Person #2547: 89 Posts

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  1. An interesting point (0 Replies)

    There was a media post-mortem yesterday, which included Shirley Leung from the Globe – arguably the most prominent supporter of the bid in Boston media.

    According to Ms. Leung, there was little to no media outreach on the part of Boston 2024. It’s not the best PR when you stonewall your supporters…

  2. A number of reasons (1 Reply)

    Starting with the fact that there has never been any competent effort to counter anti-tax sentiment on the ground. The returns for Question 1 (repealing the gas tax index) are here. Note the numbers in high-density automobile-dependent areas.

    Only in Suffolk County was there a comfortable “no” vote margin of victory; in Middlesex Counties the spread was only 1%. In the case of Berkshire, Dukes, Franklin, and Hampshire Counties the total votes were small as to not materially affect the result.

    A similar dynamic applies to public transportation. There is no systematic effort to build a pro-mass transit constituency on the ground in sufficient numbers to affect State policy.

    There are other variables in play, such as increased automobile ownership and use in Metro Boston as the area gentrifies, the widespread collapse of grassroots politics (and the resulting effects on turnout), and the rarity of organized on-the-ground environmentalism; just to name a few.

  3. I think we have a problem in semantics here (1 Reply)

    What you would call “vision” in this context I would call an honest assessment, based upon available data.

    Re: Your second paragraph.

    The problem with getting MBTA infrastructure improvement is not so much a lack of vision as the fact that the T has a limited political constituency; hence a low priority in capital and operating budgets. There is at present no embedded-on-the-ground force that would create the political pressure needed for comprehensive Statewide mass transit – and it would have to be Statewide to get buy-in from Worcester County and points west.

    The current government (and the informed public) has the data; however there is no political upside to acting proactively on the basis of the information – and this goes for other comprehensive infrastructure work the Commonwealth needs. That includes road and highway maintenance, by the way.

    I agree with your last sentence in that I think that B2024 suffered from a negative feedback loop comprised equally of arrogance, narcissism, and confirmation bias.

  4. Correction (1 Reply)

    I will continue, however, with the caveat that you cannot plan adequately without vision…

    It would be more precise to say that one cannot plan without data.

  5. Articulating is not the same as planning (1 Reply)

    In the case of the MBTA, it’s not to difficult to be consistently polite to bus drivers, inspectors, mechanics, etc. Over time (once they get to know you, and provided you maintain confidentiality), you get a decent idea of what’s going on internally. The problems with the T included low priorities for preventive maintenance (of vehicles and signals alike) and arbitrary personnel problems – including tolerance of racism and sexism in the workplace, which continued under Scott.

    In the case of the Olympics what we saw were wish lists and magical thinking, not planning. The lack of basic due diligence (lack of title searches, for example) and profound political stupidity (volleyball in the Common) did more to do in the bid than anything. The FOIA’d documents just reinforced the aura of incompetence.

    My “vision”, such as it is would be that some sort of grassrooots reality-based politics develop in the Commonwealth.

    I’m not going to hold my breath, however…

  6. Think of this as a case study (0 Replies)

    ..not that it wasn’t an inside game; it was.

    What was important is that an underfunded bunch of civilians took on the pros at their own game and won. If – and this isn’t a certainty – the folks who worked to stop the bid build something sustainable on the ground, Boston might see a resurgence of populist politics.

    That is the potential larger context.

  7. In the court of public opinion (0 Replies) opposed to objective policy criteria, and the merits thereof, Marty Walsh came out of this pretty well. His popularity was independent of anti-Olympic sentiment in the City, according to all the polling data I’ve read.

    The last three or so weeks of this process involved damage control and proactive spin by the Walsh Administration. Accordingly, when the bid was yanked (which was pretty much a foregone conclusion), the Mayor could play the populist card.

    I believe that you touched upon this in your last sentence, and that is what I meant.

  8. I think you're right (0 Replies)

    The international sports/business media predicted this well before the public announcement. A case in point is the article quoted from below, which was posted on July 25 from Kuala Lampur:

    A teleconference has been arranged between the 16 members of the USOC Board to discuss the situation following continued opposition to the campaign in Boston, sources close to the bid here have told insidethegames.

    Until now, the USOC have stood squarely behind Boston, offering them unequivocal support.

    There is strong feeling, though, among several members of the Board, which includes four International Olympic Committee (IOC) members, including USOC chairman Larry Probst, that if they were to pull Boston’s bid now they could still have time to put another candidate forward.
    Los Angeles, which hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics, is widely seen as the city that would step in.

  9. My position was and is that most "insiders in power" opposed the bid (1 Reply)

    …and that the opposition was reflected and reinforced by the media that caters to their interests, such as the Boston Business Journal and the New York Times.

    Further credit should be given to David Bernstein of Boston Magazine who also FOIA’d Boston 2024.

    Re: the inside political game. By May there was pretty much of a consensus on Beacon Hill between Legislative leadership and the Governor’s office that the Boston Olympics were toast. Mike Capuano, Steve Lynch, and the rest of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation were conspicuous in their lack of enthusiasm for the project.

    Boston 2024 did a great job kicking in the doors and insuring transparency, but they were extremely fortunate in their adversaries. The pro-Olympics cabal (if you want to call it that) was a small subset of the Commonwealth’s power elite that did not reflect that elite’s internal consensus.

    It in no way diminishes NBO’s victory to state that in addition to engagin the public, they also played a superb inside game.

  10. I actually agree with you (1 Reply)

    I was indulging in a little bit of gloating, and guess that my attempt at humor fell flat.

    The point I was trying to make was that the level of incompetence, including the false claims indicated either an intelligence level so dense it bends light; or perhaps something other than the capacity for rational thought.

    Mea culpa.

  11. Let me get this straight (2 Replies)

    An organization that raised $17,763 from its inception through First Quarter 2015 (No Boston Olympics disclosed its funding totals, but not its small-dollar donors) is somehow a dark force because it beat an organization, with the force of City government backing it, that raised $2.88 million in the First Quarter alone?

  12. Actually Michelle Wu deserves a lot of the credit. (1 Reply)

    As someone that knows financial instruments, at a hearing on May 18, she pointed out that the funding package was in violation of the City Charter, and she stripped the fig leaf off the “insurance” fantasy that all and sundry Olympics supporters were hiding behind.

    That made it safe for everybody else.

    The Council as a body (there were individual exceptions) pretty much knew that the bid was dead months ago, but (prudently in my opinion) figured it best to let it collapse under its own weight.

    Far from being an outlier Tito had at least more than a few colleagues that shared his opinion. Councillor Jackson’s actions deserve praise, but he was not alone.

  13. Walsh is popular independent of Olympics sentiment (1 Reply)

    …but he doesn’t have, and is unlikely to create, the kind of organization necessary for a Statewide campaign.

  14. Let's be fair: There were no false claims (1 Reply)

    …just delusions, fantasies, magical thinking, category mistakes, cognitive biases, and all the other stuff that goes with a disconnect from reality.

    The accusation of arrogance is justified.

  15. Jconway isn't a foreigner (3 Replies)

    …he’s an expatriate Cantabridgian. Granted, there is a different frame of reference over there, but it makes him a local, sorta.

    Walsh will have the powers that come with incumbency, and he’s personally liked. My read of polling to date indicates that negative sentiment about the Olympics never slopped over the Mayor among the Bostonians that were sampled.

    Back to cases: James you’ve been a source of documentation and good policy stuff, and I for one thank you.

    Even though you’re a R&L/UC alum.