The Phoenix mayor's office tweeted unhappiness on Thursday about a couple of recent photo captions that gave short shrift to Kate Gallego, leader of the country's fifth-largest city.
A dated photo in a Politico article on Tuesday by Michael Kruse about presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg identified Gallego only as an "unidentified woman." Kruse didn't immediately return an email inquiring about the mistake. The photo was apparently shot in the early 2000s at Harvard University, Gallego's alma mater.
On top of that insult, a photo accompanying an article about the South Mountain Freeway by local reporting legend Howard Fischer noted that Gallego was a "counterpart" to Mark Mitchell, the mayor of Phoenix's much-smaller college-town neighbor, Tempe.
Whether "counterpart" was much of a diss here is unclear — the word means "a person or thing that has the same purpose as another one in a different place or organization," according to an online Cambridge Dictionary, in which case the use of the word was precise. On the other hand, some dictionaries note that a synonym might be "equal," making it more understandable how a mayor of one of the country's top cities might be miffed at the implication she could be compared to any mayor of lesser stature. Fischer hasn't yet responded to an email by New Times, either. (See update below on this.)
The perceived gaffes prompted Annie DeGraw, Gallego's communication director, to call out the lack of respect on Twitter this morning, implying that they occurred because of Gallego's gender:
"Yesterday, @MayorGallego, Mayor of a city of 1.7M, was referred to as both 'unknown woman' in a photo with a male Mayor of a town of 100K and as the 'counterpart' to a male Mayor of a town of 200K. Being an elected official is hard, being a female elected official is doubly so," DeGraw wrote.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"Are you kidding me?" Phoenix attorney Stacy Augustine tweeted back. "Was this at [a] transportation event held in her own city?"
It was, in fact, held in her own city. Governor Doug Ducey and several local leaders, including Gallego, gathered at 67th Avenue and Broadway Road this morning to christen the yet-to-open South Mountain Freeway extension.
Politico corrected its photo caption after the mayor's office reached out to complain, DeGraw later tweeted.
(UPDATE: New Times talked to Howie Fischer later this afternoon; he said he never got New Times' email. He said the "counterpart" remark was simply a case of "who stood behind who. It wasn't an insult.")