Happening Today

GOP Convention, Day II

Delegates gather for the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland with the main speakers expected to be Donald Trump Jr., U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, retired neurosurgen and former presidential candidate Ben Carson, and actor Kimberlin Brown.

Summer pools and parks announcement

Gov. Charlie Baker, who’s staying home rather than attending the GOP convention in Cleveland, joins Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton and Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Leo Roy for an announcement about extending summer hours and programming at select DCR urban pools and parks, Lorber Playground, Columbus Avenue, Jamaica Plain, 2 p.m.

Opioid crisis update

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders speaks about the Baker administration’s efforts to combat opioid misuse and addiction at the Heroin-Opioid Epidemic Call to Action, an event sponsored by the Corporation for Supportive Housing, Boston Foundation, 75 Arlington St., 10th Floor, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

Walk for Peace

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh leads a Neighborhood Walk for Peace, 69 Paris Street, East Boston, 6 p.m.

Today’s Stories

The big yawn in Cleveland

The New York Times is desperately trying to pump up the drama, if you can call it that, at this week’s Republican Party National Convention in Cleveland, describing the “rancor and hard-edged attacks” by Republicans against Dems and how “renegade delegates” are forcing floor fights in an effort to embarrass GOP nominee Donald Trump. But we think the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld describes it better when he writes: “Donald Trump should go home while he’s behind. Trump has nothing to gain at this week’s Republican convention — that’s clear after just one day. Delegates are sniping and bent on causing mischief. The media is expecting dissension and drama so an afternoon rules vote protest yesterday turns into an attempted coup.”

Unless you think Melania Trump’s speech yesterday on behalf of her husband constitutes news, the Cleveland convention, at least so far, is just plain dull. … OK, there is some news being made, sort of, such as how so many state Republican leaders are staying far away from Cleveland, as Joshua Miller at the Globe reports. … And then there’s local griping about parliamentary rules in Cleveland, where Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) is bellyaching that some GOP factions are using tactics similar to those deployed by Democrats on Beacon Hill (a true local angle!), as reported by Evan Lips at New Boston Post.

But getting back to Joe Battenfeld’s point: What does Trump get out of this?

Scott Brown’s consolation prize: A cabinet position?

He may not have gotten the nod to be Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate, but former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown said he’d be open to a cabinet post if the Republican Trump wins and makes an offer, reports the Herald’s Chris Villani. “I’m not looking for anything,” Brown said, “but it doesn’t matter who the president is, if the president calls, you answer that call.”

Boston Herald

Leaders nix idea of sales tax holiday next month

Cancel those plans to buy big-ticket household items during the state’s sales tax holiday, which has become an August tradition in recent years, because there’s not going to be a state sales tax holiday next month. Legislative leaders yesterday slammed the door on the idea amidst budget woes on Beacon Hill, reports SHNS at Wicked Local. “When you’re talking about the shortfall that we’re in, we considered to add another $26 million to that shortfall, just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” House Speaker Robert DeLeo said. “The economic situation this time calls that we don’t have it.” Said Senate President Stan Rosenberg: “I don’t see it coming up.” 

And Gov. Baker isn’t pressing the issue at all. So it looks like a sales tax holiday, which has never been popular among some lawmakers, is dead for the year.

Wicked Local

Police Commissioner Evans says he doesn’t want his children to be cops

This is sad: In the wake of the recent killing of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans is worried about the future of his profession, reports WGBH’s Tori Bedford. “Who is going to want to come on this job now? I have three children, I don’t think I would want them to come on this job, given the animosity out there right now.”

Separately, police in a number of South Shore communities have been put on alert in the wake of the recent shootings, reports the Patriot Ledger’s Neal Simpson at Wicked Local. “It’s the world we live in now,” said Robert Rullo, an officer on the Middleboro police force. “You’ve got to keep going out and doing your job and take extra precautions.”

Society is going to be in a sorry state if good people start losing interest in becoming cops. 


If it worked to kill the ‘tech tax,’ why not threaten a referendum to kill non-competes?

BostInno’s Dylan Martin has a very interesting idea: If Beacon Hill lawmakers don’t pass an adequate bill to roll back non-compete contracts slapped on employees by their employers, then why not hold a statewide referendum on the issue? “The UK’s Brexit fiasco is a clear example of what can happen when legislation goes to plebiscite,” Martin writes. “But in this case it may be necessary to finally push forward a change to rules that have long given an advantage to the innovation economy in California, where noncompetes are illegal and employee mobility is a given.”

Actually, a plebiscite sometimes isn’t even needed. Three years ago, state lawmakers scrambled to repeal the hated “tech tax” on technology services after the Mass High Tech Council and other groups merely threatened to push a statewide ballot showdown on the issue. But the difference between then and now: The tech community is divided today over the non-compete issue. Still, a credible referendum push isn’t a bad doomsday option.


Speaking of distant theoretical statewide ballot questions …

The Massachusetts Family Institute, the main organizer of opposition to the recent transgender-rights bill that was passed by lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. Baker, filed a referendum petition yesterday with the secretary of state’s office to repeal the new law in a ballot question in 2018, the institute announced on its web site yesterday. It’s a long, long multi-step process to get a question on a general-election ballot, so it remains to be seen whether the institute can really pull this off.


Lottery sales break records, so does this mean online games aren’t needed?

Lottery officials keep saying they need new online games in order to remain competitive and boost sales. But the Lottery’s revenues keep on rising even without online games. For the fifth consecutive year, sales at the Massachusetts Lottery surged higher and Lottery officials expect to return to the state $986.9 million in net profit, the largest sum in its history, reports State House News Service’s Colin A. Young at Wicked Local. Still, officials are pressing ahead with proposals to experiment with online lottery games, as officials worry that digital savvy young people aren’t as inclined to buy tickets via in-store sales.

Wicked Local

They’re still not feeling the love from Richard Neal in Hampshire County

The Daily Hampshire Gazette, which earlier this year harshly criticized U.S. Rep. Richard Neal for not paying enough attention to the Hampshire portion of his district, acknowledges that larger communities like Holyoke, Springfield and Chicopee naturally command much of his time and energy. But, damn it, Neal should still be more attentive to others. “There has to be a balance and we question whether Neal has struck it during his first three and a half years in the new district,” according to a Gazette editorial. “Neal must make a greater effort to connect with the people he serves and make himself more accessible.”

C’mon, Rich. They obviously need and want a big hug, figuratively speaking.


Is ‘tattoo equity’ an issue in sheriff’s race? Yes, honest to God, it is

Mike Albano seems to want to make “tattoo equity” an issue in the race for Hampden County sheriff, making the right for all correctional officers to have visible body ink part of a “bill of rights” that he said he would fight for if elected, Stephanie Barry of MassLive reports. The Democrat says the current policy — under which grandfathered longtime officers are allowed to display tattoos but new officers have to cover them — is unfair. “It’s a big issue,” said Albano, one of three Democrats vying for the right to run for the job in November. “Some guys are walking around with tattoos while others can’t.”

File under: Not making this up.


Baker: ‘No credible threat’ from ISIS hit list

Gov. Charlie Baker reassured the public yesterday that there is “no credible threat” from an apparent online hit list of state employees that was posted by an affiliate of the Islamic State terrorist group, reports MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg. “We take any indication of information associated with the safety of the people of the commonwealth extremely seriously,” Baker told reporters. “In this particular case, we do not believe there is a credible threat.” The governor indicated the list seemed to consist of names randomly grabbed from public state records. “Probably a 14-year-old could have put the list together,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett.


Privatization strikes again at MBTA

In its latest move to outsource some T operations, the MBTA plans to hire private vendor IXP Corporation to handle its police dispatch operations, freeing up 15 officers to patrol T stations and other properties, reports State House News Service’s Andy Metzger at Wicked Local. The $6.1 million contract would pay for three years of private dispatch. “This is going to help us tremendously,” said Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan told the News Service.

Wicked Local

Boston Duck Tours caves to pressure

Remember the warnings by some sightseeing companies that requiring two staff members to ride on each tourist vehicle might lead to some companies going out of business? Never mind – or at least never mind in the case of Boston Duck Tours. After two recent collisions on the city’s streets, one of them fatal, Boston Duck Tours announced yesterday it will soon begin conducting its sightseeing trips with two staff members on each vehicle, instead of one, reports Boston magazine’s Spencer Buell. “We are eager to move forward with this new staffing plan,” says Cindy Brown, Boston Duck Tours CEO, in a statement. “There is a lot of work to do.” That work includes hiring 40 to 50 new workers, but the move is not expected to derail legislation on Beacon Hill that would require even more safety measures by sightseeing companies.

Boston magazine

Framingham group eyeing 13-member city council

The Framingham commission charged with plotting the city’s potential move to a city form of government has set its sights on a 13-member city council, Jim Haddadin of the MetroWest Daily News reports. The plan would divide the city into nine districts, each with one councilor elected for two years. Four at-large councilors would serve four-year terms. Still to be decided is whether the group will recommend a strong mayor or strong city manager approach to voters, who will make the final decision on whether to transform into a city next April.

MetroWest Daily News

Tisbury wades into ‘floating business’ controversy

In response to a commercial artist moving his floating studio into Vineyard Harbor, the town of Tisbury will consider enacting regulations to put limits on “water-dependent” uses, Ethan Genter of the Cape Cod Times reports. The town’s select board will consider an 18-month moratorium on new floating businesses in the harbor when it meets tonight. “It’s been an issue that’s been bubbling in town for a couple years,” Selectman Tristan Israel said.

Cape Cod Times

Brockton police overtime debate sparks heated meeting

A debate over how much funding the Brockton police department’s overtime budget should receive sparked a series of heated exchanges at a city council meeting last night, Marc Larocque of the Brockton Enterprise reports. The council had previously declined to fund the overtime budget at the levels requested by Mayor Bill Carpenter and officials now say the funding is even more important given the rash of shootings targeting police nationwide. One audience member shouted at the council to “call the fire department” if they were being shot at and a councilor questioned how much was being spent on police details for the mayor himself.

The Enterprise

Worcester wrestles with how to regulate Airbnb

Sam Bonacci of the Worcester Business Journal dives into the ongoing efforts in Worcester to craft regulations on web-based home-sharing enterprises such as Airbnb. One proposal—to limit home-sharing to commercially zoned areas—seems to have little support, but business groups and others acknowledge some regulation and taxation is inevitable and could benefit the city and residents alike if done correctly.

Worcester Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


Chang to revamp school leadership with deputy’s exit – Boston Globe

Duck tours will put second employee on tour vehicles – Boston Globe

City’s website to get $1M redo, move to cloud – Boston Herald


Easton official’s anti-Muslim post leads to call for resignation – Brockton Enterprise

Invoking police shooting around nation, Brockton officials seek additional overtime funds – Brockton Enterprise

Regulating Airbnb down to earth in Worcester – Worcester Business Journal

SouthCoast rail debate raising regional questions – Taunton Gazette

Vineyard town considers rules for floating businesses – Cape Cod Times

Hunt endorses O’Malley in congressional race – Cape Cod Times

Auditor faults Framingham State University for weak inventory controls – MetroWest Daily News

Framingham charter commission moving toward 13-member council – MetroWest Daily News

Springfield council approves ballot question for historic preservation surcharge – MassLive

Decision loom for Springfield biomass site assignment – MassLive

Mike Albano champions wage and tattoo equity for correction officers – MassLive

MBTA wants to outsource emergency dispatching system – Boston Globe


The economy is the No. 1 issue for young americans, Harvard poll finds – WBUR

Portions of Melania Trump’s speech similar to 2008 Michelle Obama address – Boston Globe

Prominent Mass. Republicans are an endangered species in Cleveland – Boston Globe

Scott Brown wouldn’t say no to a spot in Trump’s cabinet – Boston Globe

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