photo (19)photo (20)photo (22)

^ (left) Mike McCann, suffering a debilitating respiratory illness, addressing the meeting; (center) Mayor Walsh spoke (right) Senator Mike rush set forth the legislation governing quarry reclamation

—- —- —-

Even if the owners of the huge quarry that the LoRusso family operates in the midst of West Roxbury had the neighbors’ trust, their present proposal — to fill the quarry hole with construction-site soils — would generate opposition. And West Roxbury people don’t trust the qauarry owners at all.

That was the message at last night’s meeting at Elks Hall. At least 400 people showed up, standing room only, to express their intense opposition to the quarry owners’ landfiull proposal.

The meting was called by Mayor Marty Walsh, who was present at it, as was Congressman Stephen Lynch. One doesn’t nornally see Congressman Lynch at a local meeting on a local issue, and he said so. Mayor Walsh said the saem thing. But, said both men, this was different. The landfill proposal is a major community issue and one that they will take an active role in resolving in West Roxbury residents’ favor.

The facts of the quarry proposal were explained clearly in detail by State Senator mike rush, who in the process of fighting the quarry — the proposal was fitst bruited last year — has become perhaps the legislature’s top expert on quarry reclamation matters. Rush outlined legsialtion that has been enacted with respect to quarry landfills, truck transport, and contamination matters. Rush also made clear to the large gathering that the state’s top environmental regulator is aware of the quarry issue and will not sign off on any landfill proposal that the community does not support.

Also on hand were State Representatives Ed Coppinher and Angelo Scaccia and City Councillor Matt O’Malley, who announced that his proposed otdinance regarding zoning oversight of the quarry wa adopred unanimously and signed by Mayor Walsh — and that it now awaits BRA approval. It was not said whether that approval would be given.

photo (21)

^ at least 400 people crowded into the Elks Hall

The quarry, which occupies 55 acres of prime real estate in the southeast quarter of West Roxbury, has been digging and blasting rock into gravel since 1893 — so said Mayor walsh. it has long been a given; and the people who have bought homes situated near it have known that the quarry was their neighbor. But they probably did not know, when they voluntarily accepted the quarrty as a presence, that blasting dust might lead yo respiratory diseases — one such man (Mike McCann, I think) spoke to the gathered crowd and was an eloquent presence, carrying his breathing apparatus and his tearful declaration that he wanted to work — badly wanted, always had worked — but now could not.

Nor did the people who have bought homes near the quarry thereby accepted that it would seek to do a landfill that includes very contaminated soil. Just how contaminated that soil might be, and with what, was set forth in a slide show that also made clear that the quarry owners’ statement did not accord with waht they claimed it said on the contamination issue.
Thus the distrust, and the justice of it.

Nor was there any support for the qaurry owners’ proposl to truck the landfill in at a rate of maybe 600 trucks — huge dump trucks — a day. The number seems almost unbelievable. No residential community can accept that kind of disruption.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere


1 Jack Connors1 Mitt Romney 2013

^ Jack Connors raised big money in 2012 to defeat mitt Romney. Now they’re united for Team Baker

—- —- —-

Tonight, Jack Connors, the legendary powerful finance guy who bundled huge sums for President Obama in 2012, will co-host a Big dollar Affair on behalf of Charlie baker, the Republican candidate for Governor. his co-host ? Mitt Romney, the man who in 2012 Connors worked to defeat.

You read correctly. Jack Connors and Mitt Romney are co-hosting tonight’s big Charlie Baker fundraiser.

I have attended several Baker fundraisers — at least two dozen, beginning late in May. At all of them, Baker has been hosted by men and women of both parties. The talk that baker gives at these affairs is always about his plans for state government; his vision, his method, his readiness to do what works regardless of which party –or no party — originates it. Baker’s fundraiuders are almost part of bhis message. They symbolize it, exemplify it in human presence.

This is far from the usual. Most campaign fundraiders I have been to — tons of them, by hundreds lof candidates — in my longish career in local politics draw only upon the candidate’s close personal supporters. They draw lines between the candidate and opponents. They have an edge, an opposition in mind. Not so baker’s fundraisers. For him, the opponent is an idea, a mindset : resistance to change.

Most people who care about how Massachusetts state government is run want change, big change. They see the need. But in the usual course, the competing impetus of party politics — and almost all the activists belong to a party — draw them in opposite directions, to serving party interests rather than the interests of all of us. that is not how Baker’s fundraising events work. Party interests just don’t get talked about. Ther public interest is what Baker speaks to, and the people who hear him — at least when I’ve witnessed — respond to that, want it, applaud it.

Baker can take this route as a practical matter because the Republican party in Massachusetts, whose nomination he runs on, is so small that it has very little pulling power. If baker wins 52 percent of the major candidate vote on November 4th — that’;s my prediction — at least 82 percent of it will come from voters who are not Republican. Think aboiut that. Less than one out of five Baker voters will be Republicans. The overwhelmingly majority of his voters will be “everybody else.” That’s a lot of pull.

Unity is thus not only the thene of baker’s campaiyn but also its structure, its math, its reality. Because most of us want unity in state administration, rather than gridlock or disunity, the Baker message — the Baker fact — has enormous power to persuade.

Even many of those who, as Massachusetts Democrats representing a bit more than one-third of us — but more than three quarters of those who currently govern us — want the unity that Baker brings. But they are pulled in the opposite direction, toward the generic Democratic campaign passively offered by martha coakley because Democratic party dynamics cannot, in their mind or interest, be set aside : not with the 2016 Presidential campaign so near at hand. In 2016 there will be no incumbent President seeking re-election, not to mention a Democratic President inevitably re-nominated. Thus every democratic party component is jockdeying for influence : public employee unions, environmental activists, advocatesof banking reform, social service workers, the AFL-CIO, Mayors. this jockeying enormously shaped last year’s mayor races in boston and New York : union-backed candidates won both. The same factor works in the goverbor race, even more strongly, to keep many supporters of unified state administration from joining the unity team.

To these Democrats it doesn’t really matter if Martha Coakley wins. Most of them didn’t want her as their nominee in the first place. But her campaign requires their participation as each seeks to win the pole position as the Presidential nominating process begins a scant three months from now.

If Charlie Baker does become governor, these interests will work with the fact, as they always have, both from the outside and through the legislature, in which the Democrats will have veto-proof majorities. With the legislature and their control of Boston politics to safeguard their interests, they’ll devote their major energy to the Presidential nomination without much regret at all of a Baker win. After all, though few can say it, Baker will be very ready to work with the Boston building trades unions, the Hotel and Hospitality Workers who staff the building boom, the IBEW who staff the industrial recovery that Baker seeks. Evenh the service workers of SEIU might find Baker a friend, not the enemy that their ads now picture him.

It happened often during the Weld and Cellucci adminstrations. It can happen again and probably will.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere