Has Mayor Marty Walsh gone Deval on us?
Walsh went head first into the shallow end of the Boston 2024 pool. With the potential treasure trove of hack jobs, he could not resist the patronage haven or the glory of being the host city for the Olympics.
Like former Gov. Deval Patrick, he forgot one little constituency — the taxpayers.
Already, there’s one new job at Boston City Hall. Walsh hired Sara Myerson as a six-figure fact-checker to ensure that tax dollars are not used for the Olympics. Luckily, this shouldn’t cost the taxpayers a dime because Boston 2024 is covering the costs of the new office. No conflict there. That makes as much sense as the Patrick administration replacing the working Romneycare website that cost $3.5 million with a billion dollar glitch-ridden website.
Last week Walsh announced a Metro Boston Climate Preparedness Commitment and a Metro Boston Climate Preparedness Task Force. What? It’s “a regional agreement to establish a common policy framework throughout the Metro Boston area to prepare for climate change.”
Is he going to post some useless signs for the evacuation route? What’s next, a climatologist for Boston? Is he going to raise the city higher to avoid a sea-level increase?
Wouldn’t a winter storm preparedness commitment be more useful? Or are we going to be told that global warming caused the record snow levels?
While the big announcement was nothing more than an obvious attempt to grab a headline and appear to be fixing global problems at the city level, we should fear it’s another excuse to waste tax dollars.
The commitment pledge was signed by 14 leaders of municipalities, including Somerville’s Mayor Joe Curtatone. In the press release he brilliantly states the obvious: “Neither the Atlantic Ocean nor the weather respects municipal boundaries.”
Curtatone’s involvement is a signal to watch out for our wallets. Last winter he repeatedly rallied at the State House advocating for higher taxes to bail out the MBTA. There was no apology to the taxpayers when the Baker administration exposed the T’s failure to spend $2.2 billion in available funds.
Leaving taxpayers holding the bag for multiple expensive boondoggles resulted in a cushy landing at Bain Capital for Deval. Maybe Walsh believes he’ll have the same kind of opportunity. But it’s premature to conclude there are no consequences for fumbling tax dollars, now that the feds are investigating the Patrick administration over the failed Health Connector website.