In a get-together with a group of local political bloggers (and me), mayoral candidate Michael Flaherty compared Downtown Crossing to a wartorn Iraqi city, would not rule out replacing Police Commissioner Ed Davis and said a hidebound, vindictive City Hall is stalling vital development and driving young people out of the city (David Kravitz has a live-blog summary of the discussion; I have some more here).
Michael Flaherty is springing for lunch for a bunch of bloggers today. Have any pressing questions for the mayoral candidate? Post them, up to about 12:30 p.m. and I'll ask. Over at Blue Mass. Group, David will live-blog the session (I'll be bringing my laptop, but I'm not sure yet if I'll be blogging live).
Sliced Flaherty sign at Centre and Baker streets in West Roxbury. Two large Menino signs across the street were untouched.
The Michael Flaherty campaign is still totaling up just how many of its campaign signs were damaged in a vandalism spree across West Roxbury and Hyde Park. One supporter said as many as 200 signs were damaged - large ones by having "Flaherty" excised and smaller ones by being simply slashed.
The Bulletin reports on the vandalism. Flaherty and Yoon backers blame Menino, while the Menino camp says it's had signs destroyed in the North End and Charlestown.
Sam Yoon proposes giving a tax break to building owners who retrofit their roofs with waterproof membranes on top of which they pour on dirt and then plant vegetation:
These roofs promote energy efficiency, reduce storm-water runoff, improve air quality, lessen the urban heat island effect, reduce noise, promote productivity, beautify rooftops, and extend roof life. They also create new markets and jobs for rooftop garden products.
He also calls for weatherizing older homes and creating "green neighborhoods" by encouraging farmers' markets and community gardens and expanding bike lanes.
Sam Yoon was tearing into the city's Elderly Commission (for handing out shwag with prominent "Mayor Thomas M. Menino imprints") at a campaign stop in Mattapan when three Menino functionaries (including his chief of staff) rose to object. The Dorchester Reporter chronicles the interchange.
David Bernstein alerts us to a nascent controversy over the Boston Election Department's decision to move the "St. Brigid's polling place" (which is not actually at St. Brigid's) to, um, somewhere else. Michael Flaherty, in particular, thinks hijinks are afoot, given how Southie feels about the incumbent mayor, but the election folks insist they know how to do this right, so Flaherty should stop making a federal case out of (presumably because that's what the feds are for).
Of course, even if he wanted to, he couldn't, since he obviously doesn't live in Boston.
The other day, the Globe explained why Bostonians get to see roughly 72,000 commercials a day in which FiOS Guy triumphs over Cable Oaf even though they can't sign up for it. Verizon says it'll get around to wiring up New England's largest city one of these days and that dense cities are simply harder to wire than spread-out suburbs, but Tom Menino says it's a personal vendetta against him because he wants the company to pay taxes on its wires along public ways.
Ars Technica reports Boston isn't alone: New York and Washington have been slow to get FiOS as well.
Dan Farnkoff passes along this photo of a defaced Yoon sign on Poplar Street in Roslindale.
This just in from the Menino camp: Hizzona says he'll be participating in three debates and "a forum," so get out your calendar now:
The first is Weds., Aug. 26 on Channel 4 between 7 and 8 p.m. (with a rebroadcast the next night on Channel 38. A second hour-long debate will follow on Thurs., Sept. 10, 5-6 p.m. on Channel 25 (with co-sponsorship by the Herald). Menino will face off with challengers Sam Yoon, Kevin McCrea and Michael Flaherty.
The third debate will be Mon., Oct. 19, sponsored by the Globe, NECN, Channel 2 and WBUR. No time listed for the tete-a-tete between Menino and whover comes in second in the Sept. 22 primary (what? I shouldn't assume Menino will be one of the two finalists?).
There's also some sort of forum that Channel 5 is trying to work out.
Sam Yoon tweets: Right direction, not enough.
Says the state should raise the gas tax instead (which, of course, isn't going to be happening anytime soon), Wicked Local Allston/Brighton reports:
... The proposed 19.5 percent fare increase is an unsustainable cost for many Boston residents. In addition, service cuts have been proposed on many evening and weekend routes, as well as those routes that have experienced lower ridership. However, these routes are often the only option for many residents who work evening or weekend shifts and do not have any other reliable forms of transportation. ...
Mayoral candidate Kevin McCrea says he would emulate a pilot state program and hire civilians to handle flagging at construction sites - but also make detail work available to police cadets who can't get on the BPD because of budget constraints:
The benefits of this are many. We allow police officers to be at their best for their important job of public safety. We help to lower the unemployment rate in Boston by hiring residents to fill these jobs. We lower taxes for Boston residents by lowering the costs of construction to our roads, bridges and buildings in the City of Boston. This can help lower the cost of building housing as well.
His complete statement:
Christina Meehan suggests that a foreclosed building is not the best place for the Menino campaign to put a large "Moving Boston Forward" sign.
Looks like a Flaherty volunteer in JP needs some education on what can go in mailboxes.
The Globe reports Tom Menino's decided to have the city loan up to $200,000 to investors in the Bay State Banner to help keep the paper going.
The money would come from a fund managed by the BRA. In April, the Banner called for Menino to resign because of the way the BRA was handling redevelopment of a parcel across from Boston Police headquarters - and said "no self-respecting African-American" could vote for him. However, Menino denied using city money to help prop up the Banner was an attempt to stifle criticism:
I will step up any time and help any business in this city. I'm trying to help a business survive. Tell me if that's wrong.
'FNX listeners narrowly pick his Rage Against the Machine choice over some other guy's choice. Selected comment:
Yoon looks like a badass. I feel if I don't vote for him he'll come to my house and punch me in face, steal my wallet, and drink milk straight from the carton.
Meanwhile, David Bernstein explains why Deval Patrick's newfound admiration for charter schools could help Yoon more than Menino.
Well, nobody who's going for his fifth term in office; you know the other three will definitely be there.
WBZ announced Jon Keller will moderate a debate on Aug. 26, from 7 to 8 p.m. at 'BZ studios for livecasting on Channel 4 and 1030 AM.
Today's Boston election roundup:
Chris Kulikoski, running against District 1 (North End, East Boston, Charlestown) incumbent Sal LaMattina, says the city needs to find new ways to combat rats. He said "rats as big as cats" scurry around near his Charter Street home after dark and that the city might have to take steps such as banning leaving trash on the street overnight: "Presently, trash sits out all night for next-day collection. Since rats are nocturnal, it only makes sense not to leave trash out overnight for rates to feast on. These are not the feasts the North End should be known for."
Mayoral hopeful Michael Flaherty says he wants a referendum this November to let voters say if they want a limit on how long somebody can serve as mayor. In a statement today, he says:
The fact that our current Mayor just marked his sixteenth year in office brings new relevance to discussions on term limits. However, when it comes to making any decision about term limits, we must recognize that we are talking about limiting voters' choices about who is representing their interests at the government level. For that reason, I believe government officials have no business deciding whether we should impose term limits. If residents truly believe that the issue of imposing term limits should be debated, then i think it should be debated by the residents, not public officials. That is why I would support the idea of putting this issue on the ballot for voters to decide this November.
Meanwhile, Kevin McCrea says Sam Yoon's call for term limits today is just another example of "Sam stealing convenient ideas," noting he's he's been calling for term limits since he launched his campaign earlier this year.
And what of incumbent Mayor Tom Menino? Well, he's trying for his fifth straight term this fall.
To the editor:
Councilor Michael Flaherty’s idea to slash the city’s motor pool by having workers ride the T is a brilliant strategy for doubling the number of employees on the payroll. How else does he expect to maintain the same level of productivity when workers are forced to spend half the day waiting for trains and buses that run infrequently and arrive late, if at all?
Is Flaherty trying to save the city money or earn points with the unions by creating jobs for their members?
Mayoral hopeful Sam Yoon is celebrating Tom Menino's reign by vowing to serve no more than two terms as mayor - just like Menino once did:
If eight years is long enough for the President of the United States, then it should be long enough for the Mayor of Boston. Politicians, just like everything else, have a shelf life. After two terms, staleness begins to creep into administrations. Term limits ensure fresh leadership and a healthier democracy.
Kevin McCrea writes the owners of One Beacon Street get a tax break of between $5 million and $8 million a year for building in a "blighted" area:
The juxtaposition of the One Beacon tower on beautiful Beacon Hill, just down from the State House and Franklin Park which is in the heart of Dorchester and Roxbury is striking.
When will our society stop giving tax breaks to the rich, while crying poor and shutting down cultural attractions in poorer sections of town?
He was joking on an 'FNX appearance this morning, right?
Yoon goes online with the lefties at Daily Kos and promptly gets bushwacked by some Somerville residents upset about parking enforcement there. But he manages to steer the conversation back to Boston issues - some interesting stuff there about transportation - and ignore questions about when he's going to get rid of Joe Trippi.
Via Kat Powers.