Denver Direct: October 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What Are We? Idiots?

If I have to see those red letters prancing around again, I’m going to hurl. I note that the music in this derivative (rip-off) spot below is from Sick Puppies – how fitting.

Westword said it best:

Hickenlooper, I’m speaking directly to you now: What the fuck is up with the letters? No, I get it — each letter represents one of the nine parts of 1A-I that will go to maintenance and infrastructure projects at areas ranging from Health and Human Services to Cultural Attractions, but did you really think your boyish charm was enough to distract us from the fact that you think shoving a shitty Reading Rainbow episode down our throats will entice us to vote? Hick, we’ve come to expect better from you. You were the man who brought us the ads with you jumping out of a plane that got FasTracks through, and pumping coins into meters downtown that got you elected mayor, and that awesome one where you ate the Life cereal and your brother was all, “Hey, Mikey, he likes it!”

Those were great spots, but a bunch of letters prancing behind you? Do you have enough letters to spell, “Shit,” Your Honor? Because that’s what this campaign is.

Without organized opposition (who is going to spend millions to stop spending millions?), I resorted to this.

I saw one sign in Park Hill with “No” spray-painted on it.

And this from

When a major bond issue last went before the voters, they were promised a $98 million dollar price tag.

Instead, they got $142.39 million price tag, according to figures from the Denver Post.

So how can we believe Denver city officials this time? They missed by 44% percent. Were they lying out of a venal convenience to sell their boondoggles to the voters, or simply incompetent? Remember these facts when the City of Denver spews forth this time.

And from Jessica Peck Corry:

Every day, the government poses grave threats to our economic liberty — massive tax increases sold in flashy publicly-funded advertising packages that would make most private firms envious. In the aftermath of passing 13 tax-and-fee increases over the last four years, Denver voters are now being asked to foot the bill for nine more at a total cost of more than $550 million. (Ed. Note: Make that $1.5 Billion repayment cost)

I’m forced to ask myself: What will stop my neighbors, friends, and fellow coffee shop dwellers from rubber-stamping higher taxes once again when the truth is outmanned and out-funded?

Our lives are filled with constant propaganda preaching the virtues of socialism. Mayors — past and present — eagerly lend their names to such causes. Former Mayor Wellington Webb now drives by his name atop the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Building, a massive monument to contemporary growth in government and home to at least 40 different government agencies. His predecessor, Federico Peña, passes his name on Peña Boulevard every time he drives to the city’s airport, a project fraught with concerns about cost overruns.

Government monopolies are not to be outdone. Denver Water advertises across city billboards and in front yards across the city in its “Use only what you need” campaign. And to reward us for our conservation efforts, the city recently raised rates. In advertisements hanging from lamp posts around the city, a campaign promoting Denver Public Schools uses photos of children to promote its agenda. And finally, Xcel Energy sponsors more sporting events than the Monfort brothers.

So who can blame Denver’s current mayor, John Hickenlooper, for wanting to get in on a piece of the action? Surely, he’s got a building, a street, or maybe even a concert hall destined to carry his name one day.

No stranger to Denver’s airwaves, Hickenlooper has become a fixture on evening TV commercials — pleading for more of our money this November as part of his nine-part “A through I” tax-and-bond package.

To achieve a “Better Denver”, he points us to his campaign website, brought to us courtesy of a million-dollar budget complete with flashy commercials and full-color brochures. Not surprisingly, this is a campaign that has been funded almost exclusively by the same businesses and public cultural attractions that stand to benefit if taxpayers say yes.

Leading the way has been the city’s science museum — shelling out more than $300,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. If Denver voters support measures 1G and 1H, the museum, together with the city’s botanic gardens and concert hall, stands to gain more than $130 million in additional funding. Not surprisingly, Hickenlooper’s ads never mention the total price tag.

The city will tell you it doesn’t have enough money, but while Denver’s population has risen less than 2 percent in the last four years, total city spending has skyrocketed by 13 percent. Even without Hickenlooper’s tax increases, next year will mark a major milestone for Denver — the city’s first billion-dollar budget.

And last, I resort to a replay from two real citizens:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Come On Down to the Billion Dollar Bash.

“Well, I looked at my watch
I looked at my wrist
Punched myself in the face
With my fist
I took my potatoes
Down to be mashed
Then I made it over
To that million dollar bash
Ooh, baby, ooh-ee
Ooh, baby, ooh-ee
It's that million dollar bash”.

Bob Dylan "Million Dollar Bash"

Every time I can remember, in the past 30 some years, the Voters of Denver have chosen, after being ceaselessly battered with millions of dollars worth of TV ads, print ads, and at least 11 expensive mailers to me and my "household", to further burden ourselves with taxes, or give refunds away, for the enrichment of the banks and developers and, almost incidentally, to build us some cool stuff. These people have to earn a living too, but over ONE BILLION to the bankers and investors? On a half BILLION project. Yikes! Two for them and one for (some of) us. I feel like I'm taking my potatoes down to be mashed.

And wait! Just as a full-blown recession is blowing our way?

We like to think we’re different here in DEN, but this is going to be global, and there ain’t no easy way to avoid it. Already small pockets of homes here and there are going belly up in the loan scandal , strip malls are half filled with dollar or charity stores, giant banking cartels are trying to paper over the hemorrhaging paper, eggs are up 44% and milk 22%, and oh, by the way, remember what I said about heating costs? Expect a 33% increase there. And watch gasoline, harhar? Where's my electric scooter?

Am I punching myself in the face with my fist yet?

To say nothing of the dollar falling like a stone whilst being pumped and humped like a blow-up doll at the rate of 20% per year. Ouch it, hurts when you do that! And that's gentle compared to how other countries are pounding their doll(ar)s.

Imagine some of these Denver bond funded projects running wild. With a falling dollar, copper and commodities rising with Chinese price pressure, and the resulting cost of construction spiraling, will additional bonds be called for? or is that already built in?

And all with a falling and failing, over-assessed and foreclosed-upon, tax base. Cities, counties and countries can and do go bankrupt. The US did it in 1971 and we can do it again.

It may be the anticipated and planned way out for the manipulators.

Unfortunately, at our expense. There, that's a good punch.

P.S. What ever supplies you lay in now, you'll be saving money as the prices go up. And who knows, you may actually need the stuff you bought when the food and gasoline riots break out. You know, all kinda "Colorado What-If?"

Hey, I'm just sayin'.....

Bob Dylan - A Hard Rain