Monday, April 24, 2006

What's the "Matter", Mr. Mayor?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Boston Mayor Tom Menino's spokesman, Seth Gitell, has one of the easiest jobs in town - Mayor "Pass the Buck" Menino's personal echo.

Boston Herald 10/20/05:

A day after City Council President Michael Flaherty's car window was blown out by a bullet as he drove along bustling Dorchester Avenue, Boston police refused yesterday to make public the total number of Hub shootings so far this year.

The refusal [...] comes amid a rash of recent public gunplay that has alarmed city residents, and despite clear indications that shootings have jumped from 2004 to 2005.


Menino's spokesman, Seth Gitell, had no comment, saying "it's a police matter."

Boston Globe 4/24/06:

Ten people have been robbed on the streets surrounding Boston Common and nearby in the South End since April 1 in crimes that appear to be related, police said.


Seth Gitell, a spokesman for Mayor Thomas M. Menino, declined to comment on the robberies, saying it was a police matter.

Tell me something, Mr. Mayor, is there anything in the city that would qualify as a "city hall matter" worthy of a response from your office? If anything, it seems to me that armed gangs preying on the good people of Boston should probably make that list. But, following your logic, it's not apparent that anything necessarily would.

Firefighters threatening a walkout over stalled contract negotiations? Sounds like a "fire department matter" to me.

Quality of life in the low-income neighborhoods being negatively impacted by excessive trash on the sidewalk? Don't bother the mayor. That's a "sanitation department" matter.

Public school teachers in the city going on strike? Seems to me that would more likely be a "school committee matter".

Residents complaining about their streets not being plowed for days? Clearly, that's a "public works matter", no need to get His Highness involved.

Double parked cars in Southie blocking side street access by emergency vehicles? Wait, let me guess, that would be a "transportation department matter"?

Looks like the official Mayor Menino Press Release Generator needs a little tweaking.

Mayor Menino Press Release Generator - v2.0

1. The Mayor is [outraged/delighted] over this latest development. (choose one)

2. The Mayor was [unaware of/responsible] for much of what you read in the papers this morning regarding this incident. (choose one)

3a. The Mayor will [look into it/schedule a cocktail reception] immediately. (choose one)

3b. (alternate) The Mayor has no comment on this, as it is a ___________ matter. (fill in the blank with whichever governmental entity on which you wish to blame this incident/crisis)