Traffic disruptions, late-night buses and Foxboro stop, Lottery meeting
Acting MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver and state officials hold a media briefing on the travel impacts caused by the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge replacement project, Turnpike Park, 807 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 10 a.m. ... The MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board will review potential pilot programs for late night and early morning bus service and for regular commuter rail service to Foxboro, Transportation Board Room, 10 Park Plaza, 10 a.m. ... U.S. Sen.Elizabeth Warren tours the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and participates in a roundtable discussion with EBNHC leadership, 20 Maverick Sq., Boston, 10:30 a.m. ... Treasurer Deborah Goldberg chairs the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission meeting, 1 Ashburton Place, 12th floor, Crane Conference Room, Boston, 10:30 a.m. ... Treasurer Deborah Goldberg participates in a panel discussion about women making change in politics and government at a Women2Women conference, Great Hall, 11:30 a.m. ... U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and housing advocates participate in a rally to support federal investments in affordable housing and communities, Samuel Adams Statue in front of Faneuil Hall, Boston, 12 p.m. ... The Joint Committee on Elder Affairs hears testimony on bills relating to home- and community-based care and Alzheimer's disease, Hearing Room A-2, 1 p.m. ... The Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities will consider pending legislation, Room B-1, 1 p.m. ... Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports meets to vote on a series of recommendations contained in a final report on the industry, Room 437, 1:30 p.m. ... Boston Mayor Martin Walsh will host the 34th Annual National Night Out tied to community policing programs throughout the city, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. ... City Councilor Tito Jackson, a Boston mayoral candidate, is a guest on ‘Greater Boston,’ WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m.
Report: Arroyo under internal investigation for unspecified reasons
The son of embattled Suffolk Register of Probate Felix D. Arroyo now has his own problems to contend with, reports Atonio Planas at the Herald: “Felix G. Arroyo, City Hall’s chief of Health and Human Services, is under internal investigation for unspecified reasons, Mayor Martin J. Walsh confirmed yesterday. ‘We have an internal investigation right now going on, into Felix,’ Walsh told the Herald. Walsh declined to answer any questions about the nature of the probe or the reason for the focus on Arroyo.” Arroyo remains on the job.
North-South tunnel link is not just a North-South tunnel link
Ari Ofsevit, a member of TransitMatters and a Master of Science in Transportation/Master of City Planning candidate at MIT, makes a persuasive case why the proposed North-South rail tunnel would be much more than just a link between North Station and South Station. Think: More suburban to suburban stops and fewer rail-to-subway transfers. You know, we’re actually beginning to be won over by these arguments, though the mere mention of “tunnel” and “Boston” and “billions of dollars” still brings back nightmares of you-know-what.
Gen. Kelly: The ‘tough talking Bostonian’ who’s now Trump’s right hand man
The Washington Post takes a quick look at Boston native John Kelly, the former U.S. Marine general and Homeland Security secretary who is now President Trump’s chief of staff, after last week’s three-ring circus at the White House. WBUR has re-posted a prior profile of Kelly by Arun Rath. Trying hard to maintain his belief in Trump, the Herald’s Joe Fitzgerald doesn’t sound optimistic that Kelly can make much of a difference at the White House.
Restaurant industry pushes for last call to last-drink tracking system
From the Globe’s Dan Adams: “Massachusetts bars and restaurants are pushing to eliminate a state program that tracks where convicted drunk drivers had their last drinks before being arrested, saying it embarrasses businesses without giving them a chance to defend themselves.” The push is alarming state regulators, local licensing officials, and public health advocates, Adams writes.
Candidates find voters tuned out in special election for Timilty seat
Maybe it’s the dog days of summer, or the return of Game of Thrones, but the seven—seven!—candidates seeking to win the state senate seat recently vacated by James Timilty say they are getting a lot of confused looks from voters unaware that a special election is around the corner, Jim Hand of the Sun-Chronicle reports. The primary is Sept. 19.
SJC to review Healey-ExxonMobil dispute over climate change documents
From the Herald’s Bob McGovern: “The state’s highest court will determine whether a Bay State judge was allowed to force ExxonMobil to turn its internal climate change research over to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger in January ordered ExxonMobil to give Healey’s office documents related to its investigation into whether the energy giant misled the public about the impact of fossil fuels on the climate.”
No matter where you stand on the health-care debate, there’s something quaint and moving, in a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington type of way, about U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’s reception the other day at Bangor airport. The Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss has the details.
There will be no sales tax holiday for Mass. shoppers again this year after lawmakers adjourned last week without putting one in place, Kathleen McKiernan of the Herald reports. The state’s retail lobby must decide this week whether to take the next step toward putting a rollback of the state sales tax on the 2018 ballot. Meanwhile, Richie Davis of the Hampshire Gazette reports that the state senate has formed a task force to study ways to make brick-and-mortar retailers more competitive in the age of Amazon.
As reinforcements arrive, more arrests at Otis State Forest pipeline site
Police arrested 22 protestors trying to block work on a natural gas pipeline through the Otis State Forest over the weekend. Members of the Lakota Sioux Indian tribe even traveled from the Standing Rock Reservation—the site of a massive but ultimately unsuccessful protest earlier this year—to Western Mass. to join the cause, Heather Bellow of the Berkshire Eagle reports.
Fyi: Salon has a major piece on how hard it is to stop a proposed natural-gas pipeline project, let alone one already under construction. Check out this factoid: “Only twice in the past 30 years has FERC rejected a pipeline out of hundreds proposed.”
Gonzalez criticizes ‘Baker Loophole’ on fundraising
From Jim O’Sullivan at the Globe: “Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez is targeting Governor Charlie Baker’s fund-raising methods, calling for changes to the campaign finance system and charging that Baker has ‘exploited its flaws.’” Naturally, Gonzalez wants to close the “Baker Loophole” that’s allowed the Rebublican governor to raise more money than Gonzalez, or any other Dem candidate, could ever hope to raise.
Springfield council shakeup represents ‘profound shift’
Matt Szafranski at WMPI writes that the recent decisions by long-time Springfield council members Timothy Rooke and Bud Williams not to seek re-election represent a “profound shift” in a city that changed its election system only eight years ago.
Baker signs ‘shadow law’ to allow Winthrop Square tower
Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday approved the compromise ‘shadow law’ that allows Millennium Partners to proceed with its controversial 775-foot tower that critics say will cast too big a shadow over Boston Common, reports Universal Hub, which has a lively discussion going on over the issue.
Does Boston really want to be left with monopolistic ride-sharing firms if taxis die off?
Considering their decades of providing shoddy and expensive service, it’s hard to feel sorry for taxi owners. But Steve Goldberg, owner and operator of three Boston cabs, makes a good argument that when the dust settles from the current Uber-Lyft industry upheaval, Boston and other cities could be left with multinational uber-monopolies – and he has suggestions on how to cut regulations to level the competitive playing field.
The sound and the fury: Pike disruptions and the Comm Ave bridge project
Believe it or not, transportation disruptions caused by the Commonweath Avenue Bridge project will only get worse this week, causing Turnpike delays of up to 90 minutes, reports Scott Croteau at MassLive, which has a separate piece on the noise caused by the bridge project (with video and audio). Brian White at the Globe has a good what-to-expect piece about the huge project and its traffic impact this week.
Goldberg jumps out of starting gate with pot advisory board picks
Gov. Charlie Baker had barely signed the new marijuana-regulations bill on Friday, as SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports at MetroWest Daily News, when Treasurer Deb Goldberg announced her five appointments to the new Cannabis Advisory Board, as the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports. Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey must appoint their own five members by tomorrow – and the trio must also name five members to the state’s Cannibas Control Commission by September 1.
Activists worried Foxboro stop may disrupt rail service to inner-city stations
From Adam Vaccaro at the Globe: “Advocates for improving the MBTA’s Fairmount commuter rail line are raising concerns that a proposed suburban service to Foxborough could disrupt travel for low-income and minority passengers in Mattapan, Hyde Park, and Dorchester.” To us, they also sound like standard NIMBY activists, i.e. they support expanded rail service – until it disrupts their service.
No old-fashioned ‘police blotter’ reports on MBTA arrests, no siree
Speaking of the MBTA: So much for a new era of transparency at the MBTA. The transit agency’s police department has decided that an old staple of local journalism, i.e. police blotter reports based on arrest logs, doesn’t apply to T police, who are now claiming the right to black out the names of people arrested, reports Todd Wallack at the Globe. Do you think the policy has something to do with ugly incidents like this?
Btw: Can you imagine if local police departments announced the same restrictive policies? Local weekly newspapers would lose half their fun and reason for existence.
Are local Democrats becoming less supportive of Israel?
Rafael Medoff at the Jewish News Service takes a look at whether the Democratic Party across the country -- and here in Massachusetts as well – is steadily moving away from support of Israel, citing recent moves (or non-moves) by U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III and this past June’s dustup over Israel at the Mass. State Democratic Party Convention.
Many Bostonians still consider The Atlantic magazine a local institution, even though it hasn’t been headquartered here for a number of years. Now it’s undergoing another ownership change, with the widow of Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs, via her Emerson Collective, taking a majority interest in the venerable media company, as the Atlantic reports. As a MassterList reader put it, regarding the new ownership’s California roots: “Will they rename it The Pacific?”
AG and DA on board with review of Shanley release process
Attorney General Maura Healey and Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan, echoing the sentiments of Gov. Charlie Baker, say a re-examination of the state’s civil commitment process is in order after the controversial release of pedophile priest Paul Shanley, reports Chris Villani at the Herald.
Fall River housing project is a first in a generation
When is turning a vacant mill into market-rate housing a big deal? When it’s the first non-subsidized market-rate housing project in the city of Fall River in a generation, which is exactly the case with Commonwealth Landing, where Kevin P. O’Connor of the Herald News reports the waterfront apartments are drawing renters from Providence and Boston.