Lies, Half-Truths and Empty Promises: The Human Shell Game of Methadone Mile Led by Wu and Ignored by the Media

We will be the first to admit, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu did not cause the atrocity that has become known as Methadone Mile, but she sure as shit hasn’t fixed it. After all, we did coin the name “Marty’s Mile,” but then again Wu did promise to make it a top priority on the campaign trail. Wu, the Chicagoan who openly talks about radically changing Boston and its beloved identity, has seemingly shown her true colors with her indifference to public safety and the quality of life for her constituents, city employees and taxpaying businesses in the area of Mass and Cass.

Atkins Street on Methadone mile both in 2019 and then in 2022

The images of this area over the years are heartbreaking, overwhelming and infuriating. One thing these images aren’t doing is changing. The images our photographer took today, October 19, 2022 are just as bad as the ones we’ve taken before Wu’s ascension to power in Boston. Over her time in office, Wu has shown that she is a selfish leader who systematically has prioritized her political career and aspirations over the well-being of our city. While in office, she has steamrolled city employees’ labor rights, deepened racial divides in the city, ignored the ever-growing homeless population, reduced public safety resources in at-risk minority communities, and weaponized the police to stop free speech in its tracks (as rude as the speech may be, it’s still protected).

During her Mayoral campaign, Wu pledged to prioritize combatting the issues of homelessness and public drug use saying it was “truly a crisis, not just in one part of the city.” She went on to make further promises, including hiring “a cabinet-level chief of Mass. and Cass” to coordinate the city’s efforts in response to the crisis. In one debate, Wu championed the solution of reopening Long Island (a former sanctuary for the homeless until its close in 2014) saying, “through ferry service… we can make sure we’re also building a recovery campus back on the island.” None of these promises have come to fruition. In typical Wu fashion, she has only provided the people of Boston with lip service and no action.

Also problematic is the complacency within the media, allowing Mayor Wu to talk the talk without walking the walk. Some local media outlets have gone as far as to blatantly ignore Wu’s hypocrisy, failing to hold her accountable. Today, on Wu’s orders, hundreds of homeless who live on Methadone Mile were moved less than 150 feet away from Southhampton Street to Atkins Street in what can only be described as a human shell game. This is not a solution, this is public theater. Worsening the situation, the local reporters on the scene did nothing more than regurgitate the Mayor’s talking points – a pathetic example of why trust in the media is at historic lows. Where were the tough questions? Where is the accountability? Where is the independent reporting of facts?

Our city is crumbling and ripping apart at the seams, and we cannot solely blame our hack of a Mayor and apathetic city council. We must also recognize that the media is, too, culpable and should be called out. Shame on every person on Southhampton Street today who claim to be “reporters” or “journalists.” Do your job. Do better. The people of Boston and this city’s future are relying on you. We hope that someone, anyone, will take the initiative tomorrow at the Mayor’s press conference at Clifford Playground to actually ask some tough questions and not allow her to continue to ignore the people of Boston. We are all sick of it and have had enough. We deserve better – better from her and better from our local journalists.