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13 is not the right number

Reading about the investigation into misconduct at the MBTA Police Academy jogged my memory to a story earlier in the week about little-used police academies. Let’s look at the list of police academies: State Entities — MBTA, State Police State-Run for Localities — Randolph, Springfield, Reading, Boylston, Plymouth, New Bedford, and Foxborough Locally-Run — Boston, Lowell, Springfield, and Worcester Does this make any sense, particularly in this period when few new officers are being hired? Wouldn’t consolidation lower costs (for the state and municipalities) and improve the level of training? My favorite part of the story is the chief from Walpole stating that they don’t use the Randolph training center because the drive is too long in the mornings. I […]

About Time

After ten long years, Time Warner has finally made the decision to kick AOL to the curb. All I can say is about time. The best analogy I can come up with is if Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra lasted 10 years instead of the two weeks they did. At its height, AOL’s dial up served roughly 26 million customers. I believe that number is now somewhere around 6 million. In a truly frightening display of the speed with which Schumpeter’s creative destruction works in the digital age, who would have guessed that dial up internet service would go the way of the buggy so quickly?

My Earthfest Pet Peeve

Earthfest is this Saturday on the Esplanade. If past practice is any guide, DCR will once again allow folks to park along Storrow Drive, creating a massive traffic jam that can easily stretch all the way up the Leverett Connector onto I-93. So, the convenience of a few hundred folks wins out over the thousands who use that road (average daily (probably weekday) traffic volume of 66,000, as of 2006). In the past, DCR has claimed that the cars act as a safety barrier, but I’m skeptical of that explanation. My two questions: 1) Is deliberately congesting a road and putting tens of thousands into stop and go traffic really making a great “Earthfest” point? 2) If DCR was more […]

Raising the Symbolism Bar

Sure, our local politicians have their symbolism — who can forget Bill Weld diving into the Charles River or Deval Patrick’s ongoing struggle to move past the drapes and Cadillac brouhaha. But Canada’s Governor General has taken this to a whole new (pretty gross) level. In an effort to show solidarity with indigenous seal hunters (who are facing an EU ban), she helped gut a seal and ate a slice of its raw heart.

Questions Michael Flaherty, Sam Yoon and Kevin McCrea should be asking

The Globe this week ran successive stories (here and here) regarding Boston’s new computer tracking system for city services. In this morning’s article, the three candidates challenging Mayor Menino were unsurprisingly critical of the new system – that it took too long to get up and running, that it still isn’t a true CitiStat program like the one Somerville uses and Baltimore pioneered, that posting the data to the Boston About Results website every quarter doesn’t give either residents or city managers real time data. All of that might be true, but I want to pose some questions of my own. 1) Why does budget data on BAR still only include the appropriations for FY08 and not the actual expenditures? […]