Sometimes, Writing Should Hurtby SniperFriends! Less-than-friends! Enemies! . . . Low bow before the bell rings for our third round:
The Editor Search Committee's choice of the Inky's Lea Sitton Stanley as new Local
editor was skewed recently by Maxinista fears that the blog's sorry, probably Marxist executive editor, had somehow snatched candidate Pete Mazzaccaro's soul. It was widely-known to the tiny circle of Hillheads who concern themselves with what the great Marjorie Hirshorn has called "Yokal Culture," that Mazz once worked for John Lombardi as a Local
reporter in the fumey, gassy years of 2000-1.
Alas, too true. But since then, Pete's been Business Manager of the paper and articles editor of Philly Style
magazine. He's acquired a wife, baby, house and a house-guest. Even a few gray hairs. Doesn't have time to hang downtown at Dirty Frank's or Warsaw, swilling beer, arguing The Motorcycle Diaries
or Das Kapital
, and scheming trouble for CHCA stars like Tom "Good Loaf" Ivory, Stewart "The Fixer" Graham or Walter "Foghorn" Sullivan. Hasn't even seen Lombo much!
Yet shortly after Mazz announced his candidacy for Local
Editor, and after initial enthusiasm by liberal Search Committee members Virginia Mallery and Mary Jane Shelly, and immense relief by members of the battered Local
staff, who saw Mazzaccaro as a healing voice, a fusion candidate who could unite segments of the Maxinista right -- Leigh Filippini, Tia Burke, Nancy Berger (pre-exit), Kari Ghezarian -- who were perhaps a teensy bit tired of Max's dissembling, dysfunctional style, with milder elements in the Hole in the Walsh Gang -- Jim Foster, Marie Lachat -- a cry went up from Doug Doman, Joe Pie, Anne McNally and Maxine herself . . . All of whom felt mauled by Sniper 1 & 2( !) Witness blog comments on the column: "Hazy, crazy, lazy, disapated [sic]"; "Courts libel by letter"; "Psuedo intellectual moron"; "Cowardly Marxist viper"; "Old, unkempt, used-up, tawdry"; "Couldn't have carried Otis Chandler's coat" etc. (Thoughtful stuff, though it should be pointed out that Chandler lived in L.A., and mostly didn't wear a coat . . .)
Anyway, according to an excellent source, Mary Jane Shelly of Long Beach Island, lives next door to the old saloonkeeper McNallys, parents of the frightening Anne, wife of Joe Pie, and when they read Sniper calling their son-in-law "the Creature From the Black Saloon" etc., and suggesting he was "apparently bad for business", and had to be furloughed from the bar to the Local
as point man to keep all relevance out of its pages (a less dangerous job than diminishing beer sales, which he did just by looming around McNally's), they really got mad. Complained bitterly to Shelly. And she got on the horn to Mallery, a gentlewoman with a sense of decorum largely gone from the earth. And so word began to spread via Phone Mafia lines that Mazz -- who six years ago was purportedly tainted by Lombardi -- must still be infected. This is as logical as blaming Saddam Hussein for the Osama bin Laden World Trade Center plane crashes in New York, on the grounds that both men are Muslims and once passed each other on the street in Baghdad. Particularly since Pete had nothing to do with the blog.
The truth is, Lou "Ratso" Aiello, a Search Committee member who always wants to be on the side that's winning, at first pointed his snout into the wind and smelt the name "Mazzaccaro" -- a sure thing! Everybody loved Pete but carney-barker Doug Doman, Stewart the Fixer, and of course, Maxinista, who doesn't make a move without Graham's approval (because Stewie is the conduit from some silent powerbrokers among the Trustees, who've really been calling the shots since Maurice McCarthy's day.)
Ratso at first got out front on the Mazz candidacy, then, whiskers twitching, heedful of Max's and Doman's doleful howls of alarm (Doman fears an investigation of his Institutes racket, and Max is chary of hard looks at her strange past), skittered to the front of the line on Ms. Stanley's investiture as Local
editor. Meanwhile, Tom Ivory, a baker drafted as chief of the Editor Search Committee by Maxine on the strength of his reactionary positions on press freedom -- and whom the blog's EE was silly enough to apologize to last week for physically not being present at Lawrence Walsh's psychological ambush in January -- appointed Foghorn Sullivan to head a smear campaign against Pete. Somebody -- Doman? Maxine? Fixer Graham? -- sent Walter copies of two Mazzaccaro e-mails in which he'd dared criticize the Executive Committee's handling of Marie Lachat's ouster a year ago, and complain about how tough it sometimes was to get hardhitting stories into the Local
during Katie Worrall's regime . . . opinions a man might conceivably hold without fear of being condemned as an anti-Chestnut Hiller . . .
Anyway, Foghorn made a big fuss over Mazz after his interview, telling him how impressive his presentation was, then went to work to bury him. Ratso moved Stanley's name to the Board for a vote on March 3 at 1:37 p.m., cutting off all further discussion of rival candidates. The vote was reportedly tied on the Selection Committee at 3 -- 3 for a bit, but then M.J. Shelly, for reasons only she can know, allegedly slipped over to the Maxinistas' POV, and Ivory, according to a source, reported to the Board that the vote for Stanley was "unanimous" (!?) A more fair procedure would have been to send both the leading candidates' names and CV's over, to allow the wisdom of the assembled CHCA elders to judge for themselves. But smarminess has been the Maxinista (and Aiello) way for years now . . . not even Lou's old patron Lloyd Wells trusts him any more . . .
To cap things off, Stanley, on the strength of her Inky background, reportedly got $55,000 salary and a six month contract -- more than any editor in the history of the Local
. No fool, she allegedly wanted a three
month contract, so that potential bruising couldn't be too intense, but Maxine, a great closer, talked her up . . . Meanwhile Carole Boynton, the Interim Editor, recovering from a heart attack in the hospital, hasn't yet been told that she's out.