— Eye on Everett —

Scary Stuff

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By Josh Resnek

Who is trying to scare who?

The mayor’s notion about “scare tactics” being used to cause an uprising among parents and teachers in the school system as reported in last week’s Independent shows the extent to which the mayor can attempt to manipulate some of the news.

The mayor needed to get all this complaining off his chest, to let everyone know (those who aren’t his allies) how he is feeling.

It was mostly about $2.5 million that he is hesitating to allow the School Department to have even though it is the School Department’s funding gotten by Senator Sal DiDomenico.

The “crime” of not giving the funding to the schools is interpreted by the mayor as the high road – that is – the money shouldn’t be given to the schools and those complaining are traitors to the mayor’s brand of genius.

The bit by CEO Eric Demas at the end of the big piece is quintessential Eric Demas. He details the strong thoughts he has about Assistant Superintendent Charlie Obremski apparently lying. He described Obremski’s presentation two weeks ago as an “insult.”

But who is being insulted?

Is it Demas insulting Obremski, or is it Demas insulting the school children and their parents for advocating for lower classroom size for the kids in our public schools?

Or is it both?

“I don’t play with numbers,” Demas said of the Obremski presentation.

“Obremski is playing with the numbers,” he seemed to say.

“That (school committee)presentation last week was an extreme misrepresentation,” Demas said.

We are left to wonder, who is telling the truth about the city’s fiscal situation?

WHAT IS THE CITY’S FINANCIAL SITUATION?

Can we believe the huffng and puffng of a bureaucrat like Demas who is owned by the mayor?

Or should we believe in Obremski and the numbers telling a story because the numbers don’t lie?

Charlie Obremski has been called a lot of things over the years by those not tending to agree with him – but I’ve never heard him called a liar – and Demas has implied that Obremski is a liar.

The mayor and Demas want to absolve themselves from all responsibility in handing over the $2.5 million the mayor wants to call his own.

Their protests, public and private, are intended to set the record straight from the mayor’s perspective and his point of view.

But it doesn’t.

One of the things many of us on the other side of the mayor have learned about this particular event and how it is being reported by the mayor, is that the city is very likely broke.

The mayor admitted in the Independent, “These are difficult times.”

If these are difficult times, we hate to see what is ahead for the city in the months and years to come.

How exactly can this city be experiencing difficult times after receiving more than $30 million in added free funding from Wynn Resorts?

Please explain this to me.

How can we be broke with an additional $30 million bonanza swilling around over the past four years!

A DEAL IN THE MAYOR’S MIND ONLY?

The mayor has said there is a deal in place reimbursing the City if any new monies come in. The mayor said there is in fact an agreement to allow the city to keep the $2.5 million in question.

“The agreement was to put this money in the stabilization fund,” the mayor said.

The mayor’s tall tale is as long as Homer’s Iliad.

Demas implies the fate of the $2.5 million is an agreement he had with Obremski and the School Department.

The only problem with this?

There was no such agreement, and Obremski will pledge under oath that the mayor and Demas are misinformed at best, lying at worst.

Nowhere in this long and bitter response to a real school need does the mayor and his CEO admit what the real problem is right now with funding.

It isn’t the $2.5 million. It is everything else that the mayor and his money man have forced the city into doing with a city budget that is out of control.

The city is basically broke.

The bond rating is great, but there is not enough money to go around for the schools because the city spends so much money on other things with nothing left for the schools.

“THESE ARE DIFFICULT TIMES.”

Do not laugh or shrug it off.

Your city is broke. The mayor has admitted it.

“These are difficult times,” he said. He details everything except the fact the city is just about out of money.

That’s why the city last week borrowed more than $9 million. Why would the city be borrowing ten cents, let alone $9 million? The late great writer Jimmy Breslin said it best: “If you want to fear something, fear being broke!”

Many of the mayor’s friends detail his lavish life – the millionaire’s home he built for himself, fancy cars that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, a cabana and pool at the back of his Everett mansion t for a king, vacations to far away luxury destinations like the Ritz in Aruba, to Arizona for golf, and on and on…about how the mayor is always spending more than he takes in.

In fact, he is supposedly spending so much money for criminal attorneys to represent him, he has privately announced a fundraiser for November at Anthony’s in Malden. He’d like to raise $100,000, a great deal of it to pay the lawyers.

He is running a time when he was just re-elected without an opponent for four years.

Who runs times for themselves to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars unless they are broke?

The mayor’s lavish lifestyle is now the city’s lavish lifestyle – except the city is out of money right now it appears.

Call it a Perfect Storm – not enough, never enough coming in and much too much going out.

SCARE TACTICS

I wonder where the mayor got the marketing blurb “scare tactics?” Did this come from himself?

I doubt it.

The mayor isn’t much for strategic thinking.

Maybe it came from his communications chief, Tom Philbin.

I doubt that but it is possible.

Philbin prefers to stay as far away as he can from getting involved in anything having to do with reality when it comes to the city government.

If he gets too close to a controversy it is like someone getting burned for leaning too close to a hot stove. Maybe the “scare tactic” moniker came from Dr. Omar Easy.

I don’t think so, again.

Why?

Easy is working too hard and long finding savings for the city to coin a two-word battle cry for the mayor.

How about Mr. O’Donnell, the mayor’s chief of staff?

Yeah. He might have coined the phrase.

To what end, I want to know?

The real question is: is the School Department using scare tactics to get the mayor’s attention? Or is the School Department being treated like the adult who runs into a crowded theater and shouts, “Fire,” when there is no smoke and no fire.

The resulting stampede causes all kinds of injuries and terror as people scramble for the movie exit.

We are not in a movie.

THE MONEY ISSUE IS NO JOKE

This is real time politics and small city economics.

The mayor used his pal City Councilor and former Mayor John Hanlon to do his bidding to have this $2.5 issue go before the School Finance Review Commission. Hanlon arranged a motion and a vote and voila, the issue was headed to the commission.

“This is the proper place to talk about it,” said the mayor.
Oh really.

“If we can cut money that isn’t being used for instruction, maybe

we can hire more teachers. We all want everything, but sometimes during difficult times, you can’t have everything,” the mayor said in the Independent.

He doesn’t get it.

Demas doesn’t get us.

These guys can’t shoot straight.

They know how to make a up a budget but they have no idea how to create a budget the city can afford.

This is why the city is broke today despite the windfall from Wynn Resorts.

The Rolling Stones united a generation many years ago with a song titled: “You can’t always get what you want.”

In Everett, the schools can’t get what they need. Forget about what they want.

 

 

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