Fenger Pointing

Becky Fenger | September 10, 2008

Becky FengerRacism, Ramadan and Rascals

Paradise Valley has a new mayor, Vernon P. Parker, who has accused the Republican Party of racism. Hizzoner, a black man, is way off base on this one. The charge stems from the candidacy of Tony Bouie in the Legislative District 6 primary election for state representative. Many GOP members strongly objected to the fact that Bouie was a registered Democrat until 5 days before he took out papers to run in LD 6, which has a Republican registration advantage. Worse, Bouie lied to both the editorial board of the Arizona Republic and to Capitol Times about that fact, saying that he had been a Republican in Florida before coming here.

Exponentially worse, Bouie got the endorsement of the Arizona Republic, to whom he had just lied in person! If lying will get one an endorsement, would kidnapping get one a donation?

Mayor Parker doesn’t see it that way. He faults the GOP for courting blacks and Latino voters and then supposedly dissing Bouie for his blackness. “If the Republican Party is sincere about reaching out, don’t let tenure in the party become the new literacy test,” Parker goadingly wrote. This is pure hogwash.

As Dorothy Rabinowitz of The Wall Street Journal said last weekend: “There are two terms I would like to see disposed of. One is the word ‘maverick’ and the other is the word ‘card’ as in gender card or race card. There is such a thing as racism, but when you play the race card, it’s a false racism charge.”

I supported Parker’s campaign. I would not do so again.

I may not have the choice. Mayor Parker is under federal investigation by the Office of Inspector General, the arm of the U.S. Small Business Administration tasked with oversight. The mayor is accused of using false or questionable documents to win a $1.2 million contract for the company he owns. Parker denies the charges, which hinge on whether he was a federal employee at the time of the application. Paradise Valley council members – who elected him to be their mayor – and local editorial boards hope he rides out the storm. With former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton defending him, Parker could always cry racism if he loses, I suppose, in the same vein he applied for his loan as a “disadvantaged” business.

Advice columnist Pauline Esther Friedman Phillips aka Abigail Van Buren closes her Sept. 2 “Dear Abby” column with these well wishes: “Confidential to my Muslim readers: Ramadan is beginning – may your fast be an easy one!” Dear, sweet Abby. You err on two fronts. First, it might be viewed by Muslims as impertinent to be reminded of such an important holiday by a Jewish woman. Second, abstaining from food and drink is supposed to teach sacrifice and humility. And you want to make it easy for them? You may want to hold off on advice to people who pray 486 times a day.

This is too good not to pass along. I have commented in the past about the number of people who graze so voraciously on the free samples at Costco that they can skip dinner. It seems that many of them are not only ravenous, but also ignorant. On a recent foray I saw a display of Angus Burgers and couldn’t resist asking the vendor if she was ever asked, “What is an Angus burger?” “Yes, a number of times,” she answered. Not by kids, but by adults. And, yes, by both men and women. Swell. Many of these people will be voting for the leader of the free world on Nov. 4.

bedbug“Goodnight. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite!” As kids, we used to chant that to each other upon turning out the lights. And giggle. Well, word comes from Britain’s biggest pest control company, Rentokil, that the number of bedbugs on public transport has risen dramatically in the past year. Bedbugs thrive splendidly in tight spaces and are often found in the creases of seats in trains, buses and aircraft. Blaming the 40 percent increase on shoddy cleaning and fast turnaround times, Rentokil’s technical director would recommend better inspection and thorough vacuuming in order to avoid the hard welts and severe itching that the bites inflict. Are you listening, Valley Metro?