Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday 1/18: Heckuva Job, Everybody!

Denver Westword Blogs

In the last 36 hours, the story involving Victory Security, Alpha Outfitters and Police Chief Nate Harper has evolved from, "We don't even know if that non-sourced story is true" to "It's true, but there's no indication the Chief is under investigation" to "the Chief's possible involvement is obviously under investigation but that's not the same thing as being guilty of anything or even indicted on that suspicion."

And at least one local news channel is utilizing file footage of Harper wearing the Fedora of Guilt.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, whom this places in a tight spot, quoth:

"I believe the chief has done a great job. He has my full confidence."

So he's plunking clearly for "damned if he don't."

In terms of crude politics, only the sorriest fools waste a joule of energy holding their breath on federal grand juries to swoop in and cure your electoral dysfunction. So in terms of the mayor's race this is a complete non-issue.

In terms of a Police Chief that is doing a "great job" -- by which metrics are we evaluating him? Fostering atmosphere and a record of prudent, book-fearing professionalism? Community relations and engagement? Counterbalancing the FOP's necessarily rabid advocacy? Successfully implementing important new initiatives?

It might make sense to push forward our routine quadrennial performance review by about a month or so.


Rolling Stones
Sen. Jim Ferlo is indisputably credible on the topic of faux-nonprofits and advocating for their increased contributions to local governments, having a history of righteous grandstanding on that issue. But his method and timing in this latest initiative are both suspect.

First of all it blatantly short-circuits the work of the relatively broad Task Force mandated by the ICA and appointed nonetheless by the Mayor. Secondly it presupposes that the State Legislature is capable of doing something worthwhile. (Much less doing something proposed at the behest of an urban-dwelling Democrat.) Thirdly there are already perfectly cromulent legal solutions presently at our very own disposal which do not require waiting on anybody else, and which would raise a healthier and more just share of revenue for local governments to boot.

Taken all together, the above considerations raise the distinct possibility that Ferlo is providng Mayor Ravenstahl with political cover for policy stances on a certain selectively generous healthcare giant which are deeply entrenched but somewhat unpopular and unpopulist. Don't think for a minute that Ferlo's number one priority these days isn't the reelection of this mayor -- his newly gerrymandered Senate district is looking fairly impossible for him, and that URA on which he has long served as board member still only employs an "Acting" Executive Director.


Ed Zurga, Getty Images, B/R
In the actual mayor's race, the City Paper's Chris Potter exposes a technical and process-oriented sideshow involving the city's new campaign finance law:

But Peduto suspects Lamb is just trying to grab the money he raised as a controller because people aren't supporting his bid for mayor. "Just because he can't raise money doesn't mean he gets to break the law," Peduto says. (Bloggeration H)

Just shoot me.

It is true that if Michael Lamb's already modest fund-raising haul for his Mayoral bid includes a ton of cash he raised in an unopposed bid for City Controller, that speaks even more poorly of his support.

Yet in terms of illustrating what dastardly corrupt practices and effects that particular clause of this local ordinance purports to counteract, things might be less immediately clear. Besides, any lawsuit citing that regulation would put the efficacy of Bill Peduto's own legislative chops on trial; if Lamb's legal interpretation wins out, Peduto will be seen to have stepped in it. And finally...

"If he tries to use that money," Peduto warns, "we'll either take him to court or, more likely, find a third party who supports good government to raise a challenge." (ibid)

If one is engaged in finding an outraged and offended third-party, isn't that best kept secret?

All together now, and with feeling: both contenders would do better to focus on the guy known to spend his Republican-raised mayoral campaign committee cash on three-day Super Bowl getaways, yet who retains the obvious pole-position in this upcoming three-way election. After we do that for a while and get to see some time-elapsed, independently financed, publicly available POLLING DATA...

... then we can separate the wheat from the chaff.


  1. Why does Bill's staff let him get involved in this petty BS. I think he's probably wrong but even if he's right he looks like a chump.

  2. @Bram

    Good beginning. Yes, many of us believe that there is more to be done than just admit officer error. I do hope to see the current policy made more explicit to the public, as well as invitation and respect for community and expert input on needed changes in policy and training that might help prevent such horror in the future. But this friend of Ka'Sandra Wade is very glad to see Zappala acknowledging police accountability. I would guess that many responsible police officers in our community are also glad to see support for their own efforts to equitably protect ALL citizens they are sworn to protect and defend - by being honest about a breach of policy, Zappala upholds the highest ideals and practices of our police force.

  3. Isn't Bill the one that started the entire idea of raising more money than you are allowed under the campaign finance laws he championed? Did Fitz give him more than he allowed in one election year and the guise that "he can donate as much as he wants, but Bill can only spend a limited amount of the donation?" I think this needs a little real journalism and investigation.

  4. Anon 3:55PM:

    Perhaps we should do it ourselves...

    But then I guess no one would read it.

  5. Thus far, criticism of Peduto seems to be coalescing around, "He's annoyingly perfect," "The reforms he advocated for years against bitter opposition may not be good enough for those who opposed them," and the very easy to disprove, "He doesn't have any accomplishments." Interesting.

    I'm sure when our investigative journalists are finished with the police department, they'll make sound choices about which weighty matters are next most crucial to our City's future.

  6. so far Bram's defense of Bill seems to be "I don't care what he does or says, he like green things and doesn't like Luke, therefore I like him."

    I'm just wondering if Bill is following his own campaign finance rules. I fail to see how that isn't a legitimate question. Or, is this a harbinger of things to come if Bill wins? In other words, no questioning him because he is the savior. Is that what voters should expect. Please tell us again about this transparency thing before we cast our votes.

  7. Anon 6:07 - If you're talking about the Collect for Two cycles, but Spend on just One interpretation of those regs -- I criticized that quite lustily when it came out (and took some serious flak from the progressives over providing aid and comfort to Jeff Koche, as I recall) but ultimately we learned that interpretation won out, Koche's promised legal challenge never materialized, and everyone's doing it this way. So what's your beef? Only straw within grasping distance?