Boston Mayor Michelle Wu

Happening today:

10:30 a.m. | A salute for outstanding employees today from U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas at the Secretary's Awards ceremony at U.S. Coast Guard Sector Boston. | 427 Commercial St., Boston

11 a.m. | Next up in this week's victory lap on education investment: Gov. Maura Healey highlights MassReconnect, which will provide free community college for residents over 25 MassBay Community College, Wellesley Hills Campus, 50 Oakland Street, Wellesley Hills

11:45 a.m. | Housing Secretary Ed Augustus starts a statewide housing production tour, focused on affordable housing projects. | Faneuil Hall, Boston

3 p.m. | Black Advocates for Educational Excellence holds rally on the importance of teacher diversity in Massachusetts classrooms and legislation to protect teacher diversity when districts face layoff decisions. | Bolling Building, 2300 Washington Street, Roxbury,

Thirty years after Boston and roughly two dozen other major U.S. cities put their school committees under mayoral control, more than half have restored voters’ power to elect board members. But attempts to return to an independent school board have gone nowhere in Boston even as voters overwhelmingly support it and a majority of the city council wants it. The hurdle? Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

Yesterday’s announcement of yet another mayoral appointment to Boston’s seven-member School Committee was the latest reminder of the top-down style of governance in a district on the brink of state receivership amid falling test scores and a lack of progress on longstanding equity issues and achievement gaps.

Los Angeles, Detroit and Oakland have all moved away from mayoral control in schools where districts face similar issues. Next year Chicago will put the power back in the hands of voters. Critics say the “experiment” has shown mayors to be generally less transparent than an elected school committee and less willing to take political risks. Mayors still in control include New York City and D.C. 

District 5 City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo — who co-sponsored a council-approved plan to phase in a 13-member elected school committee over roughly four years — told MASSterList, “An elected school committee would bring accountability, transparency and democracy to the body — ensuring all stakeholders have a voice.”

Wu vetoed the petition back in February. She argued it was the wrong time to make big changes in the problem-plagued district, despite having backed a return to an elected school committee — in a hybrid fashion — on the campaign trail.

Wu’s latest new appointee is Boston Public Schools alumn Chantal Lima Barbosa, the first Cape Verdean woman to serve on the board — the mayor’s second appointment. Last year she installed Superintendent Mary Skipper to lead — “a good hire,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo said he’s willing to give Skipper time but intends to “fairly evaluate her performance.”

Bostonians have signaled strong support for an elected board, with 79 percent of voters casting ballots in favor in a 2021 nonbinding resolution. But Boston will have to wait — for now. The mayor’s press office yesterday left the question open in an email to reporters.

“If the council approves another home rule petition to change the structure of the school committee, we’ll evaluate the proposal at that time,” the statement said.

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‘Tis the season to get Storrow’d… and DCR wants to help prevent that

In a tongue-in-cheek PSA to residents prepping for one of the busiest moving days of the year on Sept. 1 — a video set to Sarah McLachlan’s song “Angel”  — reminds drivers renting U-Hauls and moving trucks that overpasses all over the Boston area “need your help.” In a social media post the department writes, “They need to not be hit by a moving truck on Storrow Drive or Soldiers Field in Boston & Memorial Drive in Cambridge. Plan your move in day route accordingly & watch for the signs!”

Twitter aka X | The Boston Herald

Fire in the hole! A smoking manhole explodes near the waterfront

Posting photos and video to social media, Shamus Moynihan says a manhole exploded at Atlantic Avenue and Commercial Wharf around 7:30 p.m. yesterday, sending smoke 30 feet into the air and ejecting its heavy cover hard enough it flew up, came down and landed top down back on the hole. “Luckily, no one was hurt,” according to his post.

Twitter aka X | Universal Hub

UMass medical school and Worcester hospital duke it out in costly legal battle 

Once close partners, the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School and Worcester’s nonprofit hospital system UMass Memorial are locked in a costly legal battle, a month-long investigation by MassLive has uncovered.. The medical school has racked up $7.2 million in legal expenses in ongoing litigation over its stake in UMass Memorial’s 2019 sale of a specialty pharmacy company. The medical school says it is owed $40 million from the hospital system as its portion of the revenue in the $263 million sale.


UMass Memorial presses on with birthing center closure

A birthing center on the Leominster campus of UMass Memorial Health Alliance-Clinton Hospital is still on track to close next month despite a community outcry and pushback from state regulators. UMass Memorial Health announced the closure in May. As the planned closure date of Sept. 23 now approaches, the organization is moving forward with shutdown plans…and the state has few avenues for recourse.

WHDH | State House News Service

Susan Sarandon sues Massachusetts construction firm

Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon has filed a federal lawsuit against a Massachusetts construction firm she hired to build her $2 million home in Stamford, Vermont, reports Shannon Larson for the Globe. Sarandon is suing DeGrenier Contracting and Property Management in Clarksburg, a small town just a few miles south of Stamford, over “extensive problems” with the home, according to the complaint. Among 47 issues that “require completion or correction” are buckled siding, mold, missing insulation, and warping shingles, the suit alleges.

The Boston Globe

A decade after MIT students hacked the T, 4 high school students did it again

A trio of MIT undergrads faced legal troubles when they exposed security vulnerabilities in the MBTA payment system 15 years ago by hacking the Charlie Ticket magstripe paper cards. A presentation of their findings at a hacker conference was nixed after angry officials got wind of the scheme, but it turns out — the problem persisted. Fast-forward to the present day, where a group of four high schoolers set out to see if the transit system fixed those exposed vulnerabilities. Spoiler alert: they didn’t. Two of the students joined hosts on GBH’s “All Things Considered” to discuss.


Long game: Boston officials focus on potential of Long Island treatment and recovery campus 

Addressing the appalling problems in Boston’s Mass. and Cass area, Boston officials yesterday outlined a strategy to mitigate an opioid addiction nightmare that has worsened since the Long Island bridge closed, literally cutting off addiction services there. In a tour of the island with reporters, the Wu administration outlined their intention to revitalize recovery options and social services on Long Island, and reopen a campus there in four years.

The Boston Herald | State House News Service | The Boston Globe

Boston to be home to one of Google’s first retail stores

Alphabet Inc. is planning to open a Google Store in Boston, sources tell the Boston Business Journal’s Greg Ryan and Grant Welker. It will make the city one of the first in the world to host a retail location from the technology giant when it moves into a ground-floor storefront at 149 Newbury St. Alphabet right now has only two Google retail stores, both in New York. The locations sell Google hardware like Pixel phones, tablets and computers and Nest smart devices. 

Boston Business Journal

Feds tout Dorchester project as clean energy darling

The Biden administration is investing tens of billions of dollars into clean-energy projects and federal officials are touting improvements made at a Dorchester housing complex as a prime example for projects to come. Local, state and federal leaders in Dorchester yesterday celebrated the renovations at Franklin Field Apartments, which were part of a $32 million program by the Boston Housing Authority to improve air quality and energy efficiency.

Dorchester Reporter | GBH | State House News Service

Up in the air: Fuzzy math complicates tracking of wind jobs  

With wind farm construction activity picking up on the SouthCoast waterfront, Colin Hogan of the New Bedford Light digs into the question of whether the state’s burgeoning offshore wind industry is delivering on headline-grabbing promises to create “thousands”of jobs.

New Bedford Light

After lawsuit threat, Worcester waits on crisis pregnancy ordinance 

The Worcester City Council has delayed planned action on a local crisis-pregnancy ordinance and the Telegram’s Marco Cartolano reports the delay of at least a month came after the Massachusetts Family Institute said it would likely sue over the measure.

Telegram & Gazette

Frustrated Amherst residents unload on school board 

Numerous Amherst residents waited out a lengthy executive session for the chance to berate, virtually, the remaining members of the Amherst Regional School Committee in the wake of a tumultuous few weeks that included the departure of the superintendent and the former board chair’s resignation. Many criticized the board for not doing more to address claims of trangender bullying in schools and for not holding an in-person meeting, MassLive’s Dave Eisenstadter reports.


Agencies say Healey’s budget trims put anti-poverty services in jeopardy

Social services agencies in the Pioneer Valley say they will have to dramatically scale back their anti-poverty efforts after Gov. Maura Healey vetoed $7.7 million worth of funding from the 2024 budget. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

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Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList