Happening Today

Needles hearing, Martin’s Park groundbreaking, Hampden summer picnic

Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George holds a hearing on a city ordinance that would require retailers and distributors of sharp needles for home use to take them back at no additional cost to the consumer, Piemonte Room, Boston City Hall, 9:30 a.m. … Mass. Climate Action Network holds a tour of the Deer Island clean energy site that features solar, wind, and anaerobic digestion clean energy sources, Deer Island, Winthrop, 9:30 a.m. … Mayor Martin Walsh and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash attend a ribbon cutting for the newly-renovated Wayne at Columbia housing development, 1451 Blue Hill Avenue, Mattapan, 11 a.m. …. Lt. Gov. Polito joins Senate President Stanley Rosenberg to sign a Community Compact with the town of Northfield at its town hall, 11:30 a.m., and the two appear again for another Community Compact signing with Warwick at its town hall, 12:30 p.m. … Gov. Charlie Baker and Mayor Martin Walsh attend a groundbreaking ceremony for Martin’s Park at the Smith Family Waterfront, 64 Sleeper St., Boston, 1 p.m. … Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi holds his office’s traditional summer picnic, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni and West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt attending, Springfield Elks Lodge #61, 440 Tiffany St., Springfield, 11 a.m. … Auditor Suzanne Bump returns to Massachusetts on Wednesday after the conclusion of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers’ annual conference.

Today’s Stories

The ‘Top Chef’ verdict: Vindication for Marty Walsh?

First, the actual news, via Melissa Hanson at MassLive: “The four members of Teamsters Local 25 charged with attempted extortion for allegedly intimidating the cast and crew of ‘Top Chef’ have been found not guilty in federal court.”

Now for the political repercussions: The Herald’s Dan Atkinson reports that Mayor Marty Walsh yesterday stopped just short of claiming vindication, but he did say that he’s “relieved” the trial’s over and that he believes his administration was unfairly tied to the case. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes that the mayor is entitled to a victory lap, or maybe a half a lap: “The ‘Top Chef’ not guilty verdict doesn’t wash away the city’s links to union bullying tactics, but it does mark another fortunate turn for Mayor Martin J. Walsh amid another banner week for his re-election campaign.” The Globe’s Milton Valencia writes that the verdict “served as political relief” for Walsh and he quotes experts saying a big political cloud hanging over City Hall is now gone – or at least one of the clouds is now gone.

Finally, the Herald’s Bob McGovern zeroes in on the big loser yesterday: The U.S. Attorney’s office, specifically former U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, noting it’s just the latest political-related case that the feds have lost in Boston.

Forget the not-guilty verdict: The Teamsters’ bullying tactics were still obnoxious

As they say, politics makes strange bedfellows, and in the case of the ‘Top Chef’ jury verdict yesterday, the liberal Globe editorial board and the conservative Herald editorial board are in agreement this morning: The Teamsters’ bullying actions against film-set producers and staffers, though not illegal, as determined by the federal jury, were still beyond obnoxious. 

Meanwhile, even Howie Carr and Attorney General Maura Healey, as reported by the Herald, are in agreement that the Teamsters’ antics are “unacceptable,” as Healey’s office diplomatically put it yesterday.

The T’s big GM bet: Hiring an outsider with no transit or public-sector experience

The MBTA, trying to think outside the box to fix a widely acknowledged dysfunctional transit system, hired an outsider yesterday to run the T — Luis Manuel Ramirez, a former General Electric executive and most recently a Texas-based consultant specializing in business turnarounds. But as CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl and the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro note, Ramirez has no public-transit and public-sector experience and knows virtually nothing about the MBTA. To put it mildly, it’s a daring – and fascinating — pick by the Republican Baker administration.

Fyi: Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive has details about Ramirez’s $320,000 salary, with built-in performance bonuses. It’s an unusual private-sector-like contract – and one the Baker administration appears ready to use more often moving forward.

There he goes again: President reiterates that ‘both sides’ to blame in Charlottesville

He won’t let it go, as both the right and left try to control and shape the narrative of the violence in Charlottesville over the weekend. From the Washington Post: “President Trump on Tuesday revived his declaration that ‘both sides’ were to blame for deadly violence at a white supremacist rally over the weekend in Charlottesville, abandoning his message from a day earlier that had emphasized the culpability of the groups that organized and participated in the event.”

The Herald’s editorial board isn’t buying the president’s ‘both sides’ narrative: “Well, so much for the Donald Trump who denounced bigotry and hatred on Monday — in what some said looked like a White House hostage video. Yesterday the real Donald Trump was back — placing blame equally not on the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who arrived in Charlottesville with hatred and mayhem on their minds, but on all the demonstrators.”

BU student who attended Charlottesville rally not returning to Boston due to ‘death threats’

We have no idea if he’s telling the truth about death threats, but we think it’s safe to say he’s not exactly popular on campus these days. From the Globe’s Danny McDonald: “An 18-year-old who attended the white supremacist rally that turned violent in Charlottesville, Va., says he is not returning to Boston University in the fall, in part because of death threats he has received for his political views.”

Boston Globe

What we know – or actually don’t know — about Saturday’s right-wing rally

As for Saturday’s planned right-wing rally in Boston, the Globe’s Meghan Irons has cleared up at least some of the mystery surrounding the protest by talking to a 23-year-old spokesman for the event, who says the rally is being organized in reaction to ugly left-wing incidents at the University of California Berkeley and elsewhere. John Medlar, who’s photographed in what sure looks like a proverbial mom-and-dad’s basement bedroom, says he’s been in contact with city officials about getting a permit, but acknowledges one hasn’t been issued yet.

Meanwhile, WBUR’s Bruce Gellerman tried to get to the bottom of who exactly is organizing Saturday’s planned right-wing rally on Boston Common – and he didn’t get very far.

Springfield cop’s ugly post-Charlottesville comments draw angry demands for his firing

From Patrick Johnson at MassLive: “Hundreds of people have directed their anger over a city police officer’s Facebook comments about racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia toward the Springfield Police Department page, posting a flood of one-star reviews and calls for the patrolman’s firing. … A number of people have also made phone calls made to Police Commissioner John R. Barbieri’s office, and a petition created on the social media site Change calls for (the officer’s) dismissal.” 


‘Antifa,’ the new ‘Benghazi,’ Part II

After our post yesterday on Antifa (and before President Trump doubled down yesterday by blaming “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville), a MassterList reader alerted us to this new Atlantic Monthly piece, by Peter Beinart, about the “rise of the violent left” in reaction to the rise of violent right-wing groups of late. Both groups deep-down love this stuff – the street brawls, the romanticized belief they’re reliving Weimar Germany all over again, etc.

Still, as this NYT analysis rightly points out, there’s no real moral equivalency in the Charlottesville case when: A.) Right-wingers were the ones who organized the Charlottesville rally. B.) A woman was killed by a neo-Nazi driver at the Charlottesville rally and C.) The overwhelming number of violent political incidents in the past have been committed by right-wing groups, though the NYT piece does acknowledge there were lefty fanatics engaging in violence in Charlottesville.

The Atlantic

Timing of Holocaust Memorial vandalism unnerves many

The violent events in Charlottesville and now the vandalism of Boston’s New England Holocaust Memorial for the second time this summer is leaving many people on edge, reports Phillip Martin at WGBH. “Right now I’m just horrified and angry,” said Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, “trying to figure out how I and our staff are calling survivors of the Holocaust tonight to tell them” about the vandalism.

Fyi: The Globe is reporting that an off-duty Boston firefighter and his friend, a US Drug Enforcement Administration agent, chased down and caught the teen alleged to have vandalized the memorial.


He’s running for office. He just doesn’t know which one yet

Rufus Gifford — the former campaign finance director for Barack Obama, the Obama administration’s ambassador to Denmark and the son of former FleetBoston Bank chief Chad Gifford – really wants to run for office as a Democrat. He just doesn’t know which one yet. The Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan has the details on what appears to be a unique pre-trial balloon trial balloon released by Gifford.

Boston Globe

New education commissioner: Ultimately, it’s Peyser’s call

The state education board yesterday embarked on its search for a new elementary and secondary education commissioner and hopes to name a new chief by the end of the year. But here’s what caught our attention in Katie Lannan’s SHNS story at the Sentinel & Enterprise: “(Education Secretary James) Peyser, an appointee of Gov. Charlie Baker, will weigh in twice on the candidate — once as a voting member of the board, and then when he decides whether to make the appointment. If Peyser does not agree to the board’s recommendation, its members will need to select someone new.”

Sentinel & Enterprise

MassDevelopment’s bid to revive older downtowns: Buying up eyesores?

From the Globe’s Jon Chesto on an interesting MassDevelopment program: “The quasipublic agency plans to spend millions on similar downtrodden properties (as in Worcester), with the hopes that putting a shabby building or vacant lot to better use will be a catalyst for positive change. It’s all part of the agency’s ‘Transformative Development Initiative,’ underway since 2014, aimed at improving key parts of older industrial cities.”

Boston Globe

Uh-oh: Warren Buffett dumps all of his GE stocks

The curse of Boston? We hope not. But it sure seems strange that ever since General Electric announced its headquarters move to Boston in early 2016, it’s stock has just kept falling and falling. Now Warren Buffett is dumping all his shares in GE, reports the BBJ’s Kelly O’Brien. Barron’s Ben Levisohn notes GE’s share price is now lower than it was in the depths of the financial crisis – when Buffett first effectively bailed out GE. Check out the GE stock chart accompanying his story.


So long, temporary bridge. Hello, new Fore River bridge

They may have stretched the meaning of ‘temporary,’ but it’s all relative in the end. From the Patriot Ledger: “After more four years and some $244 million dollars, the first cars will cross the Fore River on a new bridge sometime (tonight). The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says all traffic on Route 3A will be transferred off a 14-year-old ‘temporary’ bridge and onto a new permanent span that has been built alongside it.”

Patriot Ledger

Morning Meditation

Halfway Pond Conservation Area

Hearing on Safe Disposal of Used Hypodermic Needles

Annissa Essaibi-George

Little Known CA Wine Areas in Winchester


Boston Intro to Python Programming (3 Sessions)


Berklee Guitar Sessions: Benjamin Verdery in Boston

Boston Conservatory Theater

Today’s Headlines


Teamsters Acquitted In ‘Top Chef’ Extortion Case – WBUR

Holocaust Memorial Vandalism Unnerves Many Ahead Of Upcoming ‘Free Speech’ Rally – WGBH

Warren Buffett sells all $315M worth of shares in General Electric – BBJ

Mass. agency buying properties in bid to revive older downtowns – Boston Globe


Former GE Executive Tapped To Lead MBTA – WBUR

Baker announces $100M to boost state’s affordable housing stock – BBJ


Trump Defends Initial Remarks on Charlottesville; Again Blames ‘Both Sides’ – NYT

Trump Threat to Obamacare Would Send Premiums and Deficits Higher – NYT

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