Up in smoke?
It’s kind of hard to say there’s a chasm between voters and politicians in deciding what’s best for the state, given that the voters put these folks into office and continue to pull the lever for them. But you have to wonder if anyone’s listening to the other side when you look at the disparity between how the two groups regard gambling and marijuana.
The state’s elected officiate has been behind the casino law, after a few years of hesitancy, as a way to pad public coffers and create jobs. But voters weren’t asked what they wanted until the law was passed and the question of casinos in their midst went to the locals. The result has been a wave of rejections that has left the fledgling Massachusetts casino industry hanging by a thread. And opponents yesterday declared they have collected 90,000 signatures to place a referendum on next year’s ballot to repeal the casino statute completely.
In some ways, a similar storyline is emerging with the medical marijuana bill passed by voters last year by a nearly 2-1 margin. But, unlike gambling, it is the elected official side of the equation that is working to derail the facilities. Today is the deadline for those hoping for one of the 35 available marijuana dispensary licenses to file their Phase 2 application. The $30,000 application fee doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for the 158 qualified applicants, but the local official opposition does.
A number of towns, mainly through selectmen, town councils, and zoning boards, have placed moratoriums on siting dispensaries or cultivation facilities within their boundaries, icing applicants out of the first round.
Sometimes, it only takes a negative signal from a local leader to send would-be pot purveyors on their way. In New Bedford, the City Council rebutted Mayor Jon Mitchell’s opposition to a marijuana dispensary by unanimously sending a letter of support to the state citing the city voters’ 2-1 backing of last year’s referendum. But Mitchell’s stance has already led to one potential dispensary to pull out. A Boston group seeking to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Newton wants to site its cultivation facility in Swansea after meeting resistance on the Cape. But six other growers/sellers are looking at the Cape for their facilities.
So why the disconnect? It’s not like elected officials don’t know some of the people involved. Former congressman and one-time Norfolk district attorney William Delahunt is the latest to get into the medical pot business, becoming a partner in a group trying to site a dispensary in Plymouth. Former Senate minority leader Brian Lees is part of a nonprofit looking to get a license for a Springfield facility. And former state senator Stephen Buonoconti, now a lobbyist, is an officer in another group that won initial approval for a dispensary but has not decided whether to move forward or not.
So the dance goes on. What happens, though, when a question is on the ballot in 2016 that looks to fully legalize marijuana, and what if it’s passed by voters? Who will lead whom?
One of Gov. Deval Patrick’s judicial nominees is unlikely to win approval from the Governor’s Council because of his ties to the New England chapter of the Anti-Defamation League and the group’s stance on the Armenian genocide , State House News reports.
Worcester City Manager Michael O’Brien plans to resign early next year along with many other key city officials, the Telegram & Gazette reports. Could Tim Murray , the former lieutenant governor and now the head of the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, be interested?
A 2002 New Jersey law that mandated the sale of user-restricted firearms once the technology became available will soon kick in , and push traditional handguns out of the state.
The New York Times details the GOP’s anti-Obamacare game plan.
The highest court in the Dominican Republic has moved to strip citizenship from Dominicans born in Haiti; The move has sparked an international furor and members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation are among those who have written to the president of the country to protest the decision.
The conservative Weekly Standard says Ocean Grove, New Jersey, was denied federal assistance by the Obama administration in the wake of Hurricane Sandy because of its founding by Methodists that resulted in religiously based ordinances that includes a ban on gay marriage.
Republican US Rep. Trey Radel of Florida is taking a leave of absence from Congress to deal with his drug and alcohol addiction, which burst into the public view when he pled guilty to buying cocaine from an undercover police officer in Washington.
Independent gubernatorial runs by two businessmen could be bad news for presumed Republican nominee Charlie Baker, the Globe says. One of the hopefuls, venture capitalist Jeffrey McCormick, was an investor in a 2012 movie about American Indian lacrosse players that was a huge flop — but which reaped $1.4 in state film tax credits.
Even as an election recount is scheduled for this weekend, Daniel Rivera names 18 people to a mayoral transition team. The team includes Juan Gonzalez, a firefighter who also ran for mayor. Rivera leads Mayor William Lantigua by 58 votes heading into the recount, the Eagle-Tribune reports.
Vennochi to Warren: Run, Liz, run.
UMass Lowell pollster Joshua Dyck defends surveys in the Boston mayoral race.
Baker calls Gov. Deval Patrick’s $9 million office renovation “over the top,” the Herald reports.
Despite a series of recent setbacks, Gov. Deval Patrick says the casino law is working as it should, the Associated Press reports. In an editorial about the Milford vote, The MetroWest Daily News, concurs. So does the Herald’s editorial page. That praise presumably includes support for efforts by state and federal investigators to look into the land deal behind the proposed Wynn casino in Everett; they are zeroing in on the possible stake held by a Revere businessman with an extensive criminal record. The Herald previews a pair of tough background check hearings for Steve Wynn and MGM.
East Boston pols who were among the most enthusiastic backers of the Suffolk Downs casino plan are suddenly four-square opposed to the idea of a gambling hall there if it is built entirely on the Revere side of the property, an idea being floated following the plan’s rejection earlier this month by East Boston voters.
New Jersey is rolling out online gambling, allowing anyone in the state to go on the Internet to place a wager, Governing reports.
The iconic restaurant Christo’s in Brockton will close its doors December 31, almost a year after the death of legendary owner Christos Tsaganis, once dubbed the “Greek salad king” by former governor Michael Dukakis.
In the National Review, Kevin Williamson says the problem with raising the minimum wage isn’t so much forcing businesses to pay workers a livable wage; rather, he argues, the problem is the American public school system that turns out so many people whose labor is worth so little.
Dudley Square businessmen and women are looking to get a piece of the action in the neighborhood’s new municipal center.
The Boston-based Barr Foundation, which is looking to raise its profile and impact nationally, has tapped James Canales, CEO of the James Irvine Foundation, to become its first president.
The Boston school system releases the performance evaluation of its teachers, school by school, CommonWealth reports. The results show wide variation in ratings by individual schools.The Herald focuses on possible biases in the evaluations.
Salem State University says it plans to reopen a diner it acquired across from the central campus and have the university food service run it, the Salem News reports.
Gov. Deval Patrick is set to announce a $20 million state investment to modernize UMass Lowell’s school of engineering, the Sun reports.
Opinions are split at a hearing on adding charter schools in Lynn, with school superintendent Catherine Latham calling them “insidious and destructive,” the Item reports.
MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act, talks about its rocky start and what it bodes for the future. Gruber talked about the Romneycare precursor to the federal law, which he also helped design, in this 2007 Conversation in CommonWealth.
Children in 28 countries across the world take 90 seconds longer to run a mile than kids did 30 years ago, NPR reports.
Corporations that manage private highways and bridges are going bust.
Blooms of plankton, a critical link in the ocean food chain, were way down off the coast of northern New England this spring, mostly likely because of warming ocean temperatures, the Gloucester Times reports.
Federal agents arrest two men in Peabody who were allegedly doing surgeries to alter people’s fingertips, the Salem News reports.
A Wakefield child abuse suspect offers to under “physical castration” in exchange for a reduced sentence, but prosecutors aren’t interested, the Associated Press reports.
MEDIAThe New York Times is moving aggressively to replace Nate Silver, who took his statistical analysis work to ESPN and is expanding it there, the New Republic reports. David Leonhardt will write a column focused on data and polling, and former Globie Carolyn Ryan will replace Leonhardt as the paper’s Washington bureau chief, Politico reports.
A new social media app lets women anonymously review men who are their Facebook friends, the New York Times reports.