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January 2, 2009     Post-Gazette
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January 2, 2009

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Page14 POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 2, 2009 LO SAPEVATE CHE ... Di tanto in tanto si discute su importanti figure che hanno contribuito non solo alla fondazione di questa nazione ma anche ad altri che hanno pure dato il loro contributo allo sviluppo e progresso degli Stati Uniti. Mi adopero a far si che tutti si rendano conto della grandezza di alcuni italo americani che purtroppo sono stati dimenticati dagli storici americani. Uno di questi prominenti uomini e' Filippo Mazzei. Costui fu un forentino di nascita, un dottore (in medicina), un linguista, uno studioso di varie culture europee, un uomo d'affari ed un viaggiatore instancabile. Mazzei incontro' a Londra Beniamino Franklin - che si trovava a Londra in rappresentanza di interessi delle colonic nordamericane - che convinse il forentino a trasferirsi in America. Fu cosi' che Mazzei si organizzo' una volta tornado a Firenze, e parti' alla volta delle colonie inglesi. Mazzei era fieramente opposto all'idea dello schavismo. Una volta in America, invece di comprare schiavi, come faceva il suo vicino di casa (Tommaso Jefferson), offri' ad un gruppo di famiglie contadine toscane l'opportunita' di venire nelle colonic a lavorare nella vasta tenuta, comprata da Mazzei, il quale voleva sperimentare la coltivazione di piante toscane, dato che tra la Virginia e la Toscana il clima appariva pressoche' simile. L'attivita' terriera di Mazzei Io porto' alla findazione della "Societa' Agricola", una compagnia azionaria della quale facevano parte Jefferson ed altri noti personaggi della Virginia. e di altre colonic. Una volta introdotto nel movimento politico coloniale, Mazzei fondo' la "Societa' Costituzionale', della quale fecero subito parte i piu' celebri cervelli dele colonie, da Jefferson a Franklin, da John Adams a Washington. ed altri ancora' Mazzei fu uno scrittore prolifico di articoli di fuoco accusando la Corona ed il Parlamento inglesi di aver tradito il popolo inglese delle colonic, ed imponendo anche tasse discriminatorie.. Dopo tanti successi eclatanti, Mazzei e' ancora considerato 'irrilevante' dagli storici americani. Ed ora, come abbiamo appreso qualche tempo fa. un nuovo musical jazz, "Philip Mazzei', e' stato presentato al pubblico di New York. II musical e' stato composto da Ron McIntire, con libretto di Paolo Tartamella. da un'idea originale di Francesco Fulcini e la consulenza storica di Suor Margherita Marchione, l'autrice di molti libri, che ha riscoperto Mazzei quando compi' ricerche viaggiando per tutta l'Europa, per la sua tesi d| laurea alia St. John University circa 30 anni addietro. Ci auguriamo che questo lavoro teatrale Riscuota successi calorosi, e ponga all'attanzione della comunita' Italo Americana. e del popolo Americano, la grandezza di Mazzei. DID YOU KNOW THAT ... From time to time people talk about important figures who have contributed not only to the founding of this nation but also to those who have given their contribution to the devel- opment and progress of the United States. I personally try my best to make sure that everyone realizes how great were a few Italian Americans who, unfortunately have been 'for- gotten' by the American historians. One of these prominent men was Philip Mazzei. He was a Florentine by birth, a medicamdoctor, a linguist, a scholar of several European cultures, a businessman, and a tireless traveler. Mazzei met Benjamin Franklin in London (he was there as the agent of the North American colonies in London), who persuaded the Florentine to come to America. And so. once Mazzei was back in Florence, got set to leave for the American colonies, in North America. Mazzei was a strong opponent of the idea of slavery. Once in the colonies, rather than purchasing slaves, as his neighbor Jefferson. he offered the opportunity to farmers, and their families, to come to the colonies and work in the large estate purchased by Mazzei who had planned to experiment by planting trees, that used to grow" in Tuscany, especially olive trees, since the climate was nearly similar to the one in Virginia. The land adventure led Mazzei to the founding of the "Agricultural Society", a corporation with shareholders like Jefferson and other well- known personalities of Virginia and other colonies. As he entered the political activism, Mazzei founded the "Consti- tutional Society", quickly attracting the most noted brains in the colonies, from Jefferson to Franklin, from John Adams to Washington, and others. Mazzei was a prolifc writer of articles full of fire that charged the British Crown and the British Parliament of having betrayed the British people of the colonies, imposing discriminatory taxes, etc. Following such exceptional successes, Mazzei is still regarded as 'ir- relevant' by American historians. And now, as we learned ome time ago, a new musical jazz, "Philip Mazzei", has been presented recently to the American public in New York, The musical has been composed by Ron Mclntire on a libretto by Paolo Tartamella, from an original idea of Francesco Fulcini, and the historical consulting of Sister Margherita Marchione, the author who rediscovered Mazzei, when she was con- ducting research throughout Europe about 30 years ago, for her Ph.D. thesis at St. John University. We hope that this stage musical receives great success, and plays to the attention of the Italian Americans commu- nity, as well as the Americans. Mazzei's greatness. The time has come, the walrus said, TO TALK OF MANY THINGS of shoes and ships and sealing_wax of cabbages and kings by Sal Giarratani LAMATTINA CALLS TOLL HIKE 'WAR' ON EASTIE City Councilor Sal Lamattina from District 1 called the proposed toll hikes a "war on our neighborhood." Johnny Antonellis from Eastie says. "You are marginalizing and isolating us further ... This should be the last resort and you (MassPike) want it to be the first." Eastie folks 'at the Mass Turnpike Authority's public hearing on the proposed toll hikes gave them an earful. Some even threatened public demonstra- tions and reminded folks of other Eastie resi- dents like the "Maverick Street Mothers" who with their babies in carriages blocked Logan dunip trucks in 1968 setting up a statie showdown. East Boston with Charlestown also took on city government in 1981 blocking the Callahan Tunnel at rush hour over Propo- sition 2.5 inspired firehouse closings or deactivation of engine companies in Eastie. Folks are being urged to avoid the tunnels if tolls increase, clogging up roadways as part of a protest now being called a "Boston Toll Party." IS SHREVE BUILDING ANOTHER PAUL REVERE HOUSE? Diana Eckstein wants to have the Boston Landmarks Commission to see the archi- tectural value of the former Shreve. Crump & Low building in Boston. If they can't see that, she thinks a judge just might do so. The lawyer reportedly will appeal to Suffolk Superior Court to keep alive, an effort to save the 104 year old, art deco edifice overlook- ing the Publib Gardens. Hub developer Ronald Druker won BRA approval to demolish the building and replace it with a new structure. In October, Eckstein and others petitioned the city to give the building, "landmark" status. Mayor Tom Menino reportedly supports Druker's plans and so she wants to go to court over the issue. The Druker Company issued a statement saying it is continuing with the planning stages of its project. The company stated, "We are confident that the (Landmarks Com- mission decision in 2006) will be upheld." BOSTON GETS BIGGER Boston's population will officially clear the 600.000 mark for the first time since the 1970's based on successful challenge by City Hall to the US Census Bureau, Boston now has 608,352 people. The city had hoped the US Census Bureau had gone up to 619,250 but couldn't persuade the feds on that figure. By the way, back in 1950, Boston peaked at 801,444 with my younger brother Dominic accounting for that last "4" that year. Thank You, President Bush (Continued from Page i) This is an achievement amount of '60s peacenik di- that should earn Bush a pa- rade, not to mention every American's eternal grati- tude, and yet it will be taken utterly for granted. Ironi- cally, President Obama will benefit from that success in the war on terror, which he staunchly opposed as a senator. Here's hoping that Obama manages not to screw that up even as he'll likely try disingenuously to take at least some measure of credit for it. Perhaps as Bush helps him transition to the presi- dency, Obama will see that Iran is very close to having a nuclear bomb. and no plomacy is going to stop them from completing that and using it. Or that Pahk- ee-stahn (to use Obama's mispronunciation) is suffi- ciently unstable that marching into it to grab bin Laden when he can do nothing sitting in a cave by himself so long as his terror- ist network has been crushed would be the height of reckless stupidity. It's entirely possible for the U.S. to return to its 1990s naivet6 and misguided poli- cies. And the price for doing so will, now as then. be paid in bloodshed and lives lost. I hope that the Obama years will not be as fraught with scandal and terrorist attacks as the Clinton years were. Sadly, the former is already looking bleak and ! fear that the latter will in- evitably follow. For having an administra- tion that was blissfully free of both, I for one say from the bottom of my heart: "Thank you, President Bush." For these two achievements alone, you have the humble gratitude of millions of Americans who will never forget it. 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be repub- lished without permission. Mayor's Column (Continued from Page I) its. such as the United Way, and private industry, including NSTAR and Na- tional Grid, the Food and Fuel Campaign has helped to connect thousands of resi dents with resources and programs to cope with in- creased expenses. During the August Food and Fuel Summit at Madison Park High School, dozens of agen- cies provided over one thou- sand residents with infor- mation about low-cost. healthy eating and tips for reducing energy expenses and budget management. Our efforts continue to reach residents through a series of community dinners that will continue into the spring. Additionally, this year's Bos- ton Can Share program raised over 63,000 pounds of food for the Greater Boston Food Bank and other food pantries around the City. Despite the challenges posed by economic uncer- tainty, we made significant achievements in 2008. From sustainability, to schools, to public safety, we continue to work to make Boston better for its residents. In April, Popular Science Magazine recognized Boston as the third greenest city in America for our sustain- ability efforts and our first-- in-the-nation green develop- ment standards. During the fall, the Lights Out Boston campaign coordinated some of the city's tallest skyscrap- ers turning off all unneces- sary lights overnight to conserve on energy. The city also set the goal of having Boston's entire taxi fleet go fully hybrid by 2015. Under the leadership of Superintendent Carol John- son, we continue to pro- vide students and families in the Boston Public Schooi system with the best pos- sible educational opportuni- ties. Boston's high school graduation rate already ex- ceeds that of many other urban and suburban school systems nationwide, but we can't afford to be satisfied. Tlaat's why we've partnered with non-profit groups, busi- nesses, and leading colleges and universities for the "Getting Ready, Getting In, and Getting Through" initia- tive. By working together, we are going to double the college graduation rate of Bosfon Public School gradu- ates starting with the BPS class of 2011. Police Commissioner Ed Davis has overseen a sig- nificant reductioi in violent crime in Boston. Programs such as community policing along with increased walk- ing beats and bike patrols have made for a much more cooperative relationship be- tween the police department and the community mem- bers in the neighborhoods that they serve and protect. We remain committed to helping our youth reach their full potential, and with that in mind, I recently joined The Boston Founda- tion and other community organizations to kick-off the StreetSafe Boston program, a cooperative effort to reduce youth violence in neighbor- hoods across the City. Times of crisis are times for innovation, and in taking on this year's challenges we have made great progress on a number of issues. Thank you for all that you do to make Boston a wonderful city, and I wish you a very blessed New Year. We still have many goals to achieve and I look forward to work- ing with you to make those goals a reality in 2009.