A shot in the dark: The media dubbed summer 1993 the "Summer of Violence" after a few well-publicized shootings, including the Capitol Hill slaying of popular Imi Jimi proprietor Tom Hollar. Now you can chalk up 1995 as the official "Summer of Silence." Although the homicide rate is running much higher than it did last year--or even the year before--readers have yet to be subjected to the same hysterical headlines...or the scramble to set up "Safe City" programs.
A murder last Saturday in northeast Denver brought the city's total number of homicides to 61, according to the Denver Police Department. Last year Denver didn't hit 61 until October 4, and the pace wasn't much brisker in 1993. In fact, the last time Denver tallied such a grim total so early was in 1992, when the city accumulated 60 homicides by August 1.
The case of 1994's most notorious shooting ended not with a bang but with a whimper last week, as Rob Coleman accepted a deal that will send him to Pueblo for treatment in the state hospital rather than to trial on first-degree assault charges in the shooting of Jeffrey Nowman. Coleman's lawyer and a trio of doctors agreed that brain injuries had left Coleman mentally impaired last December, when state senator Pat Pascoe asked for help after Nowman and a companion tried to break into her house next door.
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Apparently, Coleman's good-neighbor policy only goes so far. Earlier in 1994 Coleman, a real estate salesman, published a free neighborhood guide that upset several women, who claimed that by listing their names and addresses Coleman made them easy targets for anyone preying on females living alone.
Shaken, not stirred: Paul Weissmann knows how to mix a cocktail, but he wound up left with the dregs last week. While other Democrats waffle and whisper, the state senator, Louisville bartender and Westword's "Best Local Politician" in the 1995 Best of Denver committed early to the 1996 Senate race, setting his campaign kickoff for August 23--the same date that explorer John Wesley Powell and publisher William Byers made the first documented ascent of Longs Peak, 127 years earlier. Weissmann's candidacy could face just as steep a learning curve, however. On the same day Weissmann officially announced, former senator Gary Hart was up to some monkey business of his own, chatting with reporters from both Denver dailies and admitting he'd been pondering another run at the Senate. That revelation reduced Weissmann to footnote status in the next day's news.
Adding insult to injury, in his "statement of candidacy" Weissmann not only offered actual positions on issues, he also quoted from some of his political mentors. One was Hart, who Weissmann worked for before Hart's presidential campaign self-destructed in 1987. Another was Senator Bob Kerrey, who'd proclaimed that "the only people who don't change their minds are either stupid or dead." Kerrey, of course, now heads the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee--and is reportedly urging Hart to run.
Post, toasted: While the Denver Post plans to bring back Empire, its once-popular Sunday magazine, the paper is losing some familiar faces. Reporter Jennifer Gavin (daughter of fast-disappeared columnist Tom) left for grad school in Washington, D.C. Education reporter Mark Stevens also returned to school--for a PR slot at Denver Public Schools. Apparently not following the hack-to-flack route is City Hall reporter Chris Lopez, who was touted as a possible Wellington Webb press secretary. But then, some wags--citing pro-Webb coverage of the mayoral campaign--would say Lopez already had the job.