My Girl and I stayed up last night and watched the Largo City Commission's sham proceedings as they pretended to give Steve Stanton his day in court. Karen Doering of the NCLR made her case and made it well; Steve himself reiterated his devotion to his job and his city. Dozens upon dozens of citizens from Largo and around the state stood before the commission and spoke -- heavily in favor of retaining Stanton. I didn't do an actual count, but it struck me that the odds were something like 6 or 7 for to every 1 against.
A blow-by-blow can be found on TampaBay.com's website, here.
After six hours of speakers, commissioners take less than five minutes to reaffirm a decision to fire Steve Stanton. Voting to dismiss Stanton were Mary Gray Black, Andy Guyette, Gigi Arntzen, Harriet K. Crozier and Gay Gentry. Mayor Pat Gerard and Commissioner Rodney Woods dissented.
Fortunately, Steve will get a sizable severance package. Still, he is now in a very difficult situation. The article in the St. Pete Times suggests that he and his wife, Donna, are planning a divorce. My experience with divorce in Florida (under similar circumstances -- long-term marriage, teenage children, divorcing because of transitioning, my holding a high paying, high profile job and my (ex) wife not having worked for many years) tells me that he's in for a rough time ahead. And, on top of that, he's going to have to find another job.
Steve (Susan), I wish you the very best. You have lots of friends in the trans community and a good lawyer in Karen Doering. I hope you sue, although I understand your desire not to sue the city you've served with love and distinction for so many years.
Like everyone else, I've been following Steve Stanton's case in Largo. For me, the case holds a bit of extra significance as I used to own a home in Largo and I used to work for a company with a Largo mailing address. There have been dozens and dozens of articles written about this embattled city manager and I won't try and catalog them here or to offer my assessment of his case.
What I will say is that I am sorry that it has come to this. Having experienced both sides -- a successful transition and a firing (or three) due to being transgender -- I really empathize with him (note that he prefers masculine pronouns until further in the transition).
The St. Petersburg Times scooped the story and has run most of the articles, including this lenghty one, which I thought was good (note the inclusion of Steve's wife's perspective) and this one about his communication plan (note the reference to Jillian Weiss). The Times is Tampa Bay's liberal newspaper.
Tampa Bay's conservative newspaper is the Tampa Tribune. Last week, it ran an editorial that said Stanton should be fired. You might imagine my anger and annoyance at that article.
Today, they ran an article in the business section suggesting that if Steve had worked for business instead of the government, he might have been better off. Maybe he would have been. I don't know. Whatever the outcome, his case has certainly brought substantial nationwide and world-wide attention to the issue.
The Tribune's Dave Simanoff interviewed me for its business article. I've copied it below the fold for any of you that want to read it. It included this picture, which was taken at the first anniversary party of the sale of my company. The "trophy" is an award I was given by the (former) owner of the company in recognition of my contributions as Chief Financial Officer and member of the Executive Team. Considering all that Steve's done for Largo, they should be giving him a trophy, too, and not firing him.
So much to report, so little time and space. After 15 days and nights away from home (and away from a high speed internet connection; I'm so spoiled and addicted) we're home. It has been an extraordinarily trying and emotional time.
We stopped in Lexington on the way to Florida and visited with my youngest. She turned 21 the following week. I know everyone is tired of my saying how proud I am of her, so I'll simply wish her Happy Birthday.
We also stopped in Tennessee and met, for the first time, a long-time blog reader, Sally. Sally is an older transgender woman just beginning her transition. She is in her upper 70s and has been on hormones for a few months now. It was a delight to meet with her. Sally, I look forward to continuing reports and I really appreciated your meeting with my Girl and me. And, thanks again for lunch.
Two days later, after a fun, cold, and I'm sure soon-to-be picturesque detour through the Smokies, we arrived in Spring Hill Florida to visit my mom and step-dad. I was at once heartened and dismayed to see Mom. I think our presence there helped lift her spirits and perhaps even her health. Her appetitite returned temporarily. But, it was short-lived. We stayed through last Saturday (a week ago) and then began the journey home.
Along the way, we stopped in to see the Girl's dad, my first introduction. He was very nice to me and seemed to accept me with no questions. As we left, he hugged me and said: "Take good care of my little girl". So, now I've met all of her immediate family. I like them all, and I am pretty sure they all like me (when we got home, I had a birthday card from her mom, addressed to "My daughter Denise").
We headed home through Nashville where we stayed overnight and went to see our Detroit RedWings handily beat the number one Predators (and they beat them again the next night, taking over the number one slot in both our division and in the NHL). It was a lot of fun as we were dressed in our Wings shirts amidst all the Predators fans.
The next morning, as we continued north, we learned that my mom had taken a serious turn for the worse. After pulling over in the first rest stop in Kentucky we pulled out the laptop (using a Cingular Wireless card) and looked up flights back. Basically, none of them got us in before the next morning. So, we turned the car around and drove back to Florida, arriving at 1:30 in the morning after 14 hours in the car.
We stayed another two days, as Mom showed signs of (physical) improvement. She has lost her will to live and would gladly accept an injection that would put her out of her pain and misery. At this point, I think I'd personally administer it. Why do we allow people, with terminal illnesses, to suffer like this if they don't want to keep fighting? The last day we were there my Girl and I went to breakfast and I simply could no longer maintain. I sobbed through breakfast, right in the middle of the restaurant.
I have never left anything unsaid between my mother and me. She knows how I feel and what I think (about everything!); I know the same about her. Nevertheless, the thought of a "final" conversation with her was more than I could bear. How can I not have her to call any longer? She has always been the first person I turned to when I had news (good or bad) to share. Still, I wanted to have that conversation. I wanted, once again, to tell her how much I love her and how much I appreciate the life she's given me. I didn't get that chance this trip. When we got to the hospital, visiting hours were nearly over, and she was surrounded by people. I hope I get one more chance.
Two more long days in the car and we got home about midnight last night. My sister, still in Florida, called to say that Mom is out of Intensive Care and in a regular ward. I don't know how much more of this she can take. I don't know how much more I can take.
This post is a blatant call for comments. Please! I need comments to validate my existence here. Are you listening? ::grin::
Today, I am 52. Yesterday, I was 50. The day before that I started law school and the day before that my 24 plus year old first child was born. That's it. 4 days. With the seriously notable exception of watching my mom get progressively worse, I'm am in love with my life. I don't want it to go racing by, but it sure seems to be.
Last week, during the bar exam, I was standing in the hallway with some UMich Law grads and former classmates and we were talking about who sits for the February bar exam. One of the guys in the group made a comment about all the older folks who where there and probably did law school part-time or something. I just looked at him and made some comment about generalizing about "older folks". He looked at me, surprised, then laughed and said "Well, not you! You're one of us. Ever since softball, you don't count as older." Several minutes later, he asked what time it was (concerned if we needed to get back in to start on the final 3 hours of our torture session). I chuckled as I put on my reading glasses to be able to see my watch and he laughed out loud and just said "Softball".
You're as old as you feel. Me? I'm 35.
[UPDATE] My girl got us tickets to go watch the Tigers play spring training baseball in Lakeland. It was so much fun. I can't believe how much I love this game. How did I miss out on the fun this is for all these years? In addition, she got me a very cool, authentic Tigers jersey with my name on the back. She rocks. This was, easily, the best day of the trip.
... will have to be an unknown for another 3 f'ing months. 3 months!
Of course, you know that it’s impossible to know until you get official results – and they won’t be released for another 3 f'ing months. But, I think I did passing (not well, you understand, merely passing) on the essays. There were 15 questions, and I think I knocked it out of the park on 2 of them (9s or 10s out of a possible 10). I think I did 6-8 on another 9 or 10 questions and I think I really blew it (2 or 3) on another couple. That leaves a couple for which I’ve no idea. On balance, passing – if barely (you need an average of 6.7 to pass each question). The morning session of the multi-state was almost easy. I knew the law in a vast majority of the questions and only just flat-out guessed in maybe 10 or so (and, of course, my “knowing” of the law will be wrong in another 10 or more). Nevertheless, I think I did very well on the morning session (keep in mind that I also thought I did well on my practice exams). The afternoon session -- not so much. It was a bitch. I had to reduce the choices to two possible and then pick in many questions (I’ve no idea how many, maybe 20 or 25). There were more than a handful that I was simply clueless about and the rest I “knew”. So, again, I think passing – on balance. (My Girl says that I'm an expert on passing, so she's confident; what does she know?)
Now, my big challenge is to NOT worry about it or dwell on it for the next 3 f’ing MONTHS and just enjoy my time off. Today, a spa day. I will indulge myself in a facial and a pedicure and having my hair highlighted. Tomorrow, we're off to visit my brilliant youngest in Kentucky and then from there to see my ailing mom (don't get me started on that; my heart can't take anymore) and finally on the return trip a visit to the Girl's dad (she came out to him last week and told him she'd be bringing her partner to meet him -- woohoo!) and back again to my youngest to help her celebrate her 21st birthday. It will be a very packed 2 week road trip. Expect posting to be very light.