Be gentle on my ears … please!

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

Published:

 
photoLou Brancaccio

So I’m at the Vancouver Farmers Market and I buy this wood-fired anchovy pizza from Russell’s Bread. It’s delizioso!

But it’s not until I’m down by the Rainier cherries that I realize I didn’t pay. I run back and give the Evergreen High grad the $8.

Proof, for certain, that I’m a pretty nice guy!

But, alas, not everyone agrees.

Just ask Temple Lentz.

You might recognize Lentz’s name because she recently put herself up for a vacated state legislative seat. She didn’t get it.

She also was the woman behind Mayor Tim Leavitt’s successful campaign to unseat Royce Pollard.

That whole “no tolls” thing clearly was part of Lentz’s strategy.

And on occasion, Lentz will slap me upside the head on her Facebook page or on our website. In a way, she helps support the concept that both the left (she’s far left) and right find a reason not to like the media.

She hadn’t been top-of-mind until I received a phone call this week. I was asked if I’d be interested in seeing an email that involved me.

I said of course.

It turns out it had to do with an email I had sent to Leavitt about a year ago. Back then, Leavitt had recently reversed course on his no-tolls stand and now was in favor of tolling to get the new bridge built. So I asked him about it:

“Looking back on this entire toll issue, in retrospect, would you have done anything differently in your campaign for mayor? In other words, would you have not been such a staunch advocate for ‘no tolls?’”

Leavitt sent me a pretty standard response saying he “wouldn’t change a thing” and making the distinction that he “promised the voters I would fight against tolls and fight for equity.”

Sort of what I expected.

What I didn’t know was that before he sent me his response (dramatic pause required here), he asked his trusted political adviser — Lentz — for advice:

“Response? Thoughts...”

OK, if I had to guess what advice she would have given him, it would not have been what she dished out:

“Dear Lou, Go F* yourself.”

(I cleaned this up for our readers.)

So this is why well-paid advisers get a paycheck. I did wonder what Leavitt thought about it all. So I asked.

“Oh boy! That’s not how I responded to you, was it?”

I told him he had not. And in fact, Lentz eventually critiqued his note.

Then Leavitt went on to give Lentz some cover.

“Everybody has their own perspective, personality and attitudes.”

True.Some a bit saltier than others, but …

And frankly, Leavitt said, he’s had an urge to say that to me, “but it’s absolutely not the best response.”

When I spoke to Lentz — who currently is working in communications for a labor union in Portland — she was very straightforward.

“I didn’t feel it was a productive question so it didn’t deserve a productive answer.”

Asking the mayor about his “no tolls” stance wasn’t productive? Huh?

Because I’m a pretty nice guy (see top of this column if you’ve already forgotten), I asked if I could buy her a cup of coffee.

But please … be gentle with me.

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505 or lou.brancaccio@columbian.com.