Dan Maes, the Tea Party-supported candidate in the Colorado governor’s race, has argued that a popular Denver bike-share program is a “very well-disguised” part of a plan by Denver mayor (and Democratic gubernatorial candidate) John Hickenlooper for “converting Denver into a United Nations community.” Last week, Maes told the press that Denver’s membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) “could threaten our personal freedoms” because environmental initiatives like the cycling program are “very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to.”
This afternoon, Maes appeared on MSNBC to explain his conspiracy theory. Although the “bike program in and of itself is fine,” he said, what worries him is “what’s behind it all”:
We’re trying to differentiate myself from the mayor. If I win the primary and when I win the primary tomorrow, people are going to say what the difference is. We’re both business people. When a mayor signs onto a program sponsored by the United Nations, that should bring concern to people as to how the program may or may not be compatible with our state constitution.
Despite Maes’s dark fears, Denver’s participation in ICLEI carries no legal obligations and raises no constitutional issues, but does allow city planners to share information and ideas with other urban communities throughout the world. Maes has not yet commented on Colorado State University’s support for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the suspiciously named Denver International Airport, the University of Colorado Model United Nations Club, or Denver’s international sister cities, like Brest, France, Chennai, India, and Kunming, China.
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