Xcel, Lobbyists, Monitored Blogs In Denver Tower Push

The saying goes that a good lobbyist is a ubiquitous lobbyist. That is, being completely accessible to talk with public officials about a particular issue any hour of the day. It also entails an awareness of every possible angle and avenue that opposition might take to defeat you.

A good example of this concept in action would be CRL Associates, a lobbying firm representing Xcel Energy in the company’s latest attempt to update five transmission towers near Ruby Hill Park in south central Denver.

E-mail messages obtained by Colorado Confidential show that CRL Associates and Xcel not only monitored blogs and newspapers regarding the issue, but also brainstormed posting articles supporting their position on the Colorado “Your Hub” a hyper-local citizen journalism site operated by the Denver Newspaper Agency, publisher of the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News.In a July 15 mailing sent to Brittany Morris, vice president of CRL, a respondent summarized a meeting where the Ruby Hill issue was discussed, writing that certain neighborhood group representatives “have a huge distrust of the [Mayor’s] administration.”

Click here to view CRL/Xcel “Your Hub” memo.

The respondent, who represented Xcel at the meeting, then wrote that neighborhood leaders “will also be posting articles on the Southwest Edition of ‘Your Hub’ so we should make sure Xcel has postings as well.”

Other E-mails show CRL was keeping an eye out for blog and media mentions about the issue.

In a mailing to council member and tower supporter Charlie Brown (Dist. 6), with the subject as “Another Blog (from the creator of the Dear Denver Blog),” Morris sends a link to a post about the issue from a short lived blog called Dear Denver.

Morris also kept Brown updated with E-mail pointing to a Rocky Mountain News editorial on Ruby Hill, and a mailing with an attached news clip from the Washington Park Profile written by former council representative Kathleen Mackenzie, an opponent to the towers.

Whether or not Xcel made it to Your Hub remains to be seen, but CRL has manged to keep a strict eye on information relevant to their client, through newspapers and do-it-yourself blogs.

As for Ruby Hill, a vote on the towers has been delayed until Sept. 10.

Click here to see CRL message about Rocky Mountain News OP-ED.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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