The comments section of my Q&A with outgoing Councilwoman Donna Frye remained lively over the long weekend despite (or perhaps because of) the holiday.
There are a couple things I wanted to follow up on. First, I was struck by the overwhelmingly positive nature of the comments. It’s always been clear she has a loyal band of very devoted followers. But Frye for years was a pretty polarizing figure and made her share of enemies, even from the people you might expect to be her allies.
However, in recent years I’ve detected a newfound respect for her from even those who would be traditional opponents. The two opening disclaimers on these user comments echoed the kind of statements I was hearing.
I didn’t always agree with Donna Frye, but I admired her courage to stand up for what she believed in, and for being an independent voice. We have too many politicians who sway to the latest poll, or the last demanding phone call from a big donor, but I think Donna Frye was consistently her own person, someone who cared deeply about the City, and someone who dared to ask tough questions. She will be missed by those of us who would like to be represented by dedicated and honest public servants. There’s no one left on the Council that I have as much respect for as I do for her. It will be interesting indeed to see what she decides to do next.
While I frequently did not agree with Donna Frye, each of my contacts to her office was followed by a prompt and meaningful response, never a meaningless “thank you for contacting, etc”. I was impressed and will miss her. Godspeed, Donna.
Frye is also famous for her accessibility. She’s the only politician I’ve dealt with that encouraged and celebrated 10:30 p.m. phone calls to talk about thoughts or revelations. This tale from Dale Peterson highlights that spirit:
True story. I contacted Donna’s office on a Park and Rec. matter after my former council member (Madaffer) completely blew me off. Within minutes, Mrs. Frye’s staff was completely engaged and I was asked to call Donna that evening, at home, on her cell phone. I did just that. Donna talked to me that evening, from home, and we discussed numerous options, etc. During that conversation, I noticed some background noise that I soon identified as water running from a faucet. I then realized Donna was conducting city business with me while she was doing her dishes. So, I believe her when she comments that she is “going home to clean.” The next business day she was able to put the brakes to an “unnoticed process” that was being orchestrated by city staff. That may not impress anyone else, but it sure impressed me.
A few more from the comments:
Changed the way I see politics, sorry to see you go Donna. I was very surprised to read this, because I had no idea she was leaving.
Hey Donna. Welcome back to the community. You did a great work for us for a long time but time to get clean and righteous on the essential stuff. Take all those outfits to the cleaners, take a nice long swim and bath, clean the stuff off your city hall shoes and breathe free again. Best wishes. See you in the street!
I hope Donna does what she promises, stays active. I’ve got a project she might find interesting and challenging, and I’m going to try to interest her in it.
David Cohen (who goes by the commenting handle “fryefan”):
My name says it all.
Note: I’ve cleaned up some small spelling errors in the comments to make for easier reading. You can reach me at email@example.com or 619.325.0526. Follow me on Twitter: @AndrewDonohue.