Americans want their political leaders to be open, forthright and honest with the courage to voice their opinions on controversial topics with clarity and boldness.
Rochester Mayor Paul Callaghan is none of that.
On March 3, during his first Friday of the month "Chat with the Mayor" session at the Community Center we asked the mayor what his stance was on the fact that three Rochester-area gyms allow transgender females to expose their male genitalia while using female lockerrooms.
Here's what the mayor replied verbatim.
"I'm not going down that route, I wanna talk about ..."
The Rochester Voice then interrupted, "Yes or no, do you think that's right?"
"No, I wanna talk about ..." and he just went on and on about a completely unrelated matter.
This is not buffoonery or having a disconnect or some kind of cognitive issue. It's about cowardice.
Ironically, a state rep from Somersworth - who is a transgender woman, Gerri Cannon - had the courage to say if a transgender woman exposed his genitalia in a women's lockerrom they should be banned from the lockerroom.
Constituents want a level of common sense and clarity from their representatives, and the mayor has none of that either.
In addition he's violating our first amendment rights, which include freedom of the press. By ignoring questions from the media he is fundamentally blocking the public's right to know what the hell is going on in our local, state and federal government.
But that's only one strike against hizzoner.
On Sept. 6 he voted to disallow a presentation from Rochester head librarian Marie Lejeune on the merits of "Gender Queer: A memoir," a graphic novel intended for teens and preteens on nonbinary sexual identity options. The book has numerous images of sexual activity including masturbation and oral sex.
City Councilor Jim Gray had been granted an agenda item on the subject at the previous meeting, but at the start of the Sept. 6 meeting, there was a nonmeeting - which is held in secret with no minutes - during which The Rochester Voice believes councilors were told a two-thirds vote could remove the agenda item, and it was ultimately removed by a 12-1 vote, with Gray the lone vote against removing the item.
Again, most Republicans, most Americans do not want this type of book available in the library, especially when it can be checked out by any child of any age. ANY AGE!
Hizzoner voted to cancel just a discussion of the book by the City Council and Lejeune. Keep in mind the City Council approves all funding for the Rochester Public Library.
And here's the third strike. Just a few days ago Callaghan cast the deciding vote that will foster stack and pack housing on Route 11 from the Spaulding Highway to the Farmington line, allowing a residential TIF that can be 100 percent housing with no commercial, something we've never seen before.
The verbiage in the ordinance is so vague, so capricious, so dangerous, even Democrats on the council voted against it.
But hizzoner, bending a knee to Gov. Chris Sununu and the affordable housing cliques in Concord, cast the deciding vote to put it through.
Now add to that the fact that Callaghan hasn't returned an email sent him by The Rochester Voice in many months, refuses to answer a simple question at what is supposed to be a "Chat with the mayor" and routinely says "We're moving on" if anyone asks him a question that's uncomfortable for him to address. That's more than enough strikes to call him out.
The fact that he's a RINO (Republican in name only) is a foregone conclusion. Not even arguable.
And the worst thing is The Rochester Voice endorsed him.
We all learn from our mistakes.