Olympic bid suddenly more sprint than marathon

True, the final decision about what city will host the 2024 Summer Olympics is still two years away. And even the sanctioning of Boston as the US Olympic Committee’s official entry is still four months off. But don’t be fooled by those timelines. A whole lot of giddyup has suddenly been put into the pace of Boston 2024 planning. And the guy snapping the horsewhip is Charlie Baker.

Last week the Globe reported that the governor is growing impatient with the disclosure of details on venue and financing plans for the Games. He told a group of donors that he feels the organizers need to lay out very concrete information by early next month to allow enough time for a thorough public vetting of the plans before the USOC’s September deadline for officially confirming Boston’s bid.

The Boston effort has been badly hobbled by what’s seen as tin-ear leadership, with weak public support in polls from a skeptical public. The response has been a series of shake-ups in Boston 2024 leadership and the helming of its PR efforts. But what’s ailing the bid won’t be fixed by a change in the style and tone its leadership or the type of PR gloss applied to it. What’s needed are some specific plans that the public and state leaders can take a hard look at before deciding whether they think this venture makes sense or not.

Right now, trying to size up the Boston 2024 proposal is like nailing Jello to the wall.

Baker sent the strongest signal yet that he’s interested in brass tacks, not lofty talk of catapulting Boston into the pantheon of “world class cities,” when he invited three leaders of the No Boston Olympics effort to meet with his cabinet on Friday.

Chris Dempsey, a former state transportation department official who is leading the anti-Olympics effort, said the message they brought to the governor and his cabinet was: “Taxpayers are on the hook here. If things don’t go according to plan, they’re going to have to make up any revenue shortfalls or cost overruns.” As for how the message was received, Dempsey told the Globe, “I think the Baker administration is worried about how the dollars and cents add up.”

Meanwhile, Boston 2024’s PR effort continues apace. Scott Blackmun, chief executive of the USOC, was the commencement speaker Saturday at Bentley University, whose president, Gloria Larson, happens to sit on the Boston 2024 board. Blackmun told graduates Boston was “nearly a perfect match” for the priorities of the USOC. He said he believes Boston has “the intellectual power to help the Olympic movement rediscover that vital link between sport and education on which it was founded.”

But what’s needed now is not more inspiration, but more explication.

Joan Vennochi brought things back down to earth Sunday..She doesn’t believe the USOC denials that they may want to abandon ship here and switch the bid to Los Angeles. And the answer, she says, is not shuffling the leadership deck to put different rich Boston guys in charge. “All their money isn’t enough to convince skeptics they won’t be tapping ours,” she wrote.

There’s only way to address skeptics and put the LA rumors to rest. “Boston 2024,” Vennochi wrote, “needs a plan — and fast.”

–MICHAEL JONAS
BEACON HILL

The House is threatening legal action if the Senate votes for taxes in its budget debate this week. The dispute, the latest between the two branches, centers on the meaning of a money bill. (CommonWealth)

Gov. Charlie Baker focuses on the Senate to try and get the control board that he wants to run the MBTA. (MassLive)

Attorney General Maura Healey is continuing the investigation begun by her predecessor, Martha Coakley, of the Canadian company that developed the software for the failed Health Connector website. (Boston Globe)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Boston’s chief city planner, Kairos Shen, was asked to resign by the Walsh administration, but has said he wants to be fired — an action that would put him in line for a much more lucrative pension. (Boston Globe)

After 35 years on the books, a Boston ordinance that aims to shake-up the composition of construction work crews is still falling short of its goals for the hiring of women and city residents. The target for minority hiring, however, is being met. (Boston Globe)

The Herald reports that Boston is maintaining a database that tracks messages, tweeted to @notifyboston, the handle that deals with constituent and basic city service issues.The database includes records of the username and location the tweet was sent from. (The Download doesn’t mind the the public posting of the database, as long as the city also follows up and fixes things that are flagged, like the wall that’s been crumbling on Boston Common that was the subject of our last @notifyboston tweet.)

Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis is teaming a powerful new hose with a group of inmates to remove graffiti. (Telegram & Gazette)

Northeastern University plans to put $26 million into the renovation of a rundown city park  to transform it into an intramural sports complex that would be shared with city residents and youth sports leagues. (Boston Globe)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Elizabeth Warren is on a roll — and a good bit of it involves rolling over President Obama. (Boston Globe)

US Rep.Seth Moulton is planning to move his Massachusetts district office from Peabody to Salem, rankling some in Peabody. (Gloucester Times)

ELECTIONS

The Herald takes some jabs at Hillary Clinton for favoring highly staged campaign events and not taking a lot of questions from the press. (Boston Herald)

David Manzi, running for mayor in Beverly, says incumbent Mike Cahill is squandering as much as $72 million on a new school building. (Salem News)

HEALTH CARE

Partners HealthCare reports a $17 million operating loss in the second quarter. (CommonWealth)

PHILANTHROPY/NONPROFITS

A huge wave of retirements is looming among leaders of Massachusetts nonprofits, and many of the organizations don’t have clear succession plans. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION

Records indicate the Everett land the MBTA sold to Wynn Resorts for $6 million was appraised for $2.76 million. (CommonWealth)

Former transportation secretary Jim Aloisi and the Pioneer Institute’s Greg Sullivan debate the merits of Gov. Charlie Baker’s T reform plan. (CommonWealth) Appearing on Keller @ Large, Sen. Tom McGee, cochairman of the Legislature’s transportation committee, pushes back on some of Baker’s proposed reforms. Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini comes out in support of a fiscal control board for the MBTA and more money for the transit agency. (Eagle-Tribune)

Business leaders are praising Massport for steps it is taking to anticipate the effects of rising sea levels on operations at Logan Airport. (Boston Herald)

Amtrak resumes service between Philadelphia and New York after last week’s deadly crash.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

In a case expected to begin in a Boston courtroom this week, prosecutors are charging a man with first-degree murder because a man who fled a burst of gunfire the defendant was allegedly responsible for collapsed with an asthma attack that led to a coma and, six weeks later, his death. (Boston Globe)

MEDIA

Given the financial pressures newspapers are under, Dan Kennedy says he’s trying to be understanding of that odd JetBlue ad that ran diagonally across a full two-page spread of last Thursday’s Globe. On the other hand, he writes, the Globe and its airline advertiser “have foisted this weirdness on the paper’s oldest, most loyal, highest-paying customers: people who actually buy the weekday print edition.” (Media Nation)

Boston Herald publisher Pat Purcell tells the BBJ the tabloid is profitable. Editor Joe Sciacca says the “Herald brand has never been stronger” and calls the paper’s “courageous, no-sacred-cows” approach “probably the purist form of journalism.”