For the third year in a row, major crime in Boston decreased, according to statistics from the Boston Police Department.
Major crimes (attacks, robberies, break-ins and auto theft, basically) decreased 8.4% across the city in 2008. Murders in Area B (Roxbury and part of Dorchester) dropped dramatically, from 43 to 22, while car thefts and attempted car thefts were down 30% across the city.
However, murders doubled in Area C (the rest of Dorchester and South Boston), increasing from 11 to 22. And the number of people who got shot in Boston remained about the same - 323 people suffered gunshot wounds last year, compared to 325 in 2007. Also, the number of robberies and attempted robberies increased 7% citywide (although it dropped slightly in Jamaica Plain, Roslindale and West Roxbury).
Open Media Boston reports that new City Council President Mike Ross wants to hold at least some council meetings in Boston neighborhoods - and at night - so that the sort of people who don't get paid to attend meetings in the middle of the day can see their elected officials in action.
Ross himself discusses what he wants to do with his yearlong term (beyond promoting world peace, of course), such as:
I will require that all council documents be made available electronically on the City of Boston website. It is time for the City Council to enter the 21st century, and ensure that all documents, legislation, and resolutions be fully accessible online.
Hmm, what about those minutes that city lawyers say can't legally be put online?
Ryan Kelley ranks local burrito joints in order of goodness.
This piece in the Globe suggests yes:
The article reports on a study led by a Michigan researcher, Marc Berman, finding that:
Although not badly enough to go public, Kevin McCrea reports.
The Globe reports.
As Boston's two major dailies head towards a seeming financial death spiral, it's time once again to ask whether they should be charging for access to online content.
When the computer age dawned, a "hacker ethic" emerged, holding that information should be free and accessible to all. (Steven Levy's fascinating book, Hackers, is especially recommended.) That ethic has permeated the Web, which in less than a decade has become an incredible free library of human knowledge and a great source of informed and diverse commentary.
When you're using dubious documents to try to get an ID card at the RMV, Rick Sawyer reports.
David Bernstein reports that Yoon surpassed his must-raise-100k-by-New-Year's goal and so will now run for mayor. Maybe. Pete Stidman at the Dorchester Reporter wonders if Yoon didn't already have the cash in hand when he sent out his pre-Christmas plea - he notes Yoon's wife knows a bit about fundraising techniques.
January 21, 2009: An Act of Faith
Massachusetts Communities of Faith Speak Out for Transgender Equality
Keshet and The Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality invite you to help kick off a faith-based campaign in support of a civil rights bill for transgender equality.
Join with clergy, lay leaders, and community members from many faiths and spiritual traditions to celebrate our work and learn how you can take action and help pass a bill that will make Massachusetts a more just state for everyone.
January 21, 2009
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Says there's no way he'd do that. At least, that's what the Herald headline tells us. As Dan Kennedy notes the story itself is filled with the sort of weasel words that leave City Hall an out should city finances deteriorate even more - so the Globe Globe story the Herald is in reaction to isn't necessarily wrong (besides: It said the layoffs were under consideration, not a fait accompli).
And what about teachers and firefighters? The Herald either didn't ask or is holding that for its new series: City Hall Under Siege.
Meanwhile, the Outraged Liberal wouldn't be at all surprised if Menino authorized the leak that led to the Globe story (which was based on conversations with two unnamed officials in an alleged position to know) as a way to send a message to Deval Patrick to go easy on the local-aid cuts.
The Globe reports Menino says now's not the time, partly because the city needs to save the money he wanted to spend on all those studies and construction and moving, partly because nobody would pay the city what it once thought it would get for the current City Hall.
History is what you think of when you think of the city of Boston. Yet the history of city hall departments needs to be made more accessible to those of us with strong interests in municipal governmental history. Routinely public access is deflected or blocked for public meetings and to public records regardless of what officials claim about transparency. A Mayoral Directive and a Boston City Council Order are needed for the more routine transmittal of public city documents to our Government Documents Department http://bpl.org/research/govdocs/local.htm of Boston Public Library.
Bad weather washed out ticket sales for this year's festival, leaving WUMB radio with a $12,000 loss. So there will be no festival next year.
BostonZest illustrates why.
The good news is violence is still nowhere near the levels of the crack-fueled early 1990s. The bad news, according to this report by Northeastern's James Fox and Mark Swatt, is that violence among this group is on the increase, even as violent crime in Boston in general is going down.
Between 2001 and 2007, the homicide rate among blacks in Boston, aged 14-24, increased from 36 to 64, or 78%, compared to a decrease among the comparable white group from 15 to 9, they report. Across Massachusetts, the homicide rate among blacks, 14-24, increased 98% (the homicide rate among comparable whites also increased, but by 17%, so that more young blacks now die violently in Massachusetts than young whites, even though they make up a much smaller percentage of the population).
The Globe has analysis and comments.
Down amidst the news about Tom Menino spending roughly $400,000 a year campaigning for the past three years against, oh, nobody in particular is Hizzonah's assertion that he's not yet sure if he'll be running next year.
Meanwhile, Yoon recently sent out a fundraising e-mail that went something like: I need to raise $100,000 by the end of the year to run for mayor in 2009 or I'll be called home.