Questions Boston City Officials and Representatives Need to Answer

I’ve hinted at some of my experiences on Monday here and here.  I realize a lot of people want a happy ending and roll credits. For most, it was basically a TV show.   But the reality, ignored as it has been, is that when hundreds of residents of Back Bay needed an official response, none came.  Someone needs to pressure city officials about the following–maybe some journalists want to commit some journalism:

  1. The FBI ran background checks on people by getting lists from landlords (most residents in the crime scene zone live in managed buildings or condos).  Why did the city not get those lists as well and attempt to contact residents?
  2. Where was the Back Bay community liaison during all of this, especially on Monday night and Tuesday when affected residents desperately needed assistance and verifiable information?  If she was unavailable (i.e., displaced herself; hopefully not injured in the blasts), why were other liaisons not dispatched on a temporary basis?  Indeed, why were not other liaisons dispatched for a day or two regardless?
  3. On Tuesday, when the emergency care/shelter station was moved from Park Plaza Castle, why did the mayor’s hotline not know this?  And why didn’t the mayor’s hotline collect information on displaced residents?
  4. Why were there no meetings between residents and city officials during the week?  Again, we didn’t even have a way to voice a complaint. We couldn’t even get rudely brushed off.
  5. Why did the mayor’s office wait until late Saturday morning to establish a way to acquire contact information for affected residents and businesses?  Mind you, this did not mean one could still get any response.
  6. Many elected officials did not neither recognized nor understood that there were displaced residents.  Why did they not attempt to determine who might be affected and reach out to them?  They sure as hell can find us when they need campaign donations.  By the way, Senator Warren, fine speech.  But how about when there’s a terrorist attack on the capital of your state, your staff answers the phone after hours and on weekends–or at all?  Great speech on Wednesday though. You too, Your Honor.
  7. Restaurants in mixed use buildings were open days before the residents could come home. Glad to see the workers could collect paychecks, but that doesn’t really say “We care”, does it?  Who made these decisions?  What was the timing of events in that?
  8. Why was there no reporting about displaced residents at all?  I don’t expect national papers to cover this, but where were The Herald and The Globe? Probably will cancel my online subscription to The Globe. To the media in general, how many more times were you going to ask people, “What was it like?” Clearly, there were other stories.

There’s probably more I haven’t thought of, though this list is pretty damning all by itself. I’ve never heard of a disaster situation where elected officials and their surrogates weren’t on the ground. As I’ve written before, this is Rascal King 101. The sheer incompetency is staggering.

I don’t think this was intentional malice, just apathy (though the consequences were pretty bad either way).

Never a dull moment.

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4 Responses to Questions Boston City Officials and Representatives Need to Answer

  1. a2b2 says:

    Thanks for doing this. I’m not in Boston myself for now and none of my close friends were displaced, so this is about the only place I can hear about what’s still going on back home.

  2. eamarshall says:

    there’s a major tonality issue here. maybe if you framed this as “if this ever happens again, here’s some things you should consider doing differently…” but your approach here makes you sound ungrateful for the hundreds of civil servants who risked life and limb over the last week to ensure your safety.

    you make some fine points (the stuff about the displaced residents, at least), but to criticize the investigation to try to get…sympathy?…attention?…whatever it is you’re trying to get from this just comes off as really petty. some sentiments are better left for a private letter.

    • ritchotte says:

      Thank you, that was the less emotional, sensible response I was not able to post. Very well said.

  3. Michael says:

    Mike… Great and important post. I think (hopefully) I can help. Shoot me an email at

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