Off Limits

Room service: Since Denver's finally selling off the old DA's building at Speer and Colfax (pending a final Denver City Council vote next Monday, and assuming no one else gets his shorts in a knot over the sweet deal cut with a Hispanic group), you'd think the city was swimming in extra space. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

In fact, Denver's so cramped that the city has rented hundreds of thousands of square feet in other buildings around town. A half-dozen county courtrooms operate in relative splendor on the top floor of the original portion of the Adam's Mark Hotel (which means the city not only subsidized Fred Kummer's project, but it also continues to pay him rent). Close by the old DA's building--which is in such bad shape that it's easier to sell it than to fix it up for city use--Denver leases space for its new environmental department and some probation offices. There are more probation offices up in Diamond Hill. The city's General Services division is losing its lease at 1330 Fox, so it's moving into the spot currently occupied by the city auditor's office, which is moving to leased space in the Petroleum Building on the 16th Street Mall. But auditor and frequent Webb-administration critic Don Mares won't be lonely in his posh exile: The same building is already home to the city's Career Service Authority and budget offices, and the parking division moved over there this fall.

According to Derek Brown, who's responsible for juggling the city's assets, the parking division was moved out of City Hall's annex because its designated space couldn't hold the hordes of people who lined up to pay their tickets. Now, at the Petroleum Building, scofflaws can sit in comfort as they wait to tell their sad stories to the judge. The office is also convenient to the shuttle--which is handy, since a number of these folks have found their cars immobilized by the Denver boot.

While downtown rents now average over $15 a square foot, the city is paying considerably less than that, Brown says, although rates have risen over the $7 per square foot Denver enjoyed until a few years ago. As rents continue to increase and the city bureaucracy continues to grow, he adds, at some point "it might make sense to look at building." And Brown's already got his eye on a prime spot: the parking lot behind the annex.

Maybe the city'll build a hyperbolic paraboloid.

Smells like teen spirits: Sadly for students in the Poudre R-1 school district in Fort Collins, a group of researchers at Colorado State University have just wrapped up a federally funded study on the effects of TV beer advertising. As part of that five-year research project, which cost taxpayers $400,000, more than 400 present and future boozers were paid good money to watch a half-hour's worth of ads and then describe their reactions to waiting graduate-student assistants.

No expense was spared in the miniature economic-development effort: junior-high kids got about $6 an hour for their trouble, while high-school boob-tubers raked in from $8 to $10. "We wanted to pay them a bit more than they'd make working for an hour at McDonald's," explains lead researcher Michael D. Slater, a 44-year-old assistant professor of journalism and technical communications at CSU who says he specializes in "message effects research."

The grad students got paid, too, mainly to compile the more than 2,400 responses from the teenagers and then come up with "categories" to put them in. The big winner was the university itself: CSU collected nearly $200,000.

And the results of Slater's pioneering effort? "Female adolescents responded less positively than males to beer advertisements and to sports content of advertising," the professor and five colleagues concluded in an eleven-page article.

In laymen's terms, that means boys like beer ads more than girls! And they like them even more when they've got a sports theme! Not only that, the study showed that kids who like the beer ads are more likely to drink themselves!

Pour yourself a Schlitz, professor. You've earned it.

You're darned Teuton: How far Colorado has fallen since the triumphant Summit of the Eight! Now the world considers this a state filled with skinheads, racists and dopes, the sort of place that would, as Bill Maher said on Politically Incorrect last week, embrace a town called "Swastika Acres." Never mind that that's actually the little-known name of a suburban tract laid out before the rise of Nazi Germany and not a town at all.

It's a good thing the political pundits didn't know about Curtis Park's old Hitler Hotel.

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