Olympics fact vs. fiction

Thank goodness Boston 2024 is going to start releasing details of its bid for the 2024 Olympics this week because reporters are starting to fill in the blanks on their own and it’s getting hard to tell fact from fiction.

Case in point: During the broadcast of the Patriots-Colts game Sunday night, CBS announcer Jim Nantz suggested Patriots owner Robert Kraft had indicated to him that Gillette Stadium would be Boston’s proposed site of the opening and closing ceremonies for the Games.

Yet that’s not what Boston 2024 officials were saying after they were selected by the US Olympic Committee to submit the country’s bid. The officials talked of building a temporary Olympic stadium, where opening and closing ceremonies and track-and-field events are typically held, at Widett Circle in Boston. John Fish, the chairman of Boston 2024, said Gillette would not play a central role in the Games because it is too far from Boston.

The Boston Globe on Sunday reported that the Boston bid would probably include venues in other states, including Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden in New York City. Yet Fish, after Boston was selected by the USOC on January 8, said 28 of the 33 proposed Olympic venues would be within six miles of each other and three-quarters of them would be on college campuses. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, asked whether Boston was going to play host to every event, said other cities would participate, but specifically mentioned only Lowell, Somerville, and Cambridge.

US Olympics officials on January 9 characterized the Boston proposal as little more than a vision and stressed that the development of a bid has only just begun. But it may make sense to put some more cards on the table, if for no other reason than to damp down all the speculation.

–BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

A key member of House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s leadership team files energy legislation calling for more natural gas pipeline capacity, hydro from Canada, and offshore wind, CommonWealth reports.

CommonWealth’s Jack Sullivan raises ethical issues in a tale of two brothers at the Massachusetts Lottery.

The Herald reports that the Department of Children and Families has yet to correct major deficiencies uncovered a year ago.

A Globe editorial calls on state leaders to find a way to fund pay increases for the state’s assistant district attorneys and public defenders, who among the lowest paid in their respective positions in the country.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Protesters observed Martin Luther King Day by taking to the streets in Boston to call for justice in the wake of police shootings of unarmed blacks.

OLYMPICS

Half of Boston’s residents support a local Olympics but nearly three quarters say they want to hold a referendum on the Hub’s participation, according to a new WBUR poll conducted by the MassINC Polling Group. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh earlier said he opposed a referendum on the Olympics, but Evan Falchuk of the United Independent Party said he is considering a host of ballot challenges. The Herald says Olympics opponents will run into the same hurdle in a ballot effort that did in those trying to repeal the state’s casino law: The huge spending advantage Olympics boosters will enjoy with politicos and the state’s business community.

The effort by Boston 2024 to win the hosting rights for the Olympics will be a massive promotional campaign over the next two-and-a-half years targeting just 100 people — the deciders on the International Olympic Committee who will make the call in 2017.

INTERNATIONAL/NATIONAL/WASHINGTON

President Obama is expected to use the State of the Union address Tuesday to spotlight the country’s economic improvement after six years of struggles and take advantage of the healthier resources to focus on areas such as education and income inequality. Seth Moulton is inviting Ludia Moldi, an Americorps teacher from Lynn, to be his guest at the speech. Some observers, though, say the SOTU is becoming irrelevant, with fewer television viewers and more people who just don’t care.

Pope Francis isn’t straying from church teachings on artificial contraception, but he says people don’t have to behave like rabbits, having child after child, Time reports.

Abortion foes are eyeing a bill in the GOP-controlled Congress to ban the procedure after 20 weeks of gestation as an opening to further restrict abortion rights, with a possible vote in the Senate on Thursday, the anniversary of Roe v Wade.

If Mitt Romney does indeed launch a third quest for the White House, look for GOP primary opponents to resurrect his ties with Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist the right loves to hate, according to the National Review.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Federal regulators are considering easing the new restrictions on lobster fishing to allow single lobster traps within three miles of shore.

Yelp moves to publicize restaurant health inspection data, but finds many communities don’t make the data easily available, Governing reports.

EDUCATION

A report card on education in Boston generates a lot of talk about collaboration, CommonWealth reports. The Globe highlights the report’s account of college completion rates, which are higher among Boston Public Schools graduates than Boston charter school grads, but notes that the data are not an apples-to-apples comparison because a higher proportion of charter school graduates enroll in post-secondary programs.

Negotiations drag on for a new teachers contract in Danvers, the Salem News reports.

HEALTH CARE

Patients at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Brockton are asking why officials waited more than two months before informing people the facility was infected with Legionnaires’ disease.

TRANSPORTATION

The Globe reports that Boston’s resident parking system is straining the city’s supply of spaces because it allows Bostonians to obtain parking permits for an unlimited number of vehicles.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The federal government is planning its biggest auction to date for offshore wind leases south of Martha’s Vineyard at the end of the month in the midst of plummeting oil prices which will have a major impact on the bidding.

A new report lays out ways to address coastal erosion, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Andover moves to cap a garbage dump that was closed in the 1970s but has caused problems ever since because of contaminants, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

A Lancaster farmer finds himself in the middle of controversy when he proposes putting a solar installation on his property.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A man with a long criminal record and history of heroin addiction was fatally shot by police after he alleged stabbed his mother to death at the home they shared in Weymouth. Paul Campbell is the father of the daughter of Lorrie Higgins, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s longtime girlfriend.

A sweeping criminal justice reform bill filed by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz of Boston and Rep. Mary Keefe of Worcester would repeal mandatory drug sentences and make other changes the sponsors say are designed to promote successful reentry of offenders into productive pursuits.

Jury selection in the state murder trial of former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez is proceeding in considerably less open and transparent fashion than jury selection in the federal trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, writes the Herald’s Bob McGovern.

A University of California professor has developed a formula to measure sarcasm and used it to determine that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is the most sarcastic of all his colleagues by a wide margin.

MEDIA

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The Sun, a British tabloid, is ending its 40-year tradition of featuring a topless model on page three, Time reports.

We shall overcome…someday: Comedian Jimmy Kimmel finds people in LA to comment on a speech that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr gave. Live. Yesterday.