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.

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The Fix Is In? No Love for Boston Herald in WashPost Top Political Reporters List

January 28, 2015

Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza posted this on his political blog The Fix today.  (Tip o’ the pixel to Dan Kennedy at Media Nation.)

The Fix’s 2015 list of best state political reporters

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The most under-appreciated reporters in the political world are the scribes covering state and local politics. They rarely get the attention of their colleagues at the national level but are often covering the very politicians and national trends that come to impact the broad political landscape.

Every two years (or so), I like to honor these reporters with a look at the best of the best from each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. The list below was built almost entirely on recommendations from the Fix community — here on the blog, on Twitter at #fixreporters and on Facebook. A few of my personal favorites are included as well.

 

Skim down about halfway and here’s what you find:

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 3.05.08 PM

 

Conspicuous by its absence? That’s right – the Herald. Granted, this was a beauty pageant judged by political junkies who gravitate toward the Washington Post, but it’s unlikely ideology was the driving force here. It just might be that people fail to take the flighty local tabloid seriously anymore.

As for us, we don’t know Jim Hand’s work, but there’s no one here we’d pull to plug a Heraldnik into the mix. They just don’t really belong. Then again, that’s pretty much how they like it.


Dailies Double: Boston Papers Hit the Mittfecta

January 14, 2015

Today’s local dailies feature very special Op-Ed ValPaks – columnist + editorial cartoonist – focused on the Last Temptation of Mitt.

Start with the Boston Globe’s Scot Lehigh, who provides this summary of Mitt Romney’s Sisyphean presidential history:

Romney has run twice now, and has twice failed to demonstrate convincing campaign competence or a genuine ability to connect. And though an occasional gaffe is inevitable in a long campaign, Romney spent an astonishing amount of time munching on his own shoe leather. Further, even in the GOP’s strange 2012 callithumpian parade of candidates, he had trouble closing the deal . . .

Even by political standards, Mitt’s malleability has left him looking opportunistic and inauthentic. And for good reason: He is.

 

Ouch.

Lehigh’s conclusion: “For Romney, this looks less like the road to redemption than the path to palookaville.”

Double ouch.

The Globe’s Dan Wasserman is slightly more graphic.

 

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Coincidentally, the Boston Herald’s Jerry Holbert also goes the superhero route.

 

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Uh-huh. On the facing page, though, syndicated columnist Jonah Goldberg isn’t so sure.

You know how superhero flicks often have an extra scene after the credits to hint at what the sequel will be like? Well, this would be the perfect end to the movie “Romney 2012.”

The problem is that “Romney for president” is now an art house film thinking it’s a blockbuster franchise and that there’s a huge market for another sequel. There’s not.

 

So third time’s not the charm? Goldberg’s conclusion: “[T]he idea that a one-term Massachusetts governor, who hired Jonathan Gruber to help design his health-care plan, is just what the Republicans need to run against Hillary Clinton is odd, particularly when the GOP has a much more talented, and fresher, field than it did in 2012.”

In other words, don’t bet the Mittfecta.


Scot Lehigh Nails Tom Menino

January 4, 2014

Praise the Lord and pass the ballots: Boston’s long Meninorama is about to end.

Tom Menino’s hagiographic sendoff has for the most part been toe-clenching, as a former colleague of ours might say. Sure, there have been the occasional whacks: Robert Campbell got in a few in his architectural digest of Boston development over the last 20 years, and Dig Boston got in more than a few digs in its valedictory.

But generally, Mistah Mayah has gotten the equivalent of a Duck Boat Parade from the local media.

So it was refreshing to read Scot Lehigh’s op-ed column about Menino in Saturday’s Boston Globe, especially these passages about “the counterproductive parts of his record.”

Topping that list is the way Boston’s public conversation suffered under a thin-skinned, insecure, often peevish mayor. City actors and observers quickly learned that Menino saw himself less as mayor than as sultan — and could be as petty and imperious as one when angry.

And he was nothing if not easily vexed.

Proposing a project, initiative, or idea that hadn’t first been cleared with the mayor was enough to put one crosswise with him. He was, meanwhile, hypersensitive about criticism and quick to take umbrage at those who differed on policy matters.

 

Truth is, Tom Menino may have been the smallest mayor in Boston’s history.

Twenty years or no.


More Than One Hitch to Baker/Polito Union

December 4, 2013

The shotgun wedding between Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker and lieutenant governor hopeful Karyn Polito had its engagement announcement in Monday’s Boston Globe.

Running mate issue gets thornier for Charlie Baker

Karyn E. Polito, the former Republican legislator who lost a 2010 run for state treasurer, is poised to announce her candidacy for lieutenant governor this week, a move that puts GOP gubernatorial favorite Charlie Baker in a difficult spot as he ponders a potential running mate.

Polito, a 47-year old Shrewsbury resident, is expected to declare as early as Tuesday that she will seek the nomination for the second spot on the 2014 10282010_28treasurer_photo3-7754405gubernatorial ticket, according to several state Republicans with knowledge of her plans.

Baker is expected to lead the ticket, and Polito’s candidacy would pose a politically ticklish question for him: whether to try to control the makeup of his ticket, as he successfully did in his 2010 run for governor, or to leave the decision to voters.

Having Polito as a running mate could be both an asset and a potential liability.

 

And etc.

The GOPpy couple tied the knot in today’s edition of our stately local broadsheet.

Charlie Baker picks Karyn Polito as running mate

Nod to conservatives may also help him with women voters

SHREWSBURY — Charlie Baker, the leading Republican candidate for governor, named former state representative Karyn Polito as his running mate Tuesday, presenting voters with a unified ticket fully 11 months before the gubernatorial election.

Polito’s selection serves as an overture to party conservatives, among whom she is popular, and as an effort to raise Baker’s standing among female voters, a baker-bigconstituency he lost heavily when he ran for the corner office in 2010.

Her hometown of Shrewsbury also bolsters Baker’s candidacy in Worcester County, a stronghold for Republicans in recent elections.

Polito, in her 2010 bid for state treasurer, racked up more votes than Baker did in the three-way race for governor. As she announced her candidacy at a Shrewsbury diner on Tuesday, she said she wants voters to see her as a “mom, a business owner, and an optimist.”

 

Leave it to the Boston Herald, though, to crash the reception.

Insider: Pick not Charlie’s first choice

Former State Rep. Karyn Polito wasn’t Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker’s first choice — or even his second, according to a source who said Baker considered several other female GOP running mates and even former Attorney General Tom Reilly before settling on Polito.120313politotf05

“It’s not uncommon, when candidates look for running mates, that you get further down the list than you hope to,” said a Republican source close to the Baker campaign. “Discussions were had with a lot of other people, and there were a lot who weren’t interested.”

 

Karyn Polito: mom, business owner, optimist . . . second runner-up. 

According to the piece by Hillary Chabot and Matt Stout, “Baker . . . reached out to Mary Connaughton, a former GOP candidate for auditor, who told the Herald two weeks ago that she turned down the offer because she is happy with her job at the Pioneer Institute.”

Finishing behind Connaughton is one thing, but Tom Reilly? Really?

Today’s feisty local tabloid also has a Joe Battenfeld piece on the Two-Time Charlie/Karyn Enough knot-tying, along with a pro & con honeymoon preview.

(Skunk at the Garden Party honors go to the Globe’s Scot Lehigh, who says Massachusetts should tear the sheets and dump the lieutenant governor’s office altogether, which will happen about the same time Baker and Polito adopt Tim Murray).

The hardreading staff gives that couple 11 months.


Herald Op-Ed: Mass. GOP = Gone Off Party

February 6, 2013

It’s a rare day when the local dailies crisscross, but count today as one of them: A liberal Boston Globe columnist puts on the pompoms for Bay State Republicans, while a conservative Herald thumbsucker goes all frowny-faced on them.

Start with Scot Lehigh’s piece in the stately local broadsheet.

07012011_0701oped_winslowFinally, Mass. GOP has some likely candidates

KUDOS TO Dan Winslow and Gabriel Gomez, the two Republicans in this state willing to join the race for US Senate.

Apparently willing, anyway.

On Tuesday, Winslow declared himself “about 99 percent” ready to run, while Gomez, a former Navy SEAL and pilot, is making the Republican rounds, telling people he’s very likely to as well. Although GOP panjandrums speak well of him, Gomez, a Cohasset businessman, remains largely unknown.

Not so Winslow. A former district court judge and chief legal counsel for Mitt Romney and now a state representative from Norfolk, he is a familiar face in political circles. Speaking to reporters outside the State House, Winslow took pains to stress that as a Massachusetts Republican — “a different kind of breed from the national Republicans” — he puts a premium on reaching across the aisle in search of commonsensical compromise.

 

There! Didn’t take long to kick the national GOP to the curb, did it?

But wait – Lehigh’s not done saying nice things about the could-be Republican candidates:

Make no mistake here. In their willingness to step forward, both Winslow and Gomez aren’t just helping the GOP. They are doing the entire state a favor. Massachusetts needs the clash of ideas that a competitive two-party system brings.

 

Before the celebrating starts, though, there’s Herald columnist Michael Graham’s entirely dyspeptic op-ed to consider.

GOP can’t win from the top down

Party usuals have made Senate race a long-shot

So the Massachusetts Republican party establishment may have finally found a candidate it can whole-heartedly support in the upcoming U.S. Senate race — and he supported Barack Obama in 2008.

Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, was reportedly being promenaded around to the GOP bigwigs in Washington by local party boss Ron Kaufman. Kaufman is one of the political geniuses responsible for the Massachusetts GOP’s tremendous record of “success” the past 15 years.

Just a reminder of the GOP establishment’s record. Since 2000, they’ve lost every single statewide general election except one — the fluke-election of Mitt Romney in 2002.

 

And Scott Brown too, Graham says, but no thanks to the party establishment.In fact, he calls the state GOP bosses “the Washington Admirals of American politics” (the headscratching staff thinks he means the Washington Generals, but we could be wrong). Regardless, Graham insists “there is no Massachusetts GOP.”

Not for lack of Graham’s trying, though. The most intriguing sentence in his piece is this:

Right now, more than half the Republicans in the state House of Representatives are graduates of the free, all-volunteer campaign schools my Herald colleague Holly Robichaud and I have hosted the past few years.

 

Really? Is that what newspaper columnists do these days? Graham and Robichaud aren’t Herald staffers, but if they’re going to be regular columnists, shouldn’t they be held to the same standard? Oh, wait – this is the Herald, which  has no problem with staff columnists headlining political fundraisers (See Media Nation and the Googletron).

So . . . never mind.


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.