Lesko holds both her graduate (MFA) and undergraduate (in psychology) degrees from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Under the professional name of P.D. Lesko, she writes about and comments on higher education policy for national newspapers, magazines, web sites, and radio shows, including "Fresh Air," The Chronicle of Higher Education, Community College Week, The New York Times, Slate, Salon, the Washington Post, and U.S. News and World Report. In 2008 and early 2009, Lesko commented on local politics for the now-defunct Ann Arbor News.
In August of 2009, Lesko launched A2Politico.com, a local news site. She initially kept her identity a secret, blogging under the pseudonym "Sam Rosenthal."
In 2013, Lesko began publishing the Ann Arbor Independent, which claimed to be “Ann Arbor’s only locally-owned weekly print newspaper”. The paper ceased publication in 2016. Its Twitter account, A2Indy, is still actively updated.
2010 Mayoral Race - Democratic Primary
Lesko was defeated in the primary, 84%-16%. She received 1,869 votes to Hieftje's 10,058.
- Michigan Sierra Club Michigan Sierra Club
- Huron Valley Chapter of the Michigan Sierra Club Huron Valley Chapter of the Michigan Sierra Club
- IAFF Local 693 Ann Arbor Firefighters
- Ann Arbor Police Officers Association
- press release of 4/22/10
At her April 18, 2010 campaign kick-off event Ms. Lesko announced that the members of the Ann Arbor Police Officers Association union were throwing their support behind her candidacy, as well as IAFF Local 693 Ann Arbor Firefighters. Ann Arbor Police Officers Association executive committee members Officer Sam James and Officer Dawn King, as well as IAFF Local 693 Ann Arbor Firefighters president Matt Schroeder, and members of his union’s Executive Committee, joined Ms. Lesko at the campaign kick-off.
- Patricia Lesko's candidate profile on AnnArbor.com
“Satan for Mayor?! The Hieftje-Lesko slugfest.” With a month to go, the Ann Arbor Democratic primary is already the nastiest local election in a generation. What other election has had a mayoral challenger who says she'd vote for Satan before the incumbent--and the incumbent saying it's hard not to arrive at the conclusion that his opponent is a liar?
"Proposed cuts to Ann Arbor police and fire draw criticism from union, council candidates." Proposals by Ann Arbor leaders to cut deep into police and fire services to balance the 2010-11 budget are drawing heavy criticisms this week from the firefighters union and a group of candidates running for City Council. Late Tuesday night, four candidates seeking to oust members of the current Ann Arbor City Council majority released a joint statement opposing the cuts.
"Is six or seven officers on patrol an adequate level of police presence in Ann Arbor?" The city's ongoing issues around public safety prompted mayoral candidate Patricia Lesko to do a six-hour ride-along with one of Ann Arbor's sworn officers on Wednesday morning. She discovered there were few cars on patrol, and that was normal for Ann Arbor. "There were exactly seven sworn patrol officers on duty to patrol the entire 17,700-acre city, and to respond to calls from its 90,000 adult residents; one patrolman was absent today," Lesko wrote in an e-mail to several people, including council members and AnnArbor.com. "The University of Michigan has two cars with sworn officers patrolling. Between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. we never saw either of those U of M patrol cars."
"Patricia Lesko enters Ann Arbor mayoral race today." Patricia Lesko, a Democratic candidate for mayor of Ann Arbor, officially filed paperwork with the city clerk's office today to appear on the August primary ballot. Lesko pulled nominating petitions and announced last month she planned to challenge Mayor John Hieftje for his seat. If elected, she would be the third woman to serve as mayor of Ann Arbor since its incorporation as a city in 1851.
"In the 10 Spot: Patricia Lesko." Interview published in the A2Journal, 2/27/2010.
"Lesko launches bid for Ann Arbor mayor," A2Journal, 2/19/2010, Section 1, page 5-A.
"Political blog got Ann Arbor talking, thinking about local issues." The cat's out of the bag. The anonymous blogger behind A2Politico.com has revealed herself. As many political insiders suspected, Patricia Lesko was the infamous writer behind the mask. However, for most people, the question was, "Who in the heck is Pat Lesko?"
2008 City Council Ward 1 Race - Democratic Primary
Lesko was a Ward 1 councilperson write-in candidate in the Democratic Primary in 2008. She was recruited to run and endorsed by Ron Suarez after he announced he would not run for a second term in 2008. She was defeated by incumbent Sandi Smith, 67%-22%. 11% of voters cast ballots for Suarez, who withdrew from the race after the deadline to have his name removed from the ballot. 297 write-in votes were cast, most presumably for Lesko, while Smith received 900 votes.
Commentary on Local Politics
"Taxpayers shouldn't pay 'tips' to private execs." You know the song. Shirley Bassey growls provocatively: "The minute you walked in the joint ...." I was reading the New York Times recently, and there was a piece by Joe Nocera titled "First Let's Fix the Bonuses." Nocera was writing about the taxpayer money given out to Wall Street executives in the form of bonuses: "the country has been up in arms about Wall Street bonuses." To paraphrase Nocera, bonuses awarded with taxpayer money are out, Sweetie. Well, in most places, but not in Ann Arbor. In Ann Arbor, we have big spenders.
"Strategies force PILOT programs." In January, The Ann Arbor News reported that: "The University of Michigan wants to help the local economy, but giving the city an in-lieu-of-tax payment isn't the way to do it, U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said." Mayor John Hieftje responded to Coleman's comment by assuring taxpayers: "We're going to continue to work on that." He's had a decade to "work on that," however. Other members of the City Council, such as Marcia Higgins, Steven Rapundalo and Leigh Greden, have had almost that long to "work on that."
"Whatever the reason, Hieftje's U-M pay problematic for city." A reporter from Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, interviewed me about a Congress member who accepted a part-time college teaching job. Did I consider it a conflict of interest for a U.S. senator to be paid to teach at a university? I replied that it does present a conflict of interest; universities regularly lobby Congress for millions. I'm not the only one concerned about ethical conflicts when politicians accept college teaching gigs: the U.S. Senate Ethics Manual requires senators to get permission from the Ethics Committee to accept a paid teaching job. Less than 1 percent of currently serving Congress members hold such teaching appointments.
go ask voters
Reporting: Bid Launched to Amend City Charter; If successful, automatic referendum would be held on certain bonds, Ann Arbor Chronicle, March 30 2009
Eleven people, including reporters from WEMU and The Ann Arbor Observer, gathered at the City Club to hear Lesko read a prepared statement and answer questions. From WEMU’s Andrew Cluley came a query about the hoped-for time frame for collecting the required number of signatures. Lesko said that she hoped to finish signature collection before the whole year was up, with the specific goal of having the referendum on November’s ballot. Counting 90 days backwards from November would make it an early August deadline.