Wake-Up Call: Building -- and budgeting -- for the future

The holidays push most action off the public calendar this week.

Tonight at 5:30 p.m., Denver City Council will start the process of stuffing someone's stocking with coal: Over the next few weeks, councilmembers will decide whether to grant landmark status to two, '60s-era Hornbein and White buildings on the old University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Unless they come up with a very clever compromise (say, save one, the old daycare center), their decision is bound to piss off Shea Properties, the developer that's been planning a project for the CU site for several years -- or history lovers, who are thinking in decades.

And at noon tomorrow, Mayor John Hickenlooper will be out at Denver International Airport to celebrate its 50,000,000th passenger (more or less). Lucky thing that passenger wasn't flying Continental Saturday.

 Even during this holiday week, though, elected officials have plenty on their plate, and it's not plum pudding: They have to figure out how to whittle down budgets to match increasingly grim forecasts. And Governor Bill Ritter has an interesting side dish to serve someone: the U.S. Senate seat that will soon be vacated by the cowboy-hatted Ken Salazar, moving on to become Secretary of the Interior.

But even selling that Senate slot, Illinois-style, wouldn't do much to balance Colorado's budget. Fortunately, after last Friday's announcement, Ritter now has a Secretary of State --Bernie Buescher -- in place, just in case whoever he taps for the Senate opens up another spot that will necessitate an actual election. -- Patricia Calhoun

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