Boston Herald: Most of the Hub a Red Light District

March 7, 2019

The hardreading staff has long held that the traffic lights in Boston must have been timed by Joe Cocker.

Unlike a real city such as New York – where one can routinely drive up, say, Madison Avenue for 10, 20, 30 blocks without stopping – making two consecutive lights in this town qualifies as a Dear Diary day.

The Boston Herald certainly gets that, as today’s front page attests.

 

 

Driving drivers nuts graf in the piece by Sean Philip Cotter and Meghan Ottolini:

“You have three lights in 50 yards, and the middle one will be green and the other two won’t. Then the opposite. No one’s going anywhere,” Uber driver Felipe Rios told the Herald last week, voicing a common gripe about constant stops and starts that he and other drivers see as unnecessary.

 

The gridlock grid extends from most of Mass. Ave to stretches of road on both sides of the Greenway to roads around TD Garden and Congress Street, according to this handy chart.

 

 

Sadly, unsticking those points doesn’t seem to be a top priority for city officials.

A recent national study found Boston has the worst congestion in the country, worse than even Los Angeles. But [City transportation chief Gina] Fiandaca said making traffic in Boston move faster isn’t her top concern.

“Our pedestrian safety programs are our No. 1 priority,” Fiandaca said, citing concerns that synced lights lead to speeding and put pedestrians and cyclists in danger.

 

It’s worth checking out the whole report, including this video and even some whining by Uber drivers.

If you’re in your car, of course, only at red lights.


Two Shades of Harold Brown in Boston Dailies’ Obits

February 26, 2019

In the eyes of some Bostonians, real estate magnate Harold Brown, who died on Sunday at the age of 94, was a legendary slumlord; to others he was a storied landlord and philanthropist.

In the local dailies he was both – but in separate papers.

The first sendoff came in yesterday’s Boston Herald, with the main source for Sean Philip Cotter’s piece being Brown’s rabbi.

Storied landlord Brown dies at 94

Boston native built real estate empire

Harold Brown, the storied Boston landlord who turned one small apartment building into a sprawling real estate empire, has died, according to his rabbi. He was 94.

Brown, who retired from his position atop Hamilton Co. at age 93 last year, amassed billions of dollars worth of Boston-area property over more than six decades in the real estate business and created a charitable foundation that gave to local causes.

 

Today the frothy local tabloid features this piece on the Obituaries page, which described Brown as being “[k]nown for his quick wit, no-nonsense approach and generosity.” But apparently that wasn’t enough hagiography for the Herald, because Howie Carr also weighs in today with this mash note.

Harold Brown: Hard worker, veteran, friend

Harold Brown was a friend of mine.

He was good to me, my family, and a lot of other people. Talk about up by the bootstraps — his mother was a fortuneteller, that’s how she put food on the table during the Depression. He was a veteran of both World War II and Korea.

When he died on Sunday, at age 94, Harold Brown was probably worth well over $1 billion. He had long ago set up a giant charitable foundation. If you walked through the door of his modest offices on Brighton Avenue with your hand out, chances are, you and your group got taken care of.

 

The rest of the column is classic whataboutism: Everyone greased politicians, Brown just forgot to delegate his bribery. Hey! – the Kennedys were slumlords too. That 75 State Street scandal? Brown was the victim of Whitey Bulger, not the scammer.

And etc.

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, Brown’s life is a very different story, although Bryan Marquard’s obit starts off in standard style.

HAROLD BROWN 1925-2019

Hard-driving developer reshaped housing

Harold Brown liked to tell the story of growing up so poor that his immigrant mother padlocked the icebox between meals to keep her seven hungry children from pilfering food the family would need for its next meal.

Years later he was faring better. In the mid-1950s, fresh from the success of building a doughnut shop chain, he bought his first rental property — a Commonwealth Avenue apartment building. One purchase led to another as he created a formidable real estate empire that his company estimates at $2.3 billion.

 

The Globe obit gives a more straightforward recounting of Brown’s legal woes and financial shenanigans, from a federal bribery conviction in 1986 to his 1991 filing for bankruptcy protection when he was $650 million in debt.

But the Globe also gives him his due on the business side (“At one point in the 1980s . . . Mr. Brown’s holdings were so expansive that he estimated he collected rent from one of every 15 tenants in Greater Boston”) and on the philanthropic front, from his establishing The Hamilton Company Charitable Foundation and contributing to Franciscan Children’s to rescuing the Coolidge Corner Theatre and donating a $2.3 million building to house the Fenway Community Health Center.

Taken all together, that’s exactly why you want to live in a two-daily town.


Our Mistake: Boston Globe Ran News Brief on BPL

August 3, 2018

Our eyes are obviously getting worse. Contrary to our last post, the Boston Globe did run an item about the Boston Public Library suspensions of three administrators under mysterious circumstances, smack in the middle of yesterday’s Metro Minute page.

 

 

In our defense, we had to go to the epaper to find it in the search engine – the website search engine produce endless pages of links to any article with “Boston” in it.

Our apologies all around.


Boston Globe Overdue on BPL Suspension Story

August 3, 2018

Yesterday it was front-page news in the Boston Herald.

 

 

The scoop from Herald reporter Sean Philip Cotter.

Library talk hushed

Authorities mum on ‘personnel matter’

The Boston Police Department is “reviewing” a “personnel matter” at the Boston Public Library — while City Hall and the BPL remain tight-lipped about why three administrators have been placed on unpaid leave.

BPL spokeswoman Lisa Pollack confirmed that the library had referred “a matter” to the police, but refused to elaborate.

“As this issue remains pending, we can not comment any further,” Pollack told the Herald.

 

Columnist Joe Battenfeld also checked in, urging Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to “intervene to get to the bottom of the mini-scandal before it gets out of control or buried by BPL management.”

Today the firsty local tabloid ran this editorial.

Boston Public Library should be open book

More than ever it is crucial that government institutions show complete transparency in their day-to-day operations.

That is why it is concerning that the Boston Public Library has placed three managers on unpaid administrative leave and no one is saying why. There is an internal investigation underway. Additionally, the BPL has referred “a matter” to the police but library spokeswoman Lisa Pollack refused to elaborate.

 

Also not weighing in: The Boston Globe.

We get it that no news organization wants to play caboose to another. But c’mon, Globeniks – time to circulate some BPL news of your own.


Stop the Presses! Boston Herald Beefs Up Newsroom!

May 29, 2018

Much to the delight of our kissin’ cousins at One-Daily Town, the Boston Herald has – at least temporarily – stanched its newsroom bleeding (see One-Daily’s Hexit Watch™) and actually added personnel. Witness this Herald Staff piece in today’s edition of the waxy local tabloid.

Herald names Pelletier new sports editor

Winning team is game for excitement of local coverage

Award-winning journalist Justin Pelletier, who has built a career leading coverage of local and professional athletics across print and digital platforms, has been named as the Boston Herald’s sports editor.

A graduate of Boston University, Pelletier has served as managing editor and sports editor of the Sun Journal in Lewiston, Maine. He is the Northeast region chairman of the Associated Press Sports Editors.

 

In addition, Bill McIlwrath, a 24-year veteran of the Herald, has been promoted to deputy sports editor. According to the piece, “McIlwrath’s strong management [as night sports editor] . . . has kept the sports section in print and online relevant and vibrant for years.”

Right – tell that to all the home subscribers who get virtually no sports scores from the previous night, thanks to the Herald’s decision to ship its printing to Providence (a situation in which McIlwrath is presumably blameless).

Regardless . . . there’s even more Herald newsroom news.

As the hardreading staff perused Twitter this morning, we came across this tweet from Sean Philip Cotter, late of the Patriot Ledger.

 

 

Congrats and best of luck to all.