The City Council met briefly this morning to urge Tom Menino and Firefighters Local 718 to get a room and hammer out a contract that's fair to both firefighters and taxpayers.
David Bernstein attempts to look into the municipal vaults; gets glimmers of millions just sitting there.
Matt Conti reports on a group of North End, Beacon Hill, West End and downtown parents to get a new public elementary school to serve those neighborhoods. The Coalition for Public Education recently met with the mayor and school superintendent to press their case now that it no longer seems they'll get a school as part of the proposed mega-replacement for the Government Center garage. The Eliot School in the North End currently has a waiting list with as many names as it has seats.
The Daily Free Press reports on the bicycle summit at BU yesterday.
The Dorchester Reporter prepares users of these centers for the news tomorrow, when Mayor Tom Menino proposes a budget that assumes non-profit groups will want to continue running the eight community centers he wants to excise from city responsibilitiy.
First, a confession: I haven't read an Adrian Walker column in months. Somebody tell me if I've missed anything. But Mike Durant posts today that Walker talked to Menino, who admitted that this whole branch closing thing isn't really about money after all, so I wanted to take a look.
And I promptly remembered why I stopped reading Walker - Why waste my time on a bloviator who writes stuff like the following?
Fighting the closings had brought together a group of activists from across the city. But the truth is that the branches, some of them, are more popular when they are under siege than they are on a daily basis. If there really is a strong argument that Allston-Brighton’s three libraries cannot possibly be two, no one has made it.
Maybe, Adrian, if you'd actually showed up at any of the hearings on the proposed cuts, you'd have heard people make just those arguments. But that would have meant getting out of your comfy desk chair on Morrissey Boulevard and mixing with actual library users, instead of just chatting with your pal the mayor on the phone.
Supporters of the Faneuil BPL branch didn't let rain stop their candlelight vigil in Oak Square this afternoon - that's what umbrellas are for. Residents, city councilors Mark Ciommo, Ayanna Pressley and Felix Arroyo, state Reps Kevin Honan and Michael Moran all vowed to reverse today's vote by BPL trustees to shut Faneuil and three other branches.
Ciommo and Moran, both strong Menino supporters, said they were disappointed by the mayor's role in shutting the branches; Moran said he has never been so disappointed in the mayor. Moran said the issue is not money, but that Menino and BPL President Amy Ryan just don't like small branches. And he had some choice words for library Trustee Paul LaCamera for criticizing him and other legislators for not showing up this morning at a pre-ordained vote on closings:
Five months after the Secretary of State's office concluded Menino aide Michael Kineavy "inappropriately" deleted e-mail, the state Attorney General's office continues to consider what to do about the matter.
"The investigation into the Kineavy email matter is ongoing at this time," spokeswoman Emily LaGrassa said today.
Good news for city finances could mean good news for patrons of the Brighton BPL branch, along with fans of Curtis Hall in JP and the Shelburne Community Center in Roxbury.
Tom Menino reports the city recently sold $87.5 million worth of bonds at 2.8% - the lowest rate in 30 years. He says the money will "fund the renovation of community centers and libraries," in particular, the ones above. In recent weeks, city officials have said they may have to close as many as 10 branch libraries and a number of community centers to balance city books for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The Brighton BPL branch is in the middle of a year-long, $5.5-million rehab, with re-opening scheduled for this fall.
The bond money will also help pay for road and bridge repairs, new street lighting and a new computer-aided dispatch system for the city.
Acccording to the mayor's office, both Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's rating services gave the city high marks (Aa1 and AA+, respectively).
Interesting: Even as the city looks to give one developer a $16-million tax break, it rejects a $50 million offer from another. Of course, one is longtime local stalwart Liberty Mutual, which wants to build its new headquarters in the Back Bay, while the other is Menino foe Don Chiofaro, who wants to put a 59-story tower (and a tinier 40-story one) right on the waterfront. The BRA says it will deign to let him put a 16-story building on what is now the aquarium parking garage.
You can only push the weatherpeople so far. Sure, they were apologizing last week, but enough's enough. When Mayor Menino complains TV meteorologists make big bucks for only being right "25% of the time," that's just going too far, at least for Channel 25 weatherman A.J. Burnett.
Burnett tweets his team correctly called seven of the last eight "sizable storms," which by his calculation is 87.5% correct - so much for Mayor Menino's "fuzzy math." Besides, he adds, that's a batting average of .875:
Ted Williams life time was .344 – he's in the HOF and preserved?!
Donations from Liberty Mutual executives to the mayor as company prepared for major Back Bay purchaseBy adamg - 2/12/10 - 5:28 pm
John Keith pulls up the records from the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance on Liberty Mutual-related donations to Tom Menino between July 1 and Sept. 1, 2009.
It was during this period that the company was busy buying up two Back Bay parcels on which it said yesterday it will build a 25-30 story office building, for which the city will kick in $16 million in tax abatements over the next 20 years.
Tom Menino thinks so.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today took his record fifth oath of office at Faneuil Hall.
In his inauguration speech (complete text), Menino said his next four years would be devoted to four main goals: Transforming education in Boston, creating a high-tech research community on the waterfront, improving basic city services through new technologies and bringing the city's residents and neighborhoods closer together.
The City Council today rejected a proposed limit on how long somebody can serve as mayor.
While backers of the measure, sponsored by at-large Councilor Sam Yoon, said it would reinvigorate the political process and prevent the abuses of incumbency, opponents said it was insulting to tell voters they could not vote for the candidate of their choice as often as they want.
Against: Ciommo, Consalvo, Feeney, LaMattina, Linehan, Murphy, Yancey.
For: Connolly, Flaherty, Ross, Tobin, Turner, Yoon.
The council voted 8-5 to reject a proposal by at-large Councilor John Connolly to limit city councilors as well; Ross, who voted for mayoral term limits, voted against.
Comments from councilors before the vote:
In his first major speech since his election to a fifth term, Mayor Thomas M. Menino issued a rousing call for new ideas - apparently including such out-of-the-box notions as actually building something (anything!) on the old Filene's site, reviving the proposal for a Business Improvement District in Downtown Crossing, and improving the quality of public education.
The most prominent thing on the Boston Redevelopment Authority's Web site is a Flash package that features Tom Menino standing in front of the Boston skyline - enhanced by the 80-story tower he wants to build at Winthrop Square.
For a building that never got built, Winthrop Square sure gets around:
Why does Tom Menino keep trying to stuff things into the South Boston waterfront that don't belong there?By adamg - 11/5/09 - 10:10 am
In one of those wide-ranging interviews reporters love so much, Tom Menino yesterday proposed building "a medical research and residential complex on the South Boston Waterfront" - using some of that political capital that's apparently burning a hole in his pocket.
He explains: "Researchers love to get together. They speak their own language. They like to hang out together."
Isn't that why God gave us the Longwood Medical Area? Where, as the Outraged Liberal notes:
There are at least two research buildings on hold (including one hole in the ground) ... where the majority of researchers ply their trade near the institutions that employ them. It's always possible another life sciences firm will decide to join the overbuilding, but live-work space?
Granted, most researchers don't live in the medical area, but there might be a reason. Even scientists like to take a break from work every once in awhile.
The first dumb idea.
The preliminary precinct breakdowns from the city show that Michael Flaherty actually carried Ward 5 (Back Bay, Beacon Hill and part of Fenway), although barely (2,544 to 2,472). In the September preliminary, that was Menino country.
Floon also carried the day in Ward 16 in Dorchester, another area Menino took in September. Obviously, though, that and the Flaherty strongholds of Charlestown, South Boston and neighboring Ward 7 in Dorchester were not enough to overcome Menino romps in areas such as Hyde Park, Roslindale and Roxbury.