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Liberal Opinion Blog. Boston, Massachusetts. Political Democrat, Independent. Debunk Republican Lies, Misinformation

Archive for February, 2015

Boston: Don’t Blame the “T”…

scott

Outgoing MBTA GM, Beverly Scott leaves April 11.

The head of Boston’s transit system resigned Wednesday, February 11, 2015. 

Here in Massachusetts we DON’T call our transit system the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. That’s too much of a mouthful.  We call it the MBTA or more commonly, just the “T”.

I say: BRAVO Dr. Beverly Scott. There is NO need to put up with the nonsense (too mild but will have to do instead of the initials I really want to use!) coming from the Boston media which has been trying to blame her and other T staff for the problem-plagued, indebted transit’s failures .

Seems to me that one particular news station started a drumbeat with blame, blame, blame the T. Not outright, though – more like leading viewers down a path to inference…through insinuation.

mbta map

MBTA transit map – subway.

I called one TV station to speak to a news editor. I asked the woman, (can’t recall exact wording, but giving you the gist) please tell me what information does your station have that is causing you to blame the T’s staffers for the current situation…WHY are you blaming the T staff for the weather-related performance deficiencies?

RESPONSE: Their station is not blaming the T.

ME:  Is it not the job of the media to inform the public by explaining HOW (as in How, What, Where, When, Why – but I did not say that) the T gets its funding…and about the funding situation facing the T with Forward Funding.  (Don’t even know what that means – I actually thought the term was Future Funding!)

RESPONSE: It is NOT the job of said station to explain about Forward Funding and the T’s finances…

red lline train

A Red Line train – like one that got stuck on frozen tracks, stranding passengers for 2 hours.

ME: Oh, what IS the job of the station? (I know the answer of course. It is to tell us about the antics of Kim and Kanye; to let us know whenever another pregnant woman has a roadside baby and the HEROES who save the day, AND to inform us whenever another fool who goes out on thin ice needs to be rescued at taxpayer expense. THAT is very edifying.

I forgot to include NEWS of the latest YouTube video featuring some toddler who either hates that mum has a new baby – or some cat that can rap (nothing against rap, yo).

With a “job” like that, which TV channel has the time to delve into an expose on the financing structure of the T?

Boylston St

Clearing snow in Boston (Boylston Street) ahead of New England Patriots Feb 04, 2015 Super Bowl parade.

Some viewer would actually LEARN something (gasp) and the job of TV news is now to entertain. You the intelligent, conscious viewer, who is still clinging to the concept of news, “real news” as opposed to some pop star’s latest boyfriend buying her a trip to Venus, (assuming you have not yet been “Dumbed Down” by these networks who are often owned by entertainment companies), then if you want REAL newsy news, please go somewhere else to find it!

Having said this, I ask the news outlets in Boston:

Please some newsroom staffER, explain to me where is it that you think the T went wrong for that particular storm. Does it start with the Big Dig financing package? (And people are trying to blame the new Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker who was involved with that financing? I am NOT blaming Baker, even if he was involved, and God knows I HATE Republicans!) The citizens of the Commonwealth went along with the financing deal – just as Americans went along with the invasion of Iraq. Dumb.

Boston Common

Snowy Boston Common

Did anybody vote to throw out any of the lawmakers who were also involved in that Forward Funding MBTA deal and sanctioned it? Is there anyone on record – any lawmakers, governors, city councilors, citizens, opinion pieces objecting to this financing package?

HERE IS A STORY FOR YOU, BOSTON MEDIA. How did this play out?

Please some newsroom editor, explain to me how you expected the T staff to unfreeze the frozen trains.

With their heated breath?

With their tongue?

With a hair dryer? Or the hot air you’re blowing out your crass?

rotary snow plow

Rotary Snow Plow – an expensive way to clear snowy train tracks

Because Massachusetts, (the richest state in New England, I believe?) DOES NOT HAVE THE SNOW/ICE HANDLING EQUIPMENT WE NEED. Despite our 446 billion-dollar GDP (Gross Domestic Product, 2013) we have to borrow equipment from Maine (GDP 55 Billion) and Vermont? Vermont has a 29 billion-dollar GDP. Guess GDP does not equal common sense because seems Vermont has a LOT more than we do!

I suppose it’s because we think: “It won’t happen to US, down here – WAY down here so close to the Equator and all. Who’s ever heard of blizzards and heavy snowfall in Boston? Of course there was the blizzard of ’78 – but THAT was a fluke. Won’t EVER happen again. So we DON’T need snow-melting machinery. Not like those snowbound residents in upstate New York and Vermont.”

Well now we realize we DO need snow melting machinery after all.

Boston Public Library

Tea anyone?

So Boston media, whom are you blaming for that?

Where does the T get money to buy the equipment it needs when they have a 5-billion-dollar debt and one out of every 5 dollars in T revenue goes to pay the INTEREST on the loan? With a governor who pledged to NOT raise taxes? Ready for cuts?

Whom do we blame for that?

Certainly NOT the T employees who were out on the tracks in the snow with pickaxes trying to dig out frozen switches while we were sitting in front of our computers trying to sensationalize the wrong aspect of this farce OR, focusing ONLY on one aspect of it!

Don’t expect the T boss who just took over a few years ago…to be able to manage such a major equipment malfunction – without the resources to do so!

Yes, of course, the T is not completely blameless. Their long-term planning may have been off. But I don’t know. Maybe T bosses have been making passionate pleas for more funding, for buying equipment, warning about such scenarios, etc…and got nowhere. HOW do we know?

We keep blaming T staffers and bosses, because it is easier to do this than to ask the hard questions like the billion-dollar T debt, how it came about, T expansions that should NOT be taken on now, staggering health care costs, early retirements that pay off handsomely, union demands, poor fare collection, an antiquated system, equipment that is falling down. THAT’S TOO MUCH WORK. It also reflects badly on us citizens who pretend the T is just fine!

t workers

T workers clear frozen switches MANUALLY! (Photo: Boston.com)

Microsoft has PHASED OUT SUPPORT for 12-year-old Windows XP. If you’re still using XP, it’s on you! The T is 100 years old…still using 100-year old equipment. If this was a human person, it would be likely dead already! Yet we expect it to run smoothly and efficiently and be able to deal with record snowfall that modern airplanes cannot tackle! If the blizzard lasted a week, would we blame airline staff for flight cancellations/delays? Well it’s not falling anymore – it is frozen on the ground, to our ancient tracks! And your answer to that?

Easier to just stick a mike in the face of commuters and ask them how he/she feels about a 2-hour train delay? How the hell do you expect the person to feel? Especially if you depend on public transit to go to that job interview, doctor’s appointment, or work? If the person says: “Yeah! I’m so happy I’ve been waiting on a cold platform for 2 hours for a train!” THEN you have a story! 

snow1

Snow dunes – South Boston

Most riders seemed to understand that it was too much snow – overwhelming for an urban area with LIMITED open space. (Which does NOT mean proper planning can’t mitigate the effects, either!)

However, most of us with brains in our heads – or NO airtime to fill, understand this record snowfall is a situation where IMMEDIATE RELIEF depended on angels (or demons) riding to the rescue. OR, Harry Potter and Dumbledore waving their wands: Defodio (spell to dig out materials – like snow?) or Incendio (lights a fire – under the snow?) Reparo (repair/fix broken or damaged objects – like trains?) or Evanesco –  (makes things vanish – like snow?)  Without that, what are the options?

pigeons

Pigeons seek mid-day refuge inside Red Line’s Andrew train station – deserted due to snow!

There are NO quick fixes for some things…much as we’ve been socialized to believe there ARE!

Train is frozen…the T has to (a) find another train (b) find a driver. The city is snowbound. What if the first staffer they call is not answering his/her phone, as in – oh no, you don’t. I’m NOT coming in!? Next person is on vacation or stuck in snow traffic somewhere? What if the person they call is with their sick/pregnant wife/loved one and no-one else is available to stay with the sick person? Do we think of that? Or do we just assume that SOMEONE is ALWAYS sitting in the T cafeteria whose sole job is to be on call just in case a train gets stuck? I’d like that job. Are we willing to foot that person’s salary — or will the same media start bitching when the person sits there for 6 months with NO stuck trains to service?

South Boston

Digging the car out in South Boston

We’ve become a nation of soft, whining, complaining, selfish, smug complainers.

I saw one person in Lynn complaining about the sidewalk. Does Lynn City Hall have the money to deal with this kind of snowfall – when Boston, so much richer, is struggling?

What the hell is wrong with us, that able bodied men, women and teens living on a street CANNOT get together to shovel their sidewalks? To shovel out our FIRE HYDRANTS? Firefighters are out in the snow shoveling off hydrants? May be their job (I don’t know) but it is NOT their homes that will be burning down if the hydrants are frozen over!

garden

Boston Garden

People won’t even shovel their roofs (rooves) until one roof somewhere caves in. Pretty soon we’ll be whining that the CITY has not come to rake the snow off our roof! Or should that be the National Guard?

Come on. Next snowfall, let’s STOP depending on the city, the state, the National Guard and let us get together; someone make some hot chocolate, someone else some coffee, another person some cookies and LET US TAKE SOME SHOVELS AND CLEAR OUR SIDEWALKS and stop whining. Lazy, dependent morons that we’ve become!

PS: Forgot to add that now that the T’s underachieving General Manager has resigned, we will be in a position to hire a new GM – an overachiever who will set up his own mint under a railway overpass and produce his own currency.

sidewalk snow tunnel

MBTA mint location: tunnel cut through a snowy South Boston sidewalk on D Street.

In just one printing, he/she will erase the T’s 5-billion-dollar debt. There will also be enough left over to buy NEW trains, enough for a bonus to have the new trains built/tested and online by winter 2016 (overachiever, remember?) plus enough to keep fares as is until 2024 when Olympics funding will take over.

How? Hogwarts will send the new GM – armed with an Invisibility Spell! 

Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts Express: Snow no problem! Tergeo!

 

 

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