Now I can say that a member of President-Elect Obama's cabinet once endorsed a client of mine. So... uh... that's kind of weird.
Anyway, with Ken Salazar headed to Interior, that creates a pretty crazy situation for 2010. Governor Ritter gets to appoint his replacement, and at the top of the list are Mayor John Hickenlooper, Rep. John Salazar, Rep. Diana DeGette and Speaker Andrew Romanoff.
No matter who Ritter appoints, it makes the Salazar senate seat much more competitive in 2010. With few pickup opportunities out there, the NRSC is going to have to have Colorado pretty high on its target list anyway. This, however, puts the seat even more "in play." Instead of having to run against a six-year incumbent who has run and won statewide (Salazar), the Republican nominee will be running against a two-year, appointed incumbent running statewide for the first time.
That makes the Senate run much more appealing for potential Republican candidates. Attorney General John Suthers and U.S. Attorney Troy Eid have both made it clear that they're interested, but I don't think the slate is full yet. (Former Reps Scott McInnis and Tom Tancredo? John Elway? A younger face like Rep. Cory Gardner?)
With Suthers running for Senate, the AG seat opens up. Expect Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck to run for AG, removing him from speculation about a run against Betsy Markey in the 4th CD.
In the 4th CD, we'll probably see a three- or four-way primary including CU Regent Tom Lucero, Rep. Cory Gardner, Fort Collins City Councilmember Diggs Brown and possibly former State Senator and Treasurer Mark Hillman.
However, Hillman might run for Secretary of State against newly-appointed Bernie Buescher who Ritter chose to fill the seat vacated by new Congressman Mike Coffman. Once again, Buescher has never run statewide. Hillman has, narrowly losing his race for Treasurer in 2006.
One more wrinkle - if Ritter chooses Rep. John Salazar to fill his younger brother's Senate seat, that opens up Colorado's 3rd Congressional District - a district that actually slightly favors Republicans. Would a high-profile Republican from the 3rd seize on the opportunity to go to Congress? Probably.
Oh, and did I mention that there's also a race for Governor in 2010? Senator Josh Penry and Rep. Don Marostica have been mentioned as possible candidates, along with Tancredo and McInnis.
Then there's John Elway. (And possibly John Lynch?)
Musical chairs indeed, with a lot of new faces in a lot of competitive races.
This weekend's column in Fort Collins Now:
The ice rink is open in Old Town Square. Crowded with children, it’s a festive part of an emerging Fort Collins tradition.
I’d like to register a complaint.
The rink clearly symbolizes Nootaikok, the Inuit god of icebergs and glaciers. As such, the ice rink should be exiled, along with all of the other religious symbols, to the Fort Collins Museum.
Separation of church and state, people!
(Not only that, but last Saturday I saw Santa Claus skating on the Nootaikok altar. Santa Claus? Saint Nicholas? Off to the museum with him and his workshop.)
For the past few years, Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik has asked
to put up a Menorah on public property in Old Town. Every year, his request has been
declined. This year, seeking to end the
controversy, the City created an official “Celebrations of Light” display at
the museum to highlight all of the “winter traditions” in Fort Collins.
(Meanwhile, Rabbi Gorelik has successfully – and without controversy – erected Menorahs on public property in Greeley and Loveland this year.)
Religion relegated to a museum exhibit? Sacred traditions rewritten by museum
staff? What could possibly go wrong?
Why don’t you drop by the outside exhibit and find out what the City of Fort Collins thinks of your faith. Sure enough, Christmas and Hanukkah are represented right on the front lawn of the museum. There’s the Menorah and even a full Bethlehem manger scene… right next to Frosty the Snowman.
Rededication of the Second Temple, the birth of our Lord and
Savior… a magic snowman. Offended yet?
Near Frosty and friends you’ll find the “interactive panels” of the “Celebrations of Light” exhibit. You can’t say the city’s not inclusive. Along with Christmas and Hanukkah, you’ll find Ramadan, Diwali, Kwanzaa, Yule, Loy Krathong, Bodhi Day, Shab-e Yaldu, Wigilia and even Hogmanay, a Scottish New Year celebration. (Why Hogmanay? Apparently the tradition of “swinging balls of fire on a rope” during Hogmanay qualifies it as a “Celebration of Light”. The Lantern Festival for the Chinese New Year, the bonfires of Oshogatsu in Japan, and the Brazilian practice of lighting candles on the beach also made the cut.)
What? You didn’t know
that your religious holiday was just one of many “Celebrations of Light”? Don’t worry, the City of Fort Collins is here
to explain all. The twin panels that
introduce the exhibit tell us that it’s really all about the Winter Solstice: “The
Winter Solstice has long been celebrated as the birth or rebirth of the sun, of
light, of life itself. Ancient people
also dreaded it as winter’s deepest point of freezing darkness. They brought light and warmth to this time of
year with huge fires kept burning through the night. They brought evergreen plants into their
homes as reminders of spring’s perennial promise to return new life. They gathered together to renew their
commitment to each other and their communities to ask unseen forces of the
spirit for blessings and protection, to perform the solemn rituals inherited from
past generations, and enjoy good food, song and stories in the company of loved
So according to the City of Fort Collins, Christmas and Hanukkah are simply two of many ways to fight off mid-December cabin fever.
Maybe next Christmas, the museum can offer guided tours of
Fort Collins churches on Christmas Eve.
While worshippers celebrate the birth of Jesus, the museum staff can
narrate in hushed tones: “Okay… now the
pastor is asking unseen forces of the spirit for blessings and protection. You see, the ancient Christians saw Jesus as
the “Light of the World”, which is, of course, a metaphor for the perennial
promise of the coming spring.”
Offended yet? I am.
Anyway, back to the saga of the Old Town Menorah. Apparently, it’s completely lost on the City
of Fort Collins that a symbol that is religious for some can be enjoyed as an
inoffensive celebration of community and faith by others.
So join Rabbi Gorelik on Monday night at 6 PM as he lights the “unofficial” Menorah in Old Town. Once again, CooperSmith’s Pub has generously stepped up to host the Menorah on their property. I’ll be there.
Remember Vallejo? I wrote a column about their budget woes in the lead-up to the June special election that would have allowed for binding arbitration for Fort Collins city employees.
Well, the woes continue:
That's not a good thing, considering the title of the list:
A look back through some of the year's most outrageous federal spending.
Free Bike Library - Colorado ($66,000)
A $66,000 federal grant to promote clean air has been used in Fort Collins, Colorado for a "bike library" that allows local residents to check out bicycles for free. According to the Coloradoan, "demand for bikes has been so great, however, that the library is often empty," leading to "shoving matches between riders over the free-to-borrow bikes."
You've got to read this to believe it:
KENNETH CITY — Council members caved in to demands from an angry crowd and delayed approving a neatness ordinance until officials explain every word of the 26-page document to Kenneth City residents.
In what was estimated to be the largest crowd to ever attend a Kenneth City Council meeting, an outraged group of residents railed at the proposal that would regulate the upkeep of both the exterior and interior of all property in the town.
The proposal basically sets standards for upkeep and appearance and gives town officials the right to enter homes. If the owner refuses to allow the official to enter, the town can go to a judge for an "administrative search warrant" to allow access to the interior of buildings. Violations would cost up to $250 a day.
It's still terrible:
What we might be able to learn from Texas and Florida.
Let's check in with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, shall we?
The city has come up with a plan to help you shake your salt habit, according to New York magazine.
In a closed-door gathering at Gracie Mansion late last month, health experts and food-industry representatives were told about Mayor Bloomberg's next crusade - an effort to reduce the salt in processed food by 20 percent over the next five years, the magazine reports in this week's issue.