The Colorado governor’s race is still in primary season, but the barbs, predictably, are already flying between the likely candidates. Republican front-runner Dan Maes, a darling of the Tea Party movement, will likely win the the GOP nomination to square off against Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, a popular and well-liked Democrat who has advocated a sustainable city plan for Colorado’s biggest city.
Recently, Maes cast his strongest accusation at Hickenlooper to rile up the Republican base: Hickenlooper apparently has had the audacity to make Denver bicycle friendly. According to Maes, it’s not “just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor,” but rather a conspiracy plot that “could threaten our personal freedoms,” and “convert Denver into a United Nations city”. The conspiracy theorist Maes continued to unravel the twisted threat of anti-Americanism that bicycling represents: “This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed.”
Colorado, a traditionally red state that has trended blue lately (the state went for Barack Obama, and has had a recent run of Democratic Governors and Senators after many years of domination by Republicans), has been a leader in renewable energy legislation and many other sustainable initiatives at the state and local levels, especially in the Denver-Boulder-Fort Collins corridor where the majority of the state’s population resides.
Maes said he was once duped into thinking that sustainable initiatives like farmer’s markets, community gardens, and bike lanes were “harmless and well-meaning”. Now, however, he has woken up to the fact that “that’s exactly the attitude they want you to have.”
To explain the fear building up in his amygdala at the revolting thought of a healthy, livable, and sustainable Denver, Maes said, “At first, I thought, ‘Gosh, public transportation, what’s wrong with that, and what’s wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what’s wrong with incentives for green cars?’ But if you do your homework and research, you realize [this] is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty.”
Ironically, Maes didn’t do his research. Denver is one of 1200 cities and communities, half of which are in the United States, to be part of a program called the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, which provides guidelines for sustainable and livable cities and development. Denver has been a part of the program since 1992, and Hickenlooper became Mayor of Denver long afterwards.
Scott Cooney is the Principal of GreenBusinessOwner.com, author of Build a Green Small Business (McGraw-Hill), and lives car-free in bicycle friendly San Francisco, another of the 1200 “communist” cities that Tea Party members fear.
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