Aside from personality judgments, insiders embraced the theory that Diann Shipione had a political ax to grind over the failure of the Brown Field airport proposal that her husband Pat Shea was a part of.

This allowed city staff and politicians the psychological and political cover to ignore the facts she was raising.

Shipione’s response in her Kroll interview to these allegations that her accusations were politically motivated: “the search for reality and truth was her driving motivation and that the more she learned, the more it seems that nothing made sense…she explained that the position of trustee was very important to her because she cared about the interests of the elderly.”

My response is that it didn’t matter even if she was politically motivated! Facts are facts and deserve to be dealt with regardless of the messenger.

One of the most poignant observations was attributed to Pat Shea who attended Shipione’s interview, “people are cynical and cannot understand that someone like Ms. Shipione could be working so hard solely in the interest of the public.”

And some people can’t understand my volunteering on the Planning Commission either.

But it is exactly this kind of interest in the public good that is required to moderate those who use the political system mainly for their financial benefit. Whether it is increased benefits or reduced project costs, the vast majority of people presenting themselves at City Hall are not there just for the public good. So a critical key to moving beyond personality politics is identifying the interests of those who appear before you. But beyond that, you have to consider the facts. Even those there for their own financial interests may be making points consistent with the public good. Again, even if Shipione had some ax to grind, the facts she was presenting deserved to be honestly dealt with and not swept under the rug.

You get all kinds during public testimony, so it’s not that personalities aren’t relevant, but how do decision makers reach beyond emotions and separate out the facts that are being presented?

Do they pursue the overall public good and not just what’s good for one interest or another?


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