Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Community heard on buffer

The Boston Conservation Commission is asking Massport to meet with East Boston residents regarding a buffer that would be a key link in a greenway that would span the length of the neighborhood. The agency is pushing forward plans on two projects -- the East Boston-Chelsea Bypass road and the Green Bus Depot at Logan Airport -- and local residents told the Commission that this is the time to include "a path through the depot site to help connect Bremen Street Park with Constitution Beach."

The buffer and greenway connection had been agreed to by Massport years ago, but as usual the agency cannot be trusted to keep its word. The Conservation Commission meets again on April 4.

Image courtesy of Massport via Boston.com.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The sacrifice of workers

As conservatives attempt to vilify working people across America, it's important to remember what happened 100 years ago today. On that day, at around 4:45 p.m., fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Lower Manhattan. Workers, mostly young Jewish and Italian immigrant women, were trapped because the doors were locked.

Burns and smoke inhalation killed those who couldn't escape; blunt force killed others who jumped from the ninth floor. The death toll was 146.

The event spurred the enactment of workplace laws and the inspection of other death traps. The owners of the building were found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter, though one of them was fined $20 for locking the doors.

This would be a good time to consider Bertolt Brecht's poem "A Worker Reads History":

Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
 The books are filled with names of kings.
 Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
 And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
 Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima's houses,
 That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
 In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
 Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome
 Is full of arcs of triumph. Who reared them up? Over whom
 Did the Caesars triumph? Byzantium lives in song.
 Were all her dwellings palaces? And even in Atlantis of the legend
 The night the seas rushed in,
 The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

 Young Alexander conquered India.
 He alone?
 Caesar beat the Gauls.
 Was there not even a cook in his army?
 Phillip of Spain wept as his fleet
 was sunk and destroyed. Were there no other tears?
 Frederick the Greek triumphed in the Seven Years War.
 Who triumphed with him?

 Each page a victory
 At whose expense the victory ball?
 Every ten years a great man,
 Who paid the piper?

 So many particulars.
 So many questions.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Remembering an Eastie childhood

A woman who grew up in the Maverick projects has just published a book that reflects on the experience. Memories of Maverick: Growing Up Poor & Catholic in East Boston was written by Teri Borseti and received a positive review in the MetroWest Daily News. The book can be purchased for $13 here.

Image courtesy of the MetroWest Daily News.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Stepping out

On Sunday I went over to Scup's, the eatery inside the shipyard, to check out the tag sale that was held to benefit Harbor City School, which describes itself as "a not for profit preschool being developed by a group of committed East Boston parents and educators." It was a beautiful afternoon, and when I got there some folks were dancing outside.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Demanding the truth

There's a bill in the state legislature that calls for an independent and comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of expanded gambling in Massachusetts, and John Ribeiro is leading the charge locally for passage of the bill. S.150 was filed by Sen. Stephen Brewer, a Democrat from Barre, back in January. It's currently before the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, as is a bill that would authorize three casinos in the state.

It's inconceivable that a proposal with the impact of legalized casino gambling would go forward without the public -- and the elected officials who are voting on it -- knowing exactly what the pros and cons would be, but that is what the pro-gambling forces tried last year, and it's what they will try again. Of course, the gambling lobby and their supporters on Beacon Hill understand that a truly honest study will include much to be concerned about, and that don't want you and me to see that.

East Boston will be negatively impacted by a casino at Suffolk Downs. We demand a legitimate study in order to fully understand exactly what we're getting ourselves into.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Turning up the heat

Three sitting Congressman and one former House member will hold a news conference tomorrow in East Boston to coincide with President Obama's visit to a local school, but the event is being held to protest the Administration's proposed cut to a program that helps people pay their heating bills.

Obama will visit TechBoston Academy in Dorchester tomorrow afternoon before a Democratic fundraiser at the Museum of Fine Arts. The news conference is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the home of Joe and Katherine Oliveri, whose heating benefit was cut this year.

The president's budget proposes cutting the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program by about 50%.