superlatives

Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson Respects Diversity, Aside From ‘Homosexual Evil Little Men’

Linda Thompson — the mayor of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which has a statute banning sexuality-based discrimination — has a reputation for being a stubborn, aggrandizing official who’s unwilling to reach consensus if it means caving in on her opinion. Now she’s adding to that reputation: homophobic POS.

Chuck Ardo, the mayor’s now-former spokesman who quit last week, is revealing his ex-boss is obsessed with the sexuality of others. And not in a good way, the Patriot News reports.

Ardo, who resigned his city post last week, said in an interview Monday that Thompson regularly made pointed references to City Controller Dan Miller, one of her top political rivals, as “that homosexual, evil little man. “The comments usually came in the context of her ongoing war with Miller — the city’s first openly gay elected official — over issues related to the city payroll, or whether a contract would be signed, Ardo said. But it was the pairing of the words that left him seeing red. “She referred to him repeatedly as evil,” Ardo said, “And I can’t help but believe that that has more to do with her failure to accept his lifestyle than it did her political differences with him.”

But maybe she’s an equal opportunity offender? Well, sort of.

Ardo added that he never heard Thompson systematically engage in verbal gay-bashing around the office or make disparaging comments about any other constituency. But there were some other instances involving specific individuals that offend him, too, he said. In one case, after a conversation with an area developer last year about a hotly debated extension of Harrisburg’s tax relief for new construction, Thompson talked about the “Israel money” he was bringing to town, Ardo said. Ardo said he was taken aback at how she would describe the Jewish developer. “Having grown up the son of Holocaust survivors, that comment has stuck out to me since the moment she made it,” Ardo said.

Certainly Thompson is going to deny everything and call her ex flack a liar, right? Nope. Instead, in a prepared statement, she didn’t deny any of Ardo’s claims about the words she used, but insisted she wasn’t some big hater everyone is making her out to be: “I have a passion for all people and have surrounded myself with a diverse group of people, both in my personal and professional life. Those who have a relationship with me, both personally and professionally, know that I care about our city and all people. Chuck Ardo may say what he wants, but the people elected me as mayor and I will faithfully discharge my duties and let the people decide.”

Just 13 months on the job, Thompson is now looking for her fourth spokesperson. Preferably no “homosexual, evil little men.”