Okay, now I'm hooked, I admit it.
See, this blog follows local (Sugar Land, TX) politics, and thus has quite a bit on the bungee Congresscritter, who, it turns out, is even more entertaining than the major news media hint at.
Basically it would appear that she is in fact Tracy Flick after a midlife crisis or six. Just a few highlights:
A dermatologist, Sekula-Gibbs said scientific breakthroughs are close, which would allow researchers to obtain adult stem cells from a person’s skin that then could be “regressed” to become the equivalent of embryonic stem cells.
Embryonic stem cells should not be used for research on disease prevention because “they cannot give consent, so we cannot work on them. End of story.”
Her campaigning tactics were apparently...creative, too:
A reporter from the big city of Los Angeles sailed into Clear Lake and experienced first hand the oddity that is Shelley Sekula-Gibbs. You remember I told you about how I saw her at the Shrimp Fest accosting people and telling them that they had to vote for her twice, holding up first one finger, then the other while she told them about the special and general elections. I knew there was a detail I omitted. She did this in a SING SONG voice.
Well, it just gets worse. The intrepid reporter visited a breakfast meeting in Clear Lake recently, featuring Shelley. I wonder if she was dressed like scrambled eggs? I digress. I'll let Lianne Hart of the LA Times give you her eyewitness account:
The women, meeting for breakfast in a hotel banquet room, looked up from their scrambled eggs as Sekula-Gibbs launched into a jingle to drive home the point: "Vote twice for Shelley," she sang to the tune of "Roll Out the Barrel." "Special and then write her in."
The candidate motioned for them to join her in song, and most did, a few clapping in time. "It's corny, but corny is good," Sekula-Gibbs said.
Also stood on the street corner holding signs for herself, apparently, day after day, begging people to write her in, dammit, never quite tweaking that in fact the reason they most of 'em did was so's she would have to resign her City Council seat.
And so now, it becomes a little clearer as to why her inherited staff walked out so soon:
Sekula-Gibbs said she had asked the aides to work on illegal immigration legislation and the 700 miles of fence to be built on the U.S.-Mexico border. They also were asked to research material on Ellington Field, NASA and Medicare, the congresswoman said.
Shelley. Here's the thing. They didn't do any of the work you asked them to do. That's why their computers are blank. Because they know something you apparently don't know. Congress is not going to deal with your little fence issue or ANY of your other concerns...
...and just how much her former colleagues and constituents luuurrve her.
Fellow councilmembers mutter that, no matter what her name, they'd like to clamp a meter on her mouth...
Sekula-Gibbs seems oblivious to the snickers and snide comments generated by what some see as her grandstanding. She says it's all about pushing her agenda for public health, which she defines so broadly that it includes air quality, the environment and transportation.
Of course, it's also all about Shelley, the neophyte politician whose previous public exposure consisted mostly of being a regular on the gala circuit for medical groups. A health department source acidly describes her City Hall rampage as "democracy by Junior League."
She says her comments are only an attempt to aid constituents.
"It's that maternal instinct I have to want to help," explains Sekula-Gibbs. "I have a great passion to try and help people. If I don't understand a situation, then I feel a need to understand, because I can't help if I don't understand."
While some councilmembers describe her as earnest, they note that her remarks during meetings are uninformed and even "off the wall."
...As a physician" is one of her favorite introductory clauses. Since running for office on a "healthy Houston" platform, she's hit the city's Department of Health and Human Services with a blizzard of memos and requests that include asking that it prepare slideshows and PowerPoint presentations for her...
Last December, even before she was sworn in, Sekula-Gibbs went into a meeting that would trigger tensions that continue today. Her session was with the city's Health and Human Services director, Dr. Mary des Vignes-Kendrick. The strong-willed executive was appointed by former mayor Bob Lanier a decade ago and is used to running her fiefdom without undue interference from councilmembers. Friction was clear from the outset.
As a doctor, Sekula-Gibbs told Kendrick, she expected a special relationship with the department. She asked for a confidential briefing on the city's efforts against bioterrorism and requested that department staffers prepare a 45-minute PowerPoint presentation on the subject, one that the councilmember could deliver to parents and teachers at a Clear Creek school. Sekula-Gibbs also stunned officials by bringing along a file on one of her patients at Clear Lake Hospital and asking that the case be analyzed for possible botulism poisoning.
"She just blurted out some fairly confidential information about one of her patients," confirms an administration source. "It was an inappropriate venue to even be discussing any of her patients...
Health department officials also balked at providing what they considered confidential information for her community presentations. Dr. Shelley got her hackles up.
"While I appreciate your interest in security," she wrote Kendrick, "as a council member and colleague physician in a 'need to know' position, I have an interest in viewing the presentation as is. I fail to understand your reluctance in accommodating my request. I am not foreign to the issue of security by any means..."
The spectacle of a dermatologist trying to micromanage a public health department comes off to some staffers as a bad joke. Laughs one: "To my knowledge there are no public health issues related to dermatology, unless rosacea comes out as a nationwide epidemic."
well, she does wear a lot of pink...