Off Limits

Lifestyles of the rich and infamous: The most telling statement yet to emerge from the calamitous Greg Lopez/Spicer Breeden/Peter Schmitz encounter came from one of Schmitz's collectors last week. Learning that the alleged artist had just been indicted in Lopez's death, he asked hopefully, "Do you think my piece is worth more now?"

Meanwhile, the Rocky Mountain News has gone back to the drawing board in its search for Lopez's replacement. After considering candidates from both inside and outside the paper, the News had settled on Bill Johnson, a popular columnist with the Orange County Register. Johnson is so popular there, in fact, that the Register reportedly made him an offer too good to refuse--and he's staying put.

Playing the race card: Except for Dan Schaefer's uncanny ability to raise money--from oil companies, cable companies, utility companies (according to a recent study by the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C., he leads the Congressional pack in collecting PAC money from utilities--over $40,000 last year), the Sixth District representative sometimes seems like Colorado's least colorful congressman.

But when it comes to wheeling and dealing, Schaefer's been around the block--many times. Years ago he raced stock cars. "I used to drive those old beat-up things on the oval tracks and figure eights when I was just a young guy," Schaefer says. And cars still get his heart racing: He recently founded the American Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus--which, among other things, sponsored that display of vintage vehicles held at the Capitol last month (and for which fellow caucus member and biker Ben Nighthorse Campbell took a few media hits). "It's a fun deal, and an educational thing," Schaefer says of the caucus.

Colorado voters can soon see what gets Schaefer going: He's scheduled to be one of the celebrity drivers at a mini-grand prix through the streets of Golden on Sunday, July 21. He'll be racing alongside Peter Coors (presumably, his vehicle won't be fueled by that stuff they were making out of old Coors beer) and new Golden Transcript owner Price Cobb, who's actually raced at Le Mans and came up with the concept. "I was at a dinner a couple, three weeks ago," Schaefer says, "and he was there, talking about doing a road race right down there in Golden as part of Buffalo Bill Days."

Sadly, there will be mechanical limits on the speed, and the cars won't go much more than 40 mph, the congressman points out. But then, Schaefer's own vehicles aren't exactly hot rods. At home in the Sixth he drives a pickup; in D.C. he pilots an '87 Blazer with 85,000 miles.

Many of them logged, no doubt, as Schaefer heads to his other hobby: managing the congressional baseball team. This year's charity game, also scheduled for July, features a "good crop of freshmen," their coach says. None of them, however, are from the Colorado delegation. "I'm the only one who plays," he notes. Hey, it's better than frolicking in the Tidal Basin with some bimbo.

Baby booty: Denver's about to cradle the headquarters of another national group--the American Association of Baby Boomers. The two-month old AABB plans to move from Connecticut to Colorado, where new chairman Gary Pierce was born (an appropriate number of decades ago) and bred. Pierce predicts membership will rise from its current 200 to 500,000 by the end of the year. "We're the largest silent majority," he explains, "with no representation."

Tell that to Bill Clinton.


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