Menino Occupies The 'Greater Boston' Set

By WGBH News

Nov. 23, 2011

BOSTON — He may have been in office for 18 years but Boston mayor Tom Menino still has a knack for surprising us — whether it’s his patience with the Occupy Boston protesters, his attempts to turn Boston into a biking Mecca or his recent foray into the world of viral video. Mayor Menino joined Emily Rooney on Nov. 23 for his annual pre-Thanksgiving visit to Greater Boston. 

What are his current thoughts about the Occupy movement?

On his wait-and-see approach to the Occupy Boston encampment:

"We've sent our public health department down there every day to monitor the health issues, our inspectional services department [for] building and other code violations, the police are down there on drug issues and my homeless advocate's down there trying to get the homeless out of the development who are sleeping in some of the tents in the evening. The issue here is would you rather have them there, one location, than other locations in the city? I think that's the most harmless location that we have. The issues they talk about, if they ever centralize those issues, those are pretty good issues... but they have to get some leadership. They have to come down to one or two issues. That's what the Tea Party did [and] they were very successful."

On the cost to the city:

"It's probably cost us about a half a million dollars so far. Is that expensive for public safety? Yeah, maybe some people would think so.... Last week they did a march and they wanted to block the Charlestown bridge and they weren't able to. I'm not going to tolerate them taking over a bridge or any closing down sidewalks. That's out. If you want to have a rally and talk about issues, I can understand that. But not blocking traffic, people want to come and go in or out of the city — that's a public safety issue."

On the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy's letter asking Menino to dislodge the encampment:

"It's their property. I think they should be the ones that go to court and ask for the injunction to remove them, first. If they want them out of there, let the Greenway be the folks that initiate it."

On the future of Occupy:

"I believe some of the issues they're talking about are issues that middle America is concerned about. But time is running out on them. They have to come together on a single issue and get some leadership and move this issue to where it belongs: It belongs down in Washington."

Watch the full segment for Menino's thoughts on the unexpected success of the Hubway bike-share program, a potential casino in Boston, Wal-Mart and more: "Boston's not for sale."

Menino spoofs "The Godfather" for MassINC earlier this month.

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