By Chris Lovett
A new constellation of political figures came together March 30 at Dorchester’s Columbia Point, invoking the mechanics of government and the alchemy of place, as they dedicated the Edward M. Kennedy Institute of the US Senate.
Like the adjacent John F. Kennedy Library, the institute was built on land between Morrissey Boulevard and Dorchester Bay. Used by 17th century settlers as a calf pasture, the peninsula was a water-logged buffer zone, set apart from the bulk of the town’s population centers. By the mid-20th century, the peninsula would be used for a dump, a sewage control facility, and a place for lodging prisoners of war.
After World War II, Columbia Point was used to lodge something that, despite being prized as an asset, many preferred to keep at arm’s length: public housing. If the high-rise structures hinted at the potential of waterfront property, they…
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So my buddy Jake has been chasing me for a while to create a podcast. I tried to avoid it for a while but Jake is a pretty persistent dude. So I pitched in a few bucks, we got one microphone and a mixer and now we are ready to take the world by storm. Not really, I’m not exactly “trained” in any of this like a Danny Picard for instance, which is why I was so reluctant to do it. So we get hopped on some caffeine on Saturday night and went for it. Once we started recording I actually chilled out and started to enjoy it. We kept it loose and just had convo over some music. We talked about life in general and even took a phone call from Jake’s girl…. “Karen from Brookline”. The audio is choppy because of the one mic situation….but here’s 12 minutes of our 55 we spent recording. We are totally learning this as we go and the language can be rough but we do want your opinion.
So I got a ticket a few months back for “unsafe operation of a vehicle”. I essentially came up on an intersection a little too fast and a cop slapped me with a 25 dollar ticket…my speed was estimated for the record. Whatever…my fault..the cop was reaching a bit and could have turned his cheek…but at the end of the day he was only doing his job. So I put the ticket in my glovey….and of course I forget all about the friggin thing.
While thumbing through my mail today I find out that because of that ticket and my habit of not checking my mail in a timely fashion….my license has been suspended. Again…my fault….right?
Lets talk price now. That original 25 dollar ticket is now going to cost me 180 dollars. The ticket is 3 months old…thats a 620% jump. What’s ironic here is there are government agencies who are supposed to protect you from this type of predatory business practice. I mean f*ck if my name was Vinny and I was handing out loans at this interest rate down on Hanover street I would be thrown in federal prison.
But hey this isn’t a loan right? The RMV will tell you straight up that having a license is a “privilege”. And to that my answer is and will always be….When has it ever been a privilege to drive in Massachusetts? It may have been privilege in 1910 when there was 100 cars on the road. I like to think of it more as a necessary liability.
A necessity because most of us have a sizable commute that public transit cannot handle effectively given the demands of todays workforce. A liability because the driving laws in Massachusetts are a f*cking joke. I have to avoid being killed an average of 4 to 5 times a day because of people on cell phones, no turn signals, law breaking pedestrians, drunk/high drivers, people passing in the right lane, people pretending they don’t know how a rotary works, people who forget how to drive in bad weather, cars that just dont look like they could ever pass inspection and of course the assholes who think a single lane can fit 3 cars wide. Because I’m cool…today I will leave blue heads and Asian drivers out if it. You know I got love for you but I gotta keep it real here.
Now, have I ever broken driving laws before? Of course. But I will tell everyone that I am a step 9 which is as clean as it comes as far as driving records go. And it will stay that way even after I pay
Vinny the RMV because this type of infraction doesn’t mark up your score. My point here is that its not a “privilege” to drive…its a necessity. And if the RMV and their enforcement arm isn’t going to make it a “privilege” then they should charge accordingly.
I will end on this…in Germany it’s a privilege to drive. Your license takes months to study for and costs an average of 3000 US dollars to attain after you pass a pretty tough road test. Germany has one of the lowest drunk driving rates in the world but has one of the highest alcoholism rates. You get an OUI…you never drive again. You are not allowed to drink or eat behind the wheel while you drive. A simple infraction like not using your turn signal carries a 1500 dollar penalty and if I remember correctly there’s a 2 strike rule.
Thanks to Ike, the Autobahn is the grandfather of our modern interstate system here in the United States.
Why would we adopt the worlds only road without a speed limit as the template for 93 South without adopting the traffic laws that were designed to go with it?
So I roll into a dunks this morning when all of a sudden Mario “cart” Andretti rips in front of me. No blinker…no sorry…nothing. Then homeboy pulls into the handicapped spot and walks in without so much as a limp. I have nothing but respect for the disabled…but I have to admit…I wanted to slap this guy’s toupee off. Is this sh*t even legal?