Bob and Andy have lunch with the distaff mayor

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

Andy Damiani taped his latest Roundtable Talk show on the deck of the Harborside Marina and Restaurant just off Ferry Road up in North Suffolk. Our host was Nat Compton, owner of the place, and our guest was Linda Johnson, who had some difficulty when I called her Honorable Mayor.

&uot;Taint so,&uot; she said, &uot;mayor is sufficient.&uot;

But I kind of like &uot;Mayor Linda;&uot; it has a musical ring to it. When the TV director said, &uot;Quiet on the set,&uot; she became quite serious.


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This show was taped two days before the potentially explosive Wednesday night meeting and she gave no hint as to whether there would be any fireworks … and we did not ask any questions … not that she would have answered. But before this column is submitted, you and I will know if there were any sparks.

Andy was very direct with most of his questions and the mayor was quick to answer, no hesitation; she expected them. As I listened, I became euphoric … she insisted her administration will be open, transparent, and that the &uot;citizen&uot; council will listen and actually hear what people say. She will strive to eliminate all perceptions of favoritism or underhandedness. That is not an easy task, because this is a very large city and a zillion transactions are taking place at any one time.

It was the lady mayor who decided the celebration at Riddicks Folly following the election was to be austere. It is now pay as we go folks, no freebies, nonessential spending will be curtailed throughout the city and all submitted budgets will be scrutinized, perhaps even the one recently accepted. I’m not sure it means anything at this point, but this mayor is not from downtown. She and three others can steer the big boat anywhere they want it to go. If there are to be any administrative changes, it will be to remove icebergs from the new path of the new ship. You can rest assured things will not be the same at city hall. When this column continues, I will note any changes.

Very little impact

Gee, apparently the bleeding heart-love those tax increases liberal newspaper called the Pilot had no effect upon the made up minds of Suffolk Council members. It will probably editorialize how we are now on a course for disaster. None of us here in Suffolk think the cities east of us are exactly jewels, and it is obvious those who guide the philosophy of the Pilot have failed to make their bailiwick a paradise … so back off. And many citizens of Suffolk will have to endure emotional pain now that their &uot;benefactor&uot; is packing.

It was reasonable that Steve Herbert was not in attendance when the guillotine blade fell, never mind what the spokesperson said about a planned vacation, Mr. Herbert did not need tea leaves in a cup to predict his future in Suffolk. His tip off came when former mayor Bobby Ralph saw the election result. Ralph had been the manager’s unfailing supporter, no matter how much it cost the taxpayers. Now both are gone from positions of power.

We do have to wonder how many votes it took in the closed session to be unanimous. There must have been reluctance on the part of some in attendance. Some must not have been too sure it was a good move, there were the positives to consider. And the Pilot and many prominent citizens spoke favorably of Mr. Herbert, lauding his accomplishments. The first vote had to be at least four to three, and perhaps it took some pressure to bring all seven into line. I hope we will never know. It would be a favor to Mr. Herbert if one or two could say to him they only went along to show unanimity. At any rate, we send congratulations to Jim Vacalis for taking the reins; he sure has earned the position.