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Murphy worried Occupy Boston could bankrupt city, especially with arrival of 'professional agitators'

City Council President Steve Murphy talked about Occupy Boston on Channel 25 today. While he said he agrees with some of the points protesters are making - banks got bailouts, Big Oil nearly bankrupted the US auto industry - he said police are now on target to spend $2 million a month on patrolling the area, and that money has to come from somewhere.

Whether it's snow plowing or street cleaning or educational needs or summer jobs for kids, frankly, it's all in the same bucket and we only have so much wheat in that barrel. ... Wall Street isn't picking up the tab on this it's Boston taxpayers. ... I just don't think it's good to try to bankrupt a city as you're trying to make your point. And I think that might be where we're headed.

Murphy also echoed comments by Police Commissioner Ed Davis after the Tuesday-morning arrests, that "professional agitators" have joined the occupation and want to cause trouble.

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Comments

The right to assemble is a right protected under the Constitution First Amendment, and political speech is protected above all other.

Public officials don't ask how much it costs to give a suspect due process or a defense lawyer when accused. What's the annual public school budget in Boston for comparison?

Not for nothing but Occupy Boston has never requested Boston Police monitoring. This is on the mayor and Commissioner.

Steve Murphy also has a duty to uphold the Constitution, which he is failing. Is there an impeachment process for City Council President?

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I've noticed that Murph's interest in saving taxpayers money usually coincides with one of his innumerable lackluster campaigns. In 2007, with only 9 candidates running at-large, Murphy proposed eliminating the preliminary election, on the pretext that it would save Joe Six-Pack a few bucks by avoiding the need to staff two city elections. Left unsaid by Murphy was the fact that the preliminary election results were often used by more progressive candidates to motivate and mobilize their supporters and improve their standing in the November general election (e.g., Felix Arroyo finished 5th in the prelim in '03, but vaulted to #2 in the general six weeks later). Murph's 2007 intervention on behalf of the taxpayer was so flagrant it was derided as the "Steve Murphy Job Protection Act." Sadly, it worked. Let's hope people see through it this time.

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How appropriate. Most of those people protesting and their sympathizers can survive as long as THEY don't hit an unexpected expenditure like a large medical bill or layoff that ruins their financial stability either. Now you are starting to understand how they feel.

Do something about it. You have been given 2 choices:

1) Violate the Constitution and crack skulls at Dewey Square learning nothing from our historic past.

2) Side with the protest and make Boston a shining beacon for the 99% in the rest of the country by doing everything within the city's power to level the playing field. Make it known to politicians on every other level that they need to do the same because there are very real reasons why you can't let this go on for fear of going bankrupt for the very same reasons that the protestors are out there in the first place.

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Did this ridiculous statement strike anyone else as complete bullshit?

...just don't think it's good to try to bankrupt a city as you're trying to make your point. And I think that might be where we're headed.

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They don't have to bankrupt the city. You got a problem with them, you're part of a state and a country. Call in state troopers and the National Guard.

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Because the National Guard and peaceful protesters have such a great history...

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you're treating citizens as enemies of the state.

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You're thinking of Little Rock, 1957?

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I was actually thinking Kent State, but regardless, escalating to National Guard supervision is not the answer.

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But guess what? We need cops to, at the very least, oversee the assembly. Either Boston's going to pay for it, or we can use cops subsidized by Massachusetts and America.

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Not really. The campers have cell phones. If trouble comes up they can call 911 like anyone else.

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I'm finding it funny the disingenuous arguments from conservatives that the government needs to "oversee" a peaceful assembly that hasn't incited violence or caused any major problems.

After all, the constitution and freedom are like patriots; wholesale brands of the GOP™ only.

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No actually, we dont. How many cops are mobilized to oversee the assembly of thousands of shoppers in the Pru on weekends?

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The park is public. The shops can hire their own security.

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But wait a second, I thought the park was private property...? Only when convenient I guess.

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No one in the City government has authority to call in the State Police or the National Guard. The Authority to do both rests with the Governor.

Davis might be able to make a request of the Colonel, but the first question she'll ask is, "who's going to pay for the overtime required for me to send troopers down there?"

Furthermore, in a beautiful irony, that would be the same Commissioner Davis requesting the help of the MSP as he who has essentially been saying that he wants the MSP out of Boston because policing there can be handled by the BPD.

In other words, there is nfw it is going to happen unless TommyBoy is able to convince the governor.

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We have to count on Deval Patrick to call in extra cops for our city? Hold my hair back while I vomit, please.

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I'm not sure about the National Guard, but the State Police will do whatever the cities and towns ask them to do within the frameworks of their contracts. If Boston says they need cops from the State, Cambridge, Newton, or Brookline, then those agencies will send cops and the City will pay for the other towns, and the state will pay for the troopers.

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No one in the City government has authority to call in the State Police or the National Guard. The Authority to do both rests with the Governor.

Davis might be able to make a request of the Colonel, but the first question she'll ask is, "who's going to pay for the overtime required for me to send troopers down there?"

Furthermore, in a beautiful irony, that would be the same Commissioner Davis requesting the help of the MSP as he who has essentially been saying that he wants the MSP out of Boston because policing there can be handled by the BPD.

In other words, there is nfw it is going to happen unless TommyBoy is able to convince the governor.

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Thats Faux News for you Bullshit all the time

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How exactly are Menino and the police supposed to side with the protestors? The protestors are not protesting a City or BPD policy or practice. Even if Menino and BPD were to make a statement saying "we agree with you," it wouldn't make the protestors leave. The protestors are protesting an amorphous concept with no concrete demands or targets of their protest. At best you can say they are protesting the banks and big business, but Menino and BPD can't force the banks or big business to do anything in response to the protests. What will make the protestors go away? If they all got jobs? That's not going to happen as long as they are all sitting in tents in Dewey Square and not out polishing their resumes, submitting applications, searching the help wanted ads, etc.

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do they need to leave?

Difficulty: Can't use "unsightly", or "I don't like them"

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But I'd love to find out. I doubt you've got the list of unlimited options at Menino's disposal though. Look at San Francisco's city manager, John Avalos, as an example. He was on Countdown last night to talk about how he supports his city's Occupy movement with nuggets like this:

As a supervisor, I’m looking at creating our own municipal bank, pulling our money out of big banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America, so we can actually control how we are investing in local businesses and small-property owners.

Let me know when any of those words roll out of Mumbles' mouth in that particular order. Hell, let me know if Menino even shows up at a General Assembly meeting. Hell, let me know if Menino even drives by Dewey Square between now and the end of the occupation.

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that to make up the balance, City Councilors endorse their paychecks back to the city for the duration.

Additionally or alternatively, the City Council could investigate why Commissioner Davis thinks it is necessary to spend $70,000 a day patrolling a peaceful assembly.

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Maybe Liberty Mutual could give back a tiny bit of the $45 million in tax breaks it got last year from the State?

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What they were planning to do all along.

This is the reason for the protest, and this is who Menino and Davis are fighting for.

Fleece the taxpayer, and pat each others back.

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I did a back of the envelope calculation and $2,000,000 a month works out to almost a thousand overtime hours each day. Really? They are continuously committing 40 extra officers to this every day, in addition to the men and women who are already on duty?

It also doesn't scale with the same exact number being used by authorities in New York.

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According to a tweet from WBZ just now, BPD has given an updated overtime cost of just over $146,000 for dealing with OccupyBoston.

If it costs $2M/month and they've spent $146,000, then the cops have only been out there for about 2 days. So, the two numbers are simply not internally consistent.

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I seem to recall this sort of language related to some other protest... Oh yeah, that is what they called MLK, Jr.:

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial 'outside agitator' idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds."

Don't get me wrong, I think the Occupiers are actually pro-regime types for the most part whose policy proposals will make the problems they see worse, not better, as this article argues: http://mises.org/daily/5761/What-Radicalism

But damn, the cops can't do any better than recycling anti-civil rights rhetoric in voicing their concerns about these protests?

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I can't believe you'd quote Martin Luther King, Jr. and then link to the neo-Confederate, Civil War-revisionist Von Mises Institute. They're awful.

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civilian flagmen? Surely they must be cheaper and with so many of them available....

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The UNIONS that these idiots support would never allow that.

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Let's do the math here:
-$2M/month
-ballpark $75,000/year salary for the officers (6.25k/mo)
-three 8-hour shifts

So that's what, 106 officers, 24x7?

Haha, ha ha, ha, no.

When I stopped by one evening, there were two officers sitting a big "crime scene response" truck (which was illegally idling), playing with their smartphones. Is the truck running on condensed organic angel farts?

Look, folks: this is just an attempt to jam the Occupy Boston message to "working man" by making him wonder over his beer "what they're costing me."

If this is so expensive, I can assume someone has been keeping track of said expenses. Where are the balance sheets?

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95% of all the firefighters, police officers, and EMTs and are on their scheduled shift right now in America are probably doing nothing. They are waiting for an emergency to happen.

But here are my estimates for the police. Your average patrol officer makes $34 an hour overtime. Have 100 officers working a shift like this and thats about 27K a shift. Thats 81K a day, and 4.8 million for a 2 month period. 2.4 million for a 1 month period. 1.2 million for 50 officers in that one month period. Each Sgt. is going to make $46 in OT, a LT will make $55 an hour, CPT $65 an hour.

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I don't know why they'd bring two guys on who already worked an 8 hour shift when they could assign two from A-1.

OccupyBoston's been there for weeks, it'd be easy to schedule as straight time.

Why do they need to assign police officers at all? Occupy Boston didn't request it.

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already got sent over to C-11 for the murders that are happening. And the other 2 guys from A-1 need to service calls for emergencies in A-1.

And you assign police there for the same reason you assign police to abortion protests, Westboro Baptist Church rallys, or sporting parades. Innocent people can get hurt.

Besides, the BPD have assigned dozens of officers here on straght time already.

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No, not those two guy, the two guy sitting in a squad car eating donuts. They can do that in Dewey Sq.

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"Have 100 officers working a shift like this and thats about 27K a shift."

We came to the same conclusion. About 100 cops working 24x7, which is not the reality at the scene. It's more like 2-3 guys, except during the day, when maybe it's a dozen or so.

Go look at all the photos - except when they cleared the Greenway, they haven't deployed anywhere near 100 officers.

As multiple people have pointed out, Boston is using the same figure NYC did, which is absurd.

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I'm just fixing your off balanced guess as to how they get paid.

I belive they had a helicopter, and you have to include the overtime for those other shifts that have to be filled for those guys in the special operations that were pulled for those shifts, plus the guys on standby you don't see, plus the civilians that work for the BPD that get hired ( people that set up barracades etc),

Either way I don't think the city benefits by making up numbers. They either paid these guys or didn't.

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I wasn't sure who I was voting for in the City Council election until now. Actually, I'm still not 100% sure who I'll pick, but I am 100% sure I won't vote for Steve Murphy.

Take a look at who got arrested the other night and you'll see the extent of the "outside agitators."

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I mean the cops, not the protesters.

People complain that OB's goals are elusive and demands inarticulate, but no one has yet offered a coherent explanation for why we need to spend any extra money at all (never mind $2 million a month!!!) to patrol a tiny area of public land that hasn't reported a single crime or emergency since OB popped up.

Somehow, I don't think Murphy, Menino or Davis is up to that task. The police union's chief financial officer might be able to shed some light on it, though.

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I'm a business owner and a veteran. I support what these people are doing. Furthermore, I think the Tea Party and the Occupy protesters are in the opposite ends of the same boat. They both think the status quo is not working and want a change. Democrats and Republicans are melding into one big party. Seriously, if you didn't know President Obama was a Democrat you would swear that he was a neo-conservative Republican.

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Where traditional NE Republicans have been going. They're calling themselves progressive now. The Dems have been more true to Reagan's vision in the past 20 years.

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While City Council President Steve Murphy is correct in his comments, the city needn't worry about the situation going on much longer. The protesters require constant news coverage to remain relevant but with each passing day, they become older news and essentially not newsworthy unless they act up again, blocking bridges and/or trespassing on restricted areas. That will lead to more mass arrests which the city and courts won't tolerate for long. Menino will eventually be forced to cut power too, since there's been no Council approved fiscal appropriation for that and it essentially violates municipal finance law. Despite Al Gore's sincerest warnings, cold weather will soon be here while the National Weather Service 6-10 and 8-14 day long range models for Boston now forecast above average precipitation. What's left of the novelty will soon be gone along with most of the cold, wet protesters. With only a few left, BoPo will mop up the stragglers with one our two prisoner transport wagons. In the end, there'll be no need for mutual aid from State and Transit Police or the Suffolk County Sheriff like last time.

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The Greenway is owned by the state - technically the Turnpike Authority and operated by "The Conservancy" (sounds like an Ayn Rand character). Anyway - The Conservancy is a private board and controls the money - some of which comes from the state but much of which is derived from big private businesses who control the board of The Conservancy (whose head makes like $200,000 a year). How ironic this is the group they are cooperating with to protest the control of big corporations over society.

The city/state/Conservancy can make this all go away very quickly:

a) require the protesters to get a permit
b) require them to leave at 11 pm when the park closes - they can come back at 7 am when it reopens
c) require them to get bonded to pay for any potential damages to public property

These are standard for any other group and does not infringe on their constitutional rights - which clearly state that you have to assemble peacefully and within the constraints of the law.

If they want to protest by camping out - go pay your fees and park yourselves on a state campground somewhere. Stop breaking the law and the city to make your point. I don't care if it's $2 million a month or $500k (probably closer to the truth) there are better places for Boston to spend their money.

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Got any useful Supreme Court precedents about permitting for political speech on public land? Frankly I don't really get how these laws are constitutional, though I'm sure such laws have been around a while. What could the framers have really meant by peaceable assembly? Think they meant "in your own living room"? I wonder if that's what they had in mind. Trespassing on private property is one thing- but the general concept of "unlawful assembly" is pretty creepy. Khaddaffi and all those other dictators might be impressed with Boston's "legal" efforts to stifle assembly and calls for reform.

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Which basically said people have the right to give out pamphlets on public streets but the Supreme Court also talks about how someone might be able to disturb other people that might want to use public property (the street in this case). I'm sure you could use it in this case if you really wanted to push it.

Municipal authorities, as trustees for the public, have the duty to keep their communities' streets open and available for movement of people and property, the primary purpose to which the streets are dedicated. So long as legislation to this end does not abridge the constitutional liberty of one rightfully upon the street to impart information through speech or the distribution of literature, it may lawfully regulate the conduct of those using the streets. For example, a person could not exercise this liberty by taking his stand in the middle of a crowded street, contrary to traffic regulations, and maintain his position to the stoppage of all traffic; a group of distributors could not insist upon a constitutional right to form a cordon across the street and to allow no pedestrian to pass who did not accept a tendered leaflet; nor does the guarantee of freedom of speech or of the press deprive a municipality of power to enact regulations against throwing literature broadcast in the streets. Prohibition of such conduct would not abridge the constitutional liberty since such activity bears no necessary relationship to the freedom to speak, write, print or distribute information or opinion.

I would think that some point the protesters are infringing on the rights of others to use the park.

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WBC protested literally make a living out of going around, protesting soldiers funerals, then suing the municipalities and states when they get involved.

It all comes down to how much time and money you have to fight these things. Same with the recording police on video BS; it look a a well off lawyer to get arrested before anyone went after it in court.

Which is why I'm happy OWS seems to have borad support, even if they're not all very articulate. Hopefully the cops and Menino will overstep their duties on some trust fund baby, and get their asses handed to them in court, while knocking down some laws long overdue to be voided.

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and I don't see *any* night time police patrols in the Fenway Richard D. Parker city park.

There are, however, many EMS calls to remove overdose victims. How much does an EMS call with an ambulance and fire truck cost?

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Just got back from Dewey Square. The only "outside agitator" I saw down there was possibly Dennis "The Stomper" Connolly skulking around. I thought he was in jail, but I guess not. Also, there were far more media than police, a farmer's market and a food truck doing a pretty lovely business at the South Station end of the park.
If the police want to be really useful, perhaps they could keep an eye on the Stomper, probably the only real threat to anyone's safety down there. Guy's got at least one homicide and several beatings to his credit- maybe he was let out to teach the protesters a lesson?

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I was surprised to hear a call go out over the BPD radio yesterday warning officers he was on the street.

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and about 5 of them much more dangerous than the stomper. I wish I could send you the flyers but I can't.

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Given the comments above, did it occur to anyone with a visceral anti-police reaction that maybe the cops down there are aware of the risks that these and other assorted vagabonds of the city pose to the protesters, and that they might be there, at least a little bit, to protect the twentysomethings who think that they are invincible?

Let me put it another way: you can be damned sure that the first time some well-to-do person's kid who has been camping protesting down there is seriously assulted (and it's only a matter of time - those MacBooks and fancy cell phones command a good price on the street) that the city will be on the defending side of a lawsuit for negligence (however frivolous).

And that's when Mr. Murphy can count on spending some real money.

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Maybe we should just arm them, after all, why would anyone be arguing that it's the governments job to protect them? It's up to the individual to protect themselves.

/end snark
//kinda

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I hate this stereotyping of the OB/OWS protesters as trust-fund babies and rich college kids. For one thing, you don't actually know jack shit about their backgrounds. A lot of those college kids will probably be up to their ears in loans when they graduate.

And even if some do come from privileged backgrounds, why should that disqualify them from protesting? Weren't white people allowed to be part of the civil rights movement?

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The "well-to-do" in my comment clearly refered to any parents of persons who might be protesting down there. And I do not believe that just because someone's parents have money that s/he does too.

Nor did I say or even suggest that some class of persons did not have a right to protest.

My comment suggested only that people with money to pay lawyers often do exactly that - and particularly when their kids are harmed.

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Serves those with deep pockets best. I don't see that as a newsflash. Hell, it's probably one of the protestors grievances (although not a top one) if you'd ask them about it.

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Seems like every victim of a crime would have a similar case against the police. Car got stolen? Sue the city for failure to protect your property!
Most likely such lawsuits get dismissed out of hand immediately.

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As I just tried to make clear to spencer, since the law of the jungle has slowly receded, angry wealthy people have found new ways to inflict pain.

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Stephen Murphy is running for re-election in November.

If you look closely at incumbent City Council President Stephen Murphy's statements and Mayor Tom Menino's, you can see how they're similar.

Menino:

  • “sympathizes” with many of the issues taken up by Occupy Boston
  • says protests cost the city a lot of resources
  • will make a decision about the end of the encampment in the “near future”

Murphy:

  • supports & agrees with #OccupyBoston & protest v. Wall Street.
  • says they're "try[ing] to bankrupt a city (He's standing up for Boston taxpayers who didn't receive a bailout.)
  • says they're "professional agitators"

There's no question in my mind Murphy took this position and more importantly went on TV this morning (Fox) to announce it for electoral politics (to get re-elected.)

Cuts have have been the mantra since Wall St crashed the economy, so everyone is ready to lap it up.

I'm disgusted by Murphy's argument that Constitutional rights - specifically the right to assemble and the right to petition government - are subject to budget considerations. And I'm disgusted by his self-serving grandstanding. He's on the wrong side of the issue and for the wrong reasons.

In a nut, here's his play: He's banking that more voters care about their city going bankrupt (as if that's going to happen), than the civil liberties of outside agitators (as if all Americans do not have the right to assemble in any public place in the United States, no matter where they call home.) I'm disgusted by this self-serving ploy.

Does anyone know if a city councilor takes an oath to defend the Constitution when they are sworn in? If they do, Murphy should be impeached.

Finally I wonder, does Murphy get anything else from Menino from backing him on this ...such as city workers ready to help get him re-elected?

Incumbents:

  • Steve Murphy
  • Felix Arroyo
  • Ayanna Pressley
  • John Connolly

Challengers:

  • Michael Flaherty,
  • Will Dorcena
  • Sean Ryan
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tl;dr

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I don't even really like Flaherty all that much, but at least he's got some balls. Running against the thoroughly entrenched Menino took some courage, and I commend Maura Hennigan and Patty Davis-Mullen for their efforts, back in the day, as well. I'm sure Murphy's a nice enough guy, but in my view he has has yet to do or say anything particularly impressive or memorable, despite being an elected official for eons. Connolly's more interesting and useful.

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There's an easy way to solve this that will serve both the protesters goals and the city's. Instead of camping out on state-owned land and being patrolled by city cops making heaps of overtime, send everybody to camp out on the front lawns, or better yet, have them squat in homes foreclosed by BOA, Chase, etc. Since they are on private property, the big banks could call the city cops to forcibly remove the protesters, but they would never be able to run all around the city evicting people, so they'll just answer the call, tell the protesters to move on, and leave. The protesters come right back, and the cops put a low priority on any calls to remove them. The banks have no choice but to hire a private security outfit to protect their properties, which should be fine with them, given the scorn they heap on public-sector unions like the Patrolman's Union. The fat cats can finally prove to us all that public employees are nothing but an inefficient use of tax dollars if they pay for private cops out of their own deep pockets. Fees for private services instead of taxes! The Tea Party would love to see this in action - a true libertarian solution that keeps government out of the equation!

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Move the protest to another park? Then when the mayor says you had enough, go to another park, and another park. Why stop now?

But the trespass thing on private property wouldn't work because the banks still pay real estate taxes and rents and deserve police protection as much as the next guy/company.

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clean themselves crap and piss? female feminine hygiene?

throwing tampons on the ground?

if anything a health hazard - they probably stink! phew!

are there porta potties?

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At the public facilities in South Station. They go home, visit friends' apartments, or use the local day shelter's facilities to shower. Also many protesters are "day-trippers" who sleep at home and come out for the General Assemblies and marches.

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So let them call the cops! The point is, if there are enough people and enough foreclosed homes, the cops would be totally preoccupied with dealing with it and eventually get sick of throwing people out of empty houses - houses that would provide more shelter than what the protesters have in Dewey Square - makes a lot of bad press throwing people out of empty houses while murders go unsolved. Tie up the system enough so that cops don't want to deal with it. Let the banks hire thugs on their own dime. If I pay Brinks or ADT to prevent people from breaking into my place, so should they. Cops can only respond after the fact.

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The police would do the same thing they do now except they would split them up and have a more solid case on their hand (criminal tresspass). The cops don't get to decide that they are tired of enforcing the law. The city has the responsability to protect these properties.

This happens with abortion clinics that have a large amount of protesters outside of their clinics. These clinics refuse to pay for private security and the police have to protect everyone there on the taxpayers dime.

I mean, what if the protesters decided to shoplift from CVSs instead? Would the cops just give up after too many CVSs get shoplifted?

Its basically the price of law enforcment

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Someone mentioned it earlier, so I'll repeat it here: how about the protestors fill up the Filene's Hole? There's an issue I can back!

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These guys are really, really stupid, aren't they? People in Boston really got to start to pay attention on election day.

Our local politicians are horrible.

It also brings up questions of why this is a priority, yet we're not even thinking of spending 2 million to stop the violence in Dorchester and Roxbury? We have a section of the city called "Murderpan", yet Davis is worried he's going to be forced to spend 2 Million a month downtown? Whats the monthly budget in those areas?

It's pretty apparent where Mumbles and Menino stand. This should really give Dem's pause before we blindly re-elect him next time around.

Sad, sad, sad state of affairs.

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is expensive!

the hyperbole coming from the city politicians and police is getting worse and worse. Hopefully it'll start turning some heads.

Good thing Coakley's in their pocket.

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The media and the authorities need to stop talking about mythical "outside agitators", "dirty hippies" and the like. This is not 1967. How OLD are these people? How soon before they drag Richard Nixon into it? This whole protest is going to fizzle out of it's own accord quite soon as the weather turns more inhospitable and the trust fund protestors return to the warmth of their dorm rooms and parents basements.

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There's a professional agitator in your washing machine ...

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The one and only time I met Council President Murphy, I, alas, didn't know who he was. He showed up an event I was running where Menino was speaking. Murphy was late, and he's really giant and he was kind of standing in the middle of the room. So I slipped up beside him and said quietly, Welcome, Sir, I have a terrific seat for you right over here. Seriously, right in front as it happened. His reply was, "Um, I'm Council President Stephen Murphy. And I'm here to be recognized."

Um. Gross.

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The one and only time I met Council President Murphy, I, alas, didn't know who he was. He showed up at an event I was running where Menino was speaking. Murphy was late, and he's really giant and he was kind of standing in the middle of the room. So I slipped up beside him and said quietly, Welcome, Sir, I have a terrific seat for you right over here. Seriously, right in front, as it so happened. His reply was, "Um, I'm Council President Stephen Murphy. And I'm here to be recognized."

Um. Gross.

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it looks like a helicopter view of a Counting Crows concert, I wonder what if you can see them on Google Earth.

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Just a tad lower than $2 million - like, oh, $1.6 million lower.

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