The Codcast: No bridges make good neighbors

When disputes arise between communities bordering each other, the public proclamations are usually fairly muted and respectful.


Then there’s the battle between Quincy and Boston over rebuilding the Long Island Bridge to connect to a planned addiction treatment and recovery campus.

“Boston answers to a different set of rules,” said a fired-up Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch in a conversation with The Codcast. “They get all sorts of special legislation. Boston does what it wants. I don’t think they give two hoots about their neighbors south of Boston. They’re going to do what they’re going to do and that’s Boston.”

The bridge has been a point of contention between the two cities since it was built in 1951. The problem is while Long Island is in Boston, the only land access is through Quincy’s Squantum neighborhood where residents say heavy traffic, especially the kind of construction vehicles that would be required for the $92 million bridge project, causes a public safety threat to the area.

Koch is not out there by himself. The opposition to Boston’s plan to build a bridge is near-uniform among elected officials as well as residents. Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey, a Squantum resident who represented the city in the House and Senate for more than 30 years, said in an oped in CommonWealth over the weekend, that he suspects Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has designs on developing the harbor island beyond merely a recovery treatment center.

While some Boston officials and advocates dismiss Quincy’s opposition as a case of NIMBYism over concerns that drug addicts would be riding through the streets, Koch angrily dismissed that, pointing out his support for siting sober houses and treatment facilities throughout the City of Presidents even over residents’ opposition.

“We’ve been doing our part for this issue,” said Koch. “I’m not going to take a back seat to anyone on this issue.”

Koch said while his main point of opposition is the bridge and the resulting traffic, he also bristles at the unilateral decisions by Walsh and Boston officials to plow forward with their own vision for a “regional” facility without substantive discussions with those neighbors who are most impacted. Koch said he thought the bridge was a “dead issue” since it was closed and dismantled four years ago. But then he got a call from Walsh in January on the eve of the Boston mayor’s State of the City address saying he would announce his intention to rebuild it.

“I was really taken aback by the phone call from Marty,” said Koch, who added he supported Walsh when he ran for mayor.

Koch said he’s annoyed Walsh and his aides dismissed any discussion or exploration of ferry service to the island, an option he said worked for years for the hospital on the grounds and for a children’s summer camp that still operates there. Koch said he would welcome any discussions with Walsh but if city officials think they can put up a new bridge with no pushback, they best think again.

“The reality is we don’t want a bridge,” said Koch. “We’ll be looking to inject ourselves into the process at every step of the way.”

JACK SULLIVAN


BEACON HILL

Gov. Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey are at odds over what to do about the companies that use deceptive practices to sell electricity to residential customers. (CommonWealth)

Healey’s claims to be a big booster of government transparency are undercut, say critics, by a history of siding with agencies looking to shield records from public view. (Boston Globe)

A home-rule petition filed by Boston to regulate tenant evictions in the city stalled on Beacon Hill. (Boston Globe)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

What’s Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s real end game with Long Island, asks Michael Morrissey, the Norfolk County district attorney and a resident of the Squantum section of Quincy. (CommonWealth)

A group of Boston College students urges Walsh not to adopt car ticketing policies that would penalized home care aides. (CommonWealth)

Two men killed on Friday night in Jamaica Plain — a Salem State University student poised to graduate later this month and a 58-year-old father of three — were innocent victims of gang gunfire, police say. (Boston Globe)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Stormy Daniels has a cameo on a Saturday Night Live opening skit that includes a large group  of famous people.

A terminally ill John McCain has reportedly made clear that he does not want President Trump, who mocked him for being a POW, at his funeral. The Herald checks in with a few Republicans on the matter. McCain reportedly wants former President Barack Obama to deliver a eulogy. (The Hill)

A Herald editorial says the media are ignoring good news from the Trump administration, including the possible release of three Americans being held by North Korea. Though two of the three were taken prisoner since Trump took office, it quotes a tweet from Trump, who teases the possible breakthrough while lamenting the fact that “the past Administration” tried to free them “to no avail.”

The Justice Department is targeting low-level gun violations for prosecution, an action advocates say gives a false picture of enforcement and makes real reform impossible. (New York Times)

ELECTIONS

A Globe editorial slams delegates to the Massachusetts Republican Party state convention for giving anti-gay pastor Scott Lively the votes to appear on the September primary ballot for governor.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas interviews Erin McAleer, the new head of Project Bread, about 50 years of walking for hunger.

Worcester’s resurgence appears to be having another benefit — more of the city’s college students are staying in town after they graduate. (Telegram & Gazette)

The “Codfather” is behind bars, and New Bedford’s fishing-dependent economy is on the ropes. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION

Ardith Wieworka, executive director of the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership,  urges more funding for after-school programs. (CommonWealth)

Gosnold Public School officials abandoned the plan to bring mainland children to the one-room schoolhouse on the island for a “Semester on Cuttyhunk” as a way to increase interest in the school where only a brother and sister attend. (Cape Cod Times)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Partners HealthCare and Harvard Pilgrim are exploring a merger. (WBUR)

A doctor for the Brockton Neighborhood Health Center says there has been an “explosion” in the rate of sexually transmitted diseases in the city. (The Enterprise)

Gains by blacks in closing the health gap with whites have taken a step back and could be further eroded with the changes to the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report. (U.S. News & World Report)

TRANSPORTATION

As Beverly prepares to open a new middle school, officials are sending a survey to parents asking why so few of their children walk to school. (Salem News)

Randall O’Toole of the Cato Institute said ridership on public transit is declining because of the rise of Uber and Lyft. Rather than lamenting the loss of riders, O’Toole says public officials should celebrate the shift and stop subsidizing public transit to the tune of $5 per rider. (Governing)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The state Division of Marine Fisheries has extended the ban on lobstering for commercial fishermen along the South Shore until at least May 16 because of the continued presence of endangered right whales feeding of the coast. (Patriot Ledger)

A Canadian energy firm is suing the town of Weymouth in its bid to site a natural gas compressor station there along the Fore River. (Boston Globe)

Many towns that had adopted single-stream recycling to encourage residents to recycle more have seen it turn into a money-loser with the new ban by China against contaminated glass. (Patriot Ledger)

CASINOS/MARIJUANA

Yarmouth Town Meeting voters approved a ban on recreational marijuana sales and cultivation. (Cape Cod Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A Telegram & Gazette editorial calls on Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early to resign over his handling of an arrest report of the daughter of a judge. Earlysaid 91 previous cases show his handling of the arrest report was not unusual, but a close reading of the cases possibly suggests otherwise. (Telegram & Gazette)

A lawsuit filed against Bristol County sheriff Thomas Hodgson and a Texas telecom company is challenging exorbitant rates charged to inmates for making telephone calls. (Boston Globe) CommonWealth teed up the issue last year.

A Westport man has been arrested and charged with violating the state’s “upskirting” law by taking a picture underneath a woman’s skirt at a Walmart in Dartmouth. (Herald News)

MEDIA

Craig S. Altemose asks: What’s up with the Boston Globe and natural gas? (CommonWealth)

WBUR reporter David Boeri retired on Friday