Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Naysayer of the Month - Mayor Hickenlooper

Photo of Cableland, the Denver Mayor's Mansion
by Phil Goodstein

To assure that the mayor always shared his values, cable television magnate Bill Daniels donated his mansion, Cableland, to the city in 1997. He valued it as worth $7 million. Ideally, it guaranteed that rather than being a sturdy middle-class citizen who had the responsibility of maintaining his own home, the mayor would be among the financial elite, catering to the rich.

The "gift" (the German word for poison) saw the property taken off the tax rolls. No mayor has subsequently occupied it - the house is poorly designed for a family; it having been Daniels' fantasy bachelor's residence. Nonetheless, Wellington Webb and John Hickenlooper have insisted the city must have an official mayor's palace to entertain dignitaries, i.e., the interest of the city's leader is not the populace, but those who live in a world of pretense while expecting to be treated as royalty.

Now, to fund one of his many vacuous schemes, Hickenlooper has announced that Cableland is for sale, valuing it at $5.4 million. Instead of putting the proceeds of the sale into the general fund, he has announced that he is going to use this public property to fund his Denver Scholarship Foundation, a scheme to pay for college scholarships for the city's high school graduates. In other words, the mayor has arbitrarily disposed of the asset, giving the people of Denver and their representatives no say. Here it needs to be recalled that Bill Daniels always presented himself as a man most concerned with ethics. Simultaneously, Hickenlooper has advocated that the city should drain its assets by obtaining a new mayor's mansion.

Hence, in the process of taking a step forward of getting rid of Daniels' "gift," Hickenlooper is going two steps backwards of arbitrarily channeling public funds into his own "philanthropic" ventures while assuring a new albatross will hang down on the people of Denver. As such, he is the Naysayer of the Month.

Update: City Council tables the issue.


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