Usually, I open these missives with some light chat before delving inta the political wasteland that is our Asylum by the Sea, but that can’t happen this week, honeybunch. Too much has transpired. By the time yew git this who knows what political Hades is going to be unleashed on the burg, but it will not be pleasant, that is for certain.
The last fortnight has been a time when events are happening soooo quickly, it’s hard to keep up. Sammy Bluejay was outside the City Council meeting last week, and said the only things missing from the scene were pitchforks and torches. It was an ugly crowd that assembled in the Harriet North Room, and they wanted to vent their collective spleens on what was going on. Sammy said that a bad situation turned into grand opera when it was found that Herroner decided to go to some long-awaited conference than attend the meeting.
As yew might expeck, no explanation was gonna be sufficient to quell the anger of the crowd, which included her own supporters, who had to be disappointed. Herroner’s explanation didn’t help, either, as she didn’t say where she was, nor what the conference was about — just that it was long planned. So, the veracity of the need to be away was something questioned from the get go. Needless to say, Peter Massaro, the chairman of the council had to announce this absence, taking the brunt of the crowd’s vitriol in the process.
Whoever told the mayor it was a good idea to take a junket to a conference when the political heat was on should be taken to the woodshed, and then relieved of his or her duties. It was not a political astute, nor practical decision.
Of course, the topic that brought all these political chickens to roost was the CohnReznick audit on the city’s use of federal COVID relief funds. It was a damning document, but one that city officials were saying was incomplete or lacked crucial documentary evidence. Herroner could have brought that all to the fore effen she attended. Instead, it gives more credence to people thinking the worst.
On top of it all, the MARB voted the city into the dreaded Tier IV status, that will hamstring officials, and impose whatever the MARB decides it wants. This was what was to be avoided, and the inevitability of it hit the city like a brick.
For the next while, the people on the panel will make rules, impose sanctions, alter contracts if desired, and redesign the budget that was under consideration, just to name a few. Any revamping of the city’s financial procedures will come from them, and for all intents and purposes, the city becomes a ward of the state until such time as the MARB believes it can relinquish the reins. This is worse than 1990-1993.
Meanwhile, effen Herroner thinks she has any political future, she might have to reassess that position. Cobina would be astounded to see her survive this. With about 20 months left in her term, she will be under the thumb of MARB, and have little more than rubber stamp authority.
As yew would expeck, Sammy noted that some are asking for her resignation, but then what would happen. Peter Massaro might not wanna be mayor – who would?
Unfortunately, she and her team could not bring to heel the political culture that is the Actors Colony. While we were under receivership the last time, things were not changed, and we have been moving slowly and steadily toward this point with City Hall carrying on as it always has.
In a very real sense, sweets, this ain’t about Nancy Rossi, it’s about the city’s political culture, and the way it has done business for many, many years. She just happened to be warming the seat on the thoid floor when the dam broke.
Also, still to be determined is the aforesaid problems in the audit. That is being lost in this latest conflagration. If documentation was not seen or, worse, ignored, that gets pushed into the background, when it is a real concern.
I told yew two weeks ago that even one of the owners of this papyrus was threatening legal action effen things weren’t corrected in the report, and that he had the documentation the auditors either didn’t see or ignored. That will be working through the system in the background. But, it is an important story, nonetheless.
Nelly Nuthatch, meanwhile, came over t’other afternoon, and sez that the GOP’s call for the mayor’s head, while OK on the face of it, is a lost opportunity effen the Republican Town Committee doesn’t offer up solutions. Cobina has to admit, when the RTC message came through over the wire (you can read it in the Letters section) we thought it no more than boilerplate. When is the GOP gonna start offering alternatives, plans, vision?
Part of the reason we’re in this mess is the GOP has been asleep at the switch for the better part of 30 years, playing along the edges, instead of being an opposition party. Having one party in power for that long, when at one time we were a two-party town, is the reason rot sets in and becomes systemic. Nobody is watching the store.
Even the three-way splitting of the Democratic Party, where the three factions rotated being in power, really was just the same old faces taking up the same old positions. This administration is just more of the Picard years, while other administrations either bowed to the Borer or Morrissey factions.
This is the opportunity for the GOP to up its game and become a real opposition. Barry Cohen lost the mayoralty by a handful of still-objected votes. It would seem the city is ripe for a strong opposing party. But what has shown up so far is just the same old stuff, that one would expect.
Madame Olga came over and we were discussing the lawsuit that is still coursing through the legal system brought by the aforementioned Barry Lee Cohen. That suit has not been dismissed, and from what Olga sees in her crystal, things may actually go to trial. That means discovery, and parsing through records. How it all plays out is anyone’s guess. We are in strange waters regarding what happens if there are irregular or illegal ballots that determined an election.
Cohen is playing his cards close to the vest, and Olga sez he ain’t letting anyone know what’s happening or what he thinks will happen. He’s just letting it happen.
In a political atmosphere that has seen some perty strange things happening since last summer’s revelation of alleged fraud, one wonders what fresh hell will be unleashed effen it s found that things were not done according to Hoyle. Sweetie, the way things are going, it’s gonna git wore, and I don’t know effen it ever gits better.
Christine Gallo, who supplies the “Hidden Gems” colyume that semi-regularly appears in these pages, let Cobina know that she’s still wanting info on the way artifacts from the amusement park are gonna be displayed with the new brewing establishment rebuilds the current “Savin Rock Conference Center.”
Says Gallo, “Marty Juliano of NEBCO told me that the brewery is providing a hallway, 16 X 115 feet, for the city to display Savin Rock Memorabilia. That’s it for them. Beth Sabo is in charge of everything happening in that space.”
Gallo reported the exhibits are being catalogued and put in storage at Yale West for the time being. Plans call for them to be put in glass cases, and descriptions given. Those things that the museum housed that didn’t have anything to do with the park, were disbursed to other place, but a Revolutionary War cannon was somehow given the New Haven Colony Historical Society, rather than the Veterans Museum.
“Beth says she has a committee that will design the new space. I protested that the high-traffic area entering a brewery isn’t conducive to a museum experience; she claims that they will indeed market this as a museum and a stand-alone one as you can visit without having to patronize the brewery (it’s not a discrete area within the brewery, however, as you have to traverse it to get to the brewery). There are some pluses over the current space: everything will be behind glass (not so before), the artifacts will have many more viewers, and the brewery will sell memorabilia, the proceeds of which go to the museum, and we don’t have to man the shop or the museum.”
Gallo has her misgivings about the arrangement, and is staying on top of this. Iyam sure there will be more to follow.
With that bit o’ chatter, I’ll close this time till next, mitt luff und kizzez,