Sliwa: "Oh, so it's the turf of the community leaders, and I have to go out and lick asses before I can help people. You're speaking with a forked tongue, like all politicians."
Yancey: "You don't know what you're talking about. I didn't interrupt you when you spoke before. And that's the point. We're talking about a basic issue of respect."
Sliwa: "Don't come on like Mr. Nicey-Nice and call me ridiculous for caring about the people of Boston. Why don't you go out and do something about crime?"
By her own account, Sliwa did not know about the Angels' problems in Boston until the Saturday after the first nights of violence, when she saw the ABC report. Sliwa did not hear about those problems from Boston Angels director Larry Turnbow or New England director Julie Rodick. Turnbow said later he had thought the problem was "an isolated incident that would blow over."
It certainly hadn't blown over by the time Sliwa arrived in Boston on Tuesday.
That night, Mayor Raymond Flynn got in on the act, though he seemed to eschew a starring role. Before Sliwa's arrival, he'd spoken carefully, mainly through his aides. He had said he hoped the city could avoid any bad publicity from the conflict between the Angels and Mattapan. On Tuesday night, Flynn met with Angels and community leaders, including (among others) the Reverend Bruce Wall of 12th Baptist Church in Roxbury, the Reverend John M. Border of Morning Star Baptist Church in Mattapan, Councilor Yancey, City Councilor Bruce Bolling of Dorchester, and Watson.
The meeting was supposed to last 30 minutes; it took two and a half hours. Flynn aides kept coming out to say that the meeting was conciliatory. Apparently it wasn't. Flynn reportedly tried to mediate. Community leaders asked that the Angels steer clear of their neighborhood. The Angels refused. The Angels suggested a compromise, that they be allowed to patrol that night along with community members. The community members nixed that because of the "implication that we as a community supported their present action," according to Watson. The Angels said they intended to patrol as planned. The mayor said that if they did, the Boston police would be there every step of the way. This angered not only the Angels, but also the community leaders, who for years have been arguing for increased police patrols in their neighborhoods. Now, they felt, they were getting it only because of the Angels.
The Angels were back again Wednesday night as were their police escorts, who feared a major confrontation. The Reverend Border, whose church is located in the heart of the troubled area, called a community meeting for Thursday night in hopes of breaking the insane stalemate.
At Morning Star Baptist Church, the community members voted in favor of a one-night suspension of Angel patrols to allow for a discussion of how the community could best be served. The Angel Boston chapter agreed to respect the voters' wishes. But not Sliwa. For a frenzied 15 minutes, before she finally acceded, Sliwa stood defiant and determined to patrol alone that evening.
Only through such commitment, she seemed to be suggesting, could Mattapan's 36,000 or so residents be saved from the "human garbage" on its streets, for, indeed, Mattapan needed to be saved from itself. Of course, for the lesser folk of Mattapan who live in fear (like the custodian on the T) Mattapan need not be saved at all. For them, Mattapan need only be made safe. It's a distinction Lisa Sliwa showed no sign of grasping.