Happening Today

Baker to sign economic development bill

Gov. Charlie Baker joins a number of political and business leaders to sign the huge economic development bill passed by lawmakers last month, Grand Staircase, 10 a.m.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets to review Brockton Fairgrounds’ request for Race Horse Development Funds and other matters, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

Vote on Budd’s SJC confirmation

The Governor’s Council will hold a vote on the nomination of Judge Kimberly Budd to the Supreme Judicial Court, the third and last SJC nominee by Gov. Baker to be reviewed by the council, Governor’s Council Chamber, Room 360, 12 p.m.

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T janitors protest

MBTA janitors, warning of possibly 100 job cuts, plan to protest the T in front of the State House on Wednesday, corner of Beacon and Park streets, Boston, 12:30 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Patrick Kennedy: Stop calling Trump ‘crazy’

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat who has been an advocate for mental health since leaving office, has penned a Washington Post piece saying it’s time to stop calling GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump “crazy,” reports the Globe’s Christina Prignano. “‘Crazy’ is never uttered with compassion. I have never heard it used in the context of trying to get someone the treatment they need,” Kennedy writes. “Is Donald Trump experiencing a mental illness? I don’t know. And neither do the commentators, tweeters and psychiatrists — both licensed and armchair — who’ve diagnosed him from afar as ‘crazy,’ a ‘psychopath,’ not ‘sane,’ having ‘narcissistic personality disorder’ and a ‘screw loose.’ What I do know is that we ought to stop casually throwing around terms like ‘crazy’ in this campaign and our daily lives.”

Ok, but can we still refer to Trump as a loudmouth, self-centered, undisciplined, shoot-from-the-hip buffoon? Maybe “self-centered” is medically going too far.

Note: What’s not medically going too far is calling out Trump’s latest off-the-charts comment, made a day after Kennedy’s piece appeared, this time suggesting/joking that Second Amendment gun enthusiasts always have an option if Hillary Clinton wins and appoints justices they don’t like, as the NYT reports. This falls into the category of “dangerous,” and it doesn’t even take a trained psychiatrist to say so.

Gov. will veto ‘miles-driven’ tax study

Gov. Charlie Baker plans to veto a provision within a highway funding bill that calls for a pilot program to test a system that would tax motorists by the miles they drive per year, reports MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg. A miles-driven tax, also known as the Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax, has been touted as a way to replenish state transportation coffers amidst concerns the current per-gallon fuel tax is outdated. Some also view a VMT as a way to discourage what they consider excessive driving. But Baker wants nothing to do with even a study of the idea. “We’ve already said that we don’t support the vehicle miles traveled tax, and we’re going to veto that section of the bill,” Baker said Tuesday.

MassLive

Making good on campaign pledge, Baker posts new job hires

The Globe’s Todd Wallack reports that the Baker administration is putting information on new executive-branch hires online, making good on the governor’s campaign pledge for more transparency in hiring. The Open Checkbook site currently shows new hires for only mid-July, Wallack reports, but the administration plans to update the list twice a month. Fyi: We had some trouble accessing the hiring info, but we assume it’s a browser problem.

Boston Globe

Furniture companies are holding their own ‘sales tax holidays’

With the Legislature refusing to authorize a state “sales tax holiday” this month, many retailers, especially furniture store owners, have simply created their own versions of a sales tax holiday, slashing prices by the amount or more of the 6.25 percent state tax, reports Consumer World founder Edgar Dworsky. Among the retailers pushing the unofficial holiday this month are Bernie & Phyl’s, Boston Interiors, Cabot House, Cardi’s Furniture Chair Fair, Circle Furniture Jordan’s Furniture La-Z-Boy Marty’s Furniture, Rotmans and Sleepy’s.

“Retailers know that shoppers hate paying sales tax on large purchases, so it can be a big lure for many to offer savings equivalent to the sales tax,” said Dworsky. “Nonetheless, in a world where 30, 40, and 50 percent off sales are commonplace, I still shake my head when shoppers pack the stores to get a mere 6.25 or 12.5 percent off.” He may shake his head, but not us. Consumers save an estimated $26 million during tax-holiday weekends. That’s a lot of savings – and it’s a savings, it should be noted, the state doesn’t think it can afford.

Consumer World

Developer responsible for the infamous ‘Filene’s crater’ joins Trump’s economic team

The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock has a nice Trump-related catch: New York real estate developer Steve Roth – whose Vornado Realty firm is perhaps best known in Boston for leaving a long-dormant gaping hole at the site of the old Filene’s building, before the late Mayor Tom Menino went ballistic and effectively forced his firm out of the Downtown Crossing deal — is now a member of Donald Trump’s 13-member, all-male economic advisory team.

So what ticked off Menino? Roth’s suggestion that he might have been leaving the Filene’s crater unfilled as a way to pressure the city to help it with the redevelopment. He never specifically mentioned Boston, referring instead to a similar tactic that he had used once in New York. But that’s all Menino needed to hear. At the time, Roth came across as one of those capitalists who talks big about the market’s invisible hand while holding his hand out to the government.

BBJ

CLF threatens legal action over proposed Seaport high-rise

The Conservation Law Foundation is rattling the legal sword over a plan to build a new 22-story residential tower overlooking the harbor in Boston’s Seaport, saying it would set an unacceptable precedent in terms of how much waterfront space it would take up, reports the Globe’s Jon Chesto. Restaurateur Jon Cronin is proposing the redevelopment of his current Atlantic Beer Garden and Whiskey Priest into luxury residences – and he has the backing of powerful political leaders, including Mayor Walsh, who favor a change in development parameters for the area. “This is a sweetheart deal for one developer,” counters Bradley Campbell, CLF’s president. “We think this is a very dangerous precedent.”

Boston Globe

Lowell council calls for truce with UMass

Members of the Lowell City Council are trying to reset the city’s relationship with the University of Massachusetts-Lowell after a tumultuous period, Grant Welker of the Lowell Sun reports. UMass Lowell irked city officials with the June disclosure that it was buying an apartment complex. More recently, a draft master agreement led to miscommunication and harsh words being exchanged, even as other cities sought to roll out the red carpet for the university should it choose to decamp. The council yesterday unanimously approved a motion directing City Manager Kevin Murphy to “preserve and strengthen” relations with the institution.

Lowell Sun

Worcester’s former mayor eyes return to politics

Former Worcester Mayor Joe O’Brien, who until recently worked as a staffer for U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, plans a return to local politics, Walter Bird Jr. of Worcester Magazine reports. Although the next municipal election is still a year away, O’Brien says he sees a need for a new voice in local government and Bird speculates he could compete for the city’s top office again if current Mayor Joe Petty steps aside.

Worcester Magazine

Quincy considers hiring Arabic-speaking cop

Citing rapidly changing demographics, the city of Quincy is exploring the possibility of hiring an Arabic-speaking police officer, the Patriot Ledger reports. City officials have asked the state for a list of Arabic speakers who have passed the civil service exam but were told they need to provide more specific information on the city’s need for such an officer.

Patriot Ledger

Crosby sees $300M in gaming revenue after casinos open

OK, we have someone on the record saying it for posterity: Massachusetts could realize $300 million in annual revenue from two resort casinos and the Plainridge slots parlor, much of it returning to cities and towns in the form of local aid, says Massachusetts Gaming Commission chairman Stephen Crosby, according to a report by Colin A. Young of State House News Service at MetroWest Daily News. Crosby, who admitted he was stumped as to why Plainridge has fallen short of projections so far, also said the commission will not revisit its decision to deny a casino license to a group from Brockton in light of a recent court ruling that could derail the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s First Light project in Taunton. “We do what we’ve been doing for five years, try to wait and figure out what’s happening with the tribe,” Crosby said. “We did talk about this at a public meeting and we said, no, we’re just going to sit tight.”

MetroWest Daily News

Advocacy group hammers police weaponry request

Members of the Boston Youth Violence Reduction Task Force are slamming a request from the city’s police unions to equip officers with long guns and other military-style equipment, Dan Atkinson of the Herald reports. Three police unions co-signed a letter to Mayor Marty Walsh last week asking for additional equipment, citing the recent spate of violence directed at police. But the group says giving officers more powerful weapons sends the exact wrong message. “You really don’t need body armor, helmets, rifles to do effective policing,” said the Rev. Mark V. Scott, co-chairman of the task force. “You need your brain, you need observational skills.” 

Boston Herald

Temporary SouthCoast bus plan crashes and burns

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack was quick to throw cold water on a suggestion that bus service could be at least a temporary alternative solution to extending commuter rail service to the SouthCoast region, Mike Lawrence of the Standard-Times reports. Even the best-case scenarios put new rail service to the region at six to eight years out, but when MBTA Fiscal Control Board chairman Joseph Aiello asked about bus service in the meantime, Pollack said the distance and the traffic along Route 24 make it a non-starter. “You might as well be driving your own car,” she said.

Standard-Times

MIT sued over 401(k) fees and its relationship with Fidelity’s Johnson family

Backed by a St. Louis lawyer known for battling high retirement-plan fees, five participants in MIT’s 401(k) savings plan are suing the university, saying they and other workers were forced to spend millions of dollars in excessive fees within accounts administered by Fidelity Investments, whose founding Johnson family has long had close ties to MIT, reports Greg Ryan at the Boston Business Journal. Fidelity’s current CEO, Abigail Johnson, serves as a member of the Cambridge university’s board of trustees. The suit, which charges Fidelity got the account via its MIT connections, was brought by a St. Louis law firm headed by 401(k) “tort terror” Jerry Schlichter, as described by 401K Specialist. Schlichter is also going after Yale University and New York University.

BBJ

Once worth billions, Monster.com sold to Dutch staffing firm for $429M

Before the advent of modern history (i.e. pre-2007 iPhone introduction), there was this company called Monster.com. The region was bursting with pride that a local start-up had gone big time. We’re talking $8.5 billion in value. Then other rivals came along, including LinkedIn, and Monster.com faded into the background. Yesterday, the Weston-based company was sold to Dutch staffing firm Randstad for $429 million, reports BostInno’s Galen Moore. That’s a lot of dough representing a good premium over its pre-sale value. But it’s still a long way from $8.5 billion. … Trivia question: What Boston company had a chance to invest in Monster for only $1 million before its early high-flying years? The NYT has the answer right here.

BostInno (Videos)

David Ortiz bobblehead: Almost as scary as ‘Scary Lucy’ statue

The Boston Red Sox took one look at the David Ortiz bobbleheads they planned to give away last night at Fenway Park and knew they had a loser, forcing the Sox to kill the promotion yesterday, amid concerns the Ortiz bobbleheads might also be racially insensitive, reports Jen McCaffrey at MassLive. Check out this close-up view of the bobblehead, via CBS Sports. It’s awful. David Ortiz with a thin neck? Last time we checked, he has no neck. Of course, the bobblehead is not nearly as scary as the infamous “Scary Lucy” statue of Lucille Ball, who got a new replacement statue just the other day, thank goodness, reports CNN.

Today’s Headlines

Metro

Group protests gun request – Boston Herald

How Boston tries to bring black and Latino teens back to school – WBUR

Quincy considers hiring Arabic-speaking police officer – Patriot Ledger

Uber now lets Boston riders book a car in advance – Boston Globe

Massachusetts

‘Boring’ municipal bill a big hit with local officials – WGBH

Crosby: State will see $300M from two casinos and Plainridge – MetroWest Daily News

State grant will help upgrade broadband access in western Mass. – Boston Business Journal

Townsend selectmen fight back tears while reflecting on months of criticism – Lowell Sun

Lowell council works to mend fences with UML – Lowell Sun

Bus idea falls flat as interim solution for SouthCoast rail – Standard-Times

Dudley agrees to pay $1,000 fine for meeting violation – Telegram & Gazette

Change in state law led to more school building projects – Patriot Ledger

Accused Trump sign vandal pleads not guilty – Eagle-Tribune

Joe O’Brien, ex mayor and councilor, will jump back into ring – Worcester Magazine

Nation

Trump’s loaded words fuel campaign tailspin – Politico

Trump suggests gun owners could stop Clinton agenda – New York Times

Justice Department to issue critical report on Baltimore police – WBUR

Patrick Kennedy wants you to stop calling Donald Trump ‘crazy’ – Boston Globe

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