Best Term-Limited Veteran in the Legislature 2008 | Ken Gordon | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Best Term-Limited Veteran in the Legislature

Ken Gordon

Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon may be term limited, but he's not going out quietly. A former public defender, he started representing the interests of Denverites long before he was elected to the Colorado House in 1992, and even won a Best Pro Bono Attorney award in the Best of Denver 1988. Now in his last year in the Colorado Senate, he continues to tackle tough issues, including fighting district attorneys around the state to establish standards for how long DNA evidence should be kept — and perhaps even win a new trial for Clarence Moses-El, who was convicted of rape twenty years ago and whose attempt at an appeal was stymied when a rape kit and other evidence was tossed in 1995. But Gordon's not all about blood and guts; he's also leading the charge to improve Colorado's voting systems, pushing measures involving everything from redistricting to all-paper ballots to letting voters rank candidates. "Ken is more interested in the details of election policy than most people would care to admit," his website admits — but then, he narrowly lost a race for Colorado Secretary of State in 2006, when long lines kept many Denverites from the polls. But our vote's in: There are no limits to Ken Gordon's talents (his comic campaign ads were classics), and we'll be sorry to see him leave the legislature.
Alan Gionet served as a Channel 4 staffer for several years in the'90s, before he left for a chief-anchor job in Jacksonville, Florida. He recently returned to Denver, better than before: more comfortable and commanding, with a gravitas that had previously seemed just beyond his grasp. At the anchor desk, he handles hard news and happy talk with equal aplomb, and his "Good Question" segments, in which he answers viewer inquiries, is far less cheesy than it could be, thanks to his relaxed manner and steady intelligence. This is one anchor that shouldn't be dropped anytime soon.
When Channel 7 lured Jayson Luber away from KOA radio and Channel 9, it seemed like an odd — and expensive — move. After all, people don't tune into newscasts just because of the guy in the helicopter, do they? But Luber has proved to be a valuable addition to the station's news team, providing practical information in a clear, knowledgeable manner whether he's floating high above a traffic catastrophe or in the studio, giving drivers alternate-route suggestions with assistance from his handy telestrator. You can get there from here — if Luber is showing you the way.
While other local morning shows seem like pale, perky imitations of Channel 9, the longtime ratings Goliath, Channel 2's morning program dares to be different. Host Tom Green is the designated curmudgeon, wielding a dry wit that does more to get you going than a pot of coffee, while Natalie Tysdal serves as his good-natured, long-suffering foil. Add in mold-busting weathercaster Angie Austin and the often-bizarre tomfoolery of Chris Parente, and the result is an eye-opening change of pace from the same old same old.
The local nine and ten o'clock newscasts have been a real slugfest for years, yet Channel 9 continues to hold off all comers. One of the main reasons is quality: The station continues to break important stories with a regularity that's got to exasperate the competition. But star power is an equally important factor. Adele Arakawa has outlasted an entire generation of anchors trying in vain to knock her off her perch, Kathy Sabine brings something akin to glamour to her forecasts, and Drew Soicher caps off the night with sportscasts that induce smiles even when the final scores don't.
Eric Goodman has a more challenging position than other local sportscasters: He's usually just a seat or two away from anchor Ron Zappolo, whom many viewers continue to think of as the dean of Denver sports broadcasters even though he's specialized in news for years. But Goodman more than holds his own in the presence of the old master, delivering a smart, fast-paced compendium often supplemented by commentary segments in which he incisively cuts through the hype to the meat of the issues.
Talk about a fresh face. Ashton Altieri looks so young he could pass for an ambitious high-schooler who somehow managed to talk his way onto the set. But with his tender years comes an energy and enthusiasm that's lacking in most of his prognosticating peers — and Altieri has an edgy sense of humor that makes his presentations worth watching even if the forecast is for clear skies and moderate temperatures instead of a city-paralyzing blizzard.

Best Use of Metaphors by a Denver City Council Member

Chris Nevitt

Whether he's calling a particular issue "icing on the pound cake" for voters or noting how a proposal puts him on the "horns of a dilemma," District 7 Councilman Chris Nevitt always has a creative — if occasionally confusing — way of putting things. Last year, for example, he predicted that the controversy over proposed new power towers in Ruby Hill Park would be difficult to resolve because "a lot of bad blood has already gone under the bridge," and later pronounced that those towers "have been a crown of thorns on top of the heads of the neighborhood's residents." In image-conscious Denver, energetic freshman Nevitt wins the war of the words.
Just in time for the premiere of Douglas Bruce, legislator, Colorado Open House debuted with the start of the session this January, giving reality-TV lovers the chance to watch their favorite members of the Colorado House of Representatives live on the Internet and on Comcast cable channel 165. Next year, there are plans to televise the Senate and possibly committee meetings as well. You won't want to miss a single episode!

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