My predictions for 2012.
1. Willard ‘Mitt’ Romney
Starting with the most-timely prediction, by the end of day today, the results of the Iowa caucus will be in. My prediction is a virtual tie between ex-Governor Mitt Romney, current US Congressman Ron Paul, and ex-US Senator Rick Santorum.
It doesn’t matter. In my opinion, all of the candidates stink like garbage, which is why I’m going out on a limb in predicting the Republican nominee for US President won’t be decided until August’s GOP convention. There will be a brokered convention and, in an incredible turn of events, Newt Gingrich will be nominated. He’ll end up losing to President Obama. People fear change.
2. Local real estate market / economy
The downtown Boston residential real estate market is much stronger than the US as a whole. In 2011, sales volume was down 15% from its 2007 high, but median and average sales prices were up. The new year will bring much of the same.
We’re seeing a lot of residential construction going on these days - everywhere you look you see an apartment building going up. Can Boston handle the extra supply? You bet. Worst case scenario is the towers are built but the developers end up cutting prices to find tenants - would that be so bad?
Seriously, we need more housing and it appears people prefer to rent, right now. If we want to encourage them to move to and stay in Boston, we need to lower the cost of living. More supply will help with that problem.
Due to population shifts, the city must redraw its nine city council districts every decade.
All hell broke loose after Councilor Bill Linehan his draft redistricting map. His proposal would split Chinatown between two districts, which could dilute their strength as a homogeneous voting block.
My prediction is that, once all is said and done, Chinatown will remain whole while the South End is divided (again) with Ward 4 Precinct 1 moving from District 2 to District 8.
I’m betting the boundaries for District 6 and District 8 will remain the same as proposed, which means Councilors O’Malley and Ross would end up in the same district, requiring them to battle each other in the Fall of 2013, except Councilor Ross won’t be living there any longer ...
4. Michael Ross
District 8 Boston City Councilor Michael Ross announced in 2011 that he had formed an “exploratory committee” to help him decide whether to run in the 4th US Congressional District. While popular with his city-based constituents, there’s no guarantee Mr. Ross would win, since the district geographically is mostly non-Boston based.
For Councilor Ross to be taken seriously, he’d need to move out of Boston. Trouble is, he wouldn’t get much respect from Bostonians if he moved to Newton this year, lost, and then moved back to Mission Hill to run for re-election for city council. So it’s a one-way trip.
My prediction: He’s going for it! And, wins the whole thing!
5. Casino corruption
On November 12, 2011, Governor Deval Patrick made gambling legal in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. By November 12, 2012, the first (of many) accused felon will be behind bars awaiting trial on charges of either bribery, conspiracy, extortion, fraud, money laundering, or racketeering, years before construction of any casinos has actually begun.
But, we’ll have jobs!
6. Drug overdoses
It’s estimated that more than 800 people die from drug overdoses in Massachusetts, each year. In 2011, there was one rock star who died of a (suspected) drug overdose. Guess which one we read more about on Boston.com? In 2009 alone, there were 36,039 non-fatal opioid-related (oxycodone, morphine, codine) cases among Massachusetts residents.
Between 2002 and 2007, 78 soldiers from Massachusetts died in foreign wars. During the same time, 3,265 Mass residents died of opiate-related overdoses. Each death is different, and I’m not suggesting one is more important than the other. But, why are these deaths being ignored?
Prediction: More of the same in 2012.
7. Martha Walz
State Representative Martha ‘Marty’ Walz has spent the past several years trying to usurp city control of what happens in her district.
Unhappy that the city’s leadership won’t do what she’d prefer, she’s trying to get a state law passed that would essentially ban construction of any tall building in downtown Boston.
At the end of 2011, she submitted legislation that would prohibit Boston’s city clerk from collecting fees for performing marriage ceremonies during the work day.
Both are legitimate issues, but something the city should decide for itself, not the state.
Prediction: Again, ore of the same in 2012.
8. Boston Common
The Boston Common is now basically a multi-acre carnival ride. It is now the summertime location of that heinous, unsightly carousel and will soon be home to a privately-run restaurant. It’s a shame.
No doubt, in 2012 rude pet owners will continue to flout city rules and regulations by letting their dogs off their leashes, causing disruption and a safety hazard (public and health) for the rest of us.
9. Downtown Crossing
Will we see the sale of the Filene’s lot to a new developer in 2012? I’m guessing yes. Perhaps the project will still be mixed-use; a hotel, apartments, perhaps a big-box department store (maybe something besides Target, even?).
10. Fidelity succession
Edward “Ned” Johnson, III, is chairman and chief executive officer at Fidelity Investments, one of the city’s most-influential businesses. He’s 81 years old. My prediction is that he will retire, this year, or at least give up his chief executive title. The open question is, will Fidelity stay locally-owned when he goes, or will they sell themselves off to a bank?
Following the spring release of their new album, and after another successful stint for Steven Tyler as “American Idol’” judge, I predict Aerosmith will tour again. No Fenway Park appearance in 2012, but don’t rule out 2013.
12. Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox will take the World Series in 4 straight. Nomah!!
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