Consolidating power

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

A source at city hall told me yesterday that two former city councilmen spent a considerable block of time there Monday meeting with the city manager.

Of course it’s none of our business what goes on at city hall, but speculation was running rampant, I’m told.

I’m sure that they weren’t just sitting around pulling the wings off flies, which I understand is among their favorite leisure time activities.

Obviously, it was one of two things: Help the city manager find a way to save their favorite pork barrel programs in preparation for today’s budget cutting session with the people’s duly elected representatives; or (and I find this the more plausible explanation) going through city code with a fine-toothed comb looking for some means of nullifying last week’s election results and hold onto power.

I’m sure what’s going on is not easy for these folks. They’ve basically enjoyed unquestioned (apart from Linda Johnson, Curtis Milteer, Leroy Schmidt, Dennis Godwin, Robert Pocklington, Roger Leonard and Deme Panagopolous) rule of this city for the past eight years or more and unless they can convince Charles Parr and Jeff Gardy to become their best friends in the next 50 days or so, they face losing their 24-7 access to city hall and will be no better than the rest of us poor slobs. Don’t expect them to go without a fight.

They probably feel like the Sunnis did in Iraq after U.S. forces toppled Saddam.

With that in mind, while it may not happen and I pray it doesn’t, if I were a member of the new city council, I’d be making preparations now to consolidate power to fend off a possible armed insurgency from these folks.

The first thing they need to do is secure the city. Make friends with Police Chief William Freeman now and get him on your side. On day one, I’d give every member of the Suffolk Police Department a big fat raise and bonus and tell them there’s more where that came from if they remain loyal to the elected government.

Close off the city’s borders so foreign fighters can’t cross over from Portsmouth or Chesapeake.

Expect the insurgents to try to disrupt water and electrical supplies. Secure those sites and have large generators on order in case they are successful in sabotaging the infrastructure.

Do not immediately Deherbertize the city government. While I would certainly ban high-ranking members of the previous regime from holding top level city posts, most city employees are good people and they are the ones who can keep the trains running on time. I think they can be won over if you deal fairly with them. You need them.

Remember, the people are behind you now, but they can be a fickle lot. You have to win their hearts and minds.