Sheriff Ashe’s final clambake
Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Stan Rosenberg and Attorney General Maura Healey are among those expected to attend the 39th and last annual clambake by Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe, who was first elected to office in 1974, Elks Lodge #61, 440 Tiffany Street, Springfield, starting at 11 a.m. and running all day.
Reviewing court nominees
The Governor’s Council meets for a confirmation hearing on state solicitor Peter Sacks’ nomination to the state appeals court, 10:30 a.m., and then reconvenes for a likely vote on appeals court nominee Kenneth Desmond, 12 p.m., Council Chamber, State House.
Data science and cyber security grant
Gov. Baker joins Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Sen. James Welch, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, University of Massachusetts president Marty Meehan, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees Victor Woolridge, UMass Amherst chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and others to participate in a “Data Science/Cyber Security Research and Development” grant announcement, UMass Center at Springfield, 2nd Floor Tower Square, Springfield, 2:30 p.m.
Summer isn’t even over and Mayor Walsh is already set to make an announcement on a new permanent program available to help seniors prepare for winter, 19 Augustus Ave., Roslindale, 11 a.m.
Police furious over Boston Globe cartoon
Police unions and others are upset over a cartoon about police shootings of black men that appeared on the opinion pages of Monday’s Boston Globe, reports Dan Kennedy at WGBH. The Globe’s editorial-page editor is standing by the syndicated cartoon by Mike Luckovich of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Globe’s letters-to-the-editor section was jammed this morning with letters from police union officials and other readers defending police and harshly criticizing the cartoon.
Evans: Cops will be assigned body cams and, btw, Ed Davis is a turncoat
Boston police commissioner William Evans, in an interview with Boston Public Radio yesterday, said 100 officers have been randomly assigned to a mandatory body camera program, slated to begin next month, because no officers voluntarily stepped forward to participate in the pilot program, reports Tori Bedford at WGBH. Training could start as early as next week. “They’ll probably challenge us,” Evans said of union members, “but that’s what the union does, they look out for their membership.”
Bonus news from the interview: Evans also slammed former Boston police commissioner Ed Davis for siding with the police union, as well as apparently siding with ride-hailing companies on the issue of fingerprinting drivers. “Here’s a guy who said that the ‘gold standard’ of fingerprinting was the best way to go, and obviously someone paid him to say something else,” Evans said of Davis. “Obviously I’m a little disappointed that he gets involved in some of this dialogue, when the major city chiefs in Massachusetts all support it, I support it, and obviously he forgets where he came from.” Ouch.
Governor’s Council member sends mixed message on today’s hearing
Governor’s Councilor Michael Albano, who is running for Hampden County sheriff, sent out a recent email that appeared to take aim at judicial nominee Peter Sacks, the State Solicitor whose nomination to the appeals court will be reviewed today by the full council, reports Western Mass. Politics and Insight. “This should be a very interesting hearing….at least from the point of view of Councillor [sic] Albano,” the email teased. But Albano, who’s apparently trying to drum up support from those in the LGBT community, later said he plans to vote for Sacks, WMPI reports. So what about that email blast? Who knows.
Healey says no to higher office run
In her first sit-down interview since sparking controversy over her crackdown on the sale of “copycat” assault weapons, Attorney General Maura Healey tells Sharman Sachetti of Fox25 she has “absolutely” ruled out running for higher office. Asked if she would run for re-election, she said, “I love what I’m doing. I’m hoping to do it to the best of my ability every day.” Healey also defended her assault-weapons edict and said suggestions it was motivated by a desire to raise her political profile “couldn’t be further from the truth,” Fox25 reports. “I’m trying to do my job,” Healey said of her assault-weapon decision. “This is a matter of public safety. This is a matter of my responsibility. My authority as attorney general.”
Cautionary tale for Boston: Pennsylvania AG resigns after convicted for leaking grand jury info
Every now and then in Boston a controversy erupts over the leaking of damaging grand jury information, such as what happened this past spring in a case tied to the ongoing fed probe of City Hall. Nancy Gertner and Jack Corrigan wrote a Globe op-ed deploring the practice of strategically timed grand jury leaks, especially by prosecutors. In a completely separate case, it turns out that Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane, a Democrat, is now resigning after being convicted of leaking grand jury information and then lying about it, the NYT reports. It’s a nasty little affair, involving pornographic emails, political rivalries and even Jerry Sandusky, the ex-Penn State football coach accused of sexual abuse, reports the Washington Post.
But the lesson for Boston is: When it comes to grand juries, you better shut up.
WHDH’s Ed Ansin folds hand in dispute with NBC
WHDH-TV owner Ed Ansin gambled that he could play corporate poker with NBC’s parent company, Comcast Corp., over the station’s network affiliation. Yesterday, Ansin folded, in what has to be one of the worst high-stakes bluffs every played in TV negotiations in these parts. The result: WHDH loses its long-time NBC programming and will instead go independent, relying on expanded news programs and “Family Feud” shows to fill airtime. “These changes at WHDH and NBC represent the biggest shakeup in Boston television market in two decades,” reports the Globe’s Shirley Leung.
Because NBC hasn’t announced yet where the NBC Boston station will broadcast from in the future, we still maintain that a last-minute deal is possible before the end of the year. But Ansin would be bargaining from a very weak position at that point. Our only request, if no deal is found: Please, please, please, no Law & Order and NCIS repeats. We can’t take them anymore.
Joyce says permits were pulled
Embattled Sen. Brian Joyce sought to refute a Globe story that claimed he expanded his Milton home without proper permits—and possibly avoided property taxes in the process—telling Fred Hanson of the Patriot Ledger that he pulled a series of building permits starting in 1998. Joyce and his wife met with Hanson at the home in question and said the couple applied for at least eight permits that covered a range of renovations at the home. The Joyces also said they plan to put their home up for sale next month; the Globe reported the home has already been listed, albeit quietly.
Unhealthy finances: State’s top three health insurers lose combined $201 million
The state’s three biggest insurers — Blue Cross, Harvard Pilgrim and Tufts Health — reported combined operating losses of $201 million in the first six months of 2016, with the plans blaming the federal Affordable Care Act, the cost of prescription drugs and other factors for their financial hemorrhaging, reports the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett. Blue Cross’s losses were actually down compared to last year, but still stood at to $98.3 million. HP and Tufts both saw increases in their losses. All in all, the losses, both this year and last, are huge. Care to guess who will pay for the shortfalls in the end?
CLF report paints New Bedford as one vast environmental wasteland
Bold prediction: The New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce ain’t going to like the Conservation Law Foundation’s new report on the Whaling City, which CLF depicts as caught in a “vicious cycle” of pollution and economic hardship, as reported by SHNS’s Andy Metzger (pay wall). A harbor polluted with PCBs. Schools built over a former city dump contaminated with toxic pollutants. Five hundred other sites that are known to contain hazardous materials. If you guessed CLF is using the report as way to pressure public officials to take action on a wide variety of issues (some of which go way beyond the environmental field), you’d be right.
No word yet from the New Bedford chamber, but Mayor Jon Mitchell is dismissing the report, saying it “hardly breaks news” and doesn’t focus on the “tremendous progress” the city has made on environmental issues, though one city council member said New Bedford indeed needs an “environmental czar,” reports Curt Brown at SouthCoast Today.
Et tu, Rome?
In a piece headlined “An Olympic Event Where 1st Prize Is the Chance to Lose Billions,” the the NYT’s Andrew Ross Sorkin looks at the cities bidding to host the 2024 Olympics, even though hosting games is an almost guaranteed multibillion-dollar money loser. But what we found interesting is that Rome’s new mayor, Virginia Raggi, is voicing opposition to Rome’s bid, citing the costs and alluding to Boston’s decision to withdraw its own bid for the games. “Historical data from the Olympics, discounting eventual episodes of corruption, shows us that the costs are not sustainable,” she said. “Other cities have already withdrawn their bids for these reasons. And I don’t think they were thinking about corruption or Mafia infiltrations.”
To clarify: We were indeed thinking of corruption in Boston, though not necessarily of the Mafia variety. … Btw: After we spotted and read the NYT piece, we noticed that Bob Neer at Blue Mass Group had the exact same reaction to Raggi’s comments as ours: “Actually, in the case of Boston folks were, in fact, worried about political corruption and organized crime, among other concerns, but never mind, point taken.” Ah, brilliant cynical minds think alike.
Lowell developer seeks fast-track to help residents displaced by UMass
A Lowell developer is hoping the city will quickly approve an expanded residential project, saying that quick action could help him finish the project in time to house residents being displaced by UMass Lowell’s purchase of the Perkins Place apartment complex, Christopher Scott and Grant Welker of the Lowell Sun report. Sal Lupoli, who will go before the city’s planning board Wednesday, says he can have the 150 residential units in a converted mill ready for occupancy by the time UMass Lowell is ready to move students into the building it acquired in June.
Despite drought, water restrictions are few and far between
State officials have put nearly the entire state on some level of drought warning, but few communities have enacted—or enforced—outdoor watering bans in response, Linda Emerson reports in Commonwealth Magazine. The state can only activate mandatory water bans by issuing the highest level of drought alert, something it has so far not done.
List of 26 affordable housing projects that just landed $90M in state funds
The Boston Business Journal is running a complete list of the 26 local affordable housing projects that are getting $90 million in state funds, as announced earlier this week by Gov. Charlie Baker. In Boston, projects in Brighton, Chinatown, Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park and Roxbury all got funds. But the money seems pretty evenly spread out across the state, from Bourne to Springfield.
‘Board has to decide whether bar served mixed drinks to an already drunk patron or just an Irish one’
Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin strikes again with a great headline. And, yes, there is a dispute before the Boston Licensing Board about whether the Greatest Bar on Friend Street served an already inebriated man or just an Irish one with a “very thick Irish accent.” And if it’s found he also wears dentures, case closed, in favor of the Greatest Bar, in our humble opinion.
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