After the Gabby Giffords shooting, Councilman Charlie Brown declines a TV interview about pit bulls
The Animal Planet show Pit Boss — which stars former actor Shorty Rossi as he rescues and retrains pit bulls — is planning to shoot an episode in Denver at the end of the month, one that would take a look at the city's strict and frequently vilified ordinance outlawing pit bulls. Show producer Jason Thomas Scott had hoped to get the other side of the story from outspoken city councilman Charlie Brown. But on Monday, Brown declined the invitation to appear on camera, citing safety concerns brought on by the shootings of Arizona representative Gabby Giffords and eighteen other people on Saturday.
"Following the Tucson tragedy, I frankly don't feel comfortable being a guest on your show," Brown wrote in an e-mail to Scott. "Every time the issue comes up before City Council we get a slew of e-mails, phone calls and letters, many of which are alarming in their tone. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and trust you understand the potential safety issue appearing on your show could generate."
While he's in town, Rossi will participate in the Pit Fest #1 fundraiser, the first of what organizers hope will be a series of benefit events for Any Given Breed, an organization that fights "breed-specific" laws like those in Denver and Aurora. It starts at 1 p.m. on January 22 at Bender's Tavern and will feature a dozen bands.
Miller Time: There's a bar fight coming to the Capitol, and even the new sheriff in town — a beer-drinkin' man himself — may not be able to put a stop to it.
Circle K and 7-Eleven fired the first shot last week when their Statehouse lobbyist, Jason Hopfer, rolled out a new public relations campaign on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Coloradans for Convenience, as it's called, is designed to convince voters and lawmakers (and even Governor John Hickenlooper) that convenience stores should be allowed to sell full-strength beer; right now, they can only sell the 3.2 stuff.
Convenience stores have been fighting for this right for years, but they're packing some extra ammunition this year in the form of a new law — which took effect January 1 — that requires the state to enforce an old one: namely, that bars and liquor stores can't sell beer that is less than 3.2 percent alcohol by weight or 4.0 percent by volume. That rule is aimed directly at liquor stores, which have argued vehemently against allowing convenience stores to sell full-strength beer, saying it would hurt their bottom line.
"Our opposition has taken the line that there is a bright line on beer, so they should have to live with it just as much as we should," Hopfer says of the new rule. "Beer is beer. And if beer is beer, then beer should be beer for everyone." And, according to his testing, that could mean that beers such as Keystone Light, Michelob Ultra, Amstel Light, Corona Light, Murphy's Stout, Beck's Light and Guinness may disappear from shelves at liquor stores and beer lists at restaurants.
Microbrewers have joined with liquor stores in this battle, fearing that if convenience stores and groceries (who are waging their own battle) are allowed to compete, they will put many liquor stores out of business — which would theaten the viability of small brewers. Small brewers like the Wynkoop Brewing Company, which Hickenlooper co-founded in 1988 before launching his political career.
"He's certainly familiar with the industry," Hopfer says of the new governor. But he's not worried about the connection. And as for the legislature, he adds, "I think they'd like to see the issue put to bed."
Even if they don't remember what happened in the morning.
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