Crass? Clueless? Just plain dumb? All of the above? Yup, all of ’em are good descriptors of the Fine Arts Center’s midnight teardown of the historic Carpenter mansion last week. And why did they tear it down? For a parking lot! According to FAC public relations flack Charlie Snyder, the decision had been made years before, but they just now got around to doing it.
Watching the Broncos stumble haplessly around during last week’s preseason game against the ’Boys was, unless you are a Cowboys fan, a painful experience. The Donksters, who just last week were anointed as Super Bowl contenders by the Denver media, looked more like pretenders, destined to finish at or near the bottom of the AFC.
Made yet another pilgrimage up the pass to Cripple Creek a couple of weekends ago accompanied by a friend who, like me, enjoys playing the quarter slots. After several hours of hopeful play, we were down a few bucks and decided to get a meal in the casino’s steakhouse.
So here it is at last, the grand opening of the resplendent new addition to the Fine Arts Center. It’s a triumph for and a tribute to our community. We all owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the foundations, businesses and individuals whose generous contributions made this day possible. But it’s obvious that we owe much to one man, FAC President and CEO Michael De Marsche. Without his leadership, it’s reasonable to assume that the arts community would still be mired in pointless infighting, that no plan would have been conceived, that no project would have been launched.
If you want an easy visual lesson about the economic impact of historic preservation, I’d suggest three Saturday afternoon strolls. Stroll No. 1: Start at Bancroft Park, in historic Old Colorado City. Walk west on the north side of the street to 27th Street, cross Colorado Avenue and walk back on the south side of the street.
Remember Pogo Possum, the swamp-dwelling protagonist of the eponymous comic strip? I never paid much attention to the strip, even as a comics-loving kid. But I do remember Pogo’s famous remark: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” That sweet little epigram was a sly rephrasing of an equally well-known wartime dispatch sent in 1813 from Oliver Hazard Perry to William Henry Harrison, saying that “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.”
Remember the old Roadrunner cartoons that entertained generations of kids before video games and the Internet? Remember when the Coyote would suddenly arrive at the edge of a precipice? He wouldn’t stop. He’d just keep going, running in thin air — and suddenly, he’d look down, realize his plight, and plummet to the ground, to the audience’s shrieking delight.
A couple of years ago, I briefly dated a woman who was recently divorced from a local orthopedic surgeon. One evening she complained mildly about her ex’s unwillingness to fund some kid-related expenditure. “After all,” she said, “It’s not as if he can’t afford it.”
Sometimes, as we all know, style is more important than substance, emotion trumps reason and logic takes a back seat — even if we’re making vitally important decisions. We get married for the first time to people who are utterly unsuitable (but gorgeous), we go to college and major in subjects so obscure that no employer will hire us, we start businesses that offer products for which there is no demand, we buy houses in dangerous neighborhoods in decaying cities … well, enough of my biography.
Solving the problems associated with large-scale illegal immigration is important to every segment of the community — especially to business. It should not be the job of businesses to police their work forces, and workers who are here illegally need a path out of the shadows.