By Dave Wedge | The Boston Herald
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
The new bikes, paid for through partnerships with private companies, are plastered with the word “Hubway,” the city seal and “Thomas M. Menino, Mayor.” Each bike also bears logos for chief sponsor New Balance.
“Like with any of our public-private partnerships, the city is represented,” Menino spokeswoman Dot Joyce said of the barely disguised mayoral ads.
In 2005, the mayor was slammed by rivals for slapping his name all over the city. Menino’s name is etched on everything from hospital and library wings to billboards at Logan International Airport to fancy signs welcoming people into city neighborhoods.
Jason Tait, spokesman for the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, said, “Incumbents can place their names and seals of their office on property, and we generally don’t view those name placements as in-kind contributions.”
The mayor has touted the Hubway program as a way to boost healthy, environmentally friendly transportation. The program has already exceeded expectations as organizers claim the bikes were used 37,000 times in the first month.
Bikers were unfazed by the privately funded mayoral ads.
“I could care less. I think it’s a great program. I ride every day, even in the rain,” said Emily Mowbray, 46, of Natick, picking up a bike on Boylston Street. “It’s the same thing as when you come into Massachusetts and you see the sign that says ‘Welcome to Massachusetts’ and you see the governor’s name.”
Ira Kantor contributed to this report.