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The lies we tell

I certainly hope that you read Rich Tosches' revelatory article in last weeks' Indy. Rich nailed the Pikes Peak Humane Society for deliberately concealing the kill ratio at their facility -- which turns out to have been one of every three animals.

Several years before, when I was on City Council, I'd heard rumors to that effect. Concerned, I met with Wes Metzler (then, as now, the Society's director), who assured me that the reports were untrue, that they made every effort to save animals from euthanasia, that they put down only old, diseased or incurably vicious dogs, blah, blah, blah -- the same BS that Metzler tried to feed Rich.

I'm not surprised. In an era when deliberate, provable lies are part of our political currency, why should we be surprised at the mendacity of a small-town dogcatcher? Consider some of the whoppers currently in circulation, locally, regionally and nationally:

TABOR is a wonderful thing and shouldn't be changed. (Gov. Bill Owens)

I never met with Ahmad Chalabi (President George W. Bush, 6/04/04)

I just had a meeting with Mr. Chalabi (President Bush, 2/08/04)

Billboards? What billboards? (former Gazette editorial page editor Dan Njegomir, denying to the Independent any connection with the recent anti-teachers union billboards in Colorado Springs, even though Njegomir's home is listed as the address of the organization sponsoring the billboards)

I could go on, but so what? We all know that politicians are mostly too dumb or too arrogant to avoid obvious whoppers ("I never had sex with that woman!"), so we tend to shrug our shoulders and go on to the next thing. Unfortunately, those blatant, provable lies are just the tip of the iceberg -- the important lies are those that are so deeply embedded in government that they become part of the political landscape, just the normal way of doing business.

Consider city government's decades-long practice of subsidizing new development. Thanks to Dave Gardner's persistent activism, and Terje Langeland's reporting, we now understand that new home builders are generously subsidized (to the tune of $10,000-plus per unit!) by our municipally owned utility system.

That's nothing new -- but for years it was buried in the tiresome rhetoric of fake conservatism. We're business-friendly, we welcome new arrivals, we're pro-growth, we're open for business, we're a bastion of free enterprise. All of that pro-business huffing and puffing managed to conceal a wonderfully bold and audacious rip-off, one part Boss Tweed, one part Ken Lay.

Kudos to the tireless activism and energetic self-promotion of the housing industry -- way to get your share, and a whole lot more! Of course, those of us living in used houses (or, should I say, pre-owned houses) saw our subsidy-inflated utility bills increase, our services deteriorate, and our housing values decline (at least relatively). But so what? We shoulda been out there peddling our own snake oil to City Council!

Well, enough of government -- let's talk about parties! Last Sunday's Denver Post contained a breathless account of a "lavish, decadent, fabulously fun, over the top" party that The Broadmoor hotel threw when it hosted the 2004 Exxon Mobil Five-Star Awards Weekend.

Post Travel editor Mim Swartz wrote a breathless account of the goings-on, actually using the word "wheeeeee!" There were Vegas-based hotties leading borzois around the gardens, tables carved from ice holding caviar and champagne, singer "Chou Chou" (looking very Stepford wife-like) fronting D.C.-based Doc Scantlin and His Imperial Palms Orchestra, a six-course dinner with a different wine for each course ... you get the picture.

The Post devoted a full page to the B'moor's little bash -- why? It might have been to expose the bizarrely gluttonous behavior of upper-class wanna-bes -- or maybe they just want more ads from The Broadmoor.

And here's another recent news item, from the selfsame Post. "Colorado Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a member of the Appropriations Committee, has requested a one-time grant of $7 million from the 2005 Federal Appropriations Bill to go towards restoring the Elitch Theatre." Ben says that he wants the project to be part of his legacy ... well, isn't that just special?

Wake up, Senator!! Elitch's is in Denver! They hate you! They're all Democrats! Meanwhile, here's Colorado Springs -- we're overwhelmingly Republican, and without our votes, you would have been history long ago.

Why not a one-time grant to restore our historic City Auditorium? And more to the point, don't we have city-financed lobbyists and legislative liaisons who are supposed to identify and exploit just such opportunities?

And don't we have our very own congressman, Joel "Seldom Seen" Hefley? Sure -- but I guess that they're just too busy.

Hoping for an invite to the next Broadmoor party, I guess...

-- johnhazlehurst@ earthlink.net

  • The lies we tell

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