Three or four years ago, the debate about using the former Pope John High School as a school facility to reduce overcrowding would have been what the lawyer’s call, a moot point.
In other words, the mayor’s absolute, incontestable control of the city’s power structure and of its elites made opposition al- most an impossibility when push came to shove.
The recent uprising about the future of the former Pope John High School indicates the extent to which the mayor finds himself a voice alone in his desire to perpetuate the notion that affordable housing is more important than reducing the over- crowded and struggling public school system.
Sides have been drawn. Positions have solidified.
The city council is now said to be entirely in favor of using the Pope John facility as a public school to mitigate overcrowding.
At least five members of the School Committee have done the same.
That four members of the School Committee fail to see the importance of reducing schools overcrowding is incomprehensible. That the mayor is the leader of that group on the School Committee reveals how greatly the times have changed but the mayor is not changing with them.
The debate about the Pope John facility is classic Everett. The mayor tends to go on and on with his preposterous claims about people starving here and kids living in closets, and elderly and veterans needing housing and that this is more important than reducing overcrowding in the public schools.
Then he buttons up his thinking by intoning the belief that the taxpayers will pay.
Taxpayers have been paying for the mayor’s excessive spending policies for 15 years.
The city has allowed thousands upon thousands of new apartment units to be built here during the past ten years without providing any real relief for veterans and for those unable to pay market value rents.
The numbers of affordable housing units created here is an embarrassment and an indictment when compared with the number of new housing units that have been built.
This reveals how shallow the mayor’s thinking is when it comes to overcrowding in the public schools, and how little he has put into creating affordable housing while pretending it is a number one type of issue.
The mayor’s inadequate replies to the pleas of city officials and school officials that a new school is needed now and not in ten years, appears to have no real effect on his thinking about Pope John.
The tectonic shift in the power structure now ongoing may not sink the mayor or his single minded thinking, but it is destined to come close.
The mayor no longer is in exclusive control of the manipulation of the City Council and the School Committee.
Pope John won’t break him if it doesn’t go his way.
But it will come a lot closer to changing the course of local politics here.