Everett Police - Marine
From: "Friends of
February 9, 2005 10:20:54 AM EST
Subject: Romney Underfunds Park System
Romney Underfunds Park
4, citing poor performance in parkway snow removal operations, governor Romney
demanded that Commissioner Kathy Abbott resign as head of the Department of
Conservation and Recreation. He said that she had adequate resources to do the
job and failed to do her job properly.
But what he did next
clearly showed that he didn't believe his own story. On February the 5th
Romney ordered the MA Highway Department to take over plowing operations on
selected parkways. If DCR indeed had adequate resources why didn't the
governor just order the agency to do the job?
And why didn't
Romney order a full investigation to uncover the real reasons for poor snow
removal operations along the parkways?
Such an investigation would point directly at the governor, who
has presided over a steep drop in funding for our park system. Since 2001 the
budget for DCR has been slashed an additional 37%. The environmental share of
the total MA budget in 2005 was the lowest in memory.
investigation would reveal this scandalous fact: Currently the state of
Massachusetts spends a mere .69¢ (a fraction of a penny) out of each budget
dollar on the environment. This places the Commonwealth near the bottom --
number 48 out of the 50 states -- in environmental spending as a proportion of
the total state budget.
In the Middlesex Fells we see first hand
what this means. There is no management plan, vandalism is rampant, paint
balls litter some trails, bikes and motorized vehicles destroy hiking trails
at will. One ranger, citing lack of personnel, remarked that the Fell is like
the "wild west." Lack of staffing means there are serious public safety issues
in the Fells and in all parks and campgrounds.
appointed Commissioner Abbott to her post a year and a half ago he boasted he
was creating a "world class park system" (see the DCR website). The
Commissioner traveled across the state connecting with Friends groups. As a
former park ranger and head of the Harbor Alliance she had decades of
experience and offered vision and ideas for restoring our park system, a
vision she shared with Fells region citizens at a forum in Melrose on January
But the governor would not fund this vision, and now he has
removed a most effective park manager.
And we will see him attempt
to use the issue to ram through his special project: to commercialize the
parkways by turning them over to MA Highway Department.
policies are wrong.
Here is how a citizen who lives in the Mystic
River watershed recalls Abbott's dedication:
"A few personal
observations...Kathy Abbott is a rare politician, one that took personal
responsibility for her actions and those of her subordinates. But it wasn't
her actions that caused the VFW parkway not to be plowed. I remember meeting
Kathy at a meeting of the Cambridge Pedestrian and Bicyclist Committee when
she first took the reins of the new DCR. I observed her interactions with the
committee and thought that she was a keeper. One of the concerns of the group
was the plowing of Memorial Drive sidewalks so that the people of Cambridge
could bike and walk. Her reply was that she only had 2 sidewalk plows for all
the former MDC roads and she couldn't get any money to buy more plows.
Kathy Abbott "got it". She understood the needs of the people of
the Mystic River watershed and while she couldn't make a silk purse from a
sows ear she did return phone calls, she did attend meetings, she did TRY and
she did care. The loss of Kathy Abbott will not be felt any deeper than here
in the Mystic Watershed.
This snowstorm was one of the top 5 in
the last century. If the practice of firing those responsible for unplowed
sidewalks continues there won't be a DPW Director in Eastern Massachusetts
with a job. Kathy wasn't fired because the sidewalks of the VFW Parkway were
unplowed. I wonder what the real reason is?"
Commonwealth Park advocates are outraged at Commissioner Abbott's dismissal.
Since the governor shows no interest in uncovering the real
story behind this, legislators have called a public hearing at 1pm
this Friday, February 11th in Room 222 at the statehouse.
is much we can do:
Let the governor, legislators, the
Environmental Affairs secretary and the press know that Romney was
wrong to dismiss Abbott, is wrong to under fund our park and
parkway system and wrong to push for the MA Highway Department
bureaucracy to take over our historic parkways.
emails and send as letters, and call:
•Governor Romney: Email:
Boston MA 02133
•Ellen Roy Herzfelder, Secretary email:
Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
100 Cambridge Street Suite 900
Boston MA 02114
•The Boston Globe
P.O. Box 2378
Boston, MA 02107-2378
•The Boston Herald:
One Herald Square,
PO Box 55843,
Boston MA 02205
•Rep Paul Donato, Medford, Malden
House Room 448, Boston MA 02133
•Rep Mike Festa, Melrose, Wakefield
State House Room 473F, Boston MA 02133
•Sen. Richard Tisei: Melrose, Stoneham, Malden,
State House Room 313-C , Boston MA 02133
•Rep Christopher Fallon, Malden
House Room 136, Boston MA 02133
•Sen. Thomas McGee, Melrose, Saugus
State House Room 413-C, Boston MA 02133
•Sen. Charles Shannon, Winchester, Medford,
State House Room 511-A, Boston MA 02133
•Rep Paul Casey,Stoneham, Winchester
State House Room 236, Boston MA 02133
Friends of the Middlesex Fells
The Friends of the Middlesex
Fells Reservation 4 Woodland
Rd Stoneham MA 02180
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