Wiping The Menino Slate Clean: Walsh’s Dirty War

(``) BPL AmyWhen the missing art from the Boston Public library became news I learned for the first time that a woman, Amy Ryan, was its president and had been since 2008. With the name Ryan I assumed she was a native of the Boston area but to my surprise she is from Minnesota. When I Googled her I found out there is another Amy Ryan, an actress, who was born Amy Beth Dziewiontkowski the child of a typical urban ethnic Catholic marriage often seen in places like South Boston. Her father was Polish and mother, Pamela Ryan, Irish.

Knowing that Whitey was in prison and Myles Connor getting on in years it seemed to me the usual suspects were not available to pursue. I did think the Gardner Museum robbers might have come back but there too I would have to say their time has passed, or perhaps they have passed on.

As the saga continued I was struck by the response by the mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh. It wasn’t the first time in relation to the Boston library system his response caused me to raise an eyebrow. The first time was when some people were trying to name the South Boston library after Billy Bulger and a group of know nothings were opposed to it. The mayor was asked where he stood and he courageously replied: “I’m not opposed to it. I’m not in favor of it. I’m just neutral. I think we are looking at it. The way the library has been told to me, that you don’t name a library unless someone is deceased. I am not big into naming everything,” 

That passed without much notice. I’m not sure if it was before or after the editorial in the Boston Globe objecting to naming anything after Billy which did not surprise me in the least. It is good those editors have such weighty things on their minds.

With his prior equivocation in mind, I paid more attention than I otherwise would have when I read about a question to him concerning Amy Ryan.  Here’s his bold answer: “It’s a separate board. It’s a board of trustees and we are in a situation where it’s a quasi-city agency where we have a separate board of trustee. But again I think the trustees are going to have a meeting and they’re going to have to take some action here on how they fix some of the problems we have.” He also said this, what I found strange: “a problem in itself, that we have the federal government investigating our public library here in Boston.” 

I’m not sure why he thinks that is a problem unless he is making reference to the less than bang-up job the FBI has done with its Gardner investigation. Not that the FBI will accomplish much but you would think the major would be happy with all the help he could get rather than calling it a problem.

It seemed to me it was clear that the mayor was looking to get rid of Ryan. At the time I was outlining a post for this blog on the theft and I wrote: “from all that appears Ms Ryan is blameless.

I had read the trustee chairman Jeffrey Rudman gave her his full support. In 2009 he said of her: “I’ve watched her learn the names of the custodians in the branches. She has been utterly transparent with City Hall and the trustees. She has a relationship with the mayor that’s hard to beat.”

Then it came to me as clear as a bright day; I knew she was finished. Her relationship with Menino was a death sentence. I knew the knife would come quickly. Days later I saw my fears confirmed when the major’s hatchet man Dan Koh intimidated the trustees with words like these“we are gravely concerned; ” “significant concerns and fears that more may be missing;” “things are not being taken as seriously as they should be;” “the perceived lack of independence;” and “the people of Boston deserve nothing less.”

The trustee Chairman Jeff Ryan courageously defended Ryan. Whether other trustees seeking to keep their own positions, the major appoints them to five-year terms, pressured Amy Ryan or she saw the writing on the wall as I did, she resigned. Within a day of her resignation the art work was recovered. It was all much ado about nothing but unlike when the Gardner Museum really lost paintings and no heads rolled, this time an innocent lamb was sacrificed.

With there being nothing to investigate Boston Police Commissioner William Evans another of Walsh’s underlings said his anticorruption unit “will be examining what they have there. The investigation is not over.” How do you investigate missing art work that has not gone missing? It sounds like Wyshak’s public corruption unit that also has little else to do.

Ryan who had held the position for eight years said after discovering the missing art works: “Someone just said this to me, and it’s true: Nothing is missing under my watch” That is a commendable record for a person running such a huge operation with the scarcity of funds allocated to her.

Walsh, rather than seeking to keep her since it was all much ado about nothing said, as I expected, “We’re going to begin the process to move forward.” Walsh’s actions here reminds me of the ways of Uncle Joe and his friends swept out everyone before them, concealed their motives, and used hatchet men to get the job done. I have to guess he already had a new president in his back pocket. Let the nationwide search begin. Let’s not hope the process is one that is going backwards to the days of cronyism.

20 thoughts on “Wiping The Menino Slate Clean: Walsh’s Dirty War

  1. Matt, how do we know the items weren’t returned and placed 80 feet from where they should be.
    The picture of Ryan and a staff member gleefully holding the newly found art is laughable.
    Even if just misplaced it was an alarm that things aren’t right over there.

  2. “With the name Ryan I assumed she was a native of the Boston area but to my surprise she is from Minnesota.”

    Matt, with this perspective, your place in the pantheon of parochialism is presumably permanent.

    Walsh is not done making stupid moves. He may need five or more years to get to the point of managing intelligently. His campaign war chest is the only reason he may have that much time. Well, maybe the unions, too…

  3. The chairman’s name is not Jeffrey Ryan. Typo methinks.

    It’s plain as day that someone got cold feet and returned the art and the people who allowed the art to be stolen are now thumping their and each other’s chests and saying “see, I told you so.”

    On a side note, why is one of the original members of the Jackson 5 now a Boston City Counsellor? Was he the bass player?

  4. Also the “major” doesn’t appoint the trustees, the “mayor” does. Did I somehow miss the overnight military takeover or are there practical limits to spell check?

  5. Matt
    I left another comment in the Sick System of Justice: Where’s Stevie post. When you get a chance to respond appreciate it. Love the website. Great Job!!!!

  6. “On Thursday afternoon, a supervisor walked [Lauren] Schott to row 14 and pointed to the second shelf from the ceiling, the spot where the previous worker had stopped searching. She rocked up on her toes and noticed three prints lying flat in glassine, a tissue-like protective covering. As she carefully lifted the prints, a familiar face came into view.” — Boston Globe

    Like the old saying: “It’s always the first place that you look.”

    Or: “It’s always the first place that you didn’t look.”

    Or maybe just: “Here I am Moe.”

  7. I read that she worked there for 38 years. Sad to be cast aside as she was. The police investigation is ridiculous and insulting. Evans is the least impressive police commander I’ve ever seen. He looks like an aging bellhop. Hope his performance tops his command presence.

  8. Hmmmm …. Been through a lot of police commissioners. Who does Bill Bratton look like? What do you look like? Who do I look like? Stick to performance, not appearance. Bratton may look like Bogart’s psychopathic older brorher, but he is the Professional’s Professional. If Billy Evans looks like an aging bellhop to you that probably says much more about you than about Evans. Dunno. Generally I enjoy your comments. You bring too nuch personal baggage with these. It’s the size of the fight in the dog that wins the day. Evans is dogged. He is smart. And he is very very tough customer. This is why he does not have to project a tough guy into the World. What you may perceive as mild is an unruffled exterior that would produce hell to pay if you mistake kindness for weakness. He is temporizing between diverse and hostile camps and interests. He is an adept at Community Policing. With our impish rogue of a ” let’s find a WAY TO GET TO YES ” Mayor, Marty Walsh, we are presented with a unique pair of Irish American political operatives. They are salt air off the Atlantic. And we all breathe it in Boston. It braces and embraces. We got simethin” goin’ on in this city that other American cities don’t have, haven’t had, and will never have. EXPERIENCE.

  9. Bill Bratton looks great, and he’s doing
    a good job here in New York. Sorry, but command presence counts. Evans flunks. I don’t get your weird ode to the Irish. But having grown up in Dorchester, I got a shit load of salt air off the Atlantic. Big deal. Check your baggage at the door and have a great day!

  10. I doubt you would understand Command Presence if it hit you between the eyes. As we used to say ” Some people just don’t get it until they GET IT. ” You carry on on this blog in a smarmy chummy schoolboy way. A cuddly schmoo, but with a little scorpions tail. Tried to be gracious with you, but your peevish ” weird ode ” nature reveals itself. Only a bit of a WEIRDO would construe literary ans political metaphor that way. I was born in Fields Corner. I know your type. You wound up in New Yawwwwwkkkj … “NO ??? ” … Your prose is ” cliche ridden.” As to baggage check, develop your iwn wordplay rarher than re-working mine. Ta’

  11. Help me. I’m lost here. What am I missing? What has the headline to do with the blog entry? What “dirty war” is Mayor Walsh conducting? What “Menino slate” is being cleaned? Menino is gone now. Walsh is Mayor. What’s unusual about a new mayor replacing an old mayor’s appointees? Pretty standard practice I’d say.

  12. I am the son
    And the heir
    Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar
    I am the son and heir
    Of nothing in particular
    You shut your mouth
    How can you say
    I go about things the wrong way?
    I am human and I need to be loved
    Just like everybody else does
    I am the son
    And the heir
    Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar
    I am the son and heir
    Of nothing in particular
    You shut your mouth
    How can you say
    I go about things the wrong way?
    I am human and I need to be loved
    Just like everybody else does
    There’s a club if you’d like to go
    You could meet somebody who really loves you
    So you go and you stand on your own
    And you leave on your own
    And you go home and you cry
    And you want to die
    When you say it’s gonna happen “now”
    Well when exactly do you mean?

  13. Johnny boy, what we’re seeing here is the inability to write or think clearly. Awarding yourself three names doesn’t make you smart. This will be my last off-topic remark. Do you have an opinion on the fate of the librarian?

  14. I fully concur. We are seeing the inability to write and think clearly. Try to avoid cliches. Stay on topic without indulging in keyboard warrior smears, and spare us all the jocund collegiality. If you had had to confront Jimmy Bulget at any time, it would not have been salt air you would have been smelling a ” shitload ” of, to use your brilliant riposte, in your pants. Smarten up. Envy ill becomes. Rank comments even less. The ” Librarian ” as you rather chauvinistically refer to her, has her oen mind. I honor her choice to resign rather than fight the deal on numerous fronts. She is no lamb led to slaughter. Give het the credit for shepherding her own fate and destiny. See ya’ in the funny pages 🙂 JOHN KING MCDONALD … That’s Mr. Johnny to you .

    1. Nothing wrong with calling a librarian a librarian. I gather you fantasize about Jim Bulger. Pleasant dreams ….

  15. I would go out tonight
    But I haven’t got a stitch to wear
    This man said “it’s gruesome
    That someone so handsome should care”
    La, la-la, la-la, la-la, this charming man
    Oh, la-la, la-la, la-la, this charming man

    Read more: The Smiths – This Charming Man Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  16. He is not the type of guy one would ever want to fantasize about 🙂 You are in the dark. Enjoy your sleep … perchance to dream … but never to just be Real. If a person is a Dick, I can deal with it. They are entitled to that. When they are a demonstrablly and unabashedly proven Dick, as evidenced by comments describing a Police Commissioner of a major American ciry and a World Capital as ” looking like an aging bellhop to me ” and they mask their bilious nature and vile slur with an affected bonhomie ; Well then, they are a World Class Phony. Period. She is the PRESIDENT OF THE BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY. Now try to exercise some self restraint for a change, and stop pestering the blog and me with your egotistical inanities and non-sense observations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *