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There are so many feelings going through my head after news that Boston City Councilor Felix G. Arroyo announced his candidacy for mayor, making him the first Latino in the city’s history to run for this post.

The strongest feeling, of course, is one of pride and joy. Arroyo is a Boston boricua, the son-in-law of Hector Luis Acevedo, a former mayor of San Juan. Having lived and worked in my adopted home city since 1986, yesterday’s announcement marked another turning point that Boston is indeed a changing city, one that is changing for the better.

Felix Arroyo

I have rarely felt like this during my time in the self-proclaimed Hub of the Universe, since to me, Boston has always been a city of separate neighborhoods that rarely get connected. The city’s ugly racial past of the 1970s, based on a failed social experiment, lingered for a while—yes, even on the Harvard campus in the mid-1980s. There was this unspoken rule in Boston that the city’s neighborhoods should never mix. The city was segregated: Bostonians would converge in the city’s downtown center for work each day, but when it was time to go home, different groups of people when to their different neighborhoods. Don’t cause any problems. Just know your place.

That image of Boston, of course, has changed, especially with the city’s perceptions of Latinos. I have always credited this to the Red Sox. I have been going to Fenway Park since 1986, and as much as I have always loved it, I truly fell madly in love with it when Pedro Martínez started pitching for the team in the late 1990s. The atmosphere whenever Pedro pitched was magical, but it also brought out so many fans who would have never gone to a Red Sox game before Pedro pitched. Spanish conversations became more common in the stands, Dominican flags flew, and when I heard 440’s “Guavaberry” over the stadium’s speakers for the first time, I knew that a another real part of the city, one that was rarely seen inside one of the city’s most beloved gathering places, was starting to show up.

Then, David Ortiz became a legend in 2004, and all of a sudden it was cool to be Latino in Boston. The Big Papi Effect did more for Boston Latinos than almost anything else. We had arrived.

Arroyo’s news is just the latest example. Boston’s Latino population continues to grow rapidly, and it is part of the reason that Boston is now a “majority-minority city,” which means that “53 percent of residents are of a non-white race/ethnicity.” I do believe that Arroyo will attract new Latino voters, no doubt. But don’t take my word for it, I will let my good friend and fellow WGBH Radio contributor Marcela García explain. Last night, Marcela talked Arroyo on WGBH’s “Greater Boston” show.

Arroyo’s bid matters. Is it on the same level as when the city’s Irish population earned their political stripes at the turn of the century, culminating in the mayoral reign of James Michael Curley? I would argue yes. Granted, Arroyo might not win this year (it is going to be a tough race), but if Boston Latinos want to be part of the city’s political structure, they need to start somewhere. Arroyo could be that.

Yes, Marcela is right that Arroyo would be the first person to shun the “first Latino candidate” label, but he will still energize people. And the other guest who disagreed with her, Jarrett Berrios (coincidentally a Harvard classmate of mine), misses the point. The city now had its first Latino candidate for mayor and Latino voters should just worry about the issues and think beyond ethnicity politics? Sorry, Jarrett, that argument doesn’t work. You seriously don’t think that ethnicity politics no longer occurs in Boston? Do I need to bring you to a South Boston union hall to show you that it still does?

Sure, Arroyo still has to prove himself, but let’s put this all into perspective. This is history.

“I am a son of Boston. I love my city. I love Boston. I believe in ­Boston because I know that by working together we can and we will move Boston forward.”

Spoken like a true Bostonian. Who also happens to be Puerto Rican and Latino. To me, that is a winning combination, and no one can kill my buzz this morning.

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“Only mediocrity is safe. Get ready to be attacked, and be the best.” Paulo Coehlo

When this blog started in 2008 (you know, when Twitter was still fun and Facebook was still cool), the online world was a playground of possibilities.

Connections were made, real friendships were started, opportunities came and went.

Relationships started and relationships fizzled.

Of those fizzled relationships, some just gradually disappeared amicably and some ended nastily.

Yet many relationships endured and got even deeper. I could not even begin to list how many people I have met online (and then in real life) who are as much a part of my life now than my fanatical love of bad sports teams from Boston.

Fast forward to 2012.

Social media has gone “mainstream” and everyone is offering advice and opinions. Brands are paying attention (which is both bad and good). Now everyone has the way to “succeed” in social media, to share the WAY that will work for you. But the fact is simple: there is no RIGHT WAY, there is no ONE WAY, there is no WINNING FORMULA to succeed, no matter what you use social media for.

The ONLY TRUE WAY to find that success is this: never, never, never stop being yourself. Never ever lose your passion of why you do what you do in the first place. Be real, be true, be helpful, be giving, be authentic, and be transparent.

Which leads me to the point of this blog: don’t ever give up. For example, if the world is questioning the fact that you are just a “crab in a bucket,” go build your own bucket and find like-minded crabs. Walk away from the negative energy and move on. Use that block feature on Twitter and Facebook, it’s ok, we all use it. Stop worrying about what others say about you and just focus on what you can control. By being who you truly are, others who see you true essence will begin to show up. And they will stay. Those who don’t will never care, so why waste your time trying to win them over?

We are at a momentous moment in the world’s history, where 140 characters or one photo can impact change. The old business guard is freaking out because the one-way world (me have product/me market product/you buy product) is over. Now the business model is two-way (me have product, so?, me want you to buy product/no, because your product sucks, I am going to make my own product/ok, how can I help?). Everyone and everything, from the big Fortune 500 company to the blogger in some corner of the world, are on the same playing field.

That is the crossroads where we are at right now. There will be those who see social media as a logical extension of how business has been done for centuries. They are the mainstream, the safe ones, the ones who will tell you, “Hey, don’t rock the boat because if you do, you will bring others down with you. You’ll be a crab in a bucket.” Then there are those who see social media as the NEW WAY, and it will crush the OLD WAY eventually. Those who thought safely will wonder what happened. Those who didn’t, who created their own buckets and invited their favorite crabs, will be leading the charge in the paradigm shift.

My dear friend, Sarah Robinson (she of the original posse), wrote a piece last year that has resonated with me the last few months. Called, “Crabs in Bucket,” Sarah tells of the time she tweeted Paolo Coehlo after the great writer tweeted the quote at the top of this post. Let her words explain:

Fast forward to this morning. As I was drinking my coffee and perusing my twitter stream, and up pops this gem from @paulocoelho (He wrote The Alchemist, one of my all time favorite books): “Only mediocrity is safe. Get ready to be attacked, and be the best.”

Maybe it was the early hour. Maybe it was my post-event mushy brain. I don’t know. But the minute I read Paulo’s tweet, I thought of those crabs in a bucket. So I sent him this tweet: “I’m thinking of crabs in a bucket. They always try to pull down the one who’s figured out how to escape.”

So now I’m thinking about the Escaping Mediocrity journey with this lens. There will always be people who will subtly or not so subtly try to keep us from escaping. Why? Because our escape threatens their mediocre existence. Pulling us down, sabotaging our efforts, picking apart our brilliant ideas – all of that keeps them feeling safe. And living undisturbed mediocre lives.

So what if we added a new piece to the crab mentality picture? Imagine a crab, or a group of crabs on the other side of the bucket building a ladder to aid your escape. They managed to crawl out of the bucket in spite of all the energetic attempts to pull them backwards. Because they’ve tasted freedom and they know your struggle, they are putting energy into aiding and abetting your escape.

I believe that for those of us determined to get out of the bucket, such a group exists. It may take some time to find them, but they are there, ready throw a safety rope over the edge and pull us out.

Start listening for them. Start looking for them. They are there. Reach just a little further and they’ll meet you at the edge of the bucket.

Escape the big bucket now. Go get your own bucket and fill it with the coolest crabs you know. Together, you can change the world.

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RELEASED TODAY

Whole Foods Market® opens its doors in Jamaica Plain

Store features include expansive bulk offerings, pizza oven and prepared foods

Jamaica Plain, Mass., (October 31, 2011) – Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM), the world’s leading natural and organic supermarket and America’s first national certified organic grocer, opened the doors of the newest location, in Jamaica Plain, today.

The store, which spans more than 13,700 square feet and employs 104 full and part time team members will offer the Jamaica Plain community access to the freshest and healthiest local, natural and organic products at an affordable price.

“We are so pleased to open our doors in Hyde Square. We have created a beautiful store that will be a great match for the Jamaica Plain community,” says Store Team Leader, Mike Walker. “It is particularly exciting for us to have the chance now to really show our neighbors what Whole Foods Market offers as responsible, active community partners.”

The new store, located at 413 Centre Street is the result of a complete renovation of the interior of the existing space. Modeled for energy efficiency, Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain boasts a number of green technologies, including LED lighting and state of the art refrigeration systems. The parking lot, which offers 68 spaces, also has an electric car charging station as well as racks for 15 bikes and a self-service bike repair station.

No two Whole Foods Market stores are alike. Each store is designed to reflect the community it serves. Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain was designed to echo the vibrant culture of Hyde Square, while paying homage to the Googie style of architecture that makes the building so unique.

The products carried in Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain are also a reflection of the community. From locally produced to ethnically influenced selections, the shelves are stocked with affordably priced products that meet the company’s strict quality standards.

Along with the grocery, produce, meat, seafood, specialty, bakery and Whole Body departments, Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain offers an expanded bulk department featuring a wide selection of beans, grains, nuts, seeds and dried fruits.

For customers looking for convenience, Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain offers a great variety of prepared foods, including a large salad bar and hot bar, as well as a pizza oven and Panini station.

“Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain is unlike any of our other stores,” says Walker. “We are so excited for longtime Whole Foods Market shoppers and the folks who haven’t ever had the opportunity to shop with us before, to come see what we have created just for them!”

Jamaica Plain Store Information:

Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain

Address: 413 Centre St. Jamaica Plain, MA

Phone: 617.553.5400

Hours of operation: 8:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m. daily

 

 

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Once in a while, surprises happen, and today on Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub, Red Sox principal owner John Henry made a surprise visit to the station’s afternoon show with Tony Massarotti and Michael Felger.

(Credit: Mark Bertrand)

“The author of the story has gone on the record as saying we did not participate in that,” Henry told Felger and Massarotti Friday afternoon.

“I don’t condemn Bob Hohler for writing a story,” said Henry. “I condemn personal things coming out… About medication, about someone’s marital life.”

“Blaming me personally for being the person who said those things… that’s why I came here. You’re misleading the public.”

Henry, who is also the principal owner of Liverpool FC, could not confirm who the “team sources” were that provided information about former Red Sox manager Terry Francona’s marital and medical issues. He also did not confirm that an internal meeting to weed out the sources had occurred.

Which leads us to this point: if Henry was so adamant today about how he was being accused, why then did he not go on record BEFORE The Globe story was written and say the article was “reprehensible.”

This is classic PR strategy gone wrong in our opinion. It is clear that Red Sox ownership has been hit hard for The Globe article, and Henry’s appearance on Boston radio today was meant to try and soften the criticism. But as the lead chief of his organization, calling out smear campaigns five days after the fact raises several questions that the Sox should answer. In the meantime, the Sox chaos continues, and Boston fans are the losers here.

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I love the Boston Red Sox. Ever since I was born again during the Era of Nomah and shed the last of my Evil Empire allegiance, the Red Sox have become a fabric of my life, my daily oxygen. So I devour anything that is Red Sox, and today’s Boston Globe story about the factors that led to the team’s epic September collapse was required reading for me.

The piece, written by the excellent Bob Hohler with help from Nick Cafardo and Peter Abraham, reveals the story of a team in turmoil, with so much detail that is begs the question: are the owners of Red Sox vindictive employers? Are they using the media to disclose personal and painful information about the manager, Terry Francona, that in essence, ownership stop supporting? And what does it say about The Globe, which is owned by The New York Times, who by the way, is a minority of the Red Sox.

This article, which cites several anonymous sources from all levels of the Red Sox organization, reveals way too much information about Francona and why he left as the team’s manager. It is a shameless and heartless PR attempt to smear and discredit the accomplishments of a manager who has won two World Series in the 21st century for a franchise that before 2004, had not won since 1918.

As the article states:

Team sources said Francona, who has acknowledged losing influence with some former team leaders, appeared distracted during the season by issues related to his troubled marriage and to his health.

Francona spent the season living in a hotel after he moved out of the Brookline home he shared with Jacque, his wife of nearly 30 years. But he adamantly denied his marital problems affected his job performance.

Translation: Francona was not a good employee because he had marital issues and personal problems. Hence, he was no longer capable of remaining an employee of the organization.

Or this:

Team sources also expressed concern that Francona’s performance may have been affected by his use of pain medication, which he also vehemently denied. Francona said he has taken pain medicine for many years, particularly after multiple knee surgeries. He said he used painkillers after knee surgery last October and used them during the season to relieve the discomfort of doctors draining blood from his knee at least five times.

So instead of placing the blame on bad free agent signings (John Lackey, Carl Crawford, to name just two), instead of actually coming out in public during the year á la George Steinbrenner and demanding that the team ship into shape, the ownership of the Boston Red Sox (John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino) stayed silent during the year, which suggests that they never wanted to publicly support Francona during his time of personal crisis in the first place, and then in a classic “not out fault” move, they went ahead and reveal private information that should be kept between an employer and its employee. Does Francona have a good lawyer?

We will say that Francona has stayed classy throughout this fractured relationship. As he told The Globe:

“It makes me angry that people say these things because I’ve busted my [butt] to be the best manager I can be,’’ Francona said. “I wasn’t terribly successful this year, but I worked harder and spent more time at the ballpark this year than I ever did.’

Francona has every right to be angry. It was clear that he handled his departure from the team with class a few weeks ago, but now the team has decided to share personal information about him that quite frankly have nothing to do with his job performance? If you are not happy with his skills as a manager, just say that he couldn’t handle his players right this year. But to suggest that it was because he was worried about his marriage and he was on painkillers is sad.

No wonder Boston GM Theo Epstein is leaving the Red Sox and going to the Chicago Cubs.

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It seems that no matter what Whole Foods does to promote its commitment to the Boston community, it continues to answer the critics, even though it is now only about 200 people who have gone on record to oppose the construction of a new Whole Foods supermarket in the Hyde Square section of Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

Here is the email that the anti-Whole Foods group, Whose Foods?, issued on the morning of October 3:

Whole Foods must pay JP employees a living wage

Last Wednesday, Whole Foods market announced a job fair in Jamaica Plain this week. While the fair is an important step towards restoring jobs to 415 Centre St., Whole Foods has offered no guarantee that those jobs will pay well enough for workers to actually live in JP without housing assistance.

Nearly 200 neighbors have signed a statement demanding that Whole Foods pay a living wage to workers residing in Jamaica Plain and enter a binding agreement. Contrary to their glossy image, JP Whole Foods’ entry-level wages are below the living wage in Boston — $10 an hour to start, more than $3 an hour below what our city has determined to be a wage sufficient to keep a family of four on or above the poverty line.1 Whole Foods should pay all its workers a living wage.

Why does Jamaica Plain need a binding agreement to trust that Whole Foods will do right? Because Whole Foods has shown time and time again that it will do whatever it can to cut costs at the expense of good jobs. Whole Foods is the second largest non-union food retailer in the United States after Wal-Mart, and has also refused to hire union electricians for the Jamaica Plain store’s construction despite daily picketing by the IBEW for the last two weeks at the location. The Whose Foods / Whose Community? Coalition for an Affordable and Diverse JP stands in solidarity with the picketers.

Neighbors will continue to demand that Whole Foods pay its workers a living wage by entering into a binding agreement with Jamaica Plain. The agreement should also provide funding for anti-displacement work, affordable housing, youth programs, food assistance, and local business assistance.

By this afternoon, Whole Foods’ Northeast Regional Office had sent us a statement about the Whose Foods? email. Here it is:

Whole Foods Market is proud to be among the highest paying employers in the grocery industry.  Beyond paying above what our competitors pay, we offer benefits to full and part time employees, as well as a 20% discount on all Whole Foods Market purchases. Our generous wage and benefits package along with the fact that 70% of our team members are full time, are among the reasons we have been named on Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” every year, for the past 14 years.  We would encourage anyone with concerns about our employees earning a living wage to visit our website for a full outline of our benefits.  www.wholefoodsmarket.com/careers

Prior to a new store opening, Whole Foods Market uses an open shop bid process to request and receive competitive bids for goods and services involved in the construction process. Contractors bid on the identical job and we make our decision based on quality and price — which is smart and standard business practice.

Whole Foods Market supports the rights of all workers, union and non-union, to work in a safe environment that is free from discrimination, harassment, and any other unlawful conduct. We work diligently to comply with all local, state and federal labor laws and we work hard to find the best partners to help us build our new stores. More than 50% of the sub-contractors that we hired for the new Jamaica Plain store are, in fact, union trade organizations.

In the end, the opinions of 200 people (some of whom don’t even live in JP) have been heard. Whole Foods has literally gone out of its way to respond their critics. With growing unemployment in this country, isn’t it time to just move on and let Whole Foods run a business? As people around the United States express their rage against corporations, they should be lucky that Whole Foods is actually the kind of corporation this country needs more of.

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Maybe it was a publicity stunt that went totally wrong, or maybe BarstoolSports.com really had no problems with their decision last week to publish a naked photo of Tom’s Brady 2-year-old frolicking on a beach in Costa Rica, but yesterday BS founder David Portnoy got a visit from the Massachusetts State Police and now the photo is no longer on the site.

As reported by The Boston Globe today, Portnoy told the paper that state troopers showed up at his Milton home and asked Portnoy to take the the photo down from the site.

“I’ve never had cops knock on my door for anything in my life,’’ Portnoy said in an interview yesterday. “That is not a coincidence that this is one of the first times I’ve taken something down.’’

In addition, the Globe article also reported that Attorney General Martha Coakley said that the police went to talk with Portnoy as a first step to determine if Portnoy’s actions fell under child exploitation laws. Coakley also said that she was “grateful” that the photo came down.

The article continues by questioning the Portnoy’s first amendment rights, and also revealed that the modeling agency of Brady’s wife —Gisel Bundchen— sent Portnoy a cease-and-desist letter:

“I think it’s a real stretch that this is a criminal matter,’’ said Jonathan M. Albano, a Boston lawyer who specializes in media law. “And there’s an inherent element of coercion when civilians are faced with police in uniforms.’’

Portnoy said that he did not feel pressured to remove the posting, but wrote on his site that “when staties show up at your door, it’s hard to say no.’’

The free speech specialists said that law enforcement should not intervene in such a situation unless they have already made a determination that a posting may be criminal.

Portnoy said he removed the post shortly after police visited his home Friday evening. He had previously taken it down briefly after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the modeling agency of Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, but soon reposted it.

Coakley said her office found the picture “troubling, to say the least.’’ She said her office was investigating whether the post amounted to child exploitation, but after speaking with him determined charges were not warranted.

“We went to see Mr. Portnoy and asked if he would be willing to remove it,’’ she said. “He was, and we’re grateful for that. We think that was the right result and, in light of all of that, we believe that the matter is closed.’’

In the meantime, Portnoy faces a lifetime ban from WEEI sports radio in Boston. However, he made appearances on The Howard Stern Show and local public radio yesterday. According to the Globe, Portnoy remains “unapologetic.”

“I obviously still stand by the fact I had every right to do everything I did, but I’m not looking to make cops jobs more difficult than it already is, so I complied,’’ Portnoy wrote. “I went with my gut, and my gut said just make it easy on everybody at this point.’’

“We’ve done a million Brady blogs,’’ Portnoy said. “Every one of them, we try to put a different spin on why he’s the best. For this, the pictures we had, that was the spin. The content – everybody’s focusing on the headline, but if you read the text below it, it is clearly about Tom Brady.’’

He dismissed the idea that he meant the post as a publicity stunt, saying he had “no intention of this going viral.’’

“We are a Boston blog,’’ he said. “We have a long history of posting Brady photos. Whatever Tom Brady does, we talk about.’’

During the opening of the Stern show, the self-proclaimed king of all media agreed with Coakley and others, when he said the following:

Stern: “Dave, people said you must take this down, it’s kiddie porn. And I saw the picture and, quite frankly, I do think it’s kiddie porn. I don’t think you should put a picture of a 2-year-old nude.”

Below is a quick video summary from The Boston Globe about this story:

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