Rant: Scott Gessler Comes Clean—Sort Of
On Thursday, Fox31 political reporter and 5280 contributor Eli Stokols reported that Secretary of State Scott Gessler had effectively ended the ethics investigation against him by repaying the almost $1,300 in state funds he spent in 2012 on a trip to Florida. Criticism and scrutiny arose because the money was used to finance Gessler's travels last August to a Republican-sponsored election law training event and the GOP national convention in Tampa. The law prohibits Gessler's office from using state money for personal or political purposes.
Those who see this matter as settled should consider two things: 1) That Gessler spent about seven months denying the accusations and $60,000 in state funds defending himself against them, and 2) That later on Thursday, Stokols reported that Gessler has filed the long-rumored paperwork that will enable him to run for governor in 2014.
We're all used to politicians saying flowery things about public service and duty when they're actually performing self-serving acts. What's so puzzling about Gessler is how unbelievably clumsy he is at it. Predictably, a Gessler spokesman framed the flip-flop not as a sincere mea culpa but as a noble flight from persecution, so his gubernatorial campaign is underway.
As he's demonstrated time and again, when it comes to political finesse, Gessler is about as graceful as an elephant on roller skates. With longtime consensus-builder Governor Hickenlooper likely facing more of a battle next time thanks to his recent liberal-minded policy decisions on civil unions, gun control, and the death penalty, Colorado may well be ripe for a GOP comeback in 2014. But if the best Republicans have to offer are transparently political oafs like Gessler—or for that matter, Tom Tancredo—our state will still have every reason to remain blue.
Rave: Keep Those Bike Lanes Coming
Now that spring has made its annual two-week cameo and launched us headlong into summer, bikes and bicyclists are out en masse. Over the past few years, Denver has done considerable work around making our city, particularly downtown, more hospitable to two-wheelers; to complete this transformation will require cyclists and non-cyclists to keep looking for ways to coexist peacefully.
Although this means drivers must be prepared to see and navigate safely around more velocipedes, it also means the pedalers need to OBEY THE LAWS better than they generally do. (New rule: If your vehicle can't hit the speed limit, move off to one side of the road. This goes for you, too, scooter-drivers, and you pedicab pilots should just find alternate routes for your snailmobiles.)
With gas prices peaking in Colorado and our perpetual ethos of physical fitness firmly established, a long-term plan that replaces cars with bikes all over town would benefit everyone. It won't happen overnight, and we've done some good work so far; we just need to keep pushing up that hill.
Follow 5280 articles editor Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.