bike stationDenver’ s socialist bike-sharing stationRecently I spoke with Denver mayor and Colorado governor candidate John Hickenlooper, who’s worked to expand the city’s transit system and launch a bike-sharing program that lets members get around the central city without burning gas or contributing to traffic congestion.

It’s only fair to report what Hickenlooper’s leading opponent for governor has to say. Ladies and gentlemen, Dan Maes:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are “converting Denver into a United Nations community.”

“This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed,” Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.

Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor’s efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes “that’s exactly the attitude they want you to have.”

MaesDan Maes“This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms,” Maes said.

… He added: “These aren’t just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor. These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to.”

Surely this guy is a fringe candidate with no chance of winning? Nope:

Polls show that Maes, a Tea Party favorite, has pulled ahead of former Congressman Scott McInnis, the early frontrunner in the Aug. 10 primary for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Maes acknowledged that some might find his theories “kooky,” but he said there are valid reasons to be worried.

“At first, I thought, ‘Gosh, public transportation, what’s wrong with that, and what’s wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what’s wrong with incentives for green cars?’ But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty,” Maes said.

The organization he’s worked up about — ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, formerly known as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives — is an awkwardly named but otherwise non-threatening group that tries to help local governments cut pollution, conserve water, fight climate change, and create more livable communities. They do not own or operate any black helicopters. Or is that exactly what they want us to think?