Friday, May 1, 2009

Denver mayor preaches collaboration

Express Staff Writer

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper Photo by Willy Cook

As the leader of one of the largest cities in the United States, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper undoubtedly has an unusual background.

Speaking at a Regional Leadership Conference in Sun Valley on Monday, Hickenlooper described his transition from geologist to brew pub owner to politician.

The conference, hosted annually by the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, was attended by business leaders and elected officials from the Treasure Valley.

Hickenlooper, the keynote speaker, was full of humorous anecdotes about his personal history, but was serious when it came to his philosophy behind municipal governance.

"There's no profit in having enemies," Hickenlooper said.

Hickenlooper advocated a collaborative approach that eschews a "me first" attitude and, instead, follows the belief that what is good for the greater Denver area, and Colorado in general, will be good for the city itself.

As an example, Hickenlooper said he has an agreement with neighboring cities not to attempt to get existing business to relocate to a different part of the metro area. In addition, the cities do not compete with each other for businesses looking to move in or around Denver.

"It doesn't matter where the headquarters of a business is because the employees will live all over and will have an economic impact for everyone," Hickenlooper said.

He said this attitude of cooperation also helped pave the way for a consolidation of fire departments with the neighboring city of Glendale and a regional transit initiative to increase taxes for improvements that decreased traffic.

With transportation and consolidation prominent issues in the Wood River Valley, Hicklooper's advice could likely find an audience.

Jon Duval:

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