Monday, November 2, 2015

City Council Seat

You will need to take one to get through this.

"Wanted: Boston city councilors. The position comes with little power, a bully pulpit, and an $87,500-a-year paycheck. It offers excellent benefits, lots of media attention, and a competitive pension. A raise is on the horizon. But to get the job, one must first unseat an incumbent — and they almost never lose. Boston voters will go to the polls this fall in a particularly quiet election season, when many of the 13 councilors are running unopposed. Just four of nine district council seats are in contention — and only two have generated enough candidates to be contested in the Sept. 8 preliminary elections."

The first thing you need to know is the election is rigged:

More than 500 voters listed in wrong Boston council districts


Boston city election rules need a tune-up

No kidding?

Candidates for Boston City Council get feisty at forum

With testy words on future, a classic clash for District 4 seat

City Council election mostly sleepy, with a few sparks

Newcomer beats City Council veteran Charles Yancey in preliminary election

Newcomer Campbell flexes muscle against veteran Yancey

She will help clean up City Hall.

Challenger to Councilor Yancey goes near and far to finance her bid

Or not.

Annissa Essaibi George takes on City Council field

"City Council candidate Annissa Essaibi George says she’s paid up on taxes" by Andrew Ryan Globe Staff  October 26, 2015

City Council candidate Annissa Essaibi George has been late paying taxes on her home and business, according to a review of public records.

The hypocri$y of these people knows no bounds. The law is for someone else!

Essaibi George was nearly three months late paying $1,063 in property taxes on her Mayhew Street home. She also owed $2,661 in property taxes on her business, Stitch House Dorchester, records show. Essaibi George and her husband, Douglas George, paid off the debt Friday, the candidate said.

So that makes it all better, huh? Nothing to $ee here?

“When we saw that there was an oversight on our part, we went through and paid everything in full immediately, including the late fees,” Essaibi George said.

Just the kind of person you want keeping an eye on things.

The payments had been due Aug. 3 and the city had begun charging interest, according to tax records. Douglas George was behind on property taxes on 20 other properties he owns in Boston and owed nearly $17,000.

City records showed that Essaibi George’s husband paid more than $14,000 Friday but still owed $2,668. Essaibi George said her husband paid the remaining balance Monday. City officials said updated records would not be available until Tuesday.

The Globe requested Essaibi George’s tax records Thursday. The Boston Herald first reported Saturday that the couple’s payments were past due.

Globe got $cooped?

Essaibi George is the lone challenger trying to unseat one of four at-large incumbents who represent the entire city....

Which $cum would you like representing you?


Also see:

Councilor at-Large pledges to connect Old and New Boston

Councilor Murphy reintroduces himself to voters as he seeks ninth full term

Council hopeful Andrea Campbell says Mattapan was always home

For Councilor Pressley, another campaign ‘doing my life’s work’

Good work if you can get it.

Councilor Michelle Wu touts accomplishments in bid for reelection

Councilor Michelle Wu still explaining 2013 vote for council president

Ayanna Pressley, Michelle Wu deserve big win on Tuesday

So sayeth the Globe.

Maura Healey to endorse Boston City Council candidates

And that is the environment in the state this election season.

At least they are all getting raises:

"Linehan has argued that the council had nine votes to override the mayor’s veto. But then last week, Councilor Tito Jackson, whose Roxbury district is beset with unemployment and low wages, said he had changed his mind and would oppose a pay increase, which could imperil Linehan’s override threat."

"Boston City Council could get 14 percent raise" by Andrew Ryan and Meghan E. Irons Globe Staff  October 07, 2015

Boston councilors, employing a rarely used city charter provision, may finally get a long-sought raise and boost their salaries by 14 percent — without having to go on record with a final vote.

The maneuver that would send the raise through —without a vote — has not been used since at least 1990, according to the city clerk’s office. It would allow councilors to avoid the unseemly task of approving their own pay hike shortly before standing for reelection Nov. 3.

It's all IMAGE!!

In the yearlong pay saga, Mayor Martin J. Walsh proposed what he called a compromise that would boost salaries to $99,500. The matter was sent to a City Council committee and has sat untouched since being introduced in September. The city charter stipulates that if the council does not act on a mayoral proposal within 60 days, it automatically becomes law.

That clock expires at 12:01 a.m. Election Day.

The realization that a $12,000 raise could go through without a final vote caught some, but not all, councilors by surprise Wednesday. It drew a rebuke from Samuel R. Tyler, president of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, a fiscal watchdog group.

“In the spirit of transparency and accountability, this increase should be voted on by city councilors at a public meeting and not go into effect by just letting time run out,” Tyler said, noting that the raise would cost taxpayers $156,000 next year.

Yeah, $crew the school budgets.


The battle over the pay increase dates to September 2014, when City Council President Bill Linehan proposed a nearly 29 percent hike, which would have increased the annual salary to $112,500. Linehan argued that councilors’ pay had been stuck at $87,500 since 2006, even as other city workers received significant increases.

After a public backlash, councilors lowered their ambitions and voted to increase their salaries to $107,500. Walsh vetoed that, saying it was too much. The mayor enlisted the help of the Compensation Advisory Board, which studied pay in other cities.

What $cum.

After further back-and-forth between the council and the mayor, two competing pay proposals were referred to the Government Operations Committee, which is chaired by Councilor Michael F. Flaherty Jr.

As committee chairman, Flaherty controls whether either the mayor’s proposal or the higher councilor plan will be brought forward for a vote.

“It’s not my intention” to put either proposal on the floor for a vote, Flaherty said Wednesday. “Quite frankly, I’m focused on more important issues facing the city.”

Yeah, like what?

Flaherty said that even if there is no vote on the mayor’s proposal, the council had already made its sentiments about a raise clear with the earlier vote. There is, he said, no need for additional public scrutiny.

Just give us our money!!!!!!!

“If one particular issue has been fully vetted through hearings and working sessions and a Compensation Advisory Board report, it’s been this issue,” Flaherty said.

Nine councilors did not respond to Globe inquiries seeking comment. On Wednesday, Linehan reiterated that the mayor’s proposal for $99,500 was inadequate and said he would vote against it if it came to the floor.

The greedy $hit behind the pu$h. Remember his name.

The council president acknowledged that Walsh’s measure could go through without a vote. He said he still held out hope for a higher raise but did not sound optimistic about garnering enough support.

“I don’t have a sense there’s an appetite for this discussion at this time on my matter,” Linehan said, nothing the upcoming election. “I think that even the general public has heard enough on this. They want to be doing their due diligence on who they would want to elect as the new City Council.”

You people in Boston should be ashamed for electing that $cum.



A 14 percent raise for the City Council — no effort required

City Council may have to take public stand on raise

City councilors approve 14 percent raise for themselves  

Don't you wish you could set your own pay?

Oddly, the vote was "anticlimactic. “This saga had gone on long enough, and we needed to end it,” said council president Bill Linehan, The measure, which takes effect in January when a new council is sworn into office, will also increase the mayor’s pay to $199,000, from $175,000.

Oh, the MAYOR got a RAISE, too!!

Walsh doesn’t take stand on council pay-raise vote

Walsh reiterates opposition to six-figure salary for City Council

But he will take his raise anyway and will be running for reelection.

Maybe somebody should give us all a break and make them homeless.

And for doing what?

"Many Boston councilors attend few hearings; Attendance poor among some who seek pay increase" by Andrew Ryan Globe Staff  August 31, 2015

The Boston city councilors pushing hardest for significant raises, arguing that their service has been “undervalued,” have had the poorest attendance at City Council hearings since January 2014, a Globe analysis shows.


Council President Bill Linehan, who has been the public face of the battle for six-figure salaries, attended 15 percent of hearings, the fewest of anyone on the 13-member body.

Oh, what a $cum!!!! 

In days past, guys like this were tarred, feathered, and tossed into the harbor!

Councilor Stephen J. Murphy — who for at least four years has fought for a larger paycheck — made it to fewer than one-quarter of hearings. Murphy ranked second to last in all attendance measures analyzed by the Globe, including his presence at hearings of the Ways and Means Committee, an important panel on which he serves.

Is he the one "reintroducing himself" to voters?

The protracted fight for a pay raise has intensified scrutiny on the workload of councilors, who have little overt power and who, at $87,500 a year, already make more than most state senators. Councilors do not punch time clocks, and no one tracks their hours.

Maybe the u$ele$$ drains on the city should be done away with?


In a statement, Murphy said that even when absent, he is “always attuned to the happenings of the council through various channels, including monitoring hearings from our in-house televised and Web broadcasts.”


City councilors face voters every two years but often run for reelection unopposed, and incumbents almost never lose. In this year’s race, only five councilors face opponents.

A $ign that the $y$tem is broken.

Councilors have not had a raise since 2006, and Linehan initially proposed a 29 percent increase that would have boosted salaries to $112,500. After a public backlash, the council voted 9 to 4 to approve a smaller raise of 23 percent, to $107,500.

TOO BAD! They don't want the job because of the pay, then RESIGN!! Let a BETTER PERSON fill the seat!

Mayor Martin J. Walsh vetoed the increase and convened an independent board, which proposed an 11 percent raise, to $97,000. Linehan rejected the recommendation, calling it “totally inadequate.” He said he plans in September to put forward a proposal for $105,000, which would be a 20 percent hike....

Yeah, he got a raise, too.


So what is a typical day in a typical week like?

"For some city councilors, short days in City Hall; Records show a range of work routines, attendance as their pay raise nears" by Andrew Ryan Globe Staff  October 19, 2015

Boston City Councilor Stephen J. Murphy argues that he deserves a raise because he works tirelessly. But Murphy, who owns a condominium in Florida, was absent from Government Center for weeks at a time the last two winters, according to an analysis of his schedule and time-stamped data from City Hall’s executive parking garage.

Do I even need to type $cum?

Councilor Timothy McCarthy’s schedule in his first year in office had golf penciled in for 14 workdays — days on which there is no evidence he ever came to City Hall.

And TAXPAYERS facing SOCIAL SERVICE CUTS are PAYING FOR IT while the same $hits cut tax breaks and tax loot to rich real-estate developers.

McCarthy said he hit the links only six of those days.

As if that makes a difference. Once was enough, $cum.

The Hyde Park councilor took three weeks of vacation during his freshman year and a two-week, all-expenses-paid trip to Israel with colleagues.

OMG! Is there no level of government in this country not controlled by Israel? 

And who do you think picked up the expenses -- via U.S. aid to Israel -- taxpayers? 

More on that a bit lower down.

Councilor Michael F. Flaherty Jr. earned $100,000 to $200,000 last year as a partner at a law firm while collecting $87,500 as a full-time city councilor. Records show that on many days, Flaherty did not access City Hall’s parking garage until 10:30 a.m. or later and was often gone before 3:30 p.m.

In other words, he kept what we used to call BANKER'S HOURS!

A yearlong push by most councilors to give themselves a substantial pay raise has cast a spotlight on the enduring debate about the workload of the 13-member body. Councilors don’t punch a clock. They have unlimited vacation days.

Looks like public $ervice in Bo$ton is nothing more than a $elf-$erving $cam!

Their bosses — the city’s voters — will go to the polls Nov. 3.


Five councilors have no opponent, and three others face only token opposition. Over the past three decades, incumbents have won approximately 97 percent of elections.

To develop a snapshot of councilors’ work habits, the Globe scrutinized thousands of pages from their private calendars and reviewed attendance records from nearly 300 hearings and 48 weekly City Council meetings. The analysis also included more than 10,500 bits of data from City Hall’s executive garage showing the precise moment councilors used a keycard to enter and exit.

Most councilors rejected the findings of the Globe’s analysis and took umbrage with the attempt to quantify how much time they dedicate to their jobs. Several pointed out, correctly, that their job often involves work outside of City Hall, as well as nights and weekends. 


The defensiveness is a sign of guilt!

“I’m on the phone 24 hours [a day],” McCarthy said, adding, “This is unfair. I work very hard, and I don’t take a lot of days off.”

Enough with the over-the-top hyperbole! 

So when is he sleeping, and how can he swing a golf club like that? 

City councilors said their job demands interacting with constituents in their districts and often dominates their weekends and holidays, impinging on time with their families.

Aaaaaw, poor $elf-$erving $cum!!

“If you’re a 9-to-5 city councilor, you’re not doing your job,” Councilor Salvatore LaMattina said, adding that he is often at community meetings until 9:30 p.m. and shows up at middle-of-the-night emergencies to aid constituents. “I respond to fires. A lot of them.”

Really? Why are there so many fires in your district?

The main proponent of a raise, Council President Bill Linehan, often arrived at the City Hall garage before many of his colleagues but also appeared to leave early, especially at the end of the week....

(Blog editor just shakes his head)


So where was he in such a hurry to go?

"Councilors insist their far-flung trips benefit the city" by Meghan E. Irons and Andrew Ryan Globe Staff  October 24, 2015

For 10 lush days in spring 2014, Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson was an invited guest in Seoul exploring the academic benefits of taekwondo.

The US Taekwondo Education Foundation financed a portion of the $5,280 trip, which Jackson said aided his understanding of how schools in South Korea use martial arts to battle bullying and childhood obesity. “It was a remarkable experience,’’ he said.

(Blog editor just shakes his head)

He wasn’t the only globetrotting councilor, with others traveling to Japan and Taiwan. They reveled in an excursion to Israel, where the itinerary included noshing with dignitaries, hobnobbing with colleagues at cultural sites, and dipping in the Dead Sea. And there were jaunts to Colorado and Washington, D.C.

The trips were courtesy of private organizations, which picked up the tabs at a cost of more than $36,000 since last year, according to a review of the councilors’ travel disclosures for trips financed by outside organizations.

They weren't buying influence or anything, though.

The councilors gave many reasons for embarking on the privately funded excursions, including the opportunity to gain professional development and to bring back valuable information to Boston.

I guess there is no excuse stupid enough for you voters.

The disclosure reports, which cover the 2014-15 budget year and are filed with the city clerk’s office, do not include trips financed by the councilors or their campaigns.

The councilors’ main job is constituent services, and for some analysts, it remains unclear how these privately funded jaunts to Israel, Japan, or Taiwan aided residents who want potholes fixed, snow cleared, and trash picked up.

Oh, is it?

“The test should be: Is . . . the experience [overseas] going to benefit the councilors in their job and the issues they are dealing with here in Boston?’’ said Samuel R. Tyler, president of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, a fiscal watchdog. “If it isn’t, then it is questionable whether it was a legitimate trip.”

One of the more interesting trips did not occur overseas. It was to Washington, D.C., this past April, as medical marijuana company Patriot Care Corp. wooed two councilors with an overnight hotel stay and a tour of its Washington facility. At the time, the company was awaiting approval from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeal to open a dispensary in Downtown Crossing.

And look how hard it was getting the clinics off the ground.

Councilor Matt O’Malley, joined by Councilor Frank Baker, said he went on a two-day fact-finding trip to tour a medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation plant.

“Doing my due diligence, it obviously made sense to visit one of their established locations to determine whether it would be a good fit for Boston,” O’Malley said. “I was pleased to have this opportunity to make a better-informed decision at no cost to the taxpayers.”

How much did he smoke?

Baker acknowledged that Patriot Care paid for one of the three nights he stayed at the Courtyard Marriott at a cost of $582.81 He said his goal was to assess the impact of a medical marijuana dispensary on an urban environment and not to offer support to Patriot Care.

“I didn’t [publicly] weigh in on this issue one way or the other,’’ said Baker, who just returned from a Seattle trip with the mayor. Baker’s campaign financed the Seattle jaunt.

Dennis Kunian, spokesman for Patriot Care Corp., confirmed that the company paid for a one-night hotel stay for Baker and O’Malley. The company wanted to educate the councilors about its operations. It also wanted the councilors to return to their constituents with good things to say about Patriot Care, he added.

“After we got state approval, we needed city approval,” Kunian said.

O’Malley said his campaign paid for most of the trip and that no one on the tour urged councilors to sway constituents.

Appearing before the zoning board hearing in August, O’Malley called Patriot Care “a model of what should be done in the city of Boston.” Aides to four other councilors also voiced support.

The most expensive trip lasted 10 days in Israel, where the travel agenda for Councilors Timothy McCarthy, Josh Zakim, and Jackson included meeting members of the Knesset, dialoguing with Palestinians, and listening to Israeli academics.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston paid $16,135.62 to cover the councilors’ expenses, including lodging and airfare. Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, said his group invited at least five councilors and a few state legislators on the December 2014 trip, to promote economic and cultural connections between Massachusetts and Israel.

Israel is not just some place far away. It’s part of the life and welfare of this community as well,” Burton said.

We should be divesting and cutting all ties with the war-criminal stain on the face of the planet, but as you can see, the Bo$ton City Council is just as much a captive of Israel as is the U.S. Congre$$.

The Boston councilors, in city documents, said the trip would encourage investment and tourism in Boston, allowing councilors to bring new policy ideas back home.

But their travel itinerary also included hikes, guided tours, and a chance to “bathe in the relaxing and healthy sulfur springs at the Mineral Beach and float in the Dead Sea.”

“Great morning at Masada, incredible history there, now off to float in the Dead Sea!’’ exclaimed Zakim on his Facebook page Dec. 11, 2014. Zakim was celebrating his 31st birthday in Israel and was on his fourth trip there. He declined to speak to the Globe about the trip.

McCarthy said the trip helped his district because he learned about the workings of the Israeli government and how it delivers basic city services.

To Palestinians, right?

“It was a tremendous learning experience for me,’’ said McCarthy, whose district covers parts of Mattapan, Roslindale, and Hyde Park.

Jackson said that while in Israel, he made connections in business and education, better understood how trauma affects others, and found ways to help build a strong relationship between the black and Jewish communities.

He also said he gained a lot from his time in South Korea. “Many of the practices are now actually being implemented in my district,’’ Jackson said of that trip.

For instance, he said, a taekwondo teacher at Higginson/Lewis K-8 School in Roxbury incorporates techniques on handling aggression and building leadership skills that Jackson observed in Seoul. And on Tuesday, Jackson and more than 100 celebrants inaugurated Korea Day on City Hall Plaza.

The Taekwondo Foundation paid $2,100 for lodging and meals for Jackson and an aide. Jackson said his campaign paid the $3,180 airfare.

Councilor at-Large Michelle Wu also packed her suitcases, heading to Taiwan for six days in July 2014 as part of a group of 10 young US leaders in government. They attended briefings on external trade, science and technology, and transportation and communications, according to city records.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York paid Wu’s $3,973 bill.

“My goal is to gather insights that will be applicable to arts, economic development, science, and technology for Boston,’’ she wrote in her travel disclosure form.

O’Malley, who represents West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, went on an autumn 2014 journey to Japan, with an itinerary that included a Segway tour of Tsukuba, a meeting with the mayor of Kyoto, and a lunch hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The trip was organized by the American Council of Young Political Leaders, a Washington, D.C., organization.

A US State Department grant of $2,334.29 paid for O’Malley’s airfare and a small portion of his ground transportation, meals, and lodging, most of which was covered by the Japan Center for International Exchange, which contributed $7,393.57 toward his expenses, O’Malley said.

“Some of what I learned in Kyoto helped formulate ideas and action for the Clean Boston Task Force, which I created,’’ O’Malley said.

Councilor at-Large Ayanna Pressley said her experience at a political leadership retreat in Aspen, Colo., in December sharpened her advocacy for issues she and her constituents care most about.

“It’s not like we are walking around sipping brandy and clinking glasses,” said Pressley, who was recruited for the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship. “We’re in class the whole time.”

Pressley said she was “very humbled” to be recruited to participate in the fellowship, which consists of three weekend-long seminars generally held in Colorado.

The fellowship provided an intimate space for political leaders to discuss issues such as ending discrimination for people with criminal records to eviction and human trafficking.

“There are issues that come up here — ideas I’m considering advancing — and I will often call my Rodel fellows and ask them: ‘Have you done this in your municipality or your state, and what are your thoughts?’ ’’ Pressley said.

Yeah, you are all a bunch of $elfle$$ troopers.


Almost time to vote!

"It’s Boston City Council cleanup time" by Yvonne Abraham Globe Staff  October 22, 2015

Well, Boston, the City Council election is almost upon us. You’re probably jumping out of your skins with excitement. Just 12 more days!

You don’t have a lot of choices this year. Many of your district councilors are running unopposed. And there are four incumbents and only one challenger — Annissa Essaibi-George — running for at-large seats. Still, do show up on Nov. 3 and dump those who don’t deserve you.

Because your municipal representatives have really outdone themselves this year. Especially the ones who pushed for a massive pay raise, prompting the mayor to put his foot down and force a slightly less hefty windfall upon them instead. That’ll show ’em.

And what are you getting for your money, taxpayers? On Monday, the Globe’s Andrew Ryan gave a glimpse. Using data from the councilors’ parking garage, attendance records, and daily schedules, he found that some members of the council keep what appear to be pretty sweet hours. At-large Councilor Michael Flaherty, for example, arrived at the garage late and left early on many days. Maybe he was out in the community, doing the people’s business. Or maybe he was at his law firm, where he earned between $100,000 and $200,000 last year. You’ll never know, because he didn’t answer questions on how many hours he lawyered in 2014. Apparently, it’s none of your business.

The star of the story, however, was Stephen Murphy. Murphy, you will recall, is the at-large councilor who, among other throwbacky feats, gave his buddy and neighbor a $75,000-a-year job in his office. Former clerk magistrate Robert E. Powers was canned by the state’s highest court for appalling behavior on the bench, but he was A-OK with Murphy. When news broke of the hire, the councilor was mystified that anybody would question it: “Who would the Globe have me hire? My enemies?”

Murphy also helped lead the push for the pay increase, scolding that he works very hard for the people of Boston. How hard? According to the Globe analysis, Murphy appears to spend a good deal of time at his Florida condo, escaping the Boston winter and using his campaign funds to dine at local restaurants. In Boston, he often entered the garage late and left early. During the week councilors voted on their pay raise, Murphy left early to meet PR guy George Regan at a bar.

Regan once told the Boston Phoenix that Murphy was “a class-A boob,” but the two are close now. Still, Regan didn’t do his client any favors in Monday’s story, offering odd explanations for Murphy’s scarcity in the council parking garage: Regan said the councilor carpooled, but refused to say with whom. And he claimed Murphy parked in an undisclosed location sometimes, because he chairs the public safety committee. Dangerous job, that.

And yet, you seem fine with this guy, Boston. You’ve voted for him — or failed to vote against him — for 18 years. Murphy, who came in fourth in the at-large field last time, seems vulnerable this year.

Anybody would be better than Murphy. If a Roomba had declared an at-large candidacy this year, I would urge you to vote for the robotic cleaning device.

Or the devil himself, for that matter. He'd have to be better than the collected cast of $cum "serving" on the City Council. 

Fortunately, the Roomba will not be necessary, because Essaibi-George is running. The high school teacher and business owner has a compelling story. A daughter of immigrants, she has four kids in public school. She has seen firsthand the consequences of our choices on immigration, housing, poverty, and criminal justice. She believes in fixing problems — like homelessness — before they get out of control and more expensive.

She also doesn't believe in paying taxes! 

Of course, this article was written before that report and the Slow Saturday Special regarding the trips.

You may not agree with her on everything (she is against lifting the cap on charter schools, for example), but she will show up, she will work hard, and she is unlikely to hire her dodgy friends to high-paying jobs.

She is your only hope for change in the at-large field. Out with the tired placeholder. In with someone worthy and new.

She is the only hope for "change," huh?


So how can voters grade them?

"Boston eyes single number to grade City Hall" by Peter Schworm Globe Staff  October 08, 2015

In baseball, a wave of advanced analytics can capture how players perform in a single statistic, an all-encompassing measure of overall value.

Boston’s City Hall is now following a similar statistical path, looking to distill its data-driven efforts into one gauge of government performance.

(Blog editor just shakes his head)

Dubbed CityScore, the figure aims to summarize dozens of measures, from how quickly crews fill potholes and fix street lights to fire response times and crime levels. The idea is to give city leaders — and residents — a general sense of how city government is doing on a daily basis, and quickly highlight areas that need improvement.

The city has been working on the new system for several months and plans to launch the effort in January. Daniel Koh, chief of staff to Mayor Martin J. Walsh, whose office has large computer monitors with displays of data collected from various city departments, was slated to unveil the initiative, which city officials describe as the first of its kind, at a speech Thursday evening at TEDxCambridge, a technology event.

All this $elf-promoting $elf-adulation $ucks. I hope the software doesn't (it always does unless it is a bank ATM).

City governments are increasingly using data analysis to make services more efficient, and the Walsh administration has made it a priority.

It will also help pay for the raises.

The city has partnered with the traffic-monitoring app Waze to crack down on double parking and improve traffic management. It also closely tracks its response to public complaints to measure performance and target areas for improvement.

That information provides the statistical base for a more comprehensive, city-wide metric, Koh said, just as baseball statistics reflect players’ total value.

Yeah, let's run the whole world of fantasy sports statistics! Good God!!!!!

“Research has shown that we are forgoing up to $3 trillion in economic potential because we aren’t using data to better inform public sector decision-making,” Koh said in his presentation Thursday, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. “Yet, the implications of using data can be monumental and baseball has charted a path for us to do it.”

Koh says the single measure will have value as a broad reflection, but that it will not preclude more detailed analysis.

“We won’t rely solely on that score,” he said. “We’ll obviously be digging into the data.”

The city plans to show the scores to the public, and will welcome public input on how the data are calculated and which measures deserve extra weight. Maybe it won’t draw as much discussion as baseball, but Koh expects a lively debate.

“Different people in the city have different priorities,” he said. “We fully expect to be optimizing it as we move forward.”

Michael Ahn, assistant professor at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, said that while a single measure could provide a general overview of city performance, merging a host of statistics into one can be tricky.

“The devil will be in the details,” Ahn said. “The real question is how do you get to that number.”

Or planting their phat asses in a city council seat.

Gerald Young, senior management associate for the International City/County Management Association in Washington D.C., said a simple, straightforward measure of how the government is faring could help engage the public.

“I think that’s definitely a way of sharing the information with the public that is concise,” he said. “If anything, it helps to encourage residents to dig a little deeper in the data.”

Young said an increasing number of local governments are measuring performance and sharing it with residents, making services more results-driven.

Like you know, a corporation.


Oh, yeah, did you see who was going to paying for the raises?

"Should Boston’s buskers be required to get permits?" by Steve Annear Globe Staff  October 21, 2015

Entertainers who pluck guitars, dance, or juggle long knives may one day need to dip into their tip buckets to pay for a permit before performing outdoors in Boston.

In a City Council meeting Wednesday, Councilors Salvatore LaMattina and Bill Linehan floated a plan that, if passed, would force buskers citywide to obtain a $40 annual permit to practice their trade.


The resolution was discussed briefly during the regularly scheduled council meeting, and forwarded to the Committee on Government Operations, which will slate a formal hearing on the proposal at a later date.

LaMattina said he’d like to “reasonably regulate” the acts. The plan was inspired by complaints from both performers and residents, the councilor said.

From who?

“This proposal is not anti-street performers,” LaMattina said. “We have received several complaints from both street performers and residents who have felt harassed and threatened from some of the other performers utilizing public space, particularly in the Faneuil Hall area. Many residents have also complained about noise issues, as well.” 

I agree; clear those bums outta there! This is Bo$ton!

The proposal defines “performing” as acting, singing, playing musical instruments, pantomime, juggling, magic, dancing, reading, puppetry, and reciting. If performers travel in a group, each member would need to pay for an individual $40 permit, according to the plan, with a $160 cap.

Currently, the city does not regulate or require on-street entertainers to obtain permits prior to performing, according to a spokeswoman for Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s office.

Boston police and Department of Public Works employees would be responsible for enforcing rules and could revoke a permit. The commissioner of Public Works would dole out the permits, according to the councilors’ proposal.

The idea was met with mixed reactions during Wednesday’s hearing. Some councilors said the restrictions could impinge on people’s First Amendment rights and cut into their daily income.

“I rise to just say: ‘Caution,’ ” said Councilor Tito Jackson. “I see hundreds of people being entertained. . . . We should proceed with caution in terms of the regulatory environment for these individuals, who I believe add to the city of Boston.”

Jackson also said it “scares” him to think that the DPW would handle something related to the arts.

Others said it would be important to tread lightly as officials move forward, because performers are catalysts for economic vitality in Boston and boost foot traffic in public spaces.

“Very often, although we champion the arts and the benefits of the arts, we are not always creating a climate that supports the actual artists,” said Councilor Ayanna Pressley. “This is how they make a living, so we have to find a way to coexist.”

Stephen Baird, executive director of the Street Arts & Buskers Advocates, said the proposal was vague and didn’t shed enough light on what performers could or could not do.

“It’s so badly written,” he said. “They are proud of this? It’s, like, good grief.”

Baird, who was part of a civil lawsuit that in 2004 helped scale back restrictions for buskers in Boston, said the plan “doesn’t say what you can do, and it doesn’t even have hours on it. And if they are complaining about noise, it doesn’t address the noise issue.”

Baird is not opposed to an ordinance that would require performers to have permits, but this particular one is not the correct approach, he said.

“As it’s written, it’s [a] shambles,” he said.

LaMattina said parts of the proposal were modeled after busking rules used in Cambridge. Performers there must obtain a $40 permit from the city before they hit the streets and must stay at least 50 feet away from other acts.

But Baird said Boston’s plan is “not like Cambridge’s at all.”

Cambridge is having its own problems with how to regulate outdoor acts. Last month, when its Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations Committee held a hearing on ways to make street performing more inviting for artists, many complained that the current ordinance is too restrictive.

No date has been set for Boston’s hearing, but councilors hope, whatever the outcome, it doesn’t kill the musical vibe.

“These individuals make our city better, and they’re really the character of the city of Boston,” said Jackson. “When there was nothing but a cellphone store up in downtown, folks with a pushcart and some folks with a boombox and some love for music were doing their thing.”

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