Archive for category Denver

Colorado UpLift

Kathy Emmons, an erstwhile campaign volunteer, but also a volunteer for a terrific organization, Colorado Uplift.  It started out as a way to find jobs for inner-city youths, but they quickly saw that the kids were bringing all the bad habits of their young lifetimes to these jobs, and thus weren’t doing themselves or their employers any good, and certainly weren’t enhancing the reputation of the program.  So they decided instead to mentor the kids in-school and after-school in character traits and life skills for their success.

This is exactly the kind of program that’s worthy of your support; give it a look.

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Norouz Mubarak

It was delightful to be able to spend a little time Friday celebrating Norouz, or the Persian New Year, with Denver’s Persian community.  The Persian New Year is celebrated at the onset of Spring, and, like our own New Year, is essentially secular, celebrated by the entire country.  So when my friend Ana Sami invited me to drop by, it was a no-brainer.  I also had a chance to meet Tim Ghaemi in person, after having interviewed him for the Rocky Mountain Alliance’s Blog Talk Radio show last year.

In addition to the actual food, there’s usually a special table set, with a number of symbolic items:

For some reason, they all begin with “S” in Farsi, but here’s the list:

  • Sabzeh – wheat or lentils grown in a tray or dish prior to Noe-Rooz to represent rebirth,
  • Samanu – a sweet pudding made from wheat germ, symbolizing affluence,
  • Senjed – the dried fruit of the lotus tree which represents love,
  • Seer – which means garlic in Persian, and represents medicine,
  • Seeb – which means apple in Persian, and represents beauty and health,
  • Somaq – sumac berries, which represent the colour of the sun rise,
  • Serkeh – which means vinegar in Persian, and represents age and patience,
  • Sonbol – the hyacinth flower with its strong fragrance heralding the coming of spring, and
  • Sekkeh – coins representing prosperity and wealth

There’s also usually a copy of the community-appropriate religious book, be it a Chumash, a Bible, or a Koran.  This being an inclusive celebration, they had a copy of both the Koran and the Bible on the top shelf there, but the big red book there in the middle is actually neither.  Instead, it is a book listing the 12,000+ vicitms of political executions under the current Iranian regime, a reminder that as is often the case, immigrants to America are freer to celebrate their holidays here than they would be back home.

Norouz Mubarak to Ana, Tim, and the rest of the Persian-American community here in Denver.

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Ritter Withdraws

Governor Bill Ritter will not seek re-election.  The stead dripdripdrip of bad news seems to have driven him from the race.

It seems as though at least two of these stories are connected, with the possibility that Ritter was using his personal cellphone for state business, and then shielding that usage from public scrutiny in order to hide his affair.  Of course, it could also be that he’s not enjoying the job, isn’t very good at it, and has had enough.  We’ll know more tomorrow.

From the Republican side, the assumption is that CoDA has already named his successor in the race, and that it will be either for House Speaker Andrew Romanoff or Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, both of whom have fairly high positives and a campaign base to draw from in heavily-Democrat Denver.  Ross Kaminsky analyzes the options here.  It’s a good piece, but I think he gives Romanoff too little credit, and Hickenlooper too much.

Romanoff is already a statewide figure, with connections on the western slope and down south that Hickenlooper doesn’t really have.  He was in the process of running a statewide race, and now won’t have the sitgma of attacking a sitting Democrat.  On the other hand, he’s been running to Bennet’s left in this race, and now owns those positions, which might undermine his reputation as a moderate consensus-builder.  And he was the father of the failed Amendment 59, which would have gutted the Taxpayer Bill of Rights to fund the Teachers Unions.

Hickenlooper, on the other hand, has a Denver handicap that Romanoff has already overcome.  Denver doesn’t scale well to the rest of the state.  It bears roughly the same relationship to the eastern plains, the high country, and the western slope that NYC has to upstate and Long Island – people don’t much trust Denver.  They may well vote against a Denver mayor more quickly.  There’s a reason that Colorado governors come from the legislature, and not from the Denver mayor’s office.

Denver mayors have more power than Colorado governors when it comes to budgeting, which might actually strengthen the argument for a fiscally conservative Republican legislature, in a year when there are any number of already-vulnerable Dems.  Denver isn’t a basket-case, to be sure.  But it has benefitted greatly from the Democrats’ car tax in order to stay sane.  If Hickenlooper is the nominee, Republican City Councilman Jeanne Fatz will probably become veyr popular very quickly as a speaker on hidden lunacy in Denver’s budget.  And Denver’s share of the Stimulus Money will also come under closer scrutiny.

There’s an assumption that either Romanoff or Hickenlooper would make things harder on a Denver Republican party struggling to recover from years of decline.  But if Hickenlooper is the nominee, the focus on his record from the McInnis campaign may actually end up helping us out.

So my money’s on CoDA nominating their old bag man, Romanoff.

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Denver’s Employment Not Quite So “Stabilized”

Still catching up from Rosh Hashanah this weekend – it’s going to be that way for a few more weeks as the Holidays of Tishrei descend on us for another season.

So Colorado’s Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment pronounces it “encouraging” that Colorado gained 3100 jobs while shedding 15,200 workers.  The unemployment rate will probably get worse again before it gets better, but mostly because people will re-enter the job market as things do improve.

But Denver’s job market, not so good.  According to the release, the Denver-Aurora MSA accounted for more than the state’s net labor force loss, dropping 15,552 workers (and 6,400 jobs).  The rest of the state gained 9500 jobs, and actually added a few hundred to the labor force.  In fact, Denver-Boulder and Colorado Springs MSA were the only areas to lose significant jobs in August.

In related news, the city council will fail to ask citizens to re-direct Referendum A-I money to useful projects.

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Two Wheels Good, Four Wheels Bad

Watch where you park.

The number of parking tickets written in Denver is on pace to hit near-record levels for Mayor John Hickenlooper’s administration, with particular hot spots in neighborhood enclaves scattered throughout the city.

Denver officials said the increase is not an attempt to plug the city’s sizable budget gap.

Uh-huh.  Ah, it seems like only yesterday…

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