Saturday, February 19, 2011

Boston Globe editorializes against Robert Healy and Cambridge City Council

Archie Mazmanian reports:

The Boston Globe's lead editorial on Wednesday was titled: "Cambridge city manager's pay shows lack of council oversight," apparently following up on Adrian Walker's critical column; the editorial includes a comment on the law suit as well as Healy's high compensation.

Archie provides the following link:

Ed: The law suit Archie refers to is, of course, Malvina Monteiro v. City of Cambridge. You will recall that the Cambridge City Council loudly proclaims themselves to be holier than thou on Civil Rights. The Monteiro judge wrote an excellent opinion in which she apparently proved the Cambridge City Manager to be reprehensible. The Monteiro judge supported a strong jury verdict and wrote an excellent opinion in which she apparently proved the Cambridge City Manager to be reprehensible for destroying the life of Malvina Monteiro, a black Cape Verdian in retaliation for her filing a civil rights complaint.

The Cambridge City Council is spending millions defending Healy and very aggressively does not want to know what it is doing. If it wanted to know what it is doing, it would have hired independent council to evaluate the situation and tell the council whether to appeal or fire Healy.

Waterfowl on the Charles and Mystic Rivers, the common enemy: The Department of Conservation and Recreation

Cher reports.

Cher lives in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chelsea, the line where Chelsea, Revere and Medford meet.

She has close friends with resident swans on the Mystic River, and frequently views the Charles River White Geese on the Charles River.

Cher starts off with a response to my explaining to her that the principle residents at the Goose Ghetto are the Charles River White GEESE, as opposed to ducks:


Thanks so much for clarifying for me, Bob. I have always loved the white (we always thought they were ducks or geese but were never sure). Each time we drove by we always look/ed for them. I have seen many feeding them and knew that there were some folks trying to keep them relatively safe. I was aware that they occupied a given area and that the greenery had been cut down. Ridiculous! I just don’t get these people.

I have also noticed the black waterfowl [Canadas?] for several years now. They just appeared one day as well. I thought that they cleaned up the Charles river some and that it would be better for these waterfowl.

I gave Gus the male swan [her friend on the Mystic], a "bath" and boy he loved it. The female, Gina wanted no part of it and remains filthy. The woman who is responsible for feeding them during year round even in warm weather, was there today. She said she is having a book written about Gus. I offered help as she seemed uncertain whether it wold actually get done.

I plan on getting people together and asking them not to feed the swans in warm weather as the swans need to learn to forage and to teach their young how to find food etc.

The DCR, I understand, doesn't even want the pond here where the swans gather. I saw some Canada Geese the other day, but was told Gus will not allow them on the land where the swans go. The swans let on whom they choose and they also share their food as long as they get their portion, with the ducks, pigeons and gulls..remarkable. I was told there are two more swans and they are filthy black so I am uncertain who is mistaken and who is not but I have seen no other swans only dark geese in the water.

People dump birds just like they dumped those ducks and geese. But sometimes as you know, swans at least, break off from the flock and go out on their own. I don’t think geese or ducks tend to do that generally, though. Humans just dump them. Terrible.


We have had a little experience with abandoned waterfowl. It has worked well.

Two Toulouse sisters were abandoned in fall 2000. One mated and eventually established a family. A male china, Pinky, arrive in about 2003. He also worked his way into the gaggle and has mated.

Newcomer non migrant geese are neither welcomed nor rejected. They are treated like the many migrant waterfowl who visit. The nonmigrants usually made friends and join the gaggle.

The Charles River White Ducks, Andrake and Daffney, were abandoned in 2006 at Magazine Beach. I saved them from a dog attack. They were so naive that Bill had to teach them what the Charles River was for. They have made their own home on the river. They initially lived on the Boston side but that has been destroyed by agents of the DCR. They live independent of the Goose Ghetto but visit it.


By Archie Mazmanian

About five (5) years ago, a friend brought to my attention the following inscription on the Galen Street Bridge over the Charles River in Watertown Square:


I was surprised by this information, especially the dates, recalling from grade school history the Pilgrims at the Plymouth colony in 1624 and the Puritans led by John Winthrop at the Boston colony in 1629; and this same grade school history had taught the story of John Smith and Pocahontas in the Virginia settlements prior to these Massachusetts settlements. With a Google search I learned that Captain John Smith, from the Jamestown (Virginia) settlement in the early 1600, explored Massachusetts and Maine, with trips in 1614 and 1616, and wrote a book: “A Description of New England (1616),” available online via Google at:

The Charles was a tidal river, with estuaries and tidal flats, back then. The Indians had great respect for this and other rivers in Massachusetts. As the Boston colony expanded, the Charles was convenient not only for travel and fishing and fowling, but as a means of disposing of wastes. Over time, as the Boston colony further grew, it was realized that good health and the environment required steps to control impacts upon the Charles, recognizing also the Charles’ recreational contributions to the adjoining communities. Wikipedia provides a concise history of the Charles River, including the steps taken by the state and the communities that gave us the Charles we know today, which as a result of damming is more an elongated lake than a flowing river. The filling in of the Back Bay and the Charles’ tidal flats provided more land for development and for recreation.

My family moved to Brookline’s Cottage Farm Neighborhood in the summer of 1973, my wife, our four (4) children all under four (4) years of age, and my mother. We were just a couple of blocks from Commonwealth Avenue and the Boston University Bridge (formerly known as the Cottage Farm Bridge) and a hop, skip and a jump from Magazine Beach in Cambridge that I mentioned in Part I. As our kids were growing up, the Charles became part of their learning and entertainment, and I also learned a great deal through their innocent eyes as we explored both the Boston and Cambridge sides of the Charles, sometimes together, sometimes separately.

Before getting into these memories, back in 1973 the BU Bridge, other Charles River bridges, Storrow Drive in Boston and Memorial Drive in Cambridge were under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan District Commission, commonly referred to as the “MDC.” There was a time when the MDC provided relief from the urban environment. Driving on MDC roads prohibiting commercial vehicles could be enjoyable. But over time, as traffic increased, MDC roadways faced many of the same problems as urban roadways.

The MDC also provided recreational facilities, especially along the Charles River in both Boston and Cambridge. Over the years, due to budgetary (and thus political) issues, the MDC could not keep up with the growth of use of these recreational facilities. As a result, changes in state governance have limited the role of the MDC, especially as it relates to the Charles River. The long deferred bridge work along the Charles will take years of corrective action. When completed, will the Charles provide comfort to its communities? Unlike the Mississippi River, the Charles is not commemorated in song. While “Ole Man River” just “keeps rollin' along,” the Charles has been dammed. But that doesn’t mean that the Charles should be damned. The Charles is too valuable a jewel to be tarnished.

[Part IV will discuss what I learned of the Charles through my children’s eyes.]

Ed: I think the following is an addendum from Archie:

The link works with your Blog post and the book can be downloaded from the website linked to. Also, the website provides a link to Capt. Smith's 1616 map of New England which may be of interest to visitors to your Blog.

Ed 2:

For prior installments, please see:

Part II, 2/5/11:

Part I, 1/29/11: