Monday, January 30, 2006

Come Up and See Flaherty

The Boston City Council reminded me of my maternal grandmother, Mable, again this morning. I doubt there is a great cook in her style there. However, they have the matriarchy thing down pat.

I took the T in today and accepted my very own free Metro. A Q&A with Council President Michael Flaherty droned right along until the last set.

There I saw what bedeviled previous mayors and agencies, particularly Mayor Ray Flynn. If you know what's good for you, make kissy face with council president. More important, when there's an issue or you want something you go to see them, and don't forget that!

The trigger Q&A runs:
Right now, the School Committee members are appointed by the mayor. Do you think they should be elected?

My frustration around the current School Committee is their reluctance to engage not only the Boston City Council but our constituents at large. It’s not just their unwillingness to be televised; it’s their unwillingness to engage parents and students; it’s their unwillingness to come down to the City Council and talk about things they are voting on. All of that leads me to believe that if that is going to continue to be the case maybe we should consider bringing back the elected School Committee because at the very least they can be accountable to the voters. ...I’m happy to say that I’ve had a discussion recently with (School Committee Chairwoman) Liz Reilinger and she informs me there is a willingness to now have a dialogue with the Council — there is a willingness for them to be televised...Moving forward, I’m hopeful she follows through on that.
That was Mable-esque. Come a holiday – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter – her kids, grandkids, greats, nieces and so forth came to Mable. No matter how many were inconvenience in what ways, she went to no one. She was the matriarch and that was the natural order.

Similarly Flaherty's attitude promises more drama and inefficiency. We perhaps saw this at the most extreme with Raybo Flynn. He had done his time in the Council and knew the rules of the game. Yet, when he took the elevator up one more flight to his new office, he suddenly tried to get his 13 grandmothers to come to him.

Nuh uh.

There was acrimony, inefficiency and calumny. Many decisions waited or went unmade.

Now Flaherty is telegraphing his M.O. and demands, at least to the school folk. Come bowing or expect to be replaced with an elected body. Next, we'll see whether he tries to play Mable to Da Mare.

Oh, Mable was a great cook, particularly a baker. She got a lot of latitude for that. Her hand to your mouth was her gift. It remains to be seen what sort of goodies Flaherty can and will offer.

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