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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Denver Convention: Getting Closer

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Northern NM

Go to top of DFNM's main page to see our Zannel vids & photos.

We're ALMOST to Denver for the Democratic Convention. We're at our "economy studio" in Aurora out on the flat plains near the airport and amidst the warehouses -- "media housing" arranged by the DNC housing office. Trains pass by whistling every now and then. Flocks of starlings gather and converse. We can see a colony of prairie dogs across the street. Not exactly in the thick of the action of downtown Denver, but we may come to treasure that as the pace picks up.

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Trinidad CO, Where Coal Was King

We'll be retrieving the first set of DFNM's media credentials today at the Sheraton downtown. Everyone has to pick up new credentials daily, to avoid counterfeiting I guess. The rest of the week we'll be picking them up at the Hampton Inn downtown. No reason for the change.

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Tentative plans are to check out the lay of the land this morning and then meet up this afternoon with some of the other state bloggers who are a part of the Zannel PoliticsBlue project. We have our own channel called DemocracyForNM within PoliticsBlue and you can see our videos, photos and messages at our channel page or on the top of the DFNM blog's main page. We'll be gathering at The Big Tent to put faces to the names and see what's happening at the two-story blogger headquarters put together by ProgressNow, the Alliance for a Sustainable Colorado and Daily Kos to be a home away from home for credentialed and noncredentialed bloggers.

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Raton Pass

We'll also be hooking up with the New Mexico delegation tonight at a 5:00 PM welcome gathering at their downtown hotel headquarters. I'm sure the energy will be outstanding as everyone realizes we're finally here after months of anticipation, nominating the next President and Vice President of the United States. Yowsa.

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Roadside recuerdo memorializing an accidental death at steep and often snowy Raton Pass

Matt of New Mexico FBIHOP was trailing us by about 35 miles yesterday as we drove up to the Convention. Text messaging kept us connected as we progressed along I-25 through Northern New Mexico, which looked very green from the monsoon rains, up and over Raton Pass and into Colorado. We passed through the old city of Pueblo, with its coal-fired power plants, rusting industrial infrastructure and new development at its fringes. North along the Front Range of the Rockies, the mountains always to our left (!), and into the sprawl of the urban corridor that starts around Colorado Springs. The Focus on the Family welcome sign was plainly in view from the highway. It didn't make us feel very welcome.

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Looking through our hotel window

The NEW Front Range
We hadn't been up this way for years, always preferring to travel into Colorado on the other side of the Front Range to avoid the congestion, up 285 even when we go to Denver. It was truly shocking to see the massive seas of sprawl development. There seemed to be homogeneous housing projects -- almost every one of them brown-toned with houses crammed together -- shoehorned into every possible nook and atop every possible mesa and foothill all the way to Denver. We passed one new office complex after another filled with rectangular boxes of mostly horrible and sometimes pompous design. Way too much reflective glass, way too little creativity, a corporate sameness with corporate ideas of what architecture means.

There seemed to be only a few undeveloped gaps between the Springs and Denver -- demonstrating the exploding development of the Front Range during the past decade. Albuquerqueans, be happy we don't have enough water to sustain this kind of essentially unregulated "growth." Of course neither does the Front Range, but that hasn't seemed to place any restriction on the burgeoning construction.

The Rockies themselves still provide an imposing and awe-inspiring backdrop to the West along the highway, even with intermittent clouds and rain. But I still remember the Front Range when I first encountered it in the early 80s and it pains me to see all the clutter on what was once a truly Western tableau with jaw-dropping, wide-open vistas galore in all directions. Colorado is getting quite a "green" reputation, but seeing the vast sprawl tells a different story. We can't really keep living and "growing" in this manner, consuming in this way, and expect to make genuine progress on cutting greehouse gases and severing the umbilical cord that ties us to fossil fuels. The change we need isn't just around the edges -- it's gonna take a major paradigm change. Are you ready?

Click on photos for larger versions. All photos by M.E. Broderick.

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August 24, 2008 at 11:18 AM in 2008 Democratic Convention, 2008 New Mexico Convention Delegation | Permalink

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