We are witnessing right now the rising up of the City Council which finds itself suddenly empowered to act justly in confronting a great issue which the mayor has not been willing to address.
The overcrowded public school crisis, and the mayor’s desire to put affordable housing before providing for the city’s public school children has been check mated by a City Council apparently in favor to a person to use Pope John as a new public school facility.
It isn’t so much affordable housing that is the rub.
It is the mayor dragging his feet and putting a development proposal not supported by the neighborhood in front of efforts that have gathered widespread public support to put an end to the overcrowding in the city’s public schools.
The Council rising up in this instance and supporting the use of the former Pope John High School as a public school, reveals the extent to which the City Council has taken up the mantle of leadership during a crisis that the mayor has refused to acknowledge in any meaningful way.
The rising up of the City Council represents a new chapter in the evolving political history of the city.
Councilor Stephanie Smith’s passion and her stridency demanding change is notable.
Councilor Mike Marchese’s demands for action resonate.
Councilor Al Lattanzi’s show of independence in supporting the Pope John partial solution is encouraging. It speaks well of Lattanzi. It reveals he has put, in this case, his integrity before his desire to please his good friend the mayor.
What is most notable is the succession of voices rising in the Council chamber.
From public speakers unleashed from fears they will be retaliated against, to those who put the city’s needs before the administration’s roadblocks to their efforts, there has been a cacophony of new ideas and investigations into the city’s fiscal dalliances.
Wellness Center revelations made by Smith Monday night are proof that the city’s oversight of its spending is lacking.
The renewed vigor shown by members of the Council to act when necessary and independently of the mayor, is a seminal moment.
It is almost as if politics here isn’t going to be the same hum drum of doing whatever the mayor tells the council to do and that ends up being done.
The Pope John controversy has been an Alamo type heroic, triumphant last stand for those who want to do the right thing.
Standing up to the mayor is no easy task in this city.
Standing up for the public school students of the city places this Council in an entirely new light.
We support fully the effort to use the Pope John facility as a junior high school.