John C. Drake writes a great article in today's Boston Globe, Promises Unmet:
Charles Euchner began his work at Boston City Hall with an ambitious directive from Mayor Thomas M. Menino: Build a plan for the city's next three decades of growth. But even as he began, Euchner had a nagging suspicion that the project had been effectively abandoned.I'd like to see the document published to the city's website.
Menino told area business leaders in 1997 that Boston 400, as the planning process was called, would be the "boldest thing to happen in this city in a long, long time," asserting that it would "not become a document collecting dust on a shelf."
It is true that the plan, which was developed with a budget of $575,000, is not collecting dust and sitting on a shelf. But that is only because it was never published, making it what Euchner considers an embarrassing flop.
"To this day, I still hear from people saying, 'Whatever happened to that thing?' and I'm kind of embarrassed and sad," said Euchner, the urban planner who earned about $125,000 over nearly three years as a full-time consultant on the project...
A draft report briefly had a home on the city's website, but has been removed. Euchner went on to lead Harvard University's Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston before moving to Connecticut, where he teaches English at Yale University.
Today, Euchner contends that without a final report to be used as a guide, the city got nothing out of its investment of time and money. But city officials contend that its conclusions - even unpublished - pervade much of the city's planning. Menino scoffed at Euchner's criticism.
"Some people want to have documents. I want to get things done," he said. "I'm the mayor that makes the promises, not him. . . . It's easy to sit there at Yale and make judgments. I sit at City Hall and make commitments and take action."
Mayor Menino, publish the report.
The citizens of Boston paid for it.