It Takes a Pillage

Bring me men! Okay, and some women, too.

Admittedly, both have drawbacks. You can't march to "Both Sides Now," and Denver died in a plane crash -- hardly an inspiration to future fliers.

So here's a third option, one that draws from two traditions (the words come from another Foss poem, and they line up with the academy's earlier, see-no-evil attitude). It also reflects the Pentagon's very deep wish that this sex scandal, like the media, would just go away:

I say the very things that make the greatest Stir
An' the most interestin' things, are things that didn't occur.

Pocket Change

In 1996, 62-year-old Sylvia Stayton was led off to jail in handcuffs.

Don't expect to see the same thing happen (media-genic as it might be) to John Hickenlooper, even though in "Change," one of his TV commercials, he commits the very act that got Stayton busted: feeding expired parking meters. She was plugging them in Cincinnati, in violation of an obscure ordinance peculiar to that town, but if there's such a statute in Denver, it's so obscure that no one in the city or at Hickenlooper campaign headquarters can find it -- and they've looked.

When it was introduced in 1958, the Cincinnati ordinance was designed to keep office workers from hogging storefront spaces all day. Denver has a similar rule limiting parkers to two hours in downtown spaces -- but it's the car that overstays its welcome (whether a meter's been plugged or not) that gets the ticket, not any good Samaritan (or wannabe mayor) who drops in an extra quarter. "He'd only be guilty of wasting money," Patty Weiss, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works, says of Hickenlooper.

And with the city in its current monetary mess, that could be the biggest crime of all.

Speaking of which, Hickenlooper got some face time on ABC's World News Tonight this past Monday, when Peter Jennings and company took their depressed-city series to Denver. But talk about depressed! In "Mile High Money Problems," Hickenlooper was identified only as a bar owner, not the soon-to-be mayoral frontrunner. The brief segment, which also featured city finance director Margaret Browne ("The 7 Percent Solution," April 17) and two more sad LoDo businesses, showed one disaster after another, from layoffs to last summer's fires (complete with graphic footage) to last month's blizzard (more graphic footage). The Mile High City had fallen fast from the dizzying '90s, when Denver built a $4 billion (depending on who's counting) airport and three new sports stadiums (still more graphic footage, this time of Invesco Field at Mile High).

That view of Invesco Field was all over the media back in July 2001, when the Denver Post's Woody Paige noted the new stadium's resemblance to a diaphragm (inaccurately, really, since it looks much more like a bedpan), and then-Invesco Funds Group head Mark Williamson pitched a fit ("Flush With Success," August 9, 2001). Williamson's disappearance from the Denver scene prompted much less outcry; he's since moved on to a sister company in Houston, and Ray Cunningham is now president/CEO of Invesco Funds Group.

As for Invesco Field, the Post last year dropped its quixotic campaign to call it the new Mile High Stadium -- and Hickenlooper, who got his first taste of public campaigning when he led the effort to keep the Mile High name, has embraced the official title, too. "Mayor Hickenlooper will always refer to it as Invesco Field at Mile High," his campaign reports. Optimistically.

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