The Hill and the Hall Week in Review
Each Friday, Paul McMorrow will take you inside the smoke-filled rooms and darkly-lit corridors of government to bring you the hottest and juiciest political tidbits. This week: Jim Marzilli’s epic breakdown; Michael Flaherty pounds his chest; and birthday wishes for Tim Murray.
Congratulations, State Senator Jim Marzilli: You are officially the best thing to happen to the Beacon Hill press corps since Marie St. Fleur. Topping the St. Fleur implosion is a chore and a half, for sure – but it’s nothing a crazed, weepy, marathon grope-and-run spree that ends your political career can’t top.
Exclaiming, “Oh baby. You’re so beautiful. Your body is so perfect,” then running the wrong way up a one-way street, disrupting traffic, terrorizing a hot dog stand, weaving in and out of cars parked in a Lowell garage, being threatened with pepper spray by law enforcement officers, then sobbing to those very same officers that, “his life was over, that they were destroying him,” and adding, “I can’t believe this is happening. She was flirting with me, I was flirting with her” … that’s the stuff of legends right there.
As is propositioning a woman only to be told, “Take 20 dollars and go get a hooker.”
As is the fact that when he was collared, Marzilli identified himself to the fuzz as Dorchester State Rep. Marty Walsh. (We like to keep our lawyers happy, so go ahead and add an “allegedly” to pretty much every sentence in this post. Cheers.)
And on the litigious front, here’s a question for the embattled, now-hospitalized pol’s lawyer, Terrence Kennedy: Does this mean that your complete and total denials, and insistence on innocence, no longer stand?
Thanks to Marzilli, there was no other news on Beacon Hill this week. Everybody’s been trading sordid details and wondering aloud how Marzilli could’ve gone from beleaguered House backbencher to triumphant senator to soon-to-be-unemployed perv so quickly. Thus, we don’t have to worry about the reemergence of legalized gambling, or the budget, or the coming implosion of the state’s health care regime. Or even, oddly enough, sex offenders.
Almost forgot. There was also this statement to the cops: “I really screwed up.” And – oh hell, why not? – “You don’t understand … I’m a state senator.”
When asked why Marzilli would pretend to be him, Walsh (who’s clearly not as sweaty or bearded as the alleged perp from Arlington) answered: “I don’t know why he used my name. I feel bad for his wife, his family, I feel bad for the victims … I don’t respect any man who intimidates a woman, gropes her. Obviously, he’s an individual with some problems. I hope he gets it.”
State House News, which got Walsh’s statement, also reported that, when Walsh entered the House chamber today, he was “greeted teasingly,” “slapped on the back and surrounded by colleagues.”
All of this fun with scandal is assuming, of course, that it’s not a brain tumor or a bad case of Ambein gone wrong that’s afflicting the senator – which is to say, it’s assuming that the super-sordid GOP doesn’t have the market cornered on sexual deviancy. Time will tell.
May we have a word, Secretary of State Bill Galvin? Great. Thanks. So, not sure if you’re in the mood for taking advice from us at this moment, but here’s some anyway: This might be a good way to keep your name in the paper. This (first item) and this, however, are not. Not this week, anyway.
Maybe the timing’s coincidental, maybe not, but a week after being smacked with an unflattering Dorchester Reporter story about his chilly-looking feet, city councilor Michael Flaherty returned to attracting attention to himself by making guttural, though mayoral-sounding noises.
He jumped at the chance to fire a wicked shot at Mayor Tom Menino in the aftermath of the Herald’s DPW-BBQ exposé, saying, “Changing work practices requires a change among the leadership who have let BBQs and cable-watching go on while Boston residents are pinching pennies to afford the salaries of these workers.” Right in the ribs. Well done.
As was this: Flaherty was one of just four councilors to vote against a mildly controversial $4 million tax break that Menino recently engineered for JP Morgan’s new Southie offices. In doing so, he blasted the absence of a “fair and equitable process” for doling out the coveted property tax breaks, adding that the city shouldn’t be handing out free money when it might run out of cash and have to close schools next year.
The three councilors who joined Flaherty in opposing the tax breaks were Chuck Turner, Charles Yancey and Sam Yoon. (Wait a second – assailing fat cat corporations and developers? Vague talk of fairness and equity? Casting hopeless losing votes? We might have just found Felix Arroyo’s Team Unity replacement.)
Flaherty also voted against Hizzoner’s parking fine increase. Only Yancey took that stand with him. Still, the futile votes might help Flaherty stake out some angry, populist ground, should he find himself in a race that requires such verbal ammunition. That, combined with the triumphant return of his belligerent-sounding press releases, means we might have a dog-on-bear attack to enjoy after all.
Quick fundraising update: Flaherty raised $35,450 last month. He spent $30,220 of it – more than half on consulting fees and a mail blast.
Little Miss Dorchester, Olivia Baldassari, addressed the Boston City Council on Wednesday. We’ll skip the pleasantries, and skip right to the meat of her remarks: “I hope the weather turns around, and soon the Scooper Bowl will be open.” Best speech we’ve heard delivered in the Council Chambers all year.
The Hill and the Hall sends along happy birthday wishes to boy-mayor-turned-LG Tim Murray. Hope your road test goes swell!