Summer 2013

Summer 2013

A can-do attitude

A can-do attitude

A recounting of the race to build the nation’s first subway is as much about American bravado as it is about a transformative transportation project.

The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry that Built America’s First Subway By Doug Most New York: St. Martin’s Press 404 pages once upon a time, before the invention of the internal combustion engine and before Henry Ford perfected the mass production of affordable automobiles, transit was king. It was a brief(...)

Read More »

Your cash ain’t nothing but trash

Your cash ain’t nothing but trash

Do all-electronic tolls violate state laws?

THE STATE’S DEPARTMENT of Transportation is planning to convert the Tobin Bridge to all-electronic toll collection next year, but that effort may run afoul of some laws on the books. The state is planning to require drivers to get E-ZPass transponders to reduce back-ups at the tolls and cut staffing costs, but the change would(...)

Read More »

Plugging into Canada

Plugging into Canada

Canadian hydro appears to be a good fit for New England, but should it be treated as renewable?

RHODE ISLAND GOV. LINCOLN CHAFEE steps up to the podium at a conference of power grid geeks in Boston and says what everyone is thinking. The region is becoming overly dependent on natural gas to run its electricity plants and needs to diversify its power portfolio. Coal and oil are out of the question because(...)

Read More »

Booting up

Booting up

Can Holyoke’s massive, new high-speed computing center help turn the Paper City into a technology hub?

MICHAEL FELD IS moving his small tech company from Northampton to Holyoke. That’s not a big deal on its own for Holyoke, but it will be a very big deal if it’s a sign of things to come. Feld, the chief executive officer of VertitechIT, a 21-employee technology firm specializing in telecommunications, information technology services,(...)

Read More »

Title insurance

Title insurance

No regulation. Few claims. Huge profits.

JACK LALOND AND his wife Kathy have refinanced or taken out equity loans on their Plymouth home six times since they purchased it. They used the loan funds and the savings from the refinancings to make repairs to their three-bedroom Cape a stone’s throw from Plymouth Rock, buy a small vacation home, pay for a(...)

Read More »

The new campaign

The new campaign

In one race after another, with a return to grassroots organizing, candidates and campaign operatives are upending the power of political machines. Next stop: The all-out scramble for mayor in Boston.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY DEREK KOUYOUMJIAN JOYCE LINEHAN HAS the most famous living room in Massachusetts politics. It used to be that Linehan’s Dorchester house drew its fame as a crash pad for touring musicians. Billy Corgan and Courtney Love and Elliott Smith had all slept there. Eddie Vedder hung out on Linehan’s couch and watched television.(...)

Read More »

The chained CPI

The chained CPI

Few in Mass. delegation see eye to eye with Obama

THIS FALL, PRESIDENT Obama and Congress will have another chance to strike a grand bargain on the deficit. If it happens, a new gauge of inflation that would both reduce federal benefits, like Social Security, and raise taxes, will be at the heart of it. Only 13 states would be affected more than Massachusetts, with(...)

Read More »

Fitting the Boston mayoral race into an historical context

Fitting the Boston mayoral race into an historical context

Boston at the close of the Menino era finds itself with a surfeit of candidates and a dearth of critical issues

BOSTON AT THE close of the Menino era finds itself with a surfeit of candidates and a dearth of critical issues. That may be a good thing—many candidates will enliven the public debate and offer voters ample choices, and the absence of urgent ”life or death” issues is a reflection both of Mayor Menino’s stable(...)

Read More »

The Massachusetts H-1B connection

10 firms secure two-fifths of foreign workers

MORE THAN 1,200 Massachusetts companies hired 5,481 skilled foreign workers last year through a controversial visa program that is simultaneously being praised for helping to plug holes in the state’s tech workforce and criticized as a way to replace US employees with cheaper foreign labor. The H-1B visa program, which allows skilled foreign workers to(...)

Read More »

We’re not missing this one

We’re not missing this one

The last time Boston had a race for mayor without an in­cumbent was 1993, three years before CommonWealth came into existence. We missed that race, but we aren’t go­ing to miss this year’s campaign to replace Mayor Thomas Menino.

THE LAST TIME Boston had a race for mayor without an in­cumbent was 1993, three years before CommonWealth came into existence. We missed that race, but we aren’t go­ing to miss this year’s campaign to replace Mayor Thomas Menino. As our name suggests, we try to take stock of issues across the state, paying particular(...)

Read More »