Friday, May 29, 2009

Hack Holidays

This video is hilarious! Let me know if you need a translator, I'll try and help you out.

At the State House, no surrender on Bunker Hill Day, Evacuation Day

By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff

The recent assault on the traditions of Suffolk County did not spill blood like the Battle of Bunker Hill or require the cunning that forced the redcoats out of Boston without a shot in 1776.But it was an assault nonetheless, taking aim at Bunker Hill Day and Evacuation Day. A budget amendment in the state Senate threatened to nix the two only-in-Suffolk County holidays, which have been enjoyed by public employees since the Great Depression -- and cost the state several million dollars.

Then a defender from South Boston stood tall on the Senate floor.

"If we eliminate these holidays today in Suffolk County, then what's next?" asked Senator Jack Hart, a Democrat, during last week's budget debate. "Do we eliminate maybe Presidents Day? Do we eliminate July Fourth? Why don't we get rid of Thanksgiving? Why don't we think about getting rid of Christmas?"

The backers of the amendment, who goaded their opponents into such hyperbole, shot back with sarcasm and a fake Irish brogue, mocking Hart and his annual St. Patrick's Day breakfast, which coincides with Evacuation Day on March 17.

"Christmas is for the children," said Senator Michael R. Knapik, a Westfield Republican. "We are not going to take the holidays away from the children, please. But the holidays for the hacks?
Yes, the holidays for the hacks need to go."

But the holidays did not go. The amendment failed by five votes.

That means on June 17, Bunker Hill Day, all schools, libraries, and city and state offices will remain closed in Suffolk County. The same will be true next Evacuation Day, giving an estimated 35,000 workers the day off, according to a rough tally complied with the help of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau and the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

Public employees outside of Suffolk County also benefit from the holidays with two floating days off. Both occasions combined cost the state roughly $5 million in lost time and overtime to fill shifts, according to Knapik. The proposal to kill the holidays, put forward by the Republican caucus, was one of more than 700 amendments tacked onto the $27.35 billion budget eventually passed by the Senate. In the flurry of yeas and nays, a spirited debate over the holidays on May 21 stretched for 16 minutes. Knapik launched the first salvo.

"These two holidays drive me up a wall, Suffolk-only holidays," Knapik said. "As if it's that special of a county that we should all bow in reverence to it."
Hart shot back what began as a misfire.

"In my district, St. Patrick's Day is a very important amendment," Hart said, making perhaps a subconscious slip when referring to Evacuation Day. The Democrat quickly righted his argument, however, seamlessly blending Boston's Irish roots and the holiday commemorating when the Continental Army hauled 50 cannons up Dorchester Heights and surprised the British.

"We're talking about where this republic began," said Hart, whose district includes Dorchester Heights. "Let's not be expedient here for the sake of saving a couple of dollars."

In Knapik's retort, he compared Hart to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough.
"He weaves these great tales of the Irish and Boston and all the glories of days gone by," Knapik said in a put-on brogue. "But when you leave Suffolk County, the history ends."

That gave Hart an opening to take aim at Knapik's district in the western part of the state.
"I don't know what kind of history you have outside in Hamden and Hampshire [counties], but we have real history here in the city," Hart said, adding: "We have great history here in Suffolk County, and we are not afraid to celebrate it."

Come on, Senator Hart! Give it up. This is a waste of taxpayer money. For pity's sake they shut out the lights on the Bunker Hill/Zakim bridge to save but a fraction of the money wasted on hack holidays. People who work in the private sector are tightening their the same.


Tom Goering said...

So the argument is the county schools should remained closed so students can learn more about Bunker Hill and Evacuation Days? Close the schools for a week straight and they may learn about the entire revolution :)

Stella by Starlight said...

Come visit California. We're taking your advice and tightening our belts.

Ahnold's closing the schools for the entire summer. To make matters worse for parents, he's also closing 220 out of 275 California state parks and making state employees take a 15% pay cut.

Yup. I can assure you that people in the public sector are tightening their belts. BTW, what's a holiday?

Ricardo said...

Maggie I am glad to see you call it the Bunker Hill Zakim bridge. No on else seems to call it that when they discuss the traffic reports. Cheers!

BostonMaggie said...

Tom - LOL! Good one!

Stella - We'd like it not to get that far.

Ricardo - Do you know what trouble I'd be in if my Dad caught me calling it just the Zakim? Yet, I have to include him because my priest was instrumental in the compromise name. An unfortunate circumstance that was. That bridge was proposed, planned, and built to be named in honor of the monument. It was to make up for all the baloney Charlestown went through getting the big dig done (so did the North End).

then Zakim dies and people in their understandable grief glom onto the bridge. He never had anything to do with Charlestown and there should have been no rush to find an appropriate tribute. But that's politics. It was easy to paint Chalrestown as anti-semite in the arguement.

It was going very badly until the Father Mahoney stepped up and brokered the peace.

And I understand the traffic people, they are looking for the fewest amount of words to describe a landmark. When you hear the word "Zakim" you know exactly what someone means, don't you?