Miller Hudson

Puff, the Magic Dragon, arriving soon to nest in Colorado

The Colorado Statesman

Ten years ago I left Paris on the Friday before Halloween riding the high-speed, Belgian THALYS train headed for Amsterdam. Although most Europeans call it All Souls Day, their holiday is similar to ours, and my coach was packed with college students, many in costume and most of them drinking heavily. They were bound for Amsterdam and the Netherlands’ recently opened coffee houses — then, they would be on to the city’s synth-beat dance halls. Marijuana was the draw, trance dancing, the high and communal hotel rooms the payoff.

Catch 22 at the Colorado Parole Board

The Colorado Statesman

In 1981 the police drama Hill Street Blues began its award winning seven season run on NBC. Throughout the series Daniel J. Travanti and Veronica Hamel, a police captain and public defender, were romantically involved and many episodes ended with them talking in bed after long days at the office comparing notes on their respective challenges. I distinctly recall an episode where Hamel complained to Travanti about how one of her clients was being mistreated by the police.

HUDSON: DENVER OR ADAMS COUNTY?

Whose competing land use policies will fly when it comes to the prickly subject of DIA?

The Colorado Statesman

Political pundit E. J. Dionne of the Washington Post recently penned a column questioning whether American democracy remains capable of delivering the services that voters want and need from their government. While it was the dysfunction in our nation’s Capitol that prompted his musings, there is a growing skepticism among historians and political scientists regarding the performance of democratic institutions across the globe. During the past decade, electoral politics has experienced a rough patch.

HUDSON: GESSLER SHOULD JUST ANTE UP THE BUCKS

Great Scott! A political tempest in a teapot

Contributing Columnist

Colorado’s good government brigades placed Amendment 41 on the ballot in 2006, creating an Independent Ethics Commission where complaints can be lodged against state employees and elected officials for alleged breaches of propriety. The proposal was adopted with 62 percent of the vote despite the fact that there is virtually no evidence of misbehavior in Colorado’s governance. By comparison with many of its peers, both state and local governments in Colorado have been remarkably clean over the years. But, in the hyper-partisan political environment that has taken root during the past decade, the Commission has provided an inviting venue for besmirching an opponent’s reputation.

HUDSON: A MODEL PRISONER, NOT VIOLENT TROUBLEMAKER

Governor’s office, Denver Post complicit in covering up mistreatment of al-Turki

Contributing Columnist

During the darkest days of the Cold War, a “hot line” was installed connecting the White House and the Kremlin as a safeguard against the inadvertent launch of nuclear missiles that would trigger the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) of both countries. Picking up this red telephone, at a time when all other phones were black, would ring the companion phone at the other end. A similar arrangement appears to exist between the editorial offices at the Denver Post and Governor Hickenlooper’s policy staff.

HUDSON: THE MATH ISN’T SO SIMPLE

Question: When is a legislative expenditure not a TABOR expenditure? Read on...

Contributing Columnist

Supporters of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) amendment would like Colorado taxpayers to believe it provides a simple braking mechanism on increases in state and local spending. And, for a few years in the mid-‘90s it probably did just that — slow the rate of growth in these governmental budgets. But it didn’t take long for the finaglers (think lobbyists, tax lawyers, JBC members, OSPB staff and the half dozen other legislators who actually understand how the long bill works) to begin constructing TABOR escape hatches for their favored initiatives.

HUDSON: VITAL BRICKS IN THE WALL OF COLORADO’S ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE

Regional cooperation is forcing a paradigm shift in the way we govern in Colorado

Contributing Columnist

Denver residents no longer need to padlock their liquor cabinets and hide away their daughters when the Legislature arrives in town. The legal protection that Colorado voters learned about last session, when state Rep. Laura Bradford was released after a suspected DUI stop by Denver police officers, wasn’t established to forestall partisan kidnappings — it was authorized to insure quorums weren’t threatened by multiple incarcerations in the Denver County jail.

Riding the West Line to the Taj Majal

The Colorado Statesman

A dozen years ago a red-haired Canadian Scot by way of Bermuda was renting a room in my West Denver basement. Eric MacDonald of Parsons Engineering was the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) project manager for RTD’s 6th Avenue light rail line west to Golden. Eric lived in Orlando at the time, but was spending three or four days a week in Denver, so it was easier for him to simply stash extra clothes, boots and jackets here, rather than toting them back and forth on the plane (especially post 9/11).

HUDSON: RUMMAGING THROUGH THE NATIONAL MEDICINE CABINET

The perfect prescription for health care reform may make us really feel sick

Contributing Columnist

The occasional bleating noises that have emerged from the offices of health care providers since the 2009 adoption of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are about to swell into a full-throated chorus of high decibel wailings and lamentations. Within a few weeks insurors will be filing their premium schedules with state Insurance Commissions for the medical plans they are required to offer on health care exchanges. These insurors will no longer be allowed to exclude pre-existing conditions, establish annual or lifetime benefit limits, nor can they require co-pays for many preventive procedures.

HUDSON: INSIDE THE BELTWAY

Another State of the Union, another reminder about Washington hubris

Contributing Columnist

“Suppose you were an idiot,
and suppose
you were a member of Congress;
but I repeat myself.”
Mark Twain