I was at a forum yesterday at the Burke high school about where the ARRA money would be distributed into Boston.
It was a typical Menino event. His people on stage: 8 white, one south Asian, and one black while the audience was over 80% black.
I was struck by many things too numerous to mention in my limited time, but after Menino's panel spent an hour and 50 minutes explaining things they took questions. All the questioners other than me were black.
1) One woman asked if there were any funds available for people that had been paying their mortgages, but had lost their jobs and having trouble keeping their houses.
A: No, was the answer but it was something they were going to look into.
2) Another woman asked about getting jobs for Boston residents and using Madison Park High School for job training to train adults for the jobs that are becoming available.
A: No, was the answer, but it was something they would look into.
When it was my turn, I asked why the City was taking $40 million dollars of HUD money and giving it in loans to three rich developers, in particular to the W hotel in the theater district which was already granted zoning exemptions by the BRA which are extremely valuable.
A: The answer was because one of the investors pulled out of the W hotel project and the W hotel project was in danger of foreclosure!
So, to sum up-if you are a working class black there is no money to help you out during your hard times if you are faced with foreclosure, but if you are mega-rich and can build a condo development selling properties from $700 to $1400 per square foot ($455,000 to 4.5 million dollars) then Tom Menino will come to your rescue with millions of dollars in low interest loans.
Nary a peep from Yoon and Flaherty.
Ronald Reagan's economics live in Boston City Hall.
And people wonder why developers give Menino $500 checks????