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Beware, Twanda, the I-man cometh

| Friday, April 13, 2007

Guess Don Imus also owes Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle an apology.

That certainly was the implication from Carlisle's mother, Constance Parker, shortly after her daughter was charged with 17 criminal offenses.

Imus lost his national radio talk show Thursday, a week after he made racially disparaging remarks, for which he later apologized, toward the Rutgers University women's basketball team. The day before CBS fired Imus, Parker suggested the shock jock was at least partially to blame for Carlisle's legal woes.

He apparently helped foster a racist society comfortable with legally lynching any black woman for doing nothing more than allegedly participating in a kickback scheme that netted her $43,000.

Carlisle, 48, of Homewood, was arraigned on charges of theft, violating ethics laws, criminal conspiracy and perjury. She is accused of stealing city money in a scheme involving consultants paid for bogus work.

My goodness, is that all•

What's next• Black women facing five- to 10-year sentences for jaywalking?

Regarding the indirect role Imus purportedly played in this tale of suspected public corruption, let's cede the floor to Parker.

"Anytime you have a person (Imus) say 'rough, tough nappy-headed hos,' this is what our society thinks of women," she said. "So it's really a dangerous situation how we can be handled when things happen.

"Twanda's a black woman in the Democratic machine."

Given Parker's thesis, I was curious as to how Valerie McDonald Roberts -- another black, female, local Democratic elected official -- had avoided the bull's-eye on her back.

Having first been elected to the Pittsburgh Public Schools board in 1989, you would think that McDonald Roberts long ago would have been routed to Devil's Island on some trumped-up charges.

But no. She somehow has fended off the cruel cogs of the Democratic machine.

McDonald Roberts, 51, of Churchill, became a city councilwoman in 1994 and has served as Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds since 2001.

She garnered an impressive 142,000 votes in finishing second last year for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.

I called McDonald Roberts yesterday and asked how she had managed to dodge incarceration all these years.

She laughed, but declined comment on both Parker's babbling and the charges facing Carlisle, McDonald Roberts' aide when she was a councilwoman.

No matter. McDonald Roberts' sterling record speaks for itself and serves to easily refute Parker's ridiculous remarks.

Perhaps Parker can try another tack in her attempt to recast her daughter's image from that of a dirty politician to one of a victim snared in a racist vendetta.

Perhaps she can persuade the Lady Knights of Rutgers to attend the next City Council meeting and stand with Carlisle in a show of solidarity.

Perhaps. But I doubt it.

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