Shootout at the Not-So-Okay Corral

This year started not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Those elections left us with a new gunslinger -- and money-flinger -- in town. Twenty-five-year-old Internet multimillionaire Jared Polis took aim at a state Board of Education seat with nearly $1 million and put another $125,000 into the successful campaign for Amendment 23, which will increase funding, albeit only slightly, for education. Polis, whose sincere face and knitted eyebrows became a common sight on TV in the weeks before the election, faced a little recount drama of his own, though, before finally beating Republican incumbent Ben Alexander by a mere ninety votes.

As the year wound down and plans for Denver's delayed millennium celebration came to the fore, city officials realized that the man they'd hired to orchestrate a giant fireworks display on the 16th Street Mall, Pierre-Alain Hubert, wasn't the man they thought he was. Although he'd been touted as the creator of last year's magnificent fireworks program in Paris -- the one you were probably watching as you piled up candles, bottled water and cans of chili -- he wasn't, it turns out. Whether the mistake was made by the man, his publicity agent or the city seems to have been lost in the translation. Oh well, c'est la vie.

In honor of the real start of the millennium, it could well be time for Denver to put down its weapons. That won't be easy: Gun control is likely to be one of the most bitter issues in the legislature again this year. But as Lakewood state representative and licensed firearms dealer Scott McKay said last February to Denver Democratic representative Ken Gordon (now a senator) after Gordon bought a .22 Ruger at a gun show to demonstrate how easy it was to do: "Being that we're buddies now and we both have the same kind of .22, would you like to come with me sometimes?"

What a beautiful thought -- not a bang, but a whimper. Happy new year, Denver!

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