Citizen Bane

Exposing the Denver Election Commission is as easy as falling off a blog.

We've counted the vote for this month's Good Citizen award, and Lisa Jones is the clear winner. She only worked for the Denver Election Commission for a few weeks back in May 2003 -- during the race in which John Hickenlooper pulled a surprise upset and moved on to the runoff for Denver mayor -- but the city's most dysfunctional agency continues to give her endless amounts of material. In fact, it was a May 31 item on Jones's blog, Heartbroken Tiger (www.lisajones.com), that finally got the commission to admit to the truth of at least one of the rumors going around town for weeks -- that voters' files had been lost in the move to a new building this spring.

That blog item was the first the commissioners had heard about the missing records, according to Alton Dillard, the commission's communications director. " Who knew what when? That's what we're investigating," he adds.

"It's profoundly incompetent," Jones says of the office, which she reports on simply because "I am a voter here." And she knows how important -- and tricky -- the November ballot will be, even for a competent office.

Dogs should be spayed, not sprayed.
Dogs should be spayed, not sprayed.
Russell Enloe was one of Broadway's bright lights.
Jim J. Narcy
Russell Enloe was one of Broadway's bright lights.

Our favorite Jones scoop so far: that new commission director John Gaydeski, whose resumé for the job included a dozen years in municipal management, is also registered for "film, television, theater" work with Maximum Talent Agency in Denver. We're just hoping he's well-cast at the Denver Election Commission, because it can't afford another disaster like the last director (not counting Dillard's brief interim stint), the woeful Karon Hatchett, a protegée of the late Vikki Buckley, whose fiasco-filled time as Colorado Secretary of State included a warm welcome for the National Rifle Association when the NRA held its convention in town soon after the Columbine shootings.

Although the dailies missed that one, they've followed up on most of Jones's items. But then, the Rocky Mountain News has good reason to keep an eye on her: Last year, she kept a blog devoted to watchdogging the News.

Pup talk: "Eighteen automobiles, four houses and one dog" -- it could almost be a radio commercial for the Meadows housing development outside of Castle Rock, with that Allison Janney-touting-Kaiser-Permanente-esque voice somehow making the suburbs sound interesting. Instead, it's the tally of a midnight tagging spree in Centennial. And, yes, even the dog got hit.

"He had a blue stripe up and down his side," Arapahoe County Sheriff J. Grayson Robinson says of the white terrier. "Probably what it looks like is the dog was outside and was barking at the people doing the tagging, and they spray-painted him as they ran by."

That's just the sheriff's guess, though, since he's never investigated a case of dog-tagging before. "In my history, this is a first," he notes.

George's day could have gotten worse, but the dog was spared the county-endorsed graffiti-removal method -- inmate labor -- and was instead sent to a groomer. The car owners may not get off so easy. "One of the vehicles was a Highlander SUV with really nice leather interior and cherry dashboard," Robinson says. "The dealer told the owner of the vehicle that if they're not able to clean up the paint, it'll cost $20,000 to replace the seats and the dashboard."

Scene and herd: "We miss you, Russell." Those words are posted at the top of the marquee at the Skylark Lounge on Broadway, above a street that's been in mourning since Russell Enloe passed away suddenly at the age of 43 late last month. Over the years, Enloe made many appearances in Westword, starting from his days as a tattooed, '50s-lovin', bubble-gum-chewin', jitterbuggin' thrifter and co-owner of American Aces, a vintage store that fifteen years ago looked like an oasis of style in the then-vast wasteland of Broadway between Sixth Avenue and the start of Antique Row. Most recently, Enloe was featured as a landmark on that very strip ("Urban Flight," March 30), now made so fashionable by his and other pioneers' efforts that rents are going up and cool shops are moving out. But Enloe, who'd opened Crown Mercantile at 46 Broadway six years ago -- "I can't imagine working for the Man ever again," he told us at the time -- vowed that he would stay on Broadway, subletting parts of his space if he had to. We'll miss this Denver original. Already, the city's looking a little less stylish.

 
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