From The Denver Post (Jon Murray):
Rafael Espinoza opposed a series of big flood-control projects planned by Denver city officials as a city councilman — by voting last June against steep increases to storm drainage and sewer fees that are helping to pay for the work.
Now Espinoza has found a new way to voice his misgivings about one of the controversial projects. He was one of several residents who asked a judge’s permission late Tuesday to be added as plaintiffs to an ongoing lawsuit challenging the city’s plan to reshape much of City Park Golf Course. The city wants to create a storm water detention area on the course’s western portion that would fill up during heavy storms but remain part of the course.
Essentially, the councilman wants to sue his own city over the project — if a judge lets him.
“I voted against this (fee) increase because it missed the opportunity to not only address the stormwater drainage problems of District 1, but of the entire city,” Espinoza said in a statement Tuesday. “Instead, this project misappropriates the use of the public good to focus on a flood plain that directly eases the development of the I-70 Ditch at the expense of a more comprehensive citywide solution.”
A motion filed late Tuesday by attorney Aaron Goldhamer, who has pressed the lawsuit since last year, says a city attorney has indicated to him that the city plans to oppose only the addition of Espinoza as a plaintiff. The two sides disagree on whether a legal concept called “government deliberative privilege” prevents a sitting councilman from joining such a lawsuit, the filing indicates.
Espinoza and many critics of the city’s Platte to Park Hill storm water projects — estimated to cost $267 million to $298 million — have based their opposition in part on the link to the state’s $1.2 billion Interstate 70 plan.