WGBH Journal; T Extension
Good evening and welcome to GBH Journal I'm Amy Sam. Some of the residents of the MBT and Somerville City Hall need tonight for some face to face communication on the red line extension to Davis Square. We'll fill you in on the background of that controversy. Then an excerpt from the new film with babies and banners. Longtime Union woman Gen. Nora Johnson doll in turn tells the story of the 1937 women's emergency brigade with a nod to that Martha's Vineyard Nantucket secession movement. Remember that one the island state Representative Howard Kuhn talks about what it's like to represent such a far flung constituency and finally sports commentator Mark on a common takes apart the media sports coverage. We'll have all of that. Right after the local news. Women in need who would have been banned from receiving Medicaid funds for abortions after February 5th have been given an extension thanks to a move by the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. The civil liberties organization filed for a rehearing yesterday on a Medicaid abortion case which it lost in the appeals court recently. And with that action the court extended the injunction
until it makes a decision in the rehearing application with the extension of the injunction the state must provide Medicaid abortions until further notice of the court. The State Department of Education believes there is evidence that nine cities and towns in the state may be unfairly placing minorities in special education classes. The state found in a recent survey that there is a disproportionate number of blacks and Hispanics in special education programs and has notified each of the nine communities that their placement procedures need review. The towns where the disparities have shown up include Boston west of Springfield Holyoke Brockton Chelsea Lynn Lowell and Wilbur the state's action comes in response to allegations raised last June by a coalition of advocacy groups state education commissioner Gregory and Reg has asked school superintendents to respond to his office by February 15th. If there are no circumstances justifying the unbalance communities affected have until February 23rd to submit an acceptable plan for remedial action.
A congressionally appointed consultant today accused two federal agencies of dragging their feet and completing a study on the effects of low level radiation on employees at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Dr. Owen Bross an expert in bio statics was one of a team of consultants that testified at a hearing in Boston today that is looking into the radiation problem. Most of the day was spent discussing the delays in the study which is being conducted by the Center for Disease Control and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health officials for the two agencies. So the delay was being caused by the sheer weight of information which much of which must be collected. They said more than 25000 employees have worked at the shipyard since nuclear powered vessels started being serviced there in the mid 1950s. Faculty and administration at Boston University are still pitched in a battle over tuitions figures. Yesterday University President John Silber said that faculty contract demands would bankrupt the university. The faculty union president Professor Fritz ringer called those claims nonsense Ringer said
Bellew faculty salaries are on the average about $4000 behind salaries at comparable universities. The Butte chapter of the American Association of University Professors has promised a job action in the spring which could postpone classes indefinitely at the Charles River campus. And that's the news. The people of Somerville may get the chance tonight to hear about the progress of the extension of the MBT is red line to Davis Square. Unlike their neighbors in North Cambridge Davis Square residents are excited about public transportation coming to their neighborhood an area in need of revitalization plans for the Red Line extension have been the subject of conflict in Somerville not so much between residents and the M BTA
but between members of the Davis Square Task Force and the administration of Mayor Tom August. Back in one thousand seventy three residents businesspeople and city planners form this neighborhood based planning group to oversee the development of the square. But last spring newly elected August stepped in with a plan of his own causing a bit of community controversy. Now Walker gets the background for four years the task force labored over a revitalization plan a plan overseeing the station area's development from traffic environment and economy to safety cost anesthetics and the result of their labor was the so-called Axelrod plan named after the consultant who was its chief architect. Tom Pelham a member of the Metropolitan Planning Council explains the scope of the plan. The plan was focused on rejuvenating the square reorganizing the parking in Davis Square sprucing up the storefronts in the square providing a lot more amenities for shoppers such as wider sidewalks trees
benches called for subsidies to businesses to to help them spruce up their storefronts using community development funds. It calls for just a lot of things that would make David Square a real kind of clean crisp neighborhood facility that has good transit service and has the kinds of amenities that people find more in shopping malls than they do in kind of urban squares. And everyone felt that it would work. The Axelrod plan was popular it was indorsed by residents businessmen planners and the MBT itself. Last April the city was awarded $500000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in order to implement the plan. And that's when things went afoul. Tom Pelham. Well it was it was an amazing thing. We had we had the plan. We were ready to go to a final design contract and we had the money to implement the plan laid out from state sources and from federal sources. And then the new
mayor and some of them there are just just kind of came in. Wipe the slate clean so to speak and said he didn't care what really happened in the past he was moving forward with his his ideas which were never really explained and he took them on part of the money that we had set aside to implement something the square and use that money to go out and hire a new. Whole bunch of new planners to redo what was already done and to do it. The contractor gave them was it was very very lucrative. The mayor took $100000 from the HUD money and combined it with another 200000 from other funds and hired without the benefit of a bidding procedure. Robert Ray and associates to redo the plans for the square it should be made clear that the mayor's action was well within his legal power but it was a shock and an outrage to the community. Alderman Mark Kremen. Blob they took over. They said well this is politics and some
of all maybe the mayor just want to hire somebody who would come out and get his name on our plane. How about this man came in he designed a mall that would block off Elm Street and Davis Square which is the most ridiculous thing I've seen in years because what it in fact would do would be send all the traffic that goes to Davis Square on to the side streets of the street door street in all the streets of my ward and the congestion there already is terrible and and the people who have been working on this for years. So I don't they were insulted and there was a resound they know at this meeting that we didn't want this play and we don't want any further study on this when we wanted the mayor to implement the Axelrod study the vape plan was characterized as unprofessional a fiasco inaccurate to the point of mis naming streets. So the task force sought out the opinion of the MBT its architects responsible for station design with a vague plan to increase pollution. Would it make the
station less accessible to the elderly and the handicapped. Would it increase safety hazards and cost. And most importantly what effect would it have on traffic and the station's thoughtfully designed public amenities. Mark Kremen I wrote a letter to him BTA with all these things in mind to see if there the design by. Bob and his associates would hinder all these plans that we have worked on for years. And the answer was yes and every case it would it would destroy the beneficial effects that the community had worked for negotiating to design the station and the Ts to made it that the shift from Axelrod to Vai would cost an extra 1 million dollars and would delay the entire redline by a year and a half. But to this day the city stands firm with valet members of the Davis Square community have filed suit with HUD citing 21 violations of HUD
regulations by the city of Somerville including discontinuance of citizen input. The community has also made four demands of the city return to the Axelrod plan reconvene the task force screen final design and construction contracts through the public forum and last but not least put everything in writing for GBH Journal. I'm new at Walker. Tonight's meeting at city hall in Somerville will be at 7:30 and is for residents and BTA Representatives members of some of the city government and people from the contracting and designing companies involved in the red line extension. The purpose is to update information about the extension for the moment it seems that the controversial Maule proposal will be dropped but other complaints involving the blasting and noise of construction are bound to be raised. There was no union. Never was a prayer of gods and kings and company. Things are devotees of that name ready went to the union.
But to me it was gone and when I meet him by his comrade he always. Ham's scare me I don't even bother you. I figure I'm speaking my. Own well you get scary I think about you I think one of the more interesting kinds of movies being made lately are labor history documentaries Union maids and Harlan County U.S.A. powerful portraits of women and men on strike fighting for safer job conditions and better pay and in the process confronting each other over the question of women's rights. The latest of these documentaries all produced by filmmakers very concerned with social change is with babies and banners now playing over at the Central Square Cinema. It's the story of the women's emergency brigade told by the women who were themselves involved in supporting the crucial 937 General Motors sit down strike in Flint Michigan. Here's the story of the strike as told by Dinora Johnson Dahlan gir leader of the
women's emergency brigade and film co-producer and BOWLEN before or before this particular strike which happened in 1937. The AFL had organized mostly skilled workers which were like carpenters plumbers people like that. They were going to sniff out. There was a United Mine Workers which was kind of a whole separate entity unto itself. And then the CIO was trying to organize a mass assembly workers. And. They hadn't been very successful. So this strike was like their first major attempt at hitting a major industry where there are a lot of mass assembly workers. So that's one reason why it was really important in the success of it gave the CIO a tremendous push around the country in terms of organizing other mass assembly workers. What was the women's role in the strike. Well the women played a very important support role. We think that they made the difference between winning and losing in the strike.
At the time that the union came along of the majority and I wouldn't hesitate at all in saying the majority of the wives in the home and many of the women working at AC sparkplug felt that it was a terrible thing to strike against the hand that they were would anybody be if it weren't for General Motors. And of course this is the lesson that the Flint Journal that all of the time actually the sit down a lot of the women in the community went down to the plant and told their husbands. If you want to sit in there instead of spending time with me seriously this actually happened fine you go ahead and I'm just going to go out with whoever's around and you know it's me or the fact of the strike. Basically you know and so do you Nora at that point and a lot of the other women Gennaro Johnson Dodger who's the woman who organized the women's emergency brigade. And there were other women too who were involved in organizing the women. They decided but this is you know we've got to do something about this we've got to organize the women so the women.
Got together went around other people's houses got together went to big food and got food to keep families alive and got coal to keep families alive and gradually. It was like an ever widening pool you know. The more that they went out the more that they knew more people that they got in they went to wives of the strikers and they went to mothers of the strikers. They set up a nursery so that so that more women could become involved in the daily on going to the strike day. They set up a strike kitchen and cooked food for everybody you know. They manned the picket lines they participated in the battle scenes in June or it tells the story in the film of one major battle. If you want to honor you know was an income or where you are.
During that night the radio was broadcasting to the people of the city of Flint. A riot a revolutionary situation has broken out in Flint at the scene of Chevrolet Avenue in front of Fisher Body number two. And we were down here being like this and the people of Flint lined up on both sides of the barricade. When this happened we had only the sound car broadcasting to those people. We had nobody on our side. Victor ruther and many of the others who were there that night on the song are the men. And finally Victor came up to us and he says well he said you know maybe we're going to have to lose this battle but we won't lose the war he said but the batteries in the sound truck are running down. And I said oh let me speak then Victor. And he looked at me and he said well I guess it can't hurt any. And I got up there and I said people of the city of Flint and I could even hear and feel the hush and the darkness and everything quieted down I said people of the city of Flint. Did you know that women are down here in the heart of this battle being fired upon. But of course if the
cops are cowards enough to fire into the bellies of an armed man of course they're cowards enough to fire into the bellies of mothers of children. And all of that was too much for that day you know a mother with support to be honored even if you exploited the hell out of her where she would be honored because she was a mother. And then I said I appeal to you women of the city of Flint to break through those lines of police and come down here and stand beside your fathers your husbands and your brothers or your sweetheart. And with such a great great thrill because there will Bruin who dared and one old woman right off from SHE Why not about go and start marching down and as soon as women started marching down and rendered the battle. The police didn't want to be accused of firing into the backs of unarmed women. God forbid. And that wound up the battle back tonight. I think it's important that we as young women today and the women who are even
younger than we are high school girls. Elementary school kids I think it's really important for them to know the important role that women have played in the foundation of our society both for perspective on the president and for getting energy from the tremendous wealth of past experience to to move into the future. And BOWLEN co-producer of the film with babies and banners with Dinora Johnson who is in the film. Two years ago the announcement that the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard were to lose their state representatives in the redistricting of the house caused such grave concern amongst the citizens of the islands that some of them started a movement to secede from the Commonwealth. There was anger over losing representation the islands have had since colonial times. The main concern was that
geographic problems might prevent their voices from being heard at the state house reporter Chris outen spoke today with Cape and Islands Representative Howard Cahoon about the challenge of representing the state's most scattered district. It's a long way from Provincetown to Edgartown but that is the territory included in the Cape Cod and Islands district. Travelling around this district is time consuming and costly. A fact which discourage the island's incumbent representatives from running for re-election this term. As a result islanders have been worried about getting attention for their special problems. The closing of Martha's Vineyard high school for excessive amounts of this bestest dust for example was a problem handled through the office of former Representative Terry McCarthy. The legislature is not insensitive to the island's plight particularly in view of the revenues generated for the state from the island's considerable tourist traffic and has appointed a legislative aide for each island. Even with this help Cape and Islands Representative Howard Kuhn thinks that the redistricting could have been
handled more efficiently. I think the extraordinary transportation burdens that I have in getting out to both islands is difficult ones. For instance I have to drive from my home in Chatham all the way to Wood's Hole which is a good hour and then travel 45 minutes to Martha's Vineyard and of course to get to Nantucket from from Woods Hole is another three hours and those those are quite some obstacles in terms of getting out there and being present as I believe their representative should be from time to time. So it would seem to me that would have been perhaps a little better a little more logical to line them up along transportation links and I think that it would have been more logical to put this vignette with film with because they are oriented through Woods Hole they are oriented towards film with their oriented toward that and the Cape. I think you could put Nantucket with any part of the Cape it's so far removed so far at sea
it's so isolated that they don't have any real close contact with any portion of the Cape although they are oriented toward Hyannis toward the bus lines to Boston toward the Cape Cod Hospital and toward shopping in that city. And of course as you may know we're trying to mandate a nine month service from Hyannis to Nantucket because the people of that island do want to. Become more familiar with Hyannis than they do Woods Hole. Last fall a special subcommittee of the Legislative Committee on Transportation held public hearings on both my office Vineyard and Nantucket. And in fact one of the signals that was heard loud and clear by the subcommittee was that the people of Nantucket wanted extended service from Nantucket to INS right now they stop in October and we'd like to mandate that in fact they go through the end of the through December thirty first. And I feel good because the special committee has recommended that that
service be instituted. And I think with their recommendation we'll be able to carry that through the legislature and be successful in providing nine months service for Nantucket to Hyannis steamship but there are the service in dealing with the problem of representing geographically isolated areas. The House speaker's office specifically House speaker McGee has in fact appointed the former representatives from the island's Terrence McCarthy from Martha's Vineyard and John S. Conway for Nantucket as your legislative aides. Do you think that having these former legislators as the legislative aides from the islands is going to help or hinder you in representing the islands. Well as you point out the legislature did in fact at least recognize that the district was a special one and the most far flung geographically created in the state and it did need some special consideration. And these two administrative assistance created for that part of the district that the elected official did not come from. I think
is a concession to the wishes of the district. The speaker of the House did make the appointment they are in fact employees of the state legislature. I did not have as much input as I wanted to in naming these people. However I think that I can work with them. I think that I have worked with them in the past for the good of both islands and many times over the last few years. Issues of regional impact would come up and I've been able to work with Terry McCarthy and Woodson Conway effectively the fact that we do have those positions is a great help for this district. Are there any special issues predating the redistricting that you have taken up regarding the islands. There are of course a number of issues that come back year after year and we have to deal with. But there is one overriding issue that we worked on last session that we will continue to work on this year and that is amending the Massachusetts State Constitution to provide for 160 first state seat here in the
legislature that seat being one seat for the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard one for both counties. And I we were successful a year ago in getting approval by last year's legislature. We will have to get approval again this year by this year's legislature or next year. And then of course it will go on the statewide ballot for a referendum for approval by the voters and if approved we will have another seat in one for a combined Martha's Vineyard Nantucket State Representative Howard Kuhn for GBH Journal. This is Chris out when.
In a town a sports crazy in Boston the local team's fortunes are chronicled in great detail by an army of sports writers. But according to my comic men's sports historians head north He's a sports historian at Northeastern University. The sports press is not always accurate or fair in his judgements. Here he is with Reporter Becky roar. A lot has been happening. Baseball Writers Association of America voted for Hall of Fame nominees and Willie Mays got in. No thanks though to 23 men who didn't vote for him. Jack Anderson the investigative columnist from Washington is trying to get hold of the 23 ballots of the man who didn't vote for Willie Mays for the Hall of Fame to try and determine what I think would be interesting to find out who they voted for or over a willing man. I mean if anyone should get into the Hall of Fame who is eligible right now would have to be he was also a recent Sports Writers Conference the Boston baseball writers dinner. Right. And if you didn't see the picture of him in the paper you wouldn't have known that Louis was there because there were many quotes from him in the paper the
next day asking him if he had tried on the pinstripes if his hat fit whether he can still get Cuban cigars in New York. How he thinks he's going to fit into the Yankee pitching plans. I just thought that they it was a slight to ignore him in his first official return to Boston after having been traded. They had quotes from Ron Guidry there was a quote from Don Zimmer saying that the Red Sox are going to have the best pitching staff he's ever seen this year really with Steve Renko who the Sox just picked up as a free agent. Any Indy Hasler who's a left hander who set a record a couple years ago with 17 consecutive losses. That's not very encouraging nua but he thinks that these two are going to make up the loss of believe Luis Tiant and I think we're being taken for a ride if we're to believe that. On to another sport which is right in the middle of its season basketball. There's been a lot of talk about the colonial classic. They were two games that were praised to the hilt I heard that you caught Holy Cross
game was it a game that is going to go down in history. You're going to be talking about it for a long time what do you think. Well the press would have us believe that it was an exciting and a great game and that New England College basketball is on the upswing again. And I don't know it it depends upon your taste. If you think that a team blowing a 20 point lead and then hanging on to win marred by a brawl where both teams emptied onto the floor and there was punching and karate chops and the police ended up there. If that's good basketball then yeah it was a good game. But compared to other tournaments around the country and what the colonial class it could be it. I didn't think that at least the opening round which is the round I saw was good. It wasn't good basketball. I think it's unfortunate that the press is leading people on to the people who weren't there that they missed something they didn't miss anything. Well speaking about the press leaving people odd You seem to think that the press is leading us on to hope for the Celtics.
Yeah I happened to hear on Sunday during halftime Johnny most the voice of the Celtics. On radio talking with the assistant general manager Jeff Cohen and with seemingly straight faces though you really can't tell because they were on radio they were talking about the Celtics playoff chances and how good are they. Well I was a playoff team I would think that they were if they're not groomed they should be it. To talk about a team that has the second worst record in the NBA making the playoffs is very strange. And again I think they're trying to milk a situation where people who just marginally follow a sport and don't look at the standings every day and see Boston in bold letters at the bottom of the Atlantic Division in the east every single day in sinking even more to lead people on to believe that they have a remote chance of getting anything out of the season except a good draft is unfortunate. And it's really not that not even good journalism to be to be doing that to be leading people on. Mark on a given with reporter Thank you boy.
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