MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott’s press conference on Tuesday was one of those rare moments in political life when an official just lets it rip. We in the press are so accustomed to dry, lifeless, measured statements that we’re not sure what to do when an official goes Full Metal Jacket. The situation was even more complicated in this case because Scott is a black woman.
My own informal poll found many who thought her defense of the T was a breath of fresh air, but others thought she came across, particularly in comparison to Gov. Charlie Baker, as a bit of a crazy lady.
TV and radio reporters had it easy; they just ran video or audio from the 26-minute press conference and let viewers make up their own minds. But print types didn’t have it so easy. Many struggled with how to characterize her remarks (for a partial transcript, click here), usually erring on the side of caution.
The Globe referred to Scott as “animated.” Boston.com described her as “defiant and candid.” Masslive called her comments a “passionate defense.” The Metro said she “didn’t hold back.” Former transportation secretary James Aloisi was quoted as saying: “It was nothing like the buttoned-up style Boston is used to.”
The Herald’s Howie Carr, who never holds back, called Scott “babbling Beverly” and added that, “when it comes to run-on sentences, she could practically be a member of the Kennedy family.”
Adrian Walker, in his Globe column, had high praise for Scott and her willingness to speak truth to power. “Of course, by telling the truth about the transit system at the expense of her superiors – instead of meekly taking the fall – Scott violated a major precept of government. Good for her for not caring,” Walker wrote.
Adam Kirk Edgerton, a Bostonian writing for the Huffington Post, tackled the race and gender issues head-on. “I do know the code words for when a woman is too ’emotional,'” he wrote. “Our elected representatives have been holding lackadaisical press conferences, and finally someone gets out there and says how we are all really feeling. Maybe she didn’t dress it up in careful political language, but I would vote for her.”
Peter Kadzis on WGBH offered 10 takeaways. Among them: “Scott’s candor, openness, and honesty are rare – almost without precedent – in local political life.” But he thought she went on too long and her remarks made him think of Howard Dean’s 2006 meltdown. “Scott didn’t melt down,” Kadzis wrote. “But the lesson to take away from Dean’s episode is straight out of Marshall McLuhan: it’s risky to be too hot on an essentially cool medium.” Taking that analysis a bit further, he concluded: “It’s an interesting match, the Scott versus Baker matchup. Hot versus cold, Democratic appointee versus elected Republican.
Echoing a call made yesterday by the Herald‘s Joe Battenfeld, Globe columnist Shirley Leung says one small way Gov. Charlie Baker can begin to get his hands around the massive problems plaguing the MBTA is to actually ride the system — something no one ever had to urge a certain predecessor to do.
An emerging geographic power center in the new Baker administration? Shrewsbury.
Richard Tisei is returning to Beacon Hill as a senior advisor and lobbyist for Preti Strategies, which is headed by former state rep Al Minahan, the Salem News reports.
What’s another 15 inches of snow on top of everything we’ve got already? We will apparently find out this weekend.
WBUR’s Barbara Howard offers an interesting personal tale about how the snow affects low income people.
Snowmageddon has forced the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association to push back qualifying deadlines for the state’s hockey and basketball tournaments for the first time ever.
While there is general regional weariness with the weather, this weekend’s forecasted storm is particularly distressing to florists and restaurateurs who count on Valentine’s Day for a big business bump.
Haverhill School Superintendent James Scully wanted to use portions of the February and April vacation weeks to prepare students for MCAS tests, but the teachers union shot that idea down, the Eagle-Tribune reports. Supers in Burlington and Fitchburg explore options like “blizzard bags” and Saturday classes.
Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis (who stands at 6′ 7″) steps up for the latest edition of “find your nearest tall person and compare snowfall totals.”
Former Quincy mayor William Phelan, the current Holbrook town administrator, has opened up a campaign finance account to run for an as-yet unnamed office in the City of Presidents, potentially setting up a third race against his nemesis, Mayor Thomas Koch.
Somerset officials are looking to consolidate the town’s five precincts into one location in an effort to save money and make the voting process more efficient.
Swampscott officials and town residents hold a brainstorming session on what to do with four vacant parcels of property, the Item reports.
Republicans in the Colorado Senate push through a parents bill of rights, giving mom and day control over what their child learns in school and the health care he or she receives.
Democrats have tapped Philadelphia over New York City and Columbus, Ohio, for their 2016 national convention.
The Massachusetts Republican Party will pay tea party insurgent Mark Fisher $240,000 to settle his lawsuit alleging monkey business in the counting of votes at last year’s state nominating convention. The party adds the time-honored claim there is no admission of wrongdoing in the settlement, only a wish to avoid protracted and costly legal fight.
Boston 2024 organizers took their bid to Washington yesterday, where they held their first meeting with members of the state’s congressional delegation.
The Herald‘s Steve Buckley doesn’t want Boston to land the Olympics, and he loves Fenway Park as much as the next guy, but if we get stuck with the 2024 spectacle he says it makes sense to plan on an Olympic stadium that becomes the Red Sox new home when the three-week Games are through.
Expedia is planning to buy its rival, Orbitz, USA Today reports.
Costco won’t accept American Express cards next year at its US stores. The retailer accounts for 8 percent of Amex business, Reuters reports.
Newport Materials is facing some tough questioning on its proposal to open an asphalt plant in Westford, theSun reports.
Advocates for deaf students have filed a federal class action suit against Harvard and MIT claiming the school fail to provide closed captioning for their online courses, podcasts, lectures and other audio-enhanced educational materials.
Linda Noonan of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education says the MCAS isn’t working.
The new federal nutrition regulations are forcing many schools to abandon the time-honored bake sales in favor of more healthy fundraising events such as road races and other activities.
State officials say they will try to figure out why wait times remain lengthy for those trying to reach the Health Connector.
Check out CommonWealth’s five takes on the T, featuring sharply different perspectives from Jim Aloisi, Charlie Chieppo, Peter O’Connor, Joe Curtatone, and the Pioneer Institute.
There are many facets to the MBTA’s fiscal woes, but one of them surely is a retirees beginning to collect big pension payouts while in their 50s, the Herald reports.
The Herald continues to try to poke holes in the narrative of T general manager as fallen heroine who spoke truth to power. After yesterday’s story highlighting soon-to-be-former general manager Beverly Scott‘s appetite for out of state travel on the system’s dime, the Herald reports today that the T added more than 200 employees over the last year and the number of workers earning more than $100,000 doubled.
The T is limping back on track, with some service restored on parts of the Red and Orange lines that had been served in recent days by substitute bus shuttles.
Fall River’s controversial pay-as-you-throw program, which triggered the recall of former mayor Will Flanagan, is on pace to make $3.5 million for the city as well as significantly reduce the amount of solid waste, saving the city another $800,000. CommonWealth reported on the benefits of such programs in the cover story of its most recent print issue.
The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station continues experiencing weather-related problems.
The arrest of a Lowell court clerk illustrates what some say is a flaw in the domestic abuse law that is hiding the problem, the Sun reports.
New York Times media critic David Carr, who was also a part time lecturer at Boston University, collapsed and died in the newsroom Thursday night. He was 58.
The Marshall Project, a website devoted to coverage of criminal justice issues exclusively, is off to a fast start, reports the Nieman Journalism Lab.