No one likes a backseat driver. They're pushy and distracting, and even if they're right, their tone of voice is annoying. The same goes for those LED signs on the refurbished portion of Speer Boulevard that passes through downtown, the freeway free verse that for the last few weeks has been reminding us: Fireworks/ Illegal/ In Denver/ Drive Safe/ July 4.
Yes, fireworks are illegal in Denver. Everyone knows that by now, although it seems that most people don't care. Still, Denver wants to make sure it gets more bang for its repaving buck, so when the fire department asked that its holiday warning be posted, the city got the message.
The signs, and the bossy words that ultimately appear on them, are controlled by the Denver Department of Public Works. According to Robert Kochevar, director of the department's traffic-operations division, the signs are reserved for traffic updates, public-service announcements and alerts related to public safety, including parade detours and traffic jams. Since the messages are limited to ten characters per line, three lines per frame and three frames per message, they can't be too wordy. "More detailed messages are possible," adds department spokeswoman Patty Weiss, "but they're more complicated to program."
So what happens when the message isn't complicated, but perhaps a tad controversial? Say, for example, the Mayor's Office of Economic Development wants to remind visiting motorists to Relocate/ Your Biz/ In Denver/ Boeing/ Sucks.
"They can apply," Kochevar says, "but it doesn't mean they're going to get it. So far, everyone has been very responsible about it."
Glass houses: Every day is Independence Day for Bob Glass. The owner of a Longmont gun store, host of a patriot-minded radio show and publisher of a similarly themed magazine, Glass is also the founder of the Tyranny Response Team, a pro-gun group whose members show up at rallies wearing matching T-shirts and carrying bullhorns to shout down Million Mom Marchers and other gun-control advocates.
Now it looks as though Glass may want to bring out the big guns -- and run for governor on the Libertarian ticket. (He wouldn't be alone, either: James Vance is set to announce his gubernatorial candidacy July 10.) Glass was a recent panelist on ABC's Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher, and although he didn't mention any political ambitions on the air, Glass not only has the charisma to run for office, but he might even attract some people to the party, says Libertarian Party spokesman Kent McNaughton. "Because of what Governor Bill Owens has done with gun laws," McNaughton says, "a lot of Republicans might, as a one-time protest or as a conversion, go with the Glass candidacy."