There is so much to say about Wednesday evening’s typically orchestrated top-down, talk-down-to-the-public gathering at Fairmont that we’ll be returning later with more thoughts on what might have been the Jeff Gahan’s worst ever misstep.
Gahan and crew very hastily organized the gathering as a response to rumors of grassroots activism. This was for the sole purpose of asserting Gahan’s power to maintain complete personal control of whatever happens (or does not) at the old Colonial Manor acreage on Charlestown Road — which the city doesn’t even own.
By now it should be clear that Gahan has an unvarying, rote default setting as it pertains to governance: HIS way, or nothing. It’s a default setting manifested by excessive secrecy, open intimidation and absolute control on behalf of a small ruling elite buttressed by special interest cash from afar.
There is nothing else.
Gahanism is authoritarianism — penny-ante, small pond and prom-planning-committee caliber, but authoritarianism all the same.
Kathy Copas and fellow neighborhood activists produced the video seen here. After informing the city of their ongoing work, their group was told not to bother; when the cool kids were finished cashing Gahan campaign finance checks from Clark Dietz, HWC Engineering, United Consulting and Jacobi Toombs and Lanz, redevelopment would offer awesome plans of its own, ones thrown together in a matter of days by architects from The Estopinol Group — because reliable outside donors always know best about such matters.
Thus the meeting, and the city’s hurried mash-up of “holy comprehensive plan” bromides and boilerplate drawings cribbed from the internet over Bud Light Mang-O-Ritas at the Roadhouse.
Copas and crew imagined their voices would be fairly heard at a “public” meeting, only to learn what the rest of us have known about Jeff Gahan for many years: it’s HIS town, HIS power elite, and HIS way — now youngsters, shut your mouths, have a seat, and be ready to endorse what the vapid governing clique already has determined without your participation.
Last evening Gahan didn’t respect area residents. He doesn’t respect you, either, unless you’re holding a envelope stuffed with out-of-town cash. Why, then, should anyone NOT benefiting from Gahan’s fixes respect HIM, much less re-elect him?
Here’s another video clip, one of the Green Mouse’s all-time personal favorites. In it the Romanian communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu addresses a handpicked crowd in Bucharest in December, 1989. The speech was supposed to be like all the ones before, with the crowd venerating Ceausescu and screaming cheers of joy for his unvarnished genius.
Instead, it took only seconds for people to begin booing. Like a deer in the headlights, the strongman froze. Perhaps at this precise moment he understood the game was up. In fact, the end of the regime was only days away.
Or maybe Ceausescu was saying to himself: “Wait. This isn’t why I’m here — no not at all.”
Turns out he was right.