|Boston Business Journal Speaks Out|
In "A letter to Overlord Deval",
George Donnelly, Executive Editor, Boston Business Journal, using a
playful, funny and engaging tone, raised what he believes are serious
issues with Governor Patrick's ban on driving during, and some hours
following, the passage of Nemo across the Commonwealth and out to sea.
- Calling us "knuckleheads!" at your press conference
today - What faith you have in us, lifting the driving ban only six
hours after the great snows of 2013 stopped falling from the sky.
- You were protecting us from ourselves
- We do not possess your wisdom, so you banished us, under threat of a sentence in one of your harsh prisons, to our homes
- Without your supreme judgment, who knows how many of
us would have braved the roads and risked life and limb? Indeed, we
cannot think for ourselves.
- We need government, led by men and women with
superior intelligence, to tell us what to do. We are indeed blessed to
have such leadership. Without you, we are lost, presumably in a
- Without a large and controlling government, nothing is truly possible.
Uphams Corner News Reflects
By contrast, Uphams Corner News is commending both Governor Patrick and
Mayor Menino for taking steps to ensure that "knuckleheads," however
few or many there might be, NOT be allowed to venture out on the
roads. Presumably the goals of those holed up or connected to the
Framingham bunker were not only protecting the health and safety of
the residents but also guaranteeing a post-storm road condition ready
No cars allowed on the roads and roads clear of vehicles as far as the
eye could see, ensured there were no cars caught in snow drifts,
abandoned, or worse, slept in with the possibility of carbon monoxide
poisoning as the snow drifts rose high enough to block the tailpipe.
abandoned on various parkways in the state of New York following the
"Nemo." Photos Pix11.com
Lake Grove, Suffolk County, Long Island NY
covered a wide swath, more than the interior of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts. In much of easter Long Island, Nemo dropped a
whopping 30 inches of snow.
With no driving ban in effect, dozens of hapless drivers remained
trapped in the snow, caught by Nemo's unexpected fury. Pix11.com
reported that many drivers stayed with their cars. One driver had
to be hospitalized for hypothermia, and many others were taken to a
nearby warming center.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo had asked Long Islanders to stay off the roads
(pretty please). Then as of Saturday, because of the dreadful condition of the roads, many of the parkways were
shuttered. In other locations, hundreds of drivers reportedly
abandoned their cars on highways and sought shelter elsewhere according
to a Newsday report.
The Differences in Approach - MA & NY
Certainly, the orders of magnitude make the issues in New York more difficult to manage than the smaller areas of MA and
New York City's population exceeds the entire state of Massachusetts by
2 million while Boston's population is 7% the size of New York
|State of New York
|New York City
|Commonwealth of MA
Establishing rules, regulations, bans and fines requires effective
enforcement as well as a willingness on the part of the citizenry to
How well the ban against parking in the Commonwealth was enforced is
not known. WBUR's reporters traveling on the MA Pike reported they
were stopped by State Police and asked their purpose on the road.
As a member of emergency workers, they were given free
pass. "No," the State Trooper said, "I am not ticketing but I am
concerned about anyone out on the roads." Just the possibility of
a $500 fine and one year in jail was enough to keep many people home.
the job of the snowplower who has free access and relative
speed if the road ahead is completely clear - no cars abandoned,
blocking the roads or ramped on top of a snow pile or completely and
invisibly buried. The decrase in productivity under such
circumstances is significant and much more than an average observer
might expect, not
to mention the dangerous impact on health and safety.
Risky Behavior Becomes the Commonwealth's to Repair and the Burden to Shoulder
Snowplow drivers are (probably) paid by the hour, so the delay in
plowing capacity is paid for by taxpayer dollars. The same holds
for rescue efforts necessitated by dangerous conditions when residents
refuse to evacuate low-lying coastal areas and flooding occurs.
government needs to stay out of my business. Don't imagine that I
can't think for myself. Don't make decisions for me as if I were
a child. Don't tell me what to do."
What are the consequences of making civic decisions that impact my
ability to move around and to function as I am used to? Feeling
constrained is one, feeling put-upon and restricted - another, feeling like
my personal freedom has been taken away.
Under some circumstances, the decision in favor of the "good of all"
trumps individual freedom, at least for a short while. As of
Saturday afternoon, Dudley Street, as far as you could see in both
directions, was devoid of cars. The street had been plowed and
periodically, a police car drove by unencumbered by the several feet of
snowdrift that had blanketed the street only hours before.
Driving / Parking Bans Create Parnership
Because of the driving and parking bans, the snow plows were able to
focus on their top priority (major roads) without the need to "sneak in" a personal and politically connected
sidestreet. No one was allowed to drive anyway until 4pm on Saturday when the
driving ban was lifted.
No sidewalks had yet been plowed so pedestrians walked safely in the
streets. Three stores were open - CVS, Brothers Market and the liquor
store. People greeted each other warmly carrying their purchases
in the direction back where they had walked from. There were
even a couple bicycles riding by.
The quiet, calm and open emptiness, presenting starkly against the drama of white covering
everything, was a needed respite after more than 24 hours of heavy
WIthout the danger (as in past years) of cars attempting to slide
through deeply rutted residential streets while automobile owners
sought hour after hour to birth their cars from the snowy wombs, the
quality of adjacent conversation and snow removal efforts was
As of 5pm Sunday, no plow had yet cleared Monadnock Street although
multiple calls had gone into the Mayor's Hotline. At the same
time, the mound of snow in the center of Monadnock Street, fully
blocking all traffic, had grown to at least six feet. A snowplow
could not have begun to tackle the "snow fortress," as some residents
had named it.
The solution? A couple hours later, a front loader arrived.
Starting at Dudley Street, it moved slowly at first then more quickly
to gain sufficient momentum to scoop up a load of snow and, reversing
direction, dropped the snow on the side of Dudley Street. There
simply was no other choice.
In past years, plows have come down Monadnock Street multiple times
during the storm, each time blocking the cars with even greater amounts
of slush and snow and depositing "God knows" how much unnecessary rock
salt onto the road way. What a difference! What an
improvement, even though the waiting grew a bit impatient.
Were the Governor and the Mayor right in instituting the bans on
parking and driving? Under seige by Nemo, the Governor and the
Mayor acted responsibly and in the best interests of the community.
That is the opinion of Uphams Corner News, and they are deserving of
|Dear Mr. Boston Business Journal
Sometimes the need to make decisions in
favor of the good of all wins over the rights of personl freedom like
yours. Consider and reflect well that you and others were safe as Nemo passed your way.
With the driving
ban lifted, you are now free to resume your active and important
business life, untethered by governmental decrees - at least for a while.
Uphams Corner News
Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 1:51 PM
Subject: "Nemo" Driving Ban
We in the United States have many reasons for giving up our personal
liberties. Now we may add snow removal to that list. The authorities
acted as though citizens were in the way of public services rather than
having public services serve the citizens. It was all overdone,
including economic impacts. Apparently all it takes for one's judgment
to supersede all others is being elected to executive office. The
positives do not outweigh those considerations.
Posted: February 10, 2013
Nancy J Conrad