Miller Hudson

Columnist

Denver city council turnover marks end of an era

The Colorado Statesman

It was certainly a shock to me when Michael Hancock, who graduated from Manual High School with my son, was elected Mayor four years ago. Pundits like to dwell on the theory of generational change following each election. Jeanne Faatz and Charlie Brown, who left the Denver City Council this past week, were first elected to the Legislature a few years either side of 1980. They were part of the first wave of Colorado politicians who were children of the ‘60s; veterans of Viet Nam and candidates who could claim John Kennedy’s call to public service had resonated in their lives.

Biennial panelists wrestle with questions of drug legalization

The Colorado Statesman

The Biennial of the Americas Festival in Denver closed with a symposium designed to goose the interest of delegates last Thursday evening called “Legalization: The Next phase in the War on Drugs?” Gov. John Hickenlooper was joined by former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos; Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse; and moderator Tina Brown, former editor at Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.

Hemisphere's future talk of Biennial of the Americas Festival

The Colorado Statesman

It was fitting that Denver’s third Biennial of the Americas festival launched the same day as the Legislative Audit Committee’s report of shrinking crowds attending the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. A staff of several dozen has spent the past six months finalizing the schedule of events that make up this cross-cultural festival of arts, culture and business in the New World. Nearly 300 musicians, artists, authors, entrepreneurs and academics from 25 countries have assembled in downtown Denver to tug on the threads that bind the Western Hemisphere together.

Doug Bruce has day in court, with more ahead

The Colorado Statesman

This story has been corrected. Please see correction below.

Round 2 of the alleged probation violation charges against Taxpayer Bill of Rights author Doug Bruce landed in Judge Sheila Rappaport’s Denver District Court on Monday. Another round is scheduled for August 31, and yet another, complete with fresh charges, is likely to follow that.

Bruce has been under supervision for three years by the Colorado Probation Office, since he served a sentence for criminal tax evasion. Bruce wasn’t convicted of pocketing moneys for his own use. Instead, he donated his salary as an El Paso County commissioner to several tax-exempt, political non-profit organizations. Failing to pay taxes on this pass-through, prosecutors argued, cheated the state of tax revenues, while bolstering the contributions enjoyed by the recipients of his largesse. Bruce has called this an invented legal theory of “criminal philanthropy.” If a corporation had been found executing similar transfers, it almost certainly would have been handled as a civil matter, he maintained.

Columnist

Hudson: D.C. Fourth: Fireworks, terror, humidity and musings on ISIS

The Colorado Statesman

In years past I’ve spent several Fourth of July holidays in Washington, D.C. Aside from nearly insufferable heat and humidity, you are assured a world class fireworks show. A new normal, however, appears to have emerged this year with security ramped up wherever you turned. Cops were encamped on every corner. Three miles of chain link fencing had been erected in order to funnel the crowds through metal detectors before anyone set foot on the National Mall. Torrential rains in the morning and afternoon reduced lawns to muddy sponges so no one could sit on the grass.

Columnist

Hudson: Conservatives, pot entrepreneurs a study in contrast at gatherings

The Colorado Statesman

Two very different events took place at opposite ends of downtown Denver last weekend. Colorado Christian University and its Centennial Institute’s Western Conservative Summit convened at the Colorado Convention Center, while the Arcview Investor Network’s Pitch Forum for a burgeoning marijuana industry gathered at the EXDO Center in River North. A casual observer might have had trouble telling which meeting was which.

Columnist

Hudson: Local governments grapple with boosting broadband

The Colorado Statesman

The 268 cities and towns that belong to the Colorado Municipal League returned to Breckenridge last week for the organization’s annual summer meeting. More than a thousand elected officials and municipal officers were registered for a weeklong schedule of training sessions, and issue forums. (Several years ago, one of Denver’s investigative TV reporters ambushed delegates around the swimming pool, asking why they weren’t attending the scheduled educational seminars.

Columnist

Hudson: Summit examines NOCO transportation

The Colorado Statessman

You can read about someone else’s commute, but you can’t fully appreciate it without making the trip yourself. A 6:30 a.m. drive up U.S. 85 from Denver on Monday to the Northern Colorado Transportation Summit in Greeley proved instructive. Incoming traffic approaching the Queen City of the Plains was bumper-to-bumper for miles. The northbound lanes were crowded with a solid phalanx of 18-wheelers rumbling towards the gravel pits, industrial parks and construction sites abutting the highway in Adams and Weld counties. If you are wondering whether Colorado’s economy has truly recovered, the billboard employment ads along this highway, promising blue collar career opportunities, answer that question. On a recent drive to Mead on I-25, I witnessed even heavier traffic.

Big Dog leaves mark at Clinton Global summit in Denver

The Colorado Statesman

The Big Dog returned to Denver for the second year in a row this past week with his domestic policy edition of the Clinton Global Initiative — part Davos-style deliberation of important issues by important people, part tent revival where true believers are called forward to attest to their personal or organizational commitment to achieve good things. And it’s all served up with a dash of New Age earnestness by the carnival barker who was our 42nd president.

Statesman Columnist

Colorado Health Exchange may be skating on thin ice

The Colorado Statesman

Two weeks ago I received an email from Sameer Parekh Brenn of Boulder containing the following appeal: “My family is being threatened with losing our healthcare coverage because Connect for Health is broken. Would you like to cover the story?”