Sie sind auf Seite 1von 14

Attorneys and Counselors at Law

437 West Colfax Avenue, Suite 300, Denver, Colorado 80204 USA
tel. 303-634-2244, email, web


June 2, 2017

Allegra R. Happy Haynes

Deputy Mayor, City of Denver
Executive Director
Department of Parks and Recreation, City of Denver
201 W. Colfax Avenue, Dept. 601
Denver, CO 80202

Re: Appeal of Violations for Annual Denver 420 Rally,

Permit #19583

Dear Deputy Mayor Haynes:

This Law Firm represents the Permittee and Responsible Party, Miguel
Lopez, for the Denver 420 Rally, Permit #19583.

Pursuant to the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation, Administrative

Citations Rules and Regulations, As Adopted 5-11-12 and As Amended and
Restated 11-18-15, Section IV Filing an Appeal, this is the Permittees and
Responsible Partys formal appeal of the May 19, 2017 Notice Letter from you
finding violations and issues. (Your letter was received Saturday, May 20, 2017 via
electronic mail.)

The following is a listing of the elements of the appeal required under

Section IV(E):
1.) The administrative citation is attached hereto and incorporated herein.
It is a letter dated May 19, 2017. The Enforcement Official is Allegra R. Happy
Haynes. The letter was emailed to the Permittee and to me on a Saturday, March
20, 2017.

2.) The Appellant is Miguel Lopez, 333 W. Ellsworth Ave., Suite 102,
Denver, CO 80223, telephone 720-338-8766. This will confirm that Appellant is a
Responsible Party.

3.) Appellants representative: Law Office of Corry & Associates, Robert

J. Corry, Jr., Attorney at Law, Colorado Attorney Registration #32705, 437 West
Colfax Avenue, Suite 300, Denver, Colorado 80204, telephone 303-634-2244.

4.) The reasons Appellant is not guilty of the alleged violations of the
Code or that the administrative citation or penalty is objectionable, incorrect, or not
lawful, are as follows.

Overview of the Denver 420 Rally and Denvers Relationship

The origin of 420 is believed to be at San Rafael High School in Marin

County, California in the 1970s. The Grateful Dead was headquartered in the
Northern California region during this time, and the band and its followers
travelled throughout the world and spread the 420 concept further.

420 has, for decades, been a code word for things related to marijuana,
which needed and still needs a code word because of criminal Marijuana
Prohibition, that still exists in Colorado and everywhere else. April 20 and 4:20
p.m. have become the date or time where 420 can be recognized and memorialized.
420, for many, embodies rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Denvers 420 Rally is the largest 420 event on Earth. From humble
beginnings, the event was founded by the late Ken Gorman in the early 2000s well
over a decade ago, with his bullhorn and attitude in Civic Center Park every April
20, peaking at 4:20 p.m.

Kens murder in February 2007, in his home in Denver, which was an

execution-style and not part of a robbery since valuables were left in plain view
inside the home, still remains unsolved by the Denver Police Department.
Evidently, Denvers law enforcement resources are prioritized against this

harmless 420 political event that is Kens legacy, rather than to investigate and
solve the brutal murder of a human being in his own home.

But Kens spirit and voice would not be silenced despite his tragic death.
Instead, the Denver 420 Rally grew and evolved. Miguel Lopez, a passionate
political activist with deep roots in Denvers civil rights community, picked up the
torch of leadership. The Rally opted to pursue a permit from Denver, and
attempted to fund safety and security operations through vendors on site similar to
other Civic Center events.

The Denver 420 Rally has been a substantial part of raising awareness and
advancing progress against Marijuana Prohibition. Over the years, Denvers 420
Rally has safely brought happiness to hundreds of thousands of participants and
their friends. The Rally prompts conversations and promotes education of the
people, leading to change.

In 2013, there was a shooting following the Rally at approximately 5:00 p.m.
The Denver Police stated that the shooting was gang-related, identified a person
of interest, had a primary suspect, and confirmed the existence of video
evidence of the shooting.

Despite all of these leads, like Ken Gormans murder, the Denver Police also
failed to solve this crime nor to charge anyone in connection with this shooting.
But this did not stop the City and County of Denver to blame and penalize the
organizers of the Rally for the shooting. As if the tragic Boston Marathon bombing
that happened five days earlier, on April 15, 2013, was somehow the fault of the
organizers of the Boston Marathon.

The outcome of this shooting was that in subsequent years, the City and
County insisted that Rally organizers pay for and put up fencing around the entire
perimeter of Denvers Civic Center Park, and pay for and set up security details to
individually search and screen every single attendee, approximately 50,000 people,
for an event that is concentrated on a single afternoon, in contrast to most other
weekend-long events that are also fenced in Civic Center Park. In addition to
numerous other demands of the City, all of this required the Rally to somehow
capture revenue, in advance of the event, to pay for all of the Citys shifting and
expanding demands.

The Rally has risen to this challenge. The Rally has spent over $2,000,000
throughout its history responding to the Citys requirements. The Rally brings well

over that amount each year to the City of Denver and the State of Colorado in the
form of tourism, jobs, revenue, and economic activity.

The Rally has sponsored Grammy-award winning and national-level talent

such as Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, and also highlights and
gives an elevated platform to rising local talent such as Hypnautic of Top Flite
Empire, or Trev Rich.

The Rally every year including 2017, cleaned up completely during the time
allotted to do so, and left Civic Center Park in a better state than we received it, all
at our own expense without a single dollar spent by the taxpayer.

Some have raised the argument that the Denver 420 Rally is no longer
needed because of Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution. Marijuana was
not legalized by Amendment 64 nor by anything else, at present. People are still
criminally prosecuted for marijuana in Colorado. But even when it is legalized, the
420 Rally will be celebrated.

The American Revolution is over, and Independence from the British

Empire has been secured, but people still celebrate and commemorate the Fourth of
July, since 1776. The Battle of Puebla was fought in 1862 on May 5, but people
still celebrate and commemorate Cinco de Mayo. Colorado has relaxed the aspects
of Marijuana Prohibition that result in tax revenue to the State, but even with this
minimal progress, people will still celebrate and commemorate 420, forever.

General Deficiencies with the Notice Letter of May 19, 2017;

Request for All Information or Evidence In Support of Notice Letter

The Notice Letter and attachments lack many supporting details, such as the
identity of officials and police officers, times of allegations, copies of formal
police reports, and other standard documentation that would be generated in any
similar case, to the extent that it is difficult to respond to your allegations in a
meaningful, substantive, or factual way. Examples of this are below in responses to
each section.

The Notice Letter and supporting package is 104 pages, with over half of
this package (57 pages; pages 22-78) consisting of a copy of the City and County
of Denver Public Event Policy which applies to all events; generic City
brochures (pages 79-83); and even five blank pages (12, 84, 86, 100, 102).

The implication is raised that the City and County is here engaging in a
Public Relations strategy, but not a true factual approach. As part of this
misleading PR strategy, the City and County hastily cobbled together a
deceptively-lengthy Notice of Violations packet, where the majority of information
therein is generic and does not specifically apply to this particular event, such as
the 57-pages of general regulations. As confirmation of this questionable tactic,
simultaneous to or perhaps even before providing the letter to the Permittee itself,
the City decided to supply the letter to the media or other allies in order to whip up
public controversy and catch organizers by surprise, without even time to read
through and process the entire packet before fielding media calls.

We understand that the City and County has received some limited criticism,
from a vocal minority of marijuana opponents, about this event, with calls to
terminate the yearly event.

But the same First Amendment that protects these haters and their right to
express their hate, protects this Rally. The 420 Rally takes many positions on many
current issues of the day, through the medium of speech, art, dance, music, and
other forms of expressive communication. Every controversial political movement
has opponents who wish to silence peoples speech or message. But this opposition
to our message and viewpoint, or the medium through which we express it, cannot
be a valid basis for ending this or any other political event, in fact the controversial
nature of the Denver 420 Rally is the precise reason that our speech and expression
is protected by the First Amendment. Popular speech needs no constitutional

And it is true that an aspect of the Rallys message, our medium, and
expressive conduct, could be characterized as an opposition to government itself,
and specifically governmental marijuana Prohibition. In this, we are squarely
within the traditions of the United States of America itself, the very existence of
which was an illegal, treasonous, rebellious act against the British Crown.

Accordingly, we hereby request pursuant to the Colorado Open Records Act,

and other applicable law or regulation, all records related to or in support of the
March 19, 2017 Notice Letter, including but not limited to any report of any
employee or agent of the City of Denver, electronic mails, photographs, video
records, original complaints or inquiries from the public, petitions received from
any person or organization related to the 420 Rally, media inquiries, or any other
records upon which the City intends to rely to justify its decision.

If any new information is received pursuant to this request, we reserve the
right to supplement this appeal or provide further evidence or information at a
hearing, if one is held.

Constitutional Concerns

In applicable regulations, the City and County of Denver attempts to exempt

itself from the requirements of the First Amendments protection of Freedom of
Speech and Assembly, the Fourteenth Amendments Equal Protection Clause, and
any other constitutional protection that applies against all levels of government,
federal, state, or local, or any and all governmental entities throughout the United
States of America. See Denver Department of Parks and Recreation,
Administrative Citations Rules and Regulations, As Adopted 5-11-12 and As
Amended and Restated 11-18-15, Section V Notices and Hearing for an Appeal,
section G (An appellant may not base the appellants case on a challenge to the
enforceability, legality or constitutionality of the Park Use R&Rs, Article I of
Chapter 39, DRMC, these Admin R&Rs or Article XII of Chapter 2, DRMC.)

The City and County of Denver, nor any other governmental entity, cannot
exempt itself from the Constitution or laws. The City and Countys actions in this
regard do violate these and other constitutional provisions, and this argument is not
waived at this nor any other possible future stage of this proceeding.

The 420 Rally is singled out improperly because of the City and Countys
hostility and animus against our message; our taste in music, culture, and art; our
participants; our organizational leadership and their history of political activism;
and because of actions of third parties, who generate the legendary cloud of
smoke every year, but who are persons unaffiliated with the Rallys leadership
and organization.

Mayor Hancock, as early as 2013, has publicly expressed his opposition to

our message and his desire that the Rally be terminated. See Michael Roberts,
Denver 420 Rally: Attempt to Ban It Would Trigger a Lawsuit, Attorney Says,
Westword, April 26, 2017.

Responses to specific allegations made by the Notice Letter and further basis
for appeal are as follows:


The City concedes in its letter that throughout the event, all noise levels
were within Denvers noise ordinance. (See Notice Letter, page 2.)

This compliance is verified through periodic checks throughout the day

performed by the Department of Environmental Health. Despite the Rallys
complete compliance with objective noise measurements, that your Notice Letter
concedes, an alleged violation is still manufactured based upon complaints
received from a handful of identified staff in the Courthouse, which was located a
few yards behind the main stage of the event.

The Notice Letter does not make clear when each of these complaints was
made, other than to say they were forwarded to the City on April 21, 2017, the day
after the event. The Notice Letter fails to provide any specificity whatsoever on the
name, time, source, and detail of the alleged complaints from the Colorado State
Capitol, Wellington Webb Building (your office), and Colorado State Patrol. We
need this documentation in order to provide a meaningful response.

Most importantly, your Notice Letter concedes that the City did absolutely
nothing to communicate with the Event and its organizers or leadership about any
alleged need to turn down the volume, during the event or even days after. (See
Notice Letter, page 4.)

Your May 19, 2017 letter is the first we have formally heard of any alleged
noise issue or complaint. We were given no opportunity to cure, which is required
before any noise violation can occur.

Obviously, the City knew and explicitly approved, well in advance of our
event, the Thursday/workday 10:00am-8:00pm scheduled time and date, knew the
size, placement, and volume of speakers and amplified sound, knew exactly where
the main stage and audience would be, and approved in advance every aspect of
the sound and stage.

The City knew that the Rally would be hosting a professionally-produced

free-to-the-public and well-attended concert with nationally-recognized, Grammy-
winning talent, 2Chainz, knew our projections for attendance throughout the day,
and agreed with all of this. Event Production staff Santino Walter and Mark Jordan
repeatedly brought up with the City, in preparation meetings, the issue of noise and
the requirement that objective, measurable standards be used and prompt notice of
any alleged noise problems be provided, and the City concurred and agreed.

And the Rally complied completely with all sound and noise requirements,
as your Letter concedes. This cannot constitute a violation in any sense.

The Citys theory is that a post-hoc self-serving subjective noise complaint

based on the listeners opinion and nothing more, a complaint received and not
communicated until after the event is over where the event has no opportunity to
cure the problem, while the event complies with all subjective requirements,
somehow can be a substantial violation. This cannot stand.

Even if this noise allegation is somehow upheld as a violation, any alleged

noise was not caused by the Permittee himself, but rather by Permittee Workers.
Those causing the noise were the production crew who operated the speakers, who
are solely contractors or subcontractors, and the entertainers themselves, who are
also contractors or subcontractors.

These differential legal concepts of Permittee vs Permittee Worker, with

different penalty structures emanating therefrom, are defined by your Policy, cited
and included in the Notice Letter.

Denver Parks and Recreation, Public Event Policy, adopted October 25,
2016 2.37, page 10 of 57, defines Permittee Worker very broadly as follows:

Permittee Worker means any employee, worker, volunteer, contractor,

subcontractor, service provider, supplier, vendor, exhibitor, performer,
entertainer, athlete or similar person authorized or retained by the
Permittee with respect to the operation and function of an Event.

By contrast, the Policy defines Permittee very narrowly, as the individual

who holds the Permit, in this case Miguel Lopez, the individual person. Mr. Lopez
has no employees. Contractors, volunteers, service providers, performers,
entertainers, and others are involved.

See Denver Parks and Recreation, Public Event Policy, adopted October 25,
2016 2.36, page 10 of 57 (Permittee means an individual or a non-profit or for-
profit entity who or which makes Application to, and obtains, an Event Permit
from the Permitting Office, for the holding of an Event.)

Penalties under the Policy are very different for acts committed by the
Permittee vs Permittee Workers. The Policy 8.4.4 provides for penalties for the

Permittee or any employees of the Permittee, up to a fifth violation, which involves
the three-year bar from the Event Permit.

Notably, penalties for Permittee Workers are enumerated in the Policy at

8.4.5, and even up to and including a sixth violation, can only involve fines, not
barring from the event, nor loss of Priority Status. Moreover, there is no evidence
that--and the City does not contend--this alleged violation incurred [sic] at the
direction of the Permittee or with the Permittees prior knowledge, See Policy at
8.4.5, page 52, so section 8.4.4 does not apply in this instance.

It is clear that the Citys goal is to stack five Permittee violations for one
single event (improper consecutive penalties) in order to suspend the Rally, then
attempts to concoct violations to fit this goal.

A warning is not a violation. In this instance on these facts or lack thereof,

noise cannot constitute a violation. Thus, the City cannot stack five Permittee
violations, and cannot suspend the permit.


The Citys next allegation involves alleged delay in cleaning up trash in

Civic Center Park. The City does not allege that the Park was not cleaned up, and
does not allege that the City itself incurred any additional expenses or other
burdens, only that the alleged clean-up after an event involving approximately
50,000 people, did not occur during the event.

The Park was 100% cleaned up. Within the Citys allotted time. Period. No

In this allegation, the City identifies none of its witnesses by name, only
mentions unnamed Park Rangers, Parks staff, glosses over identifying any specific
timing, and misleadingly characterizes public statements of Santino Walter as legal
admissions. The City misleadingly and incorrectly cites its Attachment 5, 420
Rally 2017 Run of Show, as evidence of this alleged scheduling
inconsistency. See Notice Letter at page 5.

In fact, the Run of Show (page 91 of 104 of Notice Letter), which,

importantly, was reviewed and approved by the City in advance of the event,
clearly shows that Extensive Park Clean up Power washing, etc. was approved
to occur on Friday, April 21, 2017 from 8:00am 5:00pm. Complete clean-up was
finished many hours before the Citys 5:00pm deadline on April 21, 2017.

The Notice letter only identifies the timing of the clean-up as somehow
ineffective, not the ultimate result, which was that the 420 Rally left Civic Center
Park--once again--cleaner than the Rally received it. Accordingly, this cannot be a
violation, and certainly not a substantial one.

As above, the alleged violation, if any, is not a violation of the Permittee, but
rather of Permittee Workers. See Denver Parks and Recreation, Public Event
Policy, adopted October 25, 2016 8.4.4, 8.4.5. Trash clean-up and removal was
a contracted function with S&B Porta-bowl Restrooms, MJ Productions, LLC, and
others, as the Notice Letter and attachments confirm.

There is no evidence that the Permittee, himself, did not clean up trash.
Consequently, this cannot be counted as a violation by the Permittee himself, if
anything, only of Permittee Workers, which the City defines.

Although it is of peripheral relevance since the Permit was fully complied

with and the Park was 100% cleaned in advance of the Citys own deadline,
curiously, the City somehow alleges that unnamed Police reviewed hundreds of
hours of its HALO cameras in the Park and did not detect any individual opening
and distributing trash throughout the Park, in the dark, as reported to Police and
documented in media accounts. We look forward to receiving the camera footage
and other documentation of this, at least the identity of the unnamed Police, so we
can independently verify the Citys assertion.

Ironically, the City has failed to employ such purportedly meticulous use of
HALO camera footage to solve the 2013 shooting at the Rally, where a human
being was struck by a bullet fired from a gun, but somehow has the time to view
hours of footage from many cameras to bolster its public relations gambit of
foisting manufactured and inflammatory photos on social media, to inflame the
public against the Rally. Accordingly, the Citys credibility in this regard is sadly

The failure to solve this crime with the HALO cameras stands in stark
contrast to the certainty of your letters assertion that HALO cameras can prove the
absence of some occurrence.

Safety and Security

In this allegation, the City identifies none of its witnesses by name, and
provides no specifics nor timing. Beyond Boundary Ltd., the Event Staffing

contractor, and the security contractor each confirm that they had the respective
required number of staff, sometimes more than the minimum, at each entrance
throughout the event.

Your letter claims that the fourth entrance was opened eventually, after the
start of the event due to long lines, which are not documented by photo or any
other method. This allegation is notably short on specifics of when the fourth
entrance was actually opened.

In fact, the fourth entrance was opened at 10:30am, well before any long
lines formed for this event, which officially began at 10:00am and continued to
8:00pm, with the bulk of attendance from 2:00pm-5:00pm for the 4:20 time.

Fences that were knocked down during this popular event were replaced
within one to three minutes by the security company and the event staffing
company. The City does not even allege that a single unauthorized and dangerous
person gained entry due to fences being knocked down.

Once again, in every event since 2013, the City demanded that all 50,000
participants in this event be individually searched, which occurred. No violence or
other incident occurred within the event, thanks to our workers. Denver Police
Officers were all over the Park during the event, and never needed to step in to
assist either security staff or event staff. Security and event staff detected and
confiscated a firearm, and Police were promptly called, and an individual was
arrested as result of our efforts. Long lines itself cannot be a violation. We
understand people were frustrated at the popularity of our event. These performers
collectively could charge well over $100 for a ticket to a show, and the Denver
public and tourists got a world-class performance, for free.

As above, there is no action or inaction even alleged against the Permittee

himself, only by Permittee Workers, so this alleged violation, if found, cannot add
up to a stacked violation by the Permittee. See Denver Parks and Recreation,
Public Event Policy, adopted October 25, 2016 8.4.4, 8.4.5.

Bottom line on security: no incidents, no violence, no injuries. 50,000

attendees. An outdoor free concert with award-winning talent. This can form no
violation, and certainly not a substantial one.

Health Violations

The next alleged violation involves conduct by Permittee Workers, namely

food vendors or CBD vendors allegedly unlicensed. The City identifies eight out of
170 vendors at the event.

The law relating to CBD vendors is murky and unsettled. Denver has no
specific requirements for CBD vendors, and cites none in the Notice Letter.

Initially, all vendors certified they had all appropriate licenses as a condition
of load-in. Those vendors who did not were promptly closed down and required to
leave by Permittee Workers as soon as the issue was raised by the Department of
Environmental Health. The contractors responsible for verifying licensure by
vendors had their contracts terminated.

Of course, like all of the other alleged violations, no actual harm to any
person occurred, nor is alleged to have occurred. There were no actual problems;
no food poisoning, nor other unhealthy or unsafe conditions. Like all other
violations, these are cosmetic, paperwork, and hyper-technical concerns.

Like the above all of these violations were by Permittee Workers, defined as
including vendors by the Policy. See Denver Parks and Recreation, Public Event
Policy, adopted October 25, 2016 8.4.4, 8.4.5. Thus, these cannot count towards
a violation by the Permittee.

And they cannot constitute a substantial violation since the condition was
promptly remedied and no actual injury resulted.

Other City Agency Violations

Desperate to reach that magic number of five alleged violations, the Citys
final violation is a repetitive catch-all, which encompasses the same issues in the
Safety and Security category, i.e. blocked sidewalks, crowds, and fences
knocked down.

The Notice Letters final violation contains strange formulation that you
also permitted your fencing to be knocked down into the adjacent sidewalk, again
without reference to time or specifics. The Permittee did not permit any fencing
to be knocked down. Instead, fences were knocked down by unknown third parties,
then picked back up again, promptly, like with any other event. A common
occurrence, and one that caused no harm.

Event Staff was actively directing people back on sidewalks, assisting with
directions in and out of the event, managing the flow of the crowd, replacing
knocked down signs, and otherwise performing their contractual role well, and
received no direct complaints nor concerns from the dozens of Police Officers and
other officials present throughout the event.

The City includes as evidence of this fifth allegation photographs that are
undated and do not contain the time taken. One photograph shows three
pedestrians in a large in of pedestrians a few feet on the street, with Broadway
traffic appearing to move unabated. Another shows two small pedestrian signs
laying in the sidewalk, again without a time or date, or any indication of how long
they remained down. (See Notice at page 97.) Anyone could knock over these
small signs, and anyone could pick them up. They could have been on the sidewalk
for a matter of seconds. This is utterly petty and cannot be a violation, cannot be
substantial, and certainly was not committed by the Permittee.

Other photos purport to show Bannock being reopened with a truck

loading port-o-lets in the street. (See Notice at page 98.) There is no time on the
photo. No traffic is seen. The photo was probably taken during the permitted time
of the event, which lasted until midnight April 21, 2017.

Another photo shows a sidewalk blocked by a 7 News vehicle and another

vehicle, with the caption that pedestrians are forced into the bike lane. No
pedestrians are seen in the photo. Filled black trash bags awaiting pickup are in the
photo. It is believed this photo was taken on April 21, 2017, when media saw fit to
take pictures of trash during the permitted clean-up effort.

In conclusion, none of the above is a violation of the permit, nor of any

condition, regulation, rule, or policy. None of the alleged violations come close to
being substantial. None of it caused any actual harm to any actual person. None
of the alleged acts were committed by the Permittee, only by Permittee Workers.

Accordingly, these alleged violations and the sanction of a three-year ban

and loss of Priority Status, cannot and should not be upheld.

5.) Appellant does not request a hearing by telephone call. Appellant

requests an in-person hearing with all witnesses testifying in person, on the record,
identified by name.

Please contact me to clear dates or to otherwise make arrangements for a
hearing, if one is to be held, or if you have any questions or need further

We look forward to a prompt and fair resolution of this matter, and look
forward to holding the Denver 420 Rally next year and for many years to come.
Thank you for your consideration.



/s/Robert J. Corry, Jr.

(original signature retained at law office)
Robert J. Corry, Jr.

$25.00 appeal filing fee
March 19, 2017 Letter with Notice and Violations