Class vs. crass

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Becky Fenger Fenger PointingIn the 1990 movie "Pretty Woman," the main character told the salesclerk working in a fancy boutique – who wouldn't wait on her the day before when she didn't appear to be wealthy – "Big mistake. BIG. HUGE."

Funny, but that's the way I feel about the moves Lisa Parker made on me in front of friends last Friday night at a function in a Paradise Valley home.

Imagine this scene: I am sitting at a table and partaking of delectables, with a friend next to me, when out of nowhere stomps up this blonde woman with a wild look in her eyes. She slams her purse down, plants her hands on the table, shoves her face in mine and shouts: "I'm Mrs. Vernon Parker! I just want you to know."
Then she grabs her defenseless purse with a vengeance, snorts, and stamps over to her husband and whispers in his ear while glaring back at me.

Oh, my.

Curiosity got the better of me. Later, when I was seated next to another friend, with folks all around us, I motioned for Mrs. Parker to come closer. This time the friend made an attempt to introduce Lisa Parker to me and start a civil conversation. "Oh, I know who she is," Mrs. Parker loudly proclaims. "She's the one who writes vicious lies about my husband."

I told her I couldn't recollect having written anything in this column about Vernon Parker. At this point Lisa was looking like the pressure cooker that my mother would forget on the stove, just before the contents blew and hit the ceiling. Were I of different protoplasm, I might have been embarrassed by the tawdry attack the wife of Vernon Parker, candidate for U.S. House of Representatives from District 9, launched.

When I got home, I checked my archives. I had written a column four years ago when Vernon was running for Congress to replace the retiring John Shadegg in which I noted Parker was under investigation by the Office of Inspector General for submitting false documents in order to obtain a contract worth $1.2 million dollars from the U.S. Small Business Administration for his business. (No wonder the SBA wants nothing to do with him. This doesn't bode well if he were to be elected.)

I'll admit this could have ignited the fires of resentment in the combustible frau. But it was not a class act for someone who wants to represent the State of Arizona and not the state of Sturm und Drang. It's obvious who wears the pants in that family.'

I actually supported Vernon Parker during his campaign for Paradise Valley City Council. Since then, I've gotten a close-up view of his nasty personal habits. A known skirt chaser, he made the mistake of crudely hitting on a close friend of mine and described in graphic detail what he wanted to do to this stranger's body as she fled the restaurant. Insiders predict that within two months of arriving in D.C., the town of perpetual cocktail parties and hanky panky, Vernon would embarrass our Congressional delegation and his constituents.

It's not as if CD9 lacks for outstanding candidates. Far from it. During a 2-hour debate recently, hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition, folks got to meet Marine Martin Sepulveda, a Navy Commander attached to Seal Team 17 who actually fights terrorists instead of flying over on a taxpayer-funded junket. Then there's Travis Grantham, another fine active military and businessman. Both would be great choices. And Leah Campos Schandlbauer, who worked in the C.I.A., is no slouch on Middle Eastern affairs. Lt. Col. (USAF, ret) Wendy Rogers was on a plane and missed the match-up, but she's quite a pistol herself.

Early voting begins August 2. CD9 voters need not settle for a very tarnished candidate just because they think Vernon Parker can win a seat for the Republicans. Character counts. It always has, and it always should.