Sunday, December 20, 2009

Free parking good for the short term, but costs down the road, Boston Globe


By Noah Bierman, Globe Staff | December 20, 2009

Free parking good for the short term, but costs down the road
Merchants and shoppers cheered when Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced last month that he was giving away free parking during the holiday season for the 16th year in a row.

It’s become a holiday tradition - two hours at meters on Saturdays - gratis.

Who could possibly be against that, some kind of parking Grinch?

“I would rather think of myself as a parking Santa Claus,’’ said Mark Chase, a parking consultant who can explain why free parking is a really dumb idea. “You can put that as your title: ‘Parking Grinch or Santa Claus?’ You decide.’’

Chase thinks about parking all the time, mostly helping businesses and universities figure out how to avoid building more spots. Earlier this decade, when he worked for Zipcar, he designed the scheme that reserved spaces all over the city for the company cars, making the rest of us scared that the renters’ club was gearing up for some sort of military takeover of Boston and Cambridge. He is among a group of advocates and professionals who share the view, popularized in the 2005 book “The High Cost of Free Parking,’’ that parking costs need to be managed more intelligently to improve city life.

Chase says that when there is a parking shortage, giving it away free is about the worst thing you can do, for everybody. The lure of free parking draws more drivers who may have otherwise carpooled, walked, or taken public transportation. They all compete for fewer spots, driving in circles and spewing pollution in hopes of snagging one, and getting progressively angrier at the world when they don’t.

Eventually, they stop coming downtown, hurting the merchants as well.

Instead of giving it away free, charge enough for the good spots so there is always one or two of them available, he said. Charge less for the bad spots, so people will be willing to walk a little farther.

Employees usually take the free spots before shoppers, and then keep them all day anyway, he said. They got there first and many make only $7 an hour, he added.

“You can’t blame them,’’ he said.

But if you push the cheap or the free spots farther away, the employees will walk a few blocks, emptying spaces for customers.

Thomas J. Tinlin, Boston’s transportation commissioner, said the parking promotion is a gesture designed to persuade people who commute through the city to come back and shop. If they come for the promotion, maybe they’ll return the rest of the year.

It only lasts a few weeks, from late November through December 26 this year. Sundays are free year-round. Merchants have asked for more free Saturdays but the city has balked, in part because the meters raise $40,000 on average Saturdays the rest of the year.

“It’s all about balance,’’ Tinlin said.

Tinlin said parking officials are usually the ones called Grinches. Maybe with the free parking, he said, people will think of them as “good-intended elves.’’

So why does Chase one-up Tinlin, calling himself a Santa Claus? He suggests pooling all that money and then holding a holiday parking lottery.

“Give the money to one lucky customer,’’ he said.

Joy to the the manner of the Beatles..crank up those speakers

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Return of the Two-Way Street | GOVERNING

The Return of the Two-Way Street | GOVERNING

The Return of the Two-Way Street

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's A Wonderful Life

In the little bio space that you get when you have a blog, I mention my family members. Many people have met my wife and daughters. Many people have met our dog through our twice a day walks in the neighborhood.

However not many people have met cat Theo, named after the Red Sox GM. Here he is, a Merrimack Valley Feline Rescue Society alum, enjoying the good life in Newburyport.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

PUBLIC MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT For Newburyport Wastewater Treatment Facility Modernization Project



Newburyport Wastewater Treatment Facility

Modernization Project

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Date: Thursday, December 17, 2009

Location: City Hall Auditorium @ 60 Pleasant Street

The Newburyport Sewer Commission and its project design team will be hosting a Public Meeting to update residents on the design and bidding of improvements to the Newburyport Wastewater Treatment Facility located at 157 Water Street. The presentation will address concerns about traffic management, public access from Water Street to the walking path along the river, site aesthetics, fencing, and security, and the proposed layout for the new Process Operations Building. An update on the schedule for completing the design, bidding, and construction of the project will also be provided. All interested parties are encouraged to attend this presentation so that the project design team may answer your questions and address any of your concerns.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Capuano best choice

Capuano best choice

December 04, 2009 Published in Newburyport Daily News

To the editor:

I am writing to express my support for Congressman Mike Capuano in the race for U.S. Senate.

While there are other good candidates in the race for the Democratic nomination, I feel strongly that his personal qualities of passion and pragmatism would make Congressman Capuano a great senator for Massachusetts.

I had an opportunity to get to know the congressman from 2002 to 2005 while I worked as an advocate for homeless children. When it would have been easy for him to show us the door, the congressman was helpful to our cause. He gave us an honest assessment about the difficulties we faced, combined with a determination that something could be done.

On the most important votes of the last decade, Capuano voted for what was right, not what was politically expedient. He was one of only 41 House members to vote against the No Child Left Behind Act because he was convinced that school districts would not have enough money to implement the mandates of the legislation. He pushed for a response to the genocide in Darfur. He stood up for our civil liberties by voting against the Patriot Act. He voted against going to war in Iraq because it was a diversion of our struggle against al-Qaida.

Capuano has been endorsed by the Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters, which said "beginning with his time as mayor of Somerville, Capuano has been a passionate and early defender of the environment where he hired the state's first municipal environmental officer and was at the forefront of curbside recycling in Massachusetts."

His broad experience as an alderman, mayor and member of Congress speaks to his ability to make the connections between our lives and how local, state and federal government can either help us or hurt us.

The diverse group of local Mike Capuano supporters includes state Rep. Mike Costello, Mayor-elect Donna Holaday, Councilor Tom Jones, Councilor Barry Connell and Hailey Klein from Newburyport; Mayor Thatcher Kezer, Rebecca Jordan, and Tom Iacobucci from Amesbury; LuAnn Kuder and Nancy Weinberg from Newbury; Lou and Dianne Masiello, Walter and Lucille Sidley from Salisbury; and Democratic State Committeewoman Kathy Pasquina from West Newbury.

This group may not agree on every local and state issue, but we agree on Mike Capuano.

I hope Democratic and Independent/unenrolled voters will join me in voting for Mike Capuano on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

Ed Cameron

Newburyport City Councilor

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Dear Friend,

I'm supporting Mike Capuano's run for Senate. If you're with Mike, let me know (if I already don't know), so I can bug you to help out;-).

If you haven't made up your mind, I hope you'll consider giving him your vote.

If you're going with another candidate, good luck to you and yours.

Cheers, Ed Cameron


Below you’ll find a list of publications and bloggers who have offered their endorsement of Mike’s campaign.


Boston Herald

It’s U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano who stands out as the best qualified of the Democratic candidates to fill that [Senate] seat at a critical juncture in this nation’s history. He is ready to do the job, because he has done the job. These aren’t theoretical issues to Capuano. [He] has also demonstrated throughout his decade of service in the House that he — and his staff — can deal with the nitty-gritty of constituent services the way Kennedy and his office were so good at. Read the editorial

Boston Phoenix

In his 11 years as a US congressman, Capuano has been a stalwart voice for liberal values, including a woman's right to choose and opposition to the death penalty. More important, he has stood firm for principles when others did not — notably, by voting against the Iraq War authorization and against the liberty-infringing PATRIOT Act. Read the editorial

The Somerville News

At the end of the day, standing shoulder to shoulder with the other candidates in this race, it is clear that they all have good intentions, but none of them can match up with Mike Capuano when it comes to proven experience in dealing with national and international issues - experience you can only get by serving in Congress. That is an inarguable fact and possibly the most advantageous attribute of anyone seeking to be elected to the Senate, period. Read the editorial

South End News

His knowledge and commitment to urban issues, including environmental challenges, health care, jobs, civil liberties, and education-as well as his on-the-ground experience as an urban mayor in Somerville, have earned him the endorsement of South End News. Read the editorial

Newton TAB and Daily News Tribune

Capuano’s 11 years in Congress can’t be underestimated at this time in our country’s history. His understanding of the give-and-take of compromise while passing legislation is essential... And his votes on key issues — No Child Left Behind, the Iraq war, the Patriot Act — show he is a man of conviction. Read the editorial


Kate — BlueMassGroup

I am supporting Capuano because I think he is the best person for the position. I believe that Mike Capuano's years as a member of Congress have given him the experience he needs to get things done in Washington from day one. Congressman Jim McGovern was influential in my endorsement and I trust his assessment of who will be effective in Washington, D.C. Read the post

Blue News Tribune

If Capuano is one thing, he is WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get). Read the post


For us, this was a pretty simple choice: U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano should be the next U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. Capuano has an impressive, unabashedly progressive voting record in the U.S. House of Representatives. On the big issues of today, he is not only already engaged in working on them and ready to hit the ground running in the upper chamber, but he has the right positions. Finally, he is the best candidate to take up the banner of Ted Kennedy's vision for America. Read the post

Marry in Massachusetts

It is a much surer projection that Capuano will go from a solid Representative to a solid Senator. As others have said endorsing him, this is not the time for on-the-job training. Ted Kennedy may have started out green 47 years ago, but we don't have to take that chance in replacing him. Michael Capuano is by far the best choice to replace U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy. Read the post

Blah Blah Ginger

He is the man best qualified to take on the imposing mantle of Ted Kennedy’s legacy, and is the one candidate who will need no ramp-up time to be an outstanding U.S. Senator from day one. Read the post

Lynne — LeftinLowell

Why should you vote for Mike Capuano? For me, it’s about the combination of practical attitude and steady principles. Read the post

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lowell Sun: Pepperell picks Newburyport mayor for administrator post

Another nice thing about working in Lowell is catching breaking Newburyport news in the Lowell Sun....

From this morning....

Pepperell picks Newburyport mayor for administrator post

By Don Eriksson, Correspondent

PEPPERELL -- Selectmen have unanimously voted to offer the job of town administrator to Newburyport Mayor John Moak. They plan to enter closed-door negotiations with Moak later this week.

Last night's vote considered both Moak and Jason Hoch, former administrator for the New Hampshire towns of Littleton and Plaistow.

Both men were at the top of a pool of candidates developed by a Search Committee. They were interviewed last week, after negotiations with Shirley Town Administrator Kyle Keady collapsed earlier this fall.

According to private comments from several Search Committee members, Pepperell would be well-served by either candidate.

Administrative Assistant Peggy Mazola has been acting as interim administrator while continuing to perform her duties as administrative assistant.

Selectmen Joseph Hallisey, Patrick McNabb and Joseph Sergi complimented Police Chief Alan Davis for conducting extensive background checks on both candidates, which were received yesterdays.

"For myself, it comes down to John (Moak) as a better fit for Pepperell," Hallisey said. "Both are extremely qualified. (Moak's) experience in Newburyport fits Pepperell issues -- a school was closed and revitalizing Town Hall."

McNabb lauded the qualifications of both candidates, saying "It boils down to who is best for Pepperell right now. Based on experience and positive feedback from the Newburyport City Council (regarding) strong fiscal budgeting and (having) a lot of drive ... (Moak) is someone who could step in right now."