— Eye on Everett —

A ‘Father’ and a ‘Son’

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By Josh Resnek

In a home somewhere here in Everett, a young man grew up wanting money and power. All his time as a kid he idolized his father but he wanted to do more than his father. It was important to this kid to be bigger than his Dad, for his shadow to overwhelm that of his father.

He worked hard. He worked smart. He worked doggedly. He became a big success.

His father watched the son and with some admiration. The kid knew what he is doing.

As a father, you never want to get in the way of that.

Whatever the kid thought about his father’s weaknesses, he knew he was right there for him in his heart and soul. But as time passed, the kid grew into a man, and as a man he enjoyed greater and greater success, mainly acquiring and earning more and more money, mounds of it.

His ego developed win size with the mountain of money he was stacking up.

At one point, not too long ago, the kid, now a man, moved out of his father’s home in Everett to another city. He kept his connection with his Dad.

In fact, the kid and his Dad had a sort of unwritten partnership based mainly on loyalty – father and son stuff – stuff for the ages, always.

The time came to pass when the kid made an extra $2 million in one year.

It had been a big year for him.

The kid and the father had always shared their money and their thoughts and their love although the father gave to the kid more than the kid returned to the father.

They shared one business partnership that the father got for the kid.

They were partners, at least in the father’s mind they were partners.

Now and then, more then than now, the kid would toss his father $20,000 here and $20,000 there but the kid grew tired of this. Besides, Dad will get by, was the kid’s typical form of thinking.

The father needed $40,000 to pay some taxes in 2017.

No big deal to the father whether they were paid or not but he would rather that they be paid.

The father wanted the $40,000.

He asked the kid.

“I need $40,000,” his father told him standing on a patch of grass in front of the three decker his father owns in Everett with traffic passing by.

“I’m not giving it to you,” the kid said with finality.

“Are you serious?” the father replied.

‘Its my money to begin with. Give it to me please?” the father said more forcefully, growing angrier by the moment at the kid – his kid treating him this way.

It was an incredible moment, a powerful disappointment for the father in their relationship.

“Yeah, Dad,” the kid said as if to emphasize the situation.

“It may be your money but its in my account and you are not getting it.”

Fast forward to the crisis in the schools and the mayor refusing to hand over $2.5 million that belongs to the schools.

He won’t hand it over because: “Its in the general account. I control the general account. You’re not getting it – no matter how badly you need it. I just don’t care. End of discussion,” the mayor seems to be telling the Superintendent of Schools Frederick F. Foresteire.

“It is ours. That’s our money,” Foresteire said to him.

“No it isn’t Fred. Its mine,” the mayor answered.

The mayor has said of Fred that he’s been a mentor, a close friend, a colleague almost like a father figure to him as he has come up the political ladder in Everett.

The only problem with this narrative is that was then and this is now, today.

The mayor is battling Foresteire, his friend and mentor, his almost father figure.

He his making it a difficult battle.

The mayor doesn’t care about 30 children or more in every classroom in Everett. Let’s face it, he doesn’t really care about education, at least for the kids attending school in Everett.

His mindset is very far away from his old mentor in this battle.

He doesn’t care about Fred any more. It is all about the mayor at this point in his political life. Nothing else matters.

From the rickety chair he sits in very rarely at city hall, its easy for him and probably the right thing for him to do – to think this way, that only he matters.

The problem is that Foresteire isn’t taking the mayor’s proviso about the $2.5 million sitting down.

No one really pointed an angry finger at the mayor at the Monday evening School Committee hearing.

Everyone was very polite, Everett School Committee style, the committee showing off its civility, its intelligence and its style in the face of destruction.

I would have told the mayor in the public forum to get his head out of the sand, come back to reality for moment, and with a sweep of his pen, to send the money from the general account into the school account.

He can’t do this.

He can’t do this because he is in a battle with Foresteire. He would like Foresteire to disappear.

Without Foresteire there isn’t another voice in the city to challenge his.

He then would rule alone over his kingdom – the Everett he has created during the past decade.

Doesn’t matter an ounce to the mayor that classrooms with 30 kids or more, and this includes Senator Sal’s kids at the Keverian School, is very destructive to the quality of education that can be provided by one teacher.

What matters to the mayor?

Beating the superintendent at his own game.

If his weak and ineffectual political games were being played on a Broadway stage, they’d get a D or an F rating.

“Fred Foresteire is my friend. We love one another. We are fine with each other,” the mayor has said in the past repeatedly, usually after trying to deny the school department something or other for no reason except for his right to do so.

Again, at the root of such behavior is a disinterest in education and the need for the mayor to tower over Foresteire, to take what is Foresteire’s for himself.

The mayor doesn’t know you can’t steal a legacy the way you can threaten a city hall employee’s job.

He doesn’t understand the greater measure here, that Senator Sal and some of the most highly respected people in this city who sit on the School Committee of all places, came together Monday night to ask the mayor to rescind his order (keeping the money in the General account) instead of doing the right thing and dispersing the $2.5 million to the schools so everyone fighting for the right thing isn’t completely humiliated for doing so.

There is more at stake here than not satisfying the superintendent’s wish or telling his good friend Sal that “the money is in my account and you’renot getting not a penny of it for the schools even if it is to be used exactly for the schools.”

In a perfect world the end to this story is a no brainer.

It is a bit like the Myth of Sisyphus here in the Everett political arena.

The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain. The stone would fall back of its own weight. The God’s thought with some good reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor, that is trying to roll the rock against all odds to the top of the mountain.

This is what most everyone (arguably) attending the School Committee meeting Monday night was thinking and trying to do.

That is, except for the Superintendent and his assistant superintendents and the members of the school committee and nearly everyone seated in the audience.

They all attended to tell the mayor, ”Let that $2.5 million go. It isn’t yours. You have no right to it. The schools are suffering. Senator Sal got the money for the schools.”

End of discussion, Mr. Mayor.

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