By Josh Resnek
Despite repeated and ongoing calls for his resignation, Councilor Anthony DiPierro appears to have no interest whatsoever in giving up his seat.
He languishes in public soaking in his shame and unyielding in his racism and in his unwillingness to confront its evil.
The past four city council meetings have been uproarious, with last week’s meeting a picture of chaos.
DiPierro is bringing down the council. He doesn’t care. Nothing is more important to him than his seat – his $27,000 a year city salary, and the empowerment he receives from his cousin the mayor.
Two ten minute emergency recesses were called before enough calm existed to continue the meeting last Monday.
Even then, two councilors were told to keep their mouths shut when they suggested with a motion that was made by Councilor Stephanie Smith and seconded by Councilor Mike Marchese to allow more time for the all the public speakers to have their say.
In that instance, Hanlon refused to make his decision consistent with the legal requirements of the city ordinance.
Keeping with his well-defined Everett persona, DiPierro is unapologetic about the racist actions which have brought him down and what’s more, he remains extraordinarily arrogant, even in the face of the continuing disruption his presence is causing.
DiPierro’s arrogance has been on display for the past month inside the council chamber where he appears to be taking notes while cries for his resignation echo in the chamber.
He has consistently shown himself to be put off by public speakers mentioning his name.
Each time DiPierro’s name is uttered by a public speaker, he winces and looks over at Council President John Hanlon urging Hanlon to “do something.”
Either that, or he has Councilor Richard Dell Isola to depend on to question the legality of the public speakers – as he did when a Haitian Everett High school student read her demand that DiPierro resign from her cellphone.
“Isn’t that not allowed?” Dell Isola asked as if to say, she shouldn’t have been allowed to speak.
Last week, DiPierro was recorded calling public speakers “classless” while Hanlon has consistently said “I’m not going to take this. I don’t have to stand for this.”
Hanlon’s relentless desire to limit the public to speak about nagging issues Hanlon and the council will not take up is considered an abridgement of the First Amendment by those waiting to speak.
Hanlon has been inclined to warn public speakers they cannot mention the names of councilors. Hanlon claims that is illegal as he has been told by the mayor’s attorneys.
However, a close interpretation of the city ordinance governing the public speaking portion of the meetings reveals no such assertion made in the English language.
Hanlon’s demand that ten minutes and ten minutes only be allowed “because that’s the rule” is also out of order.
The rule is that if ten minutes is not enough time for public speakers, the council can add more time with a motion and a second and a vote to do so.
However, at the last meeting, Hanlon caused a near panic in the chamber when he refused to give more time, called two emergency recesses and then finally relented to give more time when only the police could have brought calm back to the chamber.
“If Hanlon ever calls for the police to arrest those waiting to speak, there will be a riot,” said Marchese. “Everyone should be allowed to speak. More importantly, we should be doing the peoples’ business instead of refusing to take action on issues tearing apart the city.”
DiPierro appears to be taking his cues from Carlo DeMaria.
DeMaria has insisted to DiPierro that he not resign.
DiPierro was DeMaria’s campaign manager.
Darren Costa, one of the most forceful of the public speakers, would inherit DiPierro’s seat if he resigned.
Such a move would upset the mayor’s majority on the council.
The mayor would find it more difficult to have the council fire City Clerk Sergio Cornelio – who the mayor would like to see removed.
Costa is said to be planning a recall effort against DiPierro.
The general feeling inside the corner office at city hall is that the DiPierro ruckus is a passing phase, and that over time, the fuss will die down about his racism and everything will return to DeMaria’s version of normal.
Instead, DiPierro’s racism has created a controversy that has the potential to be damaging to a number of city hall officials and to the reputation of the city as a Melting Pot community.
However, the racism expressed by DiPierro is most damaging to Black and Browns and Hispanics and to the new core of those residents wanting to be heard and who are willing to take a stand.