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Mike Dukakis still picks up trash along the Riverway

David Weinberger reports on an encounter with a trash-bag-laden Dukakis outside Wheelock College yesterday:

He chatted me up: My name, what I do, etc. I complimented him on setting such an example. When I beat him to a ruptured styrofoam coffee cup, he offered to throw it out for me, but I instead relieved him of some of the trash he was carrying because Mike Dukakis.

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This is what it looks like.

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retired Cheney, Romney et al. lobby for another War. The dichotomy of public service.

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...builds houses and monitors elections

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He built a nice house with a car elevator and he is monitoring the 2016 race too see whether the clown car can fit another passenger.

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Dukakis was that kinda guy... roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty kinda guy.

A true class act.

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A fine example for us all. I believe there is a correlation between use of public transportation (of which the former Governor is a strong supporter of) and willingness to clean up trash, at least for some people. Having gotten around almost exclusively using the T or walking for almost ten years now, I find that the slower pace involved made me notice my surroundings more and offered more opportunity to clean up trash where I found it (I still carry plastic bags and latex gloves for just that reason) whereas someone zipping down the interstate surrounded by a huge metal box has their surroundings go by in a blur, has less time to observe their surroundings, and no incentive to walk from place to place. In the worst case, trash is flung from cars to the roadside - where a pedestrian is more likely to come across a trash barrel.

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I live in DOT near JFK/UMASS station where I-93 crosses through. I have lived in many neighborhoods throughout the city prior, and I have to say the amount of trash and litter flung from cars on that stretch of highway is mind boggling. I've never seen a neighborhood with such a litter problem in my life, and it gets better the further you walk away from the highway.

My mind goes back to Madrid, where they famously and effectively employ people as street sweepers to keep the city clean.

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They're called hokeys and can be found in neighborhood business districts across the city. Maybe ask Frank Baker to help you get one for that area.

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is a gem.

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But years ago there was a homeless man named Jackson who used to live in the Fenway area. Nice guy who came up from the South way back when and fell on hard times. He had a straw hat, a shopping cart and left everyone alone. He wasn't your drug using/mentally ill type homeless man, he simply liked living outside and enjoyed the urban off-grid homeless lifestyle The cops loved him, and many local fenway business owners gave him food and helped him out when they could. But if Jackson ever happened to be sleeping in an area where Mike Dukakis walked by, the area Captain would get a phone call and officers were forced to go down and wake Jackson up and move him along. I had to do it once and I felt horrible. Jackson never got upset about it, he understood we were doing our jobs, but that always left a sour taste in my mouth that a man who's worst crime was being an eyesore in the peripheral vision of Mr. Dukakis' walk to work every morning, had to change his life around in order to make that walk happen.

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I wonder if what Dukakis really wanted was for you to help the man off the streets, not move him along so he didn't have to see him.

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That isn't what happened. If he ever stopped and talked with the man like officers did, or got to know him like I did, he would have known that. You can go back to your bubble now.

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...that Dukakis was behind the move-on order? Are you sure of that? Or perhaps it was one of your supes who didn't want to look bad?

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I was there, I knew Jackson. Jackson would tell me about Mr. Dukakis walking by and what was said (or wasn't said).

Listen, I'm not here to tell you that Mr. Dukakis is a horrible person. But he wasn't perfect and In my opinion could have handled the situation with a homeless man better. Maybe he felt like not waking Jackson up on certain occasions, but Jackson would tell me that there were times he was awake and Mr. Dukakis would walk right by and not say anything. Again, maybe he thought he was doing the right thing by calling someone else to handle a situation that he didn't feel like he could or should handle, but knowing what I know, Jackson was harmless and would talk to you if you approached him.

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Which isn't much.. I believe you Pete. Only because you've been posting here for a while (almost as long as I have) and you're pretty spot on with your personal anecdotes you share.

While I'd like to not believe that Dukakis was this cold, but coming from you it has to be fairly truthful, as you do speak from personal experience.

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Yea, I'm going to say that Mike was afraid to approach Jackson, which is understandable. But there was never any call for help. Maybe he just wanted him moved along, or expected the police to help him when they did show up to move him along.

One thing was clear. Mike Dukakis did not want Jackson sleeping or setting up camp along the riverway. And even that is understandable. And maybe we weren't doing our job since people aren't actually allowed to camp out there. We tried to do our best for Jackson, but he simply loved that area of the Riverway/Fens.

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Homelessness is obviously a super complex problem, but having a policy and not enforcing it doesn't do anybody any favors.

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And the law says pretty much that it is illegal to be homeless in Boston. Do you think it's right to simply arrest all the homeless and charge them with crimes? What we were doing was community policing vs. broken windows. Mike wanted the man out of there.

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we knew him as James and except for an intimidating tic (tourrette's?), he was harmless and responded to kindnesses. I believe he died several years ago from exposure.

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I used to bike along the paths on the Muddy between Landmark Center and the Medical Area. He would set up camp all summer.

I would bring him leftover food from meetings - cookies, mostly, but sometimes a couple of sandwiches. That guy told me once that he lived outside because he really didn't like to be inside.

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He would have known what? I'm suggesting that Dukakis called in and said "that guy is out there again, please do something about it" the sergeant says to you "go move Jackson along for Mr. Dukakis". But what Dukakis really wanted was to get the guy some help not just shove him a few streets over.

But who knows Pete, maybe he saw all homeless people just like trash and just wanted Jackson cleaned up. I mean it wouldn't fit with the fact that he petitioned for $21.8M in 1988 to try and help the homeless before they lose their homes or the fact that his wife chaired the state's Commission on Homelessness. So, maybe he went over to Jackson one day and offered help and the guy told him to fuck off because Jackson had voted for Sargent or something.

I'm just saying that unless you've spoken to Dukakis about Jackson, then the bubble is yours not mine.

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You can suggest all you want, the cops had already been helping him for years before Dukakis even started calling about him (Jackson moved from the Forest Hills area up to the Fenway area in the early 1980s) Dukakis never called to get help for Jackson, (who didn't need or want any help anyway, that's part of the whole point).

It also doesn't matter how much money Dukakis donated or set up. If he treats those people in a different way, it says something about him.

I don't want this threat to turn into a big smear campaign, so read my other post above. Mabye Mike was afraid of him and didn't understand Jackson. That's fine. Many people called about Jackson because they were afraid of him and his occasional yelling and screaming (he had Tourettes). Just that every time I hear about how Mike goes around picking up all this trash, it reminds me about how he dealt with actual people.

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Like a vagrant who slept under a bridge and yelled and screamed at people?

As according to an unnamed police Captain.

No, it's okay Pete. You made your point. It's just not very good, that's all.

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You don't have to believe me. I just know what happened that's all. And he didn't yell at people, he yelled because he had Tourettes.

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A onetime cop still miffed at someone with the pull to actually make him get off his ass and enforce a law he doesn't like.

anon is right - anybody but the gov would have to be nuts to ask.

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So your ok with Mike D. and his broken windows style of suburban policing? Moving people like Jackson out of there is the ultimate anti-community policing move. Would you have been happier to just arrest him and see the prisons filled with guys like him? Because that is what enforcing the laws would have meant. Community policing is about not enforcing all the laws, especially the ones like Mike D. wanted to have enforced. (He actually just wanted the guy moved, not arrested to be fair)

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can't we call him (them) 'persons of no home'?

I've known guys like Jackson. I've also encountered many obviously seriously mentally ill people living on the street in my life; why in the world aren't decent psychiatric hospitals opened (re-opened) to get these poor folks off the streets, and hopefully out of danger? Treatment in 'community' settings isn't cutting it. Same with homeless shelters...they should be in a at least semi-rural setting, with open space for gardening, growing food, doing productive things, and they can be isolated from the bad influences of the streets. We spend billions on helping the homeless and mentally ill, I myself am unimpressed with the results,bot just recently, but going back 30-40 years, back to the 70s.

And perhaps Mike Dukakis has O.C.D.....it wouldn't surprise me, many high functioning people have OCD and other neurotic behavior.

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...this was instigated by someone else, without Dukakis' knowledge. Seems likely.

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I have first hand knowledge of it.

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First hand means you heard the call come in from Mike Dukakis or you took the call at the station. Just curious. I'm not doubting or anything, but just saying. The definition is that there was no person in between who gave you this info.

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This sounds more like the governor's handlers getting the homeless guy out of the way - either "security" silliness or a desire to make the city look prettier than it is - than anything the governor himself would have ordered.

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If I call the police to report a person who is asleep along a sidewalk or park, it's out of concern for that person's well-being. I am especially likely to call if a person is lying in an awkward location or in an odd position that may indicate an injury or medical emergency. I've had good conversations with city & state police who say it's good to make the call, and that I can expect the officers to use their judgment about whether the person is okay or needs assistance. It's not up to me to try to talk to person who may just be asleep or may be unconscious or injured. (My safety and my lack of expertise.)

Lots of us know the former governor, at least by acquaintance, and give him the benefit of the doubt on this issue -- I assume his experience is similar to mine on this.

BTW when it's possible, I appreciate feedback from the police, especially to let me know that the person is a regular and is okay.

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A man chooses to live outside? Sleep, eat and spend his life exposed to the elements. Because he prefers an urban off-grid homeless lifestyle but not because there are mental health issues? Naive if not disengenuous. My gut tells me that this anecdote offered as a balance to the laudatory comments is an anecdote that is lacking information and as a result amounts to misinformation.

Sometimes the slogan that "If you can't say something nice about a person don't say anything" is the best guidance.

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Mike is a perfect person that could do no harm to anyone at anytime. Great husband too. Never made a mistake. In fact, I saw him deliver a baby once on the way to work and then run that baby to the ER instead of calling an ambulance, that's what such a great guy he was.

Man, you guys would do well in North Korea.

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A story told to me by an acquaintance:

At a park in Brookline someone had tagged a bench. The following day my acquaintance was walking down the street and from a distance could see someone painting the bench. Ah ha! Finally the tagger would be caught in the act! But as he ran toward to park it became clear that the person painting the bench was none other then Mike Dukakis who was painting over the area that had been tagged to effectually remove it. Instead of complaining to the town or just chalking it up to a decline in the neighborhood he was out early in the morning to solve the problem himself without any fanfare.

It's one thing to speak for the need for civil engagement. It's another to actually do the work.

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painting the mailbox in his neighborhood!

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''No he was the one who would call. new
By Pete Nice on Tue, 05/05/2015 - 10:02am
I have first hand knowledge of it. ''
IMAGE(http://noobmommy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/tonysoprano3.jpg)

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I just wish the Duke would shut up about the North-South rail link. We already have one. It called the subway. Heck, run a shuttle bus up and down the Greenway between the two stations.

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Although, quick: How do you get from South Station to North Station by subway without transferring trains?

The north/south link would be an Amtrak/commuter rail thing, not a subway thing.

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You can get from Back Bay to North Station on the Orange Line, a large percentage of the trains serving South Station also stop at Back Bay (Old Colony and Fairmount lines the exception).

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But as long as we're talking about Back Bay ...

One of the reasons for a north-south link is to do something about the fact South Station has basically run out of room for more trains.

Where are all those new DMUs that allegedly will run on the Fairmount Line and to and from that new station in Allston? Initially, the state was going to buy the giant post office next to South Station, tear it down and add new tracks. But now the near-bankruptcy Postal Service doesn't want to move.

OK, so if you're state officials, you buy the Grand Junction train bridge over the Charles and the tracks through Cambridge and float the idea of using it to divert trains from the Worcester Line to North station. And then you quietly kill those plans, leaving you back at square one.

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Digging the rail link would cost more than expanding South Station. If the USPS is really near bankruptcy, selling the South Postal Annex would make sense, as long as the price was right.

I don't know why I was opposed to the rail link back in the day, but since te Big Dig is done, it is a ship that sailed.

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This track would need to be significantly improved if it were to be used for actual revenue service.

The Grand Junction Railroad is the one that crosses Mass Ave. right near MIT, Main St., and many other streets, all at grade. Currently the MBTA uses this rail line to move trainsets between the north and south rail networks (non-revenue service). I've walked through this area during rush hour and seen trains trying to get through the gridlock. Idiot motorists are stopped on the tracks and can't move forward or backward because of the gridlock surrounding them. And even when there's not gridlock the trains inch through the area because there are so many at-grade crossings to make.

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Imagine, for a moment, if the Red Line was split into two sections: Red Line-north from Alewife to Charles/MGH, and Red Line-south from South Station to Ashmont/Braintree. No section in the middle.

Sure, it could still be used for commuting to the downtown core. But it's plain to see that such a configuration of the Red Line would lose half, if not more, of its transportation utility.

Alright, now turn that notion around and imagine what's possible when you can run some of the many north side commuter rail branches through to the south side. It stops being merely 'commuter rail', and starts being regional, express, rapid transit instead.

That is, of course, if you do it right, running trains frequently on a highly predictable schedule.

And, yeah, as a bonus it also resolves the 'congestion' issue at South Station, obviating expansion.

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A metropolis where every darn rail line just went in towards the center and out towards the periphery, and if you wanted to go crosstown you were better off using a car.

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Imagine, if you will, a city like any other city. It has a transportation system and the city's people are able to get where they are going efficiently and effectively. They have ways of going downtown, crosstown, and uptown at a moment's notice and with little wait. The city you are imagining sounds normal, but it's not. You realize that you're not in an American city. The people are...different...happy. And that's when you realize you are in...The Twilight Zone. (doo doo-doo doo)

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You then realize that this country has epic glorious mountains and shiny clean cities on gorgeous lakes.

The schedule in your hand is also when the trains come and go.

You are in ... The Switzerland Zone!

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For 30+ years, they have been talking about extending the Blue Line from Wonderland, to Lynn and Salem.

To this day, the only trains running through Lynn and Salem are purple, not blue...

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Why does it matter what color the trains are?

The Commuter Rail should run at a usable frequency. Problem solved.

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Look at the commuter rail schedule and the blue line schedule. Notice the difference in the number of trains, particularly during the day?

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In addition to what others have said, it would relieve congestion at north station, which isn't at capacity but is nearing it, and which doesn't have a USPS building next door. It would also decrease the amount of valuable land take up by empty, idling trains in the city. And it would close the only gap in the northeast corridor, making the Maine service that much more useful, popular, and maybe even profitable.

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I'd be sitting on a bench and he'd come walking a long, spot some trash in a bush, grab it and go throw it out. My dad and I do this too. Dad's a hard-line conservative republican, but softened upon hearing the Duke's dedication to picking up litter. "Leave nothing behind," as they say.

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Just this morning around 8am, a guy walking his dog on the Esplanade, on the island not far from the Hatch Shell, was picking up trash as he walked along. Guy in track pants, baseball hat, and red backpack, fuzzy yellow dog. I thanked him this morning, and I thank him now.

Him and The Gov set good examples for all of us to follow when we see litter and are able to do something about it.

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..brought my kids down to ride bikes when they were young. on one such trip, we saw rummaging in the bushes and thought it was a teaching moment to explain the plight of the homeless when out comes Mike Dukakis with some trash bags as if it was the most normal thing to do. We greeted with a "good morning Governor" and I explained to mys kids that this guy could have been president...although they were young, they remember this.

i got to meet him and chat more over the years...good guy, very good guy

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