Homecoming It Wasn’t
In a petty display of nastiness, fakery, and laziness, Everett’s bumbling mayor made a ridiculous play to hijack something that didn’t exist in the first place in order to call it his own.
We speak of Homecoming 2018, which the Everett Public Schools (EPS) was forced to cancel last spring. The event had not been mentioned, nor advertised, by the district since the school year started. No advertisements or notices. No reminders on social media. Nothing. Because there was nothing to promote.
Superintendent of Schools Frederick F. Foresteire reminded everyone that the event had been scrapped during the Sept. 17 School Committee meeting. In fact, Committee member Millie Cardello expressed her disappointment that her classmates from the Class of 1968 wouldn’t be able to take part in this year’s festivities. It had become a tradition that classes celebrating their 50th reunion meet at EHS in the morning and ride the parade route in a trolley. It’s things like this that made Homecoming such a popular event.
It was scrapped because the mayor and his chief financial officer tried to make the case that such extravagances had no place in Everett anymore. At one point, the mayor insisted that the Championship Everett High School Marching Band could no longer compete out of state.
“Too expensive,” he roared.
The roar back from parents and outraged kids caused him to change his mind, the same way he changed his mind at the last moment about Homecoming.
The mayor and his administration played a shameful, pitiful game of semantics. There was an event scheduled for Friday, Sept. 21 in Glendale Park featuring musical entertainment and fireworks. By Wednesday morning, City Hall had crafted a press release and a print advertisement calling it a “Homecoming” celebration. The mayor recorded a phone blast touting it.
The ad read, in part, “Mayor Carlo DeMaria and the City of Everett Public Schools are pleased to once again invite Everett residents to the City’s Homecoming Celebration.” The press release didn’t mention the school department, which means it was more honest than the ad. Also, it’s our understanding that the mayor was in Aruba last Friday, which means he claimed to be hosting something he wouldn’t attend. (Is it us, or does the mayor y to Aruba more often than JetBlue?)
When Everett residents hear the word “Homecoming” they don’t think of a lone Friday night event in Glendale Park. They think of a weekend’s worth of festivities, highlighted by a parade and capped off by an Everett High School football game.
When those of us who understand how much planning it takes to create and to carry out a true Everett Homecoming, something developed over the past 25 years, one understands a night of fireworks at Glendale Park is not a Homecoming, it is an insult to the city’s major community celebration for the past quarter century. In fact, it was a dagger to the heart of it while pretending to somehow recreate it.
EPS officials we’ve talked to were bemused by this foolish audible. The district wasn’t contacted about the Crimson Tide Marching Band’s availability for Friday night until last Tuesday morning, a sure re sign that this was a last-second ploy by City Hall to give the illusion of saving something it had destroyed.
In fact, according to school department sources, no one from the mayor’s Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight asked for any help in planning any aspect of last Friday’s reworks/music party in the park, save for the inquiry about the band. Think about that for a second. It’d be like the city of South Bend, Indiana planning a Homecoming celebration for Notre Dame without Notre Dame’s direct involvement.
The mayor and his advisors should’ve left well enough alone. Nothing wrong with reworks on a nice fall night. That should’ve been that. Slapping “Homecoming” and “Everett Public Schools” on it was unnecessary and mean- spirited. The administration could’ve funded the district’s traditional Homecoming festivities, but it didn’t. The EPS told City Hall that Homecoming was on the chopping block last spring. No movement was made to salvage it. Once August rolls around, the ship sails because it takes time and effort to organize a Homecoming event like Everett’s.
The mayor doubled down on Friday morning when he took to Facebook and berated the Leader Herald for reporting last week that Homecoming was off, while applauding the other two newspapers in town for running a paid advertisement and a press release promoting the event. We’re glad to have not been a part of the deceit. If you were in Glendale Park Friday night and said to yourself, “This is Homecoming?” you can’t blame us.
If none of this offends you, no problem. But this sure as hell should: No one in the mayor’s office, including the man himself, had the good sense to ask, “Isn’t a Homecoming without a parade like a cake without frosting?” And besides, even the mayor didn’t attend his fake homecoming.
How the mayor of this city toyed with and ditched Homecoming and then pretended to make it happen because he was worried about a backlash is mind boggling.
No Homecoming was a terrible sign of the mayor’s indifference to tradition and to legacy events that tie this city together. No Homecoming for the school department to save money the mayor later wasted on reworks, is a bad sign of things to come here.
After a decade in office, the mayor is not only bored with his job but he is blind to some of its necessities. Instead of nurturing the School Department’s unrivaled community gem – Homecoming – he dismantled it.
Destroying Homecoming was a bad play.
It was a bit like not allowing cook outs and fireworks on the Fourth of July, then pretending to remake the Fourth of July with hand held firecrackers, and then asking everyone how much fun they had.
The Village Fest
Huge numbers attended Village Fest.
If you were there then you know it is not an event to take your young children to.
The music isn’t right – too loud, too noisy, too graphic in its lyrics, and enjoyed largely by the young crowd – a young drinking crowd out for a good time.
There is nothing wrong with Village Fest except that it is not a family affair.
It is largely and mainly for younger folks – drinking, girls and guys having a blast.
This is not an event for older folks.
There are no reunions at Village Fest.
It is an event that takes virtually no planning or athleticism.
The only necessity, is an understanding about how to down a bunch of beers and then guring out who is driving you home.
It is a good event but creates no sense of community and is off limits to families.
Our New Travel and Leisure Section
We trust and hope everyone will pay attention to our new Travel and Leisure section featuring a cartoon of our mayor at his Aruba office.
The Aruba office is the mayor’s home away from home, his office away from his city hall office – and when you get right down to it – how many local mayors have offices on the beach in Aruba?
Who would ever have imagined the mayor of Everett would have an office on the beach in Aruba?
Next week we may feature a cartoon of his good friends he was there in Aruba with.
A Bright Future At the Parlin
Scores are nearly everything these days when it comes to measuring performance in our public schools.
When scores are unnaturally low inside one of the elementary school’s in Everett, steps must be taken to improve those scores.
Improving scores is made very difficult by having so many students who neither read nor write in the English language proficiently, which is part of the problem. The other piece of the puzzle, teachers and administrators need to keep the ball rolling.
The School Department has implemented a number of changes in teachers and administrators at the Parlin, including the appointment of a new principal to lead the school.
Meeting the challenge head on requires some guts and some common sense as most employees grow comfortable in their positions. Nearly all of them, almost to a person, believe they are doing a great job. When change comes, it is always difficult.
No one really welcomes change in their lives, and certainly not in their professional lives but without change, even the strongest and best expressions we are capable of become a bit stale.
Let’s see what happens to scores the next time around at the Parlin.
This will be one of the gauges by which the success of the change can be measured.
Racketeering Alleged in Lawsuit
A lawsuit filed last week in Federal Court by the owners of Suffolk Downs which we reported alleges that Wynn Corporation, Steve Wynn, Matt Maddox, Kim Sinatra and a host of others including the original owners of the land were all involved in a conspiracy to have Wynn get the license from the Gaming Commission.
They are seeking $1 billion in damages.