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Panorama: October Surprise

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Mile-High Headlines for Friday, October 17

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The DNC Bounce To the naysayers who thought the Democratic National Convention was a waste of money, Mayor John Hickenlooper has some news for you. His office estimates that the convention brought $266 million to the region in direct and indirect spending, according to the Denver Business Journal. That’s a solid $100 million more than was initially forecast by officials prior to the late August political gathering. Denver proper reaped about $80 million in direct spending and another $73.5 million in indirect spending, with $2.7 million going to the city in the form of taxes and fees. Hickenlooper called the convention’s dividends “tremendous.” After loads of concern prior to the event regarding whether the host committee would have enough money for the convention, it finished with a surplus and has $7 million to pay in outstanding bills, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The convention cost at least $53.86 million, according to financial disclosure forms filed with the Federal Election Commission (via The Denver Post). Judge, Mired in Sex Scandal, Likely to Step Down Allegations about Chief U.S. District Judge Edward W. Nottingham’s sex life have hounded him since his divorce last year, and he’s admitted to spending $3,000 at the Diamond Cabaret strip club but was too drunk to remember most of the details. Though judges are given a lifetime appointment, Nottingham is preparing to step down amid yet another sex-related scandal after a closed-door judicial misconduct hearing “didn’t go well,” according to The Denver Post. The 60-year-old judge, who called in sick on Wednesday and Thursday, has faced “several” misconduct complaints in the past year, including one from a former prostitute with the Bada Bing escort service. She said Nottingham told her to lie when she was asked by investigators if the judge paid for sex, according to 9News. Some lawyers won’t miss Nottingham, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The judge, appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, was known to some as “The Sheriff of Nottingham.”

Voting Issues Continue Concerns remain over whether Colorado is prepared for Election Day. Now the state is among those least prepared to contend with voting system problems, according to a report from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, Common Cause, and the Verified Voting Foundation (via The Denver Post). The report looked at four areas–“polling-place contingency plans, ballot accounting and reconciliation requirements, use of a verifiable paper trail, and whether the state conducted post-election audits of paper records.” Colorado “needs improvement” or is “inadequate” in three of the categories. Secretary of State Mike Coffman, a Republican running for Congress, says the state is “much better prepared” than in 2006, accusing the groups behind the report of having “their own vision of how elections should be run.” Adding another dynamic to the situation are mail-in ballots. As The New York Times reports, the trend of mail-in voting has exploded in the state. Of Colorado’s 3.2 million registered voters, 1.4 million have requested mail ballots. Compare that to the last presidential election, in 2004, when 668,000 voters requested mail ballots. Even the mail-in process could have problems. An “undetermined” number of voters who are waiting for mail ballots might not get them, according to The Colorado Independent. McCain Still Wants Colorado Though surveys, such as this one by CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation, give Barack Obama the edge in Colorado, John McCain refuses to give up his fight to keep the Rockies red. He will return to Colorado next Friday, after his running mate, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, visits Colorado Springs and Loveland on Monday, according to The Denver Post. Today, McCain will speak to radio hosts Dan Caplis (a McCain backer) and Craig Silverman on KHOW/630 AM during the evening rush hour, according to Westword. Last week, McCain was on KOA/850 AM. Last night, McCain was grilled by David Letterman, according to The Associated Press (via the Rocky Mountain News). Speaking of McCain’s attempts to implicate Barack Obama for associating with William Ayers of the Weather Underground, Letterman noted McCain had a relationship with Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy. McCain said he was “not in any way embarrassed to know” Liddy. Cashing in at DIA It’s unclear whether six snow-removal workers at Denver International Airport cost the state thousands of dollars by collecting overtime pay they shouldn’t have. Denver auditor Dennis Gallagher uncovered lax oversight and recommended the workers be disciplined and made to repay nearly $7,000, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Yet DIA spokesman Jeff Green says an internal review found no wrongdoing by the workers and that the audit is fundamentally wrong because the employees were simply following DIA’s procedures. Robert Haddock, a member of the city’s audit committee, says there were “pretty strong ethical violations,” according to The Denver Post. He noted a 2006 audit raised similar questions and said nothing was fixed. Dan Brown, the new interim deputy manager of maintenance, says he will draft new policies for the program. The Strong Arm Goodbye, “aw shucks” Jay Cutler. Hello, crap talker. In case you missed it, the Broncos quarterback has caused a stir lately for saying he has “a stronger arm” than John Elway “hands down.” Moreover, in his statements to Sporting News, Cutler said there’s “nobody in the league who’s going to throw it harder than I am at all”–not even Brett Favre. And given the chance to back off the remark, Cutler won’t. “No, not at all,” he tells the Rocky Mountain News. Rocky sports columnist Bernie Lincicome called the debate “moot” since Cutler’s arm does not have a Super Bowl ring on it. Lincicome also made the case for the weaker slingers, such as Joe Montana, who brought accuracy, touch, and brains to the position. One for the Avs The Avalanche finally netted a game, beating the Flyers 5-2 at the Pepsi Center last night. The team, which has suffered a series of one-goal losses, is now 1-3, according to The Denver Post. Replacing the much-hyped Peter Budaj in goal was Andrew Raycroft, who had a “relatively quiet night” with 16 saves in his first appearance for the Avs. Audiodose: Economic uncertainty on Wall Street is icing Colorado’s ski industry, according to KUNC radio. Ski resorts say advanced bookings are weak this year, and real estate markets in high-end Vail and Aspen are struggling. Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $2.71, Gas Mart, 1550 W 88th Avenue (via www.gasbuddy.com).

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