1st Suffolk and Middlesex : Punting at A One-Issue Candidate Forum


^ surrendering to an ambush : Diana Hwang, with Dan Rizzo and Paul Rogers alongside.

—- —- —-

We all know how single-issue pressure groups have carved up our politics into tapas-sized bites of this and that. But until last night, I had never seen a one-issue candidates Forum. Now I have.

At the Pilot House on the North End Waterfront, about 75 people showed up to hear five of our District’s seven candidates (Steve Morabito and Lydia Edwards did not attend) promise to oppose the building of a luxury hotel on Lewis Wharf. A few other matters were mentioned during the Forum — waterfront flood control chiefest — but the 75 attendees only wanted that one pledge : no hotel on Lewis Wharf. “Yes or no,” as one questioner demanded.

( for those who want to know more about the Lewis Wharf development, which I fully support, click this link : https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/06/05/boston-developer-proposes-room-hotel-north-end-lewis-wharf/GrWVrfyCwNwA7n23agGuBL/story.html )

All five candidates acceded to the demand — some more craven than others. Paul Rogers and Diana Hwang — even former Revere mayor Dan Rizzo, who knows better — support the idea that “the community” should decide what is built and where. In other words, the private owner of land has no right to do as he wishes — within zoning laws, yes — with his won property, into which he or she has invested his or her own capital, and upon the development of which he or she is risking that capital.

In other words, socialism. Community ownership.

And who, pray tell, is “the community” ? I doubt that it includes the restaurants that would benefit from several hundred new hotel guests to draw from. I doubt it includes Uber drivers, taxis, bellhops, hotel staff, and construction workers, all of whom would benefit from the hotel and many of whom live in the neighborhood.

(And what of state, legislative issues ? Not one word was offered. All talk was of city issues, as if the candidates were running for District Councillor.

Folks : we are electing a State Senator to do legislative work on B eacon Hill. We are NOT electing a City Counciollor !)

Candidates Joe Boncore and Jay Livingstone seemed to recognize that many interests are involved in new buildings. Though both agreed that “the community” should have input, each was reluctant to just say yes to the audience’s demand.

After the Forum, I spoke with a few friends who were present. They agreed with my view. Too bad not one of the candidates had the stones to say, when asked, “no, I cannot make that pledge. New construction is  big boon to many people in the city and the neighborhood, and there must be a way to approve it.”

But this is what happens when you elect a State Senator in a seven-way party primary with maybe 15 percent of all voters voting. We of the 1st Suffolk and Middlesex are reaping the shabby detritus of a campaign proceeding along the wrong route in the wrong jalopy.

— Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere



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