Walk softly and carry a big schtick: Say! Wasn't that renowned waffler Bill Clinton plunging head-first into the fray outside Denver's Planned Parenthood clinic?
Not quite. It was actually presidential look-alike Michael Newell, a Littleton security consultant who's poofed up his hair to play Clinton at venues ranging from a Bob Dole fundraiser to the Denver Press Club. Normally, with his standard hairdo and glasses, Newell doesn't look that much like the president--particularly when he's just been socked in the kisser.
According to Planned Parenthood's Katie Reinisch, the October 5 fracas began as Planned Parenthood staffers were concluding their usual morning routine: picking up the crosses left in the parking lot by demonstrators. As clinic associate director Gary Jamieson reached for the last cross, he was grabbed by veteran protester Terry Sullivan, head of the Pro-Life Action Network, and thrown to the ground. Security guard Newell raced to the rescue, and ultimately wound up striking two pro-life activists with his baton. Last week, after viewing a videotape shot by the protesters and comparing it with their statements, the Denver district attorney declined to press charges against Newell; Denver DA Bill Ritter says Newell was "acting on a reasonable belief" that Jamieson would be hurt otherwise.
According to Sullivan, Ritter is just part of the Planned Parenthood/Denver Police Department conspiracy--a neat trick, considering that Ritter himself is pro-life. But that hasn't stopped Sullivan from calling on his fellow protesters to picket Ritter's office--a move the DA calls the "height of political irony."
The clean machine: The Sunnyside neighborhood apparently takes its war against graffiti seriously--very seriously. On October 11, at a ceremony hosted by Mayor Wellington Webb, the SUNI Graffiti Committee received the "1994 Service Award" for its efforts to keep Sunnyside a "Graffiti Reduced Zone." Just four days earlier, veteran Denver police officer Charles Hill, a Sunnyside resident, had turned himself in on a felony arrest warrant. Several weeks before, three juveniles had been nabbed by other officers for graffiti-tagging in the area; Hill, who was off-duty, showed up at the scene and allegedly beat two 14-year-olds--who were handcuffed--with a billy club.
Out to lunch: During his brief visit to Denver last weekend, columnist Jimmy Breslin urged reporters to get out of the office if they're going to write stories. "Reporters now talk with officials on the phone, where it's easy to lie, and don't go out to check up on and expose those monstrous lies," he said.
That's a lesson Channel 9's Paula Woodward clearly has taken to heart. On Friday, after speaking at the 14th Western Snow and Ice Conference Fleet Management National Roadeo in Greeley (where she showed tapes of her exposes on goofing off at the Denver Department of Public Works), Woodward stopped at the Cherokee for lunch. And who should be dining there but Webb press secretary Briggs Gamblin and public works' Amy Lingg, who had just delivered the results of the department's investigation into Woodward's recent series on the wastewater division: two five-day suspensions for management, one ten-day and one two-day suspension for employees, and a bundle of verbal reprimands.
Meanwhile, Gamblin's boss had his meter running. At the Wynkoop Brewing Co. last Wednesday for a late lunch, Webb and wife Wilma looked as though they didn't have a care in the world. They certainly weren't worried about parking tickets: While their driver waited for them, the Webbs' Lincoln Town Car was illegally parked in a loading space on 18th Street.
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