The Codcast: Tito Jackson makes his case

Tito Jackson is preparing to wage a campaign for mayor of Boston focused on the divide between the haves and have-nots, sounding an echo of many previous mayoral aspirants who pledged to make Boston a city that works for its most marginalized, struggling residents and not only for the well-heeled.

But the Roxbury district city councilor is taking on a first-term incumbent who pushed many of those same themes in 2013, when he rode his story as the union-friendly son of immigrants in  working-class Dorchester to victory in the city’s first open race for mayor in two decades.

Jackson, in fact, endorsed Marty Walsh in that race. But he now says “we have lost our way” under the first-term mayor.

In this week’s Codcast, Jackson rips Walsh for his focus on a financially reckless Olympic bid, the ill-fated IndyCar race, and for squandering nearly $3 million in an unsuccessful legal fight against the Wynn casino in Everett. All of that has happened, says Jackson, while the city’s schools have struggled to maintain programs for students and a yawning income and housing affordability gap threatens to displace long-time residents from their neighborhoods.

He pointed to a Brookings Institution report saying Boston has a greater degree of inequality than any city in the country, moving up from No. 3 when Walsh took office. It’s “an unenviable” No. 1 ranking, he said.

As in his kickoff speech last week, Jackson hammered at what he calls “corporate giveaways” to firms like General Electric, which received a $25 million property tax break as part of a city and state incentive package that helped convince the corporate giant to move its headquarters to Boston.

Jackson’s focus on the haves and have-nots could as easily describe the long odds he would appear to face in his effort to oust Walsh. Recent finance reports showed Jackson with $65,000 while Walsh sits on a $3.5 million mountain of campaign cash. The other relevant number here is 1949, which is the last year in which a sitting Boston mayor was voted out of office.

Jackson says he’s not daunted by all that, saying the mayor has been stockpiling money for three years “and I’ve barely been doing this thing for three days.”

What’s more, he says, money doesn’t always win out, pointing out that we’re about to inaugurate a president who was vastly outspent in the recent campaign, and that the Boston 2024 Olympics effort spent some $15 million while the opponents spent less than $10,000 in their successful campaign to kill the plan.

Turning the money talk on its head, Jackson said, only half tongue-in-cheek, “So I guess the question that we should be asking is, does the current mayor have too much money to win, not whether I have enough.”

Still, Jackson seems well aware of his underdog status. “When there is a Goliath in front of you,” he said, “there’s a David inside you.”

–MICHAEL JONAS


BEACON HILL

Lawmakers conduct a quick and quiet hearing on the 2-year-old report recommending the pay raises. (CommonWealth) A Globe editorial says lawmakers should slow down their rush to approve a whopping 70 percent pay raise for legislative leaders, which the paper says is being driven by House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

An official at the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency recommended a $73 million project to the agency’s board without disclosing that the nonprofit developer of the project was headed by her father and employed her live-in girlfriend. (CommonWealth)

The search for a new chair of the State Ethics Commission narrows to two candidates. (State House News)

Jay Ash, the Baker administration’s secretary of housing and economic development, promised a decision soon on state funding for a Berkshire Innovation Center in Pittsfield. (Berkshire Eagle)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Fliers seeking recruits for the Ku Klux Klan and denigrating Martin Luther King Jr. were anonymously distributed in a Framingham neighborhood earlier in the week. (MetroWest Daily News)

Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter said he will use campaign funds to pay back the city $7,850 for purchases that should have been made with private funds. (The Enterprise)

A former Fairhaven police officer has sued the town for civil rights violations over his firing, claiming he was denied due process rights. (Standard-Times)

The Barnstable police chief took responsibility for the town being listed as one of the 100 most dangerous places to live, saying a coding error resulted in incorrect reporting data. (Cape Cod Times)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Even as President Trump is being sworn into office, the chaotic transition has left a number of key administration positions unfilled, with only 29 of 660 executive department appointments announced so far. (New York Times)

Trump named New York Jets owner and shampoo heir Woody Johnson, a man whose battles with the English language are legendary in NFL circles, as ambassador to Great Britain, only the fourth ambassador the new president has appointed. (New York Times)

Treasury secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin said at his confirmation hearing he agrees with Trump that jobless statistics are politicized and the “unemployment rate is not real.” (U.S. News & World Report)

Speaking of economic statistics, the Globe‘s Evan Horowitz rolls out a “dashboard” he’ll use to track the Trump era on everything from trade to employment and health coverage rates.

Protesters are gearing up for a mass demonstration in Washington against Trump on Saturday. Parallel protests will take place in other US cities, with the Boston demonstration expected to be among the largest. (Boston Globe)

ELECTIONS

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight explains what journalists and data geeks got wrong about the election of 2016 and what they’re still getting wrong.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The Massachusetts unemployment rate falls to a 16-year low. (State House News)

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft makes clear in a New York Times interview, which is also a profile of the billionaire business owner, that he is still smarting from the beat down by the NFL hierarchy and is relishing the chance to raise the Lombardi Trophy in two weeks.

Swedish officials are not giving up on a plan to ban American and Canadian lobsters, saying they will present a new proposal after the European Union denied the country’s request to stop importing the crustaceans. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION

State education commissioner Mitchell Chester is recommending an additional three-year probation period for Boston Green Academy, an in-district charter school that has struggled to gain traction with the middle school program it added to its high school. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION

Massport strikes a deal with Lyft to allow the ride-hailing service to pick-up passengers at Logan Airport beginning February 1, and similar approval for Uber is not far behind. (CommonWealth)

Two Beacon Hill lawmakers plan to file legislation today to regulate the use of autonomous vehicles, including adding a per-mile tax on their use. (Boston Globe)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Mashpee officials are looking at beefing up fines and penalties for illegal vehicle use on conservation land, including impounding a vehicle after a first offense. (Cape Cod Times)

CASINOS

A study commissioned by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission found that the opening of a slots parlor in Plainville didn’t have a major impact on lottery sales in the area and gave a big boost to sales at the casino itself. (CommonWealth)

A decision by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management that a proposed casino at the Massachusetts border in Tiverton will have an “insignificant” impact on wetlands puts the project on a fast track for construction and opening. (Herald News)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Private security guards will no longer be able to kick homeless people out of North Station after a guard was charged with beating a disabled homeless man with his own cane. (Boston Globe)

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said he is considering proposing a three-to-six month extension of the department’s planned six-month pilot study of body-worn cameras in order to gather more data to inform a long-term decision on their use. (Boston Herald)

Joaquin Guzman Loera, the Mexican drug lord known as “El Chapo” who has twice escaped prison in his country, is being expedited to the United States for trial. (New York Times)

 

  • shirley_kressel

    CW refers to “General Electric, which received a $25 million property tax break as part of a city and state incentive package that helped convince the corporate giant to move its headquarters to Boston.” It is not true that GE was “lured” to Boston by tax breaks and other public subsidies. GE came for the educated work force and the qualify of life (e.g., the wonderful Back Bay neighborhood where the CEO decided to live). It has been well documented (do a Google search) that corporations do not make location decisions based on tax breaks. Read “The Great American Jobs Scam” by Greg LeRoy for this history of these corporate shake-downs, which exploit past urbo-phobic imagery, and in which politicians are happy to collude so they can claim they “created jobs” when in fact they simply gave away public money for nothing, and usually raked in a hefty bundle of corporate campaign contributions to boot.

    Liberty Mutual recently pulled the same trick, getting $50 million in city and state money by vaguely implying that they would pull up stakes and leave town, or build their glitzy centennial tower in a strip mall in Dover, New Hampshire; LM executives admitted to City Council in a public hearing that they had no intention of every leaving Boston, and their “consideration” of other cities for the new tower was equally discredited. Most important, as revealed in LM’s tax-break application — the “job creation” number — aka hiring people needed to get the company’s work done — would be decreased substantially! But all the city and state pols who allowed this to happen went around bragging about their “investment” in “job creation.” Mayor Menino and Governor Patrick got big campaign donations from LM. The citizens of Boston and Massachusetts got less public services or paid more taxes, to do nothing but fatten LM’s treasury.

    When Fidelity Investments — which has been getting about $150 million in tax subsidies for decades, for no other reason than they asked for it when Raytheon got its bogus tax breaks — began a big relocation program moving jobs out of Boston, the governor ran after Fidelity execs waving bags of money. And Fidelity told him it was not a money issue so enriched subsidy “package” would change their minds. Read it at http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2007/02/01/state_development_officials_to_meet_with_fidelity/ Here is an excerpt:

    “Fidelity’s growth in other states reflects factors such as a need to have workers closer to customers, security considerations, and the local workforce, the company says. Just last year it said it would build a 1,200-employee call center in Jacksonville, Fla., and that it would move as many as 1,500 jobs from Massachusetts to other New England states by 2008. O’Connell said Fidelity has said it will share with him the package of economic incentives it is receiving from Westlake to “hopefully give us some thoughts and ideas to help us in working with Fidelity and other Massachusetts companies to assist them in expanding in the state in the future.” That could be a tall order, said Ranch Kimball, who had O’Connell’s role in the administration of former Governor Mitt Romney. Despite many meetings, Fidelity executives never told him of a single factor or area that would make a difference in their job-location decisions. “There was nothing we found that was the key. Obviously keeping a healthy, vibrant city matters a lot. But other than that, there was no magic bullet,” he said.

    And giving away our tax money makes it that much harder to “keep a healthy, vibrant city” — notably, good public education, good environmental quality, good housing options for employees, good physical and technological infrastructure, good purchasing power in a well-paid work force.

    Jackson worked in Deval Patrick’s administration, on this kind of corporate-welfare “economic development” — and I think he knows very well that these tax breaks are just political ploys for incumbents, and gravy trains for fat corporations.

  • shirley_kressel

    As to Walsh’s bloated campaign war chest: It is not a badge of honor. It is the fruit of his crony capitalism, at public expense; he is bought and paid for by the real estate development interests. Hillary Clinton amassed an obscene amount of money too, with millions from the financial industry and other corporate vultures expecting a good return on their “investment.” She was the presidential heir apparent and Trump was an unthinkable dark horse. And yet, here we are.

    The press should be analyzing and exposing Walsh’s contribution sources, not celebrating them. Everyone knows that Boston’s mayor is entrenched by deliberate design, from the lack of term limits, to the off-year election cycle to the rigged nomination-paper signature process to the unique over-empowerment of the mayor via his private goon squad, the omnipotent and totally unaccountable Boston Redevelopment Authority. The media should be striving to restore some semblance of democratic process by providing crucial public information about the mayor’s corrupt actions, rather than sending a signal to the citizenry that any competition is doomed and political accountability is a pipe dream. “Don’t bother to vote, and don’t bother to run for office. The emperor has been anointed, for as long as he shall live.”