Olympicgeddon at Boston Herald!

July 27, 2015

From our Five-Ring Monte desk

According to Joe Dwinell’s piece in Sunday’s Boston Herald, it’s all over but the pouting for the Store 2024 Olympic bid.

Bid at Breaking Point

USOC could vote tomorrow

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The USOC will meet tomorrow on Boston’s shaky bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, where one board member told the Herald she won’t be surprised if the 17-day, $4.6 billion plan comes up for a fateful vote.

“We need to know how (Boston) is doing and if the people of the city are interested in hosting the games,” said Anita L. DeFrantz, a member of both the United States Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee.

“We need to get a report. I need to know,” DeFrantz told the Herald yesterday, voicing doubt about support for the games in the Hub . . .

As for speculation Los Angeles is poised to step in if the USOC backs away from Boston, DeFrantz said “L.A. is perpetually ready. It can host with only two years’ notice.”

 

Yow.

Crosstown at the Boston Sunday Globe, Mark Arsenault’s story was of course more nuanced.

USOC prods Baker, Walsh to help lift Olympic bid

The US Olympic Committee is pressing Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Martin J. Walsh to put more of their political capital behind Boston’s struggling bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, but neither politician appears ready to satisfy the USOC, according to a person close to the bid process.

With USOC members set to discuss Boston’s status at a board meeting Monday, the standoff raises new questions about the fate of a bid already in peril due to low poll numbers.

USOC members want the popular governor to endorse the bid, the person close to the process said, which could breathe new life and credibility into the city’s effort.

The board is also pressuring Walsh, an Olympic backer, to announce that he will sign the host city contract required by the International Olympic Committee, which would put city taxpayers on the hook if the Games ran short of money or suffered cost overruns, the person said.

 

Not gonna happen, according to Arsenault’s report.

More to come, obviously, today.


Hissy Local Tabloid Ignores Boston Olympics Debate

July 24, 2015

Last night’s less-than-Olympian debate on Boston 2024 gets lots of coverage in today’s news media.

Co-sponsor Boston Globe, of course, has it top of Page One.

 

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The other cosponsor, FOX 25, showcases viewer reactions on its website. (Video of debate here.)

Other local news outlets also provided debate coverage.

 

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But not the Boston Herald. The hissy local tabloid had only some limp piece about area mayors feeling left out of the process.

Sort of like the Herald.

Coincidentally, we just received this from a splendid reader:

Just a thought: Fox25 used to partner often for debates with the Herald. Not last night. The Herald used to partner with Suffolk to run [David] Paleologos polling. That’s gone.

Why won’t anyone partner with the Herald anymore? Afraid of catching something?

 

Good question.


Boston 2024: The Grift That Keeps on Giving

June 11, 2015

As you splendid readers well know, the Boston news media – from the Boston Business Journal to WGBH to Boston Magazine to WBUR to the Boston Globe – are on Store 2024 like Brown on Williamson.

But not the Boston Herald.

Sure, the feisty local tabloid has provided some basic coverage of the five-ring monte Olympic bid, but it’s not breaking news the way other local outlets have. The Herald these days is more about Deval Patrick’s financial shenanigans.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Exhibit A: Yesterday’s Joe Battenfeld column.

Patrick Secretly Diverted Junket Cash

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Former Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration secretly diverted nearly $27 million in public money to off-budget accounts that paid for a $1.35 million trade junket tab, bloated advertising contracts, and a deal with a federally subsidized tourism venture backed by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, a Herald investigation has found.

The maneuver to fatten the hidden “trust” 

accounts with millions from state quasi-public agencies allowed Patrick to skirt the state Legislature and evade state budget cutbacks during the recession, the Herald found.

 

Elsewhere in the piece, the number seems to be over $37 million. Helpful chart:

 

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Whatever.

Exhibit B: Today’s Herald page 5 (with bonus Inexplicable Green 1).

 

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See? Even the paper’s Olympic coverage is part of its Devalue Pak.

Meanwhile, the latest Boston NOlympics revelations include this in the BBJ, which suggests that those expecting the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority to “save the Boston Olympics” Must Be Taking Acid. The Boston Globe contributes this front-page piece about Boston 2024 relocating the Widett Circle food wholesalers to the Seaport (one really smart person we know thinks the entire Boston 2024 effort is just a land grab to develop the New Boston Food Market site). The Globe also features this Metro piece about the full-court press on the Boston 2024 organizers to finally get down to specifics.

WBUR also has a couple of new reports today about bigger Olympic footprints, and WGBH tosses in this piece about new venues and public relations.

But the Boston Herald? Call it the shelfie local tabloid.


Boston Globe’s New Drop-Ed Pages Are . . . New

May 5, 2015

As the masthead warned us, the Boston Globe has freshened up its editorial/opinion pages for whatever reason (maybe a focus group?).

From yesterday’s edition of the stately local broadsheet:

 

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Modern! Easy! Excellent!

Today’s edition of the Globe features the great unveiling. Left-hand page:

 

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Right-hand page:

 

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So, for example, Decoder, the explainer with a point of view, quite logically starts out with the umpteenth example of Boston as the Can’t Do city.

skate_park

Under the Bridge

IT WAS BORN of the Big Dig, so perhaps it’s no surprise that it has taken so long for the Lynch Family Skatepark to break ground. The Charles River Conservancy first announced the project in 2004, with seed money from skateboarder Tony Hawk and a sense that Boston’s skateboard underground, maligned and sometimes misunderstood, deserved a concrete paradise of its own.

 

A mere ten years later, Joanna Weiss helpfully points out, construction finally started late last month.

And etc. You can check it all out here.

One thing that struck the hardreading staff: Only one editorial instead of the two or three in the old, unfreshened format. That, of course, might change. We’ll see.

But this also strikes us: The hardy few readers who actually do venture onto the opinion pages of the Globe are almost assuredly more interested in the content than the packaging. We’ll see about that as well.


Boston 2024 Is Now Officially Circling the Drain

April 4, 2015

From our Late to the Going-Away Party desk

Good Friday turned out to be Bad Friday for Store 2024.

As in, all news was bad news for the local machers mucking up the bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Start with yesterday’s Boston Globe (which has generally taken pity on the totally inept Boston 2024niks), where two – count ’em, two – columnists wrote MISTIA (More in Sorrow Than in Anger) pieces about the botched bid.

First, Shirley Leung on the Business front page:

Olympics bid needs a world-class PR save

In all the hand-wringing over the mess that is Boston’s Olympics bid, Doug Rubin has managed to escape scrutiny.

Until now.unnamed(42)

Boston 2024 is awash in problems — and none bigger is the group’s ability to get its message across that the Games can make Boston a better version of itself. The Olympics are supposed to be a feel-good event, but not here. Instead, the Games are toxic, as if organizers are proposing to build a nuclear waste dump on the Greenway.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, from Boston 2024 chairman John Fish to our naysaying selves. But Rubin and his firm Northwind Strategies are most responsible for making sure the public understands why hosting the Summer Games could be good for Boston.

 

Which the public assuredly does not.

Next, Scot Lehigh on the Globe’s op-ed page:

Taxpayer risk is Boston 2024’s highest hurdle

WHEN IT comes to hosting the Olympics here in 2024, I’m a skeptic. But now that everyone agrees that voters will get to decide the fate of the Olympics bid, I’m a skeptic in a wait-and-see mode.

The threshold question that Boston 2024 faces is crystal clear. Well before the public vote, the group will need to present a convincing plan showing how Boston (or Greater Boston) can host the 2024 Summer Games without putting taxpayers at risk.

So far, what we have are professions of good intentions. “Tax dollars will not be used to build venues or pay for the operation of the Games,” Boston 2024’s new briefing book asserts.

The reality, however, is that at some point, Boston will have to guarantee that the various Olympic venues will be ready. And that means the city could have to step to the plate if plans go seriously awry. Given the deep opposition to using public dollars for the Games, it’s difficult to see how Mayor Marty Walsh could put Boston in that position without an air-tight assurance that taxpayers won’t be left holding the bag.

 

Ah, yes, Marty Walsh.

Crosstown at the Marty Walsh Gazette (a.k.a. the Boston Herald), the marty local tabloid – which had been a sort of house organ for City Hall until being thrown under the buss on Thursday – was silent yesterday on all matters Olympic.

Which brings us to Friday’s New York Times drive-by hooting.

U.S.O.C. Misjudged Appetite for a Hot Potato

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After completing its long, complicated and anything but transparent process of choosing a city as its candidate to host the 2024 Summer Games, the United States Olympic Committee has found itself in an awkward position.

Boston, the city the committee chose to represent the United States, does not appear to want to host the Games at all.

Too expensive, some Bostonians say — the money used to host the Games should be dedicated to improving schools and social programs. Too many people, others say — Boston has terrible traffic, so why invite thousands more to further clog the streets?

Too unnecessary, say those personally hurt by the notion that the Olympics could improve Boston’s image worldwide: Why does Boston need the Olympics to validate it as a world-class city when Bostonians are perfectly happy with Boston as it is?

 

Except they’re not. Never really have been.

But Bostonians are even less happy with the Olympics. Then again, that’s just one of many problems with the town’s bid. And so, according to the Times, the endgame is near, in the form of the 2016 statewide referendum Boston 2024 has promised.

If recent history is any guide, that public vote will deal the fatal blow to Boston’s chances. Voters in Munich; St. Moritz/Davos, Switzerland; and Krakow, Poland, all batted away their bids for the 2022 Winter Games. Vienna retreated from its 2028 Summer Games bid after a vote, too.

 

Everyone under the sun has denied this week’s Wall Street Journal report that “the U.S. Olympic Committee may drop Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Games if local support doesn’t improve soon.”

But now comes today’s Boston Herald, which has apparently found a new go-to guy. “Boston 2024 should ‘clean house’ and install a ‘better team’ that can keep a shorter leash on Chairman John Fish and prevent more embarrassing gaffes — like questioning the patriotism of Olympic critics, U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch told the Herald yesterday.”

Oh, right – we had forgotten that one: Bostonians are unpatriotic if they don’t support this game of five-ring monte.

Please, someone, put these people out of our misery.


Marty Walsh Tears the Sheets with Boston Herald

April 2, 2015

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, the Boston Herald has been the house organ for City Hall in all things Olympic while the Boston Globe has been the preferred venue for the store 2024 set.

For instance, today’s stately local broadsheet includes only this from Walsh in Mark Arsenault’s piece about the come-to-Jesus atmosphere at Boston 2024.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, in a statement from his office, said he had been discussing in recent weeks a plan to establish “an office of Olympic accountability at City Hall,” and “is pleased that [Boston 2024 chairman] John Fish is on board.”

 

But the Marty Walsh Gazette trumpets a very different story.

Walsh: Role change could save Hub bid

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh strongly suggested yesterday Boston 2024 chairman John Fish should accept a diminished role with the Olympic group and instead be an “ambassador” to help keep alive the bid to bring the Summer Games to the city.

“It’s an opportunity now — I wouldn’t say necessarily push him aside — but I think it’s time now to grow as a unit with 2024 and the USOC,” Walsh said. “I think he should be an ambassador and be involved with this.”

 

Except . . .

Unknown

STATEMENT OF MAYOR MARTIN J. WALSH IN RESPONSE TO BOSTON HERALD STORY

BOSTON – Thursday, April 2, 2015 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today issued the following statement:

“I said on Wednesday that John Fish should be an ambassador for Boston 2024, which is a position he holds now as Chairman. I want to be very clear, I did not call for John to step down from his role. John was one of the first people to carry a vision for the Olympic bid in Boston and I strongly believe that he should continue to be involved as we move forward.”

###

 

Huh.


Marty Walsh Channels Orwell on 5-Ring Referendum

March 24, 2015

(Previously . . . in the Marty Walsh Gazette . . . )

Today’s Boston Herald features more slop from City Hall on the Store 2024 rumpus.

A full page worth, in fact.

 

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From Matt Stout’s piece: “The ‘Team Walsh’ meeting [tonight] comes amid the increasing likelihood of a 2016 ballot initiative as both Attorney General Maura Healey and Gov. Charlie Baker threw their support behind a referendum yesterday.”

And Jaclyn Cashman writes in her column, “Walsh has even warmed up to a ballot question regarding bringing the games to the Bay State. He learned Bay Staters get furious when they feel their voices don’t matter.”

But . . .

Here’s the official statement City Hall released today:

STATEMENT FROM MAYOR WALSH ON OLYMPIC REFERENDUM

“Hosting the Olympic Games presents an opportunity to envision and build together the next chapter in Boston’s history. The success of our bid for the Olympics depends on the support of residents and we should only move forward in a way that will bring the greatest benefit to the City and its neighborhoods. Over the next year, I encourage residents to engage in a conversation to learn more about what the Olympics could mean for Boston and the entire Commonwealth, and to put forward any suggestions or concerns. The Olympics offers a catalyst to unlocking our full potential and only through collaboration can we take advantage of this chance to elevate Boston to new heights.”

 

Excellent! The Statement on the Olympic Referendum doesn’t actually mention the Olympic Referendum.

Then, several hours ago, this popped up on the Herald’s website:

Boston 2024 sets date for statewide referendum on Olympics bid

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The head of Boston 2024 today set a date for a binding statewide referendum on the Boston Olympics — and vowed to give voters in Boston veto power over the controversial project.

“We believe now is the time that 2024 would like to propose a referendum in 2016,” Boston 2024 chair John Fish told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. “What that is saying is that: let the voters vote — not just the voters of Boston — but a referendum statewide. What we will commit to is if the statewide referendum passes but the voting bloc in Boston doesn’t want the Olympics, we won’t host the Olympics.”

 

There you go. Or there the Olympic bid goes.

Take your pick.


An Ad-itude Adjustment on 2024 Summer Olympics?

March 23, 2015

As splendid reader Mike Barry so wisely predicted, it was only a matter of time until the machers at Store 2024 started paying to tell their side of the story. Especially after being poll-axed by WBUR last week, the Boston Olympniks needed some damage control in a hurry.

Thus, this (with special bonus Inexplicable Green Number):

 

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That ran page 3 of the Boston Herald. On page 3 of the Globe’s Metro section, there was the same ad:

 

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Our personal favorites?

 

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Wait – weren’t we told those improvements were “all in place” before the 2024 Olympic bid was even a twinkle in John Fish’s eye? And then there’s this:

 

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We’d very much like to see that poll, ’cause it sure don’t feel that way. (Anything you can tell us, No Boston Olympics?)

On the coverage front, meanwhile, the local dailies are running true to form today: The Globe is the preferred conduit for Boston 2024 (see this Page One piece), and the Herald is the Marty Walsh Gazette (Mayor now game for Olympics vote). Sorta like we said the other day.

Just sayin’.


Boston Dailies Engage in Olympic Gamesmanship

March 21, 2015

From our One Town, Two Different Worlds desk

In the wake of the new WBUR poll that registers a knee-buckling 52% opposition to Boston’s 2024 Summer Olympics bid, the major players have decided it’s time to buckle down. And to pick a local daily to get the word out.

Not surprisingly, Mayor Marty Walsh has drifted toward the Boston Herald, while Boston 2024 gets a front-page boost from the Boston Globe.

Start with the latter:

Boston 2024 goes campaign-style

Bid committee uses political tactics and operatives

It was the ideal place to launch a grassroots movement: a Roxbury basketball tournament that drew a who’s who of political players, from the governor and mayor to city councilors and ward committee activists.

And right inside the entrance were three young people handing out Boston 2024 wristbands and urging anyone 1200_olympics_tlumackiwithin earshot to volunteer for the city’s Olympic bid.

“Whether you’re for or against, we want to hear your voice,” Willie Bodrick II proclaimed as he pitched the Games to a local lawyer and nonprofit executive.

Bodrick, a 27-year-old pastor who worked on Martha Coakley’s gubernatorial bid, is part of a sophisticated campaign-style operation that the local Olympic organizing group has built to persuade skeptical Bostonians to embrace efforts to land the 2024 Summer Games.

 

Michael Levenson’s piece continues, “the organization now looks much like a well-funded candidate’s operation, with digital media strategists, field teams, fund-raisers, liaisons to clergy and to ethnic media, and consultants who have worked on the biggest races in Massachusetts politics.”

And they all get trotted out here, from uber-consultants Doug Rubin and Will Keyser to “voter-mobilization guru” John Walsh to the ubiquitous Rev. Jeffrey Brown.

Crosstown, the Boston Herald channels Marty Walsh in Richard Weir’s piece.

Walsh hits reset button in quest for Olympic gold

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh, amid nosediving public support for Boston’s Olympics bid, is looking to hit the “reset button” in hopes of restoring confidence in the push to host the 2024 Summer Games and cutting his own political losses, according to City Hall insiders and observers.

Walsh called out former Gov. Deval Patrick Thursday over his controversial $7,500-a-day lobbying fee for the group behind the bid, Boston 2024, just hours before Patrick finally relented and said he would forgo pay for his work.

“Mayor Walsh has hit the reset button on the Olympic effort given that this is his city and he has the most to lose politically,” said one insider close to the Walsh administration.

 

Yeah – especially since he told WGBH’s Boston Public Radio last month that he’d consider 70% support for the Boston Olympics “satisfactory.” We’re a long way from that, Mistah Mayah, and headed in the wrong direction.

(Cheek by jowl with Weir’s piece is a Joe Battenfeld column calling for Mitt Romney to take over the whole mess, and a Joe Fitzgerald rumination on Deval Patrick’s $7500-a-day hubris.)

This could get interesting if the Globe becomes the preferred conduit for the Boston 2024 machers, and the Herald generally serves as the unofficial newsletter of the Walsh administration.

We shall see, eh?


Five-Ring Monte: Boston Herald Is on the Money in Olympic Salary Flap

March 10, 2015

The local dailies are currently on Boston 2024, the high-rolling Olympic wannabe outfit, like Brown on Williamson – especially in the matter of who’s getting paid what.

Today Boston hits the Dailies Double, with both papers front-paging the buckraking at the Olympic trough.

Boston Globe:

Olympic bid panel offers salary data

Patrick to earn $7,500 per day during travels

Former governor Deval Patrick will earn $7,500 a day for occasional travel as a global ambassador for Boston’s Olympic bid, selling the city and its vision for the Games to the International Olympic Committee, according to salary data released Monday by local 0109patrickOlympic planners, who say they do not know how often Patrick would be on the job.

The local Olympic bid committee, Boston 2024, which is funded by private donations, is also paying $1,390,500 in annual staff salary, with six of 10 salaried employees making more than $100,000 a year. Chief executive Rich Davey topped the list at $300,000.

 

Mark Arsenault’s piece features other hauls as well: “Boston 2024 is paying $44,000 a month to communications consultants, including $15,000 each to Northwind Strategies — overseen by former Patrick aide Doug Rubin — and Keyser Public Strategies, whose president, Will Keyser, was a key strategist in Governor Charlie Baker’s winning campaign.”

And: “The committee also has monthly contracts, for $10,000 each, with William Coyne Jr. and Jack Hart — well-connected lobbyists with South Boston ties.”

And: “Nikko Mendoza, who was Patrick’s director of operations, is vice president for engagement and external affairs, making $120,000 a year, according to Boston 2024.”

That’s a lotta dough-re-mi, eh?

Crosstown at the Boston Herald, it gets even worse.

 

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Inside, the fiscally local tabloid features this handy clip ‘n’ save pay sheet:

 

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Do we see a pattern emerging here? Boston 2024 operates clandestinely, local media force the issue on some issue, Boston 2024 forks over some information. Time to stock up on crowbars.