Paintgate comes to an end in Billerica

Up in Billerica, they’re calling it Paintgate. Selectman George Simolaris was so alarmed that seven town crosswalks hadn’t been painted that he bought some green deck paint and painted them himself. His hands-on style of governing sent the town into a tizzy. Officials removed his paint job at a cost of $4,200, urged him to resign his selectman’s post, and brought a misdemeanor charge against him for wanton destruction of public property.

The situation seemed to be on the verge of escalating on Monday when Simolaris filed a motion that would require the town to paint all of its crosswalks by the end of September, which prompted a lot of pushback from fellow selectmen who said that the town already does a fine job of roadway maintenance.

“Where does it end? Should the board make a motion that if a house is on fire, then the Fire Department should go there? We already do that. We do our job,” Town Manager John Curran said to the Lowell Sun.

There was even talk of bringing felony charges against Simolaris.

Finally, cooler heads prevailed. The Sun reports that Simolaris and the town have negotiated a settlement that drops the misdemeanor charge as long as Simolaris reimburses the town for the $4,200 spent removing his paint. Both sides have also agreed to a gag order that bars them from making disparaging comments about each other.

“It’s in the best interest of the town because it’s been such a media circus,” Curran said. “This is the best way to put it behind us.”




Advocates for greater access to public records criticize Secretary of State William Galvin’s proposed ballot question addressing the problem, saying it’s a watered-down version of pending legislation. (Eagle-Tribune) A Metrowest Daily News editorial, however, praises Galvin’s ballot measure.

Charter school advocates filed a petition for a 2016 ballot question that would allow an expansion in the number of charters. (Boston Globe)

As Gov. Charlie Baker signs legislation increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit by 50 percent, an Item editorial calls the move smart policy and good politics. State Sen. Michael Rodrigues says he is still crafting legislation to pare back the cost of the film tax credit, which Baker proposed eliminating in his initial EITC proposal. (CommonWealth)

Baker goes to Worcester’s City Square and says he wants to make the Massworks Infrastructure Program the centerpiece of his administration’s development efforts. (Telegram & Gazette)


A Boston City Council hearing considers the pros and cons of police-worn body cameras. (Boston Globe) Yvonne Abraham says cameras are a step in the right direction to build trust between police and residents. (Boston Globe)  A Herald editorial turns thumbs down on the idea.

Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson says Worcester has become a shooting gallery and no one knows what to do about it.

A blaze that destroyed a winery in Charlton was deliberately set, fire officials say. (WBUR)

As Boston buildings reach for the sky, peregrine falcons are coming back in growing numbers. (WBUR)

Springfield City Councilor Melvin Edwards is suing a nonprofit community center after he was injured when he slipped while warming up for a basketball game but says he’ll only take money from the center’s insurance company. (The Republican)

Framingham selectmen voted to grant the town’s last available beer and wine license to a car wash. (Metrowest Daily News)


Brockton officials plan to make their case today to the state gambling commission that it should not shelve the idea of issuing a license in the Southeastern Massachusetts region. (Boston Herald)


A federal appeals court has ruled Texas‘s strict voter ID law is a violation of the Voting Rights Act. (New York Times)

A man wielding a pellet gun and an ax is shot dead by police at a movie theater in Nashville. (Time)

The Senate recessed for the rest of August without taking up the cybersecurity bill, adding it to a lengthy list of controversial issues that will be on the chamber’s plate when they return. (New York Times)

US Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey are pushing federal officials to work with telephone companies to produce free “Do Not Call” technology to reduce unwanted calls and text messages to consumers. (Herald News)


The Globe‘s Akilah Johnson reviews the little things to look for in tonight’s GOP presidential debate in Cleveland.

Donald Trump talked politics with Bill Clinton just weeks before the Republican launched his campaign for president. (Washington Post)

“There is something about Republican presidential candidates fighting with Massachusetts mayors…People running for president should focus on the bigger issues of running this country and not worry about Joe Curtatone or Marty Walsh,” said Marty Walsh. (Boston Herald)

Pittsfield mayoral candidate Craig Gaetani said criminal charges against him that he threatened to shoot a city employee are part of a smear campaign by incumbent Mayor Daniel Bianchi. (Berkshire Eagle)


The owner of a chain of smoke shops on the South Shore is spearheading a drive to place a referendum on the 2016 ballot to repeal the state sales tax on tobacco. (The Enterprise)

The online nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator has tapped a public-sector technology expert from Microsoft as the new CEO. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

The big box-laden South Bay shopping center in Boston would go more upscale under expansion plans filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority. (Dorchester Reporter)

The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved a new rule requiring public companies to disclose the ratio between the median pay of all their employees and the compensation of the CEO. (Boston Globe)


The Globe reports that there has been a mass exodus of veteran and new staff members from the foundation that runs the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum under new CEO Heather Campion. The foundation went into damage-control mode to prepare for the Globe story with an email yesterday to all staff.

Stonehill College is facing a civil rights investigation under Title IX after a student reported being raped by another student at the Easton campus.  (The Enterprise)


Uber‘s lowest-cost UberX service that uses drivers with private vehicles is banned from operating out of Logan Airport but the controversial ride-sharing company has found a way around the restriction. (CommonWealth) The Los Angeles City Council puts on hold a proposal to allow Uber and Lyft to compete for business at Los Angeles International Airport. (Washington Post) Internal documents suggest Uber is losing money. (Gawker)

State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry and Rep. Michael Moran pen an op-ed defending their proposed legislation to regulate Uber, which they say the company is attacking using misleading, “hyperbolic language.” (Boston Globe)


Drug companies are sidestepping new rules on disclosure of payments to physicians for speeches and consulting through big fees paid to docs for teaching continuing medical education classes sponsored by the firms. (Boston Globe)


A Lowell Sun editorial is critical of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

Two big environmental groups and the state’s real estate industry are squaring off in court over efforts by environmentalists to force large commercial property owners to ensure that pollutants are removed from storm runoff that ends up in the Charles River. (Boston Globe)

Massachusetts will have an easier time meeting new federal standards for reducing carbon emissions because the state has already significantly cut its output as part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative with neighboring states. (Boston Globe)

The Baker administration offers $1 million for Herring River marsh restoration on the Cape. (Cape Cod Times)


Governor’s Councilor Robert Jubinville has sent letters to Gov. Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Senate President Stan Rosenberg urging them to consider decriminalizing heroin use and have the state take over methadone clinics. (State House News Service)


The Economist, up for sale, is a unique institution in journalism. (New York Times)

To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee expressed some empathy for Lizzie Borden in a recently discovered 1976 letter: “Anyone burdened with long petticoats and having had mutton soup for breakfast on a day like that was bound to have murdered somebody before sundown,” Lee wrote to the Fall River Friends of the library.