Picked up the daily paper a few days ago, and was interested to note an advertisement for Mayor Lionel Rivera's "State of the City" speech, which he delivered Wednesday, June 25, to a room full of assorted bigwigs.
The event was co-sponsored by The Gazette and the Chamber of Commerce, so for a mere 30 bucks you could chow down a plate of industrial-grade chicken surprise, and listen to a suitably platitudinous address from Hizzoner.
I have little interest in such events. As Nol Coward once remarked, "Television is for appearing on, not for looking at."
Similarly, platitudinous speeches are not to listen to, but to give. For city Kremlinologists, no doubt there'll be a few useful nuggets of information to be gleaned; for the rest of us, it's fun to imagine what an absolutely truthful mayor, living in a parallel universe, might say. Maybe it'd go something like this:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome! I'm delighted that you're all here. You are, after all, the folks that matter. You're successful, prosperous, overwhelmingly Republican and conservative -- you contribute to campaigns, influence legislation, take us out to lunch, and lobby us incessantly. You are the people who truly count.
"Without you, and your predecessors, we'd still be a pleasant little city of 100,000, instead of a sprawling suburban mess of half a million souls. I'd like to particularly welcome the so many of you whose livelihoods are tied to growth; developers, builders, realtors, consultants and the like. A big thank-you to The Gazette and the Chamber; without you -- and the help of my good friends (gesture of welcome) the county commissioners -- I'd be giving this speech to some motley bunch of freeloaders on the lawn of the Pioneers Museum, instead of here in air-conditioned comfort with the power people.
"We have similar goals, you and I. I know that, as businesspeople, you don't like all these pesky land-use ordinances that slow down development. I've heard your complaints. Believe me, now that we've got a pro-growth council, we're going to gut or get rid of anything that you don't like. And that includes shutting up all those pain-in-the-ass neighborhood groups, who take up our precious time with their lefty whine-a-thons.
"You might have read that the state demographer has predicted that Colorado's population is going to shoot from 4 million now to 7 million in 2030. The 'environmentalists' say that's bad news; I agree. It's not enough. We need to bust butt to make sure that we get the lion's share of the growth.
"We're at population 500,000 in the region; we need more. We can't wait for 2030, and that's why I'm introducing my dynamic new initiative: Lucky 7!!! We're gonna mobilize our community for growth, by setting a robust goal. Fifteen years from now, we'll have a million folks living at the base of Pikes Peak -- seven figures by 2017 -- Lucky 7!!!
"Bold? Audacious? Daring? You betcha -- and with your help, we can make it happen. Here's how:
"Help me grease the skids for big tax/fee/utility bill increases to finance the infrastructure we'll need. All these cheap-ass little people are gonna bitch when their utility bills double, and taxes go up, and they gotta pay more for the same or equivalent government services. I'll feed 'em our same old line -- the economy's gonna collapse unless you ante up. Just make sure you support me; let's not get off message!
"Keep electing asleep-at-the-wheel social conservatives to the state House of Representatives and Senate. As long as we let 'em rant about guns, gays, God and abortion, they'll do what we tell 'em to with the important stuff.
"And pay attention to local elections. Look what happened in the '90s -- you owe me big-time for hanging in there with last Council. Except for yours truly, there wasn't a real conservative in the bunch -- I counted five mush-brained liberals, two neighborhood-lovin' ninnies and one pizza-munching porn addict. We're in great shape now, and we've even got a token liberal -- he's a heck of a nice guy, and he keeps the good government whiners out of my hair.
"Well, that's about it. We're among friends here, so I'm not gonna bore you with a lot of B.S. about belt-tightening and efficiency and no more taxes. Just remember; no way am I gonna do anything to damage your interests -- unless, of course, it's politically convenient for me to do so."
And that, my friends, is the state of our city.