Denver Direct: What If? Colorado

Sunday, September 2, 2007

What If? Colorado

So I get this email from Carla Madison, our new City Council person in District 8, announcing that there are two days left to create a videotape audition to enter something called “What If? Colorado”. Somewhat baffled at first, I read the details:

The Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are seeking adventurous Denver residents over the age of 18 to audition for the “What If? Colorado” reality competition. This unique reality competition will pit Colorado residents from across the state against each other as they learn how to prepare for and survive a variety of “disaster” challenges – all while uncovering the easy steps Coloradans can take to protect themselves from emergencies out in the “real world.”

So, its a competition for a new “reality show”. Okaaaay…. and then what?

From September 1-4, Colorado residents can vote online at to select semi-finalists; and from Sept. 5-11 Colorado residents can vote online for their favorite finalists. Finalists will be announced on September 12. The house competition will be held at The Gregory in Denver from Thurs., Sept. 20 through Sun., Sept. 23 where the finalists will live together and confront a series of “challenges” designed to test their emergency preparedness skills and their knowledge of a variety of potential disasters that Coloradans could face — such as a severe blizzard, a public health emergency or an extended power outage.

“held at The Gregory”? Oh, I’ve been by the place – interested in what a Bed and Breakfast in Curtis Park would look like, right across from the (new) low-income housing on Arapahoe at 25th St. They took two old Victorians and spliced them together. Innovative.

Apparently this boondoggle is being funded with Federal and State money going to PR firm Ground Floor Media. I can only guess at the amount of money being spent here, and only wonder, slack-jawed, at the who, what and how of the details.

I am sure the resulting reality show will be instructive. Instructive in how to waste public (and private?) money. I know I’ll be waiting in eager anticipation to see what I should do in the event of a disaster.

(For example, What If? Colorado had a sub-prime mortgage meltdown and thousands of families were tossed into the street as their houses went into foreclosure? What would these kids do? OMG, get out the (Eldorado) bottled water.)