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Commentary on the Events of Sept 11, 2001

CURRENT EVENTS

A periodic updating of events and issues in our Village. This update as of September 24, 2001.

A City’s Need to Respond

The Unfinished Update.   I started to write this update on Monday, September 10, 2001. I was on a United flight from Denver to Las Vegas for a bankruptcy court hearing the next morning. I didn’t finish the update – it’s a pretty short flight. No problem, I thought: I’ll finish it on the plane back to Denver on Tuesday night – which would be Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001.   Of course, I didn’t fly back on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Or on Wednesday. Or Thursday. In fact, on Friday I ended up driving my Avis rental car from Las Vegas to Denver. It gave me time to think about many issues. Once we had confirmed on Tuesday that our daughter Maggie, a second year student at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, was safe, although still shaken from watching the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapse, my thoughts turned from the purely personal to mostly municipal.

What’s A City To Do   How should Cherry Hills Village respond to an unprecedented massive terrorist attack? Do we need to respond? Should we respond? Or should we take some action, make some statement. Three thoughts emerged from the dust and detritus of our nightmare.

1.  “TCOB.”  The first thought was that cities could and should express support for their sister cities in this horrible and obscene circumstance. But how? First, of course, by taking care of business. Do not allow the terrorist the confirmation of, or the satisfaction of, inflicting terror. Shake it off. Move on. Don’t freeze. Take care of your business.

But express your support and your solidarity with your sister cities throughout the country.

2.  The Pledge of Allegiance.   That is why on Tuesday, September 18, 2001 – our first Council meeting after our horror – I proposed that the City Council recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America to begin our meeting. I was surprised that this suggestion was viewed as unusual, even exceptional. Suffice it to say, I was not to be deterred, and the balance of our Council agreed. We began our meeting that night by agreeing with my request that we recite the Pledge of Allegiance – the first time in the memory of any present that the City Council had recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

3.  Cell Phones Are Life Lines.    The second thought I had dealt with a series of news stories I read in the national and local press that wireless communications had been the lifelines for many of the victims and their families. Final words of love and farewell … on a cell phone. Affirmations of well-being and escape … on a cell phone. Information as to whereabouts in a collapsed building … on a cell phone.

And it occurred to me that cell phones are lifelines in all sorts of emergencies: national, regional, state, local … and even purely personal. God forbid your home should suffer from fire or burglary. Or that you should encounter danger on a trail while away from home. But the stress and danger associated with any of these personal emergencies is alleviated, if not eliminated, by a cell phone communication.

That is the reason I proposed a resolution that encourages, facilitates, motivates and incentivizes the placement of new wireless communications facilities in the Village. More about that below. In the meanwhile, let’s not allow our appreciation of this vital tool in our daily lives – certain and reliable wireless communications – to fall asleep. Let us take responsible action now to enhance cellular service while the issue is strong in peoples’ minds.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled update …

South Suburban Parks & Rec District – Exclusion Issue .

The question of exclusion from South Suburban has generated a great deal of interest. The August 2001 Village Citizen Survey resulted in something like 600 responses – almost one of every three households in the Village. That is an unprecedented response! Of those responding, over two out of three opted for “exclusion” of the Village from South Suburban. At the Village Open House on August 8, many interested parties appeared and shared their views, on both sides. It was a lively exchange – and one in which the South Suburban Board actively participated, with South Suburban Board Member Roberta Gillis on the dais with all of the Council Members. Talk about an opportunity for full dialogue!

On Tuesday, September 4, I sponsored a resolution before Council to put the matter of Exclusion from South Suburban on the November 2001 Ballot … and then I moved to table my own motion! Why? Because I was sensitive to the reactions of a significant minority of Villagers who felt that we should make one last – and final – effort to engage the South Suburban Board in a free and open dialogue on the issues facing us. Cherry Hills Village has always been hallmarked by its commitment to dialogue and discussion, to the idea that neighbors should talk with neighbors in the first instance – directly and amicably. Only after such attempts at dialogue fail should we resort to other means.

In this case, no matter how South Suburban may – or may not – have ignored us in the past, I felt it important to create a construct in which South Suburban could present to us, in one coherent and cogent presentation, a response to the many important issues we presented in our mailing and our request for citizen response.

So, what’s The Bottom Line?

There will be no Ballot Issue in November.

There may — or may not — be a Ballot Issue in April.

But there WILL be an open and free exchange of information and issues – a full and fair dialogue – between Cherry Hills Village and South Suburban regarding the issues crystalized in our BBC Report, which is found here on my website at the “Other Interesting Stuff” tab on my Home Page.

And this exchange will take place formally on Tuesday, October 2, 2001 at 7:00 PM at the Village Center. At that time we will have a joint meeting with the Cherry Hills Village City Council and the South Suburban Board. The public is invited to attend and observe these proceedings.

If there are any points that you would like me to make at the hearing, please let me know so that I can be Your Voice at Village Hall on this important topic.

Wireless Communications Facilities – A Proposal.

As I stated above, I presented our Council with a proposed Resolution regarding wireless communications facilities at our meeting on September 18. Rather than extend the discussion here, I will just reprint the text of the Resolution. We will address this matter at our regular Council meeting on Tuesday, October 2, 2001, sometime between 6:30 PM and 7:00 PM. If you are interested in this issue, I would encourage you to attend the meeting.

COUNCIL RESOLUTION ____                 INTRODUCED BY: SERIES OF 2001                                          SECONDED BY:

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE TO REVISE PROCEDURES CONCERNING WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES

WHEREAS the United States of America suffered a tragic and unprecedented series of terrorist attacks on Tuesday, September 11, 2001;

WHEREAS these attacks disrupted all aspects of daily life in America, but especially in the cities that were the targets of these attacks;

WHEREAS these sad events served to highlight the importance, necessity, utility and benefit of wireless communications between and among the victims, their families and friends, co-workers, associates and with the civil authorities;

WHEREAS these wireless communications have been of inestimable value in search and rescue operations and in providing “life lines” for such victims, including making possible communications with the outside world by persons otherwise unable to utilize traditional land-based telephone lines;

WHEREAS wireless communications in the City of Cherry Hills Village presently are less than adequate and do not provide a certain and reliable system of communications with civil authorities or others in times of emergency, whether such emergency is national, regional, local or purely confined to a citizen’s home or person;

WHEREAS the health, safety and welfare of persons within the City of Cherry Hills Village will be promoted by taking appropriate steps to ensure adequate wireless communications in times of emergency and otherwise;

WHEREAS it is incumbent upon the City and this Council to encourage and facilitate the establishment of a reliable and effective network of wireless communication facilities within the City;

WHEREAS the existing provisions of the City’s Code may have resulted, inadvertently or otherwise, in the discouragement or suppression of the development of such wireless communication facilities;

WHEREAS it is appropriate and fit for the City to explore the improvement of the process governing the installation and operation of wireless communications facilities so as to allow for more efficient, expanded and reliable wireless communications from, to and within the City, without compromising the aesthetic values of the community;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, STATE OF COLORADO:

Section 1.        That the City Manager, the City Attorney and appropriate department heads be, and the same hereby are, directed and instructed to review Code Sections 6-3-2 B and 6-15-14 and any and all other applicable Code sections with the purpose of proposing revisions thereto, such revisions to be generally consistent with the Code and the Master Plan, that will encourage, facilitate, incentivize and promote the installation, maintenance and operation of an expanded network of wireless communications facilities in the City of Cherry Hills Village.

Section 2.        That the City Manager explore means to encourage churches, offices, clubs and other appropriate institutions to incorporate wireless communications facilities into any expanded use applications by such entities.

Section 3.        That the City Manager report back to the City Council regarding these efforts as soon as reasonably practical under the circumstances, but in no event later than thirty (30) days following the promulgation of this Resolution.

INTRODUCED, PASSED AND ADOPTED AT THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, COLORADO, THIS _____ DAY OF __________, 2001, BY A VOTE OF ______ YES AND _____ NO.

_______________________________________ John F. Welborn, Mayor

ATTEST: ______________________________ City Clerk

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