Saturday, May 28, 2022
May 28, 2022

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Press Talk: What gives with this Lentz stuff?

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If there’s something strange. In your neighborhood. Who you gonna call?

Well, Temple Lentz, of course.

Oh wait. Never mind. She did the ol’ “no mas” thing a few days ago and told the world that one term as county councilor was plenty. She’s finished.

Look, I’m a bit upset. Not only do I really like Lentz, but I feel that reasonable, bright people like her are not only needed in elected office, they’re crucial.

Now to be sure, Lentz bristles if anyone associates her name with the word “quit.”

“I’m not quitting anything. I ran for a term, I’m serving a term. I’m fulfilling my promise to the community. That’s the extent of the relationship.”

Technically, she’s right, and I’m wrong. Still, I pressed her just a bit — suggesting it certainly wasn’t typical for someone to put the effort into winning a first term, then just walk away from a second. I should have known what her response would be.

“Lou, I’m not typical.”

Score one for Lentz.

My issue is, our country is wallowing in a huge dung heap, thanks mostly today to the former head snake oil salesman. And swimming our way out of that goo not only takes effort but smarts. Lentz has both.

• • •

Now, before I continue with this column plot line, let me digress for a moment. Our former oligarchish (I made this word up) head case isn’t the first guy to put us into a mess. Our country regularly has had to dig out. Remember these lyrics?

“And though the past has its share of injustice

Kind was the spirit in many a way

But its protectors and friends have been sleeping

Now it’s a monster and will not obey…

“America, where are you now?

Don’t you care about your sons and daughters?

Don’t you know we need you now

We can’t fight alone against the monster.”

That was Steppenwolf’s “Monster,” released in 1969.

As the lyrics say, we simply can’t fight alone against the monster. We need folks like Lentz.

• • •

So what gives? I get that Lentz is the only liberal on the county council. And yes, I suspect at times it surely must have seemed to her like there was no end in sight from the goofy stuff some elected people do. But for guys like me, having someone like her around gave me a glimmer of hope that maybe — just maybe — there was a way out of this rabbit hole. And frankly, Lentz has never backed away from a fight or long odds. Why leave?

“I still have a few principles left, and I’d like to hang onto them. There’s a high level of partisanship at this body. At the local level, that intense personal partisanship … there’s very little sense to it, and it renders the ability of moderate people to govern … when harsh personal partisanship takes priority over serving the public.”

Translation: Too many elected officials care far more about getting re-elected than actually doing the right thing by helping the communities they represent.

Score another one for Lentz.

There’s other stuff that annoys Lentz.

“The death threats and near death threats during the vaccination stuff were pretty fun.”

OK, that’s unfortunate for anybody. But I suspect that’s where we’re at in politics today.

• • •

So what’s next? On future runs, Lentz is noncommittal. “Nothing’s off the table, but nothing’s in the works right now.”

Well, there has been a little chatter of her making a run against U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler?

She laughs when she hears this question. “I’m not actively considering it.”

Frankly, there’s about as much chance of this happening anytime soon as there is of Trump saying to his followers, “I’ve been playing you jerks for years now, and you’re simply too star-stuck to see it.”

You see, running against Herrera Beutler is where Democratic dreams go to die. Just ask Denny Heck, Jon T. Haugen, Bob Dingethal, Jim Moeller and Carolyn Long … twice. So, until Herrera Beutler says “no mas,” serious Democrats should look elsewhere.

• • •

Look, I’m going to miss Lentz in the political arena. I suspect she’ll miss it a bit as well. But she’s super-confident, and her smarts can back that up. When I asked her if she had any concerns about quitting her only means of (somewhat) meaningful income, she had this to say:

“I’m a highly competent, skilled person, and when it’s time for me to seek another position, I’ll be able to do that.”

Good luck, councilor. Lots of us will miss you!

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