PERRY: Visit Aurora! It’s not under cartel rule and smells OK

Aurora City Council members in action. SENTINEL SCREEN GRAB

Quick. Name the veritable armpit of the metro area.

Nope. it is not Aurora. Since you’re likely from these parts, you would already know that.

And set aside the fact that some city types are currently tempting the fates with trash-talking a potential sister-city in Mexico. 

Despite decades of denial that would put to shame any alcoholic who holds down a job and pays rent kind of on time, some city nabob types during the past few years have realized — more accurately, they’ve finally admitted — that Aurora has an image problem.

Yes, really.

I know. It’s been a shock to a lot of people. It was sort of a case of Aurora wandering all over the place with toilet paper fluttering off its shoe heel. “What? What are you laughing at?”

For some reason, Denver TV stations and newspapers for years were smitten with using “Aurora” in every headline involving everything from flat tires to drive-by shootings, whereas “Denver” was rarely used in headlines or TV leads because they’re Denver media, and it seemed redundant.

I’m not making this up.

At one point, when my hair was still brown, Aurora actually counted Denver newspaper headlines and TV broadcasts for months and then took their research Downtown to make a change. Of course the Denver paper is no longer Downtown, in fact, it’s not even in Denver, but that’s another sad metro story.

To be sure, nothing happened. What did happen is that people started realizing that Aurora may have four times the bad news as other Denver suburbs, because it’s four times bigger than other metro cities.

The Aurora attitude problem has long been widespread. Realtors who’ve sold homes in Aurora were forever battling those who didn’t, who would badmouth the city to potential buyers.

Homebuyers often get the scrunchy face from a Denver or Lakewood agent who would faux-whisper, “Oh, you don’t want to buy out there…”

Meanwhile, most city hoohaws would just roll their eyes when they heard these tales and say what lies all those disparages were and then change the subject. The logic was that if you didn’t address the problem or publicly fight back against it, it would either go away or just really didn’t matter all that much anyway.

Aurora wised up. The city has now poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a handful of marketing guru plans to influence people outside Aurora, who think the city is gross, that they’re dead wrong.

Some of these campaigns, like the ones touting Aurora’s infinite ethnic foodie paradise have been winners. Others, not so much.

Risking the virtual “are you still beating your wife” marketing dilemma, the city once paid Adrenaline Marketing more than $300,000 to create this heart pounder: “Aurora: Worth Discovering.”


Now you and your neighbors know that the list of things Aurora has going for it is much longer than the list of half-truths and disses. The city wide roads without potholes, an astonishing Space Force base, one of the best medical schools in the world, the biggest hotel in Colorado, safe streets and neighborhoods, really, a gazillion parks and swanky homes just like everywhere else.

Despite all these fabulous marketing targets and attempts, it does, however, still run the City Council Live Comedy Show on the TV just about every Monday, where prize politicians say and do stuff that you can’t pay enough to unsay or do.

Why, just this week, during the Aurora City Council Live Comedy Show’s most recent episode, Councilmember Danielle Jurinsky, the frequent star of the show this season, launched into a diatribe about Aurora adopting Chihuahua, Mexico as a sister city.

Funny as hell even sans laugh-track, Jurinsky puffed about why a city as fine as Aurora would deign to slunk so low as to sister up with a city that has awful crime problems.


“Thank God, as of right now, we don’t live under cartel rule here in Aurora,” Jurinsky said. “I’m very alarmed by all of this, and I think that my colleagues should be as well. If you’re willing to overlook the crime rate there, and you want to make us a sister city, are you willing to overlook our crime rate here?”

Cue the canned laughter.

If you missed last season’s Aurora City Council Comedy Show, Jurinsky got plenty of laughs each week with antics like when the city proposed a ho-hum land acknowledgement pact, honoring the thousands of years of indigenous people that got booted out of what is now Aurora.

Jurninsky blasted the notion of honoring indigenous citizens and even a city department that works to keep racism, misogyny and fascism at a low simmer.

“Jurinsky said she wouldn’t support a land acknowledgment unless the group would “also acknowledge that this is actually God’s country.”

Rim shot.

“That’s the only way I’m going to in any way, shape or form be for this,” Jurinsky said during an especially funny episode last August. She then questioned staffers about the size of the city’s three-person Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

“I am adamantly against this, and if we have an entire department working on things like this, like I said, unless we’re going to acknowledge that this is God’s country, I can’t even believe this is coming to City Council tonight.”

Of course an Aurora comedian calling Chihuahua the ugly step-sister didn’t go without notice.

“How hypocritical it is for Aurora council members to criticize Chihuahua when we in Aurora have exactly the same problems: gangs, guns, drugs, and political leaders who just shrug in response,” one reader chimed in during the post-comedy-how sing-along.

You can see where this is headed in the city’s marketing department. A new and better slogan to replace, “Aurora, not nearly as bad as you think, unless you watch the City Council Comedy Show.”

Get ready for, “Aurora, not as bad as Chihuahua.”

Of course it misses the brilliance of a much better marketing strategy: The best defense is a good offense.

So let me be the Offender in Chief here. Honesty is the best policy, and honestly admitting Aurora’s shortcomings is the wisest choice. Aurora has the best ethnic eateries in the state, but it also has more chains and fast food than all the malls in California. We have a lot of sketchy people shoot at each other here, but not as many as Colorado Springs and Denver. We have some of the best theater in the region, if not the country, but Aurora is saddled with a cultural cache that can’t even compete with Parker for adult-sized venues.

Fess up, Aurora. We’ve got work to do. But you know what? Commerce City sucks, too. Well, it really doesn’t suck so much as it smells. Don’t lie. The smell of money coming from the refineries lined up on I-270 is enough to make you wince even miles away. If Aurora’s looking for a winning slogan, it could be, “Yeah, we got three-story walk-ups, but we don’t smell.”

Denver? Worst streets ever. Aurora may have plenty of fence canyons, but at least we don’t have road craters all over. War-torn countries have better streets than Federal and Colorado boulevards and the lunar landscape on Evans east of Monaco Parkway.

How do you know when you’ve reached Denver’s side of Colfax? The road is paved with promises instead of asphalt. This is a city that pretends it doesn’t include the OTHER side of Stapleton, Montbello, the mess around Alameda and Zuni, as well as the heartbreak of Bear Creek.

And on the far side of Denver? Lakewood, a city where fast food and car dealers go to die. They can’t even keep their streets straight.

Wheat Ridge? A city without sidewalks or enough cash to buy streetlights. If you’re missing the freedom and thrills of a Kentucky holler, there’s a Wheat Ridge lean-to waiting for you.

Westminster? The Kmart of the metro area. They snagged a Martha Stewart line and thought they were Macy’s. In a region where you just can’t build enough shopping centers, the implosion of the Westminster Mall is still hot from that nuclear meltdown.

Littleton? Oh, geez. Who wants to live in a place where more people than not actually fought in the Civil War, or wanted to, and everyone drives away from every day?

See what I mean, Aurora? This isn’t so hard. A little deflection never hurt anyone, here.

Join in. You know how you feel about the vast wasteland of unincorporated Adams County: Arkansas swamps without good grits. Greenwood Village? A magnet for people infatuated with beige and who spend money on North Face bedroom slippers. The kind of people you would never write home about.

See? Sneer if you want. Make fun of Aurora’s penchant for Hardie Board barrios. Gasp at the endless sea of composition shingle stretching ever closer to Kansas. But I know where everyone’s dirty little secrets aren’t hidden. I know where all that aluminum wiring was installed. Where those painted asphalt medians thrive.

Just like Jurinsky, I’m not afraid to tell.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Mastadon, Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]

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11 days ago

I think I lost brain cells reading this rant.

11 days ago

Who ever wrote this is an idiot, I feel like this was written by a 14 year old girl. Calling a public TV broadcasting a comedy show is funny when it’s written by whatever clown wrote this. Sentinel due better and stop hiring clowns in training.

Last edited 11 days ago by Sentinelistrash
11 days ago

Dave, why should anyone think we need a Mexican sister city, just because you seem to think it offers so much civilized  positive  qualities ? Anyone that wants to live in or have a sense of what the Cartel culture moving into Aurora  is, please take a ride down East Colfax, better yet, walk to fully enjoy the stench of getting robbed, or stabbed, or hit and run.   You got all the culture right here. Including the city sponsored and subsidized employment day worker site for non-US-citizens only on Dayton street. Sister city? Think not, it’s in town already, and looks and acts  like Chihuahua. The fall of old downtown Aurora is a product of previous
city leadership wanting to experience  more of their wishful thinking of
moving the south of the boarder culture here, regardless of the consequences.Dave, I’m pretty sure you otherwise think downtown is a wonderful place to hang out.
What a insult to taxpayers what it’s become. CM Jurinsky, and CM Bergan please continue the fight against this non sense, I’m disappointed in some of the others for letting this go forward, but fully expected it from the usual PC crowd.  

11 days ago

Dave, your inferiority complex is showing; you may need to hike up your big boy shorts. Other than that, I’m not sure I understood your entire diatribe. (I assume some of it was sarcasm.)

Setting aside your failure to make a coherent point, can we agree that Aurora has enough image problems to overcome without locking arms with the center of the Mexican drug cartel universe?

10 days ago

I take it your the drunk that holds a job and sometimes pays rent

Waste of time
Waste of time
10 days ago

For someone who claims to support Aurora, you do a spectacular job in tearing it down along with some other metro cities thrown in. Way to go, Sentinel. This meandering and disjointed rant shows once more that you provide no value to the community.

10 days ago

Dear old Davey the Socialist! Always parroting Alinsky’s rules. This time the target is Danielle Jurninsky, to wit:

5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.”

13. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. ”

Like me, Davey, you’re an old man. So, why haven’t you learned by now that individuals don’t deserve to be singled out for humiliation merely because their political viewpoints differ from yours?

8 days ago

Unlike columnist Perry and his incredible meandering subject. Something with an attempt of a politically charged opinion piece, but who knows what the focus of this was? And despite trying to weave the most recent council meeting sister city topic Juan Marcano, wants to make a partner with. Perry intertwines the significance of “Cartel rule” and somehow to make “aluminum wiring” just as relevant in the piece. 
To refocus the real impotence what this council meeting amounts to, others in the city media did pay attention and identified the tension. The Gazette went to trouble to zero in and make it nice and easy to follow without taking all day. Here was their idea.

Last edited 8 days ago by Dean68
6 days ago

Of all the cities, in all of the countries, our socialist leaders, pick a mexican cartel orientated city. and the ringleader for this decision is running for Mayor.

I wish I could, but I don’t “get it” and do not see how anyone does.