Pierre Jimenez, longtime Colorado Inside Out member, will always be part of TV family

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Decades ago, when marketers started touting "the television family," they were talking about all the network people who'd show up in your living room every day.

But two decades ago, Colorado Public Television -- then known as KBDI Channel 12 -- created an entirely different kind of television family with Colorado Inside Out, a weekly roundtable that brought together journalists, pundits and activists to talk about current events in Colorado. But no matter the subject of the discussion, the most important part of the show continues to be simply bringing those people together.

Over the years, the most unlikely combination of people -- Tom Tancredo and anyone else, for example -- have managed to sit around that table and speak civilly, even if they might have trouble talking with each other on the street.

The original lineup featured Ken Hamblin as the "moderator," legendary editor Al Knight, longtime journalist Sue O'Brien, community activist Pierre Jimenez... and me. The lineup changed as the members of the crew got different jobs, followed different interests: Peter Boyles replaced Hamblin, and when Boyles moved on, Raj Chohan took over the head chair; Knight retired, and his spot as the brilliant curmudgeon ultimately landed with David Kopel. After Sue O'Brien died, she proved impossible to truly replace.

And now we've lost another member of the television family: Pierre Jimenez passed away yesterday, after a long, hard-fought illness. But then, Pierre had experience as a fighter... for good causes. Here's what Governor Bill Owens had to say when he appointed Pierre to a job in his administration in December 1999: "Pierre Jimenez is a longtime community activist who understands the important role of economic development in providing opportunities to Colorado's youth. Pierre brings a lifetime of practical experience in our community as the deputy director of the Office of Economic Development."

That job effectively ended Pierre's long run on the show, but he occasionally brought his practical experience and the insights acquired over decades working in the community back to the table, until he became too ill to join us.

At the table, at least. But Pierre will always be a part of this television family, and an integral part of Denver history.

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