Friday, March 21, 2008

Park Permit Lottery a success - Unless you're Recreate 68

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

The on-going saga of Denver's park permit plan for the convention took a big step yesterday when the permits were decided on by a lottery. A previous attempt at the lottery on Tuesday was halted after a Recreate 68 member realized they weren't on the list even though they had applied multiple times. Problem solved? Hardly! Recreate 68 didn't get the permit they wanted for Civic Center Park.

"We're having our protest at Civic Center," said a livid Glenn Spagnuolo, a lead organizer for the group Re-create 68. "We're not going to give up Civic Center park to the Democrats. . . . They are creating a very dangerous situation."

Re-create 68 and its affiliates packed the random lottery with applications to better its chances, but the single entry by Jenny Anderson for the host committee won for Sunday, Aug. 24. The convention will be held Aug. 25-28 at the Pepsi Center.

Spagnuolo has been meeting monthly with city officials for a year, hoping to win the right to use Civic Center throughout the convention. He says 50,000 war protesters are coming for a march from Civic Center to the Pepsi Center on Aug. 24.

He said Thursday that he would not respect the host committee's permit and would occupy the park, even if it forced police to intervene. - Denver Post

Yesterday we received the following statement from Mayor Hickenlooper's office regarding the lottery

We worked to hard to develop a process that is fair, equitable, open and transparent – with built-in safeguards (including the public’s participation) to catch any errors. That system worked on Tuesday – enabling discrepancies to be detected and addressed without impacting the integrity of this process.

In our analysis on Wednesday, we identified the source of the problem. The data itself was accurate, but had been incorrectly sorted by the spreadsheet, creating errors in the lottery cards. Because of that, the lottery process started over from the beginning on Thursday.

City staff went through an exhaustive process on Wednesday to identify the source of the problem, create a new database, and cross-check all of the data, lists and lottery cards multiple times – with observers present. An hour before today’s lottery started, individuals and organizations requesting permits had the opportunity to review all of the lists and cards themselves, ensuring everything was correct. The process – involving more than 200 requests for more than 200 available slots in 12 venues – went smoothly.

Looks like it may be an interesting start to the convention.