Once upon a time in Meriden, there was discord at City Hall. It was blamed on Mayor Manny Santos, but he’s gone now.
Last year in Meriden, there was discord at City Hall. It was blamed on City Manager Guy Scaife, but he’s history.
This month in Meriden, there was discord at City Hall, with politicians from both sides of the aisle trying to officially censure each other by placing tit-for-tat measures on the agenda for the Jan. 16 City Council meeting. Residents flocked to the meeting, many voicing disgust at the council for the sheer pettiness of it all.
One censure was patently ridiculous, an attempt to liken a vernacular expression used by We the People Councilor Bob Williams to sexual harassment. The other was perhaps more substantive, involving Democratic Councilor Miguel Castro’s move against a former political rival. But Mayor Kevin Scarpati took charge of the unseemly spectacle, rising above it all by ruling that both censures should be removed from the agenda without discussion. Good for him.
“The fact that we have stooped so low as a governing body to put forward resolutions like this is absolutely ridiculous,” he said.
Still, Meriden can hardly claim a patent on government by blamestorming.
Look to Hartford and what do we see? A budget that came in months late and millions short, but with plenty of blamestorming. Seemingly permanent deficits stretching out to the horizon, and beyond, with no relief in sight – but with plenty of fingers pointing back and forth across the aisle.
Look to Washington and what do we see? A president who blames a Congress that his party controls for failing to pass the legislation he wants, and blames the opposition party for an investigation into his campaign that was initiated by his own Justice Department. And when journalists point any of this stuff out, he blames the press as “the enemy of the American people.”
Mr. Trump blames Mexicans for rape, Haitians for AIDS, and various “s***hole countries” in Africa for sending people to our shores. He blames Puerto Ricans for failing to bounce right back after a devastating hurricane (as quoted in published reports, “They want everything to be done for them ...”). He blames the F.B.I. for being “in tatters – worst in history.” He blames our own intelligence services for being “political hacks.”
Back to Meriden, though: No doubt Mr. Santos made mistakes in his time, and Mr. Scaife certainly stepped on some toes.
But both of them have been thrown overboard, and still there’s plenty of discord to go around. It’s almost as though those two guys weren’t really the problem. Not to suggest there’s some kind of “deep state” operating on East Main Street; more like a traditional Good Ol’ Boy Network. Just sayin’.
There was also that anonymous note – “you two are next to go” – that was slipped under the door of two employees who had been hired by Mr. Scaife, on the day after he was fired. The police were called but, of course, leaving sneaky, snarky, nasty notes is not a crime.
But I think we can agree it’s a sign of discord.
Reach Glenn Richter at firstname.lastname@example.org.