Tuesday, May 1, 2012

UPDATE: Memorial board affirms McEvoy severance, heads for showdown with City Council

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2012 at 7:02 AM

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Today at 4 p.m., the Colorado Springs City Council will convene for a special meeting with one agenda item, "the governance of Memorial Health System," though that apparently means resolving two issues.

One, whether to rescind the Memorial board's $1.15 million severance agreement with departing CEO Dr. Larry McEvoy, reaffirmed Monday by the MHS trustees.

Two, but possibly being addressed first, whether to remove the MHS board effective immediately.

The meeting will take place in the Council chambers at City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Ave.

Indications are that two Council members will be absent, Bernie Herpin and Brandy Williams, meaning only four votes would constitute a majority instead of the usual five.

—————FIRST UPDATE, POSTED AT 8:41 P.M. MONDAY——————

Memorial Health System CEO Dr. Larry McEvoy spoke by phone Monday night with Indy senior reporter Pam Zubeck, who reports the following:

McEvoy says the board several years ago adopted a pay philosophy of compensating in the middle of the market. He says the severance package falls within those guidelines and is "an extension of that philosophy."

His departure, he says, is by mutual agreement, because the board had agreed "when the day comes when I can't advance the well-being of the organization" he would leave. "When everyone is looking toward this new day," he says, referring to the lease with University of Colorado Health System, "the board and I agree this organization is better without me." He also says, "Having me around was starting to be a lightning-rod issue."

"I think the conclusion we came to was my presence was no longer advancing the organization strategically," he says. "I was becoming a bit of a lightning rod, distracting from the alignment in the community" with the UCH lease, on which voters are expected to vote in August.

He called the board's earlier consideration of retention pay for executives about a month ago "due diligence" on an issue that should have been addressed years earlier. He also said his contract was "out of whack with the market," leading the board to increase his severance pay from a half year's pay, roughly $338,000, to roughly 18 months pay or $1 million.

"It's the board's job to put a separation package together for me," he says, though he adds that he did consult an attorney for help with the separation agreement's details. "The board made the decision. I realize it's a lot of money to the average wage-earner, and I respect that."

McEvoy says he has no plans for his future yet but would like to remain in the administrative end of health care, rather than return to clinical work, which brought him here nearly five years ago as an emergency room doc. He says he will "exit as gracefully as possible, take a deep breath with my family" and "let the bruises heal and get back in the game."

He wouldn't speculate about whether his departure and severance package would help or hurt the chances of voters approving the UCH lease, saying, "I supposed that depends on how people choose to act and how the community decides what's best for the community. I needed to get out of the way so people can focus on the real issues. This is a big opportunity ahead for us."

He said he still believes converting Memorial to an independent nonprofit is the best way to go, but the UCH relationship "has great potential," he says. "I think the box we're creating is better than the box we have," he says. His regret, he says, is that he didn't realize earlier that his enthusiasm for the conversion to an independent nonprofit was being construed as his idea instead of "our idea." He also regrets that he wasn't able to communicate the message more effectively.

Monday night, the Memorial board of trustees also released this statement:

The Memorial Health System Board of Trustees stands by its separation agreement with outgoing CEO Dr. Larry McEvoy, including the financial terms as originally agreed upon. We recognize the unpopularity of this action, but it is the right and responsible thing to do.

While this action has been portrayed by the media and others as outrageous, the reality is that this is a fair – and conservative – severance package for a CEO of a health system this size. By virtually any standard, the role and associated compensation agreements for the CEO of a half-billion-dollar health system cannot accurately be compared to a typical city manager’s.

The Board recognizes that City Council is considering removing Trustees from our appointed seats. While we accept these risks, we urge Council not to take such action, for it could imperil the health system at a critical time. Removing Memorial’s governing body could result in a downgraded bond rating and complicate negotiations with University of Colorado Health.

The Board’s focus must always be on the best interest of the health system. Our goal is to keep Memorial as strong and healthy as possible through the anticipated transition to UCH in the months ahead. At that time, UCH and City Council would appoint the health system board.

This commitment to a strong and healthy Memorial is one we should all share because our patients and community stand to benefit from what is to come.

——————ORIGINAL POST, 6:13 P.M. MONDAY———————

Memorial Health System's board of trustees, in a special meeting late Monday afternoon, reaffirmed its earlier vote to give outgoing CEO Dr. Larry McEvoy a $1.15 million severance package.

After nearly 90 minutes in executive session, the Memorial board voted 8-1 to move forward with what board chair James Moore called "an existing legal contract" tied to McEvoy's departure, effective Friday.

Now the matter goes to City Council, which will convene a special meeting Tuesday afternoon with Memorial as the only agenda item. One of Council's options would be to remove the board immediately, with Council either taking over governance of MHS or appointing a new board.

McEvoy did not attend Monday's meeting, because he was traveling back to Colorado Springs from a medical conference. It was not clear whether he would go to the Council meeting Tuesday.

Regardless, though, it's unclear whether Council has the authority to negate the severance agreement, which initially was negotiated on April 19 before the MHS board officially approved it last week.

Before the vote taken Monday, Moore announced that board secretary Marijane Axtell Paulsen, former president of Colorado Technical University and Pikes Peak Community College, had resigned during the meeting.

The single "no" vote came from Dr. Karen Anthony, Memorial's chief of staff, who said afterward that "the public outcry changed my mind ... I was not comfortable with the fallout."

Moore acknowledged the negative public reaction, but insisted that McEvoy's severance package was "low by industry standards." Moore added that to un-do that package would damage Memorial's chances of "attracting competent executives in the future."

As for what might happen with City Council, Moore refused to speculate. Several Council members have expressed their disgust with the McEvoy deal, but it's unclear if there would be enough votes to oust the MHS board. City Attorney Chris Melcher is expected to address legal issues with Council before any decision is made.

"I'm trying to decide whether to wear my funeral suit," Moore said, not laughing. He said he has served on Memorial's board for nearly 10 years.

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Blaha targets Lamborn's earmarks

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 5:02 PM

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The Real Doug Lamborn, the website set up and run by the campaign for Robert Blaha, has taken aim at U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn's history of using earmarks to bring money back to the 5th Congressional District.

In a press release from the Blaha campaign, the businessman-turned-Congressional candidate is crying foul over Lamborn's "record of congressional earmark spending - a record that includes millions in taxpayer dollars that Lamborn funneled to some of his biggest campaign contributors."

Lamborn, a leading earmarker for the past several years, ironically made his conservative voting record the centerpiece of his re-election campaign, arguing that it is his record that sets him apart from his cohorts in Washington. In the ads, however, the Blaha campaign points to the Congressman's generous earmarking record as evidence that Lamborn is not the conservative he claims to be.

"The Congressman asserts that he is a rock solid conservative, but his eye-popping record of earmarking for big dollar donors tells a very different story. The Congressman's earmark madness is neither conservative, nor right, " said Blaha For Congress Campaign Manager Tamra Farah.

On June 17, 2011 the Gazette reported that Lamborn requested "... tens of millions in contracts for companies that donated to his campaign." The Gazette report included a detailed list of Lamborn donors, Lamborn earmark requests, and contracts awarded. For example, a $500 donor to the Lamborn campaign received a $1.6 million government contract, an $11,000 Lamborn donor received $7.52 million, and a $1,250 Lamborn donor received $800,000. In the same article, it was reported that Doug Lamborn said earmarks were "a symbol of wasteful spending and corruption".

...

"Doug Lamborn's reckless position on earmarks doesn't just put him at odds with Robert Blaha. It puts him at odds with the likes of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, John McCain, and the millions of conservative Americans who are fed up with Washington's good ole boy system and all the spending it brings" said Farah. "The Congressman can argue all day long about what the definition of an earmark is, but that's not the point. The undisputed fact is that millions of our taxpayer dollars were funneled by Doug Lamborn to Doug Lamborn donors."

In response, Catherine Mortensen, the spokeswoman for Lamborn, once again spun this criticism as a sign of Blaha's "stunning ignorance" on how Washington, D.C. operates.

The only thing eye-popping here is Mr. Blaha’s stunning ignorance. When Congressman Lamborn and Republicans regained the Majority in the House last January, one of the first things they did was ban earmarks. But, even while in the Minority, under Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Lamborn voluntarily declined to make earmark requests. Lamborn and his Republican colleagues led the way in abandoning the practice of earmarks as a result of the widespread abuse of earmarks that Lamborn, and many in the public, found so offensive.

Prior to that, Congressman Lamborn did make limited requests to fund critical national defense projects. Lamborn makes no apologies for prioritizing our defense needs and seeking to ensure our troops have what they need. The Congressman always put his funding requests on his congressional website for constituents to see. He is proud of his record to provide for our national defense.

Note: example of funding requests Congressman Lamborn submitted in his first term in office:

23-Acre Land Acquisition for Peterson AFB - Amount Requested: $4.9M
Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs, CO
• Prevents encroachment and allows future mission expansion by allowing the Department of the Air Force to acquire from a willing seller a 23 acre parcel in the State of Colorado

Full Access to Peterson AFB from Powers Boulevard - Amount Requested: $4M
Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs, CO
• Addresses mobility and future congestion at the Powers Boulevard intersection by providing an interchange

Improvements at Fort Carson Gates 5 & 6 - Amount Requested: $687,000
Fort Carson, CO
• Accelerates intersection improvements at Fort Carson Gates 5 and 6 and safety improvements along SH 115 located between these gates

Watch the Blaha campaign's ad re: Lamborn's earmarks.

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Need to renew your driver's license?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 4:50 PM

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You might want to call first.

According to the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office, the driver ID system is down statewide, and could be down throughout tomorrow.

Getting yourself properly motivated, driving down to the Clerk and Recorder's and then standing in line to renew your ID is unpleasant enough. Doing all that just to find out that the computer system is down? You just don't want that.

Consider this another excuse to procrastinate.

From the release:

The Colorado Department of Revenue is experiencing technical difficulties with the Driver’s License system, making it unavailable throughout the state. All four branches of the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder’s Office cannot process Driver’s License renewals.

The State office is working diligently to resolve the problem but there is no estimated timeframe when the Driver’s License system will be restored. The Clerk & Recorder’s Office anticipates that the Driver’s License system may be unavailable through Tuesday, May 1.

People may renew their Driver’s License online by visiting: www.colorado.gov/renewplates.

All other motor vehicle services including vehicle registration, titling, etc. are available at the County Motor Vehicle branch offices.

The Clerk & Recorder’s Office extends an apology for any inconvenience that this issue causes customers.

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Scenes from the Artists and Entrepreneurs Lunch

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Today, Bert Crenca of AS220 and Lynne McCormack of the city of Providence, R.I., spoke at the Artists & Entrepreneurs: Creating Community and Jobs luncheon hosted by the Independent and the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and EDC. Crenca and McCormack, both heavy hitters in Providence's arts scene, are visiting the Springs to offer support and advice on fostering culture as an economic driver here (read more about that in our recent cover story, "The Rhode to renaissance.")

Around 200 people attended, filling the room. Christina McGrath of COPPeR, Susan Edmondson of the Bee Vradenburg Foundation, Steve Wood of Concrete Couch (who hosted Crenca last year), Mike Bristol of Bristol Brewing Co. and the Ivywild Project, Brett Andrus of the Modbo and S.P.Q.R. and Don Goede of Marmalade at Smokebrush attended, as well as local artists including Charles Rockey and Sean O'Meallie. (As far as we could tell, no one from City Council or the mayor's office attended.)

Crenca and McCormack spoke quickly about the history of revitalization in Providence before moving on to the story of AS220 itself. Amazingly, Providence rerouted its railroad, a highway and a river before Crenca started gathering artists and friends downtown.

"You guys haven't made the same mistakes," Crenca said. "Your streets are too wide, but whatever."

Crenca and McCormack

Later, the pair spoke on their relationships with Providence mayors and how they accomplished milestones such as appointing a task force to implement such items as the city's cultural plan and before that, passing tax breaks for artists and galleries in a specified downtown arts district.

The latter didn't work out perfectly at first, says Crenca, but it did draw national attention and galvanize the confidence of the city itself, something just as important, he said. "Don't underestimate the power of that."

Overall, both speakers were impressed with the state of the arts in Colorado Springs (a "roll-up-your-sleeves-kind-of-town" said Crenca). At the beginning of their presentation, Crenca jokingly asked what he was actually doing here.

"Our work here is done today, because you all have the right people in the room. You just need to talk to each other."

A view of the room.

But he also added some advice, speaking on his experiences in Providence. For one, build up a brand. Say it enough and "act as if," he advised. Even if an organization is still getting its sea legs or a city is still building its arts scene, "act as if" it were fully fledged and use that posture to attract others.

Crenca also said that we as people aren't great at recognizing "the next great thing" that will save the city or spark the cultural fire. Even so, it's a risky tactic. Instead, he and the folks at AS220 focus on "creating a compost" to nurture an artistic environment.

That approach was illustrated at the end of their presentation, when Crenca showed a video of AS220's youth programs, in which teens talked about how they came to the organization and what it meant to them. In the final moment, one young man said, "AS220 is a home." The crowd stood in applause.

Afterward, Crenca and McCormack visited the Ivywild Project and Tuesday morning they'll talk with a group include City Chief of Economic Vitality & Innovation Steve Cox at Marmalade.

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Dine & Dash teaser: Paella on the Patio

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Psst!

Yeah, you.

I'm totally gonna let you in on a secret, which will thereby nullify it being a secret any longer.

Here it is: In this week's Dine & Dash column, one of the three features will be on TAPAteria's Paella on the Patio series.

There — it's out.

So why am I telling you this now?

Well, because I got some fun photos of chef Jay Gust preparing the feast inside of a 32-inch paella pan, as guests arrived. More photos than the single one I'll be able to share in the paper on Wednesday.

So you know what's coming next, right?

Yup, another Schniper slideshow.

You'll of course have to pick up this week's paper to read my precious little thoughts on the meal.

But hey — consider yourself teased until then.

Food preparation seldom gets prettier than this.

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Is your city a music trendsetter?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 11:04 AM

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At one point or another, we've all wondered where Colorado Springs music listeners fit into the hierarchical clustering, geographical flow, and time-lagged correlation of Euclidean distances between cities in a normalized listening matrix.

According to a new University College Dublin study entitled "The Geographical Flow of Music," whatever I wrote in the previous sentence can be ascertained by adopting "a method previously used to detect the leadership networks present in flocks of birds."

What the study does — I think — is to use last.fm statistics to determine which cities are the biggest music trendsetters. As you may have guessed, Colorado Springs never quite finds its way into the matrix.

On the other hand, as you can see in the charts above, Denver has clawed its way up to the bottom-rung in the hip hop, indy, and general music categories.

The study also goes on to posit a scenario in which there are only two artists, Radiohead and Coldplay, and two cities, Los Angeles and Seattle — which I believe is being considered as a sequel to Cormac McCarthy's "The Road."

Anyway, you can read the whole study here, or just stare blankly at the following excerpt and then go do something else.

To construct the dendrogram shown in fig. 1, we performed average linkage clustering (an agglomerative clustering algorithm) on a distance matrix D of the cities, a square matrix where each entry Di;j is the Euclidean distance between city i and j. Instead of constructing the dendrogram based on just a single listen matrix, we summed together the distance matrices associated
with the all of the listen matrices in our dataset. The colored clusters are the result of taking a flat cut to the dendrogram at a height which we chose manually.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

UPDATE: Hente calls special Council meeting Tuesday after Bach's request

Posted By on Sat, Apr 28, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Mayor Bach asks Council to take immediate action.
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  • Mayor Bach asks Council to take immediate action.

City Council President Scott Hente just announced, at about 5:15 p.m. Saturday, he was calling a special Council meeting Tuesday in response to Mayor Steve Bach's request earlier in the day.

Hente sent an e-mail to Bach, Council and staff saying the following:

This morning, Jan [Martin] and I met with the leadership of the Memorial Hospital System Board of Trustees. As a result of that meeting, I am making the following announcement:

Under the authority granted me by the Rules and Procedures of City Council, I am calling a Special Meeting of City Council for 4:00 PM on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. The meeting will be in Council Chambers at City Hall. The one agenda item for the meeting will be the governance of Memorial Health System.

Please take the necessary actions, with at least 24 hours notice, to post the appropriate notifications for this meeting. I would also request, Aimee, that you work with the City Communications Office and make sure that an appropriate press release is issued with regards to this meeting.

Respectfully,

Scott Hente
President, Colorado Springs City Council


——————ORIGINAL POST, 9:08 A.M., SATURDAY, APRIL 28——————

It may be Saturday, but Mayor Steve Bach isn't letting off days hold him back from pursuing the Memorial Health System board's controversial decision to give outgoing CEO Dr. Larry McEvoy a severance package worth more than $1 million.

This morning, Bach has sent an e-mail to City Council President Scott Hente, asking Council to step in and prevent the MHS board from finalizing the deal with McEvoy. Bach requests that Hente call a special meeting of Council this week to take action, and to remove the Memorial board if necessary.

Bach's e-mail in its entirety:

Scott,

This is to respectfully ask that you contact James Moore immediately to request a hold on executing the McEvoy severance agreement. Also, this is to respectfully ask that you hold a special session of City Council early next week to vote on giving the MHS Board current direction on this matter.

The planned 18-months severance for Dr. McEvoy is not consistent with the 6 months specified in his employment agreement nor is it consistent with Council's longstanding policy limiting severance for senior managers for the general municipal government to not more than 6 months.

In the event the MHS Board does not promptly comply with Council's directive after your vote, then I respectfully suggest that Council terminate the entire Board, substitute Council as the Board and reduce the severance to no more than 6 months.

It is essential to the success of our City that Council and I do everything possible to rebuild citizens' trust in our municipal government. Council's swift, resolute action on this matter is important toward that end. While I understand that MHS reports through it's Board to Council, not to the Mayor, my thanks to your colleagues and you for considering my counsel.

Steve Bach
Mayor

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Whiskey, literary and farm-to-table dinners, and more

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Like a capriciously assembled salad — frisee pointin' this way and that — here's your food and drink roundup for the next few weeks or so. (Heady analogy, I know.)

The Blue Star will host local distiller Michael Myers of Distillery 291 for a five-course distiller's dinner at 6:30 p.m., Thursday May 3.

All the details are here: MichaelMeyersDinner.pdf

The Broadmoor's Charles Court continues its farm-to-table mission on Saturday, May 5, with a farmers market followed by a farm-to-table dinner.

The Arkansas Valley Organic Growers will be the featured market guests, also providing sustainably grown ingredients for the later meal.

Colorado wineries and distilleries will also be on display, including Peach Street Distillers and Whitewater Hill Vineyards, Plum Creek Winery, Guy Drew Vineyards, Zephyr Cellars, Balistreri Vineyards and Cottonwood Cellars.

Yes, you too can create a mobile egg mobile for your backyard. Or just a stationary coop for some urban animal husbandry.
  • Yes, you too can create a mobile egg mobile for your backyard. Or just a stationary coop for some urban animal husbandry.

The market, which includes food samples and drink tastings, cost $25 for entry, and runs from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Mountain View Terrace.

The four-course dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Charles Court and costs $79 plus tax/tip. Call 577-5733 for a special package price that includes a room for the evening.

• Also on May 5, Bliss Bakery & Kitchen will have its grand opening at 818 Village Center Drive, staring at 10:30 a.m. The event will feature kids activities, baked goods samples and special sales.

The Margarita at PineCreek will host the Colorado Farm and Art Market season kickoff party from 2-5 p.m., Sunday, May 6. Catch live music, free plant starts for your garden, and of course goods from the participating farmers and artisans.

Conscious Table's next five-course literary dinner, Pinocchio, runs May 6 and 7, with Italian food and seats going for $75 plus tax/tip.

• The 2nd annual A Taste of Tri-Lakes Cares will take place at 5:30 p.m., Monday, May 7, at the Sundance Mountain Lodge in Monument. Entry to sample chefs' creations based out of food pantry items is $10 plus a donated hygiene item (toothpaste, deodorant, etc.). Call 481-4864 for more.

• Venetucci Farm presents Living Close to Home: Raising Backyard Chickens on Saturday, May 12 from 9 to 10:30 a.m., for $25.

Here's the info on it:

Join Herbert Aparicio, aka the Animal Whisperer, to learn how to raise backyard chickens from baby chicks! What to feed them, how to take care of them, if they need heat or not, what their coop should look like, what their pen should look like and how big, how to handle the eggs, how to protect from predators, what to do with the poop, ideas for how to build your own chicken coop, or ideas for where to buy a pre-made chicken coop or order a custom-built coop. For adults and children ages 6 and up, accompanied by an adult. Registration required.

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Amerikan conspiracy: Russian troops to train with Army at Fort Carson

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 4:44 PM

The anti-globalists have been going nuts over the plans for around 20 Russian troops to visit Fort Carson to take part in some training exercises.

Alex Jones' Prison Planet reported Thursday:

The exercises, which will mark the first time the respective country’s two airborne forces have held joint drills on U.S. territory, will revolve around the the “reconnaissance of imaginary terrorists’ camp and a raid,” and will also involve evacuations of the troops by helicopter.

The Russian soldiers will also be given access to U.S. special service weapons at Fort Carson.

However, the Russian troops won’t just be confined to a U.S. military base – on May 27 they’ll be out in the local community attending a baseball game in Colorado Springs.

Today, the same site pointed to an article in the New American, a John Birch Society publication, in which Department of Defense Cmdr. Wendy L. Snyder confirmed the reports.

The Russian soldiers are here as invited guests of the U.S. government; this is part of a formal bilateral exchange program between the U.S. and Russia that seeks to develop transparency and promote defense reform,” Cmdr. Wendy L. Snyder, U.S. Defense Press Officer for policy, told The New American in an e-mail. “This is the first time that American and Russian special operations troops have participated in a bilateral exercise.”

According to Snyder, the exercises — which she said would last about three weeks in all — will serve to train and improve skills related to terror-war fighting. About 20 Russian soldiers will be participating, with most of the training to take place on the Fort Carson, Colorado, Army base and a mountain training area several hours away.

“Aside from typical military training, the exchange will include discussions on the rule of land warfare, developing appropriate rules of engagement, and employing cultural literacy and competency in the tactical environment,” Snyder explained. “This type of training is routinely conducted by 10th Special Forces Group.”

We called Meghan Williams, media relations contractor for Fort Carson, and confirmed that yes, the Ruskies are coming to Colorado Springs at the end of May. Someone call Kris Kristofferson, stat.

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Occupy This Album: Stream tracks from the upcoming benefit compilation

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 2:09 PM

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Although police shut down New York's Occupy Wall Street encampment last fall, related protests continue to crop up around the world. And while the mainstream media may have lost interest in the movement and its issues — actually the mainstream media was never much interested in the actual issues — Occupy's half-life has proven considerably longer than first predicted.

Now, a five-disc Occupy benefit album is bringing together 99 tracks by 99 artists on behalf of the 99 percent. Among them are Amanda Palmer, Ladytron, Patti Smith, Willie Nelson, Ani DiFranco, UNKLE, James McMurtry (with Joan Baez and Steve Earle), Deborah Harry, Thievery Corporation, Toots & the Maytals, Tom Morello, the Mammals (featuring Pete Seeger), the Pimps of Joytime (featuring Roy Ayers), New Party Systems (featuring Kip Malone), Jackson Browne, Yo La Tengo, Dar Williams, Mogwai and Immortal Technique.

While Occupy This Album won't come out until May 15, you can preview five tracks from its five discs below. For more info, head on over to musicforoccupy.org.

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McEvoy to get $1,156,459, including vehicle

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 12:46 PM

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The terms of Memorial Health System CEO Larry McEvoy show he'll collect well over the $1 million previously reported. Here's the breakdown:

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McEvoy will collect more than $70,000 in unused vacation time and drive away in his hybrid vehicle.

And in case you're wondering what "outplacement" means, that $20,000 will go toward "career placement services" in McEvoy's search for another job, according to a hospital spokesman.

McEvoy is departing by mutual agreement with the board and is being paid 18 months pay as severance, although his contract only called for six months pay if he was dismissed without cause.

McEvoy was paid $550,000 until Jan. 1, when he was given a raise to $670,000 — or, in language normal people would understand, $322.12 an hour. The raise was part of "an organization-wide market adjustment," Memorial spokesman Brian Newsome says in an e-mail.

He also adds:

About 1,000 employees received wage increases last year to bring the organization, as a whole, to the 50th percentile. This rollout began with employees, then directors, and lastly execs. Larry remains below the 25th percentile even after this adjustment. His total compensation is well below the 50th percentile. The average severance for a CEO in a comparably-sized system is 24 months. Eighteen months severance is at the 25th percentile.

McEvoy's contract never included provisions for severance pay if there was a "change of control" of the hospital, whereas other executives did have such a clause, which pays six months salary, Newsome says.

In case you wonder how Memorial treats the little people at Memorial, you know, the 1 percent, here's Memorial's policy for severance at various levels:

Severance Pay
The amount of severance pay is based upon your position in the organization and the length of service with MHS. The guidelines set by the Board of Trustees are:
Vice President and above – 26 weeks
Director & Manager – 12 wks + 1 wk/yr of service up to 12 wks for total maximum 24 wks.
Supervisors & Staff members – minimum 2 wks + 1 wk/yr of service up to 10 wks for total maximum 12 wks.

This pay will only be received if you sign and do not revoke the Waiver and Release Agreement

The news set off a explosion of protests, including this from Councilman Tim Leigh:

"McEvoy has to go so does the Board of Trustees."

City Council ceded its control of the MHS operations to the MHS Board in August 2010 by memo. [By the way, that Council included President Hente and Pro-Tem Martin.] With that action, “as long as the MHS Board operates within its annual budget” Council exercises no control over that board. The critical language is “as long as MHS acts within its budget”. McEvoy’s newly announced Exit Bonus was not part of the annual appropriation budget approved by City Council. Therefore, I’m not sure the MHS Board of Trustees can offer an Exit Bonus to McEvoy legally. And, by the way, this is not severance (it’s an “Exit Bonus” because McEvoy wasn’t fired and didn’t quit). He was settled.

I have received dozens of emails and phone calls regarding the Exit Bonus. Here are a couple of quotes from employees.

“I am very upset that none of the Memorial Employees including myself (with 17 years of service and outstanding performance evaluations) will receive a pay increase this year and yet he gets a cool million – not quite fair. I am also frustrated because all this time he has talked about “sticking it out” and not leaving; “we are a team” and there he goes.”

. . . “I’ve never seen moral so bad”. . . McEvoy got a pay raise last month over $100,000 and now is leaving plus his freaking out the door bonus. . . . He has his retirement in the bank while the rest of us assholes loose ours.”

Months ago, I asked for McEvoy and his senior leaders to be placed on administrative leave and called for an investigation into some of the real estate dealings at the hospital. Those statements caused the council President to ask for my censure at a minimum, while he contemplated my recall and I’m sure I’ll be taken out to the wood-shed again for pointing out the obvious. This is an egregious fleecing of the citizens and everyone should be outraged.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Indy Minute: Greenie Awards, fashion, Fur Ball and 'Bert' Crenca

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Indy Minute at Plaza of the Rockies Colorado Springs

The Pikes Peak Earth Month finale is presented by VEDA Salon and Spa, as a fashion show called "Faces of the World." The event takes place this Saturday, April 28, at the Plaza of the Rockies and - Bonus! - includes the Greenie Awards presentation.

Other featured Indy Minute events to note: the 15th annual Fur Ball presented by the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region and the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and EDC luncheon with artist-visionary Umberto "Bert" Crenca from Providence, R.I., Crenca will discuss "Artists & Entrepreneurs: Creating Community and Jobs" at the Antlers Hilton on Monday, April 30.

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Obama: I never gave 'carte blanche' to MMJ

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 7:04 PM

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In a recent interview with Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, President Barack Obama shed a little light on his stance toward medical marijuana, saying he thinks it's good to have a "broader debate about our drug laws," but he's not going to tell the Department of Justice to ignore large-scale MMJ growers.

Let me ask you about the War on Drugs. You vowed in 2008, when you were running for election, that you would not "use Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws about medical marijuana." Yet we just ran a story that shows your administration is launching more raids on medical pot than the Bush administration did. What's up with that?

Here's what's up: What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana. I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana – and the reason is, because it's against federal law. I can't nullify congressional law. I can't ask the Justice Department to say, "Ignore completely a federal law that's on the books." What I can say is, "Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage." As a consequence, there haven't been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes.

The only tension that's come up — and this gets hyped up a lot — is a murky area where you have large-scale, commercial operations that may supply medical marijuana users, but in some cases may also be supplying recreational users. In that situation, we put the Justice Department in a very difficult place if we're telling them, "This is supposed to be against the law, but we want you to turn the other way." That's not something we're going to do. I do think it's important and useful to have a broader debate about our drug laws. One of the things we've done over the past three years was to make a sensible change when it came to the disparity in sentencing between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. We've had a discussion about how to focus on treatment, taking a public-health approach to drugs and lessening the overwhelming emphasis on criminal laws as a tool to deal with this issue. I think that's an appropriate debate that we should have.

Salon.com's Glenn Greenwald is less than impressed with the president's logic.

That’s about as vivid an expression of the President’s agenda, and his sense of justice, and the state of the Rule of Law in America, as one can imagine. The same person who directed the DOJ to shield torturers and illegal government eavesdroppers from criminal investigation, and who voted to retroactively immunize the nation’s largest telecom giants when they got caught enabling criminal spying on Americans, and whose DOJ has failed to indict a single Wall Street executive in connection with the 2008 financial crisis or mortgage fraud scandal, suddenly discovers the imperatives of The Rule of Law when it comes to those, in accordance with state law, providing medical marijuana to sick people with a prescription.

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U.S. Attorney targets Rhode Island's MMJ industry

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Similar to actions in California, Colorado and a multitude of others, the U.S. Attorney for the state of Rhode Island, Peter Neronha, has sent warning letters to the landlords of the state's three dispensaries, reports the Associated Press.

Neronha had previously warned that the dispensaries, their landlords or investors could face civil or criminal sanctions, including the seizure of assets or property.

The latest warning was discussed during a meeting between Neronha and Gov. Lincoln Chafee on Tuesday. During the meeting, which was sought by Chafee, Neronha restated that while prosecutors might target large-scale marijuana operations, they don't intend to prosecute ill patients using medicinal marijuana, Martin said.

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Big Gigs on Sale

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 1:22 PM

One of the casualties of our changing to a new publication date was Big Gigs on Sale, due to the timing of the information. But it lives on here.

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ON SALE Friday, April 27, 10 a.m.
Avicii, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, June 26, $50.15, ticketmaster.com
Jack White, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Aug. 8, $50.70-$55.85, ticketmaster.com
Train, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Sept. 19, $55.90-$67.25, ticketmaster.com

ON SALE Saturday, April 28, 10 a.m.
Colbie Caillat, Gavin DeGraw, Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, Aug. 7, $34.50, livenation.com
Sublime with Rome, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Aug. 12, $47.20-$50.70, ticketmaster.com
Andrew Bird, Buell Theatre, Denver, Aug. 17, $39.40-$55.85, ticketmaster.com
Linkin Park, Incubus, Comfort Dental Amphitheatre, Denver, Aug. 30, $22.75-$100.50, livenation.com

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