Charlie Baker’s War

For the last nine days it’s been snowing in New England. These haven’t been Alberta Clippers, either.

First, there was the Blizzard of 2015, which dumped upwards of 30 inches over Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Boston, New England’s urban hub, has been especially hard hit. The city’s received 73.9 inches of snow over the past two weeks. Compounding historic snows in a short period have been narrow streets, the need to get rid of the snow without a place to put it, drivers unaccustomed to snowfall totals of this magnitude, and epic public transportation failures. These have been vexing to newly elected governor of the Commonwealth, Charlie Baker.

Poor Charlie Baker; his term is off to a rough start.

Poor Charlie Baker; his term is off to a rough start.

Then today, Mayor Marty Walsh was telling Boston employers to let employees stay at home on Tuesday. The mayor is hoping that major snow removal and clean-up can take place once snow stops and the sun comes out for a day or two. And of course, the “young skulls full of mush” have been home more than they’ve been in school, and Tuesday will be yet again, another “snow day.”

Adding to the misery, the city’s $18 million snow budget has been crushed, with totals approaching double that amount, only nine days into the winter’s snowiest month.

Whenever I’m watching NECN, Bostonians being interviewed act like they’ve never seen snow before. Most of them also appear to lack basic skills with a shovel.

Like letters, rotary dial phones, and American-made products, the ability to move snow with a shovel appears to be yet another casualty of our screen-addicted, and app-addled 21st century way of life.

I understand Baker’s frustration. As newly-elected governor, he wants to get off to a rousing start. When your biggest city can’t move commuters via the MBTA, motorists are unable to get in and out of metro Boston, and your first weeks on the job are starting to feel like the Bill Murray character in Groundhog Day, this creates the need to deflect blame elsewhere.

On Monday, he lashed out at the MBTA, which discharged 48 passengers from the Red Line between Quincy and Quincy Center, forcing them to perp walk the tracks before being picked up and shuttled to their destination via bus.

Prisoners in Soviet gulag? No, commuters in Quincy, on Red Line. (photo by Leslie@NECN)

Boston’s public transportation system is seriously cash-strapped, hindered by aging equipment that badly needs updating—this has been especially evident when buffeted by snow and sub-freezing temperatures.

Baker’s response was that “This is simply unacceptable and once it stops snowing we’re going have some serious conversations with the board and the management team.”

Good luck with that, Charlie.

Of course, some Bostonians believe that all will be well if only Boston is allowed to host the Olympics in 2024. It’s only going to cost $10 billion.

More snow is expected on Thursday.

Baker's struggling to make the trains run on time.

Baker’s struggling to make the trains run on time.

2 thoughts on “Charlie Baker’s War

  1. This post was hilarious on a number of levels. I didn’t even realize Charlie Baker was the governor of the Commonwealth. He ought to get Howie Carr out there blowing hot air on all that snow. You know, I thought maybe lasers might be the answer for taking down snow banks, but the more I think of it, hot air might be the answer.

    Fun post. The “Red” line, indeed.

  2. @JAB
    It’s interesting that you reference “hot air,” as heat is the primary factor in melting snow. So the Harvard-educated types that run states like Massachusetts, have taken to shelling out $1,000/hour to acquire the services of “snow melters” (who knew?) that I guess you dump snow into, and it melts the snow into water. The water has to go somewhere, like the bay and other surrounding tributaries, but apparently, they can’t just dump it into the river or the ocean—that’s a violation—so you pay someone $1,000 to melt the snow for you. This while Boston’s snow-removal costs are now double the $18 million budgeted for the winter.

    The Commonwealth was home to John and Samuel Adams, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau—but the lesser lights are now in charge of melting the snow, and making sure that the MBTA continues crumbling, with trains stopping and commuters forced to scramble up the tracks to find a ride.

    Oh; and according to this report in the Globe, Baker has yet to speak with MBTA chief, Beverly A. Scott, since being sworn in as governor.

    On Tuesday, Scott said she has not had direct conversations with the governor, but expects to meet Baker later this week.

    “I have had absolutely no direct communication with the governor,’’ Scott said, adding that when she meets Baker it would be the “first time, candidly, I have had even a handshake with the governor.’

    I guess they don’t teach you how to partner and work with others at Harvard these days.

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