Two weeks ago we brought our readers' attention to 5280 Magazine's "Power Rankings" that listed what the authors thought were the 50 people who ran Denver. We took away a few things from their list, wondering tongue-in-cheek whether they hated all Christians or just Tim Tebow, as the talk of the town somehow missed the list, and reveled in their dismal view of Bill Ritter and Ken Salazar.
If you haven't read 5280's list you can see it here or pick up a copy on newsstands.
For this post, we felt the need to quibble a bit with their placement and selection of a number of high profile politicians and political consultants.
First of all, we think it's lame that 5280 excluded somewhat self-important and always anonymous bloggers like ourselves. Cheated. We were.
Other than that egregious omission, here are some other rank mistakes and notable placements:
1. Really?! Jared Polis has more stroke than Cory Gardner? No frickin' way. How did the Boulder Democrat make the list and the Yuma Republican was relegated to a side bar Rising Star column? Polis is a member of the minority caucus, which for the House means you spend a lot of time on the floor arguing fruitlessly against legislation, and not much else. Gardner, on the other hand, was named to a plum committee assignment and has quickly climbed the rungs of power in Washington. Polis may be one of the wealthiest Members of Congress, but all that cash couldn't buy Nancy Pelosi the Speaker's gavel, no matter how much Polis wishes otherwise.
2. How in the name of Uncle Fester's fat gut is Alan Salazar more noteworthy than Speaker of the House Frank McNulty? State Senator Mike Johnston and Alan Salazar, clearly mojo-maniacs in their own right, made the list, but the most powerful legislative Republican in the state gets left off? We know Brandon Shaffer is one of the weakest Senate Presidents in modern times, leaving much of the fundraising to rising star Johnston, but how the heck does that elevate Johnson past the man who controls one half of the Capitol law writing process?
3. The Missing Madam Majority Leader. Somehow a freshman state Representative, Rhonda Fields, yields more sway in 5280's mind than the highest ranking woman in Colorado politics. Despite Democrats, and some conservative activists, best attempts to make House Majority Leader Amy Stephens a non-entity in Colorado politics, she remains an influential and powerful leader down at the Capitol. Say what you will about healthcare exchanges, and there's not much nice to say, but Stephens' ability to get that bill passed took some high powered heavy lifting. With omissions like Stephens, no wonder folks were upset at the noticeable lack of women on the list.
4. The Gessler-Stapleton Sweepstakes. There's this not-so-subtle competition between Colorado's two youngest statewide elected officials to become the man. We aren't prepared to say who is winning the passive-aggressive intramural struggle, but Gessler got props from the Mile High Mag and Stapleton didn't.
5. Mario Carrera. Give us a break. Mario is to Colorado politics what Roger Cosack is to the American legal system. Cosack was interesting and relevant during the OJ trial, but a sidelined irrelevant thereafter. Speaking of irrelevant, watch how quickly Mario attains the same status now that the reapportionment process is over. The man has been exposed as the fraudulent partisan that he is. Other than his namesake taking top honors in our reapportionment moniker contest, there isn't much power or influence connected to the man anymore.
6. The Ladies of Hick. Kelly Brough and Roxanne White — Hick's Chief of Staff during his time as Mayor and since his inauguration as Governor, respectively — are way powerful just by virtue of standing so close to his Excellency, the Governor. It is almost like Hick's power is like pixie dust that sprinkles on people in his proximity. 5280 got this one right, but should Hick not be able to deliver Colorado to Obama next year, 5280 might have to rethink the transitive property of Hick's influence.
7. Janice Sinden is in over her head. At 49 on the list is Janice Sinden. 5280 makes a less-than-stirring case for her making the list:
The question around town [surrounding Sinden's selection] seems to be "Why?" There have been more missteps than not (see Hancock at No.3), like the weekend in October when Occupy Denver protests escalated and the mayor's office was unreachable. Sinden has the power to make this mayor — or break him.
We agree. Sinden is lame. If she has to be on the list because Han(d)cock was silly enough to pick her, 49 is the second best spot for her.
8. Countdown to Onsight ad buy? Who wants to bet the PR agency Onsight, which was the only company mentioned on a list of ostensibly powerful people, buys some select ad space next month in 5280 to return the favor? We're only half kidding. If they're going to include collectives, then we hope they remember the link love the Peak is providing them on this article come next year. We won't appreciate being cheated twice.
Check back at the Peak for our rebuttal list to be released before the start of the next legislative session.