EDITOR’S DESK: A good time was – beep, beep
In journalism school, the teachers would invariably have a hearty guffaw if someone wrote the line: “A good time was had by all.” I was probably lucky to make it through, because stories that can be summed up that way have always been my favorite.
In fact, that was exactly what I expected when I called up Jim Wear after Territory Days this week. As the fourth-year organizer of the annual street festival, he must be thrilled (I was certain) at the uncommonly perfect weather, the large but not overwhelming crowds, everything staying on schedule and a solid response to his enhanced tribute this year to Memorial Day.
However, as can be seen by our top headline on Page 1, the story did not quite turn out that way. There was this little matter of City Attorney Chris Melcher issuing a ruling during the event that radically changed how it operates. Oh, that's right, it wasn't a ruling. It was just "advice," to quote Melcher. As if a police sergeant who receives "advice" from the city attorney would feel he could just ignore it.
So we've got two things going on here. One is the unfortunate precedent that's been set for Territory Days going forward, allowing political groups to proliferate. (And they will, as Wear predicted, because what's more desirable to activists than a ready-made mass of people?)
The other thing is the appearance of a city cover-up. I asked for an interview, but all I got was a carefully crafted Melcher quote - provided second-hand by the city's ever-smiling Communications Office - that begs the question as to why the issue percolated to such high levels so quickly. We're left to wonder what (or who) really got Melcher up on a Saturday morning to deliver a key legal opinion - favoring those who want to recall State Senator John Morse - and to do so without talking to Wear, the event organizer, and going over the head of the city's new special events coordinator (a position created to improve economic vitality. Ha.) Maybe I'll get my answers about the same time we find out who screwed up Benghazi and made the checklist for the IRS.
Right. And we're all having a good time now, aren't we?