Person #2547: 79 Posts

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  1. I hope you're on good terms with Patricia Haddad (0 Replies)

    …who (albeit not on the Committee) will probably be the Alpha player on energy issues for the House side.

  2. Supporters should go into the weeds within the polling (1 Reply)

    Going back to the ” target=”_blank”>first Sage Poll, the support for a Boston Olympics has always been qualified and soft.

  3. And some political honesty from Sen. Brownsberger (0 Replies)

    From the Globe:

    Senator William Brownsberger, a Belmont Democrat, said if it were up to him, the Legislature would seek “greater funding sources” for the T, but he acknowledged that any MBTA fix would probably happen within the no-new-taxes paradigm.

  4. I have no objection to transit expansion (3 Replies)

    …if it’s sustainable.

    What I’m seeing (and this is not limited to mass transit) is an addiction to vanity projects paid, presumably, by the Tooth Fairy.

    To his credit, Senator Rosenberg addressed this, and I applaud his intellectual honesty and political courage for doing so:

    “This is de Tocqueville writ large,” Rosenberg said in a meeting with reporters at his State House office. “That’s the America we live in. We want excellent public services. We expect our government to work efficiently and effectively, but at the same time we’re not willing to invest the resources where needed.

    The reference in the paragraph you cited refers to growing resistance to Boston-centric projects from elsewhere in the Commonwealth, not the probability that transit projects will expand there.

    …the opposition to expansion is inconsistent with the apparent will of the voters

    It’s also equally inconsistent with the apparent (and demonstrably stronger) will of the voters to oppose new taxes and fees.

    Something’s gotta give…

  5. Plus there is an ongoing food fight in the Ledge (2 Replies)

    …having nothing to do with competent or accountable transportation planning:

    However, the biggest obstacle to dealing head-on with the MBTA crisis is not Beacon Hill’s “reform before revenue” mindset. It is the expansion reflex that has solidified into a ‘you got yours, now we get ours’ paradigm…

    Bringing the MBTA up to modern standards requires billions, money that other regions of the state aren’t willing to give up to divert to Big Dig Boston. Again.

    Rosenberg admitted as much. “The unending appetite to expand public transit, for good reason, basically has resulted in building a system that is inadequately supported in both its size and its age,” he said Tuesday. “There is significant demand for more commuter rail…in western Massachusetts [and] other parts of the state.”

    In other words, let them ride the T.

  6. It's gonna be interesting to see how this plays out politically (0 Replies)

    So far, Boston, and Boston area voters are divided, per a massINC/WBUR poll released today:

    …most transportation experts, including conservatives and business leaders, think the system needs more money, or at least relief from some of the debt load that consumes a large part of its budget. Both the Governor and House Speaker Robert DeLeo have said they want to understand what went wrong before committing more money…

    Voters are less equivocal about the root causes of the T’s problems. Two-thirds think the current failure is due to the T’s aging equipment; less than a fifth (17 percent) blame bad management during the storm. And when asked who is most responsible, more than half point to the lawmakers who have controlled T’s purse strings: the legislature (27 percent) and past governors (25 percent).

    Voters want action, but they are less clear about what should be done. They are split over the root causes of the T’s multi-billion dollar maintenance backlog. They are also divided as to whether the T should halt expansion to focus on fixing the core system, or balance both. On the question of paying more in taxes and fees to fix the T, half are in favor and half opposed. We didn’t go too deep on this question in this regional poll, since new revenues would be a statewide issue. Our past work suggests the details of revenue proposals for transportation can make a big difference in support levels.

    Link to cover article

    Poll Toplines

    Poll Crosstabs

  7. True to a point (2 Replies)

    …but I’m not certain that the alliance between bike activists and transit supporters would pass an either/or reality test.

    And greenspace activists constitute a class in itself, again overlaps notwithstanding.

    I still remember some of the more infantile games between and among them during the Arborway Yard battles in Jamaica Plain during the late Nineties and early Oughts.

    Even allowing for the points you raise, it’s not at all evident that the folk you cite constitute a voting majority in neighborhoods where proposed takings would be necessary. Were they so, I think there would be more support for the MBTA (and for transparency in the agency’s operations) on Beacon Hill

    NINBY types can also be affluent (but not necessarily rich) types who genuinely like the pseudo-rusticity of trails unspoiled by rails, and consider bus access to their towns to be a fate worse than death. While I don’t share that opinion, I’ve encountered it.

  8. If there were major changes in the Commonwealth's political culture (1 Reply)

    …against auto-centric lifestyles; furthermore, if prioritizing long-term planning were part of those cultural changes; and finally if public transit activists gained the upper hand over green space and bike trail activism (I know that these groups currently overlap, but what if a choice is foisted between these options?), then you would have a point.

    I don’t see such changes in the foreseeable future.

    I would argue that Massachusetts is become more car-centric over the years, not less. I further think that local NINBYism would at present prevent a majority of local (in particular abutting) residents from supporting such takings.

    My belief is that – at present – green space, bicycle activists, and generic NYMBY types would join forces against public transit activists and win at both the municipal and regional levels.

  9. Answered in this comment (2 Replies)


    Irrespective of who “owns” a given right of way, there will be no serious attempt to re-utilize it for rail of any type, absent the concurrence of a critical mass of support from the cities and towns through which it runs.

    And that, I repeat, is highly unlikely.

  10. The Duke's term was "deinstitutionalization" (2 Replies)

    Of course, absent any community-based residential treatment centers for the mentally ill (the Dukakis Administration made no serious attempt to establish them), most of them ended up on the streets, abandoned and forgotten. Of course, by that time, both the Left and progressivism were firmly wedded to class bigotry, and working class Americans were equally ignored. Per Perlstein:

    One of its roots was surprisingly enough the New Left’s turn away from New Deal politics and union politics. And it comes out of the extraordinary prosperity of the 1960s. It just doesn’t seem as important to have a Democratic party that’s kind of running interference and factory workers. Prosperity is so universal it seems like you could drop out of high school, burn down a building against the Vietnam War and end up with a job at GM the next day.

    So you see in the class of politicians called the “Watergate babies” who are elected to Congress in 1974, this indifference to the New Deal tradition. Most strikingly in the case of Gary Hart, who says “we’re not a bunch of little Hubert Humphries,” and derides old-fashioned Democrats as Eleanor Roosevelt Democrats. He doesn’t think this New Deal tradition has anything to say to people in the 1970s.

    Of course, as John Hope Franklin noted, the New Left was “neither new, nor much of a Left”.

    Much of what passes for “progressivism”, both here and nationally, is actually a narcissistic tory Right that operates primarily as a Republican outreach mechanism.

  11. Dukakis' technocratic equal-opportunity bigotry was well known. (3 Replies)

    Let’s start with a quote from Rick Perlstein (from which the original link was taken):

    He first won, in 1974, campaigning from the right, against a Republican incumbent, Francis Sargent, best known for aggressively pushing racial integration of Boston’s schools. A UPI political reporter analyzed his victory: “In the upside down world of Massachusetts politics it makes sense that Republicans are liberals, Democrats are conservatives, and that Michael S. Dukakis of the New Deal and Great Society party is going to run the state like a bank.” He made a “lead pipe guarantee” of no new taxes; his win, said UPI, was “a statement by the voters that they were tired of the Sargent administration’s emphasis on costly human service programs which caused the state’s budget to triple during his tenure in office….While he will be committed to implementing the social welfare programs of the Sargent years, Dukakis will do so with the bottom line in mind—how much is it going to cost and can we get by without it?” And so he did, at least in his second chance in the office, from 1983 to 1991 (he lost the first time in a primary in 1978)…

    Does the text in bold remind you of anyone?

    Insofar as equal-opportunity bigotry is concerned, I would suggest that you take the time to read “What It Takes” by Richard Ben Cramer. Arguably the best analysis of the 1988 Presidential race, the book covers Dukakis sanctimony and personal contempt for both working class people and the civil rights movement at length.

    Eddie King was your basic “when-in-doubt-take-the-sleezy-way-out” pseudo-populist 1970′s Massachusetts pol, who was able to exploit the backlash against Dukakis in 1978, but who was done in by the aforementioned sleeze four years later. The issue wasn’t ideology in either the 1978 or 1982 elections: it was style.

    I don’t doubt Kevin White’s intentions, but his elitism was a prime reason why he was unable to get much traction in working-class white neighborhoods during his tenure. Ray Flynn’s inclusive populism, on the other hand, did much to heal the city’s racial divisions.

    I would hardly call JP, Cambridge or Somerville affordable (and last I heard, JP was a Boston neighborhood). In a similar sense, I have yet to see a Micro Apartment demonstration project, Menino’s rhetoric notwithstanding.

    To your last point: one person’s “tenement slums” are other people’s neighborhoods.

  12. If there is a collective constituency in the affected municipalities to do so. (1 Reply)

    I’m inclined to doubt that such constituencies currently exist in sufficient numbers to politically justify the land takings necessary to recreate rights-of-way.