Silverton Mayor Stu Rasmussen says he's learned a lesson from the public rebuke he got Monday night from his City Council colleagues. His "crime" that raised the Council's eyebrows? Wearing scanty attire in front of teenagers weeks earlier.
Rasmussen is a transgender man.
On July 16, he met with the Apple Tree Kids, teens from the nonprofit Silverton Together who were gathering school supplies for poor students. It was 93 degrees that day in the Marion County town, and Rasmussen was wearing a short skirt and a top that revealed his back.
Public officials aren't expected to dress like Erin Brockovich. But the Rogue Desk takes exception to the response from Silverton Together's director, Brenda Sturdevant. According to the formal complaint Sturdevant sent City Council President Bill Cummins, Sturdevant was offended by Rasmussen's "very bold" outfit. She accused him of violating the men's and women's dress codes for Silverton officials.
Well, duh. Rasmussen has violated both codes for years. But Silverton elected him knowing what's in his wardrobe. For the love of RuPaul, the man once wore a bikini top to a July 4 campaign stop!
City Council voted 4-3 to reprimand the mayor after public testimony Monday overwhelmingly in support of the complaint by Sturdevant (whose boss is Ken Hector, the mayor for 16 years until Rasmussen beat him in 2008.). "I don't care if Stu wears a bikini," one resident testified. "But not on my time."
Sturdevant says she had to take a stand for the kids. But it never had to go this far. Rasmussen blames himself. He says he thought the goal was to force him to dress like a man, when all he wanted to do was dress like a woman. Now he knows Silverton wants him to dress like a lady. "I was dressed inappropriately," the mayor says. Sturdevant should have just told him that.