The Codcast: Dorchester booming, mostly for the better

It’s boom time in Dorchester. That’s what Bill Forry of the Dorchester Reporter told Bruce Mohl and me when we sat down to talk with him about what’s going on in Boston’s largest neighborhood.

Dorchester is Boston’s grand melting pot — or at least its polyglot point of convergence. It is home to more than 120,000 people with roots that span the globe, who, these days, mostly get along well.

Though still much more affordable than other areas, Dorchester has been riding the wave of Boston’s raging real estate market, with people snapping up the neighborhood’s stately Victorians and condos that have been carved out of its iconic triple-deckers.

The boom is good in almost every way, Forry told us. There is an energy in the air that is driving all sorts of developments, from new restaurants to the build-out of the greenway park system that hugs the the Neponset River shoreline and then turns up the coast along Dorchester Bay.

The asterisk, he said, is that the good times are not so great for lower-income residents. Many are now facing the sort of displacement that has already hit places like South Boston and Somerville. Forry talked about efforts underway to hold back some of that gentrification tide.

We talked about the intrigue over redevelopment of the Boston Globe site on Morrissey Boulevard. The newspaper is moving its editorial offices downtown next month. There’s also the mystery over what multimillionaire developer Gerald Chan, who owns a big chunk of Harvard Square, has in mind for a parcel along Dorchester Avenue that he scooped recently for more than $5 million.

For the first time in more than 50 years, there is a Dorchester resident in the mayor’s office. We ask him what that’s meant for the neighborhood.

Forry’s parents launched the Reporter in 1983. He now serves as its editor and publisher and makes up one half the neighborhood’s most prominent power couple with his wife, state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry. Between them, there isn’t much going in Dorchester that escapes their eye.

–MICHAEL JONAS


BEACON HILL

Gov. Charlie Baker and the state’s sheriffs offered no clear explanation this week for why corrections spending is going up as inmate populations are declining. (CommonWealth)

Michael Widmer says the latest numbers on MassHealth enrollment undercut Baker’s chief argument for a health care assessment (tax) on businesses. (CommonWealth)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A lawsuit is challenging Lowell’s at-large voting system, which the plaintiffs say is responsible for the absence of minorities in city government. (CommonWealth)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is in hot water with some over comments he made about pedestrians and bicyclists that advocates have called “victim-blaming.” (Boston Globe)

Cohasset selectmen bowed to pressure and will issue stickers allowing nannies to access town beaches using their own cars. (Patriot Ledger)

Get ready for some Quidditch. Adams is hosting a convention honoring J.K. Rowling’s selection of Mount Greylock as the site of Ilvermorny, the fictional North American School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. (Berkshire Eagle)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Richard Parr and Steve Koczela of the MassINC Polling Group say political polarization makes Trump comparisons to Nixon and Watergate difficult. (CommonWealth)

A friend of former FBI director James Comey said the ousted law enforcement official was unsettled by President Trump’s outreach and made it known there was a line that can’t be crossed. (New York Times)

Nothing to see here: The Herald’s Adriana Cohen doubles down on the Trump view of the world, declaring all the reporting on the crisis enveloping him “fake news.”

Massachusetts pols say they’re getting weary of the Trump-fueled drama, which they say is holding up the work of government. (Boston Globe)

ELECTIONS

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez says he supports a tax on soda, but the millionaire’s tax is his top priority. (State House News)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY
The state convention center authority is commissioning a study to consider possible redevelopment plans for 30 acres of prime property it owns in the Seaport district. (Boston Globe)

Changes made by Congress this month to the H-2B visa program for seasonal workers could wreak havoc on Cape Cod business that fear a shortage of summer help. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION

The long-running not-love affair between Globe columnist Scot Lehigh and Boston Teachers Union president Richard Stutman continues. A Herald editorial also calls out the union for abandoning contract talks.

A new Boston-based program will pay ex-cons to attend community college in an effort to end the cycle of repeat offending they are prone to. (Boston Herald)

The campaign over the November ballot question to lift the cap on charter schools was the second-costliest of any school choice-related referenda in the country since 2000. (Associated Press)

A coach on the Massasoit Community College baseball  team resigned after he said a player assaulted him and administrators refused to kick him off the team. (The Enterprise)

A second official at Central Catholic High School in Lawrence resigns after it was discovered he posted compromising photos of himself on an adults-only website.

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Not something you hear every day: The chief executive of a pharmaceutical company says pharmaceutical companies are charging too much for their products and endangering the entire industry. (Boston Herald)

Attorney General Maura Healey has joined a lawsuit with other AG’s aimed at preserving the subsidies that help lower-income people pay for deductibles and copays under the Affordable Care Act. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION

Boston’s Logan Airport signs a deal with the Conservation Law Foundation, promising to reduce emissions at the airport in return for support for 5,000 new parking spaces. (State House News)

Motorcyclists are once again renewing their push for the state to eliminate the helmet law. (The Enterprise)

Barnstable County Commissioners approved $40,000 to operate the rest area on Route 6 in Yarmouth so visitors won’t have to leave the highway in search of a bathroom. (Cape Cod Times)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

“If Pilgrim was a horse, it would have been shot and put down by now,” said an official with the Union of Concerned Scientists after the latest routine inspection at the aging nuclear plant found “more than minor” safety violations. (Cape Cod Times)

The New York Times has a deep look into the causes and effects of the melting ice cap in Antarctica.

CASINOS/GAMBLING

A group of horse enthusiasts is urging the Legislature to let them use casino tax revenues for a horse park feasibility study, and possibly for construction of the facility itself. (CommonWealth) The pot of gambling money is attracting a lot of interest, however. (Boston Herald) Here’s more interest. (CommonWealth)

The town of Aquinnah and a local community group will ask the US Supreme Court to stop plans the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head has for a casino on Martha’s Vineyard. (Boston Herald)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

The Motel 6 in Braintree, which has had problems with drugs and prostitution for decades and where a police officer was recently shot, will temporarily close down while the company works with town officials to devise a plan to deal with the issues. (Patriot Ledger)

MEDIA

Don Aucoin considers the undeniably huge footprint Roger Ailes left on the media landscape. (Boston Globe)

  • Mhmjjj2012

    The Associated Press reviewed the campaign donations for and against the November ballot question to lift the cap on charter schools finding $43 million in total was spent: nearly $27 million in favor of more charter schools and more than $16 million against Question 2. Essentially, charter school proponents outspent opponents almost two to one and lost almost two to one. Now it’s time for Governor Baker and the state legislature to fix and fully fund the Foundation Budget…the mechanism distributing aid to local public schools. That should be the priority this legislative session.