OFF LIMITS

DIA's tape delay: The controversy over Denver International Airport has tempers soaring even 2,000 miles away. After learning that someone on Senator Hank Brown's staff had tape-recorded the GAO's off-the-record, DIA background briefing for Colorado's congressional delegation, Representative Pat Schroeder wrote Brown on October 14, complaining of the secret taping and asking that a complete copy of the transcript be given to anyone who'd attended.

Brown's response came quickly: "Dear Pat: Is this really what you came to Congress to do?"

Among other things, yes. Two days later Schroeder sent Brown a letter reiterating her request for copies of the recording, which Brown's staffers had told her were being made at the Senate Recording Studio. (What's number one on the hit parade--Richard Nixon's missing eighteen minutes?). "Apparently your office is now saying that you will not release the tape unless each and every person who attended the briefing [Schroeder sent an intern] authorizes the release of the tape. The tape was surreptitiously made by your office without asking anyone's permission. You have released various chunks of an alleged transcript of the taping, one of them mysteriously labeled `Not for release at GAO Request.' The GAO has made no such request. I find these developments most peculiar. Why not just release the tape?"

On Friday Brown fired back: "Perhaps you have missed the attention Denver International Airport has received in local and national media the last several weeks...The Washington Post has reported that `some of the bonds issued to finance the problem-plagued Denver Airport are now selling for about 90 percent of their original price because of Wall Street worries that the airport won't be able to generate the revenue needed to pay bondholders.

"With all this going on, what are you focused on? You have thrown out a series of bogus charges designed to divert attention away from the problems at the airport. You have falsely accused me of `delaying' the GAO report. You falsely accused my staff of `secretly' taping a meeting that you did not even attend. Pat, I want GAO to answer the questions that are being asked by the press, the public and Congress. What do you want GAO to do?

"It is time for action, not words. If you want to help Colorado, then lead, follow or get out of the way."

Those words have been heard in Congress before. They were a favorite phrase of ex-House speaker Jim Wright...and we all know where he wound up.

Brief encounters: Colorado's lawyers have called a halt to the letter-writing campaign that buried Denver Post editorial-page editor Chuck Green in over 500 faxed and mailed missives after he had the temerity to link hoodlums and lawyers in a DPS editorial. (Here's one way the two differ: Hoodlums are less long-winded. Here's another: Hoodlums have a sense of humor.) In declaring the cease-fire, the current Docket, the Denver Bar Association's newsletter, notes, "We weren't and aren't trying to censor or edit the Post. They do a good job. But we think it's okay to say `ouch' when we're kicked in the shin."

No sooner did the lawyers cease and desist than someone else fired up the fax machine: Rick Cendo, president of Gays and Lesbians Against Immoral Lifestyles, who sent out a press release asking supporters to call Green and complain about Post perspective editor Al Knight, whom Cendo labeled a "liar" for his recent article on Amendment 2, among other things. Although the Post hasn't exactly been flooded with responses, Knight did send his own missive to Cendo: a letter from lawyer/wife Sue Knight, threatening to sue Cendo for libel. Suggested damages: $1.65.

Banned on the run: In honor of Banned Books Week, Colorado's public libraries recently tallied the titles challenged most frequently last year. Among the winners: The American Library Association poster announcing the 1993 Banned Books Week, on display at Jefferson County libraries, which parents complained was "negative and confusing.

 
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