You would have thought that getting voters to approve a bond measure to build a new jail -- smack in the heart of the artsy Golden Triangle, at the edge of the revived Civic Center -- would have been the challenging task. But that was a breeze compared to coming up with a name for Denver's new justice center, an exercise that exploded into a very public spat at a Denver City Council committee hearing Wednesday.
No Latino names are included on the list of finalists, three councilmembers complained (although three Latinos were on the committee that came up with those names).
I might point out there are no women on the list, either, but this is an honor we can pass up.
The current plans call for at least three people -- important figures in the judicial process, living and dead -- to be honored at the justice center. But why stop there? Why not commemorate some of Colorado's more interesting criminal cases? For example, why not dedicate the benches in the plaza to Gary and Marcy Levine, whose furniture empire imploded, landing them in the comfy confines of prison?
Then again, Denver could simply sell the naming rights and raise some much-needed revenue. Strengthen the city's coffers by putting "Strong Arm" Frank Azar's name and law firm number on the wall outside the courthouse; attorney Harvey Steinberg's contact number above the door to the jail. And Boulder-based BI Incorporated, leader in the ankle-bracelet industry, might want to get a lock on this business, too.
Or the city could just drop this nitwitted naming scheme altogether. Sometimes a justice center is just a justice center.