Off Limits

All Ramsey, all the time: The JonBenet Ramsey murder has created a killing schedule for local media pundits discussing the who, what, when, where and whydunit for a national audience. Denver Post columnist Chuck Green has been sighted on Dateline, Tom Snyder and CBS This Morning, where he was tagged as a twenty-year cop reporter--a label only slightly more accurate than the Philadelphia Inquirer's reference to Chuck Grant (perhaps the reporter was thinking of Lou). KHOW's Peter Boyles has appeared on CNN, Entertainment Tonight, 20/20 and Good Morning America and has shared a CBS screen with Green. Even Craig Silverman, who was beaten by incumbent Bill Ritter in last November's Denver District Attorney race, was seen yakking it up on Maury Povich.

Silverman now has plenty of blabbing experience. After he lost his bid for DA, he served as the week-long guest host of Erin Hart's KTLK show. One day his guest was fellow loser Lynne Hufnagel, unseated from her spot as Denver District Court judge in the same election. Hufnagel was one of only two judges to receive a no-retention recommendation from the Denver Judicial Performance Commission; whether the public followed the commission's findings or the thousands of "Vote No" bumper stickers handed out by local cabbies irate at Hufnagel's fumbling of the Yellow Cab bankruptcy, Hufnagel was benched. After fifteen years, Hufnagel's last day as a judge was Monday--when she didn't show up for court.

Call her a hack.
The other judge cited by the commission, Denver County Judge Celeste C de Baca, pulled through in November and has since received another vote of confidence: Channel 9 is currently featuring her in its "Time to Care" profiles of local do-gooders. The key is "respect," De Baca tells Ed Sardella. "When you give it, you'll get it."

Clout to lunch: While Colorado's abuzz over Governor Roy Romer being named the general chair of the Democratic National Party, another local pol can lay claim to creating the most influential symbol of the election. Earlier this month, the American Dialect Society named "soccer mom" the word of the year--even though it's not a word, and even though it was actually coined the year before, by Susan Casey, who used "soccer mom" to describe herself in her winning 1995 campaign for Denver City Council.

Casey can lay claim to creating the imagery--in fact, numerous national publications have credited her--but she doesn't want to. "It's so silly," she says. "It really has nothing to do with me." She may be a mom whose two kids play soccer, Casey adds, but she's hardly the leader of a demographic group of suburban women that pollsters predicted would make or break the November 1996 election. "You'd have to ask Bill Clinton or Bob Dole why it is so important," said Allan Metcalf, the society's recording secretary, in giving the award to "soccer mom."

Or just ask Casey. "These things are always fun," she says, "even if they have zero meaning in my life."

Focus on the hocus-pocus: Dr. James Dobson recently joined with Colorado for Family Values in an effort to root out any inappropriate sexual discussions in local schools. But first Dobson had to confess to a little inappropriate activity of his own. In the October issue of Family News, Focus on the Family's newspaper, Dobson had printed a letter from nine-year-old Elizabeth Christine Hayes listing 31 reasons why "Girls Are More Better Than Boys." (Most of them concerned boys' basic smelliness.) Soon after, Dobson reports in the current Family News, he received numerous suggestions from other kids, as well as sixty irate letters from adults "who reacted to the list with intense anger and criticism," Dobson says. "You would have thought Elizabeth and I had committed a crime against humanity." Dobson would never have printed a list titled "Boys Are More Better Than Girls," because "it would not be politically correct," one woman wrote. "That is the first time I've ever been accused of being PC!!" Dobson notes. And it's certain to be the last. Because, after apologizing to any offended parties, Dobson offered some of the better-sex explanations he'd received from boys, including "Boys don't have to sit down every time they go," "Boys are proud of their odor," and "Boys can spell Dr. Dobson's name correctly.


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