From today’s Globe’s front-page article on Christy Mihos and his campaign for Governor:
He even suggested that the authority sell commercial naming rights to the new Interstate 93 bridge over the Charles River and claimed it could bring in $100 million from a bank or corporation eager to put its name on the span. Recounting a conversation, Mihos said then-governor Paul Cellucci, who appointed him to the [turnpike] board, told him Cardinal Bernard Law and others were urging him to name the bridge for Leonard P. Zakim, who, after many years of working for religious, racial, and cultural harmony as director of the Anti-Defamation League of New England, had died of cancer at the age of 46.
“I said, ‘Well, the Jewish community, if they want it for Lenny, let them bid too,’” Mihos recalled telling Cellucci. “We need the money.” Cellucci, evidently ignoring the fund-raising scheme, in 2000 announced plans to include Zakim in the bridge name.
“Yeah, if those Jews want the bridge named for their guy, let ‘em bid for it! They can afford it, right? They’ve got lots of money.”
Strike 1: the awful notion that the name of every public structure should be for sale to the highest bidder. Just about everyone in the state thought that Bill Weld’s idea to name the new airport tunnel for Ted Williams was a great one – because Williams is a local hero. And Lenny Zakim, in his too-brief 46 years, accomplished a whole lot more toward achieving racial, ethnic, and religious harmony than most of us – including Christy Mihos – will achieve in much longer lives. Zakim was a true hero, and the fact that the state chose to name a beautiful bridge after him is a powerful statement about what our values as a society should be. It sure says more than if the bridge was named after Fidelity or Raytheon. Thanks heavens Gov. Cellucci had the good sense to ignore Mihos’s wretched advice.
Strike 2: the fact that Mihos completely misunderstands what Zakim stood for, and why the bridge bears his name. It wasn’t “the Jewish community” that wanted to name the bridge after Lenny Zakim. It was Cardinal Bernard Law. It was Governor Cellucci. It was a host of non-Jews who understood that what Zakim achieved went far beyond the confines of a single community. Shame on Mihos for not getting that.
Strike 3: it may have been unintentional, but Mihos’s comment sure feeds into the “rich Jews” stereotype. As I’ve said before, Mihos is a loose cannon who says stupid things without even realizing it. We don’t need that kind of person running the state.
Sorry Christy, but that’s three strikes.
UPDATE: As others have noted, the Mihos campaign website appears to have crapped out again. No telling when it will be back up. Mihos’s now-departed campaign manager, Holly Robichaud, is quoted in today’s Globe article as follows:
“I just didn’t think he was running a serious campaign,” said Robichaud in telephone interview from Florida, where she is on vacation. “A candidate shouldn’t be devising strategy on his own. He seems to be a one-man shop … You can’t go out there like you’re running for state rep.”