Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Bill Vidal sticks to the script -- but not English -- with the new DIA recording

After flying into DIA last night and hopping on the train, I was greeted by former mayor John Hickenlooper delivering a hearty "Welcome to Denver." But soon, current mayor Bill Vidal will have his say. But after the wild will-he/won't-he events of the past week, you can't help wondering who Vidal will tell to get off.

The Hickenlooper message I heard last night was added to the train announcements -- technically a sound-art piece by Jim Green -- several years ago. And after quibbling -- much of it by me -- about the logic of having a mayor welcome visitors without telling them he's the mayor, the piece was rerecorded to include a Hickenlooper introduction. That message was pulled soon after Hickenlooper was elected governor, replaced by the anonymous Hickenlooper recording that would be used until the next mayor could make a replacement.

Which Bill Vidal did on February 4; the message will make its debut on the trains any day now. And given Vidal's waffling over joining the race, including Monday's e-mail accusing Hickenlooper of a "temper tantrum" when Vidal discussed going back on his promise not to run, it's probably a good thing that the interim mayor stuck to the script this time... although the fact that he uttered some of it in Spanish is bound to startle Tom Tancredo and others the first time they hear it.

For the record, here's what you'll soon be hearing from Bill Vidal at DIA:

Welcome to Denver, the Mile High City. Bienvenido a la Ciudad de Denver. This is Mayor Bill Vidal. At the next stop, please use escalators at either end of the station, or elevators in the center to reach ground transportation, baggage claim, and all terminal services.

One more request for Jim Green: When the next mayor -- whoever that might be -- is elected and this message is once again rerecorded, could you please leave the redundant instructions about baggage claim and terminal services to the bossy "You are delaying the departure of this train" fellow (actually, Alan Roach), who repeats them all, anyway. Simply let the mayor introduce him or herself, then offer a hearty welcome to Denver -- in whatever language the mayor chooses.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Dick Wadhams's exit from Republican chair race to help Ted Harvey and party conservatives?"

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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