Whither - or wither - Southie?
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Once a center of political power with a reach that extended well beyond its own boundaries, with clout at the city, state, and national scenes as well, South Boston’s outsized influence, identity, even its footprint, are waning.
A new website promoting “Boston’s New Waterfront”
has been launched to draw visitors and residents to the redeveloped area. But as Patriot Ledger
business editor Jon Chesto
notes, the site does little to bring attention to the neighborhood
where the waterfront resides. Chesto, a former Boston Herald
reporter who still lives in the city, points out the phrase “South Boston” only pops up six times on the site, either in press release quotes or in directions.
The site touts other areas of the neighborhood, including Fort Point
, where apartments and condos catering to the yupscale are coming on line; Fan Pier
, with the new shops and restaurants; and the Marine Industrial Park
. The term “Seaport District
” shows up more than Southie and you can bet that would never have happened in Jimmy Kelly
’s, Billy Bulger
’s or Joe Moakley
And it’s not just developers drumming up a new neighborhood. Mayor Thomas Menino
has tried his hand at annexing and branding the inner harborside of South Boston. Menino launched a website declaring a section of what everyone once considered South Boston to be the Innovation District
, to draw science and technology businesses, and a map on the site shows it distinctly separate from its one-time host.
In Southie itself, there’s a battle going on for the heart of the neighborhood, with natives bemoaning the loss of identity and newbies pointing fingers at the locals for the problems. Herald
columnist Peter Gelzinis
, a lifelong Southie resident, bemoans the code of silence that continues in the neighborhood
, a remnant from the neighborhood’s dark past, in the wake of the stabbing death of 67-year-old Barbara Coyne. But the comments on Gelzinis’s column are revealing for what people are thinking in the neighborhood.
Part of the rebranding effort may be to separate the redeveloped area from Southie, which is seeing a spike in crime, mostly aimed at newcomers. Former mayor Ray Flynn lays it on the increase of drug use
and says part of that problem is the lack of police presence in South Boston, again something that would not have happened even 10 years ago with the power of its pols. Flynn talked about how his own home was broken into while he and his wife were at a funeral.
It’s a world of difference for the neighborhood whose fame is legend internationally. --JACK SULLIVAN BEACON HILL
Despite tremendous political and popular support, an expansion of the bottle deposit law
is in danger of going down in defeat again, reports CommonWealth.State Republicans
, after doubling their numbers in the House in 2010, are looking to build on that success this year, the Lowell Sun reports
.New England states
join forces to collaborate on technology challenges, Governing reports
Auditor Suzanne Bump fires
a warning shot at nonprofit state contractors. MUNICIPAL MATTERS
A candidate for selectman in Somerset owes the IRS $118,000
, according to a lien filed against his home by the federal agency
The Quincy Housing Commission
is starting a search to replace the current housing director
after he accused the city of falsely inflating the housing agency’s water and sewer bills and demanded $2 million in repayment.
A Fall River City Council
committee has voted to recommend lifting the cap on the number of taxis in the city
.A Cape Cod Time
s editorial considers the impact of dueling casino bids
by the Aquinnah and Mashpee Wampanoag.NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON
A state legislative committee in Minnesota rejects a $975 million plan to build a new Vikings Stadium
, AP reports
The Vatican goes to war
with “radical feminist” nuns.
Senate Democrats stand
with women, over and over again. ELECTION 2012
Why the Hillary
for veep rumors just won’t die.
The American Spectator
says it’s the left, not the right, that holds the most hate towards Mitt Romney’s Mormonism
In the National Review
, Michael Barone
says another scoop of vanilla
for the Republican presidential-vice presidential ticket is not necessarily a bad thing.
The Atlantic asks
whether President Obama
is in trouble with young voters. A New York Times/CBS poll
finds deep anxiety about the economy, leaving an opening for Romney. Romney takes a swing
through the swing states, as the Times
editorial page tries to paint him
as the teen pregnancy candidate. Norman Ornstein outlines the collision course
ahead for Mitt Romney
and his supposed GOP congressional allies.BUSINESS/ECONOMY
The state’s jobless rate fell to 6.5 percent last month
, down from 6.9 in February, and significantly below the national rate of 8.2 percent.The Berkshire Eagle
wants to see purchases through online retailers
like Amazon subject to the state sales tax.Pennsylvania
is now number two in gaming revenue.EDUCATION
The Boston public school system
is lagging in the federally-mandated review of special education plans
for more than one-quarter of the 10,000 students receiving special education services, the Globe reports
With a five-year grant nearing completion, leaders of an effort to offer more Advanced Placement
classes in Massachusetts high schools are looking to the state
for funding. Framingham State University
debates arming its campus police.
weighs in on what a Springfield school superintendent search panel
needs to look for in a new head for the system.HEALTH CARE
The abrupt exit of longtime community health leader Bill Walczak
from his position as president of Carney Hospital
in Dorchester has ratcheted up worries
about plans the hospital’s new corporate owners may have for the facility. TRANSPORTATION Lynn seniors
on very tight budgets complain they can’t afford to pay $4 instead of $2 for a ride on The Ride, the Lynn Item reports
In a dawn raid in Britain, The Sun’s
editor for royalty coverage is arrested along with two others on charges of making illegal payments to public officials, the Telegraph reports