T general manager takes to the air
Acting MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve joins Jim Braude and Margery Eagan for an interview on WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio” program, WGBH 89.7 FM, 1 p.m.
Immigrant community scams
As part of the RIGHTs (Reaching Immigrants/Gaining Trust) Project, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan hosts an informational session on scams in immigrant communities, Immigrant Learning Center, 442 Main St., Malden, 12:30 p.m.
Mystery money: T parking income suddenly surges
Revenue at the MBTA’s largest parking lots is up 35 percent over this time last year but it’s not clear if the T is attracting more riders and parkers — or whether an investigation launched earlier this year into potential siphoning (translation: possible theft) of parking revenue is the cause, Bruce Mohl of CommonWealth Magazine reports. An internal investigation began in February about revenue discrepancies and the results have since been turned over to the office of Attorney General Maura Healey. Since that investigation, some lots have seen eye-popping revenue increases, including Riverside, where parking income nearly doubled between February and June compared to the same time in 2015.
Of droughts and pooches
An “extreme drought” has hit parts of Essex and Middlesex counties, near Lowell, as the entire Greater Boston region continues to endure a dry spell and, in recent days, a brutal heat wave, reports the Associated Press at the Telegram. Meanwhile, the state’s Drought Management Task Force is recommending that the state broaden the scope of its drought declaration and is considering elevating some areas of the state to a drought warning status, one step shy of a drought emergency, reports State House New Service (pay wall).
Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker, a dog owner, is lending his support for a new bill that would allow first-responders to break the window of a car if they find a suffering pet inside in either extreme hot or cold weather – and it would even let a passerby break a car window after calling 911 if the animal is in “imminent danger,” reports SHNS at The Recorder. “We have rules in state law with respect to hot cars and child endangerment associated with that. I certainly think as a dog owner that there probably ought to be similar standards for animals as well,” Baker said. “I think our hope and our expectation is that nobody ever has to break anybody’s window for anybody – child or an animal.” The governor is the owner of an “adorable” schnauzer-poodle mix known as a schnoodle.
Lynch’s indisputable proof the system isn’t rigged
U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch is sort of fed up with all of Donald Trumps off-the-wall remarks and antics of late. He’s particularly irked by Trump’s latest meme, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at Wicked Local. “The other day he was complaining that in spite of the fact that he is the Republican nominee, that our political system is rigged and fraudulent. He is proof positive that the system is not rigged. The fact that Donald Trump is a major party nominee, given his lack of experience and the reckless things that he says – I mean the fact that he is the Republican nominee shows you that this system is not rigged.” Anyone care to argue with his logic?
Pro-Libertarian PAC has Massachusetts roots
The newly formed super PAC that will seek to rally Republicans behind the Gary Johnson/Bill Weld Libertarian Party presidential ticket has its roots in the Bay State, Shira Schoenberg reports in MassLive. Ipswich resident Kevin Martin will co-chair the PAC and former Republican state Rep. Dan Winslow will also serve on its national leadership team. The group acknowledges its has yet to do any significant fundraising.
First Daughter: Party girl? Or national security asset?
We’ll just go right to Inside Track Gayle Fee’s hilarious top item in the Herald this morning:
“Word from the Vineyard is that police broke up a rowdy party in West Tisbury the other night, and we hear that one of the guests was none other than 18-year-old first daughter Malia Obama. West Tisbury police declined to confirm that Malia was one of the kids who were shooed out of the bash at a private home near the presidential summer digs, citing ‘national security.’
“‘Seriously?’ we inquired. ‘That’s what you’re going with?’
“‘Sounds like a good excuse, doesn’t it?’ said the officer, who also declined to give us the address or the homeowners’ names.”
Can’t you just see the cop shrugging his shoulders, raising his eyebrows and smiling while he said it? … On a more serious note: We’re outraged by this incident. Teenagers acting like teenagers. What’s the world coming to?
Evan Falchuk’s United Independent Party may not be a party much longer
Evan Falchuk, the former long-shot gubernatorial candidate and a leading opponent of Boston’s now-abandoned Summer Olympics bid, has a problem: His new United Independent Party needs tens of thousands of signatures, pronto, in order to qualify for future ballots, reports the Globe’s Meg Bernhard. “We have a lot of work to do,” admits Falchuk.
About those background checks and non-fingerprinting of Uber drivers …
Here’s more potential ammo for Boston police commissioner Bill Evans, who was furious lawmakers recently passed a ride-hailing bill that didn’t require mandatory fingerprinting of Uber and Lyft drivers, via the Globe: “An Uber driver faces a rape charge after allegedly assaulting a 16-year-old Everett girl he met while driving for the company despite what authorities said was a long criminal history. … Police say (the suspect) sexually assaulted the teen July 5, after meeting her through Uber a week earlier.” The Herald is reporting that the incident is already sparking calls for stiffer ride-hailing laws.
We have no idea if fingerprinting drivers would have helped in a case like this, which, it needs to be stressed, is merely an accusation at this point and allegedly happened before the law was passed. But it’s a truly ugly incident if true.
Mayors stand by Healey on assault weapons ban
Mayors across the state are voicing support for Attorney General Maura Healey’s recent crackdown on “copycat” assault weapons, a move that has drawn intense criticism from gun enthusiasts and that mayors are now trying to counteract. In the North Shore area, Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton are among those rallying around Healey, reports Arianna MacNeill at the Newburyport Daily News. “How many more lives have to be lost, whether it’s police officers or citizens?” asked Holaday. “These weapons need to be off our streets and since it’s not happening at a federal level, we have to address the protections of our residents at a local level.”
Thanks to state legislation, Boston is moving fast to lower speed limits
Remember that incredibly dull, tedious municipal finance and administration reform bill recently passed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Baker? OK, maybe you don’t remember it. It was pretty boring policy-wonk stuff. But it did contain a provision letting municipalities to reduce default speeds to 25 mph – and that was good enough for Mayor Walsh, who along with city council members have pushed for more control of speed limits in the city. Walsh now intends to quickly move on lowering speed limits in Boston, reports Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub.
Meanwhile, Baker is concerned about the rush to change time
As reported last week at MassLive, the massive economic development bill passed by lawmakers included an odd provision: Authorization of a study to determine whether the state should effectively eliminate daylight-saving-time clock changes twice a year, a move that would put Massachusetts out of time sync with other New England and Northeast states for part of the year. Gov. Baker signed the bill earlier this week, without vetoing the time study, mostly for diplomatic reasons. “This was particularly important to some folks in the Senate that there be a legislative committee put together to study it and in deference to the Senate’s interest in doing that we signed that, but my view is the current structure we have is fine,” said Baker, reports Andy Metzger at SHNS (pay wall). “I especially worry that if we head too far down this road we could end up creating a lot of problems for ourselves with respect to all sorts of issues around work schedules, commuting schedules and a whole bunch of other things.”
‘The most oddly entertaining Twitter account of any state agency’
So what state agency has the most interesting, engaging, informative and humorous Twitter account? You’ll never guess. It’s … the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance. Boston Magazine’s Kyle Scott Clauss explains how and why the office decided to transform its tweets from dry to fun. “The result is the most oddly entertaining Twitter account of any state agency in Massachusetts: a bizarro mix of Weird Twitter, legalese, and Microsoft Paint,” he writes. “It’s like if an Adult Swim bump went to law school.”
Our favorite tweets: “I love the smell of disclosure in the morning” (superimposed on a Robert Duvall ‘Apocalypse Now’ photo) and “I wonder if OCPF would let me be treasurer of a political committee” (superimposed on a ‘Legally Blonde’-like character). Check them out. They’re quite clever.
Weymouth search committee violated meeting law
A school superintendent search committee in Weymouth violated state law by interviewing only one finalist for the position, failing to keep accurate minutes of executive sessions and meeting in private without legal justification, Christian Schiavone of the Patriot Ledger reports. The Attorney General’s office ordered the committee to follow the law in the future, which shouldn’t be too difficult: the board was disbanded once the new superintendent was hired.
Should Suffolk University lose its non-profit status?
Former Education Secretary Paul Reville says it may be time for Attorney General Maura Healey to consider stripping Suffolk University of its not-for-profit, tax-exempt status, Tori Bedford of WGBH reports. Suffolk’s recent high turnover rate of presidents, culminating with the recent high-profile firing of its current president and its history of paying leaders what some consider exorbitant salaries, should put the institution on the hot seat, Reville argues.
Worcester bids adieu to Paris
Equal parts famous and infamous, Worcester’s high-profile Paris Cinema will finally be razed to make room for a beer garden as the city’s downtown continues to be made over, Nick Kotsopolous of the Telegram reports. The city’s Historic Commission voted to waive a one-year demolition moratorium, a nod to the fact that it would cost as much as $20 million to refurbish the theater, which first opened in the 1920s but is perhaps better known for its run as a seedy adult theater in the 1970s.
Sunday public affairs TV
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. Sen. Elizabeth Warren discusses her political feud with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, her political future, the state of the U.S. economy, and curbing noise pollution at Logan Airport.
On The Record, WCVB Channel 5, 11 a.m. Guest: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. This Week in Business, NECN, 11 a.m. Shirley Leung of the Boston Globe and Craig Douglas of the Boston Business Journal talk about the economic development and energy bills signed this week; casino plans; Delta problems; bobblehead brouhaha; and the Trump and Clinton economic plans.
CEO Corner, NECN 11:30 a.m. Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology Institute president Anthony Benoit talks about the school and the value of an associate degree along with a student and a business partner from National Grid.
CityLine, WCVB TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. This week’s focus: A Tale of Two Neighborhoods, Roxbury and Back Bay, and their profound differences in everything from life expectancy to household income. Also a look at how health centers are helping Roxbury area residents.
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