Jerry gets his 15 minutes

TownOnline.com - Local News: Jerry gets his 15 minutes:

City Councilor Jerry McDermott became a media celebrity last week when he proposed removing the famous Citgo sign in Kenmore Square.

But the Allston-Brighton politician insists that the move wasn’t meant as a publicity stunt or designed to advance his political career.

"When I filed the order, I didn’t think about the reaction," said McDermott. "I’m not desperate for publicity."

Since McDermott announced his City Council resolution to remove the landmark sign last week, he has appeared on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC and other national and local media outlets explaining his beef with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Citgo, a Venezuelan oil company. He was also quoted in the New York Post, Chicago Tribune and papers from Venezuela to Asia.

Several months ago, McDermott told former Allston-Brighton TAB reporters and editors he hoped to run for state auditor in a few years. McDermott has said he wouldn’t consider running for the office unless current Auditor Joe DeNucci retires.

Although McDermott would not rule out a future run for a higher office, he said he’s committed to Allston-Brighton and plans to stay in his office for the time being.

None of McDermott’s colleagues on the City Council supported his proposal, and the resolution was referred to the City Council’s committee on public utilities and cable communications.

Even if the resolution passed, City Council does not control the sign. The Citgo sign is on a building at 660 Beacon St., which is owned by Boston University.

McDermott said he would like to find out if the university might be willing to not renew the lease. He also wants to invite NSTAR and the Landmarks Commission to a hearing to find out who is paying the electric bill for the sign and whether or not it’s an official landmark.

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