Our View: Hick’s “To Be Determined” Leadership on Lower North Fork Fire

May 6, 2012

The fire, which started as a controlled burn, led to three deaths and destroyed some two dozen homes

In the face of human tragedy and destruction that’s been wrought in the aftermath of the Lower North Fork Fire, it is quite disappointing to realize that some of our friends in the media and on the cocktail party circuit seem to have accepted the fact that Governor John Hickenlooper is not one of those “leadership type” governors. No, he’s more of a “someone I could have a beer with” type of governors.  If your home and all of your earthly possessions were transformed in to a pile of ash and rubble due to actions taken by the State of Colorado, which type of governor would you want at the helm?

From the beginning of this disaster, the Hickenlooper administration scrambled to make the incident a bureaucratic snafu rather than taking accountability and developing a plan to make things right.  Sure, finding time to realize that your own state forest service reports to a university president was a good start.  But, as this saga has unfolded, Governor Hickenlooper’s instincts and inability to lead have been on full display.

Fortunately for the victims of the controlled burn gone bad, Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty knew all too well that waiting for Hickenlooper to lead is like waiting for Godot. After all, Mr. Hickenlooper is the same man who decided to launch a bus tour of Colorado two years after he was elected to formulate an agenda.

It’s good to see that House Speaker Frank McNulty’s leadership on the matter has forced the Governor to the table.  Victims of the fire have no time to wait for the buck-passing and excuse peddling that we will invariably hear from the always unaccountable bureaucracy.

Amending the Governmental Immunity Act to add prescribed burns is sensible, and those impacted by the fire can bypass the first floor of the Capitol and thank legislative leaders on the second floor for moving swiftly and taking action on their behalf.

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