Maria Baier locked, as of press time, in a heated run-off battle for control of Phoenix City Council District 3 – is, by far, the most interesting candidate of the year, and we include all national political figures in that assessment.
For one thing, she's a staunch conservative backed by an unlikely but powerful lobby, the firefighters. That could have something to do with the fact that her brother, Bob Khan, is the city's fire chief. Beyond that, she's certainly a qualified candidate, and, we hear, a heck of a nice lady. Baier has a lot of credentials, many of which she lists on her campaign Web site. She went to law school, worked for 10 years in the governor's office (most interestingly, as a speechwriter for Fife Symington) and she was the spokeswoman, way back, for the state attorney general. She now works in the field of land conservation (that could mean so many things that we won't even go into it), as a consultant (ditto). And she's on the board of the Phoenix Zoo.
But Baier's most fascinating gig gets short shrift. At the end of her bio, she mentions that she worked as an independent contractor with the San Francisco Examiner. She must have run out of room, because she didn't tell the backstory: Long before she went to law school, worked for Symington, got married, and had a beautiful family (you can see them on her Web site, too) she worked for the San Francisco Examiner along with her beau, Hunter S. Thompson, who was writing columns for the paper. Yes, the Hunter S. Thompson. (Sadly, the late Hunter S. Thompson. He killed himself in 2005.) You're right, it does sound like an unlikely match. But check out Thompson's dedication in his 1988 collection Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80s and read the first line:
"I dropped Maria off in front of the tattoo parlor just before midnight."
We don't know if Baier will prevail in the run-off November 6, but we gotta admit, we're rooting for her. How many current Phoenix City Council members do you think have tattoos?