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Letter in support of condensed parade route

March 3, 2016

Mayor Martin J. Walsh

City of Boston

1 City Hall Square, Suite 500

Boston, MA  02201-2013

Dear Mr. Mayor:

We fully endorse and support the decision by the Mayor and our law enforcement officials to shorten the parade route in the context of safety.  Commissioner Evans recently cited the following facts:  Calls for police assistance dropped from 239 to 166 and requests for emergency assistance medical services dropped from 143 to 63 from 2014 to 2015.

Since the early 1980’s South Boston’s non-profits have supported and promoted the Annual St. Patrick’s/Evacuation Day Parade as a safe, family friendly event.  We have worked in partnership with the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, our elected officials, neighborhood groups and the law enforcement community to support this effort.

In the early 1980’s, this effort was coordinated under the aegis of Pride in Prevention.  In late 1980’s, these efforts were coordinated by SOBAD (South Boston Against Drugs).  The most recent iteration of this effort is coordinated under the umbrella of South Boston CAN reduce underage drinking.  Promoting and supporting the parade as a safe, family friendly event has been a consistent theme of the non-profits and our allies for four decades.

The partnership with the law enforcement community has been an important component of this effort.  Working with parade organizers and in tandem with our SOBAD business partner, The Gillette Company, the staging area of the parade shifted from Andrew Square to Broadway, with the Gillette parking areas central to the effort.  Over these many years, we have worked with officials from the BPD, Metropolitan Police, and MBTA Police to support a variety of strategies to ensure a safe, family friendly event.

As the international community deals with terrorism attacks, we in Boston are no strangers to the reach and impact of attacks here on our own soil.  If our law enforcement and intelligence communities are telling us that a shorter parade route enhances the safety of all, then we defer and support their analysis and decisions.

Donna Brown, South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation

Kathy Lafferty, South Boston Neighborhood House

Bob Monahan, Julie’s Family Learning Program

Sr. Maryadele Robinson, Laboure

John McGahan, Gavin Foundation

Rev. Burns Stanfield, Fourth Presbyterian Church

Michael Dowling, Medicine Wheel

Kay Walsh, Chair of the SBANP Parade Committee and CANS (Can Reduce Underage Drinking)

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.

Comments

  1. Jackie Breen says

    Well I am not sure Burns Stanfield speaks for his whole congregation and especially those from or living in Southie. As a member of Fourth Church I know he does not speak for me. And he lives in Milton!

  2. Michael says

    Well let’s not stop there. Given that we know that the Boston Marathon is a target of terrosim, and the thousands of people who regularly line up for it, not to mention run in it. We should really shorten that to a 5K run. Makes sense if you truely believe the logic of this letter.

  3. Ryan Long says

    Not a valid argument at all. These are the same people that were in support of the Gate of Heaven condos. They are the non-profits that reap the benefits such as donations and grants from the BRA from these developments that are going down the seaport and they are just more sheep of Mayor Walsh.

  4. Ryan Long says

    The reasons those stats are down is because of the weather and the people that came to the parade were far less. If things go as the usually do since there is no snow on the ground they will actually be crowding the more people into a much smaller area and I don’t imagine that to be safer. Also, the commissioner knows well that the stats show the way they do because because of the weather because crime in the city was down during all the snow because people don’t go out and commit crimes as much in the snow. They are basic trends that are obvious for obvious reasons and have nothing to do with the shortening of the route but certainly by the minimal amount of viewers that came into town due to the weather.

  5. Southie Rules says

    Hahahhaahha, you fools voted for him!! How did that work out for you??? I hear next year parade route from Broadway T to Muls!!! Suckers

  6. jprepo1 says

    It is ridiculous to have a parade that celebrates both St Patrick’s Day and Evacuation Day and skip the historical site that forced the British Evacuation of Boston.

    Police calls being down last year had everything to do with the snow, and nothing to do with the weather.

  7. A.S. Merrimac says

    In the last decade how many Americans have been killed in terrorist attacks? According to one source 24. Is that justification to shorten the parade-in fact how will shortening the event eliminate the potential for an attack? This is bunk pure and simple. According to this way of thinking we should end the Marathon since it has been show that it was a target. If fact we should eliminate all large public gatherings due to the horrible risk that something untoward might happen; someone might bump into someone else…

    Are we a bunch of frightened children cowering in the dark afraid of the world outside? We are a free nation and freedom entails risk. If one can not accept that risk I suggest you try some totalitarian regime which removes all risk and all choice.

  8. N says

    None should consider themselves part of the South Boston community. Condensing the parade is not in the public’s best interest.

  9. Why says

    Can someone explain to me why the parade needs to be as long as it was besides “tradition”? Look, I know I will never be considered a “local” by people born in Southie, but I’ve lived here for over a decade. The St. Patty’s Day parade was a cool event when I first moved here, now it’s just a disgusting cesspool of overdrunk 18-25 year olds acting like its their own personal Bourbon Street. Frankly, I would be happy if they just cancelled it entirely.

    • Mark says

      Hey Why, I’ll explain. Your eliminating half the parade route. So now the people who “traditionally” line that part of the route are now forced to squeeze along Broadway. Large sections of Broadway have the fewest amount of homes through out the whole route due to so many businesses. Now all those who have “traditionally” watched from inside their homes are asked to cram onto Broadway. It is absolutely absurd ! The second half of the route is more family friendly because it is mostly homes and the interior neighborhood. People have access to rest rooms and the “traditional” open houses. Now you mention you’ll never be considered a “local”. The fact that you would rather have the parade cancelled is why. Just because some 18-25 year olds want to get drunk. You throw your hands up and say I quit ! You want to allow them to take away the joy of thousands of 1-100 year olds that don’t drink. Southie “locals” don’t quit. We have along “tradition” of not quitting. In fact we fight. There is a rally call that you would never understand after your decade of residence but true “locals” know well. “Here we go Southie,here we go” ! Keep OUR TRADITIONAL EVACUATION, ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE A WHOLE AND FULL NEIGHBORHOOD CELEBRATION !!!!!!

    • JPW says

      The route has historical significance going back to roughly 1947 when the vets took this event over. It goes past the VFW post many of which host the Gold Stars mothers. And of course it stops at Dorchester Heights which is an integral part of Evacuation Day and the Independence of this nation. Remember that unlike any other St Patrick’s Day parade this one is special in that it commemorates the people that have served in the armed forces. South Boston has a long and proud tradition of men serving in the armed forces and the names on the 3 war memorials can attest to this. Not allowing the parade to go by Dorchester Heights would be akin to not allowing the Bunker Hill Day parade to pass by the Bunker Hill Memorial. It’s NOT acceptable. This mayor is either pig headed or is an intellectual dullard not to respect, honor and comprehend the significance of Dorchester Heights. It’s troubling that a mayor of Boston fails to comprehend such an important part of the city’s rich historical heritage.

      From a logistical standpoint keep in mind that we get roughly a million people at the parade and this year due to mild weather we can expect more. So the parade viewing area will be reduced by over 50%. This would be like reducing the number of seats in Fenway down to 20,000 but still admitting 40,000 people. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that this will cause significant crowd control problems. The parade organizers have expressed all these concerns repeatedly to the mayor. These people know what they are doing. Many have been doing this over 30 years.

      The mayor’s public safety argument is faulty. There were 38 arrests last year mostly for public drinking and public urination. Considering the size of the event this an extremely small percentage of arrests. And unlike other events in this city no one was stabbed, shot and or murdered. If the mayor were really serious about public safety concerns he could attempt to shut down the liquor store and bars that day. What are the odds that he’s going to shut down that cash cow? And will the mayor also shorten other events like the gay day parade? I highly doubt it.

      Of course none of this is about any of the nonsensical claims that the mayor makes about saving money and public safety. Considering the millions of dollars that are spent in Southie that day $100,000 in details is chump change. This is a personal beef with the mayor going back to a slight he deservedly received many years ago when he was a green state rep. This combined with an undying loyalty to a special interest group that has him in their back pocket. Every year that he has been in office as mayor he has done nothing but hassle the parade organizers who by the way are all volunteers that raise their own money to stage this event. This is NOT a city funded yet it brings in significant tax revenues for the city. The mayor should be presenting cheesy plaques to these guys recognizing their community service like he would any other event in any other neighborhood. He should not be continually busting their chops because he has a fragile ego and a short fuse. The mayor I wrong on this issue and should show some class and admit it and let the parade go on as it has for 115 years.

  10. Paul says

    All of the People who claim to be in favor of the Condensed Parade are beholden to the Mayor. In essence, they are selling out the Community for their own selfish motive.