Rocky Mountain Ramblings: CPBB, Bob Clark, and Jorgen

Posted on August 5, 2014


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ELGL co-founder Kent Wyatt is documenting his trip to the Center for Priority Based Budgeting Conference in Denver. Join the trip by tweeting your Denver recommendations to @ELGL50

And A Few More Pictures

August 9 at 8:17 a.m

Where the magic happens…..Denver City County building

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A little more magic at another city building.

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Where a little less magic happens…..State Capitol

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An exclusive look at our historic loft……also known as where Jorgen occassionally lives.

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A very historic kitchen.

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And look who we found at the Broncos game, the world famous Bob Clark.

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CPBB, CPBB, CPBB

August 8 at 6:23 p.m.

Our departure flight has been delayed two hours which allows time to thank a number of people.

BuXn-IfCcAAgVhJChris, Erik, and Jon from the CPBB who were gracious in inviting us to speak at the conference. CPBB is committed to connecting influencers in local government to spur change in local government. They are true problem solvers who are tired of the complaining and are taking action to improve local government. The passion that they demonstrated at the conference reinvigorated my desire for ELGL to make a similar impact on local government. CPBB doesn’t care about silos or being told that they can’t do something. They know that they can make an impact and they are truly making waves in local government. ELGL is honored to partner with such a forward thinking organization.

Meeting folks like Torie Brazitis, Nathan Mosley, John Allore, and Tom Acre was confirmation that ELGL is reaching all levels of government from management analysts to city managers. Colorado folks will be excited to know that we had a productive discussion about increasing ELGL’s involvement in Colorado. If you live in Colorado and want to be part of the movement, send me an email at [email protected]

End of the Road at Jorgen’s Loft

August 8 at 3:34 p.m

 

As Boyz II Men taught us,”it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday” which appropriate describes departing from Jorgen’s historic loft. Jorgen was top notch until the very end. He granted us a late check out, he didn’t make me change the sheets, and he presumably doesn’t mind the coffee grinds that remain in the coffee maker. H/T to Jorgen, Jorgen’s soft mattress, Jorgen’s two copies of the Old School DVD, and AirBnB. AirBnB has replaced Priceline as my favorite tool for traveling.

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P.S: Jorgen really loves the Midwest.

Uber vs. Taxi

August 8 at 3:11 p.m

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So far on this trip, we have experienced everything Denver has to offer in the way of public transportation – light rail, bike share, and bus.

Against my wishes, Uber was our mode of transportation for getting to airport. The thought of riding in someone’s car which might be full of dog hair, fast food bags, and spit cups spurred my trepidation. It saddens me to admit that I was wrong.

Our Uber car arrived 10 minutes after we requested it via the Uber app. My fears of a beat up, bright yellow Pinto were eased when a Jeep Grand Cherokee greeted us. The inside of the car was spotless, had leather seats, had People magazine and Sports Illustrated in the backseat for us to read, and most importantly, there were no car seats.

Our driver was the best. He’s a military veteran who now works full-time as an Uber driver. He said that he would never work for a taxi company but Uber works for him because of the flexibility. He averages 10 pick ups a day, has enjoyed learning about the different parts of Denver, and he is agreeable with the government regulations involved – mandatory car inspections, etc. Our driver pointed out interesting  locations such as the old Stapleton airport which was turned into mixed use except for the air traffic control tower which remains vacant, the new light rail line going to the airport, and the MLS stadium.

And the price? Our taxi from the airport to our historic loft costed $65. Our Uber ride costed $45. A savings of $20 and a much more enlightening experience.

Bike Share

August 8 at 11:01

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Denver has an incredible system of bike trails. We used the Denver bike share program to tour downtown Denver. Bike share stations are easy to find and affordable to use.

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We started on the Cherry Creek trail and ended in the LoDo district, in between, we stopped at the Denver City County building, State Capitol, the Big Blue Bear, and a random statute of a guy on a horse. My biggest complaint – no bell on my bike.

Snooze

August 8 at 9:01

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We went wonky this morning by heading to the renovated Union Station. The renovated station is home to hotels, restaurants, a book store, and the Terminal Bar which was the former ticket window. Other cities could learn from Denver’s ability to turn this historic building into a vibrant community gathering spot.

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Snooze was our choice for breakfast. Hat tip to our Colorado members for the recommendation. The breakfast food is better than anything you will find in Portland.

Lightning Crashes

August 7 at 7:01 p.m

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In honor of the CPBB Conference, the NFL scheduled a preseason game between the Broncos and Seahawks. This could have been a golden opportunity to check out Invesco Field and wind down after the conference. This is not what happened. We started the evening with dinner and drinks at Wazee Supper Club which did not disappoint. It did make me realize how much I miss the use of the word “supper” by living in Portland.

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Following dinner, we decided to walk to the stadium – it looked SOOOO close on the map. Turns out that was an illusion and the stadium was a solid 45 minute hike.

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We missed kicked off and all but one minute of the first quarter. This was compounded by an announcement after we immediately entered the stadium that lightning was in the area and the game would be indefinitely delayed.

If I was a 25 year old, I would have spent the extra time drinking a couple of Colorado microbrews. Instead, I am a 36 year old, father of 2, who normally is snoring by 9:30 p.m. So after we got to our seats, I spent the time by staring at the empty field and watching the Jumbotron show old interviews with Broncos players where they answered the probing question, “who is your best friend?” I guess they figured that was better than showing highlights from last year’s Super Bowl.

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On the bright side, we utilized Denver’s light rail to get back to our historic loft.

Stalking the Seahawks

August 7 at 4:31 p.m

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As a Seahawks season ticket holder, that makes me part of the 12th Man, which entitles me to spend an hour in a hotel lobby waiting for a glimpse of the players like a 4-year old would for DJ Lance of Yo Gabba Gabba. My stalking paid off due to the CPBB organizers being visionaries by ending the conference at the same time the Seahawks boarded the bus to leave for their preseason game against the Broncos. While I will not mention names, I was not only CPBB attendee shouting at Pete Carroll to smile.

Bath Bombs, Yes Please

August 7 at 2:01 p.m

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My praise of Jorgen’s lotions and oils has caused quite a stir and probably some jealously since my hair smells better than fresh cut flowers. The one thing better than Jorgen’s body products is Lush. Lush sells homemade cosmetics. While most of their products are geared toward women, I prefer to think they are unisex products. Next time you walk past a Lush store make sure to stop in and try the “free samples.”

My favorite is the bath bomb which is good for kids and adults.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

August 7 at 1:51 p.m

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ELGL won the award for creating the most buzz at the CPBB Conference. We created so much buzz that we missed the presentation because of slow service at the Yardhouse Restaurant.

Lunch?

August 7 at 11:28 a.m

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We’re headed to lunch with Nathan Mosley, Wheat Ridge (CO) and Torie Brazitis, Lone Tree (CO) to discuss increasing ELGL’s presence in Colorado. Interested in joining us? Send me an email at [email protected]

CPBB’s Oprah Moment

August 7 at 11:26 a.m

We’re holding out hope that CPBB will have an Oprah moment and hand out free iPads at the end of the conference. And no, we’re not greedy we would settle for an iPad mini.

Brewpub Owner-Turned-Governor

August 7 at 11:22 a.m

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We digress from the Richard Sherman talk for some more topical news. Here’s a must-read on the Colorado governor from Governing magazine.

John Hickenlooper: The Man in the Middle: Can the geologist-turned-brewpub owner-turned-governor of Colorado lead as a centrist when there’s no political center?

In the name of research, we’ll be sure to visit the Governor’s former brewpub tonight.

Richard Sherman Is Down with the CPBB?

August 7 at 10:57 a.m

 

The Seattle Seahawks are in town for a preseason game with the Denver Broncos, and it appears they are devoted readers of “Rocky Mountain Ramblings” as the Seahawks just happen to be staying at the location of the CPBB Conference. A number of the Seahawks were spotted this morning at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown. Who knew Richard Sherman was down with the CPBB?

Thanks, Mom

August 7 at 9:29 a.m

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The author of this blog was excited that even though my wife and best friends aren’t reading these blog entries, the mother of Erik and Chris Fabian is a fan. Her review of this blog — “it is witty.” We happen to agree with you.

Since we know we are reading Ms. Fabian, how about sharing an embarrassing story about Chris and Erik?

Holla

August 7 at 9:16 a.m

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Welcome to our new members who joined at the CPBB Conference – Jim Teece (Ashland Home Net), John Allore (City of Durham, NC), and Sheryl Mitchell (Citizen Engagement Expert).

Omaha! Omaha!

August 7 at 8:50 a.m

ELGL member Jim Teece captures Peyton Manning’s visit to the CPBB Conference

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Rocky Mountain High

August 7 at 7:10 p.m

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A short trip to Red Rocks to see Foster the People was our original plan for the evening. Unfortunately, the sharing economy let us down. Uber was going to be our mode of transportation to get to the venue; however, we were told it would be a “long night” if we waited for Uber after the show.

That left us with two options: Lady Gaga or the Colorado Rockies. I suppressed my “Little Monster” and agreed to head to the Rockies v. Cubs game at Coors Field. Sorry, GaGa.

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The Next Lance Armstrongs

August 6 at 6:00 p.m

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Ben Kittelson and I tried out the Denver Bike Share program. Our takeaways – it’s incredibly easy to use, the streets are bike friendly, and you don’t have to wear a tight bike outfit to use it. The biggest downside of the program is the availability of the bikes. A couple of the bike share stations near our historic loft were either out of bikes or only had one or two bikes left. We used the bikes to travel from our historic loft to Coors Field. (Please don’t tell my kids that we didn’t use bike helmets.)

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I Heart Jorgen (A Little Less)

August 7 at 5:00 p.m

Our AirBnB stay has hit a rough patch. If you are listening, Jorgen, the WiFi doesn’t connect and the television doesn’t work. I acknowledge that it’s nerdy but one of the highlights of a road trip is to watch the local news and if you’re lucky catch some Council meeting re-runs.

I still have some love for Jorgen because of his wide selection of lotions, oils, shampoos, and face moisturizers. The Aveda shampoo and conditioner are top notch and have my hair smelling fresh in the early evening.

Twitterazzi

August 6 at 10:28 a.m

A half-hearted selfie from the North Carolina delegation.

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Erik Fabian shows how its done.

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Chris Fabian realizing he shouldn’t have sat behind ELGL.

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I am regretting that I didn’t shave.

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I’ll change into this before our presentation.

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Sneak Peek

August 6 at 9:56 a.m

We are presenting right after lunch today so we’re trying a new (borrowed) approached. Ben, Kirsten, and I have titled our presentation “40 Ideas in 60 Minutes. We’ll cover a wide range to topics from social media, career advice, and the future of local government. Our hope is attendees will leave with 40 great ideas to become more efficient and engaging. So get your tomatoes ready, if we don’t meet our goal.

ELGL Rockies?

August 6 at 5:40 a.m

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ELGL’s footprint continues to deepen in the Rockies. We have around 15 members from the area and have received inquiries about increasing our programming and content. Similar to the development of our Washington chapter, if a core group is interested in developing a chapter, we would be happy to help.

We have a wealth of resources that can contribute to developing a chapter. While we have no paid staff, we have a dedicated group of project managers who are are skillful at building relationships with state professional associations, MPA schools, non-profits, and private companies operating in the local government arena.

Building a chapter allows for development of more area specific programming and in-person events; however, geographic boundaries are not a huge part of ELGL. Whether you work in Oregon or Florida, you can benefit from our webinars, exclusive contents, and special offers from our partner associations.

Interested in learning more? Talk to our chapter leaders – Bridget Doyle, Patrick Rollens, John McCarter, Ben McCready, Ryan Adams, and Rafael Baptista.

Football, Foster, and Folk

August 6 at 5:01 a.m

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The Denver entertainment calendar is full of option for the next few days. Hat tip to CPBB for scheduling the conference when the Cubs are playing the Rockies, the Seahawks are playing the Broncos, Lady Gaga and her little monsters are performing at the Pepsi Center, and Foster the People and Ray LaMontange are playing at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Just a short hop down the road, Ryan Adams (the musician, not the ELGL member) is playing in Boulder.

Each of these options are tempting. It’s also tempting to stay at Jorgen’s place and catch up with Keepin’ Up with Kardashians. I am on Season 4 and I am starting to fall for Chloe. (Kirsten – disregard the last sentence.)

A Collision of Acronyms

August 5 at 5:30 p.m

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Tonight worlds collide, all the acronym groups – CPBB, ELGL, ICMA, NLC, AFI, and the NFL (not really) – are gathering for a reception, and as long the event is void of Costco cake and three-year olds with Cheeto fingers, I will be happy. ELGL plans on being a good host by bringing a selfie station, wearing jeans with cuffs, and eating with chopsticks regardless of what’s being served.

I Heart Jorgen

August 5 at 4:00 p.m

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As for my host (Jorgen), he continues to exceed expectations. We’ve become texting buddies (nothing inappropriate, I promise.) He prefers texting over phone calls (ditto), he uses proper grammar in his texts (extra points), and he’s letting us use his iron (jackpot).

While I am developing a love for Jorgen and I feel that I know him due to the user reviews of his rentals, what must he think of me? How does he know that I am not going to throw a beach party at his historic loft? What if I am using his place to potty train a dog? What if I want to paint a wall black just to see how it looks? Or worse, what if I am renting his place so I can cook stinky food like Steak’ems, burnt popcorn, or a keg full of Chicken by the Sea?

(Jorgen, in case you are reading this, I do not plan on carrying out any of the above activities. In return for your trust, I will leave you some historic local government budgeting documents.)

Maybe I am old school (I am 36-year old who doesn’t wear jeans and goes to bed before 10:00 p.m) but it will take me while to adjust to the “sharing economy.” I can’t imagine “sharing” my car, house, or bike with anyone other than the Wyatt clan. Who knows maybe I will loosen up and rent out the Barbie playhouse in my four-year olds room.

A Sustainable High

August 5 at 2:00 p.m

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Following the ELGL Sustainability forum last week, we are motivated to make our trip to Denver an environmentally friendly one.  So far, we haven’t had much success. We planned on going paperless with our boarding pass but Frontier did not have the same plans. (I promise that’s the last negative reference to Frontier). It turns out the boarding pass came in handy as Kirsten relieved her flying anxiety by balling the boarding pass into tiny, little pieces. I feel like that should be a felony like removing a mattress tag. She’s now fast asleep and quickly invading my seat space.

Our next sustainable decision surroundings traveling from the airport (which is 45 minutes out of town) to our historic loft. Using Denver’s bike share is not an option as I would walk the bike most of the way and I don’t want to wear a tight biking outfit. Renting a car would be wasteful, although tempting as Jorgen has assured me that we have a parking space at the historic loft. Light rail might be option in a few years but for now it doesn’t connect with the airport. Noted on my “Denver To Do” list is to take an informal survey on whether light rail is also considered a “crime train” in Denver.

We’re left deciding between taking a taxi, hitchhiking, or walking. Decisions, decisions…..

Getting’ Our Read On

August 5 at 11:00 a.m

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Reading material for the trip:

  • Kirsten: The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes
  • Ben: I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Me, myself, and I: Duty by Robert E. Gates
  • Random guy in front of me: The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Any suggestions for the flight home?

Random observation: It’s REALLY tough to pull off the neck pillow look unless you are under the age of 6.

Fly Frontier…….Or Not.

August 5 at 10:22 a.m

Baldwin-ScoreOur Frontier Airlines flight to Denver has reached a cruising altitude, and I have not sent any passive aggressive tweets. I admit I was caught up in the excitement of a “Moose” being painted on our plane.

Before we go any farther in our relationship, I feel the need to explain my disdain of Frontier Airlines.

  • It costs $3 to select your seat.
  • They have television screens on the seat back which is good; the bad part is they don’t work.
  • A soft drink will cost you a $1.99. (Suggestion: forget painting the animal on the plane and use the money to offer free soft drinks.
  • An odd, smelly shoe odor permeates each of their planes. (At least, I hope it’s the plane and not me.)
  • The flight attendants get a little too excited about modeling the floatation device.
  • They don’t clean the planes. I know this because I watched our plane arrive from its prior destination, unload passengers, and then immediately board the passengers for our flight.

Despite this lengthy list, my stinginess and unwillingness to pay $100 more won out. I was hoping the Seahawks would join us on the flight (they are playing in Denver on Thursday) but I guess a perk of winning the Super Bowl is avoiding the many animals of Frontier Airlines.

Tuesday, August 5 at 5:03 a.m

ELGL heads to Denver this morning for the Center for Priority Based Budgeting Conference. I’ll use this blog entry to share our experience presenting at the conference, exploring the sharing economy in Denver, and, if you’re lucky, crowdsourcing my outfits.

FrontierTailOur flight on Frontier Airline leaves at 8:00 a.m but we’re up early because who can sleep with the uncertainty of which “animal” will plaster the outside of the plane.

If you scroll back about 7,000 tweets or so on my Twitter feed – you will find that I vowed never to fly again on Frontier. However, even after all of the random Frontier add-on fees – $3 to select a seat, $1.50 to sit in the seat, and $1.00 to get up from the seat – Frontier was $100 cheaper than other flights.  Fingers crossed that management from Frontier did not read my tweets about the airline or I might not be allowed on the plane.

Anyway, let’s assume we make it to Denver at our ETA of 1:33 p.m, the next question is do you have a place to stay or will you be sleeping on the front lawn of an ELGL member like Heather Geyer or Jason Rogers who live in the Denver area.

Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn vs. AirBnb

 

Full disclosure: I’ve always thought AirBnb meant sleeping on a stranger’s cheeto stained futon. It turns out that I’ll be testing the theory during our Denver trip.

After spending three days searching for a reasonably priced hotels in downtown Denver, my last ditch effort was AirBnb. What I found was an easy to navigate website, full of filters eliminate “the dude living in his parent’s basement but renting out a dust bunny covered corner of that very basement.” Most importantly, in searching through the listings, I found plenty of information on each rental.

3fdf4320166b627cd46e3f253e2c28a8The “House Rules” turned into an enlightening read, here are three of my favorite items from the Denver rentals:

No drugs. No crazy drinking. No one who wants to force their beliefs on us. We’re in Colorado so MJ is okay as long as it’s not in the house. Live and let live, please.

This is a shoes off home. Lights out by midnight at the very latest, no drugs in the home. Do not ask the leasing consultant any questions she is here to lease apartments only, she’s not our travel guide.

Indoor smoking of cigarettes is strictly prohibited. When can discuss marijuana usage-now that is legal!

Spend a minute looking at AirBnb rentals in Denver and you’ll realize that “420” is first and foremost on people’s minds.

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Past reviews of the rentals were important consideration in my search. I was prepared to read reviews similar to ones that follow just about any restaurant on Yelp – some good, some bad, and some poorly written. What I found was the complete opposite. I had trouble finding negative reviews on any of the rentals that we were considering, instead I found a whole lot of these,

Their home is cozy, beautifully designed, and has interesting trinkets. The bed is “supa comfy,” and they were very amenable to meeting our bizarre arrival time.

Our host was nothing short of amazing, communication with her was easy, and she was able to accommodate me on very short notice

This was my first time using AirBnB and I’m concerned this home has set the bar much too high because it was incredible. The house was extraordinarily lovely, as well as the back patio. We had everything we could have needed to make this feel like a home away from home.

The options and rates on AirBnb were perfect for us so we booked a “Historic Urban Loft Lower Downtown.” This is when Jorgen comes into the picture. He’ll be our “host” for the trip, and in case, you were wondering Jorgen is…

Originally from Des Moines, Iowa. I’m a real estate developer and broker living downtown Denver. I know the city well and am happy to have a dialogue with guests about how to best spend their time while in Denver and Colorado.

I’m also a Partner in a venture that crafts high end, authentic safari experiences for sophisticated travelers across Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Madagascar.

download (3)Unfortunately, host does not mean that he’ll chauffeur us around Denver, iron my wrinkled shirts, and fluff my pillow. Instead, host means that he’ll give me the keys to an “Historic Urban Loft Lower Downtown” but he will not be staying with. (What ’bout story time, Jorgen? Is that negotiable?)

My experience highlights why hotels should be worried about AirBnb. On our previous ELGL trips, we stayed at your typical bland hotel with copies of USA Today in the lobby, cheap coffee in the reception area, and Brillo Pad-sque towels in the room. It’s a little too soon to decide whether AirBnb was the correct choice, but if this post isn’t update in the next 24 hours, please come looking for us.

Supplemental Reading

Your Yelp Guide to the CPBB Conference

Role Reversal: CPBB Puts ELGL Through the Lens

Riding a “New Wave” at CPBB Conference

Airbnb squatters expose ‘sharing economy’ hype

As Boston considers Airbnb rentals, Quincy hosts face fines

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