In the old west of the 1870’s, Judge Roy Bean dispensed justice west of the Pecos with his saying: “We are going to give this man a fair trial before we go out and hang him.”
That was his justice back then and to observers of the recent events at the Revere Housing Authority, this seems to be what is happening to our Housing Authority Director, Linda Shaw.
With many municipal housing authorities – not Revere, we might add – under scrutiny for their poor management, Governor Deval Patrick has proposed a major overhaul of these authorities. Patrick’s plan calls for setting up six regional housing authorities throughout the entire state replacing the more than 200 local agencies.
We have said that we think that this is a bad idea.
Linda Shaw recently has said that she thinks this is a bad idea.
Now, one might ask, “Who is Linda Shaw? What qualifications does she bring to the table to make her judgment?”
We know Linda Shaw and we know that first and foremost, she is a decent and honest director who has a passion for helping people fulfill the most basic tenet of human life, namely a clean and safe place to live and raise their family. Her reputation is above reproach.
On the professional level, she has either run, or been affiliated with, the housing authorities in New Orleans, Kansas City, and Philadelphia. She has left each system better off than when she arrived and she left with stellar reviews.
Now what happens in this state under Governor Patrick’s watch, when a public official disagrees with the Governor’s policy?
You guessed it.
The henchmen come out, and in this case, discredited Linda Shaw and her professional work at the local Housing Authority.
Governor Patrick’s pettiness in this matter may play well in Pittsfield, but not in Revere, because we know Linda Shaw and can only find his actions reprehensible.
Is this the type of leadership that Governor Patrick wants to be remembered for when he leaves office. These are the actions of a petty politician who has all the answers and no room for discussion?
When free and open discussion is prevented because of fear or retribution, then innovative solutions are not found. And the state can use some innovative solutions. This no win situation seems to be the path that we are on with Governor Patrick.
We suggest that the Governor first clean up his own State House — like making sure that he does not make glaring political appointments like he did with the Secretary of Highway Safety who had a horrendous driving record and had to resign.
When Governor Patrick first started to campaign for the office in 2006 and was a speaker at a local breakfast, his frank and honest answers were refreshing. If he did not know an answer, he simply said, “I do not know but will get back to you.” And he did.
Today’s Governor Patrick is the reason that he sought to change state government. Maybe in these waning years as Governor, he should reflect from where he started and where he is today.