Lobbyists muffled Big Dig criticism
Frank Phillips has a huge story in the Boston Globe this morning about how a secret lobbying group squelched criticism against the Big Dig: ["Report says lobbyists muffled Big Dig criticism"]. Personally, I can't wait to see this report because a lot of us who have been following Boston politics knew about some of these people and how powerful they were, but didn't know they were an actual group. They operated so secretly that no one really knew they were an official group, but we knew that there were some powerful people consistently lobbying for this project.
They did have the political victims, most notably, Boston City Councilor Diane Modica, who was a constant critic of the project and its affect on the North End neighborhood. She was squashed by hotshot real estate attorney Paul Scappichio in 1997. And, as the story reported, they reined in a lot of pols.
It's strange that the only one they couldn't buy was Republican Joe Malone, who made a fatal mistake challenging Celluch in 1998. Malone knew the Big Dig would be a failure, probably because of his own business failings [that Back Bay gym that went under after failing to pay its taxes, that restaurant in Waltham, P.J. Nuttings, or whatever, etc.].
Of course, there was this one guy who first predicted this whole mess. He was the guy who floated the Boston Bypass project as an alternative to the Big Dig. His idea was to build a highway around the city, similar to the FDR highway which runs along the East River of NYC. He and a few friends had a grassroots movement supporting the project, hanging up homemade signs around the city [some which still stand today] stating "Back the BB!" Unfortunately, this guy was also destroyed and ridiculed by the powerful people of Boston - like PR giant George Regan, and others, who have apartments and offices on the waterfront and didn't want to look at a highway. I wonder where the BB guy is now. He was so ahead of his time.
Lastly, on the new Central Artery Tunnel, it is truly amazing. I haven't been on the southbound side yet but the north side is pretty cool. There is this funny dip and wide turn in the middle of it and if you take it too fast, you could crash into a wall - like that truck driver did a few months back. Also, the bridge is magnificent.
However, is it all worth $15 billion? No. In fact, the traffic is just as bad as before, just as many critics said it would be. Also, it is a tunnel. You don't get to see the beautiful downtown of Boston. You don't get to see the lights at night. The project most definitely was a big mistake.
Dean finds Jesus ...
Also in the Globe is this story about Howard Dean putting everyone on notice that he too would be using Jesus as a campaign tool: ["Seeking a new emphasis, Dean touts his Christianity"]. Well, if it is OK for Bush to use Jesus as a campaign tool, why not Dean? In the end, all will be judged by their actions. And it is important to remember that the road to salvation is to try and walk the path of Jesus as closely as you can, not actually be Jesus or God. That's impossible, as we all know. I would contend that Dean's probably closer in his actions than Bush to being Christ-like. But not by much.
The Associated Press is reporting that Dennis Kucinich has qualified for federal matching funds of up to $18.6 million. He won't actually get that much, since he has only raised a few million, but he has the potential to raise that much. This is exciting because it means that Kucinich can blanket the airwaves with his great new George Lois television ads: ["Listen up"].