The Trouble With “Mover and Shaker” Rankings

Locally respected magazine 5280 released their rankings of prominent Colorado personalities last week, the “5280 Fifty” ‘most influential.’

We don’t envy the writers charged with assembling these lists, since for one thing they almost never look very auspicious in retrospect. 5280’s last similar rankings were five years ago, and 2005’s 5280 ‘most influential’ was then-First Lady Frances Owens–who we can’t really recall at any subsequent point being deserving of that title. Similarly this year’s #1 ranked Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper seems a little out of place: not that we don’t love the guy like all the approval ratings show, but most influential man in Colorado? Don’t think so.

Other rankings that don’t seem right to us in this year’s 5280 list include placing CU President Bruce Benson ahead of previously top-ranked ex-CSU President Al Yates. Longtime GOP kingpin Benson has by all accounts kept his pledge to check out of politics while running CU, while Yates continues to be one of the key players in Democratic electoral strategy and top-level giving. Going into this election year, it’s an effortless call as to who will be more ‘influential.’

And here’s another one: on what planet does weed attorney Robert Corry outrank “Colorado’s Karl Rove” Ted Trimpa? Corry may be getting lots of column inches out of his momentarily hot issue, but the idea that Corry is, on the whole, more influential than Trimpa is just not objective. Or even sort of true.

These are just a couple that caught our eye, no doubt you have some others you would re-arrange. In fact, why not make your own “Top 50?” They’re all worth about the same.

UPDATE: a commenter rightfully points out that 5280 describes this as a ranking of influential persons in Denver, not necessarily in Colorado as a whole–but then they proceed to list a number of people who don’t live in Denver. So, you know, whatever.


36 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MADCO says:

    ColoradoPols and

  2. Sage Sam says:

    I understand that he is far removed from the metro spotlight, but to say that somehow he ranks below both McInnis and Penry is absurd.  He sits on Approps, has a direct line to DOI and has the ability to run statewide if he ever should choose.  

    I also so no one on the State Leg JBC on that list, which is puzzling.

  3. redstateblues says:

    This is a ranking of Denver “movers and shakers” not Colorado personalities.

    We rank the Mile High City’s most influential powerbrokers in our primer on who’s running Denver.

  4. Middle of the Road says:

    I’d hate to be Romanoff–he’s listed on the “Plummeting Stock” page with none other than James Dobson. God. Double ouch.

  5. Danny the Red (hair) says:

    Are you fucking serious?

    He’s not even the most important restaurateur (bar owner where I come from).  Aside from my personal distaste for the man and my experience with his business ethics does anyone actually care what he thinks?

      • Danny the Red (hair) says:

        35. Jesse Morreale


        In a city aggressively trying to up its rep as a foodie paradise, Morreale has turned several seemingly modest venues into the type of places where Denver’s hipsters and elite alike mingle to see and be seen. His Mezcal, Tambien, and La Rumba hosted some of the Democratic National Convention’s hottest parties-including those fronted by the Creative Coalition, one of the entertainment industry’s most influential nonprofit advocacy groups-and his revamping of a once-seedy Colfax property into the hipster-friendly Rockbar showed that Morreale is a hit with the youngsters too. All this successful hustling has raised his national profile, and the town’s too.

  6. Craig says:

    Limited to the City and county of Denver only.  Never mind that the suburbs outnumber The City and County of Denver in population 3 to 1, they don’t matter.  Where do 5280’s readers come from?  I guess they don’t care enough to think past the big City to the burbs where most of the money for their pet projects (Coors Fiels, Invesco, Museum of Natural History, Zoo, Art Museum etc etc etc) come from, the suburbs don’t count.   This shows a complete lack of research and understanding of the metro area and an arrogance about the City and County of Denver.  Remember, the burbs put you in a bottle with the Poundstone Amendment.  You ready for another can of whoop ass???  Sounds like you need it.

    • redstateblues says:

      That one cent we pay for every dollar that goes to the SCFD is really breaking the bank.

    • WesternSlopeThought says:

      brings in more money from outside the 7 county Denver area than it costs.  Not to mention the respect, culture and intellectual enlightenment it brings to Colorado.  

      Unless it has changed since I wrote grant proposals and went before those counties’ SCFD funding panels, it is those “burbs” who control the purse strings to much of that money.

  7. Automaticftp says:

    is that anyone believes they matter.


  8. bmenezes says:

    Was 5280 juxtaposing a cover headline about Colorado’s “most influential” with the cover photo of Dana Perino, who the article interestingly portrays as a pretty vapid personality who may be attractive to Fox and right-wing audiences but appears to possess virtually no influence about anything. Oh, and equally funny that they featured a photo of a former Coloradan on the cover of their influential Coloradans issue.

  9. Skip Tracey says:

    …is that smug white men when asked to compile a list of powerful people will usually come up with a list of predominantly smug white men. My list looks exactly the same. Except I wouldn’t have bothered to add the few token women and brown folk — but obviously the 5280 editors need to reassure themselves that they’re hip and progressive.

    Paul Sandoval? Really? Gets credit for putting his wife in a city council seat…except that she’s not in a city council seat. WTF?

    Roxanne White? Really? After all those kids died during her watch at Human Services. She’s a rockstar?

    On my list, if forced to include women and people of color, I would have named the two most powerful people in city government: Michael Hancock and Kim Day. Duh.

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