This happened in August 1977, but it seems like yesterday. Several days after driving 1,000 miles in an overfilled U-Haul truck to start a new challenge here, I rode with a co-worker up Interstate 25 for an assignment in Denver.
As we breezed over the crest of Monument Hill, the fellow writer offered a piece of local information: "You'll find this out soon enough," he said, "but as far as most people in Denver are concerned, this is the state line."
It seemed strange at the time to the naïve transplant from Arkansas. But within a few months, it became obvious that most Denver folks truly had no idea about everyday life, problems and priorities in Colorado Springs.
And nothing has happened since to change that conclusion.
That mental snapshot from 35 years ago came back to mind last Friday, after the Denver Post pre-released some election endorsements before publishing them last weekend. As part of that package, the Post offered the view that U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs should be elected to a fourth term in Congress.
Really. The only state-level newspaper in Colorado, which claims to be paying attention to matters of importance to all Coloradans, endorses Lamborn despite writing that "we regularly disagree with his stances."
That part was crazy enough. In searching for positives about the Republican whose mission is being rated among the most conservative D.C. lawmakers, the Post mentioned that Lamborn "worked to bring a veterans cemetery to the region." In reality, that was championed by both parties, with former U.S. Rep. John Salazar the leading force, and Lamborn joining only when the idea surfaced of putting that cemetery between Colorado Springs and Pueblo.
But that wasn't the worst part of the Post's endorsement. The real insult to everyone south of Monument Hill was the Post's excuse that Lamborn has no real opposition beyond "several minor-party candidates."
There was no reference at all to Dave Anderson, the local independent who has been running actively against Lamborn for more than a year. Anderson, with no party affiliation, has a strong business and manufacturing background, and he's a staunch fiscal conservative. He's an underdog, for sure, but he's far from irrelevant. At the Indy, we've been keeping up with Anderson's campaign all along. He came to our office recently for an interview, while our request to Lamborn (even for just a phone visit) went unanswered.
In the end, as you'll see in our package starting here, we're endorsing Anderson without hesitation. Hopefully that will make a difference in the race, but obviously the Post's position carries weight. In a related column, the Post referred to having interviewed candidates and checked through coverage of congressional races. But apparently not south of Monument Hill, because as Anderson quickly confirmed to the Indy, he never was contacted and hadn't talked to anyone from the Post despite submitting a steady stream of campaign materials.
At a local charity event Friday night, just a few hours after that endorsement went online, Anderson talked about having numerous Denver friends in business, including one who has been a Post contributor. He thought the Post would check out his website, which includes in-depth positions plus an impressive list of endorsements from the likes of former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, former GOP legislator and state insurance commissioner Marcy Morrison, former Colorado Springs Vice Mayor Richard Skorman, Cañon City Mayor Tony Greer, and various Springs business and civic leaders including Tom Neppl (CEO of Springs Fabrication), Mike Callicrate, Chuck Murphy, Mary Ellen McNally, Jim Stewart, Ernest Chavez and Susan Loo Pattee.
Yet, despite all that, the Post dismissed Anderson without so much as a phone call. That's not acceptable for a state newspaper. In fact, one has to question whether the Post deserves that title any longer.
Of course, it also depends on where the state line actually is. Here in Colorado Springs, we realize that the border actually is 140 miles south, between Trinidad and Raton.
But apparently, from Denver's vantage point, there truly isn't anything south of Monument Hill.