In a night filled with news, tonight just happened to be Mayor Menino’s State of the City Address. And, in historical terms, it was a doozy. He called for the end of busing in Boston. For anybody familiar with Boston’s history, the way in which the desegregation plan ordered by Judge Arthur Garrity tore up the city during the 1970s looms as one of the momentous events of the last 50 years.
The event’s planners set the stage for the announcement perfectly.The night began with a series of Boston public school students greeting the audience in their native tongues — Vietnamese, Cape Verdean, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Arabic and English — a reflection of the demographic reality of today’s Boston public schools. During his speech, Mayor Menino also expressed the growing recognition of the quality of the schools. He then spoke of his proposal as one that would save money and be green.
“Right now, we’re spending tens of millions a year on yellow school buses,” Mayor Menino said. “We can save significant money on the majority of transportation costs which currently total about 40 million dollars. If we do nothing, this number will reach 60 million within five years. That’s crazy. I will not allow us to pour dollar after dollar into gas tanks [when] we could invest more of that money in our classrooms.”
Also good for the mayor: At tonight’s Democratic debate from Nevada, Tim Russert asked the candidates about “Mayors Against Illegal Drugs,” which Mayor Menino started with Mayor Bloomberg.