Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Anyone seen missing Democratic National Convention hybrids and bicycles?

Coming to a milk carton near you.

In Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown's September newsletter, he reports that 38 of the SUVs and cars loaned by General Motors to the Democratic National Convention were missing a week after the event and cites Paul Lhevine, chief operating officer for the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee, as the source.

But the missing vehicles come as news to Chris Lopez, spokesman for the host committee, who says all the cars his crew was using have been accounted for. And over at the Denver Democratic Convention Committee, Damon Jones, one of the few staffers left in town, says "just two cars are outstanding," and that, he adds, "could even be an accounting error." The DNCC won't know for sure until this Friday, when all the cars are due back at General Motors, which plans to sell them -- and already has buyers for the in-demand hybrids.

But while the Democrats are still counting cars, the wheels have stopped turning for the 1,000 free bicyles that the Freewheelin program let loose on the city during the DNC. Fewer than fifty bikes disappeared, says Bikes Belong executive director Tim Blumenthal. "We are going to assume that people were respectful and responsible, and that any bikes that haven’t been returned will either show up or are missing because of circumstance, not intent to steal."

A few bikes have been spotted chained to trees and lampposts and will be rescued. One man called the organization while driving on I-70 and said that he had a bike in the back of his car. Bikes Belong told him to drop it off at the Freewheelin station closest to the highway, but the man noted that he was a "bit west of that — in Grand Junction, on the way to California."

To see how that dilemma turned out, see Off Limits in the September 11 issue of Westword. -- Patricia Calhoun

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun