Mayor McGinn, taking questions from a constituent yesterday evening.
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  • Mayor McGinn, taking questions from a constituent yesterday evening.

The light in Mayor Mike McGinn's back yard yesterday evening was so perfect it felt like we were at a staged shoot for some future campaign mailer. It was just a lucky, late-summer fluke, this tree-filtered golden light, but McGinn and his guests soaked it up.

He was kicking off his re-election effort with a low-key, homey fundraiser that drew about 100 supporters, each asked to pay $50 to get behind the white picket fence at the McGinn family's modest Greenwood house.

There was an open bar; a nice spread (including veggie burgers, raspberries in yogurt, orzo salad, and homemade chocolate chip cookies); and of course a speech in which McGinn, dressed in Tevas, camping shorts, and a red polo shirt, reminded his donors how things went in his underdog 2009 campaign.

"I didn't get a lot of money from the people who normally hand out money," McGinn told the crowd. "But there's a flip side to that: I don't answer to them."

There, standing between a McGinn family rain barrel and the McGinn family vegetable garden, were the people McGinn said he answers to:

Greenwood Gothic.
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  • Greenwood Gothic.

Earlier in evening, acknowledging that voters had rejected his anti-tunnel advocacy (and possibly him, too) at the polls last week, McGinn told two Stranger writers: "I just keep showing up. Ninety five percent of life is just showing up. Didn't Woody Allen say that?"

He was showing off his vegetable garden as he said this—one artichoke plant, a bunch of kale, some broccolini and mustard greens—and between bursts of garden talk he also talked about how to move forward and find a win after such a stinging defeat.

Theres gotta be a win in here somewhere.
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  • There's gotta be a win in here somewhere.

"We gotta hit some singles and some doubles before we start swinging for the fences," McGinn said.

In addition to this being a BBQ with a nice spread...

Not pictured: All the chips we ate.
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  • Not pictured: All the chips we ate. was also an open house. And so, after a time, we were invited into McGinn's living room.

Ah, 2009.
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  • Ah, 2009.

In front of the fireplace: An electric bass and electric guitar, played by his kids. Hanging on the wall: An acoustic guitar, which he's been learning to play. And—don't tell Joni Balter—on the book shelf, this:

Calm down, it says 1968 - 1980.
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  • Calm down, it says 1968 - 1980.

Yes, that's right: "FIGHTING FIERCELY and WINNING SOMETIMES." A motto for the ages. This page was marked for easy reference:

The Kemper Freeman solution?
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  • The Kemper Freeman solution?

Back out in the yard, McGinn stood at the entry to his cluttered garage and outlined some modest priorities.

And I mean modest.
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  • And I mean modest.

They are: Getting the Families and Education Levy passed, getting voters to approve the $60 Vehicle License Fee proposal on this fall's ballot (which he wanted to be an $80 fee), and doing everything possible to create jobs.

His supporters applauded. Beyond the white picket fence, his poll numbers remained low. But there in the back yard, the light remained perfect.

Like I said.
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  • Like I said.