Honeymoon over for Walsh?
The honeymoon may be nearly over for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. When he took office in January 2014, Walsh was an awe-struck neophyte whose thrill at being mayor was charming. Over the last year, he has grown on the job, putting an emphasis on data, transparency, and, in most instances, common sense. His personal story of a recovering alcoholic who has turned his life around reads like a Hollywood script.
But lately the tone of his media coverage seems to be changing. At the end of May, theBoston Globe reported that he may lead the fight against an expected 2016 ballot questioning legalizing marijuana, calling it a gateway drug. “Some people can, I guess, smoke it recreationally and they don’t get addicted to it, but there’s a large number of people that are in recovery now or that are struggling on the streets with addiction, and they got their start by smoking weed,” he said.
Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham took issue with Walsh’s gateway drug theory, saying it is based on shaky science. Attorney Wendy Kaminer went even further, suggesting Walsh is letting his personal beliefs and experiences form the basis for public policy. “The mayor is not stupid, and he is hardly lacking in compassion,” Kaminer wrote. “But on the subject of drug use, he seems stupefied by unshakeable faith in the universal truth of his own experiences. He believes what he believes, and he doesn’t care to know what he doesn’t know.”
Walsh has also come under fire for pressuring Boston Public Library president Amy Ryan to resign over the loss of two artworks and then refusing to back down when the two pieces were found, apparently misfiled. Globe columnist Joan Vennochi wonders whether Walshwill dump the rest of the BPL board, which almost universally backed Ryan.
And then there’s the issue of casinos. Walsh appears determined to fight the proposed Wynn Resorts casino in Everett to the end, using every weapon at his disposal. He may have voted for casino gambling as a state rep and embraced a casino proposal for Revere on the East Boston border, but he won’t accept one in Everett. It’s a very high-risk proposition.
A Globe editorial says it’s time to adjust the state’s aid formula for public schools to take account of things like soaring health care costs and the added burden many urban districts face in teaching English language learners.
Attorney General Maura Healey urges lawmakers to make some changes to mandatory minimum laws. Lauren-Brooke Eisen of the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law says mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses do not make us safer. (Lowell Sun)
Gov. Charlie Baker endorses the Gloucester Police Department’s so-called Angel program, which offers treatment instead of punishment to those dealing with opioid addiction. (Gloucester Times)
A man removed by state’s highest court from his position as clerk magistrate in Barnstable District Court because he was chronically late and displayed behavior that was “demeaning,” “bigoted,” “abusive,” and “combative” has been hired by Boston City Councilor Stephen Murphy as a $75,000 aide in his office. (Boston Globe)
Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter has begun handing out layoff notices to more than 80 police, fire, and maintenance workers and a handful of City Hall employees in anticipation of a “worse-case scenario” if his proposed budget is not approved in its entirety. (Herald News)
Salem approves the use of Community Preservation Act funds for a series of projects, including roof work on the privately owned House of Seven Gables. (Salem News)
The US Supreme Court refuses to weigh in on Maine’s Medicaid mayhem, effectively handing a defeat to Gov. Paul LePage. (Governing)
An editorial in the Eagle-Tribune criticizes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for pushing an on-board monitor program with lobster boats.
Some witnesses at a pool party in Texas that ended in a police response that was caught on video and appears to have targeted black teens say the problems began when two white women from the neighborhood made disparaging comments to the youths. (New York Times)
If the US Supreme Court rules against Obamacare, the President says Congress can fix any defect in the law. (Associated Press)
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says it’s time for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to hit the reset button on the Greater Boston casino license, which went to Wynn Resorts. (State House News)
Several area planning organizations are calling for formation of a state-sponsored commission to oversee planning issues related to the 2024 Olympic bid. (Boston Globe)
New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, who did not know he was initially listed as a director of the Boston 2024 effort, backs away from associations with the group. (Boston Business Journal)
Communications strategist Ray Howell is working with the No Boston Olympics group — for free. (Boston Globe)
Sen. Marco Rubio‘s struggles with his personal financial management could be a problem for him as he seeks the Republican nomination for president. (New York Times)
Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan, so far the town’s first and only mayor, has announced he will run for a third term. (Patriot Ledger)
Joe Fallon‘s Fan Pier condos are selling like hotcakes, though the prices are thus far being kept under wraps from the public. (Boston Globe)
The IRS has begun releasing some nonprofits’ 990 tax forms in electronic format in accordance with a court order after the agency opted to drop its battle over the FOIA suit. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
The US Department of Education says it plans to forgive the loans of students who attended the now-shuttered for-profit Corinthian Colleges and others that allegedly engaged in predatory lending. The move could cost taxpayers as much as $3.5 billion. (CNN)
A new report from Brigham and Women’s Hospital says more patients end up receiving overly aggressive end-of-life care than wish for it because physicians don’t discuss hospice or other options with them. (Boston Globe)
A new study indicates 50 hospitals across the US are charging uninsured patients 10 times the actual cost of care. (Washington Post)
Sen. Marc Pacheco of Taunton and Sen. Michael Barrett of Lexington push a carbon tax on Beacon Hill. (Lowell Sun) The province of British Columbia in Canada has a carbon tax and it seems to work well. (CommonWealth)
US Reps. Richard Neal and Joe Kennedy III talk energy in Western Massachusetts; Kennedy says Kinder Morgan, the company proposing to build a new natural gas pipeline across the state, could help solve reduce energy costs, but has mangled its PR. (Berkshire Eagle)
The family of Usaamah Rahmin says the grainy surveillance video of his shooting shows police as the “aggressors,” and they are calling for an independent investigator to take over the probe of his fatal shooting by law enforcement. Police say they had no choice but to use lethal force. Police Commissioner William Evans defends his officers’ actions and says he would be willing to release the missing three seconds that have been withheld from the video. (Boston Herald, Boston Globe, Greater Boston)
The Dorchester man arrested and charged with the hit-and-run killing of a 8-year-old girl has a lengthy record of driving violations. (Boston Herald)
Edwin Alemany was convicted of first-degree murder in the killing of 24-year-old Amy Lord. (Boston Globe)
A Saugus mother is charged with a second charge of rape. (Item)
The Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne has been ordered to disinter a veteran’s remains because prosecutors believe a Dorchester funeral director, who is charged with 278 counts of improperly disposing of human remains, gave the veteran’s ashes to the family of a dead Dorchester woman. (Patriot Ledger)MEDIA
Kelly McBride, vice president of the Poynter Institute, says in a New York Times oped that media members should reconsider the age-old, self-imposed ban on paying for sources and materials as the government becomes more secretive.