By Gilbert Garcia
Diane Cibrian would probably like to forget last week ever happened, but online viewers of her strange, inexplicably tense interview with FOX 29's Sylvia Rincon won't let their memories die so quickly.
Rincon's sit-down exchange with Cibrian was part of a five-minute feature on the three major candidates in this year's mayoral race. After smooth, pleasant exchanges with Julian Castro and Trish DeBerry-Mejia, Rincon asked Cibrian the same innocuous question she'd directed at the other two contenders: Does she consider herself sufficiently experienced for the job?
For reasons that made no sense to Rincon or anyone else watching, Cibrian reacted as if she'd been presented with a stinky diaper that had been left out in the summer sun all day. She alternately grimaced and made forced, pained smiles, while defensively shooting down every comment from Rincon. When Rincon casually said to the first-time Councilmember, "You are a junior City Council person," Cibrian defensively fired back, "There's no such thing as a junior .... but anyway."
She informed Rincon that she was "not comfortable with the setting," and repeatedly prodded: "Are you going to ask my opponents the same question?" After calming down enough to tout her accomplishments on the Council, she abruptly announced, "I think we're done," and walked off camera, with Rincon still calling after her.
Questions have often been raised about Cibrian's temperament, and this interview played right into the hands of her most vociferous critics. You couldn't watch this fiasco without wondering how Cibrian would handle an actual tough question -- the kind that a big-city mayor can expect on a regular basis.
Cibrian didn't get any relief at last Thursday's Council meeting, when attorney Ted Lee went before Council and accused Cibrian of selling zoning requests to developers and lobbyists in exchange for campaign support. Lee was working an unpopular case and he had no smoking gun to back up his allegations. But his failed application for a zoning change at Dreamland Drive and Lockhill-Selma brought new scrutiny to Cibrian's front-end involvement in zoning cases ["Boundary Issues," February 4], at a time when she'd much prefer to ride the popular coattails of outgoing Mayor Phil Hardberger.
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