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M tT T (Formerly LA GAZZETTA del MASSACHUSETTS) VOL. 116 - NO. 7 BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, FEBRUARY 17, 2012 $.30 A COPY Presidents" Day Observed February 20, 2012 Remember these men as you enjoy the holiday Abraham Lincoln 1809 -1865 President 1861-1865 George Washington 1732- 1799 President 1789-1797 BEACON HILL SEEKS BAN ON ALL HAND-HELD CELL PHONE USE WHILE DRIVING by Sal Giarratani The nanny staters are back again. The Legislature's Joint Transportation Commit- tee unanimously approved a bill to ban drivers from using hand-held cell phones. Senator Mark Montigny, (D-New Bedford) is the bill's Senate sponsor and recently stated, "If (the hand-held ban) is an inconvenience for people, tough. The inconvenience of the death and destruction on the road far out- weighs any very minor inconvenience." Rep. Joe Wagner, (D-Chicopee), the House sponsor added, that ff some folks can't afford a Bluetooth, they could just pull over to a rest area to use his or her phone. Said Wagner, "It's a common sense measure. I think it will save lives; I think it will improve public safety ... I think it is a mea- sure which is long overdue." The whole debate between hands-free and hand-held cell phone use while driving is so comical, isn't it? Scientific test results show that there is little if any difference when it comes to distracted driving over what kind of cell phones are being used. The distraction isn't in the hands but in the head. When using a cell phone, it is the mind that gets distracted and the response time it takes from the brain to the hand. When someone is in conversation, it always takes your focus off the road even if your eyes are glued to the road. Bluetooths are no different to my handheld Samsung or a cup of coffee which is often in my right- hand. This isn't about public safety. It is about issuing more citations and revenue for government. These guys up on Beacon Hill could care two #&% about our well being. Tailback Doesn't Think He's 1 Running Way Back in Texas Race 1 , Craig James is a former Patriots tailback and is now a Republican candidate for the US Senate seat of retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. He announced his candidacy on January 12. In Texas politics, he is seen as a long-shot but his mes- sage resonates with many in the Tea Party move- ment, 'I want to stand for right and against wrong. His "playbook" is God, Family and the Constitu- tion. The former number 32 is now 51 years old and still remembers getting tackled by a NY Gi- ants linebacker by the name of Lawrence Taylor back in 1984. Many think he's in big trouble try- ing to get passed the political line of scrimmage. James recently resigned as an ESPN analyst [ after 20 years to make his maiden voyage into retail politics. The primary is set for April 3 but could be delayed with the US Supreme Court to likely rule soon on a federal redistricting map for US Congress seats. James played five seasons with the New En- gland Patriots (1984-88). He also drives an old Ford pick-up truck when he's not at home on his 15- acre ranch in Celina, Texas, saddling up his horse. He played on the 1985 Super Bowl-bound Patriots who won three games on the road in post season including that 31-14 win over the Dolphins in the "Squish the Fish" game. That season, the Wild Card Patriots lost to the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX. In his blue jeans, cowboy hat, boots and retro Patriots sweatshirt, James is hoping to ride out of Celina and right into Washington, D.C. The odds seemed stacked against him but he's not wor- ried. He's running to win like he did in his old ] football years. (Continued on Page 8) WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR URBAN AMERICA? Back in 1967 when Kevin H. White was running for mayor, he had a vision that America's large cities would succeed. 'He believed that Boston could have a re-birth and his desire was to steer that vision into the future. Back almost a half-century ago, Boston could prosper or die depending on what actions its leaders took to arrive at either destination. Boston did not die. It prospered as a ma- jor American city. Political leaders and the business community part-nered to- gether for the future. White cherished the past, lived in the present and dreamed of a great future. Sadly, the dynamics of the city changed as suburban shopping malls stole shoppers away from downtowns across America. Folks created "Downtown Boston" with its pedestrian and car-free path- ways but over the years as more and more shoppers left, so too did stores. Today, Down- town Boston looks less like the mini-Manhattan it once resembled and more like a ghost town down in Texas or Nevada. The giant hole in the ground where much of Fflene's by Sal Giarratani Former Filene's site on Washington Street, Boston. once stood has become a metaphor for the Ghost of Downtown Boston Past. Mayor .Tom Menino and Rosemary Sansone, who runs the Downtown Boston busi- ness group trying to keep the Downtown in Downtown Crossing, have great chal- lenges to face. We will never return the intersection of Summer, Winter and Wash- ington Street into "New England's Busiest Corner." We can create good urban space with multiple uses. Mayor White took a ghost- town called Quincy Market and turned it into the Faneuil Hall Marketplace where life is always jumping. We now need to find an equally good vision for Downtown Boston along Washington Street in the same way, we created the Seaport District. Dreams can come true if we work hard at them. I love my city. I was born and raised here. I remember the good old days in Downtown Boston as a child, We may never get back to that but we can continue to prosper as a 'city and downtown as a desti- nation if that is what we want. It won't happen over- night but it won't happen at all without hard work and preservation.