This month's 5280 magazine is dubbed “The Power Issue,” with the feature being their ranking of what the authors believe to be the 50 most powerful people in Denver. 5280 is a great magazine, with significant influence among opinion makers, and their list has already started a vibrant conversation online about who actually runs things in the capitol city of Colorado. But the Peak being the Peak, well, we think the whole thing deserves some snarky commentary.
You can read the full list here or by picking up a copy of the magazine on newsstands.
Already the list has come under assault for its noticeable lack of women, but we think they've deviated from reality in more than just a gender-based manner.
Over the coming weeks we'll be going through our critique of the list in a series of posts, ending with our own rebuttal list.
First, seven takeaways we've drawn from the rankings:
1. You've got to be a liberal to be a Top 10er — the only exception to the rule is if you are a billionaire (or something close to it.) For a state that's split evenly between Republicans, Democrats and Unaffiliated, it's an odd choice to declare only liberals and billionaires rule the roost of Colorado's capitol. Maybe 5280 decided spending = power and by that metric, only billionaires and big spending liberals fit the bill.
2. Why does 5280 hate Tim Tebow? No seriously, how did he not make the list? He is the show. The story. The whole effing enchilada. Does 5280 hate all Christians or just Tim Tebow? Ok, we are exaggerating on the Christendom bit, but since his religious preferences are the stuff of water cooler discourse, we thought we'd play in.
3. Ken Salazar and Bill Ritter are lame. We've been saying that for months, but then again, you'd expect as much from a right wing digital rag. Now, a real publication that rolls off printing presses has given our nasty talk about Ritter and Salazar more validity. Ritter and Salazar are in decline. For Salazar in particular, this is a downer. He won't be Guv or AG, much less VP. He will likely join the Salazar clan back at the potato shed, or his big bro John Salazar in the Hickenlooper administration. Either way, his fall from grace is sure.
4. Brownstein and Farber. Blah, Blah, Blah. Puke. Seriously, we know. Brownstein and Farber rule the world with truth and grace. But we are kind of sick of reading about it.
5. The Udall disssss. Seriously, Mark Udall must be less than enthused by the back bench status everyone gives him compared to Governor Hickenlooper. Heck, the junior US Senator from Colorado, Michael Bennet, outranked him by five spots. Of course, it helps Bennet to have The Denver Post's DC reporter practically on his payroll. But for a scion of the "Kennedys Of The West" 14th has got to hurt Udall.
6. Move Over Wall Street. And Silicon Valley. 5280 rightly recognizes the sizable scroll of global Goliaths that call Colorado home. From Greg Maffei to Phil Anschutz, Denver dominates the power corridor between New York and California.
7. Schooled. A significant amount of education reformers make the list, as they should. One of the growing focuses of urban politics is putting ed reformers in the driver’s seat of power, reducing the influence of power broker union hacks. It's a development that can be cheered by left and right alike, just not at CEA HQ. Or the Sirota household, for that matter.
While we clearly do not agree with every placement on the power list, the issue has been successful in igniting a conversation about who really matters in Colorado. They have correctly identified the decaying corpses of previously powerful politicians, boosted the egos of some rising stars and given us reason to remind our readers how far Bill Ritter and Ken Salazar have fallen in only a few short months.
Check back at the Peak for our next post on the power rankings where we wonder aloud how in the name of Uncle Fester's fat gut Alan Salazar is more noteworthy than the Speaker of the House, Frank McNulty.
(Photo Credit: 5280 Magazine)