— Eye on Everett —

Money, money, MONEY!

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By Josh Resnek

Last week I wrote about the mayor’s salary, about $180,000 a year and rising. His salary is perhaps one of the highest in the state and in the nation for a mayor, higher than the mayor of Boston who gets $175,000. It is higher than any mayor of a small city like Everett in the United States.

I estimate paying for mayor’s office salaries for everyone presently aboard – you know – salaries, health insurance, and vacations must be in the $1.5 million yearly range. In a four-year period, that’s $6 million for the mayor of Everett to run his office, an office he is largely absent from and which he is obviously bored with and tired of.

Why, I wonder, can a pittance like $2.5 million matter to the mayor – a millionaire himself who lives a millionaire’s existence?

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JOSH RESNEK PHOTO
Senator Sal DiDomenico shown above last week urging his friend the mayor to transfer $2.5 million from the gen-eral fund to the public schools as intended.

The to do over the mayor refusing to transfer $2.5 million of school aid intended for the Everett Public Schools has taken a new twist and turn.

Now it will be November 1 before the issue is discussed at a scheduled meeting of the School Finance Commission, the same folks whose open meeting I was ordered to leave in July before the door was shut behind me and the mayor took up the next topic of city business for action – not paying the Everett Leader Herald’s invoices.

If that isn’t city business I don’t know what is.

I get it. I understand. I give and then I receive. This is the way of the world.

The school funding thing is an obscenity when you get right down to it.

The mayor/the city borrowed more than $9 million Monday night. “It will be paid back next year,” CFO Eric Demas has promised.

But why the borrowing in the first place?

Why is even $10,000 of borrowing necessary when the city has received something like $30 million so far from the Wynn Resorts group?

Why – because the city didn’t have the funds to pay out the $9 million it needed to do its business in the coming months. My assumption, and I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am, is that the mayor will pay back the $9 million next June when the casino finally opens and the city receives its first $30 million check.

Maybe I have this wrong and the city didn’t need to borrow $9 million but borrowed it because of some magical notion that by borrowing such a sum and paying it back in a year the bond rating is raised higher and higher. This is the kind of rubbish Demas would heap upon the unwitting in this city.

If you are $9 million down and a check of $30 million comes in, the remainder is $20 million or thereabout after paying the juice to the lender.

This is all complex financing stuff, way beyond the grasp of Everett voters, homeowners, renters and residents.

Only the mayor and Demas can understand it.

Others, however, understand it as well and look differently at all things about money.

The mayor’s failure Monday night at the city council meeting was a sign – a bad one at that. Instead of stepping up like a gentleman to tell all his colleagues in government that he is requesting that they transfer the $2.5 million from the General Fund into the school department account he did not act – except to have Councilor John Hanlon enter a motion to talk about the matter before the School Finance Commission.

OK. Well done.

That order got passed – meaning that not an extra dime yet moved an inch closer toward the school department account so teachers laid off could be rehired and the size of classrooms could shrink instead of growing.

The mayor could have said he is sending an order to the council to transfer the money and it would have been done at a special meeting in a nano second.

This didn’t happen.

Classroom size growing is odious. It is as detrimental to teaching as it is to the kids learning.

Larger classroom sizes result in lower test scores. One doesn’t go without the other.
This is what is at stake.

Frankly, the situation is sad, sad, sad.

Council President Peter Napolitano and Councilor Mike McLaughlin tried their best to have their colleagues listen about the necessity of this money going to the schools.

Not many among their group seemed to care.In fact, they weren’t allowed to talk.

One councilor tried to humiliate McLaughlin for being a shill for Assistant Superintendent Charlie Obremski – of all people!

The real shill was the councilor attacking McLaughlin. Things do tend to get heated at times like these.

The person I wonder about is Senator Sal DiDomenico. Certainly he is feeling let down, foolish, really, and finding it

personally incomprehensible that the mayor is letting him down this way by withholding money he raised for the city to be used for the schools.

Sal is too much of a gentleman to push up the thermometer with a heated attack of his buddy the mayor.

Deep down inside where all of us reside inside our own skin, DiDomenico is beside himself about this apparent travesty.

Plain and simple, the mayor is stealing the money intended to reduce classroom size for the kids.

Even more paralyzing and petrifying is that so many councilors seem to be compliant with the mayor’s wishes.

Watching the mayor engage with his colleagues in government Monday night most observers came away with this: the mayor is tired of having to deal with the council. It bores him. He wants to be anywhere else enjoying himself – not having to argue with the council about affordable housing and money intended for school kids that he wants to keep.

November 1 the mayor can reverse all of this by simply informing the commission that he believes the $2.5 million should go to the kids.

Better yet, the mayor will use strategy. He will ask the members of the commission what they think and then he’ll act.

Ya think!

I’ll Take This $100 Scratcher

Heading into Everett last Friday I stopped at the corner store in Everett Square.

I had the yearning to buy a $30 Scratch ticket.

“Do you want a Megabucks ticket?” the clerk asked me politely.

It was $1 billion at the time.

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As I write it stands at $1.6 billion if you can imagine anything as crazy as that!

“No, thank you” I answered. Not interested. I’d rather have this Scratch ticket than a Megabucks chance.”

My $30 scratcher in hand, I got back in my car and drove down Church Street to my office.

Inside the office, I sat in my chair, music playing, sipping from a morning coffee made for me by our office manager Mary. Seated behind my desk, I scooped a dime out of my change box, and started scratching.

On the second scratch, I saw a burst symbol. I won an automatic $100.

Nice, I thought to myself for about one minute. I won $70.

Still it is not a bad start to the day, is it?

Then I got to wondering for a moment about winning a $1.6 billion Scratch ticket.

Fairly incomprehensible, isn’t it?

What would I do with it?

First came the question of how to deposit my winnings. Would I go to the East Boston Savings Bank and try to make a $1 billion deposit?

How even does one do such a thing?

Could the bank accept a $1 billion deposit?

Wouldn’t I come near to owning a great part of the bank by depositing so much in it?
The Federal Reserve doesn’t insure accounts over $250,000 I believe.

Then I drifted off…what would I buy?

It would infuriate my wife but I wouldn’t buy a new car. I’d stay with my rust bucket.

Would I come in to the office the day after winning? Absolutely.

After all, the paper has to come out…even if I win $1 billion. What would I do?
I guess I’d just start praying that I’d alive long enough to enjoy all that money although I was left to wonder then, and I wonder about it now…what does one do with $1 billion after taxes?

Does it go into an IRA?

How about a 401K?

Would I need life insurance, health insurance, appliance insurance? Would I turn up the heat a few degrees? New furniture?

I mean its ridiculous thinking about winning $1 billion. You can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket but I haven’t bought a ticket – not because I don’t want $1 billion but rather, because my chance of winning is slighter than being hit by lightning seated inside this old office in my chair on Church Street.

Why waste the money on something I can never win?

A Treat From Afar

My sister was in New York City last week for a funeral of a lifelong friend.

While there, she was kind enough to send me two foods I love which can only be purchased there the way I like them.

Nova Salmon and Sable fish, hand cut, sent to me overnight packed in dry ice.

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The Salmon is $75 a pound.

The Sable is the same – $75 the pound.

These are Russian, Polish, Eastern European treats, Jewish treats if you will.

I cook two eggs, scrambled, take slices of Salmon – so fresh, so tender, so sweet so unbelievably delicious and I place the slices over the eggs, warming the Salmon slightly.

Then comes the Sable sh – like the Salmon – so sweet, so tender, so delicious and I place the Sable atop the scrambled eggs.

A slight salting of the eggs and then a slight peppering of them – and then its time to eat.

WOW!

There is nothing quite like it but it is an acquired taste and one not many people would care for.

There is a place in New York City called Zabars where they ship this stuff overnight.

Try it out – what an amazing treat.

Paul Kelly, Again

I needed to add just a bit more meat to the bone about the late Paul Kelly, the former Everett City Parking Clerk who I wrote an editorial about last week. He died recently at the age of 86.

There was a small bit in what I wrote about Mr. Kelly that he made you feel good about paying your tickets when you came into city hall.

Well, that wasn’t the whole story at all.

First off, no one feels good about paying a ticket at city hall. I don’t know the entire family but I know his son Colin Kelly- a good guy just like his father and someone I came to know during his time at the Everett Chamber of Commerce.

His father couldn’t make you feel good about paying a ticket at city hall. No one really can do that.

But what Mr. Kelly did, and he did so well, and what he will always be remembered for, was his hearty hello, his pleasant manner, his determination not to be the parking clerk but rather, a friend to all.

This is what Mr. Kelly was all about to everyone who had the honor of crossing his path.

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