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Boston city councilors, Green Line Extension among Jon Keller’s top Massachusetts turkeys in 2023


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BOSTON – Turkeys are everywhere and not just on your Thanksgiving table. And if we keep in mind the Urban Dictionary definition of a turkey – “a person or thing who has done something stupid, wrong, moronic or plain dumb” – it’s clear there are plenty of them on the local scene.

Here are a few that made our 2023 list:

Boston City Councilors

“They’re viewing this exercise as an all-out assault on Catholic life in Boston, and it’s not lost on them that the person who’s leading the charge is a Protestant,” said Boston City Councilor Frank Baker during a debate over redistricting to howls of protest from friend and foe alike.

But Baker wasn’t the only member of that body to make a turkey of himself this year.

Councilor Kendra Lara’s bizarre car crash in June exposed a driving record described by a colleague as that of a “habitual scofflaw.” And Councilor Ricardo Arroyo got caught conspiring with the U.S. Attorney to leak dirt on a political opponent.

Fowl behavior befitting a couple of political turkeys, who were retired by the voters in September’s preliminary election.

Kelly Ayotte

“We are one election away from becoming Massachusetts in New Hampshire, and I’m not going to let that happen,” said former Senator Kelly Ayotte as she kicked off a run for governor by recycling the oldest, most tired trope in the New Hampshire political playbook.

Yes, about a third of likely GOP voters in New Hampshire say there are too many migrants from Massachusetts. And about a third see it as the hub of the regional economy, home to their favorite sports teams, or have no feelings about it at all.

So not only is Ayotte’s tactic dated and cheap, it’s not likely to work very well. It’s like fat-saturated turkey stuffing – devoid of nutritional value.

Pickleball-hating vandals

What was that crumpled pile of debris at the side of a public tennis court in Needham last spring? The work of pickleball-hating vandals. “Somebody came by and cut four of the nets right down the middle so they’re completely unusable,” explained one pickleball player.

Really? Ticked-off tennis players apparently vandalizing pickleball equipment because they don’t like sharing the public courts?

This is what happens when the human mind is replaced by turkey brains.

Green Line Extension

And finally, you may recall the 2022 celebration as the costly, long-delayed Green Line Extension finally opened. In the fall of 2022, all the pols were there.

But this year, celebration turned to consternation and anger at the turkeys who oversaw faulty track construction that slowed trains to a crawl and hid the problems from us.

Turkey is expensive these days, but $2.3 billion for this one? Outrageous. 

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