Help for homeless or Newmarket businesses?
For Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, whose status as a recovering alcoholic is a formative part of his make-up and what drives him to help others, it is easy to see the plight of those facing addiction as something he takes personally.
It was a tough blow, then, when less than a year into office he had to oversee the shutdown of city-run services for the homeless and those in recovery from addiction on Long Island because the only bridge to the city-owned island was condemned as structurally unsound. Walsh vowed to rebuild the span, but the project has languished for more than three years. With a daunting price tag of as much as $100 million, it appeared last spring that the city was shelving plans to rebuild it or at least carrying out a new analysis of whether it made sense to move forward with the project.
So it came as a surprise when Walsh announced on Monday in his inaugural address that rebuilding the bridge would be a priority in his second term.
“Today I pledge to you that we will rebuild the bridge,” said Walsh. “And we will create, on Long Island, the comprehensive, long-term recovery campus that our city and state need more than ever, to tackle the opioid crisis.”
Susan Sullivan, executive director of the Newmarket Business Association, tells Vennochi the group supports restoring the services on Long Island not as an “out of sight, out of mind” solution, but because the current situation “is not good for anyone.”
“It is inhumane,” Sullivan says. “These people are out there day in, day out, weaving out of traffic, sleeping on the sidewalks, not being taken care of.”
So now Walsh not only faces questions about whether rebuilding the span is worth the cost — and the battle with Quincy leaders — but whether it’s even driven primarily by concern for those who would get services on Long Island.
“It’s no secret, after all, who usually has the power to persuade City Hall,” writes Vennochi. “Even with a mayor in recovery for alcoholism, it’s not those who carry what little they own in trash bags.”
Three months after the Baker administration said it would form a new transportation commission, the governor’s aides say there is nothing new to report on the board’s creation. (State House News)
Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler laid out her priorities, telling her colleagues that Massachusetts must address its housing affordability issue. (State House News)
Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty said it’s possible the city’s population could top 200,000 in 2020. The last time the city’s population was that high was in 1950. (Telegram & Gazette)
Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera gives city workers a day off for his inauguration on Friday. (Eagle-Tribune)
The latest campaign finance filings show Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia paid $45,000 to a Boston law firm for undisclosed reasons, though the firm has represented Correia during a federal probe by the FBI and Housing and Urban Development investigators that resulted in a grand jury. (Herald News)
The Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals overturned a decision by the building commissioner last summer shutting down a pistol range at a sports club in East Falmouth, allowing members to resume shooting over neighbors’ objections. (Cape Cod Times)
Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter, who’s had a tense relationship with the City Council, said he would heed their concerns and hire a part-time real estate custodian to bring tax title auctions in-house. (The Enterprise)
President Trump and Steve Bannon are in all-out war. (U.S. News & World Report) A Herald editorial calls the tell-all book at the center of the blow-up and Trump’s incendiary response to it an “appalling diminution of the office of the president.” Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi says the book’s author, Michael Wolff, is known for his eye-catching stories, but also for his less than full commitment to accuracy and the truth.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has filed suit against special counsel Robert Mueller claiming he has exceeded his mandate in the Russia investigation. (New York Times)
President Trump abruptly dissolved his commission looking into voter fraud, which found no evidence of such acts, and turned the probe over to the Department of Homeland Security to pursue his charges that there was “substantial evidence.” (New York Times)
After swearing in Sen. Dean Tran,. Gov. Charlie Baker said there are some districts in Massachusetts where Republicans don’t have a chance of winning. (State House News)
Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jay Gonzalez is calling for an independent probe of possible ties between Baker and “dark money” political operations that have faced stiff fines from the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance. (Boston Herald) Pittsfield Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier endorsed Gonzalez for governor. (MassLive)
Some Republicans are giddily urging Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for president, viewing the liberal firebrand as just the perfect foil for Republicans. (Boston Herald)
The opening of Building 6 doubled attendance at MassMoCA and also spurred the local economy by boosting spending in the area and creating jobs. (Berkshire Eagle) CommonWealth took an in-depth look at the museum’s local impact in July.
Developer Millennium Partners lowered the height of its proposed building in Winthrop Square to pass muster with the FAA, a move that also reduces the amount of shadows on Boston Common. (Boston Globe)
Eversource said the savings from its lower tax rate under the new federal tax law will be passed along to ratepayers. (Berkshire Eagle)
Lowell officials race to restore heat to the city’s high school. (Lowell Sun)
Abington school officials are proposing free full-day kindergarten to replace the current fee-based program. (The Enterprise)
The Health Policy Commission, undeterred by the arguments of Partners HealthCare and Massachusetts Eye and Ear, refers the proposed merger to Attorney General Maura Healey for review. (Boston Globe)
A change by the Chinese government to severely restrict the import of recycled materials has resulted in a backup of single-stream recyclables at area storage centers and could impact collections in cities and towns. (MetroWest Daily News)
Rolling Stone offers up a 7,000-word takeout on the drug lab scandals involving Annie Dookhan in Boston and Sonja Farak in Amherst — headlined “And Justice for None: Inside Biggest Law Enforcement Scandal in Massachusetts History” — that comes down hard on the operations of the attorney general’s office.
A day care center at Quincy’s Marina Bay fired two employees for posting an “inappropriate” video showing some of the children on a social media site. Day care officials would not detail the content of the video but notified parents and turned a copy over to police, who decided against bringing charges. (Patriot Ledger)
A bizarre kidnapping case in Auburn is unfolding in a Worcester court. (Telegram & Gazette)
MEDIACBS News fired its political director, Steve Chaggaris, amid allegations of inappropriate behavior in his past. (CNN)
Northeastern University journalism professor and media critic Dan Kennedy says something is off with the New York Times political coverage but he can’t put his finger on it, other than they let President Trump go unchallenged in the news sections.(WGBH) Margaret Sullivan, the media columnist at the Washington Post, explains why everyone seems to be upset with the Times.