First, to acknowledge Doug Rubin’s objection to my use of “Coakley moment” to describe Marty Walsh’s out-of-touch statement on the T. Martha’s obviously paid a high price for the last few years, and I don’t do this website to be cruel to people. We’re all human. The mention got some attention — which is of course what I wanted — but I should be more careful. Duly noted.
It also requires modification, because Walsh’s gaffe was frankly worse. If there’s one thing I can’t take from an elected official, it’s a statement that what you’ve seen with your own eyes, and lived the effects of every day, is somehow a media creation. Again, Walsh’s quote:
“And you know, most days, the MBTA’s reliable here. It’s just that when something happens, it gets spotlighted by the press so bad, that it’s like, it makes it sound like it’s crumbling. It definitely needs infrastructure upgrades and I said that yesterday at the Chamber,” Walsh added, referring to his speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. [Google cached – link broken at Boston.gov?]
Well, enterprising YouTube user drband36 has documented the decay for the “car guy” mayor:
… and we’ve all seen this — absolutely nothing surprising for anyone who takes the T, ever. It is literally crumbling, and it makes us late for work, play, planes, job interviews, appointments, meetings, etc. It is an extra stressor in life, on a near-daily basis, much of which could have been avoided with sufficient care over the years. It wasn’t always this bad.
Now, again, Marty Walsh is not in charge of the T. But as mayor — and a former state rep — he is surely its chief advocate. He ran for mayor on extending T service into the night, touting his experience and relationships in the State House:
As a 16-year veteran of the House, I am uniquely qualified to negotiate transportation plans with the legislature … As State Representative for Dorchester I’ve worked to open or renovate four of the red line stations and believe we can find a cooperative way to increase and improve service to neighborhoods throughout the City.
And, to be fair, he did indeed tell the Chamber that we need more funding, and sooner than 2040. That’s good!
But you have to wonder about the tone, and urgency, coming from the mayor’s office on these things. Maybe a reason why Bob DeLeo or Charlie Baker don’t particularly care to plan or fund the T, is that they’re not really getting an earful — borne from painful, personal experience — from the Mayor of Boston himself. Is it personal for Walsh? Does his tone reflect the experience and feelings of his constituents? Sure doesn’t sound like it. He’s telling them, “Who are you gonna believe — me or your lyin’ eyes?”