MBTA Control Board
The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board hears a presentation on the Blue Line and updates on the Green Line Extension and the South Coast Rail, two long-sought service expansion projects, Transportation Board Room, 10 Park Plaza, 12 p.m.
Governor to sign energy bill
Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton and members of the Legislature to sign the energy diversity bill passed by lawmakers last month, State House, Kennedy Statue Lawn, 1:30 p.m.
Weld to submit petitions
Former Gov. William Weld hands in the final petitions needed to secure ballot access in Massachusetts for the Johnson-Weld Libertarian Party president-vice president ticket, McCormack Building, One Ashburton Place, Boston, 2:30 p.m.
Warren calls DNC email leaks an ‘embarrassment to the nation’
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren isn’t happy about the email leaks that rocked the Democratic National Committee last month, on the eve of the party’s presidential convention in Philadelphia, reports The Hill’s Rebecca Savransky. To the Massachusetts Democrat, many of the emails, some of which targeted presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in pretty ugly language, should never have been sent in the first place. “It is an embarrassment to the party and it is an embarrassment to the nation,” Warren said during an interview on WCVB-TV in Boston on Sunday. In addition, Warren said she didn’t understand why Hillary Clinton gave former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz a job on her campaign after the email flap.
Meanwhile, Warren takes aim at Washington think tanks
Elizabeth Warren was busy on another media front yesterday, criticizing Washington think tanks that sometimes wield enormous influence over public policy issues on behalf of corporate donors, as reported by Eric Lipton and Brooke Williams at the New York Times. “This is about giant corporations who figured out that by spending, hey, a few tens of millions of dollars, if they can influence outcomes here in Washington, they can make billions of dollars,” said Warren, a long-time critic of Wall Street donations to think tanks.
Baker charms and schmoozes his way to the Beacon Hill top
A week after the close of the legislative session, the Globe’s Frank Phillips has a good story this morning looking at how Gov. Baker, a Republican, has figured out how to get what he wants from a Democratic-controlled Legislature: “With no bold agenda but with a potent combination of high-level government experience, a strong grasp of complicated public policies, and just plain charm, Baker has emerged, according to close observers of the State House’s inner workings, as the dominant figure on Beacon Hill. ‘He’s worked the Legislature as well as anyone I’ve ever seen,’’’ said state Rep. Ron Mariano, the House majority leader. “He values opinions, he’s called me a couple of times, wanting to get a sense where I am and where the membership is going.”
Communities chafe at health-care contributions cap
Some communities are crying foul over the Legislature’s decision last month to override a gubernatorial veto and restore a moratorium that prevents cities and towns from asking retirees to contribute more to cover their ongoing health care costs, Christian Wade reports in the Salem News. Officials in Andover indicate they may challenge the freeze in court, saying the legislature usurped an agreement hammered out over the course of two years to have retirees pick up 50 percent of the costs of their insurance premiums. “They’re looking out for a small group of retirees at the expense of all the other taxpayers,” said Andover Selectman Robert Landry. “It’s outrageous.”
Bay State’s Stein officially Green party nominee
At last, Massachusetts officially has a presidential candidate. The Green Party formally nominated Lexington’s very own Jill Stein on Saturday at its presidential convention in Houston, Jessica Taylor of NPR reports at WBUR. Stein, who will be joined on the ticket by human rights activist Ajamu Baraka, made a direct appeal to disaffected Democrats in her acceptance speech. “I want to thank Bernie Sanders supporters who refused to let the political revolution die,” said Stein, now a two-time candidate for president and a two-time gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts. “The American people are longing for a change. They are ready to do something different, and we have to be the vehicle for that difference.”
Note: Besides her past presidential and gubernatorial runs, Stein has also run for state representative, secretary of state, and Lexington Town Meeting representative, according to Wikipedia. Care to guess which is the only post she ever won election to? (Hint: She later won re-election.)
SouthCoast rail support seen building for alternative route
As the MBTA Fiscal Control Board meets today to discuss service expansion projects, support is coalescing behind the notion of using the alternative Middleboro route to extend commuter rail service to SouthCoast communities such as Fall River and New Bedford, Mike Lawrence of the Standard-Times reports. Political and business leaders are expected to be among those calling on the T to expedite a review of the option.
When did military assault rifles become ‘long guns’?
Mayor Marty Walsh is resisting calls by police to arm officers with “long guns” and new body armor, saying he was “taken aback” by the vehemence of city police unions’ demands for such items, reports the Globe’s Evan Allen. Meanwhile, the Bob McGovern and Dan Atkinson at the Herald, which has been really playing up this police issue, says the National Association of Police Organizations is fully backing the Boston police unions’ call for more military-style arms and protection.
OK, we’re totally sympathetic to police, who have been the recent target of radical and deranged individuals who have murdered cops amidst protests over lethal police shootings of African Americans. But the police establishment, in general, has generally condemned the public’s easy and absurd access to military style weapons – and now they want for themselves those very same weapons, which they now euphemistically refer to as “long guns”?
Cab industry vows legal action after Baker signs ride-hailing bill
The Herald’s Jordan Graham reports that the ink was barely dry on the ride-hailing bill signed by Gov. Charlie Baker late last week when a lawyer representing taxi owners said she expects to file a federal lawsuit challenging the legislation. “They’re similarly situated businesses that should be treated the same way, just like a Chinese restaurant and a Mexican restaurant,” said Jenifer Pinkham, who has sued Boston and Cambridge in federal court, alleging violations of the Constitution’s equal protection clause. Pinkham vowed to file suit against Massachusetts within weeks. It should be noted: A similar suit has already been successful in lower courts.
Is Long Island Boston’s own money pit?
The city of Boston has spent millions of dollars worth of state funds since 2014 to maintain and keep the lights on at buildings on Long Island in Boston Harbor, Eric Rasmussen and Erin Smith of Fox25 report. Among the expenses is $1 million to transport workers to and from the island—where buildings had once housed one of the city’s largest homeless shelters—and $600,000 annually to bring fuel oil to the island at a rate of $300 per hour.
GateHouse to offer employee buyouts
GateHouse Media New England is offering buyouts to employees in the hopes of reducing its payroll voluntarily, Greg Ryan of the Boston Business Journal reports. A letter went out to employees last week that gives employees until the end of this week to decide whether to take the offer, which includes 17 weeks of base pay for workers with 20 years of service. Last week, Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory said in a memo, also first obtained by media critic Dan Kennedy, that 19 members of its editorial team had taken buyouts and said some layoffs remain a possibility.
Trump and Nixon tax-return controversies: Will Providence Journal reporters ride to the rescue again?
In the wake of Donald Trump’s refusal to release his past tax returns, Mitch Zuckoff, a Boston University journalism professor and former Globe reporter, looks back in the New York Times on Richard Nixon’s long-ago tax return antics, only to be exposed by two Providence Journal-Bulletin reporters, one of whom won a Pulitzer Prize for ultimately provoking Nixon to utter his now infamous “I am not a crook” line. … It seems amazing, in this age of newspaper decline and cutbacks, that Providence Journal reporters long ago could play such a key role in national political events. Sadly, it seems almost quaint today.
Does concern about electronic tollway privacy extend to taxation in the name of fighting climate change?
It’s encouraging that civil liberty groups are concerned that the planned transition to a fully electronic tollway system on the Turnpike – via an array of sensor devices hanging from large metal gantries where toll booths now stand – present potential privacy rights issues, if they’re used to quietly capture and store information about how fast motorists are driving, as the Globe’s Matt Rocheleau reports.
But what about state officials one day tracking how much individual motorists travel in order to tax them by the miles they drive per year – all in the name of fighting global warming? And, we assume, what about some of the same roadway sensors being used to track exactly where, when and how much motorists drive? These are not far-fetched concerns. Lawmakers last month passed a provision for the state to apply for federal funds to study “by the mile” taxation. For transit policy wonks, it’s about raising badly needed money for transit projects. But the pay-by-the-mile tax idea has long been percolating within environmental circles as a way to discourage/punish alleged excessive driving in the name of reducing carbon pollution. Where will the privacy rights advocates be when this arguably even more intrusive tax idea is introduced? We have our hunches.
Take that, Boston: MIT holds its first-ever Grand Prix race — with self-driving mini cars (videos)
The city of Boston may have scrubbed its planned Grand Prix race in Boston. But the folks at MIT and Lincoln Laboratory made up for that loss, holding their own indoor Grand Prix, albeit with tiny self-driving cars and cheesy cardboard raceway walls, reports BostInno’s Olivia Vanni. Check out the exciting start of the race in the second video accompanying Vanni’s piece. It’s pretty funny.
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