The GOP comes to town

Boston is a red town this week but the presence of the Republican National Committee’s annual summer meeting at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel in the Seaport District is another reminder of how politically divided the country is. That’s also reflected in coverage of the three-day event, which shows where the city’s two daily newspapers think their readers’ hearts lie.

The Boston Globe takes note of the GOP with a sort of catch-all piece buried inside the paper. The story notes right at the top that the Republicans are in unfriendly territory, pointing out that the closest red state geographically to New England in last year’s presidential election is West Virginia.

The Boston Herald, whose new offices are right around the corner from the Westin, has the meeting blanketed, with columnists, reporters, and photographers chronicling the GOP stars. Yesterday’s Herald hailed the arrival of the partiers with a full page 1 welcome, including a somewhat tongue-in-cheek tourist guide that stated there are not a lot of Republican monuments to visit. On his Twitter and Facebook pages, Boston magazine’s David Bernstein took issue with that and invited his followers to contribute the list of all things Republican in Massachusetts. The list is impressive ranging from the Calvin Coolidge Bridge in Northampton to the Volpe Center in Cambridge. (A few merrymakers also cited the many bushes on the Boston Common among other unofficial markers.)

The Herald is also benefitting in access from its role as GOP cheerleader. Newt Gingrich sat down with the new Boston Herald Radio to give a rosy assessment of the Republican party’s future in Massachusetts, saying he sees the GOP picking up at least one congressional seat in the next election.  It wasn’t exactly a conflict but it was a different message than the one he delivered later, telling his fellow Republicans they have to stop bashing President Obama and focus on offering real change if they want to make gains. He also tells the GOP that they have “zero” ideas on health care.

But while the Herald is basking in the reflected glory, it’s also throwing a skunk in the party. Margery Eagan describes the RNC meeting thusly: “There’s this backward feel to them all, like it’s the closeted 1950s and they’re all trust-funders from Wellesley. Almost everybody’s white.” It appears they recognize that, though, as the meeting’s keynote speaker at tomorrow’s luncheon is Gov. Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico as the party makes a push for minority voters.

Don’t expect a lot of local flavor at the meeting. Former senator Scott Brown will host a reception tonight at a vacant Fenway Park (the team is in Toronto), but you won’t see Mitt Romney hanging around the hotel. The most anticipated speech for the meeting will be behind closed doors when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, one of the leading contenders for the 2016 nomination, addresses the gathering.

But there will be some news for public consumption. The meeting is expected today to vote on a proposal pushed by Chairman Reince Priebus to bar CNN and NBC from the party’s 2016 debates if the networks go through with a plan to produce and air a pair of television projects on Hillary Clinton. The Wall Street Journal editorial page chides Priebus, saying the chairman should be more focused on who’s moderating the debates rather than whose televising them.

                                                                                                                                                             –JACK SULLIVAN

BEACON HILL

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi doesn’t seem to see the gray areas that most others do and comes down squarely on the side of the Ethics Commission in its ruling that state Sen. Dan Wolf must either rid himself of his Cape Air ownership or step down and abandon his run for governor.

State Sen. — and 5th Congressional District candidate — Karen Spilka filed legislation to repeal the controversial new tax on software services, even though she voted for the levy as part of a recent transportation financing package.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A Stoughton nightclub that officials shut down after a shooting has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the town claiming the action was taken because the club’s clientele is predominantly black.

A tempest is brewing in New Bedford where four city councilors ripped Mayor Jon Mitchell for being “dishonest” by placing the blame on them for a lack of funding in the city’s Inspectional Services department.

Holyoke pulls in $1.2 million dollars from property tax delinquents, a city record.

Provincetown Police Chief Jeff Jaran is under investigation for his reaction to music in a local pub.

ELECTIONS

The gay-friendly Boston mayoral race is another demonstration of how the center of political gravity has shifted to the left, particularly on social issues, CommonWealth reports.

The Globe spotlights the scramble among Boston mayoral candidates for Latino votes.

The Globe editorial page continues to evince a bit of buyer’s remorse over the approval of casino gambling — and says the mayoral race in Boston is a good place to air the debate further.

Former New York judge Simeon Golar, the father of Boston mayoral candidate Charlotte Golar Richie, died Sunday. He was 84.

Chris Christie will endorse Cory Booker’s Senate opponent, but he isn’t happy about it.

EDUCATION

Pauline Maier, an eminent American historian and MIT faculty member who challenged conventional thinking in many areas of early US history, died on Monday at age 75. CommonWealth founding editor Dave Denison spoke with her for this 1998 Conversation interview, an article that was quoted from in this week’s New York Times obituary.

HEALTH CARE

A new state report on market trends says consumers are “paying more, getting less” for health care because of rising deductibles and premiums and shrinking benefits.

TRANSPORTATION

A proposed $100 million electronic tolling system for the Massachusetts Turnpike and the Tobin Bridge would charge customers without transponders a higher rate to cover the cost of equipment that takes a picture of their license plate and mails them a bill, the Telegram & Gazette reports. The system could run afoul of state  laws barring higher charges for cash-paying customers, CommonWealth reports.

A pair of urban planners argue that urban transit systems can generate up to $1.8 billion in economic value every year.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Increasingly rough seas have caused beaches in Marshfield to erode at a seemingly faster pace than other coastal communities.

State and local officials are on the lookout for a python estimated to be about 16 feet long that was reported seen in the area of Independence Mall in Kingston.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

The owner of a spa in Lawrence is arraigned on human trafficking charges, and court documents indicate police have video “depicting nudity and sexual acts.” Clients reportedly included policemen, firefighters, teachers, and others in the nearby area, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

US Attorney Carmen Ortiz talked about the Whitey Bulger verdict on Greater Boston.

US District Court Judge Joseph Tauro, author of groundbreaking decisions on everything from conditions in institutions for the disabled to gay rights, is stepping down from full-time service on the bench.

Jesse Jackson Jr. gets 30 months and his wife gets a year in prison for using campaign funds for personal use, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Edwin Alemany, the alleged killer of Amy Lord, is ordered held on $3 million bail on charges related to two other attacks.

MEDIA

A new study suggests Twitter analysis can predict elections, the Washington Post reports.

Meet the Author

Jack Sullivan

Senior Investigative Reporter, CommonWealth

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is now retired. A veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is now retired. A veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

The New York Times website went down for about two hours on Wednesday and, while it was down, some stories were posted on the NYT Facebook page.

A new online publication targeting women readers called Bustle is preparing to launch with $6.5 million in venture backing.