Cherry Creek Mall: Didn’t you watch Hickenlooper’s 2003 campaign ad?

John Hickenlooper’s 2003 mayoral ad “Change.”

The headline today on a ColoradoPolitics blog read, “Hyper-local politics in Denver: It’s all about parking,” referring to an “uproar” in Cherry Creek.

“Hel-lo!” Businessman John Hickenlooper taught us that lesson in 2003, when he was one of pack of candidates running in the first open Denver mayor’s race in a dozen years. An early poll showed him tied — for fifth place.

Then came Hickenlooper’s folksy, funny ad featuring his showdown with a parking meter attendant. Hickenlooper used an actual change belt tied to his waist, handed out coins to drivers and even fed money into an expired meter in LoDo.

How good was that ad? Did the spot tap in to the frustration of drivers wanting to hang out in downtown Denver? Well, now we call him Gov. Hickenlooper.

We’ve got trouble right here in Cherry Creek and that rhymes with “P” and stands for parking.

Fast forward to 2017 and explosive growth in Cherry Creek. The iconic mall, frustrated with nearby office workers and others who parked at the mall but never shopped there, started charging for parking.

“By some guesstimates, mall traffic has taken a hit as a result, and a number of shop owners at the mall are grousing out loud,” Dan Njegomir wrote in ColoradoPolitics.

Which is the point Hickenlooper made in his 2003 mayoral ad: “The city raised our parking rates and now shoppers are going elsewhere, business is suffering and tax revenues are down.”

The Denver Post’s Emilie Rusch last month had an eye-opening story on the recent situation headlined “Paid parking at Cherry Creek Mall a ‘total disaster,’ store owner says.” The Denver City Council took action at its meeting Monday, and a public hearing has been scheduled for next month.