First, a personal note:
V-I-C-T-O-R-Y, victory victory that’s our cry!
The hardlyreading staff went out earlier today to find some actual newspapers – and we actually did. As we carried them triumphantly back to the Two-Daily Town Global Worldwide Headquarters, we discovered inside the front door – newspapers!
The Sunday papers. And Saturday’s papers. Big shoutout to our delivery guy.
Result: An embarrassment of dailies.
As we plowed through the weekend’s storm coverage, one topic stood out: Gov. Deval Patrick’s “extraordinary step,” as Saturday’s Boston Globe dubbed it, that banned driving during the storm.
From the stately local broadsheet:
Travel ban surprises many, pleases some
Governor Deval Patrick’s strict travel ban Friday stunned pizza deliverers and police chiefs alike, shuttering shops, befuddling taxi drivers, and leaving police officers wondering if they had to ticket drivers dashing to the store for a gallon of milk.
Some criticized the governor for his last-minute edict and the stiff penalties it carried — up to a year in jail and a $500 fine to any nonemergency personnel on the road after 4 p.m. — while others doubted that storm-swamped police would have time to enforce the ban.
But those who recalled the nightmare highway strandings in the Blizzard of ’78 praised Patrick’s order — including the former governor who wished he’d taken similar action sooner 35 years ago.
“There’s no question that the governor’s doing exactly the right thing — have people home, get them off the streets, and just cool it,” said former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, speaking from Southern California, where he now teaches at UCLA. [Where it rarely snows, not to get technical about it.]
Others, however, called the ban “tyrannical.” Crosstown at the Boston Herald, it was “absolutely draconian,” according to one local cabbie. But Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld disagreed:
Learning from Dukakis’ error, gov still takes heat
You can’t blame Gov. Deval Patrick for not wanting to pull a Michael Dukakis.
In the blizzard of 1978, the state was woefully unprepared for the massive storm. Gov. Dukakis did issue a travel ban but it came too late — after dozens died and thousands were stranded on the roads.
So now Patrick tries to prevent deaths by banning cars on the road and he gets trashed by critics who say it’s an example of government gone too far.
Can you imagine the outrage if Patrick had done nothing and the blizzard ends up claiming lives?
That, of course, is nothing compared to the outrage of fellow columnist Howie Carr for the inconvenience Patrick cost him.
Hey Gov. Patrick, didn’t your mother ever teach you about the magic word “please”?
You know, you’d ask her for something, and she’d say, “What’s the magic word, Deval?”
I guess she didn’t because I didn’t hear it Friday, when you ordered everyone in the state off the roads at 4 p.m. Like everyone else, I did hear about the $500 fine and/or one year in jail for violating your order, which you had said the previous day you probably weren’t going to issue.
Carr proceeds to take a predictable swipe at “the bow-tied bumkissers . . . already falling all over themselves lauding you for your ‘wise’ decision to shut down business statewide and arrest anybody who had the audacity to try to get home from work.” (So Joe Battenfeld is a “bow-tied bumkisser,” Howie?)
But then Carr gets at the real pathos of the travel ban:
Myself, I’d hired a guy to drive me home Friday night. I was going to leave my car warm and safe in a garage in Brighton. But then he heard about the year in jail, and he chickened out.
So I called Veterans Taxi. At 5 p.m., Veterans called back and said the cops had just ordered them off the road. In other towns, the police were doing robo-calls, a chance to throw their weight around, too.
I wasn’t that worried driving home. I had press credentials, and if any cops had stopped me, I figured I would just tell them I was Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis’ son.
There’s your man of the people, Herald readers, whining that “now my car is in the driveway, totally buried in snow.”
Boo hoo, Howie. Welcome to the real world.