Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cambridge School Committee Member Marc McGovern: "Compassion" v. Heartlessness

Bob La Trémouille reports.

1. Introduction.
2. Marilyn’s Letter to the Editor.
3. The Exchange on Line.
A. Bob #1. Two weeks ago.
B. McGovern #2. Two weeks ago.
C. Bob #2. One week ago.
D. McGovern #3. One week ago.

1. Introduction.

In the June 3, 2010, edition of the Cambridge Chronicle, there was a letter to the editor from Cambridge School Committee Member Marc McGovern.

McGovern communicated a high level of sweetness in calling for compassion in the budget process. Compassion came through a lot more clearly than budget.

In the past, McGovern has printed two letters in the Cambridge Chronicle endorsing the outrage which has since been implemented at Magazine Beach.

McGovern has been disowning any responsibility for anything negative at Magazine Beach ever since.

McGovern’s latest letter was also printed on line. I responded on line. McGovern responded to me. I responded back. McGovern responded back to me.

Marilyn Wellons submitted a letter to the editor aimed at publication in the hard copy edition.

Marilyn’s letter follows. Then follows the on line exchange without the original McGovern letter. My two pieces are my two pieces and I think there would be no problem whatsoever passing them on. McGovern’s responses to me are extremely short and highly relevant to the purposes of this blog. They seem appropriate. The original McGovern letter is too long to print here without very clearly violating the doctrine of fair use, and really, except for the tone, is not relevant to this blog.

2. Marilyn’s Letter to the Editor.

David Harris, Editor
Cambridge Chronicle

To the Editor:

Cambridge School Committeeman McGovern’s letter about the School Department budget and staff firings (“We must never lose our compassion” May 31, 2010) and the subsequent online exchange about his support for the city’s squandering of $1.5M at Magazine Beach sent me to my notes of a telephone call Mr. McGovern made to me last summer, on August 5, 2009.

Campaigning for re-election and apparently stung by my July 23 letter to the Chronicle about the chemically maintained Little League and youth soccer fields that $1.5M was buying, he quickly acknowledged the project was a mistake. I gathered voters, especially parents in the Cambridgeport Little League that he headed, were not happy at the prospect of their children’s exposure to endocrine-disrupting substances.

We had a free and frank exchange of views. He said then, as he does now online, that he had no responsibility for the planning of the project. I challenged that, citing his consistent public support for it individually, as both a Little League official and School Committee candidate, and together with State Rep. Marty Walz. When he claimed he had no knowledge of plans for chemical maintenance, I reminded him with some heat of our conversation at the Dana Park party in June, 2007, when I told him about it and handed him a flyer with that information in writing. On the phone, he pointed to the DCR as responsible for the fields’ maintenance, and when I told him Cambridge would maintain the fields he said that was Paul Ryder’s responsibility, not his.

Money is fungible. Our elected officials have thought $1.5M a reasonable sum to pay to destroy sustainable, naturally maintained playing fields at Magazine Beach, open to all, that were also simultaneously a place for contact with the natural world. What else could that $1.5M (or, say, another $6.9M) have bought, or buy now, to make Mr. McGovern’s call for compassion unnecessary?

Yours sincerely,

Marilyn Wellons

[Ed: Marilyn’s mention of $6.9 M refers to the latest counting of the award in Malvina Monteiro v. City of Cambridge, reported elsewhere in this blog. This is the Chronicle’s quote of the plaintiff’s attorney. In this blog, please note in particular the link referring to a judge calling Cambridge “reprehensible.”]

3. The Exchange on Line.

I start with McGovern #2 counting the originally published letter which I am not reproducing (see above) as #1.

The dates are those posted on line.

A. Bob #1. Two weeks ago.

A very major expenditure that Mr. McGovern has belligerently supported is the bizarre project at Magazine Beach featuring very prominent and very heartless animal abuse. Heartless animal abuse which is a direct result of bizarre expenditure of funds is exactly the opposite of 'compassion.'

I would suggest that Mr. McGovern show compassion. He repeatedly claims that he only has responsibility for the good stuff in this outrageous waste of money. There is no good stuff.

Mr. McGovern could save money at Magazine Beach by stopping the dumping of poisons there. The poisons are there to keep alive introduced grass which cannot survive without lots of money being spent on poisons to keep it alive. Mr. McGovern, at the same time, is poisoning animals feeding off this and poisoning kids rolling in it.

Mr. McGovern can responsibly save money by tossing on the seeds of the grass which survived at Magazine Beach for the better part of a century and did not need poisons to survive. You toss on enough seeds and you no longer have to spend money on poisons to keep alive sickly grass.

At the same time, the beautiful 30 years resident and thus native Charles River White Geese are kept from their primary source of food at Magazine Beach by a bizarre wall of introduced vegetation which has not business on the Charles River.

Mr. McGovern's agents at the DCR, twice a year, run around the Charles River destroying native vegetation vegetation, but they do not destroy the bizarre introduced stuff that Mr. McGovern is responsible for.

Boston's Conservation Commission has punished the DCR for its destructiveness toward the native vegetation. The BCC is concerned about resident and visiting water fowl.

I would suggest that Mr. McGovern show compassion and common sense. Have the DCR chop down his introduced vegetation to end its harm to the native water fowl.

The DCR representative has bragged that this stuff keeps away the native water fowl.

My understanding is that Mr. McGovern has a total lack of compassion when it comes to his bizarre project at Magazine Beach.

Shame. 'We must never lose our compassion' is what he says in the next to the last sentence.


B. McGovern #2. Two weeks ago.

I am the president of central division little league. The project you are referring to is being run by DCR. I can't even get them to put a port-a-potty at the field let alone stop their project. You make slanderous and outrageous statements. 'Mr. McGovern is at this time is poisoning animals...' This is untrue and I am demanding that you stop making false allegations. 'Have the DCR chop down HIS introduced vegetation...' I did not introduce anything in this project. I never attended a meeting. I was never asked my opinion and had nothing to do with the planning of this field. I did write two letters thanking the DCR for redoing the little league field. That is all. I will not comment any further on your ridiculous statements.

C. Bob #2. One week ago.

Golly gee. Those lovely letters in the Chronicle must have been fakes, and even after never attending a meeting.

I live and oppose the really rotten situation you have consistently supported.

Have compassion. Undo the outrage you have public[ly] supported and then claim[ed] shock that anybody would blame you.

Give Cambridge open space. Start with the open space you have destroyed at Magazine Beach.

Massive amounts of open space have been destroyed for an expensive drainage system to drain poisons which were not necessary until you destroyed the healthy grass which was there for the better part of a century and replaced it with sickly stuff that needs poisons to survive.

Stop the poisons (and stop poisoning kids) by replacing your sickly grass with the native stuff you destroyed. Then you can fill in the poison drainage and give up back the playing fields you destroyed.

Chop down the bizarre wall of vegetation which has no business starving animals, and no business on the Charles River.

Chop down all those bizarre fences.

Oh, and, as usual, the two letters you put in the Chronicle unconditionally supporting this outrage are a fiction and my imagination.

How dare anybody expect you to be responsible a project which you have unconditionally supported.

A project which HAS NO VALUE. Destruction which HAS NO VALUE.


Small open space is not an improvement. [Ed: Typo, “small” should have been “smaller”.]

Poisoned playing fields are not an improvement.
Show compassion on the kids you have done this to.

Show compassion on the animals you have done this to.

Show compassion on the environement.

And stop the lies that you do no support an outrage to which you gave unconditioned PUBLIC support in the pages of this newspaper.


D. McGovern #3. One week ago.

I said I wrote two letters.