Rebuttal to Boston Globe's endorsement of Mayor Walsh

I am the co-chair of Coalition Against Indycar Boston. I'm posting this on behalf of CAIB attorney David Lurie.

​The Globe’s full-throated endorsement of Mayor Walsh’s re-election bid (“A Second Term for Mayor Walsh”, October 23) concludes that “Walsh’s record over the last four years should give voters confidence in his leadership.” Glaringly omitted from the editorial is any mention of the IndyCar debacle, which most definitely should give Boston voters second thoughts about the Mayor’s judgment, temperament, and susceptibility to insider influence.

​At the behest of his campaign advisors Chris Keohan and Daniel Passacantilli, who owned undisclosed interests in the local race promoter, Mayor Walsh actively solicited IndyCar to come to Boston and touted the “great job” being done by the local promoter’s CEO. The Mayor neglected to discover that the CEO had a history of tax crimes. Without community input, the Mayor secretly negotiated a 5 year contract obligating the City to spend millions of taxpayer dollars annually for street improvements for the race while not obtaining any license fees for the race’s use of public roads.

The Mayor subsequently pushed out the promoter’s CEO in favor of John Casey, who had no experience managing an IndyCar Race. The Mayor has consistently blamed Casey for the race’s failure, without accepting any responsibility for his own failure to check out Casey’s lack of experience and expertise.

​When MassPort and other state authorities resisted paying for street improvements, Mayor Walsh reneged on his deal with the promoter and forced it to absorb all street improvement costs. However, the Mayor allowed tickets to go on sale without making sure that the promoter could still pay the substantial costs of the race. As things turned out, the promoter filed for bankruptcy, leaving sponsors, vendors, investors and taxpayers out-of-pocket more than $10 million, and John Casey sued the City for $15 million.

​The Mayor and his team overlooked that the Race involved substantial construction in flood zones in the Seaport. When that problem came to light, the City cooperated with the promoter’s attempt (which failed) to get the Boston Conservation Commission to bend its rules in favor of the race.

​The Mayor’s head of the Special Events Office, Ken Brissette, who oversaw the promotion of the race, was indicted for extortion in May 2016. In a breathtaking display of hubris, Mayor Walsh has continued to pay Brissette’s salary – an unprecedented act – and has claimed that doing so is consistent with past practice – which is false. The Committee appointed by the Mayor a year-and-a-half ago to review the Special Events Office has yet to release any report.

​The IndyCar race was not just a three hour event. It involved six months of major construction on local roads each year. Although residents strongly objected to the impacts of the race on their neighborhood and the environment, Mayor Walsh never responded to their letters.
Instead, the Mayor listened to insiders who stood to make lots of money from the race. Unfortunately, the Mayor continues to deny that he was influenced by insiders and has not accepted any responsibility for his own role in the debacle.

​Voters should seriously consider these behaviors in deciding whether they have confidence in four more years of Mayor Walsh’s leadership.
​​​​​******
​David Lurie was the attorney for Coalition Against IndyCar Boston and has practiced law in Boston for 34 years.

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Sooooo...

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Are you saying the Globe should have offered only a half throated endorsement or that Tito is a viable alternative?

Tito is a great guy and Walsh has lots of blind spots. But if Tito is the only realistic choice, you choose Tito or just not Marty?

Walsh still says Indy Car was not a misstep.

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At the behest of his campaign advisors Chris Keohan and Daniel Passacantilli, who owned undisclosed interests in the local race promoter, Mayor Walsh actively solicited IndyCar to come to Boston and touted the “great job” being done by the local promoter’s CEO. The Mayor neglected to discover that the CEO had a history of tax crimes. Without community input, the Mayor secretly negotiated a 5 year contract obligating the City to spend millions of taxpayer dollars annually for street improvements for the race while not obtaining any license fees for the race’s use of public roads.

The Mayor subsequently pushed out the promoter’s CEO in favor of John Casey, who had no experience managing an IndyCar Race. The Mayor has consistently blamed Casey for the race’s failure, without accepting any responsibility for his own failure to check out Casey’s lack of experience and expertise.

What puts a fine point on the criticism of Walsh's bad judgement and lack of due diligence is that the reason he wanted to move forward with Indy Car after the Olympic bid imploded was to demonstrate his administration's ability to pull off a big event like Indy Car. Let that sink in. Walsh is in over his head.

City employee/s are still being sued. Despite the judgment for ticket buyers thanks to the Attorney General bailing Marty out, the bankrupt org doesn't have the assets to make ticket buyers whole.

Why don't the Indy Car people oppose Amazon

The more I hear about the Amazon proposal the less I want them here and the less I believe Marty Walsh is the man to deal with them. We have a mayor and a city council who are a collection of basically amiable people who have knelt down in front of any big name project or giant company that has thought about coming here. They will get railroaded in the name of snagging some big name at the expense of new companies or ideas that could threaten them.

Well, for starters

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Amazon has not said that it plans to locate in Boston, other than some engineers in an already built space.

There's no rule that the

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There's no rule that the Globe has to make an endorsement at all. They certainly didn't cover the race very closely.

I'm saying Walsh is corrupt

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I'm saying Walsh is corrupt and uses city resources to enrich his friends. I

choose Tito. He's stronger and more knowlegable than Walsh in every area, he respects women, and he listens to the community.

Tito? More knowledgable?

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Give me a break. You can argue that he addresses issues Marty isn't taking head on, and you can subscribe to his more lefty beliefs than Walsh's left-of-center beliefs; both of which are fair. But Tito has not once demonstrated deep knowledge/understanding of even his own campaign promises.

Let me give you one example

I'm more of an anti-Marty guy and not a strong advocate for Tito but take an honest look at the answers to the questionnaire linked below by vision zero. It's pretty clear that Jackson (or at least his staff) actually understands the subject matter and concerns of the advocacy group at a much more detailed level than Walsh. Marty's answers are full of empty platitudes while Tito's actually talk about infrastructure specifics.

http://www.visionzerocoalition.org/boston_mayoral

Very true - the mayor has

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Very true - the mayor has shown very little true interest with transportation issues in the City. You hear buzz words like bike lanes, Vision Zero, Boston 2030 (or whatever year), reduced speed limit - but no true resources have been given to transportation to improve the situation. Even the appointed head of the department (by the mayor)seems over their head and is a no show at many meetings and offers no true leadership. If you care about transportation/traffic in the City - think about these facts when you vote. I'm no particular Tito fan, but Walsh administration has been a true disappointment in this area.

in this area and others

Last summer there was late night hit and run of a bicyclist near Clarendon on Commonwealth. A lot of people knew the rider. He was from S. Boston. They held a memorial for him and put a white bicycle at the spot. Later they organized a ride to city hall to bring the issue of riding safely in the city to the mayor's balcony. The mayor committed $1 million more to cycling infrastructure and that was that. Those who are cynical of Walsh's politics called it his million dollar suitcase which he dispenses like a payoff to aggrieved parties that are large enough and public enough.

Around the same time the Globe reported that Walsh repaved Congress St 3 auto lanes both ways after previously writing and ultimately approving a plan that made room for protected bike lanes. He also reversed a plan that accommodated multi-model transportation in Charlestown. Now he's opposing DCR's plan for Morrissey Blvd. Under Walsh, our roads will be designed for cars, cyclists will be lucky to get a strip of paint, and the T wont get fixed. (I know Walsh doesn't run the T but no city or town pays more in than Boston, about $200 million a year I heard, and instead of pushing to get it funded and repaired, he says it's reliable.)

Morrissey only two lanes!! The horror, the horror!!

Walsh's opposition to the Morrissey Blvd plan is based on his opinion that a reduction in lanes would make the situation worse. That opinion was stated despite knowing that traffic engineers studied the road and said that there was a surplus of capacity and that it was a signal problem. He claims that he is familiar with the road because he commutes on it. I wonder why he never noticed that due to the bollards forcing a right turn that the road already is effectively a two lane road when traveling south under the highway. Or if he considered that if you had a turnout instead of a right hand lane you would prevent the selfish twats who cut up that lane only to cut left and foul traffic flow making current matters worse.

Interesting

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I'll preface this by saying that, while Walsh is by no means perfect, he is the candidate I will support. However, I do think its fair to look at both candidates as objectively as possible, which is how I'll approach the article you linked.

Tito's answers seem much less concrete. He seems to answer however he believes will be received best while Walsh seems to have more diluted but realistic plans/answers. I suppose this speaks to one candidate being in office for years with experience slogging through the political process while the other is coming in with less experience.

Tito seems to steer the answers back to his bigger talking points, such as steering the question about residential parking to his beliefs on development. Walsh seems to steer his answers back to the most relevant program he has pushed as mayor. Neither is bad or good, but the answers are reflections on

My issue with Tito is his approach to policy. He seems to pick a solution to an issue, then justify why it is the best solution after the fact. An example in the article cited is his suggestion of replacing a parking lane with a morning/evening bus land in Roslindale. This is the kind of policy I'd hope a mayor would arrive at after conducting an extensive study and examining all options related to a particular issue. In this case, you'd want to set up a commission to conduct a large traffic study and examination of options such as priority on traffic lights, frequency of pickups, and other options.

Same with the BPDA. He doesn't like development in Boston (again, I disagree but will hold back judgement for a minute.) He goes for the headline-catching proposal of separating the BPDA, without really articulating why it would be preferential to modifying their role or creating more oversight. I think Tito is a bright guy, but beyond my fundamental disagreements with his economic views, his decision-making process is what holds him back, in my mind, from being a serious candidate.

That survey demonstrates his misunderstanding

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Sorry, that survey shows how clueless Tito is. He repeatedly promises to use Community Preservation Act funds for bike infrastructure, when that's not an eligible use of those resources. CPA funds can only be used on affordable housing, open space, and historic preservation (at least 10% on each one.) They can't be used on local infrastructure, and thank goodness because the suburban communities would be using CPA to repave roadways. I mean, that is a really BASIC thing about CPA that he (or whoever wrote his responses) just doesn't get.

Also it's not clear how Tito intends to square his ambitious goals for bike infrastructure with his feeling that Neighborhood Councils need to have more authority. Time and time again, we've seen ambitious bike infrastructure proposals watered down due to local opposition. Tito seems to be saying that Walsh has been both too timid in his approach while also running roughshod over local communities. Well, which is it? I was there when Tito sided with the sunday morning double-parkers to kill the protected bike lane on Seaver Street, and I can tell you that giving neighborhoods more authority is definitely not the way to achieve a comprehensive protected bike network.

Wait

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You note-

I am the co-chair of Coalition Against Indycar Boston

How does this organization still exist? I mean, you won, which would make me think you'd be happy. Heck, you'd be even happier that the people you disagreed with are now in disarray. So, why is this still a thing?

Also, putting an employee on "paid administrative leave" is not unprecedented. It is the standard operating procedure. If Brissette were fired then found not-guilty, the city would be paying him back pay plus damages. But why let facts get in the way of your narrative?

Brissette and Sullivan's cooperation payouts

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If Brissette were fired then found not-guilty, the city would be paying him back pay plus damages.

citation please.

Illegal conduct is not the only standard for losing your job in city hall. you can lose it for protesting on your day off and for being accused of sexual harassment prior to adjudication.

If Brissette issued event permits in an improper way he could be terminated. In fact he could be terminated without cause as at will employee unless he has an employment contract that says otherwise, which is unlikely in his senior position as a Director of Tourism, Sports and Entertainment.

Walsh has not made it clear that it was his policy to require union labor as a condition of event permit issuance but I'd be happy to bet it was. The court found Brissette was acting on behalf of the mayor in this transaction.

This is a corrupt policy because it politicizes official business (event permit issuance) irrespective of whether the quid pro quo (event permits for union jobs) is found to be extortion. But let's say it wasn't policy, and Brissette was off the reservation, Walsh could fire him for being off the reservation--acting outside official policy.

I read Brissette and Sullivan's cooperation payouts (salary continuation) will cost taxpayers $300,000. That's some pretty expensive testimony. Do you think Walsh will get our money's worth?

Let's talk about Indy Car.

The court

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Has found nothing. The trial hasn’t occurred yet. The outcome of the trial will be what the court finds.

Or should we dispense with trials altogether?

citation please

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If Brissette were fired then found not-guilty, the city would be paying him back pay plus damages.

citation please.

Stated as fact

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You stated this as fact:

If Brissette were fired then found not-guilty, the city would be paying him back pay plus damages.

Kenny Conley's terms of employment were document by a collective bargaining agreement for Boston Police. Ken Brissette's terms of employment are not covered by that contract. Try again.

Because it is a fact

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Employers thread very carefully when criminal charges are involved because in the event that the employee/accused is found not guilty and the dismissal is based on criminal charges, you've got a situation of wrongful dismissal. Now, after the trial, the employer can do its own investigation and act based on the facts, but doing it ahead of the trial is taking a risk.

You don't know what you're talking about

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Brissette is an at will employee unless his employment is covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

Arroyo was fired by Walsh prior to adjudication of charges.

2 things

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First, if there is the implication of a contract, the at will aspect goes by the wayside.

Second, Arroyo was never subject to criminal charges. Ironically, the absence of criminal charges make the termination process much easier. But let's dovetail this with the first thing. One would assume Arroyo was also "at will," right? If so, he could have been kicked to the curb right away in your view of things. But no, he was put on paid administrative leave while the charges were investigated then separated from his employment with the City of Boston at the conclusion of the investigation. I guess I can thank you for coming up with a better example than the one I had.

Trust me when I say that over the years I've seen a lot of employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements put on paid administrative leave. At the end some quit and some were fired. But there is a process that is followed.

You are right that if they

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You are right that if they are found not guilty they get back pay. The same statute that provides for this--MGL c. 268A section 25--requires that they NOT be paid while suspended after indictment for on the job misconduct. Consistent with the statute, there is zero precedent for paying employees who have been suspended and indicted for on the job misconduct. Just a few weeks ago a Boston police officer was suspended without pay after indictment for on the job misconduct; there is no lawful reason why Brissette and Sullivan should get more favorable treatment.

Paid administrative leave

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Is the phrase used, but not in the statute cited, which does note that the city may suspend an employee, and yes, when an employee is suspended under that section, pay and benefits cease. The City of Boston uses paid administrative leave on a regular basis, as does the Commonwealth and the federal government.

Wow, Adam

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You've hit the big time if people are now sending you op-eds! Move over Glob and Herald.

About that...

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As a long-time reader and fan, I have to say that it’s not really what I come here for. Idk—maybe a debate format might be interesting but I think we get enough opinionating in the comment section.

It's fine

Adam posts commentary every so often but it's not like Uhub is barstool. The commentary is often interesting even if I don't agree.

There are 15 stories a day. You can always just skip the op-eds and hold out for animal photos.

I'm okay with this

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I mean, I have a difference of opinion, which is obvious reading my comments, but felicity and the rest of us can post things, and in the scheme of things this is not the worst thing to post.

I do hope they sent this to the Globe, too, since it does claim to rebut their editorial.

Yeesh...

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Talk about a single-issue campaign...

Woah. Brissette had a hand in 2 scandals BostonCalling, Indy Car

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and he's still on payroll.

The Mayor’s head of the Special Events Office, Ken Brissette, who oversaw the promotion of the race, was indicted for extortion in May 2016. In a breathtaking display of hubris, Mayor Walsh has continued to pay Brissette’s salary – an unprecedented act – and has claimed that doing so is consistent with past practice – which is false. The Committee appointed by the Mayor a year-and-a-half ago to review the Special Events Office has yet to release any report.

Mayor Walsh's leadership

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Please also don't forget the Boston Olympic bid. It had more long term disastrous financial consequences for the City of Boston if it happened!

Don't forget the completely

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Don't forget the completely unconstitutional limitations on our first-amendment rights. Walsh admitted he didn't even read the agreement, then did the exact same thing for the next shady sporting event he could get his grasping little paws on, and now he's already salivating over the World Cup?

Just go away, Marty. Throw yourself a sportsball parade on your own dime and leave the rest of the city out of it. Most of us actually have work to do.

Don't forget

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The GE giveaway deal, changing the around of the St Patrick's Day parade etc.

Write-ins

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I'm commenting anonymously because I am not an authorized spokesperson. As someone who has worked as an election officer for years I can tell you that write-ins are nothing but a pain in the butt for us. Unless someone is actually running a write-in campaign a random name just gets counted as "all others". Write-ins don't get recognized by the scanners -- they just record a write-in because they can't actually read the text, just the filled in bubble. Having to record spurious write-ins just adds extra work at the end of a very long day. There will be no record that Mickey Mouse or Tom Brady got X number of votes. Of course you absolutely have the right to write someone in, but If you don't like any of the candidates running for a particular seat, you can always just leave it blank.

Legibility is a valid complaint

I think it is at least.

How do labels impact this? I read somewhere that a voter used pre-printed mailing labels. Will that make the task a little more bearable? I'd hand out a bunch of those for a candidate I'd like to write in.

The scanner voting machines

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The scanner voting machines might make it more or less work (depending on whether or not they sort or mark the scanned ballots in some manner), but so far as I know recording the tally at the polling place has always been part of the job.

At least, it was in the state where I grew up - helped my Dad at the polling place, where he would have to record the tallies from the mechanical machines, phone it in to town hall for the prelim tally, then deliver the books and the Board of Elections can do whatever they need to certify results - and the one or two times I worked elections here in Boston it seemed to be the same.

If the scanners don't sort ballots, but you still have to go through all of them and find/log write-ins - that would not the fault of the job or the voters, that would be the fault of people who spec'd machines that make the job more complicated.

Write-ins and the scanner

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The voting machines know when there has been a write-in. Ballots with write-ins go in one side of the bin, ballots without write-ins go in the other. Poll workers who sit next to the machine can hear a ballot with a write-in going in because there is the sound of the ballot being sent to the write-in side. We don't who a voter wrote in, but we know that they wrote in someone.

"All others"

I appreciate your info, however I still think a write-in vote is the more worthwhile option than a blank ballot, since "all others" collectively specifically register as opposition to the incumbent whereas blank ballots can be written off as mistakes.

I am only going to the polls next week because my city council district race has viable choices, but since I am there will register my displeasure with our current mayor. I am still weighing whether to cast mayoral vote for Tito or a write-in for David S Pumpkins (any questions?)

"Glaringly omitted from the

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"Glaringly omitted from the editorial is any mention of the IndyCar debacle"

You are welcome to your opinions but it was an oped endorsement not a biopic on the Mayor.

That same argument could be made about any issue in the city that was not included in the endorsement. It would only be glaringly omitted if they were claiming this was a news piece on the Mayor focusing on major projects. Otherwise it was omitted with good reason.

John Henry only one who will benefit from Globe endorsement

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John Henry and family are the only winners here. Tito is no factor so Henry benefits from endorsing Walsh and can call the favor at Fenway or elsewhere later. The Globe's more outrageous stunts led to cancellations but endorsing Walsh is about as significant as Elizabeth Warren's endorsement. Self-serving for the endorser but doing little extra for Walsh. I'd be curious what the Globe's circulation is now within the city of Boston. Probably less than Fenway Park during a cold, wet April game. As an earlier commenter noted, the Globe is not required to endorse but why not jump on the bandwagon? Has Padma Lakshmi endorsed anyone?