Well, that was fun. For those who didn’t catch Tuesday’s City Council meeting, let us bring you up to speed: It was a circus.
The night of soapboxes and soliloquy reached its apex when Council President Michael Bloom yelled repeatedly at Councilor John Barrett III to be quiet while the latter shot back "point of information ... " after each command to be silent. While we don’t condone Mr. Bloom’s breach of decorum, we also don’t blame him. We were tired of listening to Mr. Barrett by that point as well.
For this outburst was but a sideshow to Mr. Barrett’s Western Gateway Heritage State Park witch hunt Tuesday night. In another installment of Mr. Barrett requesting a presentation on a topic from Mayor Richard Alcombright -- only to counter it with how the job should be done -- Mr. Barrett insisted private sector involvement in Heritage State Park is doomed to fail because it did so when he was mayor, despite new variables this time around that could change the game.
Mr. Barrett also decried private meetings between Mr. Alcombright, MCLA President Mary Grant and Mass MoCA Director Joseph Thompson about the current park proposal and the Mohawk Theater. Mr. Alcombright explained such meetings were held to create a more comprehensive plan rather than coming to the council and the public with something half-baked. Heaven forbid. Mr. Alcombright, intending to further the city’s interests, met with players aiming to aid the goals of the city and their own respective organizations. The cad.
As fans of theater, we were amused by Mr. Barrett’s performance Tuesday -- and that’s what it was, replete with a crescendo and finale followed by anemic applause -- but we found it ultimately to be full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
It was more evidence of a trend we have highlighted here before: Mr. Barrett seems determined to use his time as a councilor to highlight what he would do if he were still mayor.
Mr. Barrett also offered little on what would work better. As the saying goes, if you don’t like an idea, bring something better.
The only salient argument that came of it all -- and it was one that Councilor Jennifer Breen was the one to express best -- was that City Solicitor John DeRosa’s involvement in the current approach needs to be examined by an outside agency as he appears to be involved in both ends of the city’s request for proposal on the park. Since no certainty was presented clearing this possible conflict of interest, we urge the matter be reviewed and corrected if need be.
As for this and the alleged violation of state Open Meeting Law with the purchase of the Sons of Italy building, the truth will out, as they say.
We think it’s more than just Mr. Bloom who is tired of hearing the contrarian point of view. We hope Mr. Barrett heard well the meager applause at the end of his diatribe. It was a whisper speaking volumes.