Missing The Mayor
For the Larger part of the past two work weeks, the mayor has been missing in action in his corner office at city hall.
The mayor’s parking space in front of city hall is perfectly, exquisitely empty nearly all day every day.
We understand the mayor has been ducking phone calls and meetings.
Not wanting to be at his desk at city hall is explainable.
Who wants to work in August when you can be swimming in your gorgeous backyard pool behind his mansion?
Let’s face it, not much gets done during August.
But he’s the mayor.
He got elected to work just like we do.
Many people, including his supporters, expect him to be there or at least to be doing something, anything.
“He has no work ethic. Where is he?” said one of the mayor’s close supporters recently.
“I’m up early and working hard everyday? Why isn’t he?” his friend said as a matter of fact.
What does the mayor do when he is not at his desk in city hall during the summer months?
Is he watching the Red Sox? Doubt it.
Is he going to art galleries?
Not really, unless it’s in Everett and there aren’t any art galleries here.
Maybe he’s doing yoga or studying Buddhism? I don’t think so.
In fact, the mayor appears to be uptight recently, not himself, so to speak.
Maybe yoga would help. I don’t know.
Is he brushing up on his municipal leadership skills taking courses in government management at the Harvard Graduate School of Government?
No he isn’t – and frankly, most of us aren’t doing that either.
Is he woodworking in his basement workshop?
We don’t believe the mayor is much for carpentry, nor does he have a basement workshop.
Is he reading the great Russian novels – giants like War and Peace, or Crime and Punishment?
We don’t think so but then why would anyone from Everett who heads the city be wanting to read Crime and Punishment in the summer?
What would it mean if he was reading such a novel or lying in the sun on a chair by the pool, in the backyard of his mansion?
Would he be a better man if was reading, instead, a great French love novel by Flaubert or something like Nabokov’s masterpiece, “Lolita”?
We don’t think so. The mayor is not much for the classics in literature.
When you are elected the mayor of Everett by the voters, you have told them you will work hard for them.
You tell them, as the mayor told them, “I will be there for you, always.”
During this summer of the mayor’s discontent, the mayor has gone against all his campaign promises to his devoted followers.
His disappearing act this summer would make a magician blush.
I wonder what he’s doing?
I think I know
Hitting a golf ball with his buddies or smoking a cigar or both. But really, the mayor is stewing and thinking. He’s wondering what the next step in his life is as no one was meant to be the mayor of Everett for a lifetime.
He likes being in this game. But he’d like to get out of it, climb a bit higher, make more money, wield more personal influence and to do as he pleases.
Steve Wynn was his ticket out.
Now Steve Wynn is gone – and the ticket out is gone with him. Making donuts and serving coffee won’t do it, either.
Where can he go?
What can he do?
This nags him. Other things nag him.
The stuff being sent all around by mail asking for a rally against him on primary day in front of City Hall is a nightmare for him. It would be a nightmare for anyone.
Then there’s the FBI stuff. The Justice Department’s unrelenting look into business dealings here between government and the private sector over the casino land deal, et cetera.
Do all roads lead to the mayor’s office or not? Hard to say. He knows. But he isn’t saying.
Gives the mayor something to think about, doesn’t it.
The Demise of the School Funding Bill
The state legislature failed to pass an education funding bill at the last hour recently, putting to rest the hopes and dreams of this state’s largest and poorest cities that help was on the way in what has become a precarious budget balancing act from year to year.
Peculiarly or not so peculiarly, our state rep up for re-election failed to vote for a bill that would have alleviated a great deal of injustice heaped upon cities like Everett.
The speaker told the rep what to do and he voted no.
Here is what he voted no to – his nay vote basically said the smaller cities and towns where everything is much whiter and with higher incomes and better schools and reading scores will get along just fine.
Everett, with its working class and poverty class non-English speaking lower-income school populations can wait another year, lay-off more teachers and aids, and struggle to get by.
The rep’s vote against the bill caused an outcry from Everett’s school leadership, Revere’s, Chelsea’s, Boston’s and on and on. Bottom line, the rep doesn’t care about the struggling masses here.
He doesn’t care about the collision of class and culture that finds better communities doing better and struggling communities heading in the other direction, always.
He cares about doing what the Speaker tells him to do, voting as he is told to do.
Doesn’t matter to him that Everett’s school future is hanging in the balance.
His opponent former rep “Stat” Smith wouldn’t have made such a vote.
He would have voted for the Everett’s of this world.
Also, there was a beautiful piece in last week’s Independent that went on and on with the Speaker explaining how and why he couldn’t have made a difference because the vote was so complex and the Senate wasn’t prepared to move complex legislation to a successful conclusion.
I love the Speaker. We have been friends for decades. Had he put all his gravitas into getting an education bill passed, the bill would have passed.
Sadly, there just isn’t the necessary interest in the poor, people of color and ethnicity, the destitute and the poverty-stricken, the non-English speaking population as well as the handicapped who live in places like Everett, Chelsea, Revere, Lynn, Brockton and on and on.
That’s the reason the bill didn’t pass.
It was a class and color thing.
Not enough legislators really cared because not enough legislators live in struggling cities.
A Summer of Loss
Several weeks back I wrote about losing my mother, who died recently at the age of 97.
It was a terrible loss as she was my lifelong friend.
It is impossible to shake the feelings of emptiness and darkness that pervade my thoughts now that she is gone.
She has been gone a month. I’m not feeling much better at all. I’m kind of stuck on the loss.
Her loss, however, has given me a broader view of death and the suffering that comes with it for all of us.
Every person on this earth will lose their father and mother, or a son or a daughter or a loved one or a best friend. Such is life.
Every week we put together the obits here. I read them all. I tend to think of them now with wonder as I have come to know how terrible every loss is to every person.
I’m not alone in losing my mother, my friend, my pal. It happens every day to everyone sooner or later.
We all walk on an earth populated with a billion souls. We are all here today and gone tomorrow.
Kind of takes my breath away.
The world does not stop spinning when our loved ones leave this earth. Our loved ones leave us and after a short while they are largely forgotten.
Life is so precious. Death is so final.