Archive for Mayor

No! Town, Boston

You want to do something exciting and edgy? Boston will watch from a distance.

Let’s not talk about the old Banned-in-Boston literature and performance. Let’s not talk about Blue Laws. Let’s come to recent times, the past few years

The mayor, other pols, and citizens have defeated:

  • Summer Olympics
  • More, easy-to-get liquor licenses
  • A single F1 car race
  • In town casino
  • 24-hour mass transit
  • Late-night mass transit

What gives in a city, town really, that loves to brag it is world class? Alas, Adam Gaffin over at universalhub.com is like spot on when it call this the city that always sleeps.

A few centuries ago, Boston and Charleston SC were seen as sister cities. Their social conservatism accounted for much of the zeitgeist. They did develop stifling Blue Laws together. Boston also hid behind Puritans, then and still it ducks behind its Roman Catholicism. Those were supposed to account for and excuse the petty and nasty limits on human behavior, speech and even thought.

I’ve lived in Boston for 36 years, after a decade in Manhattan. I draw my conclusions on why this town will live vicariously through its huge student population and asthenic arts life, as though that was plenty of vitality and creativity for everyone. Harrumph.

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Drama Queens: Death by Fear Podcast

Speaking of post-9/11 effects, as I do from time to time, I lace gunslinger civilians, police brutality (and murder), and Americans’ gulping obeisance to authority. I talk locally, as in the sniveling shelter-in-place orders and behavior after the Boston Marathon bombings. (Boston Strong is more like Boston Gutless.)

George Zimmerman types and open-carry monsters kill without consequence, as do far too many police officers. Word is OBEY, obey authority, obey anyone with a gun, obey TSA gropers and on and on. Too many cops kill and skate with the casual claim, “I felt my life was threatened.”

How did so many police officers turn into knock-kneed murderers? How could they even think to justify shooting repeatedly from a distance and slaying instead of disarming or, well, policing? I contend it is an emotion-based mind shift that we need to reverse immediately. Mayors, police chiefs and superintendents, prosecutors and judges have to put their palms out. Basta! We absolutely must not continue to infantilize cops and let them escape responsibility.

See also, Lethal Force as a First Resort, by Slate’s Jamelle Bouie here.

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Councilor Tim McCarthy Podcast

Tim McCarthyA rambling conversation with Boston District 5 City Councilor Timothy McCarthy touches on the quotidian of Hyde Park, Mattapan and Roslindale neighborhoods of Boston. I have a stake, as he is my Councilor.

For non-Bostonians, note that he won the low throne. His seat was the springboard for our longest-serving Mayor Thomas Menino followed by the energetic Rob Consalvo. Locals pay attention to the District 5 Councilor.

Listen in as we speak of his running for his second term, his emphasis on parks, playgrounds, new housing, crime, and business development. He has devoted much of his professional and political life to constituent/neighborhood services and loves to say and act out, “What your see out your front door is important.” We get to how Mayors Flynn and Menino involved and hired him ror positions that stressed that.

This is a very localized show. We speak of Boston and his District’s development, housing, crime, and business. We speak of after-school programs and the new types of Boys and Girls Clubs. We get down with education with such fundamental and rhetorical questions as whether it makes more sense to pay to create opportunity for students or later for prisoners.

Click below to hear Boston local talk.

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Boston’s McCarthy Looking to Settle in

Tim McCarthyFirst-term Boston City Councilor Tim McCarthy looks to consolidate and reinforce his District 5 election. He faces a challenge from the same camp as two years ago.

Schedule Change:
He’ll talk with me Thursday, Oct. 15th at 3:00 PM Eastern on his prospects, accomplishments and ambitions. If you can catch it live, click here at showtime. Otherwise, hear or download his show on demand at that URL, back here or on our iTunes page.

McCarthy has made a career of delivering constituent services in several positions in Boston. He’s carried that over to this District office as well. We’ll talk about what he sees as his accomplishments…as well as his goals. You can prepare by hitting his campaign site.

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OK, No Boston Olympics; Get to Work

Wring hands and rend garments…or not. Boston won’t host the 2024 Summer Olympics, as a big fish might not host a lamprey eel.

I spoke of why we simultaneously backed out of the bid as the US Olympics Committee told us to get lost. Fundamentally the catalyst came when the USOC visited and our Mayor Marty Walsh said in effect, “If you won’t tell me what I’m signing up for, I won’t sign.” Frankly both the International (iOC) and the USOC are accustomed to in fact demand, obeisance. Walsh is a simple man from the land of the maple trees (Guantanamera), not palms and ring or butt kissing aren’t his habits.

Of course the queering of the deal involves a lot more and I got into some of it.

More important, I am on the side of the many who not only resent the don’t-you-worry-your-pretty-little-head attitude of both the national and local proponents of the bid, but also stomp and point to the big promise. The USOC and Boston 2024 folk said repeatedly that we need this and that (infrastructure improvements, transit overhaul, affordable housing), and that we’d do it only under the deadline pressure of the Olympics bid.

We do need those things, but diluting our resources of money and time with Olympics folly can only delay or prevent that. Instead we need:

  • a governor, mayor, and legislative leaders committed to achieving these improvements
  • a clear and precise vision of where we want to go with mass transit, roads, housing and such

So far our newish governor, Charles D. Baker, has not shown himself a visionary. Moreover, our legislators are capons scratching the Beacon Hill yards clucking, “No new taxes. No new taxes.”

They may not have guts and smarts on their own. Yet with the passions educed from this 18-month bid process, the public has gotten a taste for improvements.

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Banned in Boston, for 2024, No Games

Oh No rings I had no intetion of a solo commentary on the Boston bid for the summer Olympics in 2024. They are making me, making me.

The bid is off. The US Olympics Committee reps came to down for some ring kissing, but got something else kicked instead.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what went suddenly bad after over half a year of promises, lies and politicking. If you want to listen live, click here, Tuesday, July 28th, at 2:30 PM Eastern. If you have your own comments, call 718-664-6966 during the show.

As always you can hear it on demand back here, at the show URL, or on our iTunes page.

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Evangelical Boycotts, All Fail

Today was a 17-minute tirade, but a fairly jolly one. Evangelicals and anti-gay types try to copy the political success of pinkos, but with no good purpose means failure. Lefties frequently influence politicians, corporations and others through personal letters, visits, calls and yes, even boycotts. How hard can that be?

Well, apparently too hard for the other sides to emulate.

BGEA reads like a gay-friendly support group. It’s the opposite. The late Rev. Billy Graham;s son Franklin now heads daddy’s church-like object. He doesn’t care for homosexuals or equal rights and positively hates same-sex marriage. Lately he’s calling for a boycott of Wells Fargo and other companies who support equality and gay rights.

The proximate cause of the boycott call was that Wells Fargo used a TV ad that showed two women learning sign language and signing to a little girl they were adopting that they were going to be her mommies.

Many wee-brained folk live by such bluster and bombast. I’ll speak about a few, such as MA-based MassResistance. They are a small but loud and yet dwindling group. I have heard their only continuous member, their leader, spout anti-gay rhetoric since long before the group started, when we were both members of a computer society here. He could work homophobic lingo into even geek speak.

These anti-equality folk promise much and deliver little to nothing. They pick up on effective left-wing boycott talk and action, only to fail again and again.

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2 Gay Things About Massachusetts

I guess this falls in the rant class, but in a largely pleasant way this time. I was struck most recently by two phenomena centered in my state. Both show the inexplicable tenacity of anti-gay types, even in an allegedly liberal fort.

There is the MA governor having the audacity to promote marriage equality. Then there are the sumbling, lurching advances related to Northeast St. Paddy’s Day parades.

Our governor is a Republican, albeit the MA flavor, fiscally conservative and socially liberal (but not too liberal and not in the progressive way…so there). Well then, in the past few days, Charlie Baker became the only Republican governor to sign the amicus brief presented to the SCOTUS by some in his party, favoring same-sex marriage. It is personal as well as political and moral for him. His gay brother married a man and Charlie is in the gay’s-OK camp.

Thing is, this state GOP platform and the party’s machers are notoriously anti-gay. I discuss whether he’s likely to face more than scowls as a result.

Then to parades. It seems all of Ireland and most US cities are perfectly fine with homosexual groups marching in St. Patrick’s parades, even where there is a separate Pride parade later in the year, as there is in both Boston and New York City. This year Boston’s long-time anti-gay parade organizers voted to let two gay groups, one OUTVETS, as it sounds, march. New York, generally a decade or more ahead of Boston is struggling. A parade sponsor, NBC, wangled an exemption for its gay-employees’ group. NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio called that for the tokenism it is and wouldn’t march.

I talk about who did and didn’t march in Boston and New York and what that may mean.

Honestly, these anti-gay types seem so silly.

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Murphy’s Lawmaking Podcast

Steve Murphy at micBoston Councilor Steve Murphy came on to discuss what the city, the mayor, the council and he have been doing. Individually and collectively, that’s quite a bit.

We’ve had a new mayor (Marty Walsh) for a year following the 20-year tenure of Tom Menino. We’ve had outrageous snow and public transit failings. For pluses, crime hasn’t been terrible and our economy is doing well.

On its face, the Council has one primary legal charge — analyzing, tweaking and approving the multi-billion-dollar budget annually. In that sense, Murphy is THE MAN. He is the money guy, the councilor others turn to to answer can we afford that and if we do this, what will it cost?

Beyond the budget, Boston’s Council really is a legislative body. It studies all big issues, creates and helps direct policies, and works with the mayor’s office to identify, prevent and solve serious problems. That’s where Murphy sees himself adding value. This is an election year for all nine district and four at-large councilors. Murphy has always been at-large, having to be one of four convincing the entire city to elect him.

Listen in as Murphy addresses:

  • The new and previous mayors, how they differ
  • The conflict between council and mayor on a committee to advance Latino and Black men and boys, and who the council ended up having its way
  • Why he and fellow Councilor Michelle Wu are advancing a BYOB option for the many restaurants without any liquor licenses
  • What the Council wants to do about getting the damned snow off the streets, maybe like Toronto does
  • How Boston has handled losses of $200 million in federal and state subsidies
  • Quality-of-life issues only parents of asthmatic kids may think of, like filtering older construction equipment operating in town
  • New technologies in the works, including enhanced 911
  • Adding that pesky Styrofoamâ„¢ (a.k.a. polystyrene foam) to single-stream recycling

Even though we know each other pretty well, Murphy wouldn’t bite on my request for more info on his pending reelection campaign. It is true enough that papers aren’t really due and the candidates won’t be set for a couple of months. However, he isn’t showing his hand yet.

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Steve Murphy’s Boston Outlook

Next week’s guest will be Boston City Councilor Steve Murphy. He earned stripes on top of stripes, as long-time financial guru of the body along with a couple of terms as its President. While a quiet type, he has always been one of the highest vote-getters among the at-large councilors.

Since he termed-out of the presidency, he seems to have been more active proposing legislation. For example, he has driven a change to update our antiquated liquor licensing structure with BYOB ability for the many restaurants which don’t have a coveted beer/wine license.

We’ll likely have a rambling discussion, including, of course, how he compares and contrasts previous Mayor Tom Menino and current Marty Walsh. Also, this is an election year for Council, so we’ll hit on his platform.

If you want to catch him live, click here at 2:30 PM Tuesday, March 10. As always you can hear the show afterward at that URL, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.

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