The battle over the parade in South Boston continues. The latest news is the parade organizers – The Allied War Veterans Council (AWVC)- might in fact sue the City of Boston over the shortened route.
According to the Boston Globe, the lawyer for the AWVC plans to argue that the shortened route violates the First Amendment and he plans on filing a complaint on Monday in US District Court in Boston.
Last year, thanks to Snowmageddon – the parade route was shortened to just the straight shot of West Broadway – beginning at Broadway Station (Aka Broadway Village) up East Broadway and ending at Farragut Road. It was assumed that the parade route would go back to the original route which began at Broadway Station and ended at Andrew Square winding through the neighborhood and passing historic landmarks like Dorchester Heights – it is after all the Evacuation Day Parade.
Well, you know what they say when you assume….at the end of last month it was discovered that the 2016 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Route would indeed stay shortened. “After consulting with Commissioner Evans, I have decided that it is in the best interest of public safety, while balancing the historic tradition of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, to use the same route that we did last year for this year’s parade.” Gheesh, talk about throwing Evans under the bus!
So of course, this has cause a shit storm of controversy especially on social media. Residents have written petitions demanding the parade go back to the original route. Others bash the mayor and vow never to vote for him again. The Allied War Veterans have also been publicly vocal about the mayor’s decision.
Ryan Long, member of both the Allied War Veterans Council and the Michael J. Perkins Post was disappointed with the City of Boston’s decision. “I think the city is forgetting the historical significance of the parade. It’s an Evacuation Day Parade and Dorchester Heights played a key role in the evacuation of British soldiers from Boston in 1776. The parade route no longer includes this memorial.” Long also went onto say that the Perkins Post – located at the corner of O and East Fourth – hosts the Gold Star families – families who have lost a loved one during service. “Since the parade no longer goes by that route we have to find another location to put up the staging for the families to watch the parade,” said Long. “Our South Boston city councilors have been silent on this issue. I want to know where they stand on it?” added Long.
The Boston Police have stated that the shortened route saves money and last year’s parade was much safer. The Globe article goes on to quote the BPD statement:
“It was a much safer event all around last year because the BPD was able to focus our resources along a more concentrated route,” police said in a statement. “While we expect to spend about $100,000 less, budget is never a true consideration when public safety is at issue.” It also states that there was a 50% drop in the number of calls for EMS and a 40% drop in police calls.
To that we have ask, is that because the route was condensed or because there was mounds of snow and the weather was terrible so less people showed up to the parade in general. We also have to wonder what will happen if the weather is nice and 500,000 plus people show up in the “concentrated route.”
So we shall see. The AWVC met with the mayor on Friday to discuss the route. No statements have been released yet other than the potential law suit. Stay tuned for more. As always, there is never a shortage of drama around the parade.