Traffic congestion study, Cannabis Commission, and more
— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack to release a study from MassDOT on traffic congestion, Room 157, 10 a.m.
— Cannabis Control Commission meets to consider marijuana license applications and renewals, Department of Transportation, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.
— Codman Square Health Center hosts its annual public meeting and honoring U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Boston Police Commissioner William Gross, Great Hall, Codman Square Health Center, 6 Norfolk St., Boston, 6 p.m.
— Department of Higher Education holds a public hearing on proposed regulations related to financial review and risk monitoring at private colleges and universities, One Ashburton Place, Boston, 10 a.m.
— Senate President Karen Spilka participates in a mental health roundtable discussion hosted by Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George, Piemonte Room, 5th Floor, Boston City Hall, 1 City Hall Square, Boston, 1 p.m.
For more calendar listings, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available) and MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.
The Boston Calling verdict: A shock to the political system?
Frankly, we’re surprised by the verdict. But Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is even more surprised by a federal jury’s decision yesterday to convict two mayoral aides, Kenneth Brissette and Timothy Sullivan, on federal conspiracy charges in the Boston Calling extortion case, as Jerome Campbell reports at WBUR.
The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld is warning that Walsh himself could be next on the feds’ hit list. The Globe’s Milton Valencia reports the convictions “could trail Mayor Martin J. Walsh as he embarks on future negotiations with labor unions and other advocacy groups, as well as in his own political career, according to legal and political analysts who followed the case.” The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsy, however, reports that others are not so sure Walsh’s political standing will suffer much, at least in the short-term .
No matter what happens to Walsh, a Globe editorial makes the point that the entire political system in Boston took a hit yesterday, perhaps changing the hardball way business has been traditionally done in Boston, specifically the “pandering” to special-interest groups like unions. “This verdict is a chance to turn the page on a practice jaded Bostonians have had to accept for so long that it feels normal,” the Globe says
Switcheroo update: Baker gave a ‘courtesy’ heads-up to lawmaker about Taunton mayoral appointment
No mention of a wink. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “The Baker administration notified Rep. Shauna O’Connell ahead of time that the governor was appointing the mayor of Taunton as the interim register of probate in Bristol County, but officials say the notification was done as a courtesy and her own bid for mayor was not discussed.” Obviously, her mayoral bid didn’t have to be discussed. O’Connell knew what to do.
The latest T derailment: A rookie’s mistake?
SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and CBS Boston are reporting that the T is pointing the finger at an operator for yesterday’s Green Line derailment in Newton. The operator has been put on leave. And, btw, the operator was a rookie, as the Globe’s Emily Sweeney reports.
CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports that yesterday’s accident was the sixth train/trolley derailment so far this year, while the Globe’s Sweeny notes it’s the fourth on the Green Line alone in 2019. And we have nearly five months still to go in this calendar year, we’ll note.
Meanwhile, are all-electric buses the way to go?
Speaking of the MBTA, Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine reports that T officials are eyeing adding around 500 buses to its fleet of roughly 1,000 – and some think it’s time for a dramatic switch to all-electric buses. But Fred Salvucci, who was former Gov. Michael Dukakis’s transportation secretary, argues that the T shouldn’t be stampeded into going all-electric. The important thing, he says, is getting people out of cars and onto buses.
Healey on RMV debacle: ‘What a serious case of lack of leadership’
We missed this one from the other day, via WGBH’s Eliza Dewey, who reports Attorney General Maura Healey is leaving the door open to possible criminal charges in the RMV scandal and blasting the Baker administration’s handling of the entire affair. “What a serious case of lack of leadership, lack of management, lack of accountability that apparently may have led to … serious and devastating harm,” she said. No mincing of words here.
Headline of the Day: ‘Governor laying low and drawing attention for it’
We got a kick out of this headline, via the indispensable SHNS, with the governor (until today) largely staying out of the limelight of late amid all the MBTA, RMV and other non-acronym controversies. Democrats are trying to make hay of the governor’s disappearance, while administration officials say he’s just quietly doing his job in the Corner Office.
It’s going to be a busy fall 2020: More than a dozen questions could be headed to ballot
Speaking of the State House News Service, from SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “As many as 13 questions could be headed to the 2020 ballot and three additional Constitutional amendments were proposed by Wednesday’s deadline to file initial proposals with Attorney General Maura Healey’s office for review. The new laws proposed by the potential ballot questions range from the use of ranked-choice voting in Massachusetts elections to a requirement that all gun owners store their weapon in a certified gun safe.”
Is Moulton’s campaign in full meltdown mode?
The Washington Post reported yesterday that U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s presidential campaign may be scaling back its staff, perhaps by half, amid dismal polling for the Massachusetts Democrat. But Moulton says the Washington Post piece is “absolutely not true,” reports CBS News.
OK, but the Post does confirm from the campaign that some “some folks have moved on to other opportunities” and that the campaign recently underwent a “restructuring.”
The ultimate ‘litmus test’ issue in city council races: Rent control
Yawu Miller at the Bay State Banner reports that both Boston City Council incumbents and challengers are now embracing the re-introduction of rent control in the Hub, an issue that has become one of the top “litmus test questions for progressive groups weighing support for council candidates.”
For developers, it’s next stop Wonderland
The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that interest is high among developers eyeing the re-development of the old Wonderland dog track in Revere. And it’s easy to see why, Chesto writes: “We’re talking about a blank-slate property just six miles from downtown Boston with enough room for up to 3.6 million square feet of development.”
Developer in full retreat over housing units at former Boston Edison site
Speaking of developments: Housing crisis? What housing crisis? Max Reyes at the BBJ reports that the re-developer of the old Boston Edison power plant in Southie is now offering to dramatically scale back the number of proposed housing units at the site – and has even floated the idea of no housing at the site. And many neighborhood residents still aren’t happy.
MGM sues feds over approval of new tribal casino in Connecticut
The governor of Connecticut is urging tribes not to build a new casino across the border from MGM Springfield. But it looks like MGM isn’t taking any chances. From the Associated Press at MassLive: “Casino developer MGM has filed a lawsuit challenging the federal approval of a deal that would allow Connecticut’s two Indian tribes to open a third casino in East Windsor (Conn.), less than 20 miles from MGM Springfield.”
Oh, brother, Part II: Fall River mayor defends issuing pot permits to his girlfriend’s brother
The Globe’s Naomi Martin reports that Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II is receiving heat for granting city approvals for two pot shops owned by his live-in girlfriend’s brother. But Correia, who is currently facing federal fraud and tax evasion charges, says his actions were legal and perfectly legit.
‘Serial entrepreneur’ charged with running Ponzi-like scheme – and BostInno has the inside goods
It looks like BostInno was already looking into Tanman Kabra’s “investment boutique” practices when he was arrested on Sunday at Logan Airport on charges of operating a Ponzi-like fraud scheme that promised to invest funds in startups. BostInno’s Srividya Kalyanaraman writes that, over the past 12 months, the online publication was already speaking to “several sources, including Kabra’s associates, ex-employees and entrepreneurs” about Kabra’s operations.
‘Methadone Mile’: South Enders have had it
The Herald’s Alexi Cohan reports on a contentious hearing earlier this week in which divided South End residents debated the issues of rising homelessness and drug abuse in their neighborhood in the wake of a recent attack on a correctional officer.
Meanwhile, from Yawu Miller at the Bay State Banner: “South Bay crackdown raises concerns.”
County jails: The new drug-treatment centers of our time
Speaking of drug abuse/addictions etc., Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports on how seven county jails next month will begin offering medication assisted treatment to inmates addicted to drugs, reflecting a shift in attitudes on how to treat those hooked on opioids and other narcotics.
Meanwhile, Martha Bebinger and Ally Jarmanning at WBUR have an interesting piece on how Massachusetts has “among the highest rates of dispensing naloxone, the drug that can reverse an opioid overdose.” Franklin County seems to be leading the way in use of naloxone.
PAC endorsement: Can the Pressley-AOC magic rub off on Alex Morse?
Michelle Williams at MassLive reports that Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Richard Neal in the Democratic primary contest in western Massachusetts, has received key national support from a progressive political action committee that helped Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez knock off sitting Dem incumbents last year.
Btw: The Globe’s Victoria McGrane has an update on all the upstart Dems, including Morse, now challenging incumbent congressional members in Massachusetts. Bottom line: They’re not waiting for their turn.
Stop & Shop strike cost company an estimated $345M in lost sales
Greg Ryan at the BBJ reports that Stop & Shop lost an estimated $345 million in sales tied to the workers’ strike this past spring – with more than a third of the losses coming after employees ended their strike. Meaning: The company took a true PR beating.
Democracy School: Merrimack Valley
Effective organizing takes knowledge and skills. To build and execute a successful campaign, you need to set clear goals, build strong partnerships, and engage your target audience with a compelling message. It’s hard, time-consuming work. And it’s how we change the world.
David & Ben’s BBQ for Annissa (Essaibi George running for reelection to the Boston City Council at-Large)
David and Ben invite you to our house for a summer BBQ to hear from Annissa Essaibi George as she runs for reelection to the Boston City Council as an at-large councilor.
Codman Square Health Center Public Annual Meeting 2019
Join Codman Square Health Center as we honor U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley and Boston Police Commissioner Willie Gross. We’ll hear about current issues in health care, the role that community health centers play, and a recap of Codman’s accomplishments over the past year.
Transportation and Climate Community Engagement Workshop – Chelsea
We have an opportunity to address two of our greatest challenges together — transportation and climate change.
Make Our Voices Heard – “Our Fight For Healthcare”
This event is designed to discuss the disparities that Black Women, the elderly, and other underserved demographics in America face during their experiences with the American healthcare system.
Commercial Leasing Onsite Course
The course will provide an overview of the commercial leasing process and educate students on pertinent leasing issues and clauses in lease transactions for office, industrial and retail.
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