John Hazlehurst

John Hazlehurst

So here we are, 15 days after Joe Biden’s remarkably pleasant inauguration (the Poet! The Mittens! Lady Gaga!). We should be savoring stories about the first dogs, lining up for vaccinations and yearning for a post-COVID summer… but it’s impeachment time!

Once again, Donald Trump is front and center. Wasn’t there a 1950s B movie titled The Thing that Wouldn’t Leave? Maybe not, but I vividly remember 1951’s The Thing from Another World. For those of you not fortunate enough to have lived in the era of first-run B&W horror movies, consider The Thing’s prescient plot, as summarized in Wikipedia.

“[At a remote Alaskan base] a U.S. Air Force crew and scientists  find a crashed flying saucer and a humanoid body frozen in the Arctic ice, near the craft. Returning to their outpost with the body still in a block of ice, they are forced to defend themselves against the still alive and malevolent plant-based alien when it is accidentally defrosted.”

The alien monster wreaks havoc until… well, I don’t want to spoil the plot if you haven’t seen it! 70 years later, it remains the scariest movie I’ve seen. As Bosley Crowther wrote in The New York Times, “[Howard] Hawks has developed a movie that is generous with thrills and chills… Adults and children can have a lot of old-fashioned movie fun at ‘The Thing’, but parents should understand their children and think twice before letting them see this film if their emotions are not properly conditioned.”

The parallels between the April 27, 1951 release of the movie and the Feb. 7, 2021 impeachment trial are all too obvious. A being alien to politics descends an escalator, wreaks havoc, is seemingly brought under control and suddenly… well, the movie hasn’t ended but Crowther’s advice still holds: Don’t watch the trial if your emotions aren’t properly conditioned!

I suspect that the Senate will settle for some timid resolution of censure, and set the monster free to wreak havoc once more. Don, why not run against Little Marco for the Senate in 2022? Now that’d be fun! I know Mitch McConnell would be delighted by your candidacy, having recently said that “Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country.” Whatever — bring it on! It’s only a movie.

Meanwhile, voters will choose six city councilors in the April 6 municipal elections. Of the six elected four years ago, only David Geislinger, Richard Skorman and Yolanda Avila are running for another term. Jill Gaebler and Don Knight are termed out, and Andy Pico jumped ship to make a successful run for the state legislature. Good for Andy — driving to Denver in the winter is a pain, but the pay’s better: $40,499 versus $6,250 a year.

Twenty-one eager hopefuls have lined up for a job that isn’t a job, one that nevertheless demands at least 40 hours a week. Are you ready for endless meetings and are you qualified to be on the governing board of a multi-billion dollar public utility? The work never stops and the pay stays the same — about $3 an hour! Shouldn’t the city be sued for paying less than minimum wage?

When I was first elected to council in 1991, we didn’t get a nickel. In 1995, the voters grudgingly approved (52-48) the $6,250 stipend, which seemed better than nothing. But c’mon, voters — do you really want a city council dominated by retirees, geezers and folks who are willing to work for free? Judging by the failure of council pay initiatives during the last quarter century, that’s exactly what voters want.

Amazingly enough, six of the of 21 council candidates are in their 30s and one, Olivia Lupia, is 25. Four of the 30-somethings are clustered in District 5, while two are running in District 1. Lupia is one of three newcomers running against Council President Richard Skorman in District 3. Good luck to everybody, but the sad truth is that six of you will take your somewhat uncomfortable seats on the council dais when the pandemic permits. The other 15 can rejoice — you will not be required by law to perform 2,080 hours of community service annually for the next four years!

As for me, my February calendar is already full. We’ll stay home, watch ’50s horror movies and occasionally turn on impeachment TV. Rock on, Monster! 

John Hazlehurst, whose great-grandfather came to Colorado in 1859, is a Colorado Springs native. He has worked as a reporter/columnist for the Indy since 1997 and the Business Journal since 2006.