Denver Mayor Michael Hancock wants his once-thriving city back. As such, the refreshingly pragmatic Democrat this week implored downtown employees to return to their offices.
It is easy to understand his motive. Professionals downtown generate sales tax dollars with every coffee shop, restaurant and parking meter transaction. They support retail businesses and jobs, each one crucial to maintaining the physical, mental, and environmental well-being of Colorado.
A group of downtown business owners and the Downtown Business Partnership joined Hancock in his plea on Wednesday. Business and government leaders throughout the state should follow their lead and advocate the restoration of normalcy in business districts throughout the state.
As one of Colorado’s leading Democrats, Hancock should use this occasion to explain to others in his party the consequences of obstructing and/or shutting down fracking. After all, fracking and downtown Denver depend on each other and form a good chunk of Colorado’s economic foundation.
All contemporary estimates have the oil and gas industry, dependent upon fracking, owning or leasing at least 20% of downtown office space. Oil and gas production provides mostly high-wage jobs that fund health care, mortgages, rents, tuition payments, and put food on tables. The COVID pandemic has given us a glimpse of what losing downtown office workers costs in terms of Colorado’s quality of life. When downtown slows down or shuts down, we suffer culturally, socially and economically.
Radical anti-energy activists have empowered politicians so ideological and ignorant they don’t see a connection between energy and health care, social programs, “equitable” distribution, or other societal issues they claim to care so much about. Without affordable and abundant natural gas and oil, we would fall into a depression so severe as to make the crash of 2008 seem like the good old days.
“Colorado’s oil and natural gas workers helped build Denver and are part of the fabric of our community,” said Colorado native Dan Haley, the former Denver Post editorial page editor and CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.
Attacks on oil and gas at the ballot box and in the Legislature pose a constant threat to the Colorado way of life, even jeopardizing our ability to fund education, Medicaid and basic public safety.
Anyone who downplays the war on energy probably has not read the April 13 letter by about 400 wingnuts sent to Congress and President Joe Biden, a formerly moderate politician who has become easily swayed by left-wing revolutionaries.
The letter rambles on with unsupported complaints about “the devastating impacts of fracking and fracking infrastructure on our communities, public health, and the global climate.” It issues a demand that, if obeyed, would destroy the nation’s economy, create massive unemployment, and kill people who barely have the incomes, food, shelter and clothing they need to survive.
“Ban the practice of fracking nationwide, effective no later than 2025,” the politicians demand.
They are the first to feign compassion for “people of color,” yet their agenda would first destroy economically struggling minority communities that rely heavily on the fracking industry for high-wage jobs.
The letter is signed by far-left state and local politicians from across the county, including Aurora City Council member Juan Marcano, Vail Town Council Member Brian Stockmar, Fort Collins Mayor Pro-tem Ross Cunniff, and Denver City Council members Candi CdeBaca, Jolon Clark, Stacie Gilmore, Chris Hinds, Paul Kashmann and Amanda Sawyer.
“When certain council members push to end the livelihoods of the men and women in this industry, it shows a complete lack of respect and understanding,” Haley said.
“The mayor says he’s ready to welcome back ‘our downtown,’ but the actions and words of some city councilors send an entirely different message.”
Notice how the Colorado group of signers contains only one mayor and no state legislators. This is Amateur Hour, but amateurs have an amazing new knack for taking over. Not long ago the activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went straight from bartending to her role as the de facto leader of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The political futures of extremists like Councilwoman CdeBaca, who wants the economic system concocted by Karl Marx, have no limits.
Mayor Hancock, a seasoned politician, understands the intractable link between economic activity and the health, welfare, and vitality of the city and state he loves and serves. That is why he wants a return to business-as-usual in downtown Denver, where potential economic doom outweighs whatever more the virus might dish out. It explains why he and other astute politicians did not sign a dopey letter demanding the devastation of life as we know it. All who are able should take the mayor’s advice and return to the office.
The Gazette Editorial Board