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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The smoking e-mail

New memo to Deval Patrick: Make sure you know what e-mails are out there before you fire someone (assuming you haven't worked out a non-disparagement clause).

And memo to self: you ain't a reporter any more. It's dangerous to state things as fact in a breaking story when you aren't on the ground doing the actual reporting. When you jump to conclusions, know where you are jumping.

The Globe's Andrea Estes and Matt Viser provide us proof (probably directly from Dan Grabauskas) that the former T general manager was a late convert to the idea of forgoing a fare increase -- and contrary to public statements -- Transportation Secretary James Aloisi was the official looking to push ahead.
In a July 6 e-mail to Transportation Secretary James A. Aloisi Jr., Grabauskas detailed a plan to delay a fare increase until January 2011, writing that that there would probably be enough new state sales tax revenue and federal stimulus money to “spare our customers, many of whom are poor and transit dependent, a fare increase for an additional year, during the worst economic climate in 80 years.’.
To which Aloisi replied:
“Thanks Dan,’’ Aloisi wrote. “My reaction is that there are too many ‘ifs’ or other risks in the scenario you outline - too many things have to go right . . . My objective here is to set the MBTA on a much stronger financial footing, and moving forward on the fare increase now seems to me to be the best and most certain way to accomplish that for the next three fiscal years.’’
Both men are right. Aloisi, however, is guilty of sliming Grabauskas, making him the patsy. And the most pathetic thing is that hanging the fare increase around his neck wasn't even necessary as a last straw. The deterioration of the T in terms of safety and its inability of meet construction deadlines was cause enough to push him out.

Which brings us to the question of what Patrick knew and when did he know it. Aloisi's already unpopular boss is in the middle of yet another mess. Was he fully briefed by his transportation secretary? His comments seem to indicate he was not -- or that he is a godawful liar.
The governor, asked yesterday who was arguing for the increase, said, “You should ask the T that. It didn’t come from me.’’ Asked directly whether his administration had been advocating for it, Patrick said, “No.’’
While Patrick may not have been personally lobbying, his transportation secretary certainly was. Patrick is either a fool or a liar or both in this scenario.

But I learned enough of a lesson from my own leap into the unknown yesterday that I will leave it to others to answer that multiple choice question. This mess is a perfect example of why blogs -- at least opinion ones like this -- should not be confused with journalism.

I did no reporting yet, based on what others did, I jumped to a conclusion that Aloisi was more credible. Shame on me.

But I'm not leaping to too large a conclusion when I also say shame on Aloisi. His head should be the next one served up on a platter if Patrick hopes to emerge from this with anything approaching credibility.

And this time, make sure there isn't a paper trail.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are an absolute fool

August 11, 2009 7:29 AM  
Blogger Mark B said...

"Aloisi, however, is guilty of sliming Grabauskas"

Really. Let's look at your posts that have been tagged with Grabauskas' name. We're supposed to believe that you're just a concerned citizen? Concerned citizens don't attack state agency heads with mono-mania frequency. Of all the decades-worth of problems at the T, the particular person in charge at any one time is probably the least of them. Yet all you can talk about is "Smilin' Dan." Stay classy, Howie Carr. You'd fit right in with one of Howie's "Cheryl Rhymes With Fakes Jacques."

Cui Bono? Deval wants Dan out - you run the daily anti-Dan show. Is someone looking for a job? Maybe one of those great no-heavy-lifting PR jobs? The only other answer is paranoid delusions - take your pick.

as Smilin' Dan loves to tells us monthly

I have to believe there is room for a lot of trimming at the T -- starting with Smilin' Dan's salary and SUV.

For once I agree with Dan Grabauskas.

The 24-year-old bozo who was texting while be was supposed to be operating a Green Line train should be more than fired.

He should be held responsible for the cost of the massive police, fire and EMS turnout. He should pay the medical bills of everyone injured. He should reimburse people with tickets to the Red Sox or other events for the events they never got to.

The solution is automatic fail-safe sensors -- installed on the Red and Orange lines -- that would stop a train that runs a red light.

Smilin' Dan says he'd love to have them, but...

Maybe Smilin' Dan will be able to find the pink slip that is long overdue for his pay envelope?

Gov. Deval Patrick has ordered a long overdue review of the MBTA's safety practices. Hopefully it will include the No. 1 safety problem: T General Manager Dan Grabauskas.

When is Smilin' Dan going to go?

One thing about Smilin' Dan Grabauskas -- he knows the T and "hassle factor" go hand-in-hand.

Smilin' Dan Grabauskas has got to go.

Nothing has changed my mind that Smilin' Dan has got to go

And as usual, the blame lies elsewhere, according to Smilin' Dan Grabauskas.

Smilin' Dan has got to go

It was imperative to get Danny off the MTA.

Let's start with the memory-challenged Grabauskas,

August 11, 2009 11:03 AM  
Blogger paddynoons said...

Grabauskus has been on the way out for a while. This email is dated July 6th, about a month ago. My guess is that he wrote it exactly for the purpose of creating what has taken place: negative publicity for Aloisi and the Gov. If this had been months earlier, I might find it more credible. I would also guess that there are earlier emails/memos with Grabauskus advocating a fare hike which will be leaked shortly. We'll see.

Management gets blamed for the T's plight, but it's really the fault of political leaders:
* refusal to raise the gas tax
* refusal to upset the T's labor unions and risk pickets/protests by streamlining jobs and getting labor costs in line
* refusal to shut down redundant / underused services, especially certain bus routes and train stations
* refusal to play hardball with the environmental and disability advocates, who are the counterparties to economically crippling settlements
* and on, and on.

I'm sure the managers would like to do these things, but their hands have been tied.

August 11, 2009 11:29 AM  

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