Thursday, May 04, 2006

Boston Councilors Act Out

Governmental Viagra arrived in Boston yesterday. It shouldn't surprise any of us. The City Council hopped up and down on the pump. When it finished inflating, all too quickly, it passed 16.6% raises for themselves and Da Mare.

To get a full sense of what was happening, think back to those annoying, road-blocking strollers. You slow your car to let some clown jaywalkers cross safely. They proceed to proceed verrrrrry slowly, letting you stew by way of thanks.

It's not really that they are dissing you. Instead, they represent the powerless. When they get a chance to make themselves felt, they take it. Then it's back to the shadows.

It's the same with the Boston Council. Da Mare has more power than they, and the commonwealth owns the mayor (see home-rule analyses, like this PDF). They can't make major changes, they have to beg (excuse, petition) the State House for the right and money to do the big stuff and can't tax.

But yesterday, they strolled, bumping their salaries to $87,500 and Da Mare's to $175,000.

Assuming that Da Mare signs this, it will be amusing to see the reaction up on Beacon Hill. The absentee governor makes $135,000 (this one doesn't take it), and the do-nothing legislators gross $55,570, plus $15,000 for committee chairs.

This is a definite linger and block in front of the General Court truck.

The other amusing point is that the debate lasted six minutes, and the vote was voice, not roll-call. This means one thing, sunshine laws or not, this deal was cut privately long before the graying and balding dudes and dudettes entered the chamber.

We need to see and hear now who is most outraged.

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Anonymous said...

Just sent the following to City Councilor Sam Yoon via the City Council website:

Dear Councilor Yoon,

I am deeply disappointed to learn that you voted for the absurd and wasteful pay raise for City Councilors and the Mayor. Your $12,500 raise is more than a third of what I make in a year, as a college-educated 29-year-old with years of experience as a youth and community worker. And as a fellow resident of Fields Corner, I know that I make far more than most of my neighbors.

I volunteered for your campaign, hoping that you would be the progressive voice on the Council that you promised to be. As I look around the neighborhood and the city, I see increasing violence and a continuing lack of infrastructure, and as a daily newspaper reader, I have seen no evidence of you taking leadership on any of these issues. This is quite disappointing, and it's even moreso to read that you have just decided to spend a few hundred thousand dollars on pay raises--money which could instead have gone to anything from hiring youth workers or teachers to installing public trash cans on Geneva Ave to reduce litter.

I hate to say it, but I am beginning to regret having volunteered for your campaign. I hope that you will change my opinion.

Mister Goat (I put my real name and address on the letter, obviously.)

Anonymous said...

To Councilor Yoon's credit, he called me at mid-day today. During an insane day at work (I work with homeless youth, and was dealing with a crisis for sevearl hours), I wasn't able to call him back, but I plan to. We'll see what he says.

I also called Councilor Feeney, my district councilor. I haven't heard back, but that was just mid-afternoon.

massmarrier said...

Excellent. One way or another, keep us informed.

I supported Yoon and expect good things from him. I hope he has a reasonable take on this.