From My Corner: February 15, 2022

The Hypocrisy at the Council is Nothing New, but the Stupidity gets Grandiose

I waited until the Lawrence City Council meeting was over to write this column because the hypocrisy of many council members was so huge that one could cut it with a knife.

I was screaming through the monitor at the streaming meeting. Hypocrisy doesn’t result from having double standards but pretending you have one standard when no one does. We all try to figure out the contexts in which it’s better to be honest vs. dishonest, receptive vs. unreceptive, etc. However, defending ourselves when the rules come back to bite us is how we reinforce our hypocrisy, and the council members were all about it last Tuesday at the full council meeting.

How do people reconcile themselves to saying one thing and doing another? And are there benefits? Yes! First, let’s begin with the highlight of the council meeting, the approval of the Leahy School Construction Project. Half of the councilors sat there, looked at the television camera, and fed you a bunch of hogwash. At least four of the councilors contradicted themselves and two others were hypocrites.

Let’s start with Councilor Jeovanny Rodriguez who began the night by stating that he voted for the 2.5% tax override last November, in support of the Leahy construction.  Then immediately he stated, “The reason I am voting yes tonight is that there are no tax increases”; then went on to argue that the money should be used for its intended purpose – ARPA.  Well, councilor, which is it?

Then you had Councilor Ana Levy stating that she voted no, for the Leahy project, during last November’s election, but then she “would have voted yes even if there were taxes increases” on the table during tonight’s meeting. Which is it Councilor?

I don’t even know what Councilor Maria De La Cruz was talking about, or even Councilor Pavel Payano.  María’s microphone was off for a while and her mask was on her chin; another sign of hypocrisy.  If it bothers you, stay at home but don’t pretend to comply with the rule.

Each of those councilors spoke about how the City needed to support school constructions and ensure capital is added to school maintenance budgets moving forward. They said this like they were never part of the council.  In each of the last 10 years, councilors have voted to increase housing builds and never once complained about oversize classrooms, or the deterioration of school buildings.

Then further into the meeting, when the council was debating on approving the mayor’s budget amendment, Councilor Jeovanny Rodriguez decided to play dumb and forget about every vote he has taken that went against everything he stated at last Tuesday’s meeting.  He asked whether changes to salary required a classification of any kind.  He then asked for the Budget Director to answer some follow-up questions on the same topic, knowing that there was a more expert knowledge person in the audience.

Here is something for Councilor Rodriguez to understand the level of hypocrisy that he portrayed. You, councilor, approved every budget that came down to council, from the two previous mayors, and they all included increases of salary that you voted for without asking for a salary classification.

And then there was the charter objection that Councilor Rodriguez threw out there.  He made a motion on top of a motion that was already on the table and being discussed. I have to say that the level of anger in him of losing the presidency to Marc Laplante is getting to him.  Why would one charter object, just to spite?

They were discussing the mayor’s list of salaries and travel expenses requested and I was in agreement with Jeovanny.  The charter objection is only going to kick the can down the road further instead of talking about it and put an end to it.

Again, if you are a person that views these meetings, you could see the hypocrisy blocking our television screen.  That’s how thick it was.

This was a very important meeting; I will be able to write further next week about all that was discussed.

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