Calmly Fights off Recall Efforts
"I'm not going to change who I am. There's a lot of officials that have a personal life, and you have people in this community who have nothing better to do than scrape up stuff like this."--Arlington, OR Mayor Carmen Kontur-Gronquist
Curvaceous MySpace Mayor, Carmen Kontur-Gronquist, now has her MySpace page set to "private", but the casual searcher can still see that the Arlington, OR Mayor describes her mood as "silly".
The townspeople who are leading the charge for her recall are a little more subdued.
And anyone can still see that the Mayor was logged in yesterday, a few days after her provocative MySpace pictures hit the public airwaves. Her MySpace account had already been set to "Private" by then, but not before someone had tipped off the local TV station, KATU, to the MySpace Mayor's photo shoot alongside the Arlington town firetruck.
Kontur-Gronquist also doubles as the fire department's executive secretary.
So, she's in the clear--she probably gave herself permission to use the Arlington firewagon for the "Mayors Gone Wild" backdrop.
Be that as it may, the town's annual meeting was this past Wednesday night.
Some citizens campaigned for the Mayor's recall. From all reports, she seemed as calm at the town meeting before the citizens who had gathered to voice their concerns.
One wonders if the Mayor was employing an old trick that speakers have used for years to cure "butterflies in the stomach".
Imagine that everyone in the room is in their underwear.
Or maybe not.
Mayor Carmen Kontur-Gronquist - who created a stir with her decision to post a photograph of herself, clad only in a black bra and panties, on her MySpace page - calmly listened to and then ignored calls for her resignation.
In a town of 500, as is Arlington's population, 30 citizens are about 6%--but how many of them were voters?
And how many had just showed up for the drama?
Nearly 30 citizens stood with Ron Miller Wednesday night as he addressed Kontur-Gronquist at a council meeting that attracted far more than the usual number of constituents. Miller listed five complaints against the mayor - the first four dealing with city business and, lastly, the photo of the scantily clad mayor on a town fire truck.
"The apparent lack of city leadership has become so blatant we feel a change needs to be made," he said. Miller said if the mayor was unwilling to resign, the group would proceed with a recall petition.
Earlier this past week, the following was the typical report that most of the nation saw on the MySpace Mayor's shenanigans.
Some of the mayor's roughly 500 constituents will want to know her views on the issues affecting the Eastern Oregon community; others will want to talk about her underwear.
The mayor's lingerie is a hot topic here, with some residents upset that she posted pictures of herself wearing only a black bra and panties on her MySpace page. She was on one of the town's fire engines.
Kontur-Gronquist's MySpace page is blocked to all but her friends, but the pictures were at one time available to all users. Someone sent the picture at the top of the page to local TV station, KATU, last week.
This is what the local station had to report.
In an interview with the (Pendleton) East Oregonian, the mayor said she did nothing wrong and those who are offended need to get over it.
"That's my personal life," she said. "It has nothing to do with my mayor's position."
Kontur-Gronquist, who is also the fire department's executive secretary, said the photos were taken before she was elected mayor three years ago, and she saw no reason to remove them from the Internet after taking office.
"I'm not going to change who I am," she said. "There's a lot of officials that have a personal life, and you have people in this community who have nothing better to do than scrape up stuff like this."
Lorena Woods is one of those residents who say the photos of a scantily clad mayor reflect badly on Arlington.
"It's a picture of her in bra and panties on a rural protection fire truck in a rural protection fire hall," Woods said. "This isn't the way we want our city to be portrayed."
Councilman Jeff Bufton said he's heard a lot of negative comments about the pictures but declined to say whether the council plans to address the topic.
Some residents said they were starting a recall petition.
And at least one city council member is speaking out, saying the photos are inappropriate and send the wrong message to kids.
"It gives the impression that it's just OK to do whatever you feel like doing, whenever, and not have any kind of concern about how it might affect other people, and that is a big concern I have," council member Alice Courtney told KATU.
Will the Mayor be recalled?
Will Carmen Kontur-Gronquist be thrown out on her ear, to fend for herself in a cruel and unfeeling world?
Will she apply to Victoria's Secret for an open model position?
Will the lingerie company tell her they'll hire her, but she has to supply her own fire truck?
The crisis in Arlington, OR continues.
UPDATE: January 30, 2008
MySpace Mayor Now Quiet as Others Ride to Her Rescue
* Oregon mayor ignores call for resignation amid MySpace picture scandal
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