Just to sum up some things I’ve been saying in the comments to my previous post on flooding…
I’m trying to wrap my head around this Peabody flood-abatement veto business, and I just have to wonder: how is this not a major hit to the Governor’s reputation? The Salem News had a timeline, and basically it went like this: Peabody Square floods in April 2004; Governor calls it an emergency; Peabody leaders get together with Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, make a plan; legislature budgets $5.7 million for the project, with the expectation that Federal dollars will follow (now under dispute); the Governor vetoes it in September 2004, with no chance of an override, since they’re not in “formal session”. (I realize some folks are disputing that in the comments, but I’ve yet to see any convincing evidence that the lege could have overridden the veto.)
Look, we can speculate about the Governor’s motives: 1. He wanted to embarass the local legislators and get Republicans elected instead, 2. He wanted to be fiscally prudent, 3. They didn’t have enough information on the project, as he contended … And so on. Some of these explanations make the governor look bad; some flatter him.
Does it matter?
One way or the other, this was a flat-out management failure. The square flooded in April 2004. A real can-do, competent manager — you know, like someone who could restore integrity to the Winter Olympics — would have gotten the job done, one way or another. No blame, no games, no dog-ate-my-homework excuses.
And that’s what we’ve been missing from Mitt Romney since he was elected. He’s not a problem solver. And I guess other folks are noticing. I can honestly say that if he had been the guy he said he was in 2002, this blog might not exist.
What happened to the age of moderate, cautious, competent Republican governors? Jim Edgar (IL), Christie Whitman (NJ), heck, even W had that reputation. Who’s left? Jodi Rell? (CT)
Well, now we’ve got a real crisis on our hands. Like it or not, Mitt Romney’s legacy here will rest on how he handles the rebuilding of the Northeast part of the state. It’s an opportunity to do the kind of work he didn’t do two years ago. Good luck, Governor — you’ll need it.
I wanted to cry when I was driving through Peabody. Not because I was sad, necessarily, but because I had to get to college! It took me as long to navigate the city as it did to drive Route 24 and 93 to get to New Bedford… and I just got through route 1 before it was closed (though driving through that river by the Barnes and Noble almost gave me a panic attack).
I’m very curious what Romney is going to have to say about that veto. I’ve had enough of Republican governors in this state… I want someone who will be able to competently fix our problems, like Deval Patrick.
I really do see this coming back and biting Romney in the Presidential primaries.
My guess is that Romney’s reasoning was a mix of your #2 and #3 — trying to show “fiscal prudence” while supposedly not having enough information on the project. Clearly, these claimed reasons are worth much less than adequate protection for Peabody Square, so Romney, frankly, failed in his role as Governor here.
(And I’m not going to bring the “formal session”/Joint Rules debate into this thread. I will simply say that it was the legislature who came up with the idea and appropriated the money, and the Governor who vetoed it. So it certainly seems the Legislature was for it and the Governor against it. How does he explain this away?)
Add to that the fact that thanks to Katrina, pictures of a flooded downtown would resonate a lot more in 2008 than they might otherwise have.
Is this just Romney’s bad luck? Perhaps, but them’s the breaks.
That is true, no mater how you slice.
Enough blame to go around.
“The legislature didn’t do as much as they could have” is a point of debate. You think so, but some people disagree.
But “the legislature did nothing” is plainly false.