End-of-summer blues darken musings

Don’t tell me the end of summer isn’t until the third week in September.  Virtually everyone understands summer ends on Labor Day (or the Friday before for those who want to beat the rush.)  The leaves are beginning to turn. Crickets are making a racket at night. Returning college students are clogging the streets with rental vans.  Increased traffic makes roads already clotted with construction work even more impassable.

To intensify those seasonal downers, certain news stories have darkened the mood.  One of the most infuriating is the Boston Herald’s series on the excesses permitted by the MBTA pension system.  Reporter Matt Stout detailed how more than half those receiving T pensions retired before the age of 60; 35 percent, before 55 years old; and fully 17 percent retired in their 40’s.  Wish I had gone to work at the T. I could have retired years ago and might even have gone on to yet another state job with a pension funded by the taxpayers.

Another Herald story also prompted a scowl. Outlining the $52 million that Boston could gain from having a casino built at Suffolk Downs, reporters Stout and Dave Wedge explored the controversy over having a referendum wherein just East Boston voters  weigh in on the casino rather than voters citywide.  At a press conference, Mayor Tom Menino said, “Why should people in Readville or West Roxbury have a say in what happens in East Boston?” (His office confirms the quotation.) Does the Mayor really think that worsened traffic, impact on local businesses and the lottery, and increased crime (even if it’s only check kiting and prostitution) doesn’t affect the entire city?  If the Mayor’s surprisingly parochial attitude held, why then would we elect any city councilors at large?  They would be elected only by their neighborhoods!  That’s nonsense!

Then there’s Joan Vennochi’s story in the Boston Globe about how the venerable Freedom House is planning a September 10 mayoral forum only for candidates who are “persons of color.” This means John F. Barros, Charlotte Golar Richie, Felix G. Arroyo, Charles C. Yancey, Charles C. Clemons Jr., and David J. Wyatt. Not one of them apparently protested this form of discrimination based on race. Any one of them could have distinguished himself or herself from the pack in a Sister Souljah moment.  As Vennochi noted, can you imagine their reactions if some other organization invited only white candidates?  Why not invite all and get everyone to weigh in on issues affecting minorities, who, by the way, are the majority in the city?

We’re already dealing on a national and international level with the looming debt ceiling crisis, the use of force in Syria, and other profound and troubling problems.  Nice to know our state and local pols are keeping pace with the bad news of the season!

I welcome your comments in the section below.

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4 Responses to End-of-summer blues darken musings

  1. Ted says:

    Live for a while in the community that has had Logan Airport, the Callahan and Sumner tunnels, and Suffolk Downs jammed down their throats for generations, and then you can talk about whether they have more of a stake in a vote to allow a casino. It’s easy to talk when you have a comfy neighborhood to live in unaffected by the downside of these things, but quite another when you suffer from it every day. All outsiders see is the dream of easy dollars, and access to gambling without having to drive to CT.

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    • aronsbarron says:

      I would never say that citywide support for a casino should trump neighborhood opposition. But I do think that citywide opposition should trump local support. There has to be a way of balancing the two, with local sentiment weighted to reflect immediate impact.

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      • Ted says:

        Presented that way, I agree with your premise. To be clear, my position was one of someone who grew up in East Boston (I no longer live there), whose family had a 100 year history in the neighborhood.

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  2. Brian Wallace says:

    Marjorie, I am blown away by the attempt to exclude all white candidates from the forum at the Freedom House, which has now become a oxymoron. Freedom? I am equally shocked by Mel Miller of the Bay State Banner asking Yancey, Wyatt, Clemons to get out of the race. Maybe it’s time for Mel to call it quits. Talk about hypocritical. All of the minority candidates who were invited to the Freedom House? forum should do the right thing and deny the invitation. I can imagine if a organization invited only white candidates to a forum and denied minority candidates the right to share their views. Mel Miller or the people at the Freedom House? have no idea what goes in to running a city wide campaign. The time away from your family, the twenty hour days, the constant battle to raise money, the endless candidate nights, the early mornings at the subway and train stations, the endless pressure, It’s easy to sit in an office and dictate how others should live. Maybe they should travel with one of these candidates for a day and see what the real world is about. Shame on them.

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