Bested By The Better Girl…

10:43 PM Twenty-six days until Amour becomes Duchess Diaries exclusively…

Those of us who find politics endlessly fascinating can sit and listen to candidates of any stripe, relishing the crisis nurseryopportunity to pick their brains. The opportunity presents itself at the Crisis Nursery luncheon. While the luncheon is always a who’s who in the charity realm, I find myself surrounded by badass women.

Photographer Girl hosts a table featuring a couple of YaYas, a nonprofit leader and a candidate for Scottsdale City Council. I know the candidate; know her well. We chat about the handful of days remaining before the election. I’m struck by her adamant refusal to jump in the pig pen. Mostly because I know I’d be tempted to pick up my own mud. Perhaps that’s why I’m a writer and she’s a public servant.

She’s known for staunch opinions about smear campaigns. “I’ve run my campaign with honor and dignity. I don’t feel the need to tear others down in order to build myself up.”

Regardless of political preference, it is different when one candidate refuses to join the collective mud wrestle. She’s no shrinking violet. An earlier campaign featured such poor taste by an opponent that Karma stepped in. Don’t pretend you don’t know. We all know. Even then, this doll refused to wrestle. Must be that bless your heart thing Southern girls are born with.

The Southern girl charm is indeed real, as real as the pair she’s grown through years in battle.

If you’ve been hanging around the Dale for any length of time you know Jennifer Petersen from her eight years on the Scottsdale School Board, three years as president. Perhaps you know her from her time with Scottsdale Honors Cotillion. Or perhaps as the busy mother of three. Her husband Ron? He’s the lawyer guy who tries to keep up with her.

On the School Board, she was known as a tough collaborator. She worked with colleagues managing a $175 million budget and the district’s 3500 employees. Key to success? Listening. “I answered every email and returned every phone call. I learned a great lesson from that experience. Listening to residents produces better solutions for everyone.”

We talk needs of the city, moving forward and how she’ll manage such a busy schedule. Just when I think we’re on the same page, she pulls out a quote from General Douglas MacArthur.

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. That quote is my guiding star to public service.”

Then I realize I’ve been trumped. There’s a bigger chasm between me scratching words down on a page and her actually moving toward a greater good. Damn, I hate when that happens.


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