Boston

By - 2/2/09 - 4:02 pm

The Boston School Committee meets Wednesday evening (6 p.m. at 26 Court St.) to consider up to 15% cuts in school budgets. BPS Parents are planning a rally) before the meeting to protest those cuts:

Our children's right to a decent education is at risk!

Via David Ertischek.

By - 2/2/09 - 9:11 am

Arielle, who moved here from New York, says Bostonians are wussy drinkers:

... In Boston, people drink to get drunk. I know what you're thinking - hellooooo, New Yorkers drink to get drunk too. This is true, but New Yorkers add another dimension to it; they drink to get drunk AND do awesomely ridiculous things. Bostonians stop short of this last bit. ...

I can't even remember the amount of times I've listening to someone in Boston talk about the night before and say something like, "Oh man, so-and-so was sooo drunk, he had to be taken home early." And they say this with AWE! And ADMIRATION! It's like, oooh they maxed out on their drinking so they must be FUCKING AWESOME! If a New Yorker hears about someone who had to go home early, you know what they think about the situation? "FAIL!!!" Because hello, you did a stupid thing and you missed out on a night of partying. When someone in New York goes home early, they APOLOGIZE the next day. ...

By - 1/31/09 - 4:03 pm

End busing, argues Ted Landsmark (yes, he's the same Ted Landsmark in that photo):

Busing students from one neighborhood to another does nothing to change the racial, cultural, and caste demographics of classrooms, while devouring financial resources that could be better spent on teaching and learning. That $40 million would better prepare students for success in college and would support arts, music, technology, and physical education instruction.

If Ted Landsmark says it's time to end busing, I'm going to listen.

But he can do better than putting up a strawman argument. More than anybody else, he should know that busing in Boston today is NOT race-based, since he chaired a task force a couple years back that tried (and failed completely) to come up with alternatives to the present zone system.

Our kid rides a bus not to comply with some Wellesley judge's conception of racial equality but because we felt the school we applied for in the assignment lottery was the best fit for her. Yes, it's an expensive and frustrating program (if you're not lucky, your kid gets assigned to some random school), and yes, it's amazing to stand with her at her stop and watch zillions of school buses going in zillions of directions (her stop's at a busy intersection), and yes, saving $40 million is an excellent idea.

But until Landsmark can prove to me that all schools in Boston provide equally good levels of education, I'm going to continue to think there's value in the present system.

Landsmark notes that a quarter of Boston's parents opt out of busing by sending their kids to charter, private or Metco schools. That means that 75% do not. By returning to a strictly neighborhood-school system, Landsmark will be condemning some of those parents and kids to underperforming schools with no chance of escape.

Now saving $40 million - especially in times like these - is most laudable. If, as Landsmark says, some bus routes haven't changed in 20 years and run half empty, maybe the school department needs to invest in some decent scheduling software to sort out the routes. If the goal is to save lots of money, that's fine, too, but let's not pretend that all kids will get the same level of education.

By - 1/29/09 - 9:37 pm
Ah, yes, the Imperial

The Boston Public Library is doing something very cool: They're posting photos from their collections on Flickr. They've already got several collections up, from Boston stereographs to baseball photos to postcards from across New England.

The only problem is the whole thing is like a giant vat of popcorn - you just can't stop eating, flicking from one photo to the next. I'm particularly fascinated by the postcards of old Boston, because they show how the city has changed - sometimes pretty dramatically, as on this postcard of a pre-Storrow Esplanade down by the "West Boston Bridge" (what we'd call the Longfellow). There are long-gone hotels and restaurants; hotels and car dealerships that are now BU dorms, even a huge Gulf "Super Service" station right on Beacon Street in Coolidge Corner (OK, not Boston, but still), where this Town Taxi might have filled up.

Ah, yes, the Imperial
By - 1/29/09 - 9:07 pm

This evening I boarded the Orange Line at State Street for my usual trip back home to JP. Immediately I was greeted by a powerful odor, emanating from a guy who was sitting there with what looked like all his worldly belongings. A few stops later, onto the train came another fellow, obviously mentally ill, who spent the trip mumbling and cursing to himself.

Please don't get me wrong: I'm not blaming these poor folks for using the T to have a halfway comfortable place to spend a cold evening. And believe me, having lived in NYC for 12 years, I've seen a lot on a subway.

By - 1/29/09 - 1:28 pm

Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said today there is no reason to bring criminal charges against Boston police officers for the death of David Woodman, who collapsed while being arrested on June 18 and then died on June 29:

By - 1/28/09 - 9:59 am

The Globe reports mayoral hopeful Michael Flaherty will publicly admit it was wrong of him as city council president to ban the public from meetings involving the Boston Redevelopment Authority between 2004 and 2006:

... At the time, I thought I was acting appropriately," Flaherty said yesterday in a telephone interview. "The courts decided things should have been handled differently. Lesson learned. My administration will be about transparency, accountability, and taking responsibility. ...

By - 1/27/09 - 10:08 pm

Redfin Boston posts November numbers from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, which show that in November, prices dropped like a rock, unlike past, gradual declines. Even with the plunge, Boston values have still gone down less than prices in other major metropolitan areas:

... It will be interesting to see if this marks the start of a new trend or a just one-month aberration. ...

By - 1/26/09 - 5:26 pm

David Bernstein reports that City Councilor Sam Yoon has called a family meeting for the weekend of Feb. 7-8 to decide whether to run for mayor. So if you see Yoon down at Target buying some new kitchen appliances that weekend ...

By - 1/26/09 - 4:28 pm

Between 7 and 7:30 on Channel 2.

By - 1/26/09 - 12:12 pm

The Flaherty campaign Web site is still pretty much content free, but that doesn't stop Michael Pahre from compiling a list of Michael Flaherty's key positions - based on what he was saying when he ran for re-election as a city councilor at large in 2007.

By - 1/26/09 - 9:20 am

A worker was killed Friday at the Russia Wharf development site at 270 Congress St. after a heavy object fell on him in the construction site. Police and a medical rescue team arrived on the scene around 10am.

The worker was taken to Boston Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

“It is with great sadness that we have confirmed that one fatality has occurred as a result of an accident,” the developer, Boston Properties, said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family at this time.”

By - 1/26/09 - 9:14 am

John Ford posts fourth-quarter apartment-rent numbers for Boston.

By - 1/24/09 - 11:12 pm

Flaherty's campaign Web site.

Ed note: See the comments for all the drama (in my own mind?) about the video going up Saturday evening, then coming down, then going back up again.

By - 1/23/09 - 7:28 pm

Is Boston big enough for two newsletters aimed at the Axe Generation?

Thrillist Boston, which already tells young men What to Buy, is about to get competition from UrbanDaddy, which is advertising for a local dude-oriented writer to write up "what's new, hot, exciting and essential."

By - 1/23/09 - 5:30 pm

As mentioned earlier, Michael Flaherty is paying big bucks to some fancy-shmancy online consulting firm out in California as he gathers up steam to run for mayor. And in a move that could cement his support among people who like to preserve their eyesight, they've apparently convinced him to abandon his retina-destroying MySpace page in favor of his actually legible Facebook page. Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten to instruct the campaign on the proper etiquette for asking people to move from one to the other: A concerned citizen reports receiving a string of increasingly frantic messages from Flaherty today:

Jan 23, 2009 9:07 AM
Subject: Please add me to FACEBOOK
thank you

Jan 23, 2009 9:51 AM
Subject: GoodBye myspace - Please add me on facebook
Please add Michael Flaherty on facebook.

Thank you for your support!!!!!

Jan 23, 2009 1:08 PM
Subject: GOODBYE MYSPACE ACCOUNT
PLEASE ADD MICHAEL ON FACEBOOK!!!!!!

Jan 23, 2009 2:36 PM
Subject: GOODBYE MYSPACE and HELLO FACEBOOK
PLEASE ADD MICHAEL ON FACEBOOK!!!!!!

Concerned Citizen adds:

I don't know if Baby Flats has been drinking all day or what, but could you please make him stop? He's posting like a hopped up 14-year-old Juggalo.

What's not to love?

Um, blecch?

By - 1/23/09 - 2:02 pm

The Herald reports that Licensing Board member Michael Connolly has been using his City Hall office to conduct business for his Wellesley real-estate venture:

... Connolly, 61 - whose wife, Lynda, is chief justice of the Massachusetts District Court and whose son, John, is a Boston City Councilor - has spent untold hours promoting the $3.6 million Wellesley development from his City Hall office over the past two years. ...

The mayor's office went tsk-tsk and says it's launched an investigation. Although the board has office space in City Hall, its members are appointed by the governor. Board Chairman Daniel Pokaski's name figured prominently in the FBI's affidavit against ex-Sen. Dianne Wilkerson.

The Herald notes that Connolly gets paid $85,000 a year for his part-time gig on the licensing board.

David: As if we needed another reason to dismantle the Boston Licensing Board.

Jay Fitzgerald: It's not enough he gets a cushy $85,000 Boston Licensing Board job:

It's not enough his wife is on the public payroll. It's not enough his son is on the public payroll. No, Mike has to use public facilities to run his side business pushing multimillion-dollar developments opposed by neighbors. ...