Councilwoman Peggy Lehman to the rescue!

Nov 4, 2008 by

In one of my previous blogs, I wrote about a local beekeeper who was fined by Denver for illegally beekeeping in the city. Well...some interesting things have happened as a result of Marygael Meister's decision to not simply back down and let Denver win the fight. You can read the whole article here, but here's the synopsis. Angry about the fine, especially given the current honeybee decline, Meister resisted the fine and bee hive removal. Trying not to provoke a big fight, the city encouraged Meister to get a special permit for her hives from the board of adjustment. (Sounds like the principle's office, if you ask me. Do they whack you with a paddle for bad behavior?) Anyway, Meister didn't want to do this because she felt it would leave other Denver beekeepers vulnerable to the same ridiculous laws. Yeah, that's right, I said ridiculous. Anyway, so Meister decided to make this big. She sought out help from Haagen-Dazs ( umluats in Blogger!) and Smuckers (the first of the two has been donating marketing and money to the bee research cause) to let them know about her plight and to encourage them to throw their weight behind her. She wasn't super crazy about their response (nada), but she eventually found the support of Denver council woman Peggy Lehman (cue chorus of singing angels). Anyway, wonderful Ms. Lehman (that's right, this in my blog and I get to have a bias) has been receiving all kinds of calls from other aggrieved beekeepers and is now working to craft legislation that will allow Denver beekeepers to have a maximum of two hives per lot, with some other rules involved. This would be fabulous! There are still some obstacles to this. One Denver resident was stung fifteen times when a beekeeper agitated their hive, and doesn't think it's right that a bunch of amateur beekeepers should keep bees where they can sting others. Point taken. I wonder if there's a way to get a permit that might require the signatures of your neighbors (in case anyone has a bee allergy)? This is a tricky issue, but I hope that people will find ways to find compromises to these challenges, rather than avoid them altogether. One council woman, Jeanne Faatz, does not support the measure because she was stung once by a bee and, while she recognizes that bees are facing a decline, she doesn't thing it's up to Denver to solve the bee problem. On the contrary, Ms. Faatz, I disagree. It is up to Denver to solve the problem, as it is up to every city and every person to solve this problem. We're talking about saving our food supply here, and for that kind of change, every little bee hive counts.

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