For a group of people that ostensibly hold, what should be, a solid majority on the City Council they wallow in their perceived underdog status by throwing terminology around like “Inner Ring” or “Those That Know Best.” Dude, you have the ear of the Mayor and, with her as always is, Tony Daysog, you’re technically the Inner Ring in this power structure now despite protestations to the contrary. If you can’t make legislation work to your advantage with that sort of pull then you’re doing it wrong.
The best part of the continued underdog narrative is the sudden about face on Vice Mayor Frank Matarrese. Now his lack of allegiance to Trish Spencer is seen as some sort of character deficit. As someone has wisely pointed out previously Frank Matarrese is easily characterized as the Justice Kennedy of the City Council. He is the swing vote, knows it, and relishes that position. Frank Matarrese is pragmatic, he’s rarely going to be on the losing end of any vote and I think that’s sort of his goal. Frank Matarrese doesn’t toe the Mayor Trish line because there is a decided lack of consistency in Trish Spencer’s policy. Fortunately Frank Matarrese never decided to hitch his wagon to Trish Spencer, unlike Tony Daysog who is hanging on to her coattails for dear life.
It’s interesting that some self-denying Inner Ringers who — at one point supported Frank Matarrese to the tune of $500 to his election campaign — have also decided that Trish Spencer is a better bet when it comes to head to head between Frank Matarrese vs Trish Spencer. Perhaps because Trish Spencer is a much more malleable official if you have her ear and are part of her kaffeeklatsch. (I wonder where those discussions have moved now that Peets is probably a bad location…) Frank Matarrese, given his previous experience and how badly he has been burned in the past, is not.
Much more telling is that it appears the Trish Spencer boosters will do everything in their power to keep Tony Daysog in office next year. Which, I am assuming, is kind of what Tony Daysog was hoping for. Tony Daysog is Trish Spencer’s one steadfast solider on the City Council. But, here’s the thing, the assumption is that Frank Matarrese will simply slide in with the majority if the majority is contrary to Trish Spencer. But, as I mentioned above, Frank Matarrese is pragmatic. Being part of a majority is not the way to separate yourself from being one of five. If Frank Matarrese has mayoral aspirations then he will continue to need to keep his name out there and not fall into the shadows of the City Council monolith.
The public tsking of Frank Matarrese is probably the first of many we will see if Frank Matarrese maintains his Justice Kennedy routine because even though Trish Spencer still pleases her Inner Ringers it’s going to be a rough ride for her to do that and face down what is coming in 2016 when staff presents any — even slightly — meaningful rent stabilization ordinance in 2016. If she continues to position her votes to please her circle of friends, the chances of Frank Matarrese’s votes aligning with Trish Spencer will become fewer.