Thank you to the Gazette for the revealing article, “City officials secretly invited people to Casey meeting (Aug. 16).” I laughed at Boston Transportation Department Commissioner Tinlin’s “explanation” of why the BTD and Boston Redevelopment Authority would single out individuals who support the at-grade scheme eliminating the Casey Overpass and call them to make sure they would attend and speak at a September 2011 public meeting. Tinlin explained that “No fingerprints” didn’t mean the calls rallying at-grade supporters exclusively could not be linked to the City, but that the phone calls didn’t tell people what to say. Again, there was no explanation as to why seven people were singled out—could it be they were all thought to be solid pro-at-grade fans?
But the more I thought about it, the less laughable it is. As the Gazette pointed out, the City repeatedly claimed it had no stated position on whether to build a new bridge or not. Yet this recruiting exercise makes me think this was not the case. The records seem to show some City departments were worried the growing pro-bridge crowd would outnumber the at-grade fans, and they could not let that happen because they in fact had a position—no bridge—and were surreptitiously encouraging at-grade fans to attend. This revelation comes after records indicating the City and state were working quite early to find an at-grade solution while telling the public there is no preferred outcome.
I am very disappointed in these 2011 City actions and its current stonewalling. The at-grade solution is even harder to swallow knowing the deck has been stacked against a new bridge for a long time.