Episode 9: Walsh’s Woes

CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas talks with Gin Dumcius of MassLive.com and Kyle Clauss of Boston magazine about the string of problems in the administration of Mayor Marty Walsh, capped most recently by the indictment this week of a second City Hall official on federal corruption charges.

Episode 89: Wu grades the T

Boston residents are probably more reliant on the MBTA than anyone in the state, yet city government has no formal say in the operation of the T. It’s been an easy way for city officials to pass the buck about problems with the T – of which there have been more than a fair share in recent years.

But city officials are finally stepping up and speaking out on transit issues. One of the strongest voices has belonged to City Councilor Michelle Wu, who joined Bruce Mohl and me for this week’s Codcast.

Episode 88: Smoke ’em if you got ’em

To listen to the state’s newest regulatory commission in its meetings, the tenor and terms, for the most part, are no different than hearings regarding oversight of most industries in the state.

But the big difference is the industry they are charged with overseeing – legal marijuana – and members of the Cannabis Control Commission have just hit a historic milestone, finalizing regulations to get legal recreational sale and use of marijuana ready to roll.

“July 1 is the start date, not the end date,” says commission chairman Steven Hoffman, who along with commissioner Shaleen Title joined The Codcast to talk about the regulations. “The industry is going to take time to evolve. It’s going to take a few years, I believe, before this industry looks mature.”

Episode 87: The great pipeline debate

We heat our homes and light our cities using fuels that come primarily from outside New England, which is part of the reason our prices are among the highest in the country.

This week’s Codcast features representatives from the two opposing camps — Robert Rio, the senior vice president of government affairs at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, one of the founding members of the Coalition for Sustainable Energy, and Elizabeth Turnbull Henry, the president of the Environmental League of Massachusetts, which also represents many members of the business community. Listen and get up to speed.

Episode 86: Baker’s plea for patience on the T

On the Codcast, Setti Warren, the former mayor of Newton and a Democratic candidate for governor, and James Aloisi, the former secretary of transportation, said the MBTA needs to address its problems more quickly and more forcefully. Both called for more revenue for the T and both faulted Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo for resisting that effort.

Episode 85: Outsourcing works at other transit agencies

On this week’s Codcast, Josh Fairchild and Jim Aloisi of TransitMatters interview David Bragdon, the executive director of TransitCenter in New York City, and Neil Smith, the executive director of Transit Systems, an Australian company that provides transportation services to government agencies in Australia, Singapore, and London. (Transit Systems is the company that acquired Bridj, the Boston-based firm that tried to launch on-demand bus service.)

Episode 83: Riley’s collaborative ways

Chip Tuttle and Jay Gonzalez are at the forefront of those pressing for the commission to do just that. They say the resignation of Steve Wynn as chairman and chief executive of Wynn Resorts is not enough – that top company officials were either aware or should have been aware of the sexual misconduct alleged by the Wall Street Journal. As a result, they say, the company’s casino license in Massachusetts should be revoked.
Jeff Riley won the backing last week of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to be the next state education commissioner based in large part on his work over the last six years as the state-appointed receiver for the Lawrence schools.

If somebody can show real gains in what was arguably the lowest-performing, most troubled school district in the state, the board seemed to reason, he looks like the right guy to tackle what nearly everyone agrees is the biggest challenge in K-12 schooling — closing the achievement gap that separates black and Latino students and students living in poverty from their white and better-off peers. What’s more, Riley seemed to do that while minimizing the degree of acrimony that could accompany a state takeover in which he was essentially the schools czar, with nearly unfettered power to remake the district, including hiring and firing teachers at will.

Episode 82: No pass for Northern Pass

State officials announced on Thursday that they had selected a project called Northern Pass to import a massive amount of hydro-electricity from Canada, enough to supply between 15 and 20 percent of the state’s electricity needs. Northern Pass, a partnership between Hydro-Quebec and Eversource Energy, immediately came under fire from environmental groups concerned about the route of its transmission line through New Hampshire and the way in which the project was selected.

On the Codcast, we talked to Greg Cunningham, director of the Conservation Law Foundation’s clean energy and climate change program, and Mark LeBel, a staff attorney at the Acadia Center. Both had concerns about Northern Pass and both said the state’s selection of the controversial project is likely to be challenged in court, which could lead to delays.

Episode 81: How to ease traffic congestion

Michael Manville, an assistant professor of urban planning at UCLA, says the best way to ease congestion in Boston is to put a price on it.

In a Codcast interview with Josh Fairchild and James Aloisi of TransitMatters, Manville said our roads are clogged because we have too much demand for scarce road space at certain times of the day. We’ve all been there, inching along because everyone is trying to get to work or head home at the same time.