One Town, Two Different Worlds (Jeremiah Oliver Edition)

April 19, 2014

Page One Pop Quiz:

Which of the local dailies has already made up its mind about this story?

Boston Globe:

 

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Boston Herald:

 

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Answer:

That’s right. The Herald.

 


Walsh Inaug: Herald Trumps Globe in Local Crookerati

January 7, 2014

Both local dailies did a good job covering Marty Walsh’s inauguration as Boston’s 48th (or 54th or 58th) mayor.

The Boston Globe gave it it nearly four full pages in the A section, along with the requisite sonorous editorial.

The Boston Herald seemed to throw its entire newsroom at the torch-passing: eight columnists, seven reporters, twelve pages, and a cautiously optimistic editorial.

But, not surprisingly, it was in the boldface coverage of the day-long shindig where the Herald proved superior, especially in noting the less-than-luminaries who attended.

The Globe pointed out the Big Three:

Even some whose political legacies are shadowed by controversy showed up. Dianne Wilkerson, a former state senator, who was released from prison last fall after serving time for a bribery conviction, was in the audience. So, too, was Thomas Finneran, the former House speaker who pleaded guilty to obstructing justice in 2007, and former state treasurer Tim Cahill, whose trial on public corruption charges ended in a mistrial, probation, and a fine.

 

Howie Carr also gave a nod to the if-you’re-indicted-you’re-invited set. But the Inside Track had a little something extra:

 

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Score one for the feisty local tabloid. Don Forst must be smiling somewhere.


Globe: No Problem with Walsh’s Koh Dependency

January 5, 2014

According to today’s Boston Globe, Mayor-elect Marty Walsh has named a “relative political outsider” who is “relatively young” as his City Hall wingman – and that’s all good.

Walsh announces his chief of staff

Andover native, 29, has worked in politics, at Huffington Post

Boston Mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh on Saturday named Daniel Arrigg Koh, currently the general manager of Huffington Post Live, handout_koh_metas his chief of staff — the first major appointment in the administration that takes over control of the city on Monday.

“I’m excited to have Daniel joining our administration and bring a fresh, new energy to the mayor’s office,” Walsh said in a statement issued Saturday afternoon. “He has broad experience about City Hall and a deep understanding of managing a large, fast-paced organization. We have great talent joining us, and I know Daniel will help me transform the way we do things in Boston.”

 

And nary a discouraging word after that.

Not so fast, says crosstown rival Boston Herald on today’s front page.

 

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Inside, the feisty local tabloid elaborates.

Walsh names neophyte to key position

Some say mayor-elect taking a risk

Picking a 29-year-old political unknown as chief of staff is a bold, unexpected move and a sign that Mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh’s 010414Walshjm03administration is shaping up to take a new direction in City Hall — although the hire also is not without risks, experts said.

Daniel Arrigg Koh — an Andover native who last worked as general manager of HuffPost Live and a former adviser through Harvard’s Leadership Fellow Program for Mayor Thomas M. Menino — represents a young, intelligent hire with an impeccable resume, said John Nucci, Suffolk University vice president for government affairs.

 

Or maybe this . . .

Daniel Koh might be too young and too green to navigate the pitfalls of City Hall politics effectively, said Thomas J. Whalen, a Boston University social science professor. Walsh should have compensated for his own inexperience in City Hall by hiring someone well-versed in the political landscape, he said.

“This is a huge job. You think you would have someone who is older, more experienced and more connected,” Whalen said, adding that Koh will have to tangle with the city’s union leaders. “You’ll need a tough guy who can knock heads together. Will they respect someone 29 years old?”

 

Well, we know at least one person who doesn’t.

Leave it, as usual, to Herald graybeard Peter Gelzinis to provide some historical perspective in a piece headlined Koh may be right-hand man, but not clear he’ll be a heavyweight.

In his fifth and final go-round as mayor, Tom Menino looked across the river to Harvard and installed whiz-kid Mitch Weiss as his chief of staff. A beloved old pol craved new blood. And yet the man he trusted to handle the day-to-day life blood of politics was an up-from-the-streets-Southie native, Michael Kineavy.

It was a kind of schizophrenia that just about everyone in City Hall came to understand. “Kineavy was the get-it-done on the ground guy,” one longtime veteran said. “He was the guy that made government work in a way everyone understood.

 

The Herald covered a lot of bases on this story. Presumably, the Globe will play some catch-up tomorrow.


Baby I Won’t Drive Your Carr (Peter Gelzinis Edition)

June 20, 2013

All the while self-styled vigilante John Martorano has occupied center stage in the James “Whitey” Bulger trial this week, he’s been joined at the hit – sorry, hip – with Boston Herald scribbler Howie Carr, who split a six-figure advance with Martorano for the book Hitman.

But in his Herald column today, Peter Gelzinis writes Carr out of the picture.

New England MobBlood money only motivation for Johnny Martorano

“Other than the 20 people you killed, Mr. Martorano, is there anything else notable in your life?”

The 72-year-old henchman of Winter Hill decked out in a light blue suit seemed a bit bewildered by the question Hank Brennan, co-counsel for Whitey Bulger, tossed at him.

After momentarily wrestling with it, much like a bear might grapple with a camper’s jar of peanut butter, Johnny Martorano said, “I can’t change it.”

No, he can’t. But that hasn’t stopped him from trying to squeeze every nickel he can from the loathsome life he’s lived.

 

Gelzinis writes further, “[y]esterday, we learned that in addition to the $250,000 Johnny pocketed for the movie rights to his life story, he stands to make another 250 grand if such a film ever makes it into production. And that’s not counting the $70,000 or so he says he’s made from his book.”

What Gelzinis chooses not to mention is that Carr was Martorano’s partner in Murder, Ink.

Conveniently, the Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen fills in the blanks in his column today:

Brennan nailed Johnny when he got him to talk about how he has made money since being released from custody.

“Are you remorseful, Mr. Martorano?” Brennan asked.

“Yes,” Johnny replied.

But, Mr. Martorano, you wrote a book with Howie Carr and made money off the blood of your victims, Hank Brennan suggested. You split the $110,000 advance for the book with Carr, Mr. Martorano.

 

So, wait – Martorano got $70,000 and Carr got $40,000? Sounds like someone got strong-armed.

 


Two Funerals and Awaiting

May 5, 2013

Today’s local dailies have – wait for it – very different takes on the disposition of suspected Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body.

Start – where else? – with the Boston Herald’s front page:

 

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Inside you get a twofer: this Peter Gelzinis column and, more notably, this news report:

TED_3598.jpgFuneral director asks for help from government

‘This is a nightmare’

A Worcester funeral home director is pleading for government officials to use their influence to convince a cemetery to bury Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but so far no state or federal authorities have stepped forward to help out.

“We have a body for burial that has caused a lot of controversy and we can’t continue to play this game,” said Peter Stefan, owner of the Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlors. “Under normal circumstances, the government would say it’s (the funeral parlor’s) responsibility to find a place for burial, but this is not normal circumstances. This is a nightmare.”

 

Okay. But crosstown at the Boston Globe, we get a very different Peter Stefan, in this case well into a piece headlined “Bombing suspects body to undergo 2nd autopsy.”

Peter Stefan, owner of Graham Putnum & Mahoney Funeral Parlors, vowed to secure a plot quickly.

“This ends Monday,” Stefan said. “We will find a cemetery by the end of the day Monday.”

Stefan said he was determined to give Tsarnaev a proper Muslim burial in a cemetery with what he referred to as a designated Muslim section . . .

“If they had asked me to bury Adolf Hitler, I would have buried him,” Stefan said. “It’s what we do.”

 

Wow. Just imagine what the Herald could have done if Stefan had given that quote to the feisty local tabloid.

Then again, the story’s young. Let’s wait for it.


Hark! The Herald! (U.S. Senate Debate-o-rama)

April 9, 2013

The Boston Herald has officially become a perpetual self-promotion machine. Case in point: The feisty local tabloid 1) co-sponsored a UMass-Lowell debate last night between Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch (that’s good); 2) streamed it live on the Web (okay); and 3) devoted six full pages to it in today’s paper (huh???).

Start with the front page:

 

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Then on page 2 Hillary Chabot provides the basic play-by-play, and a plug for the debate replay .

 

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Flip to pages 4 and 5 for columnists Margery Eagan and Joe Battenfeld, plus a helpful Scorecard, plus another plug for the debate replay.

 

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Then pages 6 and 7 feature reaction from readers, a focus group, UMass-Lowell junior Corey Lanier, and the Herald’s Peter Gelzinis.

 

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Oh, yeah – don’t forget to watch the replay.


Herald’s Gelzinis: Cahill a Good Guy. Globe’s Vennochi: Good Law, Bad Case

March 9, 2013

Two different – but not necessarily contradictory – takes in the local dailies about former Massachusetts Treasurer Tim Cahill’s close call with the law over financial shenanigans in the Bay State’s 2010 gubernatorial race.

First up: Joan Vennochi’s column in Thursday’s Boston Globe:

With Cahill, a good law and a weak case

IT’S EASY when it’s cash stuffed between a state senator’s breasts or checks funneled through a law partner directly into the pockets of the speaker of the House.

It’s harder — as it should be — when a case for political corruption consists of a feel-good lottery ad campaign that cost taxpayers $1.5 million but never mentions the name of the state treasurer who ordered it up. Those are the underlying facts in the case that Attorney General Martha Coakley brought against former state Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill.

While treasurer, Cahill spent public money to advance a personal political agenda — his failed campaign for governor. A new state law makes it a crime for politicians to do that — if prosecutors can show “fraudulent intent.” But in the case against Cahill, the evidence of fraudulent intent simply wasn’t strong enough.

 

That’s the legal angle. Peter Gelzinis had the human angle in his Friday Boston Herald column:

PQ5W8772.JPGTim Cahill: I’m still here

Tim Cahill tucked himself away at a back table a couple of mornings ago, inside his favorite breakfast haunt, McKay’s in Quincy. The word other customers kept tossing his way was, “Congratulations!”

Cahill thanked them all with the grateful smile of someone who’d just come out of a coma.

“I hesitate to think of these past two years as a near-death experience,” he said, referring to his disastrous gubernatorial bid, followed by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s corruption indictment, the threat of serious jail time, a trial that ended in a hung jury and, finally, a negotiated plea to something called “a perception of wrongdoing.”

 

The piece ends with this, which is bound to warm the hearts of Cahill supporters and make his detractors burning mad:

The experience, he said feels “as if I’ve been to my own wake. For two years, I couldn’t really talk to anyone and yet I’ve had all these friends come by to wish me well and tell me they were praying for me. Then, the weirdest, or perhaps, the nicest thing, is that I’m still here to be with them all.”

 

Instead of in the sneezer, where very few ever thought Cahill should wind up.


OMG! Herald Columnist Can’t Write!

March 4, 2013

The hardreading staff is nothing if not realistic about the writing abilities at the Boston Herald. Some are terrific writers – Margery Eagan & Peter Gelzinis, take a bow; and some are dreadful – Howie Carr, come on down!

Now comes the feisty local tabloid’s new column OMG!, which definitely qualifies for the latter designation.

Representative sample:

OMG_logosDear OMG,

I have a friend who maybe weighs 110 pounds soaking wet — she looks great. But lately she has been making strange comments: mentioning she is on Weight Watchers, contributing to a recipe exchange with the disclaimer “I’ve been eating healthy lately” (the recipe she linked to had the calorie count posted prominently) and generally making comments about her food intake. I’m average weight, but it makes me really uncomfortable that someone so small is making these statements. Should I say something?

— Eating Dessert

Dear Dessert,

Yes. If it’s making you, an average person, uncomfortable, it’s probably affecting overweight people and others struggling with eating or body image issues as well. Try something jokey at first — if she says “I’m trying to eat healthy” when refusing a tray of doughnuts, you can retort, “Well I’m trying to eat more deep fried lard” and see whether that shuts her down. (After all, aren’t most of us trying to eat healthy at least some of the time?) If it still doesn’t slow her comments, pull her aside and say you’d rather not talk about calorie consumption or weight — not just for your mental sake, but for the sake of bored people everywhere.

 

Really? See whether that shuts her down? Still doesn’t slow her comments? 

Dear OMG: It’s clear idiomatic English you want. Not idiotic.


Herald the Lynchpin for Rep’s U.S. Senate Run

February 1, 2013

If today’s edition is any indication, the Boston Herald will be Stephen Lynch’s in-House organ during his run to replace departing U.S. Sen.  John Kerry (D-Empty Seat).

The feisty local tabloid has one news report (“Some unions already on Lynch’s side”), two columns, and an editorial about Lynch – most all of it positive.

Representative sample: Peter Gelzinis’ column.

STU_8221.JPGWorking-class hero Steve Lynch has got the goods

Steve Lynch was exactly where he wanted to be yesterday afternoon — standing in an ironworkers’ hall, around the corner from the housing project where he grew up, and poised to mount an underdog challenge against a fading political relic.

It’s a place Lynch knows all too well.

Almost 20 years before the bishops of the state Democratic Party blessed Ed Markey’s desire to succeed John Kerry, Steve Lynch ended the dynasty of an emperor named William Bulger.

 

Music – and hearts – swell.

The editorial sounds a similar note:

Defying Beltway dictators

Whatever the future holds for U.S. Rep. Steve Lynch, the people of Massachusetts owe him a huge debt of gratitude for bringing a modicum of small-d democracy back to the Democratic Party.

“All politics is local,” the late U.S. House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill was fond of saying — and so it should always be here.

But when the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee starts dictating from Washington who should be running in the Massachusetts primary, well, it’s time candidates and voters need to push back.

 

Enter Steve Lynch, representing the people’s wing of the Democratic Party.

Only Wayne Woodlief’s op-ed piece hits a downbeat note.

Lynch faces uphill fight to replace Kerry

South Boston-bred U.S. Rep. Steve Lynch’s entry yesterday into the special Democratic primary for John Kerry’s Senate seat may well give U.S. Rep. Edward Markey of Malden, the odds-on favorite for the April 30 showdown, a sparring partner, not a stumbling block, for the June 25 special election final.

Sure, Lynch, who announced at a union hall in Southie yesterday, is an ex-ironworker (though it’s been a couple of decades since he strapped on those work boots) and is a favorite of many “regular guys.” But there’s no way he can match the money Markey already has raised ($3 million in the till and counting) and find enough to pay for the ads and staff and other costs for an election in just three months.

 

Then again, if Boston Mayor Tom Menino (D-I’m Still Standing) throws in with Lynch, he could make it interesting. Especially with the Herald already on board.

P.S. Crosstown at the Globe, op-ed columnist Scott Lehigh takes Lynch down a peg:

Lynch . . . is someone who goes small on big votes. Take, for example, Obamacare. He voted for the original House legislation, against the final bill on the crucial vote, then in favor of the reconciliation legislation essential to its passage. The explanation Lynch offered for that transparent attempt to have things both ways didn’t just strain credulity, but left it in shreds.

He also went small on the bank bailout. Voting no, as he did, was easy — and yet, many experts will tell you that without the federal infusion of cash, our entire financial system would have frozen up, with devastating consequences.

 

Expect more of that in the future.


That’s What You Get Living In Mayberry

January 30, 2013

Boston residents got a big helping of more of the same following last night’s State of the City address by Mayor-for-Life Thomas M. Menino.

Boston Globe report:

Optimistic Menino makes return to public stage

In a speech by turns sentimental and unabashedly bullish, Mayor Thomas M. Menino returned to the public stage Tuesday night after a lengthy illness and offered a buoyant vision of Boston, celebrating accom plishments and outlining initiatives for the future.

Menino entered Faneuil Hall to thunderous applause from a crowd of 800 that included Governor Deval Patrick, members of Congress, and scores of other elected officials and dignitaries gathered for the mayor’s State of the City address. Waving to the audience, Menino — serenaded by a Kelly Clarkson pop anthem with the lyric, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” — used a cane to help navigate the 50-foot walk to the stage.

 

Boston Globe editorial:

chin012913menino_met03With a warm speech, Menino shows his rejuvenated spirit

THE HIGHLIGHT of Mayor Menino’s State of the City speech wasn’t its admirable theme of enhancing human potential. It wasn’t in the genuinely impressive progress in city development, with 2,000 units of housing now under construction. And it wasn’t in Menino’s trademark medium-sized initiatives, like his networking plan for women-owned businesses.

Rather, the highlight was Menino himself. In his proud, steady walk to the podium, with only the help of a cane, Menino sent a strong signal that he is back of the job after nearly six weeks in the hospital for a range of ailments, followed by another month of rehab. The mutual affection between Menino and the city was visible in his interaction with the crowd, which whooped and applauded at even corny lines like a joke about Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women.” For his part, Menino offered his sincere thanks to all who helped him and stood by him during his rehabilitation. And he showed his graciousness in other ways, too, such as with a comradely tribute to retiring State Senator Jack Hart.

 

Time to edit Tip O’Neill’s classic “All politics is local.”

Nowadays in Boston, all politics is cozy.

Exhibit Umpteen from Peter Gelzinis’ Boston Herald column:

STU_7922.JPGWalk the walk & talk the talk? Yes, he can!

In the end, it was the irrepressible Rev. Eugene Rivers who captured the most important 50-foot stroll of Thomas Michael Menino’s public life.

“That dude didn’t just walk into this hall tonight, you understand,” Rivers said, of the mayor’s unassisted entrance into Faneuil Hall, “Tommy, man, he gangsta-walked in here, you hear what I’m sayin’?

“The message the man sent out to all those pretenders to the throne was, ‘Any of you wanna piece of this?’ ”

 

Not to get technical about it, but Eugene Rivers is the Hub’s fraud di tutti fraudi. And the ultimate Menino toady.

Any of you wanna piece of that?


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