Glamour boy Mitt Romney took the podium this morning in the former Janus Fabrications facility in "The Box District," a defunct industrial area of Chelsea slated for transformation into "a vital residential neighborhood." He's flanked above by Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, left, and Secretary of Environmental Affairs Stephen Pritchard. We were taken with the Governor's reference to the "visual effect" of the cityscape that would result from anti-sprawl, smart-growth development, an example, perhaps, of what An Army of Davids author Glenn Reynolds calls "a Virginia Postrel moment,' illustrating that asthetic values are becoming a major driver of economic activity.
Governor Mitt breezed in and out of Chelsea this morning to officiate at ceremonies celebrating Commonwealth Capital funding of a smart-growth revitalization project -- retooling existing buildings for new uses, new construction clustered near existing infrastructure -- Tuck's been involved in for years as a board member and treasurer of Chelsea Neighborhood Housing Services. Initiated by CNHS, "The Box District" plan benefitted by having strong support and assistance from the City of Chelsea and the state's Office for Commonwealth Development, the Governor's brainchild that brought together transportation, housing, energy and the environment under one roof.
Governor Romney, Lieuetenant Governor Healey -- our own favored candidate for next Governor of the Commonwealth -- and Douglas Foy, who recently stepped down as the state's first Secretary of the Office for Commonwealth Development.
Environmental advocate Douglas Foy -- who quit his post as Secretary of the Office for Commonwealth Development last month after Romney said he would not run for reelection -- was there. It was smiles and hearty handshakes and congratulations all around, but when the Governor referred to Foy, he hinted at tensions behind the facade -- a little googling later on suggested Foy and his boss didn't always see eye to eye. Those windmills proposed for Teddy Kennedy's "backyard" in Nantucket Sound, for example: Foy was in favor, Romney against. Gesturing towards Foy during this morning's ceremonies, the Gov quipped:
We agree almost 99 per cent of the time, and when we don't agree, I'm probably wrong.
Can you say smooth? Trying for a bit of humor as he was finishing up his own remarks, Secretary Foy ventured "and now I'll exit stage right . . . or is it left?" mock looking for guidance to Romney, who replied with perfect comic timing:
Definitely stage left.
We'd caught our gorgeous Governor during Fox & Friends earlier fielding the inevitable anchorly attempt to get him to come right out and say he's running for president. Steve Doucy had teased, "We need a scoop. Will you announce today to help us out?" Being one of those clowns who will do anything for a laugh, we picked up on that when our turn came to go eyeball to eyeball with the great man:
You wouldn't tell Steve Doucy, so how about me? I need a scoop for my blog.
And yes, he's every bit as handsome in person. We would have walked a mile (that's about how far the old Janus Fabrications facility is from our doorstep) just to experience the physical beauty, personal charm and perfect grooming up close. Talk about Postrel moments. When it comes to choosing our leaders, aesthetics are right up there with intelligence and shared values and whatever else motivates our polling-booth behavior.
Update: Official announcement from the Governor's Office.