Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Monday evening miscellany (Willy, Sal and Tom)

Editorial butt-covering
What is there to be said about this "editorial" that ran in Saturday's Globe?  I have tried three different approaches now - incredulity, sarcasm, parody - and each time have ended up using words that are not appropriate for a family blog.  Look, I get it.  Two Globe columnists - first Yvonne Abraham, then Adrian Walker - devoted their columns recently to illuminating and candid looks at the spiraling disaster that is Mayor Willy Lantigua.  Both studiously avoiding mentioning the pivotal role Governor Patrick played in bringing Lantigua to power, or Patrick's refusal to appoint a much-needed financial control board for Lawrence, or even the Governor's curious refusal, even in light of the parody of urban corruption that the Lantigua Administration has become, to criticize his former protege.  But still - all the attention to Lantigua has exposed the Govenor's rear end, and the Globe is itself arguably at least partly responsible.  Clearly the editors felt they needed to do something to cover that buttock.

But they couldn't do better than this?
So far, the suspicions surrounding Lantigua haven’t hindered his efforts to steer Lawrence toward fiscal stability. That accomplishment, however, comes with considerable help from a fiscal overseer appointed by Governor Deval Patrick who ensures that up to $35 million in loan guarantees from the state won’t go down the drain.
This is like hiring a kid to paint a peeling house, and then ignoring the fact that he's broken all the windows, set fire to the roof and is treating the neighbors to a daily full frontal, because he's done a passably good job on the trim.

The Most Important Meal of the Day
Speaking of Adrian Walker, his column today was about the breakfast meeting in 2007 where Sal DiMasi allegedly put the squeeze on the Governor to support his self-interested bid to award an egregiously over-priced state software contract to Cognos.  Here's Walker:
At the Patrick-DiMasi breakfast described by prosecutors, the politicians exchanged wish lists. Patrick’s fondest desire was a life-sciences bill, a big appropriation with long-term implications; one of DiMasi’s wishes was approval of a contract to Cognos — a comparatively minor issue, but one apparently dear to the speaker, or so the government alleges.
Now, no one is suggesting any impropriety on the part of the Patrick administration. Still, some members of his team may be called to testify. Even the governor himself may take the stand.
"Now, no one is suggesting any impropriety on the part of the Patrick administration."  Certainly not!  In fact, like Mr. Walker many commentators are going out of their way to preemptively absolve the Governor and his administration of any and all blame for the mess that is about to see a former Speaker off to prison.

Feel the Love
Of course, over the past few weeks we've learned a few interesting things.  First, we've learned that the price the Commonwealth agreed to pay for Cognos's services was roughly double what Ohio had paid the firm for a similar, but far more complex, problem.  We learned - just today - that Patrick's former IT chief recognized that the Cognos deal was overpriced, but that she supported it anyhow because the Speaker lobbied her personally, and she hoped he would recommend her for a job she wanted.  In her sworn testimony, the former Patrick official also revealed that she convinced the Governor's budget chief and other high-ranking members of the Administration to support the inflated contract.

And then, to return to the 2007 Patrick/DiMasi breakfast, we are now given to understand that DiMasi sought to trade his support for Patrick's highest legislative priorities, all for the Patrick Administration's acquiescence to the Cognos deal.  And the famously political Governor never thought, apparently, to question the Speaker's motivation for that lopsided trade.

So yes, Walker is correct.  "[N]o one is suggesting any impropriety on the part of the Patrick administration."

But, golly, shouldn't somebody be?

What's in a name?
A couple of weeks ago David Bernstein had an excellent piece in the Phoenix sussing out the increasing signs that Boston's Mayafalife, Tom Menino, is likely to run for yet another term in office when his current term expires.  Since then the Bostonist and the Herald have both picked up on the theme. 

I have long since given up trying to understand the appeal of Tom Menino.  Strolling through Boston last week, however, an argument for reelection occurred to me that just might clinch for Menino the lifetime sinecure that he seems to desire: Boston cannot afford a different Mayor.  The cost of replacing all of the ego signage that bears Menino's name would bankrupt the city.  Boston would be better off requiring all future occupants of the office to legally change their names to Thomas M. Menino. 

I've started snapping photos with my iPhone of each ego sign sighting.  Once you start noticing them, you cannot stop.  They are everywhere.  At some point I'll stop and publish my compilation.  Anyone inclined to help in the collection is encouraged to email photos to dan.criticalmass@gmail.com.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree. Can we please start a campaign to stop this "branding" non-sense?! The City of Boston should have some pride and not let an individual stamp his name all over the city. Even the Queen of England is more subtle than that!


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