Fall 2017

Fall 2017

Shadow transit agency

Shadow transit agency

When these three transportation policy wonks talk, the MBTA listens

PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRANK CURRAN LOOKING AT THESE THREE GUYS, you wonder what they have in common. Marc Ebuña is a 30-year-old information technology worker who dresses fashionably, lives in Jamaica Plain, and sports a Fitbit. Ari Ofsevit is a 33-year-old graduate student studying engineering and city planning at MIT; he lives in Cambridge, bicycles nearly(...)

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Trading gangs and guns for a future

Trading gangs and guns for a future

Can we get young men to give up the dead-end life of the streets?

PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARK OSTOW HAKEEM JACKSON DOESN’T mince words. “Just a couple of years ago I was shooting at people,” he says. A wiry 20-year-old with an affable bearing, Jackson is sitting at the Boston offices of Roca Inc., a nonprofit that works with young people who have been in and out of jail and(...)

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Democracy isn’t working in Massachusetts

Democracy isn’t working in Massachusetts

Crowded winner-take-all primaries, incumbency, and special elections subvert will of voters

ON SEPTEMBER 15, 1998, David Nangle, then a State House aide, was effectively elected to the Massachusetts Legislature even though 76 percent of the voters in the district where he ran chose someone else that day. Nangle won the Democratic primary for an open Lowell-based seat in the House of Representatives by garnering just 24(...)

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All quiet for Baker on the DC front 

All quiet for Baker on the DC front 

Democrats in congressional delegation give him high marks

FOR RICHARD NEAL, the 15-term congressman from Springfield, the reopening in June of the city’s Union Station was a deeply moving moment. Neal, in 1977, had launched his first campaign for a seat on the Springfield City Council there and had at the same time promised to rehabilitate the decaying landmark. It took a while,(...)

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Islands face special pot challenges

Islands face special pot challenges

Nantucket, Vineyard hemmed in by fed regulations

LIVING ON AN island brings with it challenges many on the mainland don’t grasp, from being locked in during storms to being overrun by tourists during the summer season. But those on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are now facing a new question that their fellow Bay Staters won’t encounter: What about pot? Massachusetts voters, like(...)

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Colleges can’t be bystanders on opioids

Colleges can’t be bystanders on opioids

Campuses need to step up to avoid overdose tragedies 

THE OPIOID CRISIS, rooted in the overprescribing of painkillers, has seized the attention of public officials from Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill. So, too, has the inadequacy of mental health services on college campuses become well documented. But so far, neither policymakers nor college administrators have connected the dots between the painkiller epidemic and the(...)

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Drugs are best treatment for opioid abuse

Drugs are best treatment for opioid abuse

Relying on medication is not a morally compromised approach

THE OPIOID ADDICTION crisis in the United States has prompted leaders at the state and federal level to promise more money, new laws, and greater focus on the problem. That focus is needed but so far the policy goals lack clear definition. Even as attention on the problem has ramped up, we have continued to(...)

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Diversity data gaps

Diversity data gaps

Surprisingly, some state agencies don't track their minority hiring

EVERY YEAR, THE governor’s Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity publishes a detailed report on the diversity of the workforce at each of the executive branch secretariats, now numbering nine. But many other parts of state government —the constitutional officers, the Legislature, the judiciary, and the various state authorities—rarely, if ever, release any diversity data(...)

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Nurses, hospitals tangle over staffing levels

Nurses, hospitals tangle over staffing levels

Union skirmishes foreshadow ballot campaign over who makes the call

MARK BRODEUR, a nurse at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, says his unit, which serves patients recovering from anesthesia post-surgery, is usually staffed pretty well. But not long ago he says he found himself struggling to care simultaneously for three patients all requiring critical care. “I had one incoming patient, so I’m hearing the report(...)

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Utilities on both sides of bargaining table

Utilities on both sides of bargaining table

Eversource, National Grid could end up awarding billion-dollar clean energy contracts to themselves

IN MID-MAY,  the MBTA hired a Colorado company to help the agency manage the $2 billion extension of the Green Line into Somerville and Medford. Less than three months later, the Colorado firm was acquired by Jacobs Engineering Group, a key player on one of the three construction teams vying for the Green Line contract.(...)

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