By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Some were happy for the opportunity to interact with the mayor in such a personal way. But others resented his late arrival, early departure and limited attention to participants. One woman said she voted for Rimsza last election, but won't again.
"He lost my vote. He was playing with his kids the whole time he was here," she said.
Rimsza explains later that he was asked to bring his kids with him. Told that many found them distracting, he responds: "It wasn't ideal, but that's what happens when you have an event on a Saturday afternoon and invite a guy with triplets."
Patrick Dardis, also an energetic, animated sort, delivered his responses in rapid-fire sentences. Obviously up on many issues, he listened to folks, shook his head, lamented the sad state of affairs in Phoenix. And he promised to do his best for the citizens "regardless of race." He pledged to work with neighborhood associations and use more of a hands-on approach to governance. There will be no more "non-response, feel-goodness and oh, loveliness," he said, wiggling his fingers in the air as if tinkling tiny piano keys near his ears. "We need people who do solid things, no more of this papier-mâché type of mayor, mayorhood, mayoralty and papier-mâché council."
When Randy Pullen held court in his groups, he drew people around him. Because he speaks quietly and looks directly into people's eyes when he addresses them, members of each circle would instinctively lean forward to hear him. It gave each group a conspiratorial look. One woman who lives not too far from the mayor was eager to welcome Pullen into her circle for his designated 15 minutes. He was calm, he was collected and he was kidless (even though he does have two at home).
"I'll tell you what," the woman told Pullen by way of introduction. "Skip has lost our vote here, and that other guy is scary."
And then she sat back to listen to what Pullen had to say.
Contact Laura Laughlin at her online address: firstname.lastname@example.org