Tough talk vs. tough decisions

Last week’s debate between the mayoral contenders Judith Flanagan Kennedy and Edward “Chip” Clancy was a modern classic Lynn confrontation between the reigning king of the city and the woman who wants to topple the king so she can be queen.

The debate was classic because it pitted the mayor, who has made tough decisions that no one around here has the stomach or the spine to make, versus Councillor Flanagan-Kennedy, who called into question all the tough decisions.

It came down to who is right and who is wrong, with both candidates standing their ground as the election looms only three weeks away.

“You didn’t listen to anyone before you made your decisions,” Flanagan Kennedy said time and again.

It was as if she was saying, “Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.”

The mayor is guilty of making tough decisions

She said the mayor made the wrong decision building a new Manning Field, closing two money losing nursing homes, challenging police and fire fighter contracts that would have broken the city budget, closing down the city’s bars an hour earlier, and insisting upon a residency requirement.

She even mocked the mayor for buying the city a new ladder truck while castigating him for shutting down a fire station.

She said that fire station should be re-opened.

With the state reporting an expected $900 million shortage in tax collections for the coming year, I’d say the odds of Flanagan-Kennedy opening a fire station are -1 million to 1.

Whomever is the mayor will be dealing with a situation not witnessed in modern times as the state is destined to cut aid to the cities and towns dramatically.

As for building the new Manning Field, which frankly, is the pride of this city’s strong connection to athletics for its public school children, was not the old Manning Bowl falling down and a danger to those attending events as well as a humiliation to those competing?

Weren’t the facilities so offensive to outside teams that they refused to come here to compete at one point?

Would doing it half right have been the money saver that she would have others believe?

I don’t think so. And Flanagan Kennedy can’t think that, either.

She is much smarter than how she sounds when she’s trying to take apart the good work of the mayor.

But she has no solutions – only criticisms about the mayor.

If the mayor listened to those who didn’t want the old nursing homes closed, this would have cost additional millions to fund nursing homes that were bleeding money like someone with a sliced carotid artery.

Maintaining pride in this city is not easy – a situation made better by a closely monitored, mandatory residency program requiring those who work here to live here.

What’s wrong with that?

What’s wrong with Lynn jobs for Lynn people?

This city’s reputation is poor. The image Lynn conveys to others is poor. Those of us who live here know this. We understand it. We know it is a bad rap because life here is good. The city is nice.

Rolling back the hours of operation for the city’s bars has improved the image of the city. It has made the streets a safer place. Such a roll-back benefits everyone, even bar owners.

I was a bar owner, once. Closing up your place at 2 a.m. and getting home after 3 a.m., well, if you own a bar and you’re a family man, at least your life isn’t mortgaged to the early morning everyday.

Police and firefighter contracts are all subject to negotiation.

With Flanagan-Kennedy I wonder what those negotiations will be like.

With Clancy I know he’ll stand up for the home owners – of which I am one – and for property owners and for businesspeople so the city doesn’t go down the economic shute.

Running this city is about making tough decisions that impact all kinds of people.

Some kind of equilibrium has to be established or the city becomes a rudderless ship.

I find that Flanagan-Kennedy has some appeal as a canddiate.

But when push comes to shove, it’s the bald, 58-year-old Clancy who I’ll be casting my vote for.

He sows leadership where others can’t compare.

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