Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another Oops Moment for Denver's Democrat Mayor

The city of Denver doesn't pay fuel taxes (state or federal) and, it turns out, neither do the Democrats who are organizing this summer's political convention. A sweet deal, to be sure.

The deal was between Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (himself a Democrat and thus a generously free-spender of other people's money) and the convention committee members which allowed them to fill up their vehicles at the city's own gas pumps. Thus, they avoided paying the 40.4 cents per gallon in state and federal fuel taxes that all other Colorado citizens and visitors must.

Oh yeah; there were free car washes too.

It is, of course, an ugly and, according to the state's attorney general, probably illegal act of favoritism. And it's been going on for 4 months.

Not surprisingly, the deal was shelved as soon as the public became aware of it. (Well, there were a few hours in between, perhaps to allow the Democrat committee members to top off their tanks.)

The red-faced mayor's immediate reaction was to duck for cover and insist, like a goofy teenager, that his actions were excusable because others were doing it too. "I do know for a fact that they're doing the same exact thing in Minneapolis," Hickenlooper insisted.

That's not a good defense in any case.

But it's an even worse defense when it's a lie.

Teresa McFarland, a spokeswoman for the Minneapolis-St. Paul host committee for the G.O.P. convention there, said its members are getting their gas at public pumps. "We're not getting a tax break on fuel," she said. "That's not the setup at this end."

There are other shenanigans of Mayor Hickenlooper's discussed in this Rocky Mountain News story, including his administration's habitual practice of having work performed on behalf of the city before a contract for that work has been fully executed and properly signed. Like an unbelievable 79% of the time?

Here's the story.