Monthly Archives: February 2017

‘Salvation Army Crossroads shelter in Denver to be demolished and rebuilt in 2019’

Read the report in the Denver Post here. Excerpt copied below:

The Salvation Army plans to demolish its overcrowded Crossroads Shelter and rebuild in the same location in Denver’s River North Arts District, according to the charity’s Lt. Col. Daniel Starrett.

In the meantime, the nonprofit faces hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs to correct safety violations found during Denver Fire Department inspections of the 80-year-old building.

And that task may be as tough as finding a temporary location for the shelter while the old building is torn down and rebuilt to meet the demands of a homeless population that is growing because of a booming economy, legal marijuana and ease of access to Medicaid, Starrett said.

“The Salvation Army is working with the city to find buildings,” Starrett said, noting that some people are resistant to having the homeless in their midst. “Everybody thinks we should help them, but nobody wants it in their neighborhood.”

An average of 634 men stayed in the shelter each night in December, up from 563 nightly in December 2015, and 441 during the same month of 2014. In December 2013, the month before recreational sales of marijuana became legal in Colorado, the average was 259 men. (Emphasis is mine — MRW)


Really, it’s no mystery that MANY of these homeless men will board an RTD bus for Boulder, and exacerbate the transient problem in our city.

Because Boulder do-gooders operate by the creed More Homeless People = More Money (from both public and private funding sources), they’re probably jumping for joy at this moment.


— MRW 

It’s easier to buy hard drugs on the streets than cough syrup at King Soopers (sometimes)



By Max R. Weller

From what I can gather, there seems to be a problem with high school-age kids here in Boulder, CO abusing cough syrup — in the mistaken notion that they can get high. WTF? So, the King Soopers on Table Mesa where I shop, which is not too far away from Fairview High School, has this brilliant policy to “require” photo ID from anyone wanting to purchase a product like this one:


Note that the label clearly states Alcohol Free (not that it matters; I’m 61 years of age).

Read more detailed info on Kroger brand Non-Drowsy Tussin CF here.

Most of the checkers at this store have learned who I am over the years, and no longer pester me to show proof that I’m at least 21, but this morning I had the misfortune to encounter some anal-retentive jerk I’d never seen before who insisted I show him a valid state ID with photo and date of birth. I showed him one from another state, Missouri, because I’ve never bothered to replace the Colorado ID I lost several years ago. (My fingerprint is still in the system here, and all I’d have to do is pay the fee to have my Colorado ID replaced.) BTW, that Missouri ID is one I used to open a bank account back in my home state when I still resided there, and it’s also the one I’ve presented to law enforcement officers here in Colorado. Nobody has objected to its validity until this clown.

Of course, after losing my patience I asked for a store manager to be called. After he also made the ridiculous assertion that my Missouri ID was invalid, he nonetheless permitted me to buy this Alcohol Free cough syrup . . . Strangely enough, I once bought a bottle of the old family recipe, W.L. Weller bourbon, at Liquor Mart here in Boulder without any question at all to my age. Perhaps that would have been a better option for me this morning!

Naturally, I’ll continue to shop at this King Soopers location — now having evened the score by blogging about the experience.


Addendum: Regarding my previous post, I’d love to hear from those who have had negative experiences at Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow (BOHO) in the past. I’ve NEVER stayed there myself, so I need the eyewitness accounts of those who have and lived to regret it. Contact me by e-mail: or simply reply to this post. I will NOT use anyone’s real identity in a future blog about BOHO. 

Random stuff I used to post on Facebook (before I dumped it)



By Max R. Weller

1) Good on President Trump for taking to heart Mitt Romney’s comment made last year, “Marijuana makes people stupid.” Sure, there are exceptions; but for every Ph.D. smoking weed there are probably at least a hundred homeless potheads. See White House: Feds will step up marijuana law enforcement from CNN. And while we’re at it, let’s investigate to determine just where these marijuana entrepreneurs obtained the startup capital to open their businesses — since NO bank will touch them. My guess would be Mexican or South American drug cartels, seizing on the opportunity to “launder” illegal drug profits:


2) Does anyone living in the Real World support Boulder’s Muni Scam? See Pete Lorenzen: IBM and the city of Boulder’s proposed municipal utility in the Daily Camera. Meanwhile, Boulder City Council’s motto remains:


3) I hadn’t paid much attention to Sen. Cory Gardner (nor to Sen. Michael Bennet), but if the Looney Left inside the Boulder Bubble hates him the Homeless Philosopher LOVES him . . .

4) Read Killer, kleptocrat, genius, spy: the many myths of Vladimir Putin from the online Guardian.

5) I’m once again at Boulder Public Library’s 1001 Arapahoe homeless shelter today, and there has NOT been an obviously intoxicated BUM openly guzzling rotgut vodka and bouncing around in his seat as he watches some gyrating video ho — then pulling out what we used to call an “Afro fork” and stabbing at the rat’s nest on top of his head. BTW, I think he was a Caucasian.


I don’t think I could have tolerated another such character as yesterday’s.

6) I’m chagrined at this story in the Denver Post involving Bob Greenlee, who had kind things to say about this blog in his Daily Camera column some time ago: Preying on community compassion.

7) I haven’t been feeling very well for quite a while now, and I hope that I don’t wind up in the god-awful Boulder Manor Progressive Care Center again. Maybe warmer weather and fewer transients over the Summer will help both my body and spirit.

1175 Lee Hill case manager ‘helps’ aggressive panhandling client at N. Broadway & U.S. 36

Originally published on 4/23/2015 . . .



By Max R. Weller

This is a TRUE tale — and further evidence that the Housing First program here in Boulder, CO is FUBAR.

Who knows what goes through the minds of Housing First program residents in their brand new apartments at 1175 Lee Hill (built at a cost of over $200,000 each)? Since this facility opened last Fall, however, I can report seeing two HF clients panhandling at the nearby corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36. With all of the cash benefits and other social services they receive in addition to housing, you have to wonder why it’s still necessary for them to “fly a sign” as they’ve done for years previously.

The NEW 31-unit, $6 million plus Housing First project at 1175 Lee Hill in Boulder, CO

Please don’t misunderstand — this is no encroachment on me, because I gain all the…

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‘Editorial: Don Quixote and the muni’

Copied below in its entirety from the Daily Camera:

William Michals as Don Quixote in the Arvada Center’s production of "Man of La Mancha" in 2013.

William Michals as Don Quixote in the Arvada Center’s production of “Man of La Mancha” in 2013. (P. Switzer / The Denver Post)

Gene Camp’s recommendation that the Colorado Public Utilities Commission reject the separation plan Boulder submitted to establish a municipal electric utility sets up an interesting test of City Council’s relationship with the real world.

Camp is the PUC’s chief engineer and manages its energy section staff. As always, anything is possible, but his recommendation is a serious blow to Boulder’s hopes of establishing a municipal electric utility anytime soon. If the commission agrees with the staff recommendation and rejects Boulder’s current application, the city will go back to the drawing board yet again.

Not as damaging but just as telling was testimony before the PUC by IBM, a major city employer, which expressed doubts about Boulder’s ability to provide the risk-free electric service it requires and asked that its campus be excluded from the separation plan the city proposed.

If you ever read Don Quixote, you have a feel for how this tale is going. Our heroes have virtuous hearts, but their grasp of reality is in doubt.

There are two skill sets required to make the muni happen. One is envisioning it. The city has that covered. The other is the practical ability to negotiate the regulatory and legal landscape to move the ball forward. That’s another story.

Facts, as John Adams pointed out, are stubborn things. Here’s the record so far: In its sixth year, something between $10 million and $20 million spent, and no progress toward the goal. None. In proceedings before the PUC, Boulder District Court and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the city’s plans and proposals have been repeatedly rejected.

Its biggest victory so far was the announcement last fall that its application to the PUC was finally complete. That’s the application Camp now recommends be rejected.

We do not have room to go into all the problems Camp enumerated with that application. In the end, the difficulties trying to separate Xcel infrastructure designed and built to serve both city and non-city customers is proving to be an enormous problem. Boulder’s initial solution was to serve customers both inside and outside the city with its municipal utility. The PUC shot that down. Now Boulder proposes a complicated arrangement in which it takes over Xcel equipment, then leases it back to the company, which would be required to continue to operate it during a transition period. Camp expressed doubt that the PUC has the authority to require Xcel to participate in such an arrangement and predicted Xcel would challenge its authority to do so in court.

The good news for the muni advocates is that Camp acknowledged Boulder has a legal right to municipalize and sets out a path to do so within the bounds of established PUC authority. The bad news is it puts Boulder’s takeover of Xcel’s infrastructure at the end of the process and requires Boulder to pay for replacement infrastructure to serve Xcel’s non-city customers first. That bill would be calculated by Xcel and would include its PUC-authorized rate of return, its standard profit margin. This process could extend both the timetable and up-front costs unpredictably before Boulder’s prospective utility owns anything or is generating any revenue.

For those who remember their Don Quixote, adopting this plan might be the Second Sally, which included tilting at windmills. Or possibly the third; we’re losing track.

Last summer, with some fanfare, the city and Xcel announced jointly that they were in settlement talks and might have a new franchise agreement laden with green energy cherries ready for the 2016 ballot that would put this quest to rest. Then? Crickets. The muni’s true believers pulled on the reins and council’s support of the settlement talks withered.

That was the situation prior to the release of Camp’s recommendation. The question is whether this latest bad news has any impact on the five council members who have ignored every legal and regulatory defeat so far. If they wait until the PUC decision, expected this spring, and it goes against them, their bargaining position at the table with Xcel will reach a new low. At some point, their fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers must come into play.

What behavioral psychologists call consistency and commitment tendency is strong with the muni’s slender council majority. They have been shouting out and pounding in their advocacy for years. As time goes on, it gets harder and harder to reverse course, even as events continue to rain blows on the project’s prospects.

We are not saying they are wrong on the merits. Frankly, even six years in, we are so lacking in reliable information about the ultimate costs, service and power sources of a municipal utility, we find it impossible to say.

We are saying they are not getting anywhere. They are not making any practical progress toward their goal. They are spending money and spinning their wheels. You can blame Xcel, you can blame the PUC, you can blame Donald Trump for all it matters. The reasons are less important than the results. If there is to be a settlement, now is the time, before the city’s last bit of leverage slips away with an adverse PUC ruling this spring.

Having made no progress so far, two options are on the table. Those five council members — Matt Appelbaum, Suzanne Jones, Lisa Morzel, Sam Weaver and Mary Young — could commit Boulder to another bruising election campaign this fall in a bid to extend the muni tax and keep this Don Quixote quest going. Or, one or more of them could decide that this is one of those times when discretion is the better part of valor.

—Dave Krieger, for the editorial board. Email: Twitter:@DaveKrieger 

What’s the dilemma, Boulder City Council?



By Max R. Weller

Read the story in the Daily Camera and see if you scratch your head like I’m doing now: Boulder Creek bathroom dilemma vexes city officials. Copied below in its entirety:

A homeless couple, who gave their names as Saint and Hope, relax between Central Park and Boulder Creek on a warm February day in Boulder.

A homeless couple, who gave their names as Saint and Hope, relax between Central Park and Boulder Creek on a warm February day in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Responding to concerns from citizens and the City Council about human waste along Boulder Creek downtown, City Manager Jane Brautigam’s staff will investigate a series of possibilities for new bathrooms along the corridor.

Acting on direction from the council during a study session on Tuesday, Brautigam said her office will consider infrastructure ranging from temporary trailers to permanent facilities.

The council is expected to decide among the options during another session in May, at which point city staff will also present a broader set of recommendations for addressing other issues related to homelessness, including daytime services, shelter space, transitional programs and housing.

The problem of human waste left along the creek and in other city parkland is not a new one, but Boulder has seen a rise in citizen complaints in recent months.

Several homeless people interviewed last month said that those who choose to relieve themselves near the waterway— and prompt public health concerns in the process — tend to be younger people less tenured in the community.

Though the city does not tally how many homeless are here long-term versus on a “transient” basis, those testimonials are consistent with the perception of officials and residents who’ve increasingly advocated for a revamped homelessness strategy that does more to separate those who wish to remain in town from those passing through, and perhaps more likely to disrespect public spaces.

Boulder has an urban camping ban in place, and occasionally tickets those who do sleep outside. But many evade the law by sleeping in less visible spots, of which the woods near the creek are a popular spot.

There are few bathroom options for those spending nights in the creek area, which, homeless people say, is a big reason some choose to defecate outside.

A majority of the council believes that new facilities should be part of the solution, but not all were sold.

“I’m strongly against,” Mayor Pro Tem Andrew Shoemaker said. “All we’re doing is facilitating and encouraging illicit and unsupervised and unsafe encampments.”

Shoemaker has on multiple occasions called for a designated campground area away from downtown, but he’s never appeared to have majority support of colleagues for that idea.

“Bathrooms don’t enable illegal behavior; they meet a fundamental human need,” Councilman Aaron Brockett responded. “By putting a bathroom in, you’re helping people out.”

Added Mayor Suzanne Jones, “Nobody should be having to clean up human waste along the creek. … I don’t think we’re facilitating people or attracting them. We’re preventing a hazard.”

Parks and Recreation staff do clean up waste of all kinds, every day, on the 1,500 acres of city parkland, Brautigam said. She suggested that enough trash is collected daily to fill the back of a pickup truck bed.

Additional police patrol began in the Civic Area on Feb. 4, the city manager added, and her staff is expected to recommend expanding service with more trash and waste removal — including, maybe, bins specifically for sharp items — in coming months.

As for the bathrooms, Brautigam said, staff has looked into several different designs.

Temporary trailers, like the one at the Flatirons Golf Course, is estimated to cost the city an estimated $185,000 apiece. Prefabricated permanent restrooms, like the one at Harlow Platts Community Park, would cost an estimated $225,000 each. And permanent, custom-built facilities, like the one at Valmont City Park, would cost an estimated $375,000 each.

Boulder could also consider a mobile bathroom unit, which Denver deploys at a rate of about $16,000 a month.

There was no decisive council direction in favor of any one of those choices, as the members agreed to wait on a staff recommendation in May.

There was action taken, however, to shoot down an idea to put portable toilets along the creek. Shoemaker and members Lisa Morzel, Mary Young and Matt Appelbaum all spoke against the plan, and Brautigam provided a tiebreaking “no” vote since Councilwoman Jan Burton was absent from the meeting.

The four in the minority felt portable units would be a useful short-term solution, and would perhaps be a good fit in the large parking lot of the Boulder County Justice Center.

Brautigam felt strongly they would be a bad fit, for reasons including concern about the fact that the creek is in a high-hazard flood zone, and portable units could be washed away. Councilman Bob Yates said that problem could be solved with bolts.

“We want you to know that Porta Potties are not a solution,” said Brautigam, who half-jokingly went out of her way to avoid giving the thought any legitimacy by uttering the term “Porta Potty.”

Any action to clean up the creek area between now and May is not going to involve “that which shall not be named,” Brautigam said.

Here’s my response: WTF? $185,000 — $225,000 — $375,000? Or $16,000 per month for a Mobile Bathroom Unit like Denver’s (a city which is now in Year 11 of their Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, with more BUMS on the streets than ever before)?

The Homeless Philosopher has been outspoken against both the worst-behaved transients and the do-gooders who ENABLE these characters. Don’t you get it, City Council? See Antisocial Personality Disorder defined here. It doesn’t matter one bit if you provide more and better sanitary facilities for the likes of “Saint” and “Hope” pictured above; they’ll continue to urinate and defecate in Boulder Creek itself as their figurative way to give society the finger:


(Clean shirt provided by Deacons’ Closet)

What’s the answer? A requirement for valid photo ID with a Boulder County address and proof of at least one year’s residency here for anyone seeking shelter / services from any local nonprofit would cause 90% of the BUMS to move on down the road. The other 10% can be given the choice of either being cited by Boulder Police for the petty offenses they’re sure to commit or getting on the RTD bus bound for Denver (fare paid by the city).

(This blog post will be e-mailed to BCC members, but they apparently think that MORE MONEY will solve the problem . . .)