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January 11, 2013

Heard Around Town: A city council straight from Bizarro World

(Continued)

Anyway, on Monday night, when the council got around to electing a new president, it was all smiles and handshakes as everyone voted for Ward 4 Councilor Jerry Ryan. That was a fine choice. Of course, that wasn’t the original plan, but more a compromise to avoid another migraine-inducing stalemate or, worse, a stampede on City Hall by citizens carrying pitchforks and torches.

But there was something equally bizarre about Monday night. When councilors cast their votes, many dramatically announced that they were voting for Jerry Lincoln Ryan. The word “Lincoln” was said with great emphasis and importance.

Ryan’s middle name, it turns out, is “Lincoln” in honor of Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president. But that wasn’t his parents’ original plan.

“I was born Jerry Ryan,” he said. “At some point, I don’t know how old I was, my mother let me choose my middle name.” He guesses it had something to do with getting a Social Security card or some other legal document.

He chose Lincoln because he was born on Feb. 12, Lincoln’s birthday, and always loved Honest Abe.

Which brings up an idea. Maybe if all the councilors had middle names of former presidents, it would produce a more serious and friendlier City Council that, instead of confrontation, would seek conciliation and compromise.

Why can’t we give it a try?

Wouldn’t it be great to turn on SATV and watch Mike “Eisenhower” Sosnowski yukking it up with Thomas “Fillmore” Furey? Why couldn’t Paul “Polk” Prevey shake hands with Kevin “Coolidge” Carr?

And don’t we deserve a city councilor named Arthur “Arthur” Sargent?

If Jerry Ryan can do it, why can’t the rest of them?

A modest proposal

The next order city councilors file should be a request to raise the pay of City Clerk Cheryl LaPointe and Assistant City Clerk Ilene Simons. They deserve combat pay for sitting through, not to mention recording, the entire 71/2 hours of madness.

Tom Dalton can be reached at tdalton@salemnews.com.

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