August 6, 2008

Tent Staters Seek Favor Organizer Meets With Residents to Address Fears

By Hector Gutierrez

Organizers of the planned anti-war Tent State University at City Park during the Democratic National Convention tried Tuesday night to address concerns of residents who are worried that protesters won't meet certain conditions set by Denver officials.

Adam Jung, a Tent State organizer, met with about 80 residents and city officials at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in City Park to answer questions and update them on the status of the planning.

While some residents applauded the group's efforts to meet with civic and neighborhood associations, critics remained unsatisifed that Tent State University can handle the estimated 50,000 people expected during the four-day event, Aug. 24-27.

Residents remained leery that the protesters could pack up their tents by the 11 p.m. curfew and move to places to stay overnight without trampling on neighbors' properties.

"You got a lot of people you're not going to control," said Pat Maley, who lives east of the park.

Jung plans to hold a news conference today to announce the group's "non-negotiable camping plans." But he vowed that protesters will abide by the curfew.

Organizers plan to offer bands, speakers and other entertainment in the southwest section of City Park.

The biggest day is expected to take place Aug. 27, when organizers hope to draw 20,000 people for a march - on city sidewalks - to downtown Denver, where they hope to deliver their anti-war message to convention delegates.

Denver's Parks and Recreation Department has given Tent State University a conditional permit. Organizers have until Friday to meet the 10 conditions - including plans for sound systems, trash collection and removal, sanitation, drinking water, parking and security - imposed on them by city officials. The group's permit could be revoked if it doesn't meet those conditions.

John Youngquist, principal of nearby East High School, said the organizers agreed not to have bands play music Aug. 27 before 3 p.m.

Jung, however, said the tentative schedule has groups performing at noon.

"We can't have amplified sound when school is in session," Youngquist said. But both sides agreed to meet today to discuss the matter.

Originally published by Hector Gutierrez, Rocky Mountain News.

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