He Should be Up but he is Down
By Josh Resnek
I am a careful observer of the mayor.
This column is an up close look at him.
I am going to refrain from referring to him as Kickback in this column. I will not repeat that I know he talks with the FBI about his friends and that we have proof of this. He knows this. Many others have learned of this. There are more than a few people who don’t want to speak with him for obvious reasons.
I am not going to write a word about his treatment of local vendors who refuse to take care of his personal services without him paying.
And there is no need to mention that those in Everett wishing to avoid the long arm of the city make contributions instead to the mayor’s campaign account, “Buying a table to keep him away from me and my business.”
Neither will I dredge up old incidents in his Revere donut shop where he allegedly assaulted and sexually harassed a female employee, and elsewhere where other such allegations have been made and reported in great detail in the Boston Globe.
I don’t want to repeat that the mayor promised to put me out of business in four weeks about 18 months ago. I don’t like thinking the mayor is the kind of guy who would want my business to fail.
But he is.
He wants to see me in ruins, or he would not go to great lengths strong arming people not to advertise in the newspaper. He does this quite often but no one will admit to it. That is the beauty and the efficiency of his strongarm type of city hall leadership.
Monday night at city hall inside the council chamber I knew he was someplace else in an instant.
The mayor wears his moods on his face. He must be a terrible poker player.
He is easy to figure out.
Just key in on his face.
Monday night he looked tired, somewhat drawn and serious at the same time; more glum actually than serious.
This was not the mayor acting warmly – and act he is expert at – expressing friendship, seeming to be engaged or thankful or letting others know,” I am your friend.”
He was distant Monday night – kind of there but not really wanting to be there.
Maybe he’s done one too many budget hearings and conventions. Maybe he’s tired of all of it but has nowhere to go.
Maybe he is locked inside a circle he has created and he cannot get out of it.
Or does he realize there is no higher office for him?
Is he all wound up with no place to go?
Monday night his face was absent of a smile or an expression of kindness.
He was barely engaging when he really didn’t want to engage.
He was at city hall – the center of his universe – but he didn’t want to be there.
But then, where else could the mayor be?
He knows he’s gone as high as he can go in his life.
The mayor barely said hello to those before him.
From the lecturn he stood behind, he acknowledged no one.
He began awkwardly, stumbling and fumbling over words in fit full spurts reading a three page document outlining his economic achievements for the city with utter and complete disinterest.
What was he thinking about, I wondered? Why is he so glum?
Is he broke? Is he being chased by the FBI? Are his friends?
What’s up with him, I wondered.
The mayor nearly always utters a quiet insult when passing by me inside the council chamber at city hall.
He is probably as tired of me as I am of his wrinkled blue suit, which he again wore to address the “convention” of the city council and the school committee Monday night.
Maybe being mayor for longer than a decade it taking a toll on him. He had a shot of getting out of the mayor’s office with Steve Wynn. When Wynn fell the party for the mayor was over.
He has no leverage over Wynn CEO Matt Maddox.
Maddox thinks he’s a liability.
He wants nothing to do with him. Monday night with his reading assignment at an end, he left the podium.
He sat on the bench along the wall with several of his staff members. Then he left got up and walked out of the chamber without raising his head, making handshake or a back slap.
He disappeared from the hall…carrying the weight of his life. Politics went on as usual.
I wonder why he is isn’t happy?
Maybe it’s the casino.
It is bigger than him.
He can’t control it.
The Wynn people can’t be controlled.
They control him and the city the day the doors open. What’s worse?
The mayor can’t gamble there.
The Council Laments Being Left Out
I like the council and the councilors.
They are all decent people with families and lives outside of city hall. I know them as councilors.
I have come to know them as people as well.
The council has basically been a tool of the mayor since he came into office.
This isn’t political speculation.
It is political fact.
It is just the way it is.
Individual councilors speak forcefully for themselves and stand up for what is right nearly all of the time.
When it comes to the mayor, the council votes his way every time. The mayor has the votes.
He controls the council.
Now he controls the School Department as well.
He has consolidated his power neatly and seamlessly.
The mayor controls the political framework of the city.
He, and no one else, is in charge.
Do as the mayor suggests or be gone.
That’s how he works.
Now comes an invigorated council complaining rather forcefully that they’ve been left out of the traffic mitigation meetings.
The mayor’s office, and nearly everyone else having anything to do with traffic, have been avoiding the council.
Encore has been avoiding the council.
Meetings with the council have been cancelled by Encore and by the mayor.
It is as if the council doesn’t matter. It is as if the council is irrelevant.
Councilor Leo McKinnon’s shot across the bow – him saying he was disgusted – with the way he was being treated, well, McKinnon and the others need to understand that unless they band together and vote against the administration, that their power is vastly curtailed.
The mayor’s power is in having their votes every time.
The council’s power is in withholding their votes, especially when they feel they should be leading certain efforts and have been ignored.
The council is being ignored because the mayor owns the council. The mayor reports to Encore.
Encore is in control.
When the doors open, Encore controls the mayor and the council. Encore is the new sheriff in town when its doors open.
It is all over for the old order.
No one knows this better than the mayor.