‘The start of a useful discussion,’ a bit too late for the council
After discussing the report of the city’s $241,360 Gates committee Monday with a mostly angry and disappointed City Council — months after its release and long since the July 16, 2009, arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. — Police Commissioner Robert Haas’ quote to The Boston Globe seemed inadvertently on the nose:
I thought this public meeting was the start of a useful discussion,’’ said Haas, the police commissioner.
Haas followed that by telling Globe reporter John M. Guilfoyle, in response to councillors’ complaints that Haas, the city manager and Cambridge Review Committee didn’t involve them or the public in examining the arrest, “Some decisions had to be made very quickly during a very fluid situation, and a recommendation from tonight’s meeting that we take to heart is that we need to work more closely with government officials to define our crisis communication plan, so that we never have a repeat of this incident in the future.”
Ignoring that “the very fluid situation” demanding fast decisions took place over more than nine months while the committee did its work, Haas’ comment can be interpreted a couple of ways. But comes off a bit like President Ronald Reagan’s all-too-frequently used, double-edged line: “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”