Most transportation advocates focus on the need for more money, but Chuck Marohn comes from a different starting point, asking why the system needs more money in the first place. The one thing Republicans and Democrats in Washington seem to agree on is that the country should invest in its infrastructure. But Marohn asks why the nation’s infrastructure, and particularly its transportation infrastructure, has been allowed to deteriorate so badly?
Marohn, the founder and president of Minnesota-based Strong Towns, says that all too often infrastructure gets built with little or no thought as to how it will be maintained down the road.
Today’s Codcast was produced by TransitMatters, the transportation advocacy group, in conjunction with CommonWealth. Marohn was interviewed by Josh Fairchild and Jim Aloisi of TransitMatters.
In what may be a precursor to a soon-to-come Beacon Hill debate on the Pacheco Law, state Auditor Suzanne Bump squared off with Greg Sullivan, research director at the right-leaning Pioneer Institute, to discuss (sometimes heatedly) the pros and cons of the law that regulates privatization of state services.
It was one thing when Sydney Chaffee was named Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. Now she’s been named one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year, with announcement of the winner due in April.
The Codcast sat down with Chaffee and asked what she thinks makes for great teaching. The two top ingredients, she says, are a passion for what you’re teaching (she says she has that in abundance for the interdisciplinary study of history and English that is her focus) and building relationships with students to see them “as whole people,” gain their trust, and motivate them to take risks. I’m “really trying to fire them up,” she says.
The press has been giving Gov. Charlie Baker a lot of advice on how he should deal with President Trump, so we thought we might as well get into the act.
This week’s Codcast features the CommonWealth staff kicking around what’s at stake for Baker as the nation’s preoccupation with Trump intensifies. Does Baker need to become more emotional and less of a technocrat? Can someone differ with Trump without going all-in with visceral statements of condemnation? And are Baker’s would-be Democratic rivals going to make him pay for failing to attend rallies and marches where Trump is pilloried.
Sen. William Brownsberger has been a supporter of the pay raises and one of the few willing to speak out in justifying the hikes. He joined us on The Codcast to offer his insight and defend why the time is never right but it is the right thing to do. Brownsberger said the quickness with which the bill made its way through the process was because “it’s not rocket science,” that what you see is what you get.
But he also said he understand the anger and frustration from voters over the issue and pointed out that while the entire measure is immune from repeal by initiative petition because of the inclusion of judges, it doesn’t prevent an effort from targeting lawmakers pay alone at the ballot box.
Tito Jackson is preparing to wage a campaign for mayor of Boston focused on the divide between the haves and have-nots, sounding an echo of many previous mayoral aspirants who pledged to make Boston a city that works for its most marginalized, struggling residents and not only for the well-heeled.
In this week’s Codcast, Jackson rips Walsh for his focus on a financially reckless Olympic bid, the ill-fated IndyCar race, and for squandering nearly $3 million in an unsuccessful legal fight against the Wynn casino in Everett. All of that has happened, says Jackson, while the city’s schools have struggled to maintain programs for students and a yawning income and housing affordability gap threatens to displace long-time residents from their neighborhoods.
At CommonWealth, we try to give you a little more in-depth coverage of the issues but don’t always have the time to apply what we know to an analysis of where we think things will go. So as an end-of-year Codcast, Bruce Mohl, Michael Jonas, and I try to offer a little insight into some areas we’ve written extensively about.
Sears and Macy’s, two iconic names in retailing, recently announced they plan to close hundreds of stores resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs around the country. Both have targeted for closure a handful of stores at struggling malls in Massachusetts.
David Harris, associate managing editor of the Boston Business Journal, and Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, joined us on The Codcast to talk about the impact of the changes and what they bode for the state’s economy moving forward.
It’s almost Alice through the Looking Glass. An emerging industry leader that legally operates tax-free is asking – no, imploring – lawmakers to slap a levy on its business. That’s exactly what Airbnb, the web-based app that pairs up travelers with people looking to cash in on a spare room or three in their private homes, is asking the Massachusetts Legislature to do.
Will Burns, the director of policy for Airbnb, says it’s a matter of fundamental fairness, but taking off his corporate hat, he admits the effort is to legitimize the technology as an accepted commercial entity.
To make the Green Line extension into Somerville and Medford more affordable, state transportation officials pared back spending on the project by close to $1 billion. A lot of items ended up on the cutting room floor, but none of the cuts have stirred more opposition than the decision to eliminate a key section of a bike and pedestrian path that would run alongside the rails.