Secretary Wayne Williams kicks off City Club of Denver fall series

Secretary of State Wayne Williams will speak at City Club of Denver Sept. 13. (SOS photo)
Secretary of State Wayne Williams will speak at City Club of Denver Sept. 13. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams will be the first speaker at the City Club of Denver when it resumes its guest programs this month.

Williams will discuss the upcoming election, including the race for president and citizen-initiated ballot measures, as well as possible legislation in the 2017 legislative session. Afterward he will answer questions.

The event will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Sept. 13 at the Brown Palace. Click here to register for the lunch.

The City Club of Denver formed in 1922 when a group of businessman began meeting to discuss civic affairs. Since then, women have joined in and the organization has become an “active and influential source of knowledge about issues affecting metropolitan Denver,” according to its website.

Because many issues have political implications, politicians are frequent presenters at City Club, including Denver’s mayor in the fall and the governor the first of the year.

“One issue that we are struggling with and is reflective of the larger environment is polarization in politics,” said June Twinam, president of the City Club of Denver. “CCD is non-partisan and has always tried to present a spectrum or balance of opinions. However, during the last few years, this has become very difficult to get political rivals to agree to appear together and/or on a panel together — even with a skilled moderator.”

She said one reason she is “personally interested” in Williams’ presentation is “his reputation for fairness in discharging his public duties despite his personal preferences.”

Read moreSecretary Wayne Williams kicks off City Club of Denver fall series

Mike McPhee and Dana Crawford: Chronicling the woman who saved “the soul of a city”

Dana Crawford with retired journalist Mike McPhee, who wrote a book on the visionary and preservationist, at their book signing Tuesday at Union Station. (Lynn Bartels)
Dana Crawford with retired journalist Mike McPhee, who wrote a book on the visionary and preservationist, at their book signing Tuesday at Union Station. (Lynn Bartels)

When I moved to Denver in the summer of 1993 to work as the night cops reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, my editors occasionally dispatched me to an abandoned flour mill where hobos had started yet another fire.

I already found the streets around downtown confusing and the poor Denver Fire Department would take my calls and try to guide me to the location in the dark, where I would finally arrive only to find that police had already shooed away the transients.

You can imagine my shock in 1997 when preservationist Dana Crawford announced she was turning the flour mill into condominiums.

I wasn’t the only one who thought the idea was “just shy of insane,” as author Mike McPhee says in his new book, “Dana Crawford:  50 Years Saving the Soul of a City.”

“In the late 1960s, it was shut down, emptied of most of its heavy steel machinery and left to the pigeons, the homeless and the graffiti artists,” he wrote of the mill. “Dana’s close friend and colleague, Jeff Shoemaker of the Greenway Foundation, attended the press conference announcing the project and fell into disbelief.

“This is completely non-salvageable. No one will live down here. I’ll buy the dynamite  and I’ll push the plunger,” he told her.

The condominiums were a huge success.

Read moreMike McPhee and Dana Crawford: Chronicling the woman who saved “the soul of a city”