The more city council changes, the more it stays depressingly the same.
It is February of 2017, and erstwhile "democrat" Dan Coffey's carefully calculated year in the indie wilderness is paying big dividends. To bring Coffey back inside Jeff Gahan's rapidly shrinking tent, Coffey's heartfelt wish to depose loyal council attorney Matt Lorch has been hastily honored amid the usual spin-doctoring, and now the Wizard of Westside is yet again positioning himself as Gahan's loyal council whip.
It's important to note that there's nothing new about any of this. From the time of Gahan's two council terms to the present day, these two have invariably been there for each other. Remember Coffey's 2011 scandal, when he was accused of bilking an elderly woman by forging a deed?
Nothing ever happened, did it?
What about Coffey's legendary homophobia outbreak in 2015? Neither was there censure from the Gahan-controlled council, nor were there harsh words from Hizzoner, who'd like for you to believe he is the human rights mayor -- as Coffey says aloud what Gahan really thinks.
They're symbiotic ... or maybe a better word is toxic.
Remember when Coffey began his 2009 term as council president by displaying nonchalant intemperance toward citizens wishing to address council, followed shortly thereafter by bullying threats against them in the tavern?
Naturally Gahan said and did nothing; after all, these same citizens had riled the chihuahua by pursuing a redistricting lawsuit based on the most trivial source conceivable in Gahan's mind (the Constitution).
It was left to a genuine Democrat, John Gonder, to call out Coffey -- and for this, as well as numerous other instances of refusing to bow to Gahan's self-centered will, Gonder found his 2015 re-election campaign kneecapped by the mayor.
This is the first of nine installments, as we return to January and February of 2009 and recall just how offensive and objectionable both Gahan and Coffey truly can be when their collective political libido is allowed to run amok.
6 January 2009
The city council performed its duties last night in 50 minutes flat, including electing Dan Coffey as president and Diane Benedetti as vice president, returning Jeff Gahan to an ordinary seat so he can plan further assaults against the Constitution, discussing committee assignments and related appointments, and indulging Steve Price in one of those "the rest of the world is now as fiscally miserable as me" rants that should be on YouTube if we weren't too lazy to film them.
Hey -- NAC gets paid whether or not the council performs. In short, Monday was by the numbers, perhaps mercifully so, with the usual opening day pleasantries and promises to be on the same page.
A subdued Coffey ventured, "This is the best council I’ve sat on," and now, I suppose we'll all see. After the lessons of 2008, what passes for a progressive bloc within the current aggregation is having precious little to do with what undoubtedly is a progressive bloc in the city, which might serve as its natural ally. Consequently, it will be interesting to see how that circle is squared, although one thing is clear: Sit between them and the restroom when both groups are in Studio's, and watch how few of them visit the head.
But heck ... I'm just a cockeyed optimist.
NEXT: Gahan and Coffey Together Forever, Part 2: Ulrich out, Robison in as city council attorney (15 January 2009).