A few Boston/Massachusetts related items to pass along today.
- Diane Wilkerson, our fine state senator who was filmed by federal agents stuffing kick backs into her bra, finally resigned yesterday. Her resignation was hand written (she probably doesn’t know how to use Word or likes the personal touch) and was effective immediately.
The state legislature gave her little choice since they were going to vote her ass out of the building if she didn’t quit. Not coincidentally, she was indicted on eight charges of extortion yesterday and faces up to 20 years in prison. That should be a fun trial. Wonder if her ‘bodyguards’, who made a point of purposely bumping into reporters and cameramen on the way out of the State House yesterday, will be with her?
- In a related note, another state senator resigned on Friday. J. James Marzilli quit after being arrested for harassing four women in the Lowell area. Details are hazy about the incident, but I’m guessing some sort of rehab stint is in his future.
- Look, I’m a Dustin Pedroia fan like most of the people in the state, but he did not deserve to win the MVP. Christ, he wasn’t even the MVP of the Red Sox. That distinction goes to Kevin Youkilis who hit only 10 points lower that Pedroia, knocked in over 100 runs, picked up his run production after the Manny trade, and plays Gold Glove caliber defense at two critical positions. Youkilis, not Pedroia, is the one player the Sox would miss more than any other.
- The Coco Crisp era in Boston is officially over. With all the trade talk involving Crisp the past two seasons is a middle reliever the best the Sox could get for him? This Ramirez better be good. I should note that Crisp was a favorite of my eight year old and he uttered those famous words ‘That’s it! I’m never watching the Red Sox again!’ when he learned of the trade. Strong reaction from a kid who basically liked Crisp because of his name.
- Rumors are circulating that the Sox are pursuing AJ Burnett. If they manage to sign him and gaining Ramirez puts Justin Masterson back in the rotation, the Sox lineup will look like this: Beckett, Dice-K, Lester, Burnett, Masterson. Holy shit!
- For those unfamiliar with the Boston area, the Mass Pike is our main ‘toll road’ that runs east – west in our state. Anyone traveling from Boston to New York or any western states winds up driving on it. Those outside the state know it simply as Route 90.
Well, a battle has been brewing between the Mass Turnpike Authority and the Governor, Deval Patrick, for some time. Patrick wants to get rid of the Authority altogether and hand control of the Pike over to the same group that handles Logan Airport. At the very least merge them into the State Highway Department.
The Authority, in an effort to pay off the most expensive project in US history (The Big Dig) wants to raise tolls. By a lot! Like some would double. The Ted Williams tunnel that leaves the airport would go from $3.50 to $7!!! The standard tolls on the Mass Pike would go from $1.25 to $2.
This news is giving Patrick some new allies. Representative David Linsky is going to introduce a bill into the state legislature that would eliminate every single toll in Massachusetts. However, in order to make up the lost revenue gas tax would go up six cents a gallon.
Sure that seems steep, but even with the six cent increase, Massachusetts would still be below the national average. Besides, why are the people that drive the Pike on a daily basis more responsible than the rest of us for paying for road repairs and bridge maintenance? Shouldn't everyone pay their fair share?
I say yes. Besides getting rid of traffic clogging toll booths, revenue would probably increase. Imagine every single driver paying a tax rather than a select few who happen to drive a particular road. Sadly, this is Boston and change comes at a snail’s pace. You can be sure this will be the equivalent of a political steel cage match and will get very bloody before things are settled. Doesn’t matter how sensible the plan or idea is; if it’s new and attempts to change the status quo people will fight to the death over it.
- For a truly bizarre story, check out the nutjob that’s leaving high quality cuts of meat in a public park in Framingham. It’s been happening once a week for the last few weeks. Of course, since we’re living in the era of psychos and terrorists the people are concerned the meat may be poisoned or booby trapped or something. Maybe someone is just trying to feed a local werewolf and keep residents safe? Man alive, everyone keeps jumping to the worst case scenario.
- Boston.com just released it’s 25 Most Stylish Bostonians and have included my latest crush on the list: Sorboni Banerjee. Besides spending my morning workouts watching her on the news, I happened to see her in Boston one summer day preparing for an onsite report and she is one of the few people that looks better in person. She looks good on television, but it doesn’t do her justice.
- Saw this story on Fox last night and still can’t figure out why this is even on the news. A baby died of SIDS while in the care of a woman in Winchester. Now SIDS – from my understanding – is basically a baby dying of natural causes and there is no way to prevent it. You can take steps to reduce the risk, but there is still no certainty. As it turns out (and is mentioned at the tail end of the report) the day care worker did everything correctly and no charges are going to be filed. Just a horrible tragedy that this news channel is trying to make into something it isn’t.
- It’s been almost nine years since 9 Worcester firefighters were killed in a warehouse blaze. They mistakenly thought there were homeless people trapped inside and had rushed in to get them out.
Yesterday a new, state of the art, fire station was opened and dedicated to those nine firefighters. Why is this unusual? Well, the new station was built in the same spot the warehouse burned to the ground. The fire station itself is the memorial. Not uncovered yet are two statues outside the station that will be unveiled on the 9 year anniversary. I complain enough when politicians and people fuck things up, so here is kudos to the Worcester people for erecting a touching, classy and functional memorial.
- Finally, a sentimental loss for me. Atlantic Supermarket is going out of business. This is the town I grew up in and I used to stop at Atlantic on the way home from school most days and steal candy. Sadly, I'm not even kidding. Ah, such fond memories…
Today’s distraction: Play some tennis. Turn your volume down if at work because you might be playing this for a while.