Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Naming everything in Boston "Menino-ville"

(I have spoken about this for 4 years, if I'm elected, these signs will say something to the effect of "Welcome from the Citizens of Boston" or "Built by the Citizens of Boston". This is an outrageous waste of money when we only spend $0.40 cents per student on nursing supplies in the City)

A citizen writes in:

Dear Kevin,

Most citizens have a pet peeve about Boston that I wish would be raised-- the stenciling of the mayor's name on every possible surface in the City of Boston.

Usually, a benefactor gives a hospital millions of dollars to have his name emblazoned on a hospital wing. Yet, Boston Medical Center has "The Menino Pavilion." If Menino had any role in getting money to the pavilion, it was taxpayer funded. It is part of a continual cycle of the taxpayers of Boston being roped in to fund the aggrandizement of the mayor.

When the venerable Boston Public Library was built in Copley Square, the inscription on the edifice read, "The Public Library of the City of Boston Built by the People and Dedicated to the Advancement of Learning / Founded Through the Munificence and Public Spirit of Citizens." All libraries built since 1993 read "Thomas M. Menino, Mayor" on the facade. If you visit libraries built between Copley and the present administration, it is difficult to ascertain who was mayor at the time of building it. As in most communities, the presence of a public library indicates the values of the citizens, not the adulation of the incumbent chief executive.

My visits to other cities and towns show libraries that give no indication of the local mayor's identity. I'm sure there must be a proper plaque inside that might have that information, but it seems to be the sense of the rest of the United States that the facades of public edifices are not canvasses for the self-aggrandizement of politicians.

Every banner hanging from every lamp-post, every Senior Shuttle, every community center, every city park, everything but (of course) the tax bills and parking tickets bear the mayor's name. Every auto in Boston with a neighborhood parking sticker is therein branded with the mayor's name.

Every blue sign marking entrance to every city neighborhood gives rise to the suspicion that the signs exist not to celebrate the neighborhood but to the chief executive's moniker emblazoned across it.

It feels like we are a far way from the "Cradle of Democracy" days. We are a far way from the spirited rejection of a monarch's rule that launched our nation-- a movement nurtured right here in Boston.

I believe that every candidate should be put on the spot as to whether they would continue this disgraceful and vain practice.

It did not start with Menino; indeed his predecessors marked the Senior Shuttle, city advertisements, and signs in public parks. However, it is Menino who grew the practice exponentially.

Most citizens have had enough.

1 comment:

dhammapadadave said...

The most outrageous example of Tom Menino branding the city of Boston with his name is the bronze plaque installed on the school committee building on Court Street.