Friday, April 30, 2010

Boston's Budget

Your city, not mine.

"With cuts ahead, Menino talks of ‘transformation’" by Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff | March 5, 2010

Mayor Thomas M. Menino proposed yesterday to close branch libraries and community centers to cut costs and reshape how Boston serves its citizens in the neighborhoods.

Related: State Legislooters Save Boston Libraries

In a speech to 500 business and civic leaders, Menino urged people to look beyond physical buildings and the current budget crunch and think about transforming the nation’s oldest municipally funded library for the digital age, saying the “days of the old encyclopedia are long gone.’’ The library is facing a $3.6 million budget shortfall, and administrators have proposed closing eight to 10 branches and laying off nearly a quarter of its staff.

You elected him to a fifth term, folks.

“It’s clear the system as currently constructed is stretched too thin,’’ Menino told the annual luncheon of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau. “We need to close some buildings that are not offering the highest quality service to the residents of Boston.’’

The city’s 46 community centers and pools face a similar fate, Menino said, telling the packed ballroom that “we may have to consolidate some underutilized facilities so we can deploy more people in direct service positions and mentoring roles to our children.’’

Despite his talk of facility closings, Menino’s speech was largely upbeat and optimistic. It also departed from tradition....

Tell it to the teachers.


So what did he put out?

"Cuts, but fewer of them, in next Hub budget plan" by Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff | April 14, 2010

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today will unveil a $2.5 billion budget for next fiscal year that requires 250 layoffs, consolidates some city services, and pulls staff out of eight community centers. But the news isn’t all bad.

The proposed spending plan, according to a preview yesterday by administration officials, reflects a slowly improving financial picture for the city.

Layoffs would be down from 280 this year, and no public safety worker would lose a job. Boston anticipates $27 million in revenue from its new taxes on hotel rooms and meals. And, for the first time in a few years, the city will field classes of police and fire recruits....

But no teachers or librarians.

The budget also includes deep cuts at the Boston Public Library, closing four branches and laying off roughly 77; library trustees voted last week to cut up to 94 positions. Other layoffs would cut 128 positions from the schools — mostly support staff and custodians — along with four from the Parks Department, and 19 from the city’s graphic arts center, which will close when the fiscal year ends June 30....

The budget, which Menino will present to the City Council today, increases spending by almost $60 million, of which $20 million can be attributed to a jump in health care costs for employees and retirees, Signori said. The city also plans to squirrel away $153 million for future pension and health care liabilities....


The City Council budget would increase by $138,000, or 3 percent, because it would restore past wage cuts for staff and make good on a promise to give them raises they deferred during the fiscal crisis....



Sad city.


Maybe they can get some help from the police and firefighters.

"Council expected to require retirees to use Medicare" by Sean P. Murphy, Globe Staff | March 23, 2010

The Boston City Council is expected tomorrow to take up and probably to pass a measure requiring future city retirees to enroll in Medicare at age 65, a step toward reining in municipal health care costs.

See: The Massachusetts Model: Municipal Health Mess

Too bad they can't give you that plan, 'eh, taxpayers?

I mean, YOU are PAYING FOR IT!

“This is a victory of taxpayers; it will save millions of dollars over the next five years,’’ said Meredith Weenick, the city’s associate director of administration and finance.

Well, for Massachusetts taxpayers.

It will cost the rest of the country.

But (clink) though the change would save Boston money down the road, it is not retroactive and thus does not force any current retirees onto Medicare, allowing hundreds of former city workers to remain in municipal health plans more costly to Boston taxpayers. That means the city is missing an opportunity to save upward of $5 million a year, according to the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, a watchdog group....

Under state law, cities and towns can force retirees onto Medicare, which means the federal government picks up a portion of the costs. But many communities have not adopted the measure, because of political resistance from retirees and unions....

Council President Michael P. Ross said he expected the Medicare measure to be taken up tomorrow and passed. Ross said he will support the change, but wishes the city had gone further.

“It’s better than nothing, but it’s not as good as moving all present retirees to Medicare,’’ he said. “I’m all right with it, but I think we missed an opportunity. It’s a form of reform.’’

Among other large cities that have not adopted any measure mandating enrollment in Medicare are Lowell and Lawrence.


"Council puts new retirees on Medicare

The City Council approved a measure yesterday to help curb municipal health care costs by forcing future retirees to enroll in Medicare at age 65. The Boston Municipal Research Bureau had urged the council to reject the measure because it does not require current retirees to join the federal program. The business-sponsored financial watchdog group estimates that the city will miss the opportunity to save roughly $5 million a year because the measure is not retroactive. State law allows cities and towns to force retirees onto Medicare, but many communities have not taken advantage of the program because of resistance from retirees and unions.


In the meantime:

"Budget has $20m hike for health care; City seeks flexibility in negotiating changes" by Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff | April 13, 2010

Boston will spend almost $20 million more in next year’s budget on health care coverage for employees and retirees than it did this year, a hefty increase that city officials say swallows up tax dollars that could be better spent.

Like saving schools, libraries, etc.

That $20 million increase, reflected in the budget Mayor Thomas M. Menino will present to the City Council tomorrow, is more than half the proposed budget of the Boston Public Library after closing four neighborhood branches. The figure also eclipses what the city appropriated this year for snow removal ($15.9 million), and for the entire budget of the Parks Department ($15 million).

Thanks for pitching in, guys.

“This is a huge concern,’’ Lisa Calise Signori, Boston’s director of administration and finance, said yesterday. “It crowds out our ability to spend money on other services. Something’s got to give.’’

By releasing a sneak peek at the budget figures yesterday, the Menino administration, is trying to increase political pressure on state lawmakers to give cities and towns more control in designing their health care plans and on local labor unions to help Boston curb a fast-rising expense.

The mayor has pushed state legislation to make it easier for communities to join the state insurance system and to remove the design of insurance plans from collective bargaining. The issue will come up again later this spring as the city begins contract negotiations with nearly all of its 44 unions.

Labor leaders argue that workers have done their part to control costs. Unions recently agreed to a measure that requires future city retirees to enroll in Medicare at age 65, shifting some costs to the federal government.

I'm sure the nation's taxpayers love that.

Bargaining units such as the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association have absorbed a 5 percent boost in the share of premiums they pay in the last few years. That move cost the average member an additional $1,200 a year, said Thomas J. Nee, president of the 2,000-member patrolmen’s association. “Certainly we know what the city needs to do,’’ Nee said. “We look forward to working with them to protect employee benefits and save the city money like we did the last time.’’

Under state law, cities and towns are limited in what changes they can impose outside collective bargaining. Menino has led a coalition of Massachusetts mayors pushing a ballot initiative for 2012 that would give municipalities more flexibility in reducing health benefits without union negotiations.

Municipal leaders have also pushed legislators to make it easier for cities and towns to join the state’s Group Insurance Commission. Joining the commission requires the approval of local unions, which have largely opposed the move. A recent study by the Boston Foundation found that the city could save $45 million this fiscal year by joining the Group Insurance Commission.

Instead, city budget writers foresee a future with exponential increases in municipal health care costs....


Time to head down to the community center.

"Community center cuts criticized; Partnership plan draws skepticism" by Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff | April 15, 2010

The decision by the City of Boston to pull staff out of eight community centers elicited skepticism and disappointment yesterday on the City Council and among some community leaders, who said the cuts could leave a major void in the neighborhoods.

The plan, included in the budget Mayor Thomas M. Menino formally unveiled yesterday, seeks to continue activities at each location by expanding partnerships with private organizations at the community centers, many of which are housed in schools.

“That’s just a nice way of saying we are abandoning some programs. They can dress it up any way they want,’’ said Marvin Martin, executive director of Greater Four Corners Action Coalition near the Marshall Community Center in Dorchester, which would lose staff. “I’m very disappointed, especially with the recent wave of violence.’’

Police commissioner says he's happy.

Operation of the tennis bubble in Charlestown will be put out to bid to a private firm....

City was running tennis courts?

Tax money for tennis?


Students hoisting handwritten signs declaring “The Walsh Center is Our House’’ and “Keep me off the streets!’’ lined both sides of East Broadway in South Boston yesterday to protest the city’s decision to remove the Walsh Community Center’s staff after the city announced the Walsh Community Center’s staff would be removed because of budget cuts.

Nearly a hundred people gathered in front of the South Boston Court House in the afternoon drizzle, drawing honks of support from drivers. The city announced Wednesday it plans to pull funding from the Walsh Center and seven other centers across the city, turning over the facilities to private groups that will run programs at the centers....

If it were an antiwar protest the Globe would not have bothered.


Time to go a-begging, Boston!

"City asks exempt sector for help; Task force readies payment formula; Some nonprofits balk at proposals" by Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff | April 6, 2010

Boston’s hospitals, universities, and other tax-exempt nonprofits may be asked to contribute tens of millions of dollars more to city coffers to help pay for basic municipal services such as police and public works.

Related: The Massachusetts Model: Tax-Exempt Memory Hole

They do not seem to have a problem throwing them on you, citizen.

After 14 months, a mayoral task force has nearly completed its work examining the city’s uneven system of individual agreements with such institutions, under which they voluntarily pay cash and provide services in lieu of property taxes. Some pay millions; others pay significantly less.

The city is pushing institutions to gradually increase contributions to 25 percent of what they would owe in taxes if they were not exempt, a change that would more than triple the current amounts paid by some of the city’s biggest landowners.

And stingy as hell, huh?

Hospitals and universities say that higher payments in lieu of property taxes would force them to lay off workers and pass on to students and patients higher tuition and medical costs....

Thanks for the help.

Because each agreement is negotiated individually, payments vary widely and the ill-defined system has long been the target of criticism.... Critics suggest that any higher payments would have unintended consequences, killing scholarships and forcing layoffs and other cutbacks for charitable organizations feeling the same budget pinch as the city....

Pressure to change the system and increase the amount of cash paid by nonprofits has increased significantly because of the city’s growing reliance on property taxes and the recession-battered budget....

Except we have been growing for two quarters, sigh. Or not.

The new system would remain voluntary, but (clink) ....

Historically, the city has used authorization of new building projects, which require permits and other approvals, as leverage....

Some would call it extortion.

No one has seriously broached the topic of religious institutions, which are also exempt from property taxes....

Well, that would mean....

Not going to happen.

Cities around the country are grappling with how to squeeze more money from the colleges and other tax-exempt institutions, as recession and lower property tax revenues prompt municipalities to seek alternate ways to pay their bills.

Efforts to impose greater obligations on nonprofits have increased tension and strained town-gown relations in some college-rich cities.

Great, just what the nation needs: more division.

City officials argue that colleges rely on municipal services and should pay their fair share, especially in difficult financial times. Colleges defend their tax-exempt status by citing the social and economic benefits they bring to their communities....

And I'm sick of both of them.

Related: Raising the volume in the fight for quiet

The drunk kids a benefit?

“If it looks like a tax and sounds like a tax, it’s a tax.’’

Truer words have never been uttered.

With its large number of tax-exempt universities and hospitals, Boston appears to be ahead of most cities in seeking to toughen its voluntary payment program for nonprofits....

The proposal, which many colleges and universities oppose....

While cities have to make do with whatever voluntary payments they manage to get out of local colleges, some mayors have resorted to more drastic measures to help close budget gaps.

So when do my taxes become voluntary?

The issue has spurred debate and tension in Providence....

Mayor David Cicilline proposed last spring that the colleges also pay a $300-a-year tax on each out-of-state student. He said it would generate about $8 million a year.

But (clink; a few more and I will be able to afford the tax) the plan failed amid opposition from students angered by the additional burden at already pricey schools. Universities worried that the tax would hurt recruiting.

“I thought it was important that our large tax-exempt institutions that own a lot of real estate contribute more to the health and well-being of the city,’’ Cicilline said in an interview yesterday.


Pittsburgh put together a plan last year to establish the nation’s first tax on college tuition to raise revenue for city retirees’ pensions.



But (my cup overfloweth) the mayor withdrew the proposal for the 1 percent tax in December after Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh agreed to step up voluntary payments to the city....

Higher-education representatives hope that the unsuccessful tax proposals in Pittsburgh and Providence send a signal to mayors in other cities....



They will TELL YOU ALL ABOUT (on taxpayer dime?)!!!

"City wants to ring in new era of satisfaction" by Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff | April 27, 2010

Boston’s top transportation official donned a telemarketer’s headset yesterday and set to work, delivering his pitch in an upbeat, bulletproof voice.

“My name is Tom Tinlin, and I’m the transportation commissioner of the City of Boston Transportation Department,’’ he said from a cubicle on the eighth floor of City Hall. “How are you today?’’

Tinlin was not selling anything, though.

Except how great is this crappy government.

It was his turn at the city switchboard, one of many Boston leaders following up with residents who report problems to the mayor’s 24-hour constituent hotline.

Tinlin worked from a list of several dozen people who had placed calls earlier this month to report potholes, scattered trash, burned-out street lights, a fence that needed mending in a city park, and a faulty push button at the intersection of Chestnut Hill and Commonwealth avenues.

“We just want to make sure it got fixed and that all is well with you,’’ Tinlin said in a voice-mail message he left for resident Anna Nikolaevsky, who had called about the broken walk signal near her home in Brighton....


The city call center has existed in some version since at least 1986. It never closes, with at least one person working the graveyard shift 365 days a year. The staff of 13 fields 500 to 600 calls a day, of which roughly 70 percent are requests for information about street closings, parking restrictions, permits, or even driving directions, according to Janine L. Coppola, director of constituent services.

The other 30 percent of callers report things that need attention: potholes, abandoned vehicles, unplowed streets, missed trash pickups, and more potholes. The call center logs each case — the word “complaint’’ is consciously avoided — and routes the information to the proper department....

For the most part, the callers Tinlin reached yesterday said their issues had been resolved. The abandoned vehicle blocking the fire hydrant on Spencer Street was gone. The “no parking’’ signs had been put back up on Ernst Street. The trash had been cleaned off the stairs in East Boston, though this came from a repeat caller who had another issue....

The library was closed and the school shuttered.

So the commissioner took note of dogs running off the leash at a local park and forwarded the information to animal control....

FREEEEE-DOOOOO.... oh, I stepped in something!

Boston parks!!!!


Gee, I got tied up in Boston for the whole damn day.

I'll be moving somewhere else for the next series of posts.

On the Beat in Boston

From a cushioned-comforting seat for their larger lower anatomy:

"City’s police sharpen their watch on crime; New center links monitors, officers" by Maria Cramer, Globe Staff | March 3, 2010

As part of a new crime-fighting initiative unveiled yesterday, Boston police now have the ability to witness shootings, robberies, and even homicides on many city streets from computer screens at headquarters and then distribute crucial information about the suspects and the crimes to officers heading to the scene.

The program uses existing technology such as cameras focused on major city streets, the department’s gunshot detection system, and the 911 dispatch center to relay information about a crime almost instantaneously to investigators.

Related: ShotSpotter Spies

The $500,000 intelligence hub, known as the Real Time Crime Center, is the latest in the department’s efforts to combine shoe-leather police work with technological savvy to monitor and thwart criminals....

Remember when this was just about getting terrorists, America?

Boston is one of a handful of cities nationwide that have developed such a center, the first of which was launched in New York in 2005. Since then, police departments in Houston and Memphis have opened their own centers.

Boston’s fledgling operation is modest by comparison. The department can only afford to pay for five technicians, one of whom is a police officer. Three technicians monitor the center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and they are relieved by a team of two civilians, who are supervised by a detective and work until 1 a.m. Before the center was created, police had the technology in place, but not the resources and staff to monitor the screens in such a coordinated way.

The New York Police Department has more than 40 detectives and crime analysts at its center, where a 500-square-foot screen displays key information. In Memphis’s 5,000-square-foot center there are 42 monitors linked to video cameras across the city. In Houston, 12 civilian analysts staff the computers 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide more extensive background information about suspects, victims, and neighborhoods to officers on the street.

The information that analysts provide not only helps investigators solve crimes, but can also prevent officers from getting hurt by giving them information not only on a suspect they are going to arrest, but on neighbors, said Christina McClure, a criminal intelligence analyst at the Houston center, which does not use cameras. Police will know before they knock on a door if the owner of the house or the neighbor next door is a violent criminal, she said.

“It’s so our officer doesn’t get ambushed,’’ McClure said.

Related: Drug War Making a Killing in Boston

Never mind the ambush of a private citizen who did nothing wrong.

Never heard back on it, either.

Boston’s Real Time Crime Center is an offshoot of the Boston Regional Intelligence Center, known as the BRIC, which collects, analyzes, and disseminates crime data to officers. Superintendent Paul Fitzgerald, who oversees the BRIC, said he hopes the city will eventually receive enough funding to operate the new system all day and night.


Yesterday, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who visited the center and was wedged between Davis and Fitzgerald, joked about its tiny size.

“Could we find a bigger room?’’ he asked.

Despite the limitations, police officials said they are already seeing results from the new system, which launched last month.

On Feb. 11, police arrested four people following a late afternoon shooting on Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan. The group was retaliating against another that fired on them, according to police.

On the large screen yesterday, Officer Matthew Hogardt, one of the analysts, played video footage of the incident as he explained how the crime center helped solve the shooting.

When one group fired on the other, the city’s gun detection system, known as ShotSpotter, sounded an alarm, causing the technicians inside the center to train a camera on the intersection of Blue Hill Avenue and Morton Street. On the screen, the technicians not only saw the shooting, but one of the fleeing men turn back to the scene to retrieve something.

Seconds later, while the man was still at the scene, officers arrived in a cruiser. The technicians were able to let the officers know they should stop the man, who had picked up the cellphone and GPS device of the shooter.

In the past, police would not have been able to arrest the man on the street, Fitzgerald said.

“They would have had nothing to hold him on,’’ he said.

Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, said the public should be concerned about the department’s ability to monitor so much of the city with cameras. There are 82 cameras located around the city, primarily around major thoroughfares.

“While all of us want to be safe, I think it’s important that the public ask some questions about the extent to which this kind of surveillance is becoming pervasive and whether there is any independent oversight to this extensive surveillance, which we know is prone to abuse,’’ Rose said.

She also questioned whether public funds should be paying for computers and analysts rather than more police officers.

I am SO GLAD it is YOUR TOWN not mine!!!!

Boston’s Real Time Crime Center is funded for the next two years, mostly through federal grants.

Yeah, through HOMELAND SECURITY because of that damn 9/11 lie!!!

And looks like WE ARE ALL PAYING, my dear fellow Americans!

“We can’t look to technology to replace officers on the street building relationships of trust with the community,’’ Rose said.

There is no more trust with the police -- if there ever was any.

Look, I'm not kicking them in the shins when involvement occurs; however, if I can go the other way and avoid them.

Police said the center will help officers on the street, not replace them. Analysts now provide extensive intelligence to detectives and officers before they even get to a crime scene, Davis said.

So what is next, Robocop?

“We can literally be working on homicide cases before the detectives show up at the scene,’’ he said. “It’s something that is at the cutting edge of police technology.’’

Now get down to the school house; we heard there was a shooting!


Nah, cops got better things to do

"Police turn up heat on civilian flaggers; As dispute with state flares, tensions rise over who should monitor sites" by Maria Cramer, Globe Staff | April 22, 2010

Lynn Williams, a construction worker in a yellow vest, was standing in the middle of a South Boston intersection, holding a sign warning drivers to slow down, when police showed up and ordered her to stop, she said.

“They threatened to arrest me,’’ she said. “Wasn’t that nice of them?’’

Within moments, according to the state’s top highway official, a project supervisor had pulled Williams away from assisting traffic to “deescalate the situation.’’ Police deny that they threatened to arrest her, but by the next morning, the civilian flagger had been replaced by a uniformed officer.

The incident Tuesday was the latest flare-up in an increasingly tense dispute between the Boston Police Department and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation over the use of civilian flaggers at city construction sites overseen by the state.

State officials say they want to use civilian flaggers, allowed under a new state law, to save money; police in Boston and elsewhere, who can earn huge amounts of money working at construction sites, have argued that public safety is better served by having officers, rather than civilians, working the jobs.

The tension has been simmering since October 2008, when Massachusetts became one of the last states in the nation to allow civilian flaggers to work at construction sites. In the weeks after the law was passed, police in some communities taunted civilian flaggers at construction sites. In Woburn, for example, where the first civilian flagger was used, 50 off-duty officers shouted down a union-represented civilian flagger, calling him a “scab’’ and “pathetic.’’

Related: Flagging Down a Cop in Boston

Yeah, I supported them at the time.

Now, in Boston, where civilian flaggers are allowed only at state highway projects or on state roads, police and city officials are closely watching construction sites for potential violations of traffic safety agreements between the city and state over the use of flaggers.

What, no other crimes to solve or prevent?

Last month, a tussle erupted over who should monitor traffic at a major construction project on American Legion Highway.

Tell you what: I'll do it. What's the pay?

On-duty officers in cruisers are now watching for cement trucks coming in and out of the construction site, even though the state had initially decided to use a civilian flagger.

State Highway Division Administrator Luisa Paiewonsky said in an interview yesterday that the use of civilian flaggers is working and that she believes tensions with police will ease.

“We think over time [police] will adjust to it as a reform,’’ she said.....

Do YOU ever get such an UNDERSTANDING and GRACE PERIOD, citizen?


If it is the LAW then.... !!!!

Oh, right, POLICE have NOTHING TO DO with the LAW!

It is the ENFORCEMENT part of the phrase that is key.

Paiewonsky said the use of civilian flaggers has saved the state about $10 million on road projects, in part because construction managers can decide how many flaggers to assign to a construction site and how long they will work.

When Boston police details are used, officers are paid for a minimum of four hours, even if not needed that entire time. But (clink) Boston police and city officials disagree that the state is saving money by using civilian flaggers. They also argue that civilians cannot ensure safe traffic flow or respond to criminal activity as a trained officer can....


People will slow down for them, but not a guy in a vest!

Of course, that is ALSO LESS DOORS being KICKED DOWN!

The police cite as an example American Legion Highway, which has a 30-mile speed limit and 35,000 vehicles daily. The roadway has been the site of many fatal car accidents, and there are makeshift memorials to victims along its side, said Thomas Tinlin, the city’s transportation commissioner. “We’re not talking about a state job on a one-way street,’’ he said. “We’re talking about major thoroughfares, evacuation routes, that get thousands of cars a day.’’

Related: Tying Up the T

The dispute in South Boston stems from a meeting last Friday, when Boston police and city officials gathered with representatives of the state and a private contractor to discuss a project to resurface the road and build wheelchair ramps and sidewalks around the intersection of A and West Fourth streets. Police said state officials told them civilian flaggers would not be used on the project. But on Tuesday morning, a lieutenant coming off his shift saw Williams at the intersection, according to a police report. He alerted the district captain and within moments, two superintendents joined him at the scene, along with at least three union representatives. One union official took pictures of the scene.


Yeah, YOUR TAX DOLLARS at work!

Thomas Nee, who heads the patrol officers union and came to the intersection himself, said he was livid that the state directed a civilian to stand on a street that leads to a hospital, Boston Medical Center. “It’s ridiculous in a major artery like this,’’ he said. “This is an almost bald-faced, in-your-face move by the state.’’

Yeah, they are expert at that!

But (clink) Paiewonsky, whose department is overseeing the project, said the state had agreed to place officers at the two intersections flanking A and West 4th streets, but also reserved the right to use a flagger in the area between the officers and chose to do so....


Of course, Boston cops have plenty of time to cruise the strip, bust brothels, hang out in bars, buy drugs, sting taxis over wheelchairs and worry about cellphones while ROBBERIES, RAPES, and MURDERS go UNSOLVED!!!

Earlier this month, police wrapped up a 30-day sting involving plainclothes officers mimicking tourists and other pedestrians. Once they were panhandled, they essentially became victims guaranteed to show up for a trial

Who knows, maybe you will see a teacher or two out there.

Also see

The Night the Celtics Won the Championship

Well, that should make you feel better about this:

"Police patrols to increase in Hub" by John R. Ellement, Globe Staff | April 2, 2010

Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said yesterday that he is shifting more patrols into Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan, seeking to stem the violence that has left four people dead and several wounded since Sunday.

Davis also said officers are once again teaming with probation officers to track — and take into custody, if warranted — offenders considered to be potential sources of disruption in neighborhoods. He said the four killings do not appear to be connected, although....

The commissioner said he remained encouraged about the levels of shootings and other violence in Boston overall. He also said the department’s response to gang violence over the last several years appears to be having some positive impact.

“It’s also important to note there has been a significant shift in the nature of homicides,’’ he said in a telephone interview. “A lot more of these have been drug-related rip-offs gone bad. We are not seeing the intensity of the gang activity that we saw in the last several years.’’

He added, “The issue around individuals who were involved in the drug business being targeted is rearing its ugly head again.’’


Yeah, it never goes away because government is the lead drug dea.... awww, never mind.

Davis said that despite the record rains in Boston, the relatively warmer weather may have been a factor, because more people were getting out of their homes and encountering their enemies on city streets....

In America?

You can have your stink city, Bostonians.

I'll take the smell of cow pooh over sewage any day!


Hey, it might not even be them

"Police lend ear to worried tenants; Concerns on security officers can go to city" by Maria Cramer, Globe Staff | April 1, 2010

Boston police, facing concerns about the special security officers they license to patrol some of the city’s housing complexes, have been blanketing those developments with notices informing residents how to file complaints against the private officers.

The notices — which include two pages of rules the officers must follow — follow complaints from a lawyer representing residents who say they have been harassed, even assaulted, by private officers known as “special police officers.’’

Otherwise known as BLACKWATER (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).

Boston’s 268 special police officers are employed by private firms hired by the city to patrol housing developments. Like Boston police officers, they can carry guns, handcuffs, and batons, and have the authority to make arrests or search people they suspect of committing crimes....

You have BECOME IRAQ, Boston!!

Special officers patrol some of the tougher parts of the city, and management company officials say residents largely welcome the extra security. But (clink) other residents said they have run into trouble with some officers....

Then they must be a criminal, right?

Police would never do anything wrong or lie, not in AmeriKa.


Better hurry or you will miss the boat!

"Police boat drifts away unnoticed; Recovered craft suffers $75,000 in damage" by Maria Cramer, Globe Staff | April 23, 2010

The Boston Police Department’s Intercept fastboat is a sleek, 27-foot-long craft outfitted with twin 300-horsepower engines and designed to outperform much bigger vessels.

But (clink) it was not exactly slicing through the water when city officers found it drifting underneath the Summer Street bridge last month, clanging against the supports, according to a police report. The $250,000 boat sustained $75,000 worth of damage....

Police say the boat came loose from its mooring on March 14, a day of heavy wind and rainstorm, and then drifted into the Fort Point Channel because the officers assigned to the unit did not see it float away....

But (clink) the incident comes as union officials are complaining there are not enough supervisors for the harbor patrol, an elite division responsible for watching over the waters of the Boston Harbor.

What, with terrorists slipping in on LNG tankers?

Union leaders in the Boston Police Superior Officers Federation — which represents the city’s sergeants, lieutenants, and captains — have made direct appeals to Commissioner Edward F. Davis urging him to place more supervisors during the late shift for the harbor unit and the bomb squad. The union has filed a complaint with the state Division of Labor Relations decrying the lack of supervisors.

I really do not want to hear their complaints.

Elaine Driscoll, a spokeswoman for the Boston Police Department, said there is no plan to place a supervisor on the last half shift, which goes from midnight to 7:45 a.m., even though there are sergeants overseeing officers during the other two shifts. “Currently at night we have a captain who is in charge of overseeing the city,’’ Driscoll said. “We would consider that captain as the supervisor for that unit.’’

Driscoll said she did not know why no one was watching the boat the night it was damaged....

Is this really lead Metro material?


Boston Fights Fires With Arbiters

Not going to put out the fires of public outrage.

"Panel OK’s firefighter drug tests, 19% raise; Arbitration ruling caps 4-year contract impasse | Mayor expects fallout in other union talks" by Andrew Ryan and Donovan Slack, Globe Staff | April 20, 2010

A labor arbitration panel has ruled that Boston firefighters must submit to random drug and alcohol testing in exchange for a 19 percent raise over four years, a significant bump that will dwarf the pay increases for other city unions.

The decision, released yesterday after a bitter four-year standoff, is largely a victory for the firefighters, who the city says will receive a wage boost that is 5 percent higher than what police unions received.

More crime coming up!

The size of the award puts Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s administration in a precarious position as negotiations begin this spring with the city’s 44 collective bargaining units, heightening expectations for raises....

The award, retroactive to July 1, 2006.... will cost the city an estimated $74 million, according to the Menino administration. It is $27 million more than the city had squirreled away for the contract over the last four years. Both sides are bound by the 2-1 ruling, which arrived at City Hall via fax yesterday afternoon....

Samuel R. Tyler, president of the Municipal Research Bureau, a fiscal watchdog funded by businesses and nonprofit groups, and others have urged the City Council to hold a hearing to explore the broader impact of the award on the finances of the city — which in recent weeks has proposed closing four libraries, pulling staff out of eight community centers, and laying off up to 250 employees — before voting on whether to fund the contract.

“The council is not going to gavel this through,’’ its president, Michael P. Ross, said last night. “The council will most certainly hold a hearing. We need the firefighters to understand that they are our partners in governance and that our current system of finances is unsustainable.’’

No, they just want to hold on to what they have and see how much more they can get. I would not mind so much if tax loot wasn't being wasted on corporations, banks, and "public servants" and their pensions and health plans.

Of course, no one wants single-payer health care like in France, Norway, etc, etc, etc.

In particular, Ross said, he wanted to talk to the union about health care costs, which the Menino administration has estimated will rise by $20 million next year for all city workers.

See: The Massachusetts Model: Municipal Health Mess

The Massachusetts Model: Mayors Make Lawmakers Mad

No, you do not want to do that.

Now drop those pants.

The city’s 1,400 firefighters have been working without a contract since July 2006....

So we should be grateful to them for doing their jobs?

Why didn't the city hire lower-costing permanent replacement workers?


"Arbiter boosted city fire raises; Mayor on panel says move was surprise to him" by Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff | April 21, 2010

The pay increase giving union firefighters in Boston an unparalleled fifth raise in four years was added unexpectedly by the arbiter in the closing hours of contract deliberations, according to the representative of city management on the three-member arbitration panel that heard the case.

Dana Edward Eischen, the arbiter and chairman of the three-member panel, added a 2.5 percent pay boost at the last minute that would cost the city an estimated $3.5 million next year alone, said the management representative, Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella of Leominster. The additional raise seemed to come out of nowhere Monday morning, as the panel wrapped up a weekend negotiating session at a hotel in Albany, Mazzarella said....

What, fire department threaten the arbiter with a fire at his home?

Eischen, a nationally known arbiter who represented the swing vote, suggested the arbitration award, which the panel approved 2-1, had been prematurely publicized by the administration of Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “Ethics and confidentiality’’ precluded him from discussing the matter, Eischen said....

Robert B. McCarthy, the president of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts who also represented the firefighters’ union, said Monday night that he was shocked that Menino had publicized the decision before its scheduled release in early May. McCarthy did not return phone calls yesterday. The mayor’s office submitted the documents it had yesterday to the City Council, which will vote on whether to fund the contract.

Reaction on the council has been cautious. Roughly half of the 13 members responded directly yesterday to a reporter’s question about how they plan to vote. None of the councilors said outright that they would vote against funding the award, but many called for a hearing to discuss the dollar figure in the context of the city’s fiscal woes, which may close libraries and make other deep cuts.

Councilor John M. Tobin Jr. staked out the firmest position, saying that while “19 percent is a big number, especially in this economy,’’ the arbitration was binding regardless of the result. “I believe a vote against funding this contract goes against collective bargaining and it goes against the spirit of binding arbitration,’’ Tobin said. “To ask the City Council to come in the bottom of the ninth and change the rules and the process is really a violation of the process.’’

Councilor Bill Linehan agreed that 19 percent seemed high, but said that “in the past we have supported binding arbitration. If a hearing would help make the actual arbitration more transparent and understandable, then I think it could be valuable, but my tendency is to support the binding arbitration.’’

Councilor Charles C. Yancey said his position on the contract will by guided by where the city will find the money to pay the bill. “I have the utmost respect for firefighters; they risk their lives every day and they deserve to be treated with respect,’’ Yancey said. “But I think that the price tag for the full increases is high.’’



Globe Editorial: City Council must put an end to indefensible firefighter raise

Globe is against law-binding arbitration and collective bargaining, 'eh?

And rather than fight fires, sigh.....

"Firefighters muster to preserve local aid" by David Abel, Globe Staff | April 27, 2010

Firefighters from around the state rallied on Beacon Hill yesterday, lobbying lawmakers to preserve their collective bargaining agreements and maintain state aid to towns and cities, thereby sustaining the number of firefighters.

They said proposed changes in the law and cuts in state aid were a matter of “life and death.’’

You just got a huge raise.

And the hyperbole doesn't help.

At the rally, which included more than 100 firefighters, Robert B. McCarthy, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, the union that represents about 12,000 firefighters in the state, said that unless the state had used $20 million in federal stimulus money, fire departments this fiscal year would have had to lay off 121 firefighters.

“The fire service is under assault,’’ he said.

So is the TAXPAYER and from ALL SIDES as the STATE BURNS TO the GROUND!!


He also urged lawmakers to oppose changes in the law that would allow local governments more latitude in setting the terms of health plans for firefighters. He said any changes in the law should allow firefighters’ unions to engage in collective bargaining.

The plan design for health care changes would “allow municipal management to dictate the plan for municipal health insurance, dictate the cost of health insurance, and dictate all increases on the backs of active and retired municipal employees,’’ McCarthy said.

Well, you will be TREATED JUST LIKE THE REST OF US then!

Advocates for allowing municipalities to redesign health plans for their employees say it could save them $100 million.

Not like a "public servant" would want to kick in anything.

Of course, I WOULD NOT CARE if the GOVERNMENT wasn't FUNDING PROFITABLE HOLLYWOOD so they could make their movies here or loser-movers like green tech, biotech, and techtech.

Representative Paul Donato, cochairman of the Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government and a lead sponsor of Plan Design, did not return calls.

Geoffrey Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, said that allowing municipalities to change health plans is a vital way to control costs.

“The current municipal health system is broken,’’ said Beckwith. “Anyone who stands in the way of real reform is essentially arguing that taxpayers must pay more for benefits that are far too generous compared to what the private sector receives.

“The firefighters’ union and others have to recognize that they have to come to the table and agree to significant changes to save taxpayers’ money and save firefighters’ jobs,’’ Beckwith said....



And something I never would have considered in years past; however, what is a GOVERNMENT UNION doing BARGAINING with GOVERNMENT?!?

"Abolish municipal unions" by Frank L. McNamara Jr. | April 27, 2010

SOONER OR later, the Devil always overplays his hand. In the current crisis of public employee unions bullying cash-strapped governments, that is a good thing. Politicians and the public now see the vice-like control of the unions.

Government at all levels is in dire financial need as a result of extravagance, mismanagement, and political cowardice. Paradoxically, public employees enjoy pensions, health benefits, sick pay, and salary levels that are the envy of their private sector counterparts.

The two problems are related. (Close the libraries. Pay the police and firemen. No! Close the libraries to pay the police and firemen!)

See: State Legislooters Save Boston Libraries

The recent “Christmas in April’’ award of a four-year, 19 percent pay raise to the Boston Fire Department has served to crystallize the repressive labor union power that inheres when essential public employees are allowed to unionize and exert oligopolistic authority over their political managers. The vehicle for this tyranny is the one-sided collective bargaining agreement, negotiated between the unions and the politicians over whose incumbency the former exercise control.

The Fire Department’s pay raise package has saddled the taxpayers of Boston with a costly and unsupportable package of benefits. The ripple effects of this largesse will influence future negotiations with all other municipal employee unions, and not just in Boston.

So what to do? Answer: Level the playing field by outlawing unions for public employees.

Why? Because what will substantially improve government, public administration, and the quality of life....

In making this nakedly blasphemous suggestion, I am emboldened by the fact that public employees are already specifically excluded from coverage under the National Labor Relations Act, which gives employees in the private sector the right of self-organization. The reason: a full panoply of civil service and civil rights laws already exists in Massachusetts to protect nearly all public employees from those indignities that have historically characterized the exploitation of workers by management and triggered the rise of labor unions in the first instance....



Torch 'em all!

They stopped serving the people and started serving themselves long ago.

School's Out Forever For Some Boston Teachers

They are ineffective and impotent anyway.

School's Out Forever For Some Boston Teachers

Plenty of tax money for corporations, banks, and legislooters.

"Union blasts city schools overhaul plan; Teachers’ hours, pay, and seniority affected" by James Vaznis, Globe Staff | April 13, 2010

The Boston Teachers Union started galvanizing opposition yesterday to parts of Superintendent Carol R. Johnson’s plan to overhaul 12 underperforming schools, after she called for teachers to work dozens of additional hours without extra pay....

Related: Learning Boston Teachers a Lesson

Learn it well; you will have plenty of time in the unemployment line.

In a newsletter sent by e-mail yesterday to more than 5,000 union members, Richard Stutman, the union’s president, called Johnson’s proposals “ugly’’ and “insulting,’’ characterizing them as budget-cutting measures rather than innovative ideas to transform these schools.

“She’s stirred up a hornet’s nest,’’ Stutman said in an interview. “I think she has done herself irreparable harm to her relationships with teachers.’’

I hate to be the one to say it, but no one cares about you.

Teachers are for the dumping of all blame for society's ills.

The Boston negotiations are expected to be watched closely around the state and could serve as a barometer of any lingering union resentment of the new law, which unions aggressively fought. The flare-up is the second in Boston since the state announced last month its intention to identify 35 schools across Massachusetts, 12 of them in Boston, as underperforming.

Maybe we should scrap the whole public education system.

Let localities deal with it as they see fit.

Hours after the state’s announcement, Johnson held a press conference, saying she would force teachers at about half those city schools to reapply for their jobs, a move immediately criticized by Stutman, who accused Johnson of trying to “evict’’ hardworking teachers from their jobs.

“Unions are very angry, and they want to kick the nearest shin, the School Committee’s or the superintendent’s,’’ said Glenn Koocher, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. “We will see this in a lot of places.’’

And check this out: Towns to Pay Health Tax For Public Servants

Yup, "Union pressure on Congress produced an exception for law enforcement personnel, including firefighters, because of their dangerous duties"

But not teachers, 'eh, taxpayers?

Not getting paid as much as those guys, either.

Btw, I wanted a GOOD, DECENT, SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM like France or Norway, not this Amerikan PoS!

Among Johnson’s proposals, which are considered drafts because negotiations are just beginning: not paying teachers for additional time when extending the school day by up to an hour; requiring 50 hours of additional teacher training without pay; nullifying layoff and seniority provisions; and tying annual pay raises to job performance.

Looking more and more like a witch hunt.

And, of course, we know petty politics and personalities never enter into a school situation.

Another proposal seeks to increase class sizes for programs that teach fluency in English, beyond limits set in the teachers’ contract.

Yes, but if you point out the fact that it is due to illegal immigration you are a racist.



So don't try hollering racism here!


“She has dug herself a hole with membership, and she will be hard pressed to get out of that hole,’’ Stutman said.

You still do not realize your opinions and feelings do not matter, huh?

Oh, the things I would be diverting to in the classroom before they fired me if I were a teacher.

Kids, forget the lesson plan for today; let's talks lies and 9/11.

One request, however, calls for an additional $6,000 a year for a new job category called instructional leader, a teacher who would work a 210-day year helping to improve teaching in underperforming schools.

Yup, it i$ ALWAY$ about MONEY here in the U.$. -- even when it is ABOUT the KID$!!!

Yesterday, Johnson emphasized she wants to work collaboratively with teachers on the changes....

Why is every authority or official in AmeriKa a f***ing liar?

Boston is hoping to receive federal grants of up to $500,000 annually for each school to help finance some of the changes through a program established by the Obama administration to turn around failing schools. It is the only additional money the district is planning for its underperforming schools.

By contrast, the district’s previous school-turnaround program, which Johnson dismantled last school year amid budget cutting, gave each underperforming school about an additional $1.2 million, covering such things as compensating teachers for an extended school day. Johnson said the program, which she inherited, had mixed results.

Boston is working at a faster pace than other districts on fixing underperforming schools, taking advantage of a provision in the new law that allows for an expedited process for districts that already had improvement efforts underway. Johnson had slated 10 of the 12 underperforming schools for dramatic turnarounds last fall. She has told the School Committee that she hopes to have the plans ready, including union consent, by the end of next month or early June....

I don't care; your shit schools, Boston, not mine.


"Angst as teachers reapply for jobs; At underperforming schools, dismissal deadline tomorrow" by James Vaznis, Globe Staff | April 27, 2010

Anxiety rippled through seven “underperforming’’ Boston schools yesterday, as more than 350 teachers and staff members faced a deadline to reapply for their jobs as part of an overhaul by Superintendent Carol R. Johnson....

The drama unfolded between classes on the first day back from April vacation, when students and teachers typically are recharged and ready for a new round of teaching and learning...

What world does the Boston Globe live in?

Angst over their future gave some teachers stomachaches. Others kept running tallies of those planning to depart. In some cases, as word spread about who was planning to leave a school, those who had been planning to reapply for their jobs changed their minds. Some teachers, she said, were choosing to leave “because they feel so disrespected by the process. If the idea is to get the strongest teachers, they blew it.’’


Principals at the seven schools need to replace at least half their staff members, under provisions of a federal school-turnaround model. The principals have until tomorrow to decide who should stay or who should go. Johnson said last night that she realized that staff members were in a delicate situation, but (clink) she emphasized that such a drastic measure was necessary to help turn around the performance of the schools. She compared the process to a coach selecting players to form what is hoped to be a championship team.


We are talking about OUR CHILDREN and THEIR FUTURE!

Johnson is also negotiating with the union several controversial contract changes for teachers at underperforming schools, such as not paying them for additional time when extending the school day by up to an hour; requiring 50 hours of additional teacher training without pay; nullifying layoff and seniority provisions; and tying annual pay raises to job performance.

Oh, is that what they are calling it?

About 100 teachers, classroom aides, nurses, guidance counselors, and other staff members gathered at union headquarters after school yesterday to ask union leadership about those proposed changes. Many also peppered leadership with questions about the fate of staff members who opted not to reapply for their jobs and those who may later learn that their desire to keep their jobs had been denied by their principal. The 4 p.m. meeting stretched well into the evening. Members who left early said emotions were running high.

“This is no way to run a business,’’ said a science teacher, who also declined to give her name. She said she believes teachers are being blamed too much for schools underachieving.

“Every teacher at my school wants students to do well,’’ she said. “. . . Hopefully, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.’’

That light is the train of the Obama administration.

The Obama administration has been pushing school districts nationwide to take more dramatic actions to turn around persistently failing schools. Replacing half of a school’s workforce is one of four strategies the administration has developed. Earlier this year, a national uproar erupted with the firing of all teachers at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island, after the state identified the high school as one of its worst.

Also see: Around New England: Obama Takes Rhode Island to Task

He didn't even go and visit?

As teachers unions across the state and in Massachusetts condemned the move as disrespectful, US Education Secretary Arne Duncan applauded it as courageous and necessary.

Richard Stutman, president of Boston’s teachers union, said teachers are stressed out and angry about being placed in this predicament. He said he expected that tenured teachers would most likely seek jobs at other schools while provisional teachers, who have no job security, would probably reapply...

No one cares about you who are responsible for the decline of the entire society.


So did they KEEP YOU or not, reader?

"125 lose jobs at seven Boston schools; Anger, tears as district implements shakeup" by James Vaznis, Globe Staff | April 29, 2010

One hundred and twenty-five teachers, classroom aides, and other staff members at seven Boston schools were told they would not be returning to their jobs this fall...

The news came over the course of the day as principals at the state-designated “underperforming’’ schools called in staff one by one to tell them whether they could stay or go.

Dead teacher walking.

Some teachers broke down crying, struggling to compose themselves as they returned to classrooms, some teachers said. Tears also flowed from students and parents, they said.

But hey, look on the bright side: Banks and corporations are happy, and the politicians and "public servants" are well-fed and taken care of, taxpayers.

Don't you feel better now?

The dismissals, which will take effect at the end of the school year, encompassed both new and veteran staff. While most of those told to leave will be eligible for jobs at the city’s 128 other schools, their departure is nevertheless traumatic because staff and students often interact as a family.

Are you kidding?

With all the BULLYING that goes on in the schools and this state?

Some family!

And now all of a sudden the Globe cares about the teachers?

Related: Boston Globe Bashes Boston Teachers

Yeah, after the damage is done they were with you the whole time!

Their exits also could create further upheavals at other schools, because veteran teachers might have the right to bump provisional teachers out of positions, possibly putting them in the unemployment line....


This is going to a BAD SCENE, man!!!!

“There was crying everywhere,’’ said an Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury teacher, who, like others interviewed, declined to give her name, worried that doing so might jeopardize chances of getting another district job. “I hid in the stairwell and cried.’’

Oh, KIDS LIKE there TEACHERS, huh?

Yeah, this is REALLY GOING to HELP the KIDS!!!

At Blackstone Elementary, where less than half the teachers will be returning, so many teachers, parents, and students were crying that “everyone called [the school] a morgue,’’ a teacher said.

So how was YOUR DAY at SCHOOL, sweetie?

Superintendent Carol R. Johnson acknowledged in an interview that yesterday was an emotional day for many involved. She said the district had extra staff on hand to step into classrooms if teachers needed some time to themselves.

“I think it’s always difficult to go through change where people have worked for a while and they may want to stay,’’ Johnson said. “But what we are really trying to do is work at these schools carefully and assemble the right teams.’’

So HOW LONG are YOU HANGING ON to that "job," and six-figure salary, lady?

The seven schools are among 12 in Boston identified by the state last month as underperforming, under a new state law that broadens superintendents’ power to overhaul operations. These schools and 23 others statewide received the designation largely because of chronically low MCAS scores.


The ONLY ONES that like 'em are the STATE FASCISTAS and FEDERALIS!

Johnson and principals at the seven schools decided a major shakeup in staff presented the best opportunity for a rebound.

So when are you resigning?

Nearly all staff members had been asked to reapply for their jobs Monday. About three-quarters of them did....

Principals delivered the rejections in a corporate fashion, teachers said.

Because THAT is OUR CULTURE now!!!

The meetings lasted a few minutes, with the principal thanking teachers for reapplying, then telling them that their services would no longer be needed.

I have been there (although not as a teacher).

You are thinking fuck you.

A representative from the district’s human resources department was on hand to tell them their employment options at other city schools, while a security guard often was nearby.

Be sure you sig heil on the way out, and don't let the door hit you in the ass.


Read it here first. YOU CAN SEE IT COMING, can't you?

One teacher on maternity leave said she learned of her rejection in a voice mail message at home, which she listened to as she changed her newborn’s diaper.

The school system with a heart.

The decision came as a surprise, she said, because she had always received evaluations that had her meeting or exceeding expectations in all areas and MCAS scores through the years showed her students improving. “I never thought I would be the one,’’ the teacher said....

That's what everyone thinks, and why the public can not come together on anything. Ain't gonna happen to me -- and then it does.

Other teachers said rejections appeared to be arbitrary.


Johnson said the district based decisions on past job evaluations and MCAS scores.....

The tests everyone hates.

However, a report commissioned by the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education this year found that about half of the district’s teachers have not been evaluated in at least two years.

What, she LYIN' AGIN!!?

Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teachers Union, said that as hard as yesterday was, he is concerned about what the climate at these schools will be for the remainder of the school year. “This is not a cavalier thing,’’ Stutman said. “We are talking about breaking up communities.’’

Get ready for some gunfire, Boston!



Actually, the teachers thought they would fight back this way instead.... and got hammered for it by the agenda-pushing paper and its reporters.

"Teachers federation boycotts program; Education fund decision may jeopardize grants" by James Vaznis, Globe Staff | April 14, 2010

The state’s second-largest teachers union organization, which represents teachers in Boston and other big cities, has decided to boycott Massachusetts’ application for the Obama administration’s innovative educational fund, possibly jeopardizing $250 million in grants.

You didn't learn your lesson! Now take another whack of the ruler!

The move, approved Saturday by the board of the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, stunned state education leaders, key legislators, and charitable organizations that work on education issues....

What else did they expect? This is the only tool they have to fight back.

And WHY are STATE OFFICIALS and OTHER AUTHORITIES' heads loaded with impenetrable s***?

In addition to Boston, the federation represents teachers in some of the most distressed districts, such as Lawrence, Lynn, and Lowell.

: Letting Class Out in Lawrence

With how much loot lost?

“It’s shortsighted,’’ said Mitchell Chester, the state’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education....

Related: No Apple For This Teacher

Not at "$206,000 dollars a year!!!!!"

The teachers federation could not be reached for comment yesterday to explain its position.

The boycott comes as the state is reworking its Race to the Top application after being rejected in the first round of funding two weeks ago. The application deadline for the second round is in June, and the state is hoping to shore up areas of weakness. Massachusetts appears to have lost a few points in the first round for not securing support from all school districts, according to written comments from federal reviewers. About two-thirds of the state’s school districts, including the federation’s Boston and Lowell affiliates, supported the application, which outlined dramatic changes the districts would pursue....

Who gives a s*** anymore? Not me.

Paul Reville, the state’s education secretary, said the federation’s boycott “constitutes a real threat to our capacity to be successful with this proposal.’’

Now you are a THREAT for exercising your god-given rights!

Next thing you know, the state will be calling you TERRORISTS -- especially after a few administrators are wasted.


There is SO MUCH that you can CHOOSE ANY TOPIC YOU WANT!

Go with the GLOBAL WARMING FRAUD if you want!

REHASH IRAQ for the kids!

The failure to get money in the first round caused disappointment on Beacon Hill, and emotions swirled again yesterday over the federation’s boycott.

“I’m extremely disappointed that the AFT would jeopardize Massachusetts chances at tens of millions of dollars that could have a meaningful impact on the children of this Commonwealth,’’ said Representative Martha M. Walz, a Boston Democrat and cochairwoman of the Joint Education Committee.

Paul Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation, called the federation’s move a “crude tactic’’ at the expense of children’s education and said that union leadership is out of touch.

That's why the kids, parents, and teachers are holding a cry-fest.

I suggest that it is this f***ing elite puke who is out of touch.

Oh, the "charity" is backed by stolen money," 'eh, Grogs?

“They don’t seem to realize the political ground is shifting and people want these changes,’’ Grogan said.



But keep your head in that s*** pile, I don't care!

Beyond the boycott, the Boston Teachers Union has in recent days started to galvanize its members to oppose some measures Superintendent Carol R. Johnson has proposed under the new state law to turn around underperforming schools. Johnson has called for such things as forcing teachers to work additional hours without pay and nullifying seniority rules in layoffs....

I believe I highlighted those above. So DOES a BANK FORGO INTEREST?

Does a WAR-PROFITEERING CORPORATION take the HIT for cost overruns, etc?

Made my point, didn't I?


Then they have to "defend" themselves!

"Mass. teachers group defends Race to the Top boycott" by James Vaznis, Globe Staff | April 15, 2010

Massachusetts’ second-largest teachers union organization said yesterday it decided to boycott a federal school overhaul initiative because teachers are fed up with being blamed for underperforming schools.

Can't say as I blame them!

“There is an attitude that teachers are responsible for what’s happening in those schools and unions are responsible for students not achieving at the levels we like in those schools,’’ said Thomas Gosnell, president of the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, which represents teachers in Boston and other cities, including Lawrence, Lowell, and Lynn....

Well, who do you want to blame? The state or parents?

Oh, no, can't do that!

The vote reversed the organization’s original position, taken in January, to support the application. The federal government rejected that application two weeks ago and Massachusetts is revising it for a second round of funding later this year.

Mitchell Chester, the state’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education, defended the state’s treatment of teachers. He said the application stressed collaboration with teachers and required signatures from both school district leaders and their union presidents to participate in the program....

And he did it for all of $206,000 reasons, readers.

The federation’s stance, Gosnell said, reflects a deteriorating climate toward teachers.

And it will be even worse when some school super is gunned down, right?



Of particular concern, he said, was a decision this winter by the school board in Central Falls, R.I., to fire all teachers at Central Falls High School — one of four actions the Obama administration is pushing districts to use in school overhauls.

Yeah, he turned into a REAL ASSHOLE, didn't he, teach?

But Gosnell said the firings have created a poisonous atmosphere, causing Massachusetts teachers to worry about their own job security.

You expected some other reaction?

Boston school administrators last month notified staff at six underperforming schools they will have to reapply for their jobs, and yesterday told a seventh school, the John F. Kennedy in Jamaica Plain, that its staff might have to as well. Staff not rehired, however, will probably be hired in other district schools....




And before you get over to that other school district, the schools ARE STILL HIRING even as they are FIRING!

"Teach for America is put to test; One of state’s first recruits succeeding in Dorchester" by James Vaznis, Globe Staff | April 6, 2010

50 Teach for America recruits scattered across Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Revere, and a few charter schools....

Under the program, recent college graduates agree to teach in some of the nation’s most challenging classrooms for two years. Teach for America hopes the experience will persuade them to make a far longer commitment....

Meanwhile, they are firing people who WANT TO BE THERE so some COLLEGE GRAD can BURNISH their RESUME for the CORPORATE WORLD when the economy bounces back (if it ever does).

And AFTER seeing the TREATMENT of CAREER TEACHERS, why in the world would they want to stay?

Why do YOU THINK I NEVER GOT INTO TEACHING when I was encouraged?


School districts here have tapped Teach for America as part of an experiment to attract more talented young people to the teaching profession amid a shortage of teachers in math, science, special education, and other specialty areas.

Ain't that the DEVIL'S PISS, Boston teachers?

They are paid a first-year teacher’s salary by their respective school districts, which in Boston is about $46,000.

Oh my, and they are entering at the same pay grade!

Their impending arrival stirred controversy in Boston last year, when the teachers union challenged the wisdom of adopting the program as school officials were predicting layoffs of hundreds of teachers. But those concerns died down after only a few teachers lost jobs last year.

But THIS is THIS YEAR, agenda-pusher!

The Patrick administration is eager to see Teach for America spread to other districts, especially in such places as Holyoke and Springfield, which have difficulty attracting and retaining young teachers, said Paul Reville, the state’s education secretary.

Well, a knife in the back is a pretty tough job requirement!

And welcome to the two drug den slums of the state out this way, readers.

The expansion into Massachusetts comes as Teach for America is experiencing a boom among soon-to-be college graduates and career-changers. This year, the program received a record 46,000 applications nationwide, 32 percent more than last year, for roughly 4,500 slots. Applicants are motivated by a desire to perform community service, as well as the reality of a national unemployment rate that has been hovering around 10 percent....

Translation: There ARE NO JOBS for them!!!

As much as Ladi Ogunro has been enjoying teaching, he said he sometimes wonders about job security for teachers.

Thanks for helping to undercut that!

Last month, the superintendent announced that Boston may have to close a significant number of schools over the next two years.

But the corporations and the banks will continue to get the tax loot, etc, etc, etc.

Farewell, Boston!

But Ogunro said he does not dwell on those things....

Yeah, because HE'S STILL WORKIN'!!!!!!!


Hope you make the next cut.

Maybe they all deserve to be fired:

Not if you are government; you just keep doing the same failed strategies over and over again while making problems worse.

Students can go to summer school or return to classes in the fall if they have not completed all their high school courses or other local graduation requirements. But students blocked from receiving a diploma solely because of the MCAS often enter a state of limbo, stuck somewhere between high school and college....

We used to call it being held back.

In many cases, schools are dealing with an academically challenging population. Of the remaining 4,119 12th-graders who have not passed, 60 percent receive special education, and more than 12 percent are learning to speak English....

But if you point out, you know....



The old tried and (not) true MOVE the GOALPOSTS!!!

"Mass. considers new goal for MCAS; Officials push timeline to 2020 for higher scores" by James Vaznis, Globe Staff | April 28, 2010

In an effort to boost the achievement of all students, Massachusetts education officials are considering a new benchmark that they hope will be more attainable than a nearly decade-old federal requirement that has fallen out of favor with President Obama....

I guess or smug s***ters are lower standards, 'eh?

And God help us for falling out of favor with the "good" president after that "bad" one.

The new benchmark and longer timeline, state education officials say, reflect the enormous task the state confronts in raising achievement levels for all students, as well as specific categories of students, based on such factors as race and ethnicity, income levels, and learning disabilities. Officials say more work needs to be done to overhaul underperforming schools and expand programs for English-language learners, two areas where test achievement lags.

Maybe this whole testing bit and letting in the illegals was not such a great idea.

They also want to beef up, among other things, literacy programs for all elementary school students....

Not that I am opposed to literacy, but WhereTF is the MONEY COMING FROM as they WHACK AWAY at TEACHERS?

It’s not clear whether the proposed goal would carry any sanctions against schools that fail to meet it. The state board is scheduled to discuss the report at its next meeting....

Gee, the UNITED STATES of AmeriKa SURE LOVE SANCTIONS as long as they are not directed at Israel, huh?

Yeah, it is a GREAT COUNTRY if you LOVE PUNISHMENT by the STATE!


And they are liars, too!