The best to you, Henry Sobanet

“Nobody has done more for Colorado than Henry Sobanet. There should be streets, buildings, and airports named after him. Henry stands as the antithesis of everything politics has sadly become. Though he stood at the helm of our budget, he cared not for money, but for making Colorado a better place.”

Budget director Henry Sobanet, center, and the two governors he worked for, Democrat John Hickenlooper on the left and Republican Bill Owens on the right, in 2015. Sobanet’s last day at the Capitol is today. (Sobanet picture)

The year was 2005 and I was assigned to cover the complicated ballot measures Ref C & D, dealing with taxes and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

I called the governor’s budget director, Henry Sobanet, all hours of the day and night. “Is this correct? What if that happens? Does this mean this?”

These days I’m answering phone calls from reporters.

At closing time recently I posted a Tweet about the ballot rejection rates from unaffiliated voters in two counties. Reporters immediately asked if I had more numbers. “I don’t,” I said,  “but I can call around to the clerks and get some.”

“You would do that on a Friday afternoon?” Megan Verlee of Colorado Public Radio asked.

Yes, because that’s my job.

Sobanet always answered his cell phone. I once had a a fairly lengthy budget conversation with him one Friday night before he finally admitted he was at a party and talking to me from inside someone’s bedroom.

Today is Sobanet’s last day at the state Capitol after serving the state and two governors for 20 years.

Read moreThe best to you, Henry Sobanet

Memorial service for Katy Atkinson set for 1 p.m. Tuesday in Denver

Katy Atkinson in 2005 on the Ref C campaign. (Rocky Mountain News)
Katy Atkinson in 2005 on the Ref C campaign. (Rocky Mountain News*)

A media critic once asked me why I interviewed the same small handful of media consultants — including Katy Atkinson and Eric Sondermann — over and over.

I told Jason Salzman that I had the numbers for about 15 consultants taped to my computer, but that I particularly relied on Atkinson and Sondermann because they were smart and “up on everything.”

“Bartels acknowledges that she quotes a relatively small number of political commentators repeatedly, and she says she’d like to expand her list. But it’s not easy to find sources who are willing to be quoted, call back before deadline, are honest and, finally, can articulate a sentence with ‘real words’ and ‘nouns,'” Salzman wrote in the Rocky Mountain News.

“She told me during her interview that I wasn’t using ‘nouns’ myself. She was right; I was muddled, but eventually I got my question out, sort of.”

Sadly, here are some  nouns: cancer, memorial service, cemetery, reception.

Atkinson died Sept. 24 at the age of 59 after a brief battle with brain cancer.  A memorial service honoring her will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 1820 Broadway, with internment at the Crown Hill Cemetery, 7777 W. 29th Ave. in Wheat Ridge. Services are open to the public.

Read moreMemorial service for Katy Atkinson set for 1 p.m. Tuesday in Denver