Panorama: Bailout Bonds

September 2008

Mile-High Headlines for Monday, September 22 Sign up here to receive Panorama every weekday morning--before it's published on our blog. Bailout Divides Senate Candidates As the Bush administration and congressional leaders negotiate a $700 billion mortgage bailout, to be funded by taxpayers, Colorado's U.S. Senate candidates Mark Udall and Bob Schaffer stand starkly divided over what to do about the economy. That's according to a weekend story from The Denver Post that quotes Udall, a Democrat, saying he supports the bailout as long as it "first and foremost protect(s) taxpayers." Schaffer, a Republican, calls the bailout a "tragic response to an even greater tragedy," underscoring his view that government should have little, if any, role in remedying the problem. But while Schaffer fights to get into the Senate, Udall is already a congressman and will certainly see action this week as his party aims to set the terms of the bailout, according to The New York Times, including greater oversight of the Treasury. Meanwhile, The Colorado Independent writes that government intervention on Wall Street "creates a huge opening, in the view of housing and community activists, to push for the government" to help homeowners caught up in the mess. Writer Square Sold Say what you like about the difficult economy. But can you explain why property values in some parts of downtown Denver are at such a premium? Just as the luxury boutique Hotel Monaco sold for $61.8 million, or $327,131 per room, a "particularly high price," according to the Denver Business Journal, Writer Square has been purchased for $58.4 million, which is almost twice its fall 2004 selling price. California-based ACF Property Management Incorporated is the buyer, and Massachusetts-based TA Associates Realty of Boston is the seller, according to a separate story in the Journal. The sale "demonstrates the depth of the downtown Denver market," says real estate broker Mary Beth Jenkins, president of The Laramie Company of Denver. The 170,000-square-foot Writer Square, on the 16th Street Mall between Larimer Square and the Shops at Tabor Center, includes a 10-story office building, retail space, and a 450-space parking garage. Yet rents have also gone up at Writer Square, forcing several businesses to move elsewhere downtown. Boulder Students to Party On Welcome University of Colorado students. By now you've probably been told that you are the largest freshman class ever. It also seems you've had a chance to read the Princeton Review. Perhaps you selected CU after noting that it ranks number 13 for "party schools" and number 14 in schools with "lots of hard liquor." Now that you're all here, and thanks to your hard work as evidenced by your hangovers, perhaps CU will be number 1. That's if recent crackdowns by Boulder police are any indication. The cops are "reporting a particularly rough start to the academic year," according to Boulder's Daily Camera, driven by late-night, weekend parties featuring alcohol. In three weeks, police ticketed 351 people for either possessing or drinking alcohol--a 53 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the Camera. But the police won't make a dent in the partying if some students have their way, according to Fox31. The "party-on" mentality is alive and undaunted. Dog in the House One year after apologizing for his racist remarks, controversial television bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman is hard at work in his old home state of Colorado. Joined by his "effervescent" wife, Beth, in the "Dog Cave," their upscale home in the south Denver area, the long-haired, sunglasses-sporting Chapman is on the prowl for Marco Padilla, an alleged drug and check-fraud ringleader, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Chapman has already rounded up several other suspects in his two-week stay in Colorado, part of filming for his A&E reality show. And Chapman has also drawn a harassment complaint from Padilla's sister, Elizabeth. Of the complaint to Aurora police, the bounty hunters say too bad. They're only being tough because they're trying to track down criminals, which is what one Panorama reader told us the hunters were filmed doing last week in Pueblo, where Dog's son was arrested himself for assaulting a blind man, according to the Pueblo Chieftain. Earlier this month, Chapman was also spotted in Grand Junction, according to the Sentinel. Drought: Some Bugs Doing Better than Others There's one good thing about this year's drought, according to The Denver Post. There were fewer standing puddles for mosquitoes to breed in, and that seems to have cut back their numbers--as well as cases of the dreaded and potentially deadly West Nile virus. So far, there have been just 62 cases reported across the state, with no deaths. Compare that to 2003, when there were 3,000 cases and 63 deaths, or last year, the second worst on record, when there were 576 cases and seven deaths, according to state public health officials. But the drought brings another concern: wildfire, particularly when paired with the bark-beetle epidemic, according to a separate Post article. The little guys have gobbled up 1.5 million acres of lodgepole pine in Colorado's mountain forests, with Summit and Grand counties hit particularly hard, creating not only a reddish brown landscape but tinder-dry conditions. And that's driving debate about wildfire at the state Capitol, where a committee of legislators wants counties to implement fire preparedness plans.Broncos Still Undefeated If you asked the critics a few weeks ago what they thought of the Denver Broncos, few of them would have predicted the team would win its first three games. Sure, a little luck has seen the team through, including a bungled call by a referee last week and a missed field goal by New Orleans kicker Martin Gramatica yesterday. But with a 34-32 win, the Broncos' offense is formidable. In fact, the Broncos score more often than any other team in the league, according to The Denver Post. But with a defense that allows opponents to rack up nearly as many points each game, the question is whether the Broncos can score enough. The next test comes against 0-3 Kansas City. Rockies Lose Last Home Game The Colorado Rockies season was already over before yesterday's final home game at Coors Field--fan appreciation day for the loyal 32,915 who showed up. The Rockies' 13-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks was one of the 38 games they gave up to the enemy on home field this year. Last year, the Rockies were 51-31 at home, according to The Denver Post, and well on their way to winning the National League wild card en route to the World Series. Audiodose: The ever-present abortion issue is alive and well this presidential election season, including in Colorado, in the form of  the "personhood" initiative, Amendment 48. KUNC radio's Brian Larson speaks with the editor and publisher of the Colorado Statesman newspaper, Jody Hope Strogoff, touching on that issue and others. Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.38, Costco, 18414 Cottonwood Drive (via www.gasbuddy.com). E-mail relevant articles to [email protected]