We knew Deb Hermann was our kind of politician when her knuckle-dragging, firefighter-union-backed opponent came after her on Election Day with a baseball bat. Damn, girl! You must be doing something right! The 1st District Kansas City Councilwoman is just the kind of up-from-the-neighborhoods straight shooter that Kansas City needs to offset the deal makers who lord over City Hall. She's a leader. That means she's not afraid to take hits from special-interest groups when she stands behind something she believes is in the best interest of the city. The best example: graffiti. A few months into her first term, she pushed for legislation that would force property owners to clean spray-painted scrawl off their properties. As expected, a lot of neighborhood folks cried foul -- "How can the city fine us for someone else's crime?" In neighborhood meetings, Hermann conceded that it wasn't her most popular initiative -- only half of the calls she received after the ordinance passed voiced support. And though we tend to agree with the latter group (this is a city, after all -- graffiti is just part of the ambience), we have to respect a council member who doesn't waffle. We have to, because it's damned rare in Kansas City.