Monday, May 22, 2006

Suzy Sycophant

Susan "Sycophant" Barnes-Gelt, former Denver councilwoman, writes a column for the Denver Post that consistently plugs, in a fairly sickening syrupy manner, the administration of Denver's mayor John Hickenlooper. Her latest column, "Hick rolling to another term?" takes the proverbial cake.

Suffice it to say, Barnes-Gelt was, during the period of my incumbency with the City and County of Denver as an insufferable bureaucrat, was one of the brightest and outspoken councilpersons for the entire eight years she served in that body. Rumor was, however, that when Hickenlooper became mayor, Barnes-Gelt lusted after the appointed position of planning director. She didn't get it.

So, she started writing for the Denver Post. This past Sunday's column reads, in part:

Word is John Hickenlooper will stroll to re-election. The popular first-term mayor - after wisely deciding to stay put instead of running for governor - continues to enjoy a perpetual honeymoon. Nobody is itching to run against him, no scandal lurks, no interest group whines and his approval ratings approach triple digits.

In short, the economy is up and homeless numbers are down. Though job creation is stagnant, building cranes are visible around the city and garbage gets picked up every week.

Now, not that I doubt her conclusions about Hickenlooper's chances of winning a reelection (although I would take issue with his approval ratings approaching triple digits; the only triple digit poll number I'm aware of is 100. So, watch your pluralization there, Suzy). I, for one, if polled, would not support this guy. So, Suzy, there goes the "...triple digits..." I'm also betting there are a whole lot of Denver cops and city employees (no small numbers there!) who would gladly observe that their lives have never been more miserable with the possible exception of when Federico Pena moved into the mayor's chair back in 1983. Guess who was part of Pena's inner circle: Yup, Susan Barnes-Gelt.

Barnes-Gelt notes in her Post column that there are good reasons to keep Hick in the mayor's chair. She mentions the Denver's planning director, Peter Park who, Barnes-Gelt says "... is spearheading revolutionary changes that will transform the city into the place Denverites envision." That kinda scares the bejesus out of me. Barnes-Gelt was pretty much of an apologist for the secretive Civic Center Conservancy's honeymoon with Daniel Libeskind (the architect of the abortional [sic] addition to Denver's Art Museum) with regard to the "revitalization" of Civic Center. If that's the kind of "...revolutionary..." transformations Barnes-Gelt is suggesting, then, excuse me, I ain't buyin' it.

This era of politicians and political hacks and their more than willing sycophantic base believing they know best what the "people" want and need in their communities is bullshit, plain and simple.

Barnes-Gelt also tells us that the manager of parks and recreation, Kim Bailey, is one of the diamonds in the Hickenlooper administration because she's reactivated five of Denver's water fountains. This, in Barnes-Gelt's mind, is a rejuvenation of Denver's City Beautiful legacy from the dawn of the twentieth century. (These are not the fountains that provide you with a drink. These are the fountains you, um, watch.)

I love those fountains. But, guess what. The infrastructure of all Denver's parks is in horrible shape. There is no money in the honey pot to improve those components of a public parks and recreation operation that provide, not prettiness, but usefulness to the citizens of Denver. I guess one's meditation might be enhanced by the sound and sight of a fountain in a park. But, truth is, fountains are one of the most costly, maintenance intense endeavors a municipality can undertake.

It is bothersome to contemplate that city of Denver employee's merit increases, "bonuses," have suffered because the fountains had to rise. If that's not government by sham rather than substance, I don't know what is.

Well, anyway, Barnes-Gelt ends her Sunday column with: "Four more years! It's beginning to feel like a campaign."

Before I discovered the word, "sycophant," the term "kiss ass" sufficed. Take your pick, they both mean the same thing.

P.S. I think Suzy really, really wants to get back into Denver city government...the last refuge of unabashed liberalism, other than the Denver Post, that is.

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