What's embarrassing about a call for responsible spending?

Speaking of local Ann Arbor politics, a woman named Patricia Lesko is running for Mayor, and among other things, she has criticized the fiscal irresponsibility of the incumbent administration. For daring to challenge the ruling establishment, she is being viciously attacked. Nothing unusual there, save the way they're going about it.

Ms. Lesko happens to be a lesbian, and while she has not made an issue of it, the local gay leftist flunkies who shill for the incumbent mayor are. They are claiming that Ms. Lesko is an "embarrassment" to gays and lesbians:

The chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Allies Caucus is publicly calling on Patricia Lesko to drop out of the Ann Arbor mayor's race.

"Pat Lesko has become an embarrassment to our community and reflects badly on all that we value and worked so hard to accomplish," Phil Volk said in an official statement. "I feel it is imperative for our LGBT political future that Pat Lesko steps out from the campaign for mayor and apologizes not only to the LGBT community but to the general public as well."

The LGBT group last month endorsed incumbent Mayor John Hieftje in the Aug. 3 primary race. Lesko, who is openly gay, has drawn criticism for her combative style and inaccuracies in her campaign messages, qualities the group says it believes would make Lesko an ineffective mayor.

A second gay rights group called Lesbians Opposing Lesko, a.k.a. LOL, also launched a website saying Lesko would be a "complete disaster" as mayor. The author of Arborblahg.com is now running a "Lesko Lie of the Day" column in which she evaluates the truthfulness of claims Lesko has made.

OK, even if we assume for the sake of argument that all of the criticisms of her are true, since when do individuals become an embarrassment to a group built on identity politics? If that's the going standard, then why isn't the NAACP denouncing the New Black Panther Party as an embarrassment to the black community? Or is it only possible to be an "embarrassment" if you're opposing the left, but not if you're on the left? Condoleezza Rice and Clarence Thomas are embarrassments to the black community, while murderer Mumia abu Jamal is not?

This is such tripe that it ought to insult the intelligence of every gay person with a brain.

At least Ann Arbor's local news site was decent enough to print Lesko's response:

"I'm left saddened by this bizarre smear tactic and personal attack, though not surprised," she said. "My opponent has chosen to campaign negatively, and Mr. Volk, whom the incumbent singled out at a recent debate as a supporter, appears to be lending a helping hand to his candidate."

Lesko said the public policy and fiscal management challenges facing Ann Arbor "have nothing whatsoever to do with gender or sexual orientation." She said she'll leave it up to Ann Arbor voters to decide in three weeks whether they're getting their money's worth for the taxes they pay.

Lesko is campaigning on the platform that Ann Arbor needs a new mayor who is committed to refocusing on the basics: responsible spending, services, infrastructure and neighborhoods.

Responsible spending?

Judging from her campaign site, she seems serious about it. Topping her list is a promise to "REIN IN SPENDING":

According to the city's own audited financial statements, since 2006 the cost of running city government has risen 35 percent ($34 million dollars). I have the financial skills and real-world business experience to devise equitable and sustainable solutions to rein in overhead and increase government efficiency.
She also wants to lower property taxes (oh the horror! No wonder they hate her.) And get this -- "REDESIGN THE CITY EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT AND HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS." (See my previous post.) Oh, and she even opposes a CITY INCOME TAX. Opposing taxes?

How Thatcheresque of her! (Eeeew!)

This is not an Ann Arbor political blog nor is this a plug for Lesko. However, I find myself persuaded that Lesko is serious about responsible spending, which the current administration is not.

It seems to me that what is really an embarrassment about Patricia Lesko is her call for responsible spending and financial restraint in an out-of-control city.

If I thought the way the Michigan Democratic Party's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Allies Caucus thinks, I would call them an embarrassment.

posted by Eric on 07.17.10 at 07:05 PM


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