Sexist mudslinging, chapter 2: This time it’s surrogate making charges in West U mayor’s race
By Charlotte Aguilar
As early voting begins in West University municipal elections Monday, a controversy involving reportedly sexist remarks by mayoral candidate Sonny Brandtner, aimed at incumbent Mayor Susan Sample, refused to die down.
Social media lit up last week when accounts were posted of Brandtner — a retiree — claiming that Sample had “too much on her plate” as a mother of two young children in a high-powered career to devote time to being mayor and bragging that he “gets things done.”
Although the event was not recorded, several independent accounts of the forum last Tuesday at West University United Methodist Church corroborated his quote. Reactions ranged from incredulity to disgust.
Following his appearance at the West University Essentials and InstantNewsWestU.com candidates’ forum Sunday night, Brandtner was asked to clarify his remarks. He refused and walked away, saying he had been “very much taken out of context.”
But Monday, there was credence given to speculation that Brandtner’s strategy to question Sample’s commitment was the brainchild of her political adversary, Councilmember Brennan Reilly, who chose not to seek re-election after his single, two-year term saw him go from member of a slate to a lone wolf abandoned by his former political colleagues.
In an email, Reilly endorsed Brandtner, praising his business acumen and saying, as a retiree, he “has the time to devote to the job, which is not the case for his main opponent.”
Although the matter was not addressed directly in questions at the Essentials/InstantNews forum Sunday, Sample got the biggest reaction of the evening when she alluded to it in response to a question about her legacy and in her closing remarks, when she described herself as the “hardest working mayor in modern times.”
In response to another question, Sample estimated that she devotes up to 80 hours each month to city business and pointed out her perfect attendance record at scheduled meetings during her two-year term.
An 11-year resident of West U, she is a CPA and tax attorney with Shell and holds five degrees, including those in accounting and law. She is the mother to 5-year-old twins.
Sample often receives high marks from her constituents for her responsiveness. She regularly monitors, contributes and responds to the city’s and to the West University Information Exchange Facebook pages.
Businessman Greg Micek is the third candidate in the race and has stuck to the issues, including offering unique proposals on reducing crime and eliminating property taxes by adopting a “Smart Cities” model outlined by the Wall Street Journal.