Support letter for Shepherd

Take a poll on the women involved in the “incident” at the end of this article.

Susan Shepherd before the "incident" when she had more to smile about.

City councilwoman Susan Shepherd on Sunday received more support from what was describe as a “cross-section of Northwest Denver and city-wide community activists.”

The  letter,  titled Community is Unity: Letter in Support of Civility and Councilwoman Susan Shepherd, was released by Michael Kadovitz, the Democratic co-captain of Colorado House District B, in response to what the missive described as an “unfortunate incident” that took place in Shepherd’s home from two women who on a recent evening showed up at her door step to talk about their opposition to RedPeak Properties plan for three, five-story apartment buildings.

Earlier, Chris Nevitt, Denver City Council President, released a similar letter, calling what happened to Shepherd “appalling,” and asking for people to behave more civilly toward each other and elected officials.

The grassroots group, No High Rises in West Highland, also released a statement saying that it does not “condone or encourage this type of behavior,” adding that as a group, it had nothing to do with what is being called “the incident.” InsideRealEstateNews, so far, has been unsuccessful in contacting the unidentified women to get their side of the story, but would welcome the opportunity.

Kadvovitz said that he was motivated to gather the signatures for the letter because he thinks such things as arriving at a council person’s house without an appointment that escalated into a shouting match is crossing the line and should not be seen as acceptable behavior.

“This upsetting incident unfolded in front of her family, including her four year child, who has special needs. Showing up at a Council member’s house to berate and attack them in front of their family simply crosses the line,” the letter states at one point.

Old-style politics in NW Denver

“I grew up here,” Kadovitz said. “I have been pretty active in Northwest Denver and neighborhood groups and I am the co-captain of the Democratic Party up here. Honestly, I’ve seen it all.”

He said that Northwest Denver politics in the past have included such things as leaving fish-heads on doorsteps and dumping opposition’s political signs in Sloan’s Lake.

“Frankly, I’ve had enough. We can disagree with us without resorting to yelling and berating elected officials. I didn’t vote for Susan (Shepherd),” although he did work in her office for three months.

He is not among the 2,000-plus people who signed the No High Rise group’s petition, “but I do think that five stories is a little too high. I’d probably rather see two or three stories.”

“On the war path”

On the other hand, he criticized some of the tactics of the group. “Five stories is in no way a high-rise,” he said. “And to run drawings of hyper-exagerrated building with 28 feet of HVAC and elevator shafts on the roof and publish it in an ad in the North Denver Tribune, when they know that is not accurate, is irresponsible. It seems like everyone is on the war path.”

That type of rhetoric fuels the already heated situation, leading some people to think it is acceptable to show up at Shepherd’s home in the evening and engage in shouting match, he said.

“I know people are passionate about the issue, and I understand why they are, but I think they have to realize that Susan and other council members have to represent everyone – not just people on their side.  They should try to walk in Susan’s shoes before they feel it is Ok to berate her and come to her home and threaten her with a recall election.”

Been there, done that

Kadvovitz said he was guilty of the same type of  rhetoric a few years ago, when he unsuccessfully opposed the downzoning of much of the homes in Sloan’s Lake and parts of West Highland.

“I think I expressed myself a little too strongly. I later apologize and made amends to (then councilman) Rick Garcia. Frankly, I think some of the newer three-story townhomes built in the neighborhood (before the zoning change) are quite lovely. I was against the downzoning, mostly because I thought property owner’s zoning shouldn’t be changed with out their permission, but I lost.  But it went through a process, the other side won, and I live with it, and that is OK.”

He said Shepherd is aware of the letter and she thanked him for it.

Following is the letter:

“Recently an unfortunate incident occurred in the home Councilwoman Susan K. Shepherd. Two constituents showed up at her home on a Saturday night, unannounced, to ask five minutes of her time to share their opinion of the Red Peak development slated in the Highland Square district. Susan, being a public servant, and out of courtesy, allowed them into her home to listen to their concerns against the project. However the situation devolved into a heated verbal assault leveled at her with shouting and threats of a recall.

This upsetting incident unfolded in front of her family, including her four year child, who has special needs. Showing up at a Council member’s house to berate and attack them in front of their family simply crosses the line. NW Denver should be proud of the fact that we produce leaders, and not bullies. Currrently five of our elected city officials hail from NW Denver; Auditor Dennis Gallagher, and At-Large Council Members Debbie Ortega, and Robin Kniech, School Board Member Arturo Jimenez, as well as Councilwoman Susan Shepherd.

“We may disagree with them at times, but they are due some respect for stepping up to represent the entire electorate and not just those who supported them at election time.

As active community members, who care just as much about the welfare of our district and our city, we ask that others who may disagree with our elected officials, to maintain a civil manner when discussing issues of concern to our neighborhoods.

We the undersigned also wish to express our highest regard and respect for Councilwoman Shepherd as she represents the entirety of Council District #1.

Community is Unity.

Sincerely,

  • Daniel B. Markofsky, Esq.
  • Gosia Kung, Esq.
  • Rosemary Duane
  • Betty J. Kadovitz, Disabilities Advocate
  • Will Ferrara
  • Chad Reichl , Co-President, WeCAN
  • Linda MacIntyre
  • Ilan Salzberg
  • Niccolo Casewit,  AIA
  • Janine and Marshal Vanderberg
  • Rev. Fidel “Butch” Montoya, H. S. Power & Light Ministries – Latino Faith Initiative
  • Jacob Werther, Westside Jewish Community
  • Sister Georgeanne Quinlin, BVM
  • Ed and Sally Augden, Retired Teachers
  • Dr. Martha M. Urioste- Education Consultant
  • Darrell B. Watson, President, Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (DPRAB)
  • Dave Felice, Delegate, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation (INC)
  • Isabelle “Izzy” DeSilver, Democratic Capt. Colorado House District 4A
  • Michael Wiltberger, Democratic Co-Capt Colorado House District 4A
  • Gino Furzi, Democratic Capt. Colorado House District 4B
  • Michael Kadovitz, Democratic Co-Captain, Colorado House District 4B
  • Betsy Daniel
  • Jon Lehmann
  • Susan Richardson, PCP #422
  • Diane Dunne, Democratic Vice Chair, Colorado House District 4
  • Mary Gonzalez, Democratic Secretary, House District 4
  • Rabbi Joel Schwartzman,  Member, Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council
  • Wendy Hawthorne, Executive Director, Groundwork Denver
  • Jude Del Hierro, Founder/Executive Director, Confluence Ministries
Kadovitz added that he contacted a number of other people, but they have not yet gotten back to him on whether they would be willing to sign the letter. He also said he would be open to have other people sign the letter who approve of its message.

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Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com

 

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John Rebchook

John Rebchook has more than 30 years of experience in writing and communications. As the Real Estate Editor for the Rocky Mountain News, he wrote about residential and commercial real estate for 26 years. He has won numerous awards for business stories and columns that he wrote, both as an individual and part of teams. In addition to real estate, he also covered economic development, banking and financing, the airlines, and cable TV for the Rocky. In addition, he was one of the original freelance writers for GlobeSt.com, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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