David Koch: Pariah and patron

Billionaire New Yorker David H. Koch landed in both Boston newspapers on Friday for very different reasons. The Herald ran a story on an environmental group that is calling on WGBH to oust Koch from its board because of his views on climate change. The Globe, meanwhile, reports that the nation’s fourth richest person ponied up $20 million for the just-opened David H. Koch Childcare Center at MIT, which will greatly expand onsite child care for researchers and other employees at the university.

Both stories illustrate how Koch, a pariah to the left, is also a big player in Boston philanthropy. At WGBH, he helps fund the television show Nova. At MIT, the day care center is only a small part of his largesse. He has given more than $150 million to his alma mater to build the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Research. He also funded a math and science center at his old high school, Deerfield Academy.

Elsewhere, Koch has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to a series of hospitals (mostly in New York City), Lincoln Center in New York, and the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of Natural History in Washington.

Despite his expansive philanthropy, Koch is better known for his funding of conservative causes. As Emily Southard of a group called Forecast the Facts tells the Herald, he spends “tens of millions of dollars to deliberately mislead the public about climate change.” Yet WGBH vice chair Maureen Ruettger doesn’t seem inclined to stop taking Koch’s money. “You have to listen to both sides,” she says.



CommonWealth reports on little-known accounts set up by candidates and elected officials for legal, election recount, and inauguration costs that allow unlimited donations and no reporting requirements on spending.

The state’s Department of Revenue fired Deloitte Consulting, which it had already paid $54 million, because the state says the firm was completely botching a $114 million project to revamp the state’s tax filing system.

Senate leaders propose a bill to address flaws in the state’s water and sewer infrastructure, the Associated Press reports (via Lowell Sun).

$#*! my cop says: Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow communities to fire police officers who swear during interactions with the public while on duty.

The MBTA and the Carmen’s Union representing representing its workers have filed dueling lawsuits over an arbitrator’s award that would grant employees average raises of 10.4 percent.

Officials say they won’t need new taxes and fees to finance the buildout of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, but they will need the revenues from new hotels, State House News reports (via CommonWealth).


The attorney general’s office has ruled that West Bridgewater selectmen violated the state’s Open Meeting law in February of 2012 when they discussed a new alcohol serving policy for local bars in executive session.

Two New Bedford public library officials have been placed in administrative leave and police have launched an investigation after it was revealed library cards for at least two dead men have been used hundreds of times and racked up thousands in late fees years after the men died.

The Republican is not amused : Two Holyoke city councilors remain in very hot water after sexist comments and other unfortunate observations prior to a public meeting were caught on mike. Their apologies haven’t helped matters.

Somerville aldermen push back on a proposed Boston.com concert, with one calling the prospect of “three to five thousand people in Union Square with alcohol” a “recipe for disaster.”

Cambridge mulls changes to Harvard Square’s Pit.


A Wall Street Journal op-ed column argues that the government shutdown’s roots lie in a money and power grab by Sen.Ted Cruz and “a handful of outside conservative groups” who have figured that there’s more money and attention to be had by attacking moderate Republicans than Democrats. The Atlantic blames a broken national media.

The Department of Defense has given the green light for the nation’s military academies to play their scheduled football games this weekend , including Army at Boston College, but troops stationed overseas will not be able to watch because Armed Forces Network is off the air because of the government shutdown.

California grants illegal immigrants driver’s licenses, Reuters reports.


Lawrence firefighters overwhelmingly endorse incumbent William Lantigua for mayor, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

At the end of a debate with City Council president Timothy Phelan, Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy notes Phelan owns a bigger home, is a Democrat (she’s a Republican), and one of his kids attends a school in the suburbs, the Item reports. “I leave it up to you to decide who reflects the real vision of Lynn,” she said.

James Aloisi traces the origins of the Boston Redevelopment Authority in his CommonWealth series on pivotal past mayoral contests in Boston. This one focuses on John Collins and Ed Logue.

Wendy Davis, the Texas Democratic state senator who filibustered restrictive abortion provisions, plans to run for governor in 2014.

A New York Times/Siena College poll shows Bill de Blaiso leading Joseph Lhota in the race for New York City mayor, 68 percent to 19 percent.


Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in advance of an initial public offering shows Twitter users send about 500 million tweets a days but the company lost $79 million last year and nearly $70 million in the first six months of this year.

A New York Times editorial calls the current collegiate sports model, in which everyone but student-athletes profits, “fundamentally unfair.”

Mel King , closing in on 85 years old, was arrested along with two other activists as they blocked the doors to the Boston Municipal Court to protest an eviction proceeding.


The Massachusetts Gaming Commission says Mohegan Sun and Penn National have cleared their background checks for, respectively, a casino in Palmer and a slots parlor in Plainville, the Associated Press reports.

Hundreds show up at job fairs at Suffolk Downs to hear about the work that will be available if a casino is approved there, NECN reports.

Bristol Community College in Fall River has unveiled its new CATCH Institute — Culinary Arts, Tourism, Casino Management and Hospitality — for students interested in working in the expected casinos in the state.


The Worcester School Committee balks at its schools field testing the new Common Core standardized test in the spring, the Telegram & Gazette reports.

The Manhattan Institute’s Sol Stern has a scathing take-down of Diane Ravitch and her new book, Reign of Error.

A Cape Cod K-5 charter school proposal gets the thumbs down from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.


The state has released results of a 10-year study that says the high incidence of multiple sclerosis in three towns that border the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station is unlikely due to the contamination at the base even though the illness rates are much higher than those in surrounding towns.

Due to funding shortfalls, shark researchers tag their last shark this season. Scientists also fear that someone has stolen and tampered with some of the tracking equipment used to monitor the fish.


A Lynn father charged with the disappearance of his son Giovanni five years ago is declared incompetent to stand trial, the Item reports.

The nephew of Dorchester peace activist Isaura Mendes, who lost two sons to gun violence, was shot and killed in Roxbury on Wednesday night.

The former head of the Boston FBI office pled guilty to charges related to engaging in illegal conduct with the agency after retiring and going to work as a private consultant.


Polly Logan, a longtime Republican state committeewoman from Cohasset and one of the party’s most influential women for a period, has died at the age of 88.