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A plan for the future 

It's certainly nice to know that City Council is so solicitously looking after our economic future. Why, just last week, that august body generously agreed to give a relocating company a 75-percent discount on its utility bills for the next 10 years a nice little deal for the company, because it could save a couple million bucks. And, according to city economic development manager Elena Nunez, we'll all come out ahead, because said company will generate all kinds of tax revenues, not to mention local employment.

Maybe it's a good idea. The world is a cold and competitive place, and we're fighting with a ton of cities who are happy to bribe relocating companies, or rodeo cowboys, to come on down and party. Think of the relocating companies as strippers, and cities competing for their attentions as fat, bald, middle-aged guys. No Benjamins, no lap dances life's cruel, guys, but we all knew that.

But, c'mon. The statistical analyses that purport to prove the economic benefit of such municipal behavior are, at best, soothing nonsense. For example, consider the application that I'll soon submit for my nascent company.

It'll be called "The Pulitzer Prize Group." Strategic plan: create the objective conditions that will allow me to win a Pulitzer. History proves that Pulitzer Prize winners do their best work while enjoying a comfortable, worry-free lifestyle. Municipal support requested: 100 percent rebate of utility bills for a five-year period (a mere $15K, total), plus an annual stipend of, say, $100K.

And how will the city benefit when not if, mind you I win my first Pulitzer? Overnight, our image will change from that of an intolerant, aggressively right-wing, ber-Republican burg under Dr. Dobson's thumb to a hip urban metropolis where lefty columnists thrive! Tens of thousands of wealthy blue-state Democrats will move here, generating literally billions in tax revenues and that's not even considering all the companies whose diverse workforces might previously have resisted a move to our fair city.

Is this an unbelievable scenario? Well, let me pass on the reaction of one of my geezer homies, a successful, respected Republican businessman, a native of Colorado Springs, when I ran The Plan past him. He looked at me unbelievingly, and said (cruelly, I thought), "No wonder you're not rich."

OK, it's not unbelievable, it's absurd. But no more so than the idea that the city ought to be in the venture capital business, and that our elected officials are capable of picking which companies we ought to invest in.

Meanwhile, I suppose that I'm glad that the Legislature actually passed a bill banning smoking in most public places. I look forward to spending more time in my favorite no-longer-smoke-filled skanky bars. But it was sleazy, immoral and fundamentally dishonest to exempt casinos from the ban about as clear a case of special interest influence-peddling as I've seen in 25 years. Honest government, untainted by corrupt deal-making, is a lot more important than any particular bill and the legislators and lobbyists who conspired together to give a big wet kiss to the gambling industry deserve only contempt.

And alas, to my shame and dismay, I missed the County Republican Assembly last weekend. But that's OK. I think I'm still an alternate delegate to the State Assembly, where either Marc Holtzman or Bob Beauprez will get top line for the August primary. Truthfully, I don't find much to agree with in the views of either of these gentlemen, but I've decided to support Holtzman in the Republican primary. Why? Because he's been successful in government (as Gov. Owens' technology adviser), in education (as chancellor of Denver University) and in business (he's a self-made multimillionaire). But most of all, he's smart, and smart people, whatever their politics, recognize reality and act accordingly.

Meanwhile, a little tip for all those hawkeyed venture capitalists on City Council: If a dozen or so shabby, mostly bearded, soft-bodied, 20-something hippies show up and ask for money, toss 'em out the door! And tell their so-called "leaders" maybe they'll have names like "Bill Gates," or something-or-other to take their ridiculous scam somewhere else.

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