Back in the late '80s, when this city was still smarting from another super-sized Super Bowl humiliation, a national news correspondent noted that Denver had never been number one in anything but air pollution.
Although the Environmental Protection Agency finally gave Denver's air a clean (or close enough for the Clean Air Act) bill of health earlier this month, the list-happy national media has bestowed upon us a new embarrassment of bitches.
The good: Governor Bill "This State's on Fire" Owens is hot, hot, hot himself, rating a big cover picture on the September 2 National Review -- out this week -- which labels him "The Best Governor in America." Apparently author John Miller didn't interview too many people involved in Colorado's tourism trade, who are still steaming over the guv's early pronouncements that all of Colorado was burning.
The bad: Colorado's very own billionaire, Philip Anschutz, also gets top billing, in the September 2 edition of Fortune magazine, whose "Greedy Bunch" ranks the nation's most rapacious execs, the folks who got out of their companies' stock while the getting was good. The privacy-loving Anschutz, who eschews the limelight, wound up number one, beating out the former CEO of Qwest by seventeen places: Jumpin' Joe Nacchio ranked only eighteenth.
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The public spanking elicited rare protestations from the usually silent Anschutz Company, which issued this statement: "The portrayal of Philip F. Anschutz in the September 2, 2002, issue of Fortune was astoundingly inaccurate and unfair. The context provided by author Mark Gimein -- that of corporate executives given massive 'risk-free' stock options, only to 'cash-out' as the companies they managed began to decline -- is erroneous in every detail as related to Mr. Anschutz and his sale of Qwest Communications stock. Mr. Anschutz was the founding investor in Qwest -- providing over $1 billion in cash, loans and contractual commitments to start up the fledgling communciations company. When Qwest was taken 'public,' he assumed the non-executive position as Chairman of the Board. He had no managerial duties; received no salary from Qwest. He received no stock options, grants or bonuses of any kind."
There was more, of course, including an explanation of the Anschutz Company's three sales transactions, and then the release concluded with this categorization of Anshutz's true role: "It is the behavior of a principled entrepreneur and investor. It is the type of business behavior that has grown America's economy and created broad economic opportunity for millions of people." Guide the light.
The ugly: The American Medical Association, that old pill, thinks the Princeton Review's annual list of "Top Party Schools" is irresponsible, and in advance of Tuesday's unveiling, University of Colorado officials urged students not to take it seriously. But when the results were finally released, CU once again pulled through with a top-ten ranking for partying -- and we're number one for schools where students study the least! Boulder can ban couches, but it can't legislate good behavior.