Mayors give neighborhood development short shrift

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The demand for the mayor to take over the Coke plant situation has raised questions about a long-standing political tradition in the city.

The current IBJ editorial mentions the problem without further comment as to its propriety [Mass Ave project needs city in charge, May 2].

A part of the editorial reads as follows: “Politicians who run for mayor typically prioritize neighborhood development and question subsidies for private development projects downtown. Post-election, the necessity of guiding and spurring downtown projects becomes clearer.”

That’s putting it much more mildly than I would have.

When an individual promises one thing and does another, that’s called a scam. We have an ongoing political “bait and switch” operation, with little or no reaction from citizens who are not alerted by the media.

The life span of this tradition coincides with the city’s ongoing fiscal problems.

The “candidate” is for streets, parks, public safety, etc. The “incumbent” always sees the need for another real estate development. Or maybe a soccer stadium?

What really “becomes clearer” is that contracts, grants, abatements, etc., become an easy—and “traditional”—way to reward the folks who, in most cases, financed the incumbent’s election to begin with.

And money’s always available through that wonderfully bottomless pit known as TIF financing.


Fred McCarthy

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