A gift from the journalism gods arrived on my desk last week.
A children’s pageant will be held later this month in honor of former York City Councilwoman Toni Smith, according to flier received by the York Daily Record/Sunday News.
** Insert gleeful city reporter noises here. **
The event, which will be held at the Yorktowne Hotel on July 21 at 11 a.m., will be for kids ages 3 to 11. A $20 entrance fee will be charged for pageant contestants.
Attendees are also being asked to pay a fee: $25 for adults and $12 children. All proceeds will benefit the Reach Out and Read program at the East Side Health Center.
Mark your calendars, folks.
In case you had the same obvious question that I did, the answer is no. This event will not be part of Smith’s mandatory community service hours that were part of her Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition agreement, Smith said.
Smith entered the ARD program in May after she was charged in connection with another much more infamous flier. Smith was accused of contributing $100 in cash for the benefit of a candidate for fliers distributed by a political action committee that she funded — an apparent violation of state election law. The fliers, which were paid for with $950 in cash from Smith, publicized fellow candidate Michael Helfrich’s felony drug convictions.
In a phone interview Monday, Smith said her service hours were instead being completed with York’s Helping Hand for the Homeless. She is done with all but two of her required 35 hours, she said.
As for the pageant, Smith said she hasn’t really been involved with the planning, but lent her name to the event as a favor. The fact that organizers wanted her to be involved is a sign that she still has support in the community, she said.
“I knew people were fine with me,” she said. “Anywhere I go, they come up and help me. They say, ‘Toni, you have to come back.’”
Does that mean there’s another Toni Smith bid for city council in the future? No, Smith said. Holding office was like being second-class citizen; people can say whatever they want about you, she said.
Smith groupies who are disappointed by that news will be happy to hear that she does at least plan to attend the pageant. Smith said she’s picked her outfit: an Asian-inspired silk number.
How will I ever top that?