City Hall Shakeup
By Josh Resnek
The talk of the city is the outcome of last week’s municipal election.
If you are the mayor, you can think of nothing else even though he tells the yes men surrounding him that the election didn’t mean anything.
The election meant everything.
The results are mind numbing.
For the mayor, they are, frankly, incomprehensible, a disaster of the first order.
It is as if everyone he told to vote his way voted another way and the outcome was like handwriting on the wall – and this isn’t just me writing hyperbole – it is Everett voters understanding exactly what they did.
No one likes being told by the mayor who to vote for because they work for the city.
City employees showed their independence of him voting for their hearts rather than letting him pull their strings.
For the likes of his cousin Councilor Anthony DiPierro and his paid lackey and comrade in arms Gerry Navarro, last week’s outcomes across the board went against the mayor.
Navarro once told me recently the mayor could never be beaten. “He’ll be the mayor forever,” he said to me.
“That’s a bad bet, Gerry, following the outcome of this election,” I’d tell him.
“He’s not going to be the mayor forever and this election proved it.”
Let’s start at the top of the list of those the mayor supported who all lost and work downward.
Businessman Al Lattanzi suffered a massive, decisive defeat. He ran at the request of the mayor. He ran with the full support and endorsement of the mayor, with the aid of city employees, the mayor’s campaign staffers and the mayor himself, who put out a robo call to thousands the day before the election. There was nothing the mayor didn’t do for him. They spent tons of money, put up hundreds of signs, ran times everywhere, and then in a final blow about a week before the campaign was the big city employee election party Al held in Malden with the mayor by his side. Photographs from the party revealed the mayor wearing a smirk that seemed to say: “Mike, you don’t have a chance.”
The mayor wanted Al to rid him of Councilor Mike McLaughlin, who had the audacity to challenge the mayor in the public, political forum. The mayor doesn’t like being challenged. Al was going to teach Mike a lesson for his best friend the mayor.
What came to look like a sure coming loss for Mike turned into a catastrophe on election day for Al and by association, for the mayor.
Al didn’t just lose. He was trounced. Ne never had a chance. The mayor’s best friend whom he supported lost miserably.
Al lost every precinct in every ward.
Mike won every ward and precinct against the mayor’s best friend with the city hall gang apparently stacked up against him.
Bottom line, for all the mayor’s cajoling, bombast and empty bluster and aid, Al was never in the race.
Mike, on the other hand from the very beginning, set out a roadmap that was minus the mayor, or anyone else for that matter except for his best friend Patti. Together, they went to every door in the city three times!
It was the ultimate hard work, head down scenario. Out every day and night. Never stopping. Never looking over his shoulder.
Mike wasn’t asking anyone to buy hammers or nails. He didn’t need to pay to rent a truck.
He didn’t need to take a thing from or listen to the mayor.
He beat Al fair and square on the back of his own record as a councilor and with many thousands of people looking at Al and Mike and then making the decision about who is the better man for the job.
This was a huge loss for Al Lattanzi, an even bigger loss for the mayor’s reputation as the guy who orders everyone in the city to do as he requires or else.
The Gerly Adrien victory in the at-large arena is an even bigger bitter
pill for the mayor to swallow. In fact, if her victory was the size of that bitter pill, the mayor would need a toilet plunger to get it down his throat.
Adrien defied all odds to come out not just winning but topping the ticket. This is unheard of and never before experienced by the mayor who has more than a touch of misogyny, gender bias and other biases running through the blood pulsing in his veins.
Imagine, a young, attractive, educated Haitian woman who grew up here, who has made this city her life, winning an at-large seat, topping the ticket and causing the mayor’s candidate, Richie Dell Isola to be bumped from his at-large seat.
The mayor did not give an ounce of encouragement to Adrien who is the type candidate in today’s changing city who more represents the city than the mayor does.
Adrien is the type of candidate the mayor should be supporting without a hint of doubt.
The mayor should have embraced Adrien’s candidacy instead of rejecting her entirely.
In fact, the only member of the city government who had the common sense and dignity to attend her time at a local Haitian restaurant on Main Street two weeks ago, which was attended by US Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, was Mike McLaughlin.
That says something about Mike that cannot be said about the mayor.
The mayor’s money was on Dell Isola – another bad bet – another embarrassing defeat.
At large councilor Mike Marchese offered his help to Adrien. That says something very nice about Mike.
How about Stephanie Martins?
Here is another example of the new Everett ascending and the old Everett fading away. The fade away is Jason Marcus, who Martins beat handily.
This is another example of the mayor and his cohorts supporting the old line over the new wave – and Martins is the new wave personified. Smart, affable, attractive, educated and Brazilian, Martins presented yet another example of the changing city with her victory which was another victory for a minority as she became the first Brazilian to hold office here.
It is estimated that 10,000 Brazilians live in Everett.
Isn’t it altogether fitting that a Brazilian candidate should be taking a seat on the city council?
I think so.
The mayor doesn’t. He didn’t want her or anyone new. He wanted to own Marcus’ vote, which would have been his. McLaughlin, Adrien, Martins and one other are the new gunslingers in town so to speak.
Real estate broker Jimmy Tri Le is the first Vietnamese Everett resident to ever be elected councilor.
He swamped write in candidate Dominic Puleo, another of the mayor’s buddies, and actually the mayor’s tenant, who was goaded into a write-in campaign by his landlord the mayor.
His candidacy was taken care of by the mayor, who put some political capital into it. In other words, he gave Puleo everything he needed to get his write-in off the ground.
Puleo couldn’t get airborne. His loss was the most decisive of any of the races for council.
He scored about 300 write ins and lost overwhelmingly to Le by almost 2300 votes – an incredible loss by any measure.
So here is the deal…these four, McLaughlin, Adrien, Martins and Le represent the nucleus of a voting block that the mayor cannot depend on because he doesn’t own them and he can’t control them though he will try.
Add to them are the city’s second top vote getter Councilor Wayne Matewsky and at-large Councilor Mike Marchese and there you have it – six votes, if they so choose to vote against the mayor’s initiatives.
Matewsky and Marchese will remain independent votes but every now and then they will inevitably join with the new pack and cause the city council to become more about representative democratic government than a rubber stamp for the mayor.
The next time the mayor comes up to the council demanding and threatening his colleagues in government for a $12,500 car stipend for a car he never leased or bought, there just may be enough voices to denounce such a scam instead of voices all accepting the scam.
Matewsky and Marchese won’t always be against the mayor but these two are shrewd enough to know the winds of change requires and allows them to change with it.
And what about Councilor Fred Capone, who scored more votes than anyone running for office in the city?
He is said to be considering a run against the mayor the next time around. Whether he runs or not, his voice is a possible seventh vote as part of the new power structure as it is coming to appear on the Everett City Council.
If Capone steps up to the plate and turns his lawyerly, polite talk into into raw political power, he can become a leader on the council and take his message straight to the mayor with the backing of his colleagues instead of being a voice of one as he is right now.
This will make for a different council coming up in January.
The mayor is trying to tell his loyalists the election didn’t matter. They all know better and so does he.
Nothing lasts forever.