Boston Herald Has Good Trolley Karma

October 6, 2015

The feisty local tabloid has two MBTA-related stories pretty much to itself today.

First, Kimberly Atkins’ column on an advertising rumpus that’s shadowed the T for two years now.

T ad issue may merit court’s consideration

Free-speech dispute on Supreme’s radar

WASHINGTON — A free-speech dispute over political ads in MBTA buses, trains and stations is likely headed for the U.S. Supreme Court and could have far-reaching effects on Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.35.04 PMpaid messages on public property.

The case stems from 2013, when the MBTA agreed to post paid ads from pro-Palestinian group Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine that read: “4.7 million Palestinians are classified by the U.N. as refugees.” But the T then rejected the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s ad, submitted in response, which read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

 

So far, as Atkins reports, “[t]wo federal courts had backed the MBTA’s decision to reject the AFDI ad, under its policy barring ‘disparaging’ or ‘demeaning’ messages.”

Prior to those two decisions, the MBTA’s batting average in ad dustups was well below the Mendoza Line, as the hardreading staff noted two years ago. And Atkins also writes that “[i]n New York and Philadelphia, by contrast, courts have ordered transit agencies to run paid ads they had rejected, including one that claimed Muslims believe ‘killing Jews is worship.'”

So who knows if it even gets to the Supremes, and who knows how they’ll lean.

But we’re guessing the MBTA loses this one too.

Elsewhere in today’s Herald, there’s this news from the T’s Ghost of Winter Past.

Scott bows out of bid for NTSB post

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President Obama has withdrawn his nomination of former MBTA chief Beverly Scott to the National Transportation Safety Board, abruptly ending her controversial bid to the $155,000-a-year post, the Herald has learned.

Obama officially rescinded her nomination yesterday, according to a White House document viewed by the Herald. A White House spokesman said last night Scott requested that her nomination be withdrawn “due to personal reasons related to her family.”

Efforts to reach Scott were unsuccessful.

 

That’s a surprise, eh?

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, today’s Boston Globe does have a squib (via the State House News Service) about Scott, although it tells a slightly different story.

 

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Huh. Maybe we need Scott herself to come forward as the tiebreaker.

Yeah – that’s coming just like a Riverside train.


Boston Globe Gives Beverly Scott a T Pass

July 31, 2015

Former MBTA chief Beverly (Not My First Rodeo) Scott has been nominated by President Obama for a spot on the National Transportation Safety Board, which should make every U.S. traveler feel a little less safe today. Scott fled Boston several months ago after the T’s winter meltdown caused the system to grid to a halt.

Big local news, eh? Well, not in the Boston Globe, which has nothing in today’s print edition but did post a web piece this morning.

Ex-MBTA chief Scott nominated for NTSB spot

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Former MBTA chief Beverly Scott could soon join the National Transportation Safety Board, a position that would give her oversight of plane crash investigations and accident prevention in the sprawling US transportation system.

President Obama announced his intent this week to nominate Scott for the five-member panel. Such appointments require Senate confirmation and carry five-year terms. The NTSB’s safety purview also includes pipelines and marine travel.

 

As for Scott’s time at the T, here’s how the stately local broadsheet characterized it:

Scott resigned from the MBTA in February amid a frustrating winter for the agency. Trains were canceled and delayed repeatedly amid a rash of breakdowns and mechanical failures that accompanied a series of extreme snowstorms.

As Scott left, she complained of chronic underfunding of the agency, which she said had made it difficult to maintain the system.

 

That’s it? After all local riders went through?

Yeesh.

Not surprisingly, the Boston Herald more than made up for the Globe’s reticence, giving Scott the expensive two-page spread (with bonus Inexplicable Little Green Number).

 

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The frosty local tabloid also tossed in an editorial for good measure.

Bev back in the picture

We were prepared to forget all about Beverly Scott and her unfortunate tenure as general manager of the MBTA, but President Obama’s decision to give her a soft landing has changed that.

After a long career in transportation management Scott may well have the qualifications on paper to serve as a member of the National Transportation Safety Board. But she brings with her to the $155,500-a-year post a trainload of baggage.

 

Now that’s the Massachusetts Bev Transportation Authority we know and don’t love.


Boston Herald Gets Its Irish Up

March 17, 2015

The faulty (but still fáilte) local tabloid is giving the umbrage-industrial complex a bad name. For the second day in a row, the Boston Herald is mewling about the so-called jokes at this year’s St. Patrick’s Day breakfast.

Start with yesterday’s Herald:

Baker teams with T chief to yuk it up over rail fail

031515Breakfastfn01

Gov. Charlie Baker’s appearance alongside embattled MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott in a skit goofing on the transit system’s winter woes got a chilly reception from some who say it runs counter to Baker’s image as a reformer of the troubled authority.

“I think it would be prudent to try to avoid making a joke out of it,” said David Tuerck, executive director of the Beacon Hill Institute, who noted that the commuter rail is still operating on a reduced schedule.

“This was a mistake for him. It’s in bad taste. It’s not amusing to people who are still putting up with the inconvenience of a situation that’s gone on for weeks now, well beyond the period when we had a lot of snow.”

 

The piece included a different critique from one local solon: “[A]ll of these highly produced skits seem to be supplanting the genuineness of the event as it had been in years past,” state Sen. Robert Hedlund said. “It’s become more of an over-the-top production.”

As has the Herald’s rail fail crusade. Today’s front page, lower left:

 

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Story inside:

Baker defends jokes

‘If you can’t poke fun at yourself, you’re not getting it’

Gov. Charlie Baker is standing by his MBTA skit at South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast — and doubled down last night at another holiday dinner in Lowell, where he mocked the transit agency’s dysfunctional commuter rail line.

“It was an opportunity for all of us to sort of poke fun at ourselves, and let’s face it, we all know it’s been a long winter. The MBTA had some issues we worked pretty hard with them to fix,” Baker told the Herald last night. “If you can’t poke fun at yourself, you’re 031615bakerjb01not getting it.”

Baker drew some chuckles at the St. Patrick’s Day fete in Lowell, when he joked that during the height of the storms he would be told a number of commuter rail engines were ready to go the next day — only to see that number shrink the following morning.

“I was like, what are these things, teenagers? ‘I got up this morning, Dad looked at me kind of funny. I was out drinking last night. I’m sorry.’ … I wish I was kidding, but the simple truth is the main reason we had so much trouble with the commuter rail is because inside those big, brawny locomotives beats the heart of a 16-year-old,” Baker said.

 

Now that’s not funny.

The frosty local tabloid also got chilly about some gag props.

Newly minted Attorney General Maura Healey also drew some heat for holding up several fake subpoenas at the Sunday breakfast, and jokingly telling lawmakers in the crowd, “Some of you might be familiar with these. So laugh.”

Santa Clara University Law School professor Margalynne Armstrong found the joke inappropriate for the state’s top lawwoman.

“She needs to make sure she gives the office the respect it deserves. It’s important to not treat her power lightly,” Armstrong said. “The decent thing to do would be to apologize. And it should be a real apology.”

 

Really, where are they finding these folks?

Regardless, new motto for the Herald: Erin Go Blah!