EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this column referred to a 5-minute public comment time limit at city council meetings. The limit is 3 minutes. Perry said it just seems like longer.
First it was Mercury, and now Aurora is clearly in retrograde.
There can be no other explanation for what appears to be extended weirdness in the region.
Consider these oddities.
An increasing number of school districts, including one right here in Aurora, are considering taking the air and ink to ponder banning student field trips to the “wildlife preserve” at Rocky Flats.
If you’re not as old as I, or you’ve arrived with one of the recent tidal waves of newcomers to the area, let me catch you up.
Rocky Flats is the place between Arvada and Broomfield where, for decades, the government hired military contractors to grind plutonium into “nuclear triggers.” For generations, it’s been an environmental nightmare right in the Denver area’s own backyard.
Since the place was built — upwind and upstream of the metro area — there have been two fires and endless stories of unthinkable contamination out there.
It was finally shut down in 1992 and became just another superfund site. Oddly, someone figured it was a good idea to make the buffer zone surrounding Rocky Flats a “wildlife refuge,” and then open it to the public.
I know it’s weird. But that’s old-news weird.
Someone, somewhere decided recently that we can’t allow schools in the region to drag unsuspecting children up to Plutonium Acres on a field trip. Despite that, it appears no one anywhere we’ve asked thinks such a field trip would be interesting or a good idea.
The lack of any problem, however, has never stood in the way of government producing an unneeded solution. School boards across the region are now voting to prohibit their supers and teachers from forcing children where no children want to go.
Perhaps with all that time not spent at Rocky Flats now reclaimed, someone will make it an equal priority to teach the kids how to read.
And speaking of syncopated symphonies, if you didn’t tune in to the season opener of Aurora City Council: The Musical, you’ll have to binge watch the endless minutes of rampant retrograde hanging over that aching venue.
Last season, city council meetings essentially ground to a halt as protesters showed up each week to antagonize various lawmakers and each other. Portions of the meeting set aside to let the public yak it up about whatever they want — for five minutes only — became weird tirades, often laden with serious profanity. The municipal mosh pit has become so vulgar and vandalized that it became a post-election issue for newly elected Mayor Mike Coffman. Mayor Mike, in trailers last week for this week’s season opener, said he wasn’t having it and threatened the bring a big gavel.
Everyone waited with bated breath Monday night to see what would become of Mike and the Mighty Mallet.
Neither Mercury nor Mike disappointed.
At the bookend session of Public Invited to be Heard, But Only For Five Minutes, the show started. Some guy from Denver gets up to say that he’s from Denver and really has no connection to Aurora but wanted to come and talk to city council because he can. If you assumed this was some old dude who left his 32 cats just long enough to make an appearance late on Monday night, you’d be way wrong. Talking dude, like so many of the Public Invited to be Herd, are young and without cats. They go off ad nauseum about all manner of matters, most of which does not.
It becomes apparent soon into this or any episode that, as a society, we must be careful what we wish for. So much of my generation has hoped and hoped that more people would take an interest in their government and civic affairs. And now? No, no we do not wish that.
The English have an answer for what’s going on here. In London’s Hyde Park, there’s a place called Speakers’ Corner. For generations, great and not-so-great orators have taken to a box or stool and enlightened the masses, which of late has dwindled to mostly tourists. We need only to move the lectern in the well of city council chambers a ways out the door and onto the bump in the Great Lawn in front of city hall to solve this perplexing problem. Rather than curtail the time, the topic and the tenor of these rants, the retrograde sky’s the limit for Aurora’s Speakers’ Knob.
That was no help Monday, however, when Speaker No. 2 crossed the time limit and the patience of Aurora’s newly sworn Mayor Mike and his Mega Mallet. After being told, “time’s up,” the woman kept talking and Mike started pounding. “Yak-Whack-Yak-Whack” delighted the audience, at least one of which began offering up an impromptu percussion element that certainly struck a chord with me. It then became “Loud Yak-Whack-Clap-Whack-Loud Yak-Whack-Clap-Whack…”
Not once, but thrice did vocalists invite Mike’s Mighty Musical Mallet to accompany their swan songs.
Don’t miss next week’s episode when last week’s opening night manners give way to Snarling with the Stars inside Aurora’s Chamber of Horrors. Best catch it soon. Surely Aurora’s Moon over My Hammies will scoot over to the state Capitol in time for the January show there.
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