Off Limits

Keep your eye on the birdie

In embattled Jefferson County, few government officials have taken as much heat as County Attorney William Tuthill, who announced his resignation last week. Even his departure, effective October 15, isn't without controversy -- including an ungracious gesture from his harshest critic, followed by a rare apology.

Since taking over the job three years ago, Tuthill has had a bumpy go of it, from long-running court clashes with victims' families over Columbine records to the current contretemps over the Pinky T faxes, in which County Commissioner Rick Sheehan and Cynthia Beyer-Ulrich, an attorney who works for Tuthill, have been accused of spreading disparaging information about other county employees ("Outfaxed," August 5). Officially, his decision to leave was voluntary: "With elections just around the corner, this is the best time for a change," Tuthill stated in a county press release. But sources in Jeffco say his resignation presages a general shakeup that's expected when two new commissioners take office in a few weeks. And although Tuthill's contract called for no severance if he left voluntarily, on Monday the commissioners approved a $60,000 going-away package.

Online gadfly Mike Zinnawas positively exultant about Tuthill's exit. His website, JeffcoExposed.com, has been savaging the county attorney for various alleged misdeeds for months -- most recently, for hiring outside attorneys to defend Sheehan and Beyer-Ulrich in the Pinky T mess. News of the resignation was just breaking when JeffcoExposed featured a giddy bulletin about it, complete with a "nah-nah-nah-nah" and an animated graphic of someone offering the county attorney a special farewell in the form of an extended middle finger.

But the bird was soon replaced with an apology: "Without my prior knowledge or consent, a graphic appeared on JeffcoExposed.com that was ill-conceived and inappropriate," Zinna wrote. "It was the creative work of an extremely talented person who I care about very much. Unfortunately, this animation was neither creative nor funny. It was simply offensive.

"We take the ethical high road, throw in gratuitous humor to keep it fresh, and always call a spade a spade. Today, we are the spade...This lapse in oversight will not happen again."

This isn't the first time JeffcoExposed's scabrous sense of humor has undergone some re-examination. A graphic of a mushroom cloud emanating from the Taj Mahal was removed a few months ago after a visit from the FBI. But other stabs at caricature -- one official sitting on a toilet and using local newspapers as toilet tissue, for instance, or Tuthill depicted with a Hitler mustache -- remain on the website.

So do the nah-nah-nah-nahs.

Sorry, wrong number: We don't know why so many Coloradans are in a tizzy over the possibility of felons voting in the upcoming election. After all, this state already entrusts felons with some of its stickiest questions; the Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Divisioncontracts with Correctional Industries to have inmates in the Arkansas Valley prison answer queries regarding port-of-entry, driving and vehicle policies. According to Department of Corrections spokeswoman Alison Morgan, the inmates get an average of 2,000 to 2,500 calls a day and have a "90 percent success rate" -- which means they're able to satisfy about 1,800 of the questions that come their way.

But in a recorded message before your inmate info expert picks up, the state does advise you to keep your "level one" questions basic and not get too personal. Like, say, "My license will expire while I'm out of town for a month, leaving my house totally vulnerable to pillaging, and can I just get a new one when I'm back in town and filling in all the police burglary reports?"

Scene and herd: Yes, that's Boulder's Zora Andrich -- now known as "television's Zora Andrich" -- touting NutriSystem in current ads. And what did Andrich, a former substitute teacher, do to earn her TV title? She won the heart of Joe Millionaire (Evan Marriott) in early 2003, then promptly broke up with him. That May, Andrich was Media for Humanity's first Ambassador of Good Will, traveling to Serbia with donated toys and medical supplies. And since then? "I ate chocolate and lost 20 lbs.," Andrich says in the ad. Fame is fleeting. ... V. Robert Salazar, a local real-estate and investment magnate who bought the decrepit Regency Hotellast month, isn't yet ready to reveal his plans for the property. But we know the project won't include those giant bucking broncos that once graced the eyesore's exterior: They galloped off with former owner Art Cormier. ... No such luck with the Borofsky dancers, which are still standing outside the Denver Performing Arts Complex, apparently well on their way to becoming a beloved landmark. One recent Saturday, we caught a half-dozen cranberry-gowned bridesmaids cavorting around a bride at the base of the sculpture while a photographer snapped away.


What's So Funny?
By Adam Cayton-Holland

Few people recall what prompted the meeting of concerned parents during my sophomore year at East High School. Nobody had died from alcohol poisoning -- except that one little fucker from Brit Lit X, but he wasn't popular, so it didn't count -- and to the best of my recollection, no one had even passed out and been graffitied with permanent marker, or "chiefed," if you will. We weren't that advanced. Our time was spent fighting midnight curfews, searching for friends with cars and suffering egregious "white-boy taxes" in the sketchy liquor stores that would sell to us. Beyond that, we were good kids.

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