OFF LIMITS

Nine wants to no: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now that Butch Montoya, former assistant news director at Channel 9, has become the city's manager of public safety, can Paula Woodward's appointment to director of public works be far behind? Not if the same connections that counted for Montoya (besides his Hispanic origins) pay off again. One of Montoya's strongest supporters is Denver police detective John Wyckoff, former DPD spokesman, current (as of last month) president of the Police Protective Association--and former Woodward bodyguard (during the days of her "Caution: Frequent Stops" public-works expose).

Wyckoff denies having influenced Mayor Wellington Webb's selection of Montoya, saying he was equally supportive of the two other finalists (who shall remain nameless) for the job. Still, he admits he ran for the PPA post because he was worried that the organization was losing its political influence. And PPA members are certainly no fans of the last safety manager, Beth McCann--who now moves to the mayor's Safe City campaign, keeping her cabinet-member status and $83,000 salary. Urine trouble now: Denver Post reporter Alan Katz didn't intend to make an editorial comment on Pena Boulevard a few weeks ago. But he'd been on assignment for hours, measuring the time it took to reach Denver International Airport from various parts of the city by cab. And, as we all know by now, DIA is quite far from any, uh, comfort facilities.

The boulevard itself was closed, as was the terminal; Katz and company had been turned back at the guard's post. So with several more miles to go before I-70's service stations, the reporter asked the driver to pull over. He got out, looked both ways ("there are no trees out there," he notes), and let loose with some yellow journalism.

At which point a policewoman popped up and issued Katz a summons for urinating in public. He plans to contest the charge, reasoning that there's nothing very public about a closed road with no other people in sight.

As for other travelers who feel the urge, Katz has one piece of advice: "Security is very tight out there."

Pressing engagements: While Department of Energy plant manager Mark Silverman offers his solution for Rocky Flats--bury the joint in cement--Washington, D.C., continues to heat up over the plutonium-filled factory. ABC's 20/20 currently is investigating the Department of Justice's handling of assorted environmental cases, including Rocky Flats, and camera crews were in town last month to film interviews with the Rocky Flats grand jurors and their lawyer, Jonathan Turley. But the action really got hot in D.C. last week. When judge-turned-journalist Catherine Crier sat down to talk with lawyers from the DOJ's environmental-crimes section, department spokesman Carl Stern--himself a former journalist--blew up and declared the Justice Department off limits to not just Crier, but anyone from ABC News (at least temporarily). No word yet on when 20/20 will drop the bomb.

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