The Codcast: Do we need an Amazon kick in the pants?

As you pore over the bids for Amazon’s second headquarters, put your headphones on, call up The Codcast, and listen to Shirley Leung and Chris Dempsey talk about what’s at stake.

Leung, a pro-growth columnist for the Boston Globe, and Dempsey, the director of Transportation for Massachusetts and one of the leaders of the No Boston Olympics campaign, find more common ground than you might think. But they also have some fundamental differences, which makes the conversation both entertaining and enlightening.

The impetus for the discussion was the Globe’sDear Jeff” section in last Sunday’s paper, a provocative appeal to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to bring 50,000 employees to Massachusetts and in the process help solve some of the region’s intractable problems. The philosophical underpinning of the section was that Massachusetts and Boston need an Amazon-like kick in the pants to address festering problems in transportation, housing, and education.

“When Boston unceremoniously pulled its bid even after getting the nod from the United States Olympic Committee, the sentiment was: We don’t need to throw a two-week party for out-of-towners to get our wish list done,” said Leung in her column for the Dear Jeff section. “So how are we doing today? Our commuter rail system has the worst breakdown record in the nation. We’re still worried about the high cost of housing, and it will likely be decades before anyone mistakes Widett Circle for the Back Bay.”

Dempsey acknowledges we’ve got challenges that need to be addressed, but he worries about looking to the Olympics or to Amazon for answers. “I fear we are searching for our savior when we should be our own savior,” he said.



The state Cannabis Control Commission unanimously voted to hire Assistant Treasurer Shawn Collins, a known quantity on Beacon Hill, as executive director. (CommonWealth)

An Eagle-Tribune editorial condemns lawmakers for washing marijuana tax revenue through the general fund and not earmarking a portion of it to combat opioid abuse.

The state’s supervisor of public records tells Wellesley it can ignore a resident’s public records request. (CommonWealth)

Gov. Charlie Baker discloses in an ethics filing that he wrote a letter of support for the Worcester Country Club’s bid to host a major golf tournament. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito belongs to the club. (MassLive)


Chelmsford Town Meeting votes to ban marijuana businesses from the town, with the police chief telling residents that allowing retail pot stores would send the wrong message to young people. (Lowell Sun)

The Northampton City Council backs a resolution opposing an initiative backed by Police Chief Jody Kasper to install security cameras around the downtown area. (MassLive)

The attorney general’s office has proposed a fine against the Wayland School Committee for intentionally violating the state’s Open Meeting Law. (MetroWest Daily News)


Senate Republicans passed a budget blueprint that protects President Trump’s proposed $1.5 trillion tax cut from a filibuster as long as the House goes along with the bill. (New York Times) One piece of the proposal intended to help pay for the cuts is the elimination of the state and local tax deduction for millions of individuals but not for corporations. (Associated Press) Jeffrey Sachs says the tax plan is a new chapter in discredited “trickle-down economics.” (Boston Globe)

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly accuses Rep. Frederica Wilson of politicizing a soldier’s death. (Associated Press) Gov. Charlie Baker says Trump’s message to the fallen soldier’s family was “disgraceful.” (Boston Globe) The New Republic’s Jeet Heer says Trump “is making a fool” of Kelly.


Peter Tedeschi, whose family owned the convenience store chain bearing their name, is entering the Republican primary race to challenge US Rep. William Keating. (State House News Service)

In their first debate in the mayoral race, Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia accused City Councilor Linda Pereira of offering “hypocrisies” while the council vice president warned Correia would be

defending himself from an ongoing federal investigation over the next two years. (Herald News)

Republican Beth Lindstrom is off to a slow fund-raising start in her US Senate campaign. (Boston Globe)


Thomas O’Brien, the Suffolk Downs developer, said his vision for the property matches almost perfectly with what Amazon wants. He also indicates his vision won’t change if Amazon ends up going somewhere else. (CommonWealth)

Boston’s bid touts costly transit improvements that aren’t currently on the drawing board. (Boston Globe) Shirley Leung says the Suffolk Downs site is not a big-thinking choice. (Boston Globe) If the state strikes out in the Amazon sweepstakes, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says we can fault state leaders, starting with Gov. Charlie Baker, for not getting behind one or two proposals and instead “submitting an absurd two dozen applications.” A Herald editorial gushes over the Boston bid — while mocking Worcester’s play with a gratuitous swipe at former lieutenant governor Tim Murray.

Union Point, the developer of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Base, has made an interesting bid for Amazon: Officials are offering the retail giant a free, shovel-ready 100-acre site at the former station that they estimate is worth $400 million in exchange for Amazon contributing $200 million to local charities. The bid is part of a joint effort with Weymouth, Abington, and Rockland, the three towns that encompass the base. (Patriot Ledger)

The Merrimack  Valley — Lawrence, Haverhill, Methuen, and Andovercrafts its pitch to Amazon as a marriage proposal. (Eagle-Tribune)

Residents of an over-55 mobile home park in Halifax bought the park for $27 million, a record price in Massachusetts for a residents’ purchase  making it one of the largest such cooperatives in the state. (Patriot Ledger)


Activists filed suit on Thursday in federal court in Boston challenging Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s pending policy change on campus sexual assault guidelines. (Boston Globe)

Outrage erupted over a viral photo on the internet from a 3rd-grade teacher in a Bridgewater-Raynham elementary school that shows a white woman and two white children in Pilgrim garb holding what appears to be leashes tied to a black child. School officials apologized but explained the “leashes” were actually tethers on a garment used in the 17th century to keep toddlers safe while they learn to walk. (The Enterprise)

State officials are investigating a growing number of cases of alleged educator misconduct. (Boston Globe)

Nearly half of Assumption College’s faculty members support a no-confidence motion in President Francesco Cesareo. (Telegram & Gazette)


State officials say the cost of average health care premiums though the Health Connector will go up 24 percent following President Trump’s vow to kill federal subsidies that the plans relied on. (Boston Globe)

Athenahealth, a Watertown-based digital health care services company, will shed about 500 jobs, or 9 percent of its workforce, under pressure from an activist investor. (Boston Globe)


State and federal officials have filed a $13 million settlement agreement in federal court for a transportation company to pay for environmental damage caused by a 98,000-gallon oil spill in Buzzards Bay from one of its barges running aground in 2003. (Cape Cod Times)