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OFF LIMITS

Higher and higher education: Under host Howard Higman, the University of Colorado's Conference on World Affairs was one hell of a party. When he founded the annual event in 1948, Higman's goal was to bring the world to Boulder, throwing international notables from all sorts of disciplines--they eventually included Cold Warriors, beatniks, perennial favorite Roger Ebert--together on panels, while the audience drank up their free-for-all discussion and British journalists drank up Higman's renowned hospitality. ("If anyone asks you to go to Boulder, I have one word of advice. GO!" wrote Simon Hoggart in the London Observer.) Ultimately, though, the conference came under fire for being a little too free-form; by last year, things had gotten so bad that the school canceled the event altogether (in doing so, CU cited a financial crunch, rather than a philosophical clash).

But now Higman, who died late last year, is gone...and the conference is back, albeit in a far more sober-sided form. The 48th incarnation of the event, set for April, is dedicated to "Technology, Power and Change." And though Ebert will return, this year he'll be joined at the dais by several Colorado participants (Higman always made it a point to exclude local luminaries), including former governor Dick Lamm and former senators Tim Wirth and Gary Hart. Higman himself will be remembered with the "Howard Higman Memorial Lecture" series.

Party on.

Without a paddle: Well, at least one person isn't running for Representative Pat Schroeder's Denver seat. That's because Ruben Perez, the former Denver Public Schools lord of discipline, has his eyes on the governor's office--or so he told radio host George Weber last week. (Weber, of course, knows his governors: He once told a steaming Roy Romer to "take a pill.") Perez, who's received plenty of applause at recent Independence Institute dinners (last year he rated a standing ovation, outdrawing even Attorney General Gale Norton), says he'll run as a Republican. At least Perez might find some job security at the Capitol; at the Academy of Charter Schools in Adams County, where he's currently assistant principal, students are circulating petitions protesting his reign.

Last spring, mayoral challenger Mary DeGroot and incumbent Wellington Webb were sniping at each other over the state of Denver schools. When DeGroot charged Webb with failing to improve education, Webb said DeGroot had a chance to make changes of her own when she served on the City-School Coordinating Commission...a charge DeGroot countered by noting that the group rarely had a meeting.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. After his re-election, Webb named Carol Boigon to a new cabinet-level post as manager for education and advocacy--but the commission she's supposed to oversee is still having trouble getting together. Last week's meeting was postponed because of a "tremendous amount of scheduling conflicts," according to Andrew Hudson, Webb's press secretary. It's now rescheduled for February 16--exactly four days before the DPS board is set to finalize the most sweeping redesign in almost three decades.

Sorry, wrong number: Bad enough that Phil Burgess, president of the Center for the New West, actually lives on the East Coast. What's worse is that every time Burgess writes a column for the Rocky Moun-tain News extolling the deregulation of telecommunications--last week's "Telecom policy pro-consumer," for example--the paper fails to note in Burgess's bio that his center is largely funded by US West.

 
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