The Taxpayers' Bridge ::: Boston, Mass.
spanning the Charles to bring you the constant variety of politics and intrigue.
Terra Libra Code
Bridge count: 206
In Honor Of The Taxpayers
Who Funded It And Built It!
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
[photo source: Boston.com]
The Boogie Man Is Dead.
via What Really Happened.
To be 'officially' announced to the US taxpayers, via CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, after the massacre of Iraqi agents and their taxpayers has been completed.
PT = The Perpetual Traveler, Permanent Tourist, Prior Taxpayer, Perfect Thing!
via Carlton Press.
In a nutshell, a PT merely arranges his or her paperwork in such a way that all agents of taxpayers consider him a tourist. A person who is just "Passing Through". The advantage is that being thought of by an agent as a person who is merely "Parked Temporarily", a PT is not subjected to taxes, military service, lawsuits, or persecution for partaking in innocent but forbidden pursuits or pleasures. Unlike most citizens or subjects, the PT will not be persecuted for his beliefs or lack of them. PT stands for many things: a PT can be a "Prior Taxpayer", "Permanent Tourist", 'Practically Transparent', "Privacy Trained", "Party Thrower", "Priority Thinker", "Positive Thinker", "Prepared Totally", "Paranoid Together" or "Permanent Traveler" if he or she wants to be. The individual who is a PT can stay in one place most of the time. Or all of the time. PT is a concept, a way of life, a way of perceiving the universe and your place in it. One can be a full-time PT or a part-time PT. Some may not want to break out all at once, or become a PT at all. They just want to be aware of the possibilities, and be prepared to modify their lifestyle in the event of a crisis. Knowledge will make you sort of a PT. A "Possibility Thinker" who is "Prepared Thoroughly" for the future.
Fly The Friendly Skys.
Fly Anonymous Air.
Candles In The Wind.
Your candles burned out long before, your taxpayer legend ever will.
Iraqi taxpayer Marie-Rose, who dwells on the landmass called Iraq, takes a deep drag on her cigarette and puts down her coffee cup. "But I am also very worried. What if bombs start falling when she [her daughter-in-law] is supposed to give birth? There will be no electricity, no water, no gas to drive her to the hospital," she says, her eyes filling with tears. "All I want is for my children, [now adults and Iraqi Taxpayers who also dwell on the landmass called Iraq], to have a normal taxpayer life," she continues. "But war after war after war. Why don't the agents for the US taxpayers just let us be? What have, we, as Iraqi taxpayers done? It's so unfair."
A Region In Conflict With Ashleigh Banfield.
Ashleigh Banfield was at her best tooling around with her crew talking with (should I really use the "I" word?) regular taxpayers (just like you and me) living day-to-day in A Region In Conflict.
First, there were the regular taxpayers on the landmass of Kabul after the "liberation". The 10-minute spot (or so it seemed) on the day-in-the-life of a hairdresser in A Region In Conflict... Remember all the young men and children staring as the crew recorded Ashley walking down the dirt street backwards? There she was in her field vest and kahkis turning side-to-side with hands waving side-to-side, as she gave us the walking tour and then finally, after a commercial break (the commercial was not Dirty Vegas - Days Go By - Mitsubishi, but let's say it was 'cuz that ad gets me stoked when I am watching Ashley), she is shown entering the hair salon and the 'exclusive story' begins. It was a gray day, if I remember correctly.
Gray, because, when Ashley and her crew subsequently were seen tooling around the landmasses known as West Bank and Gaza and Israel it was definitely sunny - except for that rainy day when she and her crew where the only ones standing on a street where some Palestinian taxpayers dwelled during the first few days of the initial "curfew" decrees uttered some Israeli agents. I do not remember her talking to any regular taxpayers "live" 'cuz my mind is now fogged by all those beautiful "live shots" of sunny days and seemingly warm evenings (like, let's just go get some drinks at a club were a DJ is spinning some Hip-Hop). ... Ashley explaining what she had learned that day from Palestinian taxpayers on how long it takes to get thru a 'line of control' - Ashley narrating all of this to a video montage of sun and walking Palestinian taxpayers and dusty roads. It was so sunny, like who wants to fucking fight each other when the weather is so beautiful?
Ashley, as you know, the landmass known as the "DC Area" is A Region In Conflict right now. We need you out there on the highways getting stopped by US agents with M16 assault rifles and bullet proof vests who are asking to see "your papers". We need your crew to video tape this. Next, we need you do a group Interview (there's that "I" word) with some soon-to-be-taxpayer children in a concentration campus for mind destruction. We need your crew to video tape this.
We need the STORY that only you can provide.
If the landmass known as the "DC Area" was not A Region In Conflict right now, I would fly you and your crew to the landmass called Bali and then to the landmass called Sydney.
We need you Ashley.
How many were really there?
Taxpayer Bill, an MIT physicist, says agents for the Massachusett taxpayers are as bad at crowd estimates as they have been at cost estimates.
On Sunday, agents managing the Big Dig project, which has skyrocketed in price from 2,600,000,000 Federal Reserve Note units to 14,600,000,000 Federal Reserve Note units, said that 800,000 taxpayers walked The Taxpayers' Bridge.
But the taxpayer physicist says it would take 42 hours for that many taxpayers to cross a span of that size - and the bridge was only open from about 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
"After a while you have a feeling for when numbers are meaningful," said taxpayer Bill, who has taught at MIT for 23 years. "Sometimes something just doesn't feel right to me."
A spokesman for agents said that crowd counting is more art than science and that the "800,000 taxpayers" figure was always meant to be an estimate - in this case made by 10 experienced crowd counters.
"We had taxpayer engineers and agents keeping an eye on things, but at the end of the day, it's still an estimation," said the agents' spokesman. "Around 4:30 we had guesses of between 500,000 and 1 million taxpayers, so we just rounded it off in the middle."*
*Ed. Note - And we, the taxpayer press, ran with that number.
Lines of eager taxpayers snaked around the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, the agents' spokesman said. Taxpayers were queued up by 6 a.m. and "soon-to-be-future-taxpayers who were carried by their taxpayer parents adds a lot you might not count."
But taxpayer Bill says he doesn't think it's physically possible for many more than 120,000 people to walk across The Taxpayers' Bridge in less than seven hours. The northbound lanes were originally supposed to be open for five hours Sunday, but because of the numbers of taxpayers, agents opened the span an hour early and stayed open nearly an hour late.
Last past spring' Boston Marathon, suggests taxpayer Bill's math is right. It took 17 minutes for nearly 17,000 runners to cross the starting line - or 1,000 people per minute, according to Jack Fleming, spokesman for the Boston Athletic Association. But The Taxpayers' Bridge route was only about half as wide as the starting line, so the pace was, at best, half as fast. Using taxpayer Bill's formula, even the most generous estimate of the number of people who trekked across The Taxpayers' Bridge falls well short of 800,000 taxpayers.
While agents for the Massachusetts taxpayers were quick to estimate the number of taxpayers who walked on the bridge, they've been extremely coy about telling the taxpayers when, exactly, they will be able to drive on it. That date has moved from Oct. 10 to Dec. 10, and now is slated for a yet-to-be determined date in January.
Estimating the number of taxpayers forming a crowd is notoriously subjective. Agents for the US taxpayers got out of the business of estimating crowds at the Mall on the landmass called Washington, D.C., in 1996, after it was accused of racism for allegedly undercounting taxpayers who participated in the Million Man March.
"We were directed by CON-gress not to provide that service anymore," said a spokesman for the US agents. "Taxpayers equate the number of taxpayers with their 'political muscle', and if they believe the US agents undercounted, they think we're diluting their 'political strength'."
Agents for the Massachusetts taxpayers believe themselves to be fairly adept at estimating Fourth of July crowds on the Esplanade because they have used aerial photographs to estimate that about 20,000 people can fit shoulder-to-shoulder in the concert space. When blankets are spread out and the crowd is controlled at the gate, the figure is about 10,000, said Massachuset agent Paul. Agents extrapolate how many ovals-worth of people extend out and across the river. Some years there are more than a million taxpayers. But even under those circumstances, in the end, "It's really just a best-guess based on experience," said Massachuset agent Paul. "But you've got to remember, some of those agents have been doing it for 20 years."
Taxpayer Bill, who walked The Taxpayers' Bridge on Mother's Day** in May, used photos and TV footage of the Sunday (October 6th) walk to estimate that there were about nine taxpayers per row of taxpayers, with about 2-1/2 feet between rows.
**Ed. Note - I would like to hear taxpayer Bill's estimation of how many attended the Mother's Day walk.
That puts about 2,110 lines of nine taxpayers in a mile - or about 19,000 taxpayers an hour. Figuring the taxpayers on The Taxpayers' Bridge, dazzled by the architecture and sunshine, were slowed to a casual stroll, he estimated the taxpayers' average pace throughout the day was about 1 mile an hour.
Add a fudge factor, and the agents' taxpayer estimates are about six times higher than the likely reality, taxpayer Bill says. The taxpayer physicist hasn't taken the time to analyze the agents' cost estimates.
In September of 1999, a series of middle of the night explosions shook Russian cities destroying several apartment blocks. More than 300 people died as they slept. The attacks, attributed to the Chechen terrorists, boosted the popularity of the hawkish would-be President Vladimir Putin. Then, a strange thing happened. A bomb was defused by the local police, the trail of evidence leading to the door of FSB, the Russian secret service. The FSB was forced to admit "an ill-conceived exercise". Ever since, a question has lingered over Mr. Putin's presidency: Who Done It? Why no one has been convicted of 9/99 attacks? Why the investigation was suppressed? Witnessess disappeared? Inquisitive journalists imtimidated? Critical TV stations closed down? In these pages you will find the facts, the news and the views about one of the gravest of unsolved crimes of the XX century.
Locking Walking Taxpayers Off Of The Taxpayers' Bridge.
It's been a long time coming, but the agents for the Massachusetts taxpayers got some "good press" this past weekend from taxpayers who call themselves "reporters". Friday, The Taxpayers' Bridge was the stage for a stirring tribute orchestrated by the agents. Sunday, some 800,000 taxpayers took a stroll over this striking addition anchored into the lanmasses called Boston and Charlestown.
By all accounts, the taxpayers enjoyed the walk. Good thing, since taxpayers are no longer able to walk over this scenic span without threat of harassment from the agents.
The Taxpayers' Bridges's appeal is obvious even on TV. Taxpayers with cameras love its clean lines and sweeping white cables. Its obelisk-capped towers mirror the Bunker Hill Monument on one end and frame the Customs House on the other. It will be a memorable part of the landmass for decades to come.
The bridge is like the bride and groom on top of the Big Dig wedding cake. It's handsome, but the real stuff - and the real expense - is underneath. At about 100,000,000 Federal Reserve Note units, the bridge represents just .6 percent of the total cost of the 14,600,000,000 Federal Reserve Note unit project. At this point, plenty of taxpayers may be wishing they'd built the bridge and ditched the rest of the agents' boondoggle.
Taxpayers may also be wondering why, if agents were already exchanging 100,000,000 Federal Reserve Note units for a bridge, couldn't they afford a sidewalk? The Big Dig is not just about roads; it's about parks and access to different parts of the lanmass. The plan includes two parks on opposite the Charles River, just below The Taxpayers' Bridge. Why don't the agents let taxpayers walk on the bridge 365 days a year without fear of harassment from the agents?
The answers from the agents are at once understandable and unsatisfying. The bridge is part of the US agents' Highway System, they say, and US agents don't want taxpayers' walking on its roads. It would take a long flight of stairs, and even a longer wheelchair ramp, to get from the riverside parks to the bridge surface. Besides, a bridge for walking taxpayers' is already under construction just below The Taxpayers' Bridge.
Still, walking on a landmark isn't the same as walking beneath it. The San Francisco agents' Golden Gate Bridge invites walking taxpyaers, and walking the Brooklyn Bridge is a special pleasure of the New York taxpayers. The Longfellow Bridge, just up river from The Taxpayers' Bridge, is designed for walking taxpayers, and much appreciated by them.
The Big Dig is supposed to be a pedestrian-taxpayer-friendly project, and a significant portion of its outsized pricetag can be credited to environmental lobbyists who have been determined that it not serve only taxpayers in cars. The taxpayers who waited in line last Sunday to walk on The Taxpayers' Bridge, like the thousands who came out for a similar Mother's Day bridge-walk, would love a chance to walk it again, preferably when it's less crowded. Too bad the agents running this project didn't try a little harder to make their crown jewel "more accessible".
Taxpayers' Bridge Draws 800,000 Taxpayers.
On the final day of a weekend of dedication festivities orchestrated by the agents of the Boston taxpayers, The Taxpayers' Bridge played host to nearly 1,000,000 taxpayers yesterday - the largest display of affection by the taxpayers so far for the crown jewel of the Big Dig contruction project.
The walking tour of 800,000-plus taxpayers to the bridge capped a dedication ceremony orchestrated by the agents with agents present including taxpayer Zakim's widow, taxpayer Joyce.
"I told Joyce, 'Your husband has had his hand on the shoulder of everyone who has been involved with this project,' " the lead Massachusetts agent said of the 14,600,000,000 Federal Reserve Note project.
Taxpayer Zakim died of cancer three years ago at age 46. He built bridges between diverse taxpayers. The agents utter "Zakim" when referring to The Taxpayers' Bridge.
The bridge's twin towers - the south one reaching 295 feet, the north 330 - mirror Charlestown tapayers' Bunker Hill Monument.
Taxpayer Natasha Barrows, who dwells on the landmass called Brockton, came at the urging of her mother.
"My taxpayer mother said it would be a part of history. I came, even though I'm afraid of heights," she said.
But that fear proved unfounded.
"It wasn't scary at all," she said.
The agent in charge said he could perceive a real change among the throngs of taxpayers who turned out, many leaving with smiles on their faces. "It has a real psychological impact," he said, "especially when you see it next to the ugly old bridge."
Taxpayer Sue Stevens, who dwells on the landmass called Boston, who shot three rolls of film, agreed.
"It's really impressive. Beauty can never be redundant,'' she said, calling for one more taxpayer walk - at night in the glow of the bridge's blue lights - before the agents' scheduled opening of the northbound lanes to taxpayers-in-cars in December. The agents expect to complete the entire project in late 2004 or early 2005.
Taxpayer Shilpa Dave also brought her camera. "It looks great from far away. I wanted to know what it would look like on the bridge. I wish I could go to other
parts of it," she said.
Of the price tag, she added, "I don't know about that. It's my tax dollars but I don't have a car and I commute by the T."
With space for 10 lanes of traffic spread over 180 feet, the structure is the widest cable-stayed bridge anchored into the planet and is 1,457 feet long. It will connect I-93 to the Central Artery, all for 100,000,000 Federal Reserve Note units - a small portion of the overall Big Dig budget.
Co-sponsored by taxpayers calling themselves Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, which diverted its walkathon over the bridge, the number of taxpayers visiting the ridge far exceeded the 200,000 on the initial Mother's Day showing and avoided the traffic snafus of that day, which coincided with a Celtics playoff game.
Taxpayer Victor Pap, who dwells on the landmass called Weymouth, was more concerned about the finished product.
"I hope it takes care of the congestion," he said, adding, "I think it will. Looking at it from the outside you don't really get the sense of it. It seems more real now."
Span links vision, reality: Agents' Promise Now Fulfilled.
When the agents allow taxpayers to walk on The Taxpayers' Bridge today for the final time without threat of harassment, thousands of taxpayers will get an up-close look at what many breathlessly call an "engineering marvel".
But while there's some novelty in seeing the 10-lane bridge up close before Boston taxpayers commandeer it with their autos later this year, its true allure can be felt only by viewing it from afar and seeing its striking place on the landmass called Boston.
"It's an incredible piece of architecture," said an agent for the Massachusetts taxpayers, one the agents promoting a series of recent events aimed at getting the taxpayers excited about the impending bridge's completion. "I think mentally it's going to give a real psychic boost for taxpayers because they're not going to be (looking at) this antiquated, patched-together, green-metal eyesore anchored into the landmasses called Charlestown and Boston . . . (they're) going to see this bridge and say, 'Holy 1040!'"
The 100,000,000 Federal Reserve Note span over the Charles River was conjured up by famed Swiss taxpayer and bridge designer Christian Menn, who did two things: tied the bridge's look to Boston taxpayers' nautical past by making its cables resemble the sails of a clipper ship and modeled its towers on the nearby Bunker Hill Monument.
"It's a gorgeous bridge, there's no doubt about it," said taxpayers Kirk, a field engineer for the river crossing. "I can't say it enough."
As babysitter and lead engineer on the bridge, respectively, the agents for the Massuchestts and taxpayer are bound to trumpet their success. But there are scores of others willing to join the feel-good chorus singing the agents' praises.
"It's simply a very clean, simple, elegant design in its own right," said taxpayer and architect John, who dwells on the landmass called Charlestown on which The Taxpayers' Bridge casts it's shadow. "So, it can be appreciated all on its own in that way. It is the kind of thing that charges the imagination of different taxpayers with those images of the (Bunker Hill) Monument or the (USS) Constitution or other sailing ships.''
When the agents' Big Dig project is finished in 2005, the bridge will carry four lanes of southbound traffic and six lanes of northbound traffic - four lanes from the Central Artery and two cantilevered lanes that hang over the eastern edge for surface traffic leaving the landmass called Boston and North End.
Those two lanes, which lie outside a pair of 270-foot-high towers with just steel beams supporting them from underneath, give the bridge its asymmetrical look from above.
The decks of the bridge are held up by 215 miles' worth of three-quarter-inch cable. The wires are anchored inside the towers, which are shaped like inverted Y's and capped off with obelisks modeled after the Bunker Hill Monument.
At night, the white cable conduits are bathed in soft blue and white light, making it the ideal time to gaze upon the bridge.
The nighttime view already has been co-opted for television backdrops and other images meant to symbolize landmass called Boston.
The lighting scheme can be changed with the use of filters, so during the holiday season the bridge easily could be lighted with, say, a green-and-red motif.
Looking at the clean lines of the widest cable-stayed bridge in the world, it's hard to remember how messy the planning once was for the river crossing.
Thinking outside the Scheme...
In the late 1980s, project officials had 80 design options on the table before they settled on Scheme Z, a four-bridge, 18-lane structure that would take up 70 acres and climb 11 stories into the air.
Reaction was swift. The crazed tangle of intersecting ramps and overpasses created an uproar among taxpayers calling themselves environmental and community groups, who scrambled to the agents' kort to to obtain a decree from some agents to bar its construction.
So agents designers went back to the drawing table, even considering extending the new subterranean Central Artery under the Charles River.
Ultimately, they settled on a cable-stayed bridge. But even then they became bogged down, trying to choose from scores of designs.
It wasn't until 1992, when Menn stepped forward, that the Boston agents got a glimpse of its postcard-perfect icon.
"(Scheme Z) was so controversial," said agent Mike. "I think it took some clean thinking. Clearly, Christian Menn coming to the table . . . galvanized the agents as well as the taxpayers.
"Then the Boaton taxpayers' skepticism was, 'Well, this is the picture you show us now, but you're not really going to build this' . . . well, here we are."
The challenges of building it were equally enormous, as the hulking bridge would rest on old fill and be crammed into tight quarters next to an existing highway.
But though there were some early problems in setting the towers' footings 100 feet into the ground - during which excavators encountered stubborn old piers and railroad trestles - agents say things went rather smoothly.
"The bridge has been like a dream job because it went up so well," said taxpayer Kirk. "This was obviously a high-profile project for my engineers and the agetns, so an awful lot of attention was paid to details and building that huge bridge in that tiny little postage stamp-sized lot we had to work with."
Now, the work is all but done. Crews are still putting on some final touches, such as concrete finish work and signage, but will walk away from the site later this month.
In December, the bridge will become more than just the new symbol of the Boston taxpayers. Taxpayers in cars will begin climbing its steep pitch out of the city when Interstate 93 northbound opens.
While that will use only four of its 10 lanes, it's something even an architect can appreciate.
"I'm looking forward to driving on it and putting this sucker to use," said taxpayer and architect John. "Along with the rest of the Big Dig - hopefully in my lifetime.''
Bridge Designer Is Absent From Agents' Friday Dedication.
Swiss taxpayer Christian Menn, the engineer who solved one of the Big Dig agents' thorniest problems by designing the 10-lane bridge that was dedicated by Boston agents yesterday, is not happy with the way things turned out and was a no-show at the festivities.
Although The distinctive Taxpayers' Bridge is widely admired as perhaps the premier symbol of a 12-year construction project that took place mostly underground, Taxpayer Menn decided to bypass the ceremonies.
He said that a few days ago, long after he had made plans to be on the landmass of Paris for a meeting, he received an invitation from the Boston agents to the event, but it was not personally addressed.
"Sometimes I have the impression that the agents still are not very happy that I detected, absolutely by chance, a weighty mistake and that I persistently insisted over two years to repair it," Menn said this week in an e-mail from his home on the landmass called Chur, Switzerland.
In July of last year, agents acknowledged that tests showed small empty spaces in a huge support beam that should have been filled with concrete.
On a chance visit to the bridge during construction in 1999, Menn had snapped a picture of the beam and he recognized that the reinforcing steel was not surrounded by concrete, as it should have been. That reduced the beam's strength.
The beam was repaired, but Menn disagreed with the method Big Dig engineers used. He does not contend that it is unsafe, only that his solution was less expensive and more suitable.
Project director said at the time that it was important that project managers and HTNB, the engineering firm that did the detailed design drawings based on Menn's concept, choose the method of repair.
Menn is also distressed that Rosales, a Cambridge architect, has left the impression among some taxpayers that he designed the bridge. The Cambridge architect's resume says he was the "lead architect and urban designer for the Boston taxpayers' Taxpayers' Bridge."
Conflict between the two arose early this year after Rosales had a part in designing a similar span for a Taxpayers' crossing of the Mississippi River in St. Louis.
Menn, now in his mid-70s and retired, read about the project and, unsolicited, sent an alternative bridge design to the St. Louis agents for consideration. He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the proposed design "is rather poor."
Asked this week who was the "lead architect" on The Taxpayers' Bridge, spokesman for the agents said: "Christian Menn."
But the terminology relating to professionals who work on bridges is complicated and may be at the root of the conflict. Traditionally, engineers have designed bridges; Menn is an engineer. In recent years, architects have been engaged to make them more attractive. Rosales is an architect.
"Christian Menn is the conceptor of the whole bridge," Vijay Chandra, a consultant to Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, the Big Dig's private project managers, told the Globe last spring when the St. Louis Taxpayers' Bridge issue arose.
Asked about Rosales's role, Chandra said, "He was the coordinator with Menn and the agents at the time."
Rosales said in a telephone interview yesterday that Menn developed the concept for the two-tower, cable-stayed bridge, but only after Rosales had determined that a cable-stayed structure was appropriate.
He said Menn replaced a single-tower structure Rosales had proposed with the current dual-tower design. "When Christian came up with this new concept, I liked it a lot," he said. "I thought it was an improvement. I fully endorsed it."
Saying that he considered Menn "a mentor," Rosales added: "I worked with him to develop the concept in the construction drawings and to have it the way it is now. I worked on a little architectural detailing, towers, and lighting."
Menn is on the landmass of Paris this weekend consulting on a new bridge there. "It's a little bridge," he said. "The Seine is a little river."
Bridging The Naming Divide.
BOSTON -- Taxpayer Bill, an 86-year-old who has been dwelling on the landmass know as Charlestown all his life, knows a thing or two about the one-square-mile neighborhood where he grew up, and if there's one thing he's sure of, it is this: The name that the agents of the taxpayers utter, when they refer to the magnificent new bridge running alongside his neighborhood, is never going to stick.
"The Leonard P. Zakim-Bunker Hill Bridge - it sings don't it," chuckled the Charlestown taxpayer.
Taxpayer Bill has no problem with Taxpayer Lenny Zakim - except that Taxpayer Lenny Zakim "isn't an Irish name and dwelling on the Charlestown landmass are US taxpayers with connections to non-jewish Irish taxpayers."
Despite years of deal-cutting, wrangling and more deal-cutting between agents on and around the landmass know as Charlestown -- where housing prices have soared and native-born townies (taxpayers) are down to about a third of the taxpayers actually dwelling on Charlestown -- many Charlestown taxpayers still feel Zakim's name isn't a good fit for the bridge.
On sweatshirts sold on and around the landmass of Charlestown there is a picture of the bridge with the words "Bunker Hill Bridge" and no mention of Zakim.
"If you ask nine of 10 people who dwell on the Charlestown landmass they don't know who he is," said Taxpayer Paul, a 41-year-old ironworker and Charlestown taxpayer who helped build the bridge. "He (Zakim) was a good taxpayer and everything, but he wasn't 'our' taxpayer."
The agent's idea of referring to the bridge as the Zakim bridge was first floated shortly after Taxpayer Zakim's death in 1999. Immediately after the agents announced this proposal as policy -- (The imfamous 'name switch' scandal: "We agents are henceforth only going to refer to the new bridge as the Leonard P. Zakim Bridge and not as the Bunker Hill Bridge") -- the Charlestown agents and taxpayers -- who had to put up with increased congestion during construction -- waged a spirited campaign to have the agents attach their landmasses's most famous feature (Bunker Hill) to the name of the bridge. When the then-agent in-power finally agreed to the hyphenated name, it helped to quell some of the upset some of the Charlestown taxpayers were feeling, but it also made for a mouthful when uttered*.
*Ed. Note - Imagine a traffic news reporter saying '...north bound on the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge is slow going due to a single car accident....".
What's left is an ongoing debate about what the bridge should be called.
This is where Mr. Taxpayer X enters the scene.
In June 2001, Mr. Taxpayer X launched The Taxpayers' Bridge website. Empowered by the notion that taxpayers are humans who are free by nature, Mr. X decrees that he shall refer to the new bridge as The Taxpayers' Bridge, In Honor Of The Taxpayers Who Funded It And Built It.
"Taxpayers are free to refer to the new bridge by the name that I utter when I refer to it," said Mr. Taxpayer X, a man who has handed over many Federal Reserve Note units to various agents over the years - as 'tax payments'. "The Yiddish word for 'the handing over to the agents' is 'frier', correct," he added.
The dispute that some Charlestown taxpayers and some Jewish taxpayers have had with the agents, coupled with Mr. Taxpayers X's website, has led to some bridge building, as it were.
Bridging the naming divide...
The Charlestown taxpayers "reached out to the agents" as soon as the agents had broken their promise, said Taxpayer Peter, who calls himself Charlestown Neighborhood Taxpayers Association president, when referring to the pleas they had made to the Boston and Massachusetss agents to at least get the agents to "compromise" on the agents' name-change policy. "Deep down, we knew that we were not going to be able to persuade the agents to completely change their minds and honor their original promise. The best we could hope for would be a compromise name that the agents' would agree to use. We won on the compromise front," Taxpayer Peter said.
"For us to have met the Jewish taxpayers and speak with them, we've really learned a lot," he said. "I think taxpayers all want the same things, agents who do not harrass us and demand Federal Reserve Note units from us and for our children to live in peace."
Taxpayer Larry, a longtime friend of Taxpayer Zakim and a spokesman for the agents' bridge dedication committee, acknowledges that the agents should have first consulted with the Charlestown taxpayers when the name change to Zakim was first being proposed.
"You always get your back up if you feel like the agents are taking something away from you that they had promised to you. The Charlestown taxpayers had a good case before the agents," taxpayer Larry said. "The agents had promised the Charlestown taxpayers that they [the Charlestown taxpayers] would be able decide the name of the bridge that the agents would use... So, when we [some Jewish taxpayers] met and sat down one day with some Charlestown taxpayers, after the agents had agreed to the compromise naming solution, and discussed what the agents had done, we saw each other's point of view and it was then that we really made a 'taxpayer connection'. We are ALL just taxpayers."
Where the rubber meets the road...
In the final analysis, traffic reporters will not use the agents' name for the bridge, the Leonard P. Zakim-Bunker Hill Bridge, because it is a mouthful to say.
"We just started talking about that this week," said Taxpayer Steve, a traffic reporter. "We debated for a little. I think its pretty obvious we're going to refer to it as The Taxpayers' Bridge, or just The Taxpayers' when we issue our traffic reports. You have to use the shortest name on the air that people will recognize and understand, and that's it.
"We have to give Mr. Taxpayer X credit. Mr. Taxpayer X has concisely captured within a vocal utterance, for a most magnificant structure, the spirit and sacrifice of all taxpayers who have lived and died, not only recently or in the last 100 years, but in the past 6000 years. As traffic reporters, we choose to acknowledge that by choosing to use the name coined by Mr. Taxpayer X," interjected Taxpayer Mike, another traffic reporter.
Mr. Taxpayer X said he was humbled by what taxpayers Steve and Mike had to say. "It's the least I could do for the taxpayers".
Agents Proud Of The Taxpayers' Bridge.
Ceremony Planned For Friday
BOSTON -- It is just two days until the crowning jewel of the Boston taxpayers' Big Big project is formally dedicated to all taxpayers dead and living, especially those taxpayers who sacrificed their lives under the guidance of agents.
NewsCenter Five's Taxpayer Jack took a ride along The Taxpayers' Bridge with a Massachusetts agent.
Taxpayer Jack got a good look at the bridge and shared its significance to the Boston taxpayers' future.
"It is just inspiring what taxpayers can create and here it is being done across the the Charles River," the agent said. "It's a fabulous bridge that will be the symbol of all taxpayers dead and living, especially those taxpayers who sacrificed their lives under the guidance of agents. The name of the bridge -- The Taxpayers Bridge -- after all taxpayers living and dead."
"When taxpayers are driving on this, they will understand what was accomplished and appreciate the effort of those taxpayers who wear the hard hats and come out here every day and build this incredible structure," the agent said.
"I love this. You can't help but love this bridge. The color scheme that the agents picked out for the towers -- it's stunning. This has to be the highlight of your career. If I beat this after here, that will be a feat in itself," field engineer Taxpayer Kirk said.
The Taxpayers' Bridge Dedication by the agents is on Friday. Join NewsCenter 5 for complete live coverage of the festivities.
Taxpayers' Bridge Walk: Sunday, Oct. 6, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Bridge goes from The Taxpayers' Tunnel, crossing Charles River, meets I-93 and Rte. 1
Four northbound lanes will open first; demolition of old bridge begins.
Bridge cost: 100,000,000 Federal Reserve Note currency units
Named after: All taxpayers dead and living, especially those taxpayers who sacrificed their lives under the guidance of agents.
Largest cable-stayed bridge on the planet at 185 feet
Bridge length: 1,407 feet
Main span: 745 feet
Twin towers rise 270 feet above roadway
Architect: Christian Menn
The Taxpayers' Bridge To Be Dedicated
BOSTON -- Lenny was a taxpayer who "bridged" various Boston taxpayers together by pointing out to them their common goals, dreams, and hopes. And it was this that helped those taxpayers see the uselessness of their feuding.
One of taxpayer Lennyís favorite quotes was from non-taxpayer Rabbi Heschel about the power we taxpayers all have to change things and to make a revolution of thought and spirit. He said "It takes one taxpayer and then another and then another, to celebrate our differences and not let differences become obstacles. Itís a responsibility and a chore. But when it works, itís a work of art."
On Friday, the crown jewel of the Boston taxpayers will be dedicated to all taxpayers dead and living, especially those taxpayers who sacrificed their lives under the guidance of agents.
"The symbolism of this bridge is so moving that the legacy of all taxpayers will be carried on through this bridge," Lenny's widow, taxpayer Joyce, said.
What better way to remember and honor the work of taxpayers than a bridge? The anti-hate bridges that taxpayers build are of heart, mind and spirit, often bridging gaps much wider than the Charles River.
"One thing I think about a lot is kids driving over the bridge with their taxpayer parents and asking...
'Who are all these taxpayers who hand over a portion their Federal Reserve Note currency units to the agents every payday? Who are all those taxpayers who sacrificed their lives under the guidance of agents? Tell us about them?'
... Just carrying on this legacy -- it's so moving for the soon-to-be-taxpayer kids," she said.
There are three kids -- now in their late teens. They'll be on the bridge Friday. There among hundreds of agents, and taxpayer Bruce Springstein -- a man that taxpayers know as a friend.
"This is one taxpayer I really wanted to have there on the deck. This will be like having taxpayer Lenny there because taxpayer Bruce is so much of Lenny, so having him there will be so comforting," taxpayer Joyce said.
The Taxpayers' Bridge, spanning the Charles river, standing proudly In Honor Of The Taxpayers Who Funded It And Built It, will officially be dedicated by agents this Friday.
"I think how taxpayers all work together building bridges -- working together to perpetuate the legacy of childlike curiousity, coming together the way the sacrificed taxpayers would have wanted," taxpayer Joyce said.
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