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Andrew B. Smith: Seeks removal of City Council president

  • jacoblund


Tuesday, May 08, 2018
Seeks removal of City Council president

I am calling upon the Northampton City Council to remove its president from his leadership role, as early as possible.

In the past four months, we have seen the City Council president campaign for 1) the City Council president’s seat, 2) the late Rep. Peter Kocot’s seat and 3) former Sen. Stan Rosenberg’s seat (“O’Donnell, Connor bid for Senate seat,” May 8).

In each case, sudden vacancies have presented opportunities for the ambitious and revealed the following about the council president: The minute details of captaining the legislative ship of a small New England city are not his priority. What these priorities are, I cannot pretend to understand aside from the one common thread running through each decision he has made, which is this: In every instance, he has thought about his own political fortunes, first and foremost, and placed the needs of his constituents below his attempts to amass personal power.

When I ran unsuccessfully, against Councilor Ryan O’Donnell in the 2016 at-large race, there was massive institutional investment among the city’s political leadership to see Councilor O’Donnell succeed. This was folly, then, and it is folly now.

We are at a crossroad as a community. We have a massive entertainment magnet opening in Springfield, online retailers hammering brick-and-mortar shops and a calcified political class that fails to grasp the notion that Northampton is not entitled to people’s love and affection.

We have to work to make this transitional period a success for our residents, yet, I see few steps in the right direction. Worse, the city’s legislative body is now captured by a perennial candidate for higher office.

As a voter and as a citizen, I think it is difficult to determine whether or not Councilor O’Donnell’s political ambitions are driving the city’s legislative agenda. For this reason, I am asking that the Northampton City Council make a mature, grown-up decision and remove Councilor O’Donnell from his leadership role.

I am asking because I want to feel certain that the City Council is focusing on our priorities as citizens, not the ambitions of one man.

Andrew B. Smith

Northampton