Courting the PawSox

Two suitors are still wooing the Pawtucket Red Sox, and the style of courtship couldn’t be any different.

Rhode Island’s approach is loud and raucous. The state’s Senate Finance Committee is holding seven public hearings on the $71 million legislative proposal, and the first one lasted 7 hours and 10 minutes, wrapping up at 1:10 a.m. on Sept. 15. The second hearing is scheduled for Tuesday night, and testimony is being limited to four hours.

The proposed Rhode Island legislation authorizes the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency to issue $71 million in bonds to pay for the construction of a new city-owned stadium at the so-called Apex site downtown. Paying off the bonds would be split three ways, with the Red Sox Triple-A team covering $33 million, the state on the hook for $23 million, and Pawtucket responsible for $15 million. The hope is that lease payments, naming rights, and new tax revenues will cover most of the state and city costs.

The deal’s opponents are saying the state shouldn’t be spending money on a minor league baseball stadium at a time when a study commissioned by the state found that Rhode Island schools need $627.5 million in repairs to keep students out of harm’s way and $2.2 billion of work to bring them to ideal condition.

Worcester is apparently the only other Pawsox suitor. We haven’t heard a lot about the city’s proposal, but the Telegram & Gazette is reporting the courtship is somewhat clandestine, with City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. meeting privately with Pawsox President Larry Lucchino at neutral locations to avoid publicity.

Worcester is said to be putting together a major development plan, including a hotel, for the area around the proposed site of the stadium — a triangular piece of land northeast of Madison Street and adjacent to the Canal District. It sounds intriguing, but Worcester officials aren’t talking.

Gene Zabinski, the president of the Canal District Alliance, which has championed the idea of bringing the ball club to Worcester, said he doesn’t know what’s happening. “When we see what’s happening in Rhode Island, that makes us nervous because it looks like the state is working with the PawSox to make something happen,” Zabinski said. “When we ask questions of the city here, we are getting pleasant smiles. But we’ve heard no negative comments and the city manager did tell me that both sides are still talking, still communicating.”

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

The debate over physician-assisted suicide will once again resurface as the Legislature takes up a Death With Dignity bill five years after voters rejected it at the ballot box. (Greater Boston)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A Brockton parks commissioner is under fire after posting a racially charged comment critical of Patriots players, all black, who were kneeling during the national anthem, though he insisted calling them “turds” and saying “dance monkey dance” were not meant to be racist. (The Enterprise)

Jamaica Plain’s Bethel AME Church is believed to be to be the first black church in the country to offer “sanctuary” to an undocumented immigrant facing the threat of deportation by federal officials. (Boston Globe)

Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson takes another whack at City Councilor Michael Gaffney.

An attempt to rescind a controversial easement over a bike trail granted to a developer by Fall River officials may fail because the agreement has been recorded in the Registry of Deeds and is legally binding. (Herald News)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine declared her opposition to the latest GOP attempt to kill Obamacare, all but dooming the last-ditch effort to repeal the health care law. (New York Times) The next big decision for Collins? Whether to run for governor in Maine. (Boston Globe)

Sen. Lindsey Graham defends his close friend, Sen. John McCain, who was attacked by President Trump for vowing to vote no on repealing Obamacare. Massachusetts health care leaders say the Graham-Cassidy bill slated for a vote this week would decimate coverage for vulnerable populations. (Boston Globe)

North Korea’s foreign minister said President Trump’s tweet that the rogue nation “won’t be around much longer” is a declaration of war, giving the Asian country the right to shoot down American bombers no matter where they are. (New York Times)

At least six of Trump’s top advisers used private emails to occasionally discuss White House business. (New York Times)

Former US rep Anthony Weiner is sentenced to 21 months in prison for sexting with a 15-year-old girl. (Associated Press)

An NFL spokesman says of player protests during the national anthem, “this is what real locker room talk is,” a reference to President Trump’s effort in last year’s campaign to chalk up his comments about grabbing women’s genitals as nothing but “locker room talk.” (Boston Globe)  Trump’s stoking of a crisis that didn’t exist “diminishes himself and the office he holds,” says a Herald editorial about his attacks on NFL players. A Globe editorial calls it a “new low” for Trump. The president has tweeted about the NFL dust-up eight times more than he has about the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, where 3.4 million US citizens have limited access to clean drinking water and electricity. (The New Republic)

Fordham law professor John Pfaff says legislation sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker to “reverse” mass incarceration won’t. (Vox)

ELECTIONS

Joe Battenfeld says today’s Boston preliminary mayoral election is all about expectations, with challenger Tito Jackson needing to win at least 20 or 25 percent of the vote to appear viable in the final and Mayor Marty Walsh hoping to sail well above the 50 percent threshold to give his reelection effort an air of invincibility heading into November. (Boston Herald)

Abhijit Das, the founder of Troca Hotels, announces he is running for the congressional seat being vacated by US Rep. Niki Tsongas. (Lowell Sun)

One of the most interesting preliminaries today happens in Framingham where voters will cast ballots in the first-ever city election in the former town to elect the first mayor and city council. (MetroWest Daily News)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Methuen joins North Andover, Andover, Lawrence, and Haverhill in pursuit of Amazon’s second headquarters. (Eagle-Tribune) Meanwhile, the owner of Suffolk Downs on the Boston-Revere border makes a big pitch for the racetrack site. (Boston Herald)

A new study indicates the nonprofits arts industry supported 73,288 jobs in Massachusetts in 2015. (State House News)

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA unveils a funding wish list for initiatives to help hire and retain employees. The tab wasn’t tallied, but it could run as high as $1 million depending on employee participation. (CommonWealth) The T spent $90,000 on the hunt for its new general manager. (Boston Herald)

T notes: Call center consolidation at the Ride delayed again, Green Line speeding up slowly, and more.(CommonWealth)

A study released by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation raises serious concerns about the state’s ability to maintain and improve its transportation infrastructure, but punted on what to do about it. (CommonWealth)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Weymouth will convert more than 3,800 streetlights to energy-saving LED bulbs using a $250,000 state grant. (Patriot Ledger)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Carlos Rafael, the New Bedford “Codfather,” was sentenced to 46 months in prison for smuggling money out of the country and violating federal fishing quotas. (Standard-Times)

The Boston Police Department bought three drones for possible use in aerial photos of crime scenes, prompting the state ACLU chapter to raise privacy concerns about use of the technology by the department. (Boston Globe)

Ron Sullivan, one of the defense lawyers in the double-murder trial of Aaron Hernandez, talks about the test results that showed the convicted killer had CTE and the suit against the New England Patriots and the NFL. (Greater Boston)

Lawyers for Greyhound Friends in Hopkinton, whose former director is on trial for animal cruelty charges, are opposing a prosecutor’s request to turn over records from the shuttered kennel, saying all the staff was laid off and the documents cannot be produced. (MetroWest Daily News)

MEDIA

Ken Doctor reports that the Los Angeles Times now has 105,000 digital-only subscribers, while the Boston Globe has 90,000, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has 50,000. (The Street)

Reporters are having a hard time calling President Trump’s comments regarding NFL players racist. (Columbia Journalism Review)