OFF LIMITS

You be the judge: Mayor Wellington Webb's appointment of Claudia Jordan to the Denver County Court bench won universal raves--except, perhaps, from a handful of prosecutorial types who'd come up against Jordan during her five years as a deputy state public defender. But the course of Jordan's swearing in was considerably more rocky. To commemorate the fact that Jordan will be the first African-American to serve on a Colorado county court, Webb's office arranged to honor Her Honor--and make a few political points in the process--with a private reception at the Denver Art Museum following the public ceremony. To subsidize the shindig, the city solicited sponsors, including Anheuser-Busch, whose name was prominently featured on the invitation sent to a thousand of the city's closest friends. When other judges--and Jordan herself--learned of the proposed festivities, they raised several ethical objections. For example, wouldn't Anheuser-Busch's sponsorship pose a problem if Jordan were to preside over a DUI case? At the last second, plans for the elaborate party were benched, and a standard swearing-in ceremony was held on Thursday.

More pressing engagements: Webb was back walking the neighborhoods this week while news of his exploits made tracks across the country, thanks to a glowing profile in the latest edition of Public Issues, a publication of the Municipal Bond Investors Assurance Corp. Its author? Rocky Mountain News airport-beat reporter Kevin Flynn, who made much of Webb's campaign promise to walk the streets 21 days a year (Monday's march was day 11), as well as his loyalty to friends. One "long-time friend" told Flynn that "Webb reminds him of a Jimmy Stewart character, a common man battling injustice to do what is right. `He's a common, everyday guy,' is how attorney King Trimble sizes up Webb. `He doesn't try to be someone he's not.'"

Not that you'd know it from Flynn's story, but here's who Trimble is: a partner in the law firm of Trimble & Nulan, which has gotten more than $500,000 in Denver International Airport-related legal work since Webb took office.

Meanwhile, occasional News columnist, sometime Denver philanthropist and full-time ambassador to Austria Swanee Hunt takes a drubbing in the current New Republic. Although Hunt cited the Austrian experience of husband Charles Ansbacher at her confirmation hearings (he studied conducting at Salzburg's Mozarteum), her primary qualification for the post was apparently her hefty 1992 donation to the Democratic Party--which topped a quarter of a mil. Hunt's appointment was "a classic buying of an ambassadorship," a Senate source told the magazine.

Talk loudly and carry a big shtick: According to the latest Arbitron ratings, Ken Hamblin, whose July 17 column in the Denver Post decried "the abysmal level Denver's seasoned talk radio hosts sank to on the first morning after my resignation from KNUS radio," had sunk to a fairly abysmal level himself. Hamblin's KNUS show, which he quit last month after signing on for a nationally syndicated show this fall, had the lowest rating of any of the morning yappers: 1.7. Even Don Imus, the big mouth from the Big Apple on KYBG, scored higher.

 
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