Dan Coffey’s last council meeting is Thursday night, and then there’ll be no more Wizard of Westside.

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Departing 1st district council representative Dan Coffey has missed the past three meetings of the body, on November 4th and 21st, and December 2nd.

I don’t know why, but I do know that Coffey deserves recognition for two decades of service as a councilman. Fair is fair, even if we’ve disagreed far more often than not.

Coffey is the last continuously serving elected official linking the present era to the period in 2004/2005 when I first began attending city council meetings and writing about them here at the blog. The longest of tenured blog readers will remember the many times he and I clashed. It could be savage, vicious and occasionally hilarious. One need only search these pages for literally hours of informative reading attesting to the tenor of those times.

And yet, through it all Coffey and I still retained the ability and willingness to speak with each other. That counts for something. In the final analysis, we two have one fundamental thing in common, because we’re both incurable and implacable independents — good, bad or indifferent.

I believe Coffey could have run as an independent in the 1st district and won. He never seemed comfortable as a Democrat. He’s on the right and I’m on the left, and yet I instinctively know how this discomfort feels.

Frankly, there’s no defense of Coffey’s behavior on those occasions, regrettably often, when he chose to bully, threaten and (in effect) single-handedly filibuster the council. I won’t attempt any exoneration.

At the same time I’m prepared to embrace what probably is a minority position, and credit Coffey for caring about his district and, overall, giving a damn.

Coffey is a classic example of someone who always did the best with what he had at his disposal. His methods may or may not have produced the best results for his constituents, but he worked it hard for 20 years. This can’t be taken away from him.

Obviously I don’t know what Coffey is planning on doing, post-politics. Will he run for another office? Maybe we could join together for a podcast on local affairs. THAT would be supreme entertainment, wouldn’t it?

As a longtime adversary of the self-described Copperhead, allow me to extend sincere thanks to Dan Coffey for his long years of service to the community, and to wish him the best of luck in the future.

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