Ryan and Mike checked in on our metropolis. We had to mention that baseball team, but mostly it was politics.
We have a hobbled, but still budgetary powerful, City Council. An off-year election with no big draws puts the four non-white (two Black, one Latino, one Asian-American) Councilors at risk.
Then there’s a suddenly energized mayor. No longer content with being popular and jovial, Tom Menino suddenly wants to bring bikes and wi fi, new green spaces, and more to town.
Home Rule Stuff
Home Rule may sound empowering, but the form that Boston got over 40 years ago is intentionally limiting. The General Court keeps Beantown in a small exercise yard.
As state capital, the city is as much a pet as peer to lawmakers. It can’t tax state property, it can’t start or raise any taxes without specific legislative approval, it can’t run its airport, it can’t do much of anything without lawmakers’ say-so. Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed, and gotten considerable legislative push-back on, letting all cities and towns add their own meals taxes and such.
A podcast from a WBUR piece on this (under four minutes in RealAudio) is here. The Rappaport Foundation analysis of Home Rule’s failure and comparison of Boston with six other cities is here. The long and detailed 1966 law (Chapter 43B) that covers Home Rule is here.
Posts of the Week
Mike chose a reactionary regional post from Hello Fitchburg. There, the ever-ranting Abraham Lincoln host held forth â€” this time on the meme of baby boomers. He hates ’em (us, from Mike’s viewpoint).
It’s good to deal with, because it is certainly a clichÃ© and a bandwagon that can’t seem to get big enough for 20-somethings and 30-somethings to fit onto. Those blood sucking, me-generation, self-serving bastards are taking our jobs and stealing our social security!
It is to laugh a boomer laugh. Consider that what sociologists call The Entitlement Generation. The Koren-War-era folk (at least the white ones) are those who didn’t fight the big one, who may have lived through the Depression, but did not have to feed their families, double and triple dipped on post-WWII pensions, padded management levels, subsidized housing and education by G.I. Bills and the like, and never once have agreed to share the economic burdens of increased taxes and lessened benefits that the rest of us have. Moreover, the boomers paid ever increasing tax rates for the previous generations, paid to raise and educate the 20 and 30-somethings who now diss them, and now are sandwiched with aging parents and kids to be paid for and cared for.
This post makes amusing reading. Even though it uses a trope of 60s/70s music, it is one shriek among many that we’ll continue hearing for a long time. Those nasty old boomers. Let’s pig pile!
Ryan’s Post of the Week is again from the venerable David over at Blue Mass Group. Senator and POTUS-seeker Chris Dodd is again leading the pack where it matters, this time in resisting the ‘I don’t know if waterboarding is torture’ Attorney General pick from the Bush administration. What’s really interesting is, again, Barrack Obama finds himself the follower in a race where he very much needs to lead if he wants to succeed. Sadly, I wonder if it’s time for the young man to go – and allow the big boys a chance to offer resistence to Camp Hill.
Making matters worse is the fallout over Obama’s homophobic friend that Barrack has decided should be one of his leading advocates. It appears as if Barrack Obama’s campaign is completely out of touch with the progressive primary voters he’s been trying to lure since he entered the race. At this point, I’d rather a Hill Presidency than Obama in office – which is scary stuff. As my hopes begin to fade for a real candidate for change to enter the race late, such as Al Gore, I cling to the fact that all my gut instincts could be wrong and someone could save us from this mess.