Saturday, February 26, 2011
Transgendered Woman In Amarillo Mayor's Race
Harpole looks to be the establishment candidate. He is an ex-member of the city commission, and he supports the actions of the current city commission (and mayor). He is also opposed to Amarillo going to a system of electing city commission members by single member districts. He wants to keep the current system where all members are elected at-large (and therefore all wind up coming from the same wealthy and white part of town -- even though non-Hispanic whites only make up 52% of the city's population, and that percentage drops sharply again when you consider many of the city's whites are not wealthy). He is happy with a small group of people controlling the city government.
For a couple of weeks it looked like Harpole might be the only candidate. But last week David Grisham, security guard and head of the tiny ultra-fundamentalist group Repent Amarillo, tossed his hat into the ring. You may remember him as the nutjob that tried to burn a Quran in a local park last September. He was dousing it with lighter fluid when a man walked up and snatched it away -- ruining Grisham's publicity stunt and making him look like the fool he really is.
The only good thing I can say about Grisham is that he supports single-member districts for the city commission (which is badly needed in a city the size of Amarillo). But Grisham is such an ultra-fundamentalist religious nut that he makes normal fundamentalists look downright liberal. There is little doubt that he would try to turn the city government into a mini-theocracy, and get the city involved in some costly and futile court battles.
Things were looking pretty grim. I didn't want to support the establishment candidate who wanted to keep the status quo, but I couldn't vote for the religious nut either. Thank goodness a third candidate entered the race yesterday, and it looks like a reasonable candidate that I can happily and whole-heartedly support.
That candidate is 53 year-old Sandra Dunn (pictured above). Dunn is a transgendered woman, but says she hopes her lifestyle choice doesn't become a distraction during the campaign (and she has no intention of forcing her choice on others). She just wants the city run in a reasonable progressive fashion.
Dunn is in favor of single-member districts. She also supports the renovation of the downtown area but with a few changes -- like less uniformity. She said she supports real sex education, and wants to try and reduce teen pregnancies. And she opposes a city-wide smoking ban (which Amarillo voters have rejected at least twice in the recent past). Frankly, that sounds like a platform I can support without reservation. She is undoubtably the best of the three candidates.
Dunn doesn't have a lot of money to spend on her campaign, and will probably be vastly outspent by the establishment candidate. Instead, she is basing her hopes on a city-wide door-to-door campaign. I wish her well. It probably doesn't mean much, but Sandra Dunn has the support of this blog.