One of the few ribbons in town Phil Gordon hasn't cut...
With a handful of reporters and supporters looking on, mayoral hopeful Rev. Jarrett Maupin, the boy-wonder of PHX politics, cut the ribbon on his new campaign office downtown today, promising to "kick Phil's butt in this election," and taking potshots at Mayor Phil Gordon's status as a Democrat in Name Only (DiNO).
"You know in the New Times they wrote that Phil Gordon opened his office in an old transsexual bar," declared Maupin, referring to last week's Bird column on the subject. "I'm not saying that he's a transsexual, but I am saying that he's transpolitical. He's an elephant running around in donkey clothes. And I'm here to tell you I'm a new wind blowing through the city. I'm the wind that's got the skirt up around his head, and we can tell from the waist down that he's a pachyderm."
Is Maupin saying Phil's hung like an elephant? (Um, only if that elephant's a gelding.) Anyway, Maupin posed for a few pics with family and campaign workers, then made his way inside his modest "War Room" at 130 North Central Ave. (Suite B), right beside the offices for Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, where Maupin is the Arizona chapter prez. Surrounded by photos of civil rights leaders and yellow and maroon campaign signs, Maupin fielded questions from journos, saying he agreed with MSNBC dropping its simulcast of shock-jock Don Imus's radio show -- something Maupin's boss Al Sharpton's been pushing for -- while agreeing with Imus that African-American hip-hop stars use similar language, which he also believes is wrong. More on this later from me, as it's one of the few issues where I part company with the Rev.
Maupin agreed that both his race and his age might be "a challenge" for some voters, but seemed confident that he could overcome such concerns on the sheer power of personality, and by "going door to door" to meet the voters. He insisted that neither his age nor his race should be held against him, and assured reporters he could win, despite lacking the near-million-dollar war chest Goober Gordon claims.
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"I want Phil to know that the people's David is in the race, and we're going to take that Philistine giant down," asserted Maupin with a smile. "It doesn't matter if Mr. Gordon is a millionaire and has millions of dollars to run his campaign. This campaign is not about money. This campaign is about issues. And that's what I represent, the issues, and the diverse communities of our city. And I think that will be reflected throughout the course of this race. We have the manpower, the resources available to wage a nontraditional campaign but an effective campaign."
Maupin challenged Gordon to debates, and assailed Gordon on stagnant crime stats, while rejecting a proposed sales tax to pay for more cops, saying there were other ways of getting the money necessary to put more police on the streets. Asked if citizens should be concerned by his close relationship with the iconoclastic, and some would say, divisive Rev. Al Sharpton, he stated that his relationship with Sharpton shouldn't frighten people.
"I come in a strong tradition of social justice leadership," replied Maupin. "Will it impact the way that I govern from the mayor's office with my peers on the council, because really the mayor's seat is an at-large council seat? No, I don't think it will. I'm not going to make my first day in office Al Sharpton Day, and I'm not going to cut half the city budget and turn it over to (Jesse Jackson's) Rainbow/PUSH Coalition."