Members of the Aurora City Council meet with officials from El Salvador in El Salvador in September 2021. Left to right, Ivania Rivera, integrante of SARCO; Juan Marcano and Alison Coombs, conceded from Aurora; Félix Ulloa, vice-president of El Salvador; Mike Coffman, alcald of Aurora; y Ricardo Gambetta, Manager of International Relations and Migration of Aurora. (Photos/Cortesía Prensa Aurora)

OOne of the first things Americans realize when they travel abroad is that, despite what we are often taught to believe, it is not the center of the Universe, or even of the planet.

Some Aurora lawmakers haven’t understood this, and the city’s mayor doesn’t seem to want it.

I grew up feeling sorry for people unlucky enough not to be born in the United States and having to live in places where they spend most of their waking hours lamenting they weren’t here.

As I began to learn “foreign” languages ​​and meaningful world history in middle school, I began to realize that it wasn’t all about us.

And when curiosity drew me to an empty freighter in Florida bound for Cartagena, I began to understand how most people get along just fine without us, and often better.

One of my early teenage experiences in “wow, I didn’t know” was drinking Colombian hot chocolate, “choc-oh-lah-tay a la taza.” It’s a hot drink that’s more bitter than sweet with chunks of fresh cheese on the bottom. Really. You sip the rich, wide-eyed hot chocolate, then pour the rich, melty salty cheese into the cup. It makes Carnation Instant USA packets taste like brown pencil water.

More importantly, I learned that there is a whole world out there who lives without a car – on purpose – but still manages to get around the city, the country and the world.

Since then, I’ve been resolute and lucky enough to wander the planet, discovering all sorts of amazing things, most of which have little or nothing to do with our supposed place at the top of the globe.

Given that most Americans who roam beyond our borders often come away with very similar observations, it struck me as more than odd that Mayor Mike Coffman had a tantrum about two councilmen getting traveling to a French suburb as part of the international conference Making Cities Livable.

Coffman dismissed the trip, saying in a tweet and on talk radio that it was “an insult to the diligent taxpayers of this city” for the two to attend “a conference, in Paris of all places,” concluding that the “next time they want to take a holiday in Europe, they can pay for it themselves.

He was so furious that Murillo and Marcano were going to a Parisian suburb – it wasn’t Paris – “of all places”, that he proposed a new law essentially banning lawmakers from traveling outside the country by using city money.

“As someone who has traveled overseas in another office, I really don’t see the value in local elected officials traveling overseas,” Coffman, a former congressman, said Monday, according to an article by the reporter for SentinelMax Levy.

Coffman failed to mention that last fall he flew to El Salvador with hard-earned taxpayers’ money to a suburb of San Salvador. Aurora has a large population of Salvadoran immigrants, and El Salvador is facing a world-class disaster, overrun by gang activity and shootings, and half of the rest of all nations trying to find ways to prevent the citizens of the country to flee their country of origin.

I hope Coffman learned something that he took home as a “local elected official” sent to El Salvador, perhaps, to solve the immigration crisis.

I hope he was able to get out of his hotel and his itinerary to experience for himself how lovely and gracious the righteous people are in the San Salvador area. There’s a lot to be learned from a nation with cities full of people who seem nice no matter how hot and steamy it is. The art of coffee and barista is unlike anything you have experienced here, in Italy or, “of all places, in Paris”.

While travel agents and Paris travel industry officials have carefully nurtured Paris’s image as the posh-chic capital of the world, anyone who’s been there, outside of a guided trip, can tell you that it really isn’t. It is an amazing place that is capable of providing homes for millions of people and entertainment for hundreds of millions of people effectively or quite efficiently.

The suburbs, however, especially the more outlying ones, are no more like the Champs-Élysées than Havana Street west of Aurora.

This famous Parisian alley is filled with all sorts of tony things to wear and store in your closet, all of which are way cheaper on Amazon.

But Havana Street in Aurora? You can get ramen as good as if you were flying to Tokyo. There are pork carnitas in a smoky chipotle blessing better than any in Mexico City’s top food districts. Waxy potatoes await you on Havana Street with a flowery pungent medley that if they weren’t there, you’d have to find your way to East Africa to get them.

I know because I’ve been to some of these places here and there.

Councilman Curtis Gardner said this week that he had also just made an “official” trip to Mexico City. No doubt he was treated to some good things in one of the best food towns on the planet. But what he took away was how the city manages to have one of the best public transit systems in the world, despite the city’s love of cars, just like ours.

Even though Gardner didn’t learn firsthand how to fix Metro Aurora’s transit system, which needs serious help, he came back determined to tell people, we don’t to live like this.

Having visited many places in my life, this is the most important thing I learn every time I leave and come back: we don’t have to live like this. Other people don’t.

In Vienna, there are no turnstiles or ticket checkers in their amazing subways and subway trains. It’s an honor system that people will pay for, because it’s worth it. And it’s. And they do. If someone is too broke or greedy to pay? Enough everyone does to make it work, and work well.

There are places in Germany, Holland and Norway where the roads are reserved for bikes or skiers. They don’t complain. They cycle and ski to get to school, to the store and to work.

And given that Aurora has spent hundreds of millions of your “hard-earned” dollars attracting the international to the Gaylord of the Rockies conference center and working tirelessly to attract government funded tourists or any type of tourist to Aurora, to see how diverse and international we are, an intelligent person would find it strange that Coffman would have such a problem with city lawmakers who also travel there.

If you’re like Coffman and others who believe that we can only make Aurora safer if we get tougher, tougher, no, tougher on crime, you don’t know that in Iceland they discovered this Plentiful and cheap education, good paying jobs and a strong social safety net have made this country the safest country in the world. And the fish soup in the fjords? Unprecedented.

Don’t tell Aurora’s chosen ones like Dustin Zvonek and Danielle Jurinsky — who are convinced that tons of extra cops everywhere are the way to end the shootings and auto thefts — to stay away from the robberies. international linked to the city.

They and other city officials spent tens of thousands of your “hard-earned dollars” traveling to Washington DC to lobby Colorado’s own congressional delegation, all of whom live here. DC has some amazing restaurants, but if anything is a picture of anything we don’t want Aurora to be.

Coffman should actually send them to places like Reykjavik, Copenhagen and Osaka, to see for themselves what success looks like.

What if they have the opportunity to taste fabulous cliff-top bird eggs or outrageous smørrebrød? All the best.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or contact him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]