By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Deval Patrick’s misplaced priorities

I am trying to conserve electrons this morning. So instead of engaging in lengthy bloviation, let me refer you to two excellent posts by the Outraged Liberal on Gov. Deval Patrick’s misplaced priorities.

One is on the Patrick administration’s desire to use our tax dollars to build a bridge connecting two of Patriots owner Bob Kraft’s wildly profitable enterprises while simultaneously cutting funds for the homeless. The other is on the sickening hackorama Patrick has been fostering at his transportation department.

I will only disagree with Mr. O.L. to this extent: Patrick has now been governor for nearly three years. Yet Mr. O.L. still refers to the governor’s actions as “screw-ups” and questions “whether anyone in the Corner Office is paying attention.”

No. At this late date, the only reasonable conclusion is that this is who Patrick is.

And don’t miss the original Boston Globe stories, to which Mr. O.L. helpfully links.

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  1. ben

    Unclear why you characterize the OL’s post as “excellent”. It demonstrates a remarkably simplistic view of the way government operates and it misses the real issue. First, the bridge will connect a huge money loser for Kraft (Patriot Place) and undeveloped dirt (currently of limited value). More important, however, is that the stimulus package (which most liberals supported) has to be targeted to job creation projects. Where the Patrick Administration is mistaken is believing that this bridge will create jobs. The fact that Robert Kraft is wealthy is not a condition of the deal and not particularly relevant (Kraft could decide not to build the bridge because he’s comfortably wealthy and then jobs wouldn’t get created).

    • Dan Kennedy

      Ben: It’s really too bad that Mr. O.L. can’t reveal his identity. He knows more about the way state government works in Massachusetts than anyone I can think of, with the possible exception of Michael Dukakis.

  2. lkcape

    The Democrats control the corner office and both houses of the legislature.

    If the obvious is so obvious, why haven’t they either corrected the problems or been voted out of office?

    One gets the sense that maintaining a liberal agenda is more important than rooting out corruption, cronyism, malfeasance and unacceptable results.

    Unless and until the voters in this one-party state accept responsibility for solutions actually to solve the problems, we will continue to hear these hollow complaints and continue to suffer from the incompetence.

  3. Mike Coughlin


    I won’t defend the Transportation policies and hiring — a total botch.

    I Won’t defend the Patriot Bridge either.

    But neither you nor OL mentioned that the homeless were held harmless in several previous rounds of 9C cuts. The cuts have to come from somewhere and cutting “waste” and a few high salaries won’t get the job done. Most human service advocates are saying that Patrick has handled these cuts with great sensitivity.

    And the Globe took a cheap shot placing these stories side by side and implying they reflected the priorities of the Patrick administration.

  4. Bob Gardner

    If that’s a cheap shot let’s have more of them. The fact is that there are ways to get money to your priorities.
    If the Patrick administration applied the same creativity to funding for the homeless that they applied to skirting campaign finance laws this cut would never have happened.

  5. Treg

    I don’t even know where to begin. For one thing, this is what caught my eye in the Globe piece:

    “State officials decided to bypass a host of projects across the state – including road rebuilding projects in Canton, Danvers, Braintree, and Bellingham – to build the footbridge.”

    Presumably, those bypassed projects would also create jobs. For that matter, construction projects on facilities that provide the homeless with shelter, job training and substance abuse treatment would also create jobs, right?

    And presumably, Robert Kraft would find a way to help people spend money on both sides of Route 1, with or without help from the state.

    Meanwhile, we have a report revealing scores of critical safety projects on the T that are not funded. Those projects would create jobs too, right? And protect our safety. And protect the MBTA from zillions of dollars in liability.

    Also, the person who formulated the phrase, “The administration has held homeless programs harmless” should be fired.

    Finally, I agree with Dan. This is not a screwup. This is the Patrick administration.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Treg: Exactly. And though it’s admittedly a little unfair to suggest that Patrick could have funded homeless programs instead of Bob Kraft’s bridge, it’s eminently fair to point out, as you have, that he could have found more-worthy transportation projects.

  6. lkcape


    It ain’t just Patrick!

    He’s just the top one in the chain!

  7. ben

    The problem the Patrick Administration has is that Mass has very few projects that fit the criteria for the stimulus dough. They got kicked around by the Dem congressman in charge of tracking the funds about sixty days ago for not spending. The Patrick Admin was not into just repaving roads like other states. But they can’t find anywhere to spend the money as they know that there is no job growth pent up and just waiting for infrastructure.

  8. Aaron Read

    @Lkcape: for once you and I are in complete agreement.

    But I’ll add the question: Why is any of this suprising? We knew Patrick would be a lousy governor. Most of us who voted for him (myself included) thought he’d be a lousy governor. It’s just that Kerry “Muffy” Healey would be so, so, so much worse.

    Of course, this fits with my longstanding opinion that no elected official will ever make things better. They can only make things worse a little more slowly than the other guy. At this point, one wonders if we should have things get worse faster so we can get to the open revolts and the guillotines and whatnot and get it over with.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Aaron: Speaking for myself, I would say that I had low expectations for Patrick, yet he has been unable to meet them. As you say, he was essentially unopposed.

  9. lkcape

    Mr. Read: Hold your nose and vote?

    Prescription for holding your nose for a long, long time.

    Which would you rather do, hold your nose or make progress on issues that matter? If you don’t make changes, well, you don’t get change…even if the silver tongue attached to the teleprompter tells you so.

    The phrase “sheep are sheep” comes to mind.

    As things stands now in Massachusetts, holding one’s nose is more important.

    The hacks you have are the hacks you voted for…and voted for…and voted for…and voted for…. You get the picture.

    An aside: Robert Reich would have at least made it interesting!

  10. Harrybosch

    Don’t blame me. I voted for Muffy.

  11. Treg

    Ben – right. The foot bridge for the Krafts was the only project they could spend that money on. If they didn’t spend it on that, they were just going to have to throw the money in the garbage. So really, Bob Kraft did Gov. Patrick a big favor.

    • Dan Kennedy

      God bless Bob Kraft. And God bless us, every one.

  12. amusedbutinformedobserver

    Deval Patrick will not run for re-election. Plouffe is a smokescreen because a lame-duck governor can not govern.

  13. Treg

    Been waiting to see a follow-up from “ben.” Funny how these Patrick apoologists show up here, mumble something in defense of the governor, then disappear when they get blasted (like “Southie” in the recent casino discussion).

  14. Treg

    “The Patrick Admin was not into just repaving roads like other states. But they can’t find anywhere to spend the money as they know that there is no job growth pent up and just waiting for infrastructure.”

    I love it.

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