The Denver Post's Jeremy Meyer has written a virtual tome on the politically tone-deaf decisions of newly elected Denver Mayor Michael Hancock when it comes to one of the most pressing issues in politics today — government spending in a budget crisis. But despite his many, well researched stories he has failed to connect them together for his readers.
Virtually everywhere in the country is facing budget shortfalls, except maybe North Dakota and Commerce City (h/t Lynn Bartels). In Denver, Meyer wrote about the projected $100 million deficit the city will face in 2012.
Back when Hancock was merely a mayoral candidate, Meyer wrote about Hancock's bonebrained idea to vote for a pay raise for the city's politicians. Many observers thought that would spell the end of Hancock's candidacy, especially with massive budget cuts to Denver schools, police and other city worker budget line items.
Surviving that idiotic move and becoming Mayor, Hancock must now believe himself to be the Teflon man, incapable of feeling blowback for political decisions. He certainly has avoided the consequences for other types of blowback thus far.
With Meyer reporting today on a potentially new dimwitted decision in the works — boosting the pay of Hancock's political appointees — we thought we'd do for our readers what Meyer has forgotten to do for his. That is, connect all the bad budget decisions by Hancock that Meyer has thoroughly reported on.
1. Votes For His Own Pay Raise: While a candidate and city councilman Hancock thought it would be good idea to increase the salaries of elected officials like himself while cutting funding and jobs for other city workers. He was elected nonetheless. Apparently the only things voters on the Left don't like is budget cuts — spending increases aren't political losers with liberals.
2. Political Appointee Spending Sky High: Meyer crunched the numbers of the salaries of Hancock's political appointees and found them a cool million dollars more than then-Mayor Hickenlooper's appointees in his first year. And Hancock hasn't even finished appointing all his political hacks.
3. A Nontransparent Transition: Despite the Denver Ethics Board's suggestion to Hancock that he regularly disclose the private sources of money funding his transition, Hancock has decided to ignore that advice. Meyer reported on Sunday that Hancock has yet to release any details about who is paying for his mayoral transition. You would think Hancock would have learned about financial transparency after his issues with the Denver media on that exact issue.
4. More Pay Hikes For Political Appointees: Not happy with merely making it rain for his current crop of political appointees, a potential pay raise is now in the works for four already well paid appointees. Between the four positions up for pay hikes, Meyer reports total of $144,350 of raises is at stake. We have a feeling the police and teacher's union might have something to say about that.
While it's completely unsurprising that none of the usual liberal groups designed to stir up trouble whenever a Republican speaks or walks down the street have said a peep about Hancock's mistakes, we're surprised Jeremy Meyer hasn't connected the dots.
Meyer has done some great investigative work uncovering these stories. We just wish he would help tie it all together for his readers. When you see it all laid out, you really begin to wonder if Denver voters knew who they were electing.
Even if the dots don’t get connected on the black and white pages of our state’s most read paper, all of this bad press is going to start catching up with Hizzoner. When Hancock and his former campaign opponent Chris Romer seemed to be vying for the mantle “worst mayoral candidate ever”, we wondered out loud whether Hancock would be up to the job of City CEO. Increasingly, Hancock is erasing any wonder about that question…a chief executive this guy apparently is not.