Mile-High Headlines for Wednesday, December 10

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Then There Were Three
Did we ever really think a state run by Democrats would select a Republican to be Colorado’s next secretary of state?

All three of the finalists, selected by a panel appointed by Governor Bill Ritter, are Democrats as well as outgoing state lawmakers, according to The Denver Post’s Politics West blog. They are state Representative Bernie Buescher, House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, and Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon. Twenty applicants were vying to replace Mike Coffman, a Republican elected to Congress, including Scott Gessler, a Republican operative, and television talk-show host Aaron Harber.

PolitickerCO quotes Romanoff in gee-golly mode and notes that the public can now comment on the three finalists through December 16 by sending an email to Ritter will make a decision before the end of the month.

ColoradoPols does’t see much difference between the finalists, challenging the governor to: “Put the names in a hat and just draw one, if you’re having that much trouble. But make…a…decision.”A Comprehensive Health Care Vision
State Representative John Kefalas, a Fort Collins Democrat, is preparing to introduce a bill that would create a so-called “single-payer” heath care system for Colorado. That’s according to the Northern Colorado Business Report, which writes that the aim of the “Colorado Guaranteed Healthcare Act” is to “provide medical coverage to every” person in the state. The bill would create a nonprofit agency separate from the state to administer a public system in which people would chose their own doctor.

Kefalas’ plan differs from the one proposed by President-elect Barack Obama, who advocates a less aggressive system that would merge private and public care. A 2008 Blue Ribbon Commission that studied the idea of health care reform for Colorado concluded that a single-payer system would reduce the state’s $30 billion health care costs by $1.5 billion, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

Last week, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Obama’s expected pick for secretary of health and human services, was in Denver to spark discussion about health care reform (via Politico).

A Buyer for the Rocky?
White Wolf Media Group and “unidentified investment partners” are preparing a bid that could lead to the purchase of the Rocky Mountain News and its 50 percent shares in the Denver Newspaper Agency, the company that runs the business operations of the Rocky and The Denver Post.

White Wolf is owned by Shawn White Wolf, a former reporter with the Independent Record newspaper in Helena, Montana, who also ran the now-defunct Native Journal of Montana, according to The Denver Post, which also notes that he doesn’t appear highly organized. “At this point, we don’t even know if we have the resources,” Wolf tells the Post of his hopes to take over the Rocky, which E.W. Scripps Co. put up for sale last week, citing inability to pay for operations. If the Rocky can’t find a buyer, it will shut down next month.

Gawker opines the Rocky’s chances of survival are a dismal 10-1.

The New York Times writes that most of America’s newspapers “remain profitable, but the margins are dropping fast, with the industry losing about 15 percent of its ad revenue this year.”

A grim outlook for the industry can be found at the Newspaper Deadpool.

The Price of Democracy
The price tag for Denver’s ongoing prosecution of people arrested during the Democratic National Convention is starting to take shape: $19,000 and 316 hours of police time. And that estimate does not include the costs of the 10 trials in motion this week and last week, according to The Denver Post.

Brian Vicente, executive director of the People’s Law Project, which represents about 60 of the activists charged with obstructing city streets during the August convention, says the figures show that Denver is wasting police time better spent fighting crime. Of 33 People’s Law Project cases that have gone to trial, 27 were dismissed or resulted in an acquittal.

Speaking of democratic get-togethers, many Coloradans are eagerly awaiting word from the state’s congressional delegation to see who will be among the lucky few citizens to get a ticket for President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on January 20, according to the Rocky Mountain News. There are 250,000 official tickets available.

Crushing News
The Arena Football League is poised to suspend games for the 2009 season, a time when officials are “working on long-term structural improvements.” That’s according to the Rocky Mountain News, which notes the move would leave many dates open at the Pepsi Center, which hosts Colorado Crush games.

The Rocky could not reach former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway or his partners, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and Kroenke Sports Enterprises’ Stan Kroenke, for comment. The league’s commissioner, David Baker, resigned earlier this year. The Crush began playing in 2003 and won the league championship two years later.

What Was That All About?
A month after being traded to the Denver Nuggets as part of the deal that sent Allen Iverson to the Detroit Pistons, Antonio McDyess has re-signed with the Pistons, according to The Associated Press. McDyess came to Denver with Chauncey Billups and Cheikh Samb, but the Nuggets waived the 6-foot-9, 34-year-old center shortly after.

McDyess, who played for the Nuggets in the past, simply did not want to play for the team again, according to Under basketball league rules, he had to wait 30 days before rejoining the Pistons.

Pollster: The left-leaning
Daily Kos conducted a poll to see how former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway and outgoing U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo, both Republicans, would stack up against U.S. Senator Ken Salazar, a Democrat facing reelection in 2010. The short answer? Not too good. Salazar would reap 49 percent of the vote compared to Elway’s 38. Against Tancredo, Salazar does even better, capturing 51 percent of the vote to Tancredo’s 37. Neither Elway nor Tancredo are officially seeking the job.

Audiodose: Ever consider heading for the hills to cut down your own tree for the holidays? KUNC‘s man with a green thumb, Tom Throgmorton, calls the custom “environmentally sane,” noting that cutting some younger trees helps a forest’s overall health.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $1.37, My Mart, 4550 S. Kipling St. (via

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