Friday, October 20, 2006

Gubernatorial Debate Review; My Ever-Waning Respect for Christy Mihos; MassPike Tolls Part II

I turned on the TV last night, 7-NBC to be exact, just in time to catch the tail-end of the third gubernatorial debate, which, as far as I'm concerned was as much of any of these debates as I needed to see. Indeed this is the first time I've caught any of these "live" at all for the upcoming election--I usually just get the minutes in the Boston Metro or Herald the next day. So let's get started.
I tuned in right at a good spot: some woman was grilling Christy Mihos about where the money would come from to maintain the Western Mass. part of the MassPike once the tolls are taken away; like the politician that he is, he simply kept referring to the fact that this section, is already "paid off," as in the initial construction. No, really?! Yeah, we all know the whole thing is technically "paid off." What rational people, including myself as in yesterday's rant, want to know is where is the money going to come from, after all is said and done, to maintain that section of roadway. So let me digress from the Debate to further yesterday's rant:
Disbarring everything I mentioned yesterday with regarding the environment pluses and minuses and job placement for toll grunts, the question truly is where is the money for the upkeep Western Mass. part of the Pike going to come from once the tolls go away? How ironic is it going to be that all these "Westerners" currently boo-hooing about having to pay for "Eastern Mass." transportation problems, e.g. the Big Dig, through tolls, will, if this really does happen, be literally getting a free ride on the Pike on the backs of Eastern Mass. drivers who will still be paying tolls and thus then contributing to the entire Pike, not just the eastern half? In short, from a monetary perspective, the amount of money the Pike takes in will literally be stretched thinner to account for the lack of income on its western half. Great. And what of this mystery "reserve fund" that's supposed to cover the debt of paying off the western part "for good." Pardon me, but when I think of "reserve" I usually think of something that shouldn't be touched unless it's absolutely necessary, say a natural disaster. But what do I know? Sure, spend the reserve cash; I mean if it doesn't go for that cause, it'll wind up as part of Billy Bulger's pension fund. Go UMass, by the way.
So back to the Third Debate and Christy Mihos (you others are next, don't worry!). In light of his staunch support for getting rid of those tolls, my respect for him is waning; it started with his random outburst against my political hero Hugo Chávez. Ok, as mentioned in the rant, I don't
particularly supportPresident Chávez; but I admire his raw candor. And as someone who can't seem to run a compaign other than to badmouth Healey and Romney's incompetence, with a commercial equally as comical and buffoon-like as Chávez's mimics of President Bush, I should think Mihos and Chávez have something in common. So that's it--I'm losing respect in Mihos because he doesn't support Chávez, his Venezuelan equivalent... and the toll thing. His 30-second "three accomplishments" and closing remarks were only more of the same rhetoric, especially when he took a dangerous step by comparing his campaign the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox back when they were down three games to the Yankees--a move right in step with his political personality, but that may hurt him more than help. I mean, he "loves this state," probably even more so than the Red Sox who keep running to New York after boosting their major league cred in Beantown, but just the same... c'mon... it's the Sox! We actually feel sorry when they don't win.
The only breath of fresh air last evening, but really in this whole gubernatorial race, was and is Grace Ross. And that's why she can't win. Minus her random jab at Healey in her "three accomplishments" and remarks, she actually has plans--and not ones "listed on her website" (Mihos and Healey) or that simply involve "change" (Patrick). Running a campaign on a budget no larger than the average soup kitchen's (unfortunate for her and the average soup kitchen), these debates are really her only chance to get the word out to millions across the state. I wish her the best in all her personal endeavors; hopefully with her exposure she can carry out more of her personal pursuits with assistance.
Then there's Kerry Healey who, might I add, all but wrote off Ross pretty much the minute Ross threw her hat into the ring for the election, and I can hate her just for that; that and her annoying love-hate relationship with Christy Mihos--don't tell me there wasn't "something going on" when he was was on the Big Dig Board--she looks like she likes rebels. Her "three accomplishments" and closing remarks were the usual mix of verbal punches at Patrick and whining about having Mihos and Ross at these debate at all--God forbid she have to wade through their responses to get out even more verbal punches; she's itching for a game of heads-up like Guantánamo Bay detainees are itching for pillows and blankets. Plus, was it just me, or did 90% of what she said come verbatim from her TV ad about the fact that "both her and Patrick will make a 'little history' (first Black governor or first female) once in office," and that "yet, there are differences." She even went so far as to outline the exact same differences (taxes, crime, etc.) in the same order as in the commercial. I wished she'd turned around so we could all see the pull-cord: *pull pull pull* "The Kerry Healey says..."
Deval Patrick was his usual smooth-talking lawyer self who, in his "three goals" and closing remarks, made the expected slight jab at Healey while offering his usual calls for "change." The highlight, as the news stations and the Boston Herald today are carrying on about, was his telling her to "get off her high horse" and (paraphrasing) to be shown by Patrick how life is on the streets whenever she does "come down." I more admired his closing with the fact that including everyone across the state means including all of the candidates in all debates. Yes, Patrick, I'm still with you. Ross can't win because she's not a millionaire and Mihos because he's stuck on babble.

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