Friday, February 22, 2008

Musings on a community meeting

Edit on 2/26 to add link at the bottom of the post...

Last night, I took the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Community Council of South Scottsdale at the Granite Reef Senior Center in Scottsdale.

One could tell it was an election year, as there were five members of the City Council or candidates for the council present (Jim Lane, Tony Nelssen, Ron McCullagh, Nan Nesvig, Joel Bramoweth), as well as one candidate for Congress (Laura Knaperek).

The main topic of the meeting was a presentation and discussion of a development/redevelopment project proposed for south Scottsdale. One of the components of the project was 'income-restricted' housing units, targeted at lower-income, first-time home buyers. This generated one of the highlights of the meeting.

The discussion of income restricted housing immediately set off a few people in the audience, spouting off about illegal immigrants and subsidized housing and ruined neighborhoods.

That, in turn, sparked council candidate Joel Bramoweth into taking exception to the bigotry being spewed forth. He was shouted down with cries of "she has the floor", but he still impressed me - most candidates for office today won't go against the tide in a gathering such as that one.

I haven't decided who I'm going to vote for, but he went a long way toward earning my vote (and he sure as hell went a long way toward making up for some of the rather rambling speeches that he gives during Council meetings :)) .)

It should be noted here that this is the same group that last year invited State Rep. John Kavanagh to one of their meetings, inspiring me to right this post, comparing Kavanagh to his friend and ideological hero, Russell Pearce. The anti-mmigrant rhetoric present on Thursday night wasn't a surprise.

Other highlights -

...I spoke with Councilman Ron McCullagh for a few moments before the start of the meeting and research into the possible addition of Arizona American Water Company's Scottsdale customers to the Scottsdale municipal water system. Personally, I don't think it will happen during an election year, especially one where most federal, state, county and municipal budgets are stretched to the max, but stay tuned.

...Laura Knaperek spent some time introducing herself and shaking hands. So far, she's been the only Rep candidate that I've seen working the community gathering circuit in south Scottsdale and Tempe (she was at the Tempe City Council forum earlier this month), but that's said with a couple of caveats - I've only been to a few non-partisan events this month, and I don't attend the 'big money' events such as those put on by the Chamber of Commerce and their ilk.

Race for CD5 note - If Knaperek is any indication, the Republican contenders in CD5 learned at least one lesson from Harry Mitchell's 2006 upset of JD Hayworth - they're stressing their 'fiscal conservative' bonafides while minimizing their harsher 'social conservative' credentials. For instance, Knaperek has be Executive Director of a right-wing organization called United Families International for more than a year. That organization is so far right that it opposes UN efforts to outlaw forced marriage and gender-selective infanticide because such efforts demean the value of traditional marriage. (Knaperek's take here.)

On her website's "Meet Laura" page, she has a 6-paragraph, 336-word bio. She devotes a full paragraph to being a fiscal conservative (two paragraphs on her work with the disabled!) and all of one sentence to her work with UFI, and that sentence has no details on the organization.

Ahhh yessssss...the selectively-edited resume. It serves the same purpose in politics that coverup makeup does with tattoos.

...To be fair to the bigots at the meeting, Mexicans weren't the only targets of their ire. During a discussion of the status of the SkySong development at the old Los Arcos Mall location, there were criticisms over the number of non-American companies that have leased space there. A number of the tenants are from countries such as Turkey, Singapore and China, and a group of audience members felt that was "unAmerican".

I'm not making this up.


Edit on 2/26 to add -

Ari Cohn of the East Valley Tribune was at the meeting; his coverage is here.

End edit.

No comments: