Candidate Sanaa Elias
History and Evaluation of the Candidate
Sanaa Elias was part of the group of residents who strongly opposed the LGBT Anti-Discrimination ordinance which was passed in June, 2014 and subsequently rescinded. Claiming that through her experience working in the Human Resources field she knew that such discrimination was already banned by federal law, thus rendering a local ordinance unnecessary, she spoke repeatedly on the issue and was active in the petition campaign to either repeal the law or bring it to a public vote.
During the debate on that ordinance issue, I chanced to sit a couple of seats over from her during one particular meeting. She whispered to me that she found my support for the ordinance to be odd and out of character for a conservative, and intimated that perhaps I was being a bit foolish. When I replied with a few questions of my own for her, she refused to speak any further and curiously denied that she intended to run for office even though I had not brought the subject up.
More recently, Ms. Elias was observed working in the neighborhood near 15 Mile Road and Mound helping to organize the demonstration campaign against the proposed mosque which was voted down by the city’s Planning Commission this past August. The reports I have heard indicate she spent a great deal of time going door to door persuading people to unite against the mosque.
Ms. Elias’ Facebook posts and public statements trade heavily on her self-image as a Conservative Christian, and her main political issues seem to center on a perceived attack against Christian sensibilities in the body politic. Her specific statements deplore Gay Marriage, which she objects to for religious reasons, which give lie to her claims that the local ordinance was not needed because the law already prohibited LGBT discrimination.
Although not a Smart Meter activist herself, Ms. Elias was seen speaking in favor of Council taking action against Smart Meters during the January 20, 2015 City Council meeting, which featured a number of smart meter activists speaking during the Concerns from Citizens segment.
Oddly, in her presentation at the Meet the Candidates event, she studiously avoided talking about all of these issues, and instead focused upon a charge that the Consent Agenda, part of the regular recurring city council agenda, somehow represents an attempt to disguise government spending and quash discussion about the expenditures. This, unfortunately, is a complete misunderstanding of the reasons for the Consent Agenda, the background material that is made publicly available before every City Council Meeting, and the ability that any resident has to discuss matters on that consent agenda during the public meeting.
After the Meet the Candidates event, I spoke briefly with her and Mayor Taylor about her curious denial and disdain for the term ‘politician’ as it applies to herself. Ms. Elias vehemently maintained that she is not a politician under any circumstances, which I found to be quite curious for someone attempting to achieve elected office.
I find some of Ms. Elias’ statements strangely contradictory with the facts, to put it as politely as possible. I did not appreciate the effort she made in my neighborhood to stir up religious animosity during the city-wide debate over the mosque issue, and I feel that her anti-immigration stance, shared with candidate Jazmine Early, is contraindicated for someone who is an immigrant like herself. Her sudden change of direction during the Meet the Candidates event seemed highly deceptive to me; it was as though she realized the main reasons for her candidacy would not play well before an audience of the general electorate, and so she deliberately sought to disguise those reasons by speaking on a manufactured issue concerning the Consent Agenda.
I am recommending you NOT vote for Sanaa Elias on November 3, 2015.