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Sheriff OKs popefest but warns of budget woes.

DENVER -- Arapahoe County Sheriff Patrick Sullivan said May 25 he has withdrawn his threat to cancel the World Youth Day celebration Pope John Paul II plans to attend in August.

Sullivan had written a letter to Fr. Edward Buelt, executive director of WYD for the Denver archdiocese, demanding $191,500 in public safety fees. Sullivan accused WYD organizers of "waffling" on commitments and of a "wholesale abandonment of many of the vital public safety commitments made over the past several months."

He said projected security cost overruns will now be covered by private donations. "It's either that or cancel the event, and we want to see the event go forward," Sullivan said. "We have a lot of verbal commitments for donations. We'll see if we get the money."

However, Cindy Matthews, a spokeswoman for the World Youth Day, said much of the expense had already been taken care of. "A lot of the things Sullivan has been asking for in his budget, we have already been planning for."

About 500,000 people are expected to attend the five-day WYD event. Buelt responded to Sullivan's charges that WYD organizers reneged on promises to pay their security tab saying "World Youth Day is a spiritual event, not Desert Storm."

Though Sullivan and Buelt ended a May 24 meeting with a smile and a handshake, Sullivan indicated the next day that he and Buelt have yet to see eye-to-eye. "It's going to be 80 degrees. You'll have hundreds of thousands of people sitting in the dust without a water supply. They're going to require half-a-million gallons of water a day. It's going to require 108 semitrucks to bring in their food -- I think it's starting to look a lot like Desert Storm," Sullivan said. "And that's not counting the Porta-potties."
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Title Annotation:Denver, Colorado 1993 papal visit
Author:Smith, Matt
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Date:Jun 4, 1993
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