Monday, December 10, 2007

Golly, Larry

Ottawa's the only place I know of where the mayor -- who may not, in fact, be from this planet -- can get busted for bribing someone with something he didn't have, having that alleged bribe turned down, then seeing the would-be bribee do what he wanted anyway, this time at the behest of an opponent.
Make sense? Never has to me.
Larry O'Brien was one of those politicians who showed signs of being the type who could provide reams of great copy. And here we are. I expect to write about him for the Ottawa magazine I write for, which is, conveniently, called Ottawa Magazine.
Now, at risk of a contempt of court citation, let me make a prediction: Larry's going to walk. There is, as far as we know, just one witness. Unless Larry got hit in the head with a brick, there's nothing on paper. Terry Kilrea took a lie detector test. It's inadmissible.
Before the trial, Larry's going to be under a cloud. Not that things were so hot for him, anyway. His chief of staff and his press secretary bailed in the first few months of the O'Brien administration. Larry's picked fights with the city manager, which is downright dumb. He's in a minority on city council. He's toxic to anyone in senior levels of government. The unions hate him, and, in fact, it was the president of the Ottawa Labour Council who filed the original complaint.
So Ottawa has sunk to the level of municipal laughing stock, perhaps eventually tumbling to the comic-book level reached by Thunder Bay in the 1980s, when the mayor grabbed the city clerk by the seat of his pants and the scruff of the neck and tossed him out of the council chamber.
Ottawa voters voted the Good Copy Ticket in the last election. My banker thanks each and every one of them.

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