Healey’s curious casino intervention
With Wynn Resorts on the verge of filing its third application for a key state environmental permit, Attorney General Maura Healey on Monday urged state transportation officials to require the Las Vegas casino developer to basically start over from scratch.
In a letter to state Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, Healey said traffic studies of the area surrounding the proposed $1.7 billion casino in Everett conducted by Wynn consultants were not sufficient. She urged the state to require Wynn to pay for a new independent study and base traffic mitigation efforts on that.
Healey is a very popular state official, but her bias against casinos is well documented. Shevehemently opposed casinos during her campaign for attorney general and applauded when the Supreme Judicial Court overruled her predecessor, Martha Coakley, and allowed a referendum on casino gambling to proceed. When voters backed casinos by a 60-40 margin, Healey muted her opposition a bit, but not by much.
Healey is a resident of Charlestown and has made no secret of her opposition to Wynn’s proposed casino next door in Everett. She did not call for independent traffic studies at the slots parlor that recently opened in Plainville or the MGM casino proposed for Springfield.
“We strongly urge your office to insist on a multi-stakeholder process to develop a viable, comprehensive, and funded transportation mitigation plan even if some parties decline to participate,” she wrote.
That last reference appears to be a nod to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who voted for gambling as a state legislator but is now fighting the Wynn casino in the courts and refusingto sit down with state officials to discuss traffic mitigation in the area.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo says a transportation reform bill, separate from what was passed in the budget, is not going to be taken up before the Legislature recesses for the summer. (State House News)
Environmental groups are urging Gov. Charlie Baker to beef up staffing at the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Conservation and Recreation after both agencies saw their ranks depleted by the recent early retirement program. (Boston Globe)
The state Civil Service Commission rules that the Methuen police department acted improperly when it gave credit to applicants who exercised discretion when they said they would not arrest friends or relatives for drunk driving. (Eagle-Tribune)
An Eagle-Tribune editorial backs Gov. Charlie Baker on his bid to rein in state borrowing.
Senate President Stan Rosenberg floats the idea of a pay raise for legislators. (Boston Herald) In the Globe, meanwhile, Rosenberg pens an op-ed that praises expansion of the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit and paying for it with what he calls the closing of a “corporate tax loophole.”
At Worcester’s last in a series of gatherings on race, the conversation took some surprising turns, with concerns raised about bloggers and some participants saying the crowds at the talks are too white and not representative. (Telegram & Gazette)
The desalination plant Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter has proposed the city buy for $88 million may not be worth that much, according to a long-awaited consultant’s report. (The Enterprise)
Boston fire trucks will soon be equipped with computers that have “building intelligence” information on the layout of buildings and other information that could be crucial to fighting fires and ensuring firefighter safety. (Boston Herald)
A UMass Lowell student and track star drowns while swimming with friends in the Deerfield River. (Lowell Sun)
Boston remains on the hook for Olympics-related costs despite the expansion of event locations across the state. (Boston Business Journal)
Past US Olympics have benefitted from federal aid beyond security costs, but two members of the state’s congressional delegation say times have changed and that sort of help can’t be expected now. (Boston Globe)
The Herald reports that court filings allege a consultant working for Wynn Resorts knew a figure with mob ties had a stake in the proposed Everett casino site.
An Iran nuclear deal is reached. (New York Times) The Christian Science Monitor unpacks what it means for Iran.
The Pentagon is making plans to allow transgender people to serve in the military by early next year. (New York Times)
The California legislature is working on its own plan to deal with illegal immigration. (Governing)
Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken makes it official: she intends to run for a full two-year term after being appointed to fill the post for a year in January. (Gloucester Times)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker makes it official, becoming the 15th Republican candidate for president. (U.S. News & World Report)
An Oakland Athletics season ticket holder has filed a class action suit against Major League Baseball seeking to force teams to put netting up in parks from foul pole to foul pole to protect fans. At least two fans have been seriously injured in separate incidents at Fenway Park this year from a broken bat and a foul ball flying into the stands. (New York Times)
The change in overtime regulations from the Obama administration that expands who is eligible could put a strain on nonprofit budgets. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
Boston’s new school superintendent Tommy Chang does a Q&A with CommonWealth and reveals that his wife and daughter are going to stay in Los Angeles. A Globe editorial urges Chang to bring bilingual education back to Boston in place of the failed English immersion approach.
John Schneider calls for development of a “Lowell Promise” program that would guarantee that financing gaps are filled for all graduates of city’s public schools who pursue degrees from Middlesex Community College or UMass Lowell. (The Sun)
The state’s top three insurers are all falling short of meeting state requirements to disclose estimates of care to subscribers, according to a report being released today. (Boston Globe)
Andover police chief Patrick Keefe says the heroin problem is getting worse in his community (six deaths this year) and the well-to-do town doesn’t have the resources to deal with it. (Eagle-Tribune)
Medical experts are urging people to reduce the use of common non-aspirin pain relievers such as ibuprofen and naproxen in the wake of a Food and Drug Administration warning that even small amounts of the drugs can increase the risk of heart attacks. (New York Times)
A new study indicates 95 percent of women who terminate their pregnancies by havingabortions don’t regret their decisions. (Time)
Chatham beachgoers save a great white shark. (Cape Cod Times)
The 23-year-old son of a Boston police captain is under arrest on firearms charges and was allegedly planning an Islamic-State-inspired attack on an unnamed university. (Boston Globe)
Two Lowell men, ages 17 and 18, are charged with plying two 14-year-old girls with alcohol and then raping them. (Sun)
A new domestic violence law enacted last summer is resulting in far fewer convictions, according to preliminary data from several district attorneys. (The Enterprise)
A New Bedford activist wants the city to start a buyback of replica guns, a plan endorsed by the police chief. (Standard-Times)ARTS/CULTURE
Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson questions whether it was a good idea to publish Harper Lee’s old manuscript, Go Set a Watchman, in which Atticus Finch is a racist.