A lot of people are asking about my thoughts on the Gerry Braun thing and pointing out the coincidence that in one of his last columns for the U-T, he predicted that Mike Aguirre would lose his re-election campaign for city attorney. This, just days before he takes a job with the Mayor’s Office.

The mayor and city attorney have been trying to destroy each other politically for some time now — though the war has gone a little quiet over the last couple of months.

I think it was pretty clear from Braun’s column last week that he was still fond of Aguirre’s efforts but that he was speaking about the city as it is, not the city as he thinks it should be and that, in the world as it is, Aguirre is having trouble politically. So I don’t think Braun’s column tone had anything to do with his new job with the Mayor’s Office. That said, he had to have been considering the job (I would never believe he just heard about the job and decided to take it in one day). So he probably should have avoided commenting on the mayor’s hated enemy.

But let’s step back and think about what just happened: Gerry said repeatedly that the mayor had thousands of people every day tell him how much they liked him and that the columnist saw it as his job not to. And there were few people who could articulate a negative take on the mayor as well as Gerry did. And even fewer actually do in this town.

So look at what the mayor just accomplished. He has successfully eliminated an occasional, but powerful, critical voice in the community and, at the same time, he will proportionally benefit from that person’s skills.

It was a brilliant move — for the mayor.

But now the thousands of people who will day in and day out tell the mayor how much they love him have a new member. He may be independent minded and he supposedly won’t be a yes man.

But at $140,000 a year, Braun’s done being a critical voice.

Update: The first sentence was kind of confusing in the original version of this post. I’ve corrected it. Thanks to the reader who pointed it out.

SCOTT LEWIS

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