting near a monument to war.  The sad part of it, there is no monument to peace, the one thing my grandfather, father and I fought for.  In my case, I fought for corporate resources and had a hand in killing 3 million Vietnamese who fought for independence from French and American colonialism.  American exceptionalism, indeed.  

      1. well adjusted, liberal, D voting vets. One of the reasons they vote Dem (though they certainly don’t define themselves by their own personal interest alone and are Dems for lots of reasons) is that Dems support vets where it counts, trying to pass good legislation to fund agencies and programs to help them. Rs just slap on the bumper sticker and vote against vet interests time after time while forking over benefits to the top fraction of 1%.

        It’s more a matter of having a clue than being damaged or alienated in the case of my dad, uncles, cousin and spouse.

    4. from posts where you’re asked tough questions, such as where you heard about those alleged fraudulent ballots in Denver.

      If you’re feeling all butthurt about your universal lack of popularity here, you could do something about that and answer the questions you’re asked.

      And now, to watch you ignore Ralphie’s excellent answer to your phony outrage…

      1. Are you able to prove the 200 ballots from Denver turned over to the DA’s office are not fraud? Did you ever call the DA and ask what they did with those ballots?

        I’m not here to be popular, I’m here to be a voice of reason. It does not surprise me to find resistance to reason here.

        1. It seems like you misunderstand the meaning of the term ‘reason.’  Repeating unsupported talking points, then dodging most questions (unless you can invent another straw man) is not really what the word means.

          To reason is to engage in the applied effort of comprehending, inferring, and thinking in orderly, rational ways; to identify cause and effect.

        2. So, you get to make an allegation, then the onus is on ME to disprove it?

          In your dreams, little man.

          Here’s how it works – you allege that there have been any such ballots, you SHOW that there have any such ballots. I saw nothing about it in the news – no stories about 200 ballots being handed by the SOS office to the Denver DA – so I don’t believe that any such thing happened.

          If it did happen, you show me the news. I already did my research, and only came up with blog posts. GIVE ME A NEWS LINK. Put up or shut up.

    5. from posts where you’re asked tough questions, such as where you heard about those alleged fraudulent ballots in Denver.

      If you’re feeling all butthurt about your universal lack of popularity here, you could do something about that and answer the questions you’re asked.

      And now, to watch you ignore Ralphie’s excellent answer to your phony outrage…

  4. The Wes McKinley who introduced a bill to gut animal cruelty laws in Colorado that was so bad that even the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association couldn’t support it? Wes McKinley who would have liked to shut down DDFL cruelty investigations, which are the only hope most neglected and abused pets in the Denver area have of being rescued from their situations?

    Pardon me if I save my left-wing swooning until some elected with a conscience supports #occupyDenver. McKinley probably just hoped there’d be s’mores around the campfire.

      1. our dear peanut farmer is correct. I have no respect for Representative McKinley. I know him to be a self-aggrandizing, un-trustworthy, oil and gas industry SELL-OUT.

        He is most assuredly NOT a cowboy. I know lots of c’boys…he ain’t one, IMHO

  5. for myself, we will continue to assemble and grow. I am proud to be a part of occupy Denver and have volunteered in many capacities to help sustain the community.  

  6. Notably, when MacArthur ousted the bonus marchers from Washington.  They were vets with a good cause and their mistreatment earned Hoover…and MacArthur…a lot of enmity.

      MacArthur may have had a legal responsibility to expel them, but he didn’t have to use the force he did — including tanks.

     Occupy Whatever types are less likely to include veterans,  but they’ve already shown the media potency of getting women pepper sprayed.  They pray every night for the authorities to over-react.

    1. You might want to check those preconceived notions. As a matter of fact, when the police brutalized occupy Boston the vets stood up to try and protect other occupiers.  

  7. I also strongly support the right of the people to peacfully assemble to present their greviences to the government. And by definition, when the system is as corrupt as what we have today, that peaceful assembly is going to be messy, disorganized, and violate the rules that keep everything neat, tidy, and under control.

    Here’s the fundamental problem Hick, Bloomberg, and every other politician faces – the protestors see them as part of the problem, not as possible agents that could craft a solution. And a large number of people in America have a strong suspicion that the protestors are right. Everytime the government assults one of the protestors, it increases support for the protestors.

    Hick should leave the protestors alone because the protestors are exercising a fundamental right to petition the government. And they are doing so in as gentle a way as possible while still being effective.

    From a political standpoint he has to leave them alone. An awful lot of people understand that the system is heavily rigged in favor of the very wealthy. Shutting down this outlet will lead to more radical responses.  

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