The Codcast: What makes for a world-class city?

Is hosting big events like the IndyCar race or Olympics the mark of a world-class city, or more of a distraction from the things that give Boston a global edge and should have the city puffing out its civic chest? That’s the topic for today’s installment of The Codcast.

Things like the scuttling of the planned IndyCar race in Seaport district, Boston — driven by a never-happy band of naysayers — are bringing Mike Ross down. The former city councilor and one-time mayoral candidate says Boston’s hostility to big events like IndyCar and the Olympics is giving it a reputation for “no” and will cost us as other cities show a willingness to embrace new things.

“It’s not about this IndyCar race that determines the success our city,” says Ross. “It’s about how we deal with people when they come in to our city to do things like the IndyCar race. Over the years, it’s a fact: Boston has earned reputation of being a difficult place to get things permitted, to get things done, to do big things — and sometimes even to do small things.” He says groups pop to oppose most any proposal. “They kill it, and they celebrate. And that starts to bring me down.”

Chris Dempsey, a leader of the No Boston Olympics group, says we’re a world-class city without spectacles like the Olympics, an enormously expensive and risky undertaking that would have a delivered a one-time shot in the arm. He says lots of other things — our place as a global destination for big thinkers and innovators and our willingness to cultivate and grow great large-scale events like the Boston Marathon — show that we’re already a world-class city and don’t need to say yes to big ideas that carry lots of glitz but don’t make sense.

“What we always said with No Boston Olympics is, Boston has a great track record of thinking big , but also thinking smart,” says Dempsey. “And I think it’s pretty clear after the Boston 2024 debate that we had that the Boston Olympics was not a smart idea.”

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The Senate passes its transgender rights bill 33-4. (State House News) The White House issues guidance to schools on transgender use of bathrooms. (NPR)

Fifty-six reps sign a letter to House leaders pushing for an omnibus energy bill that emphasizes solar, wind, and other green energy sources instead of natural gas. (Berkshire Eagle)

Charlie Baker is still the most popular governor in America. (Boston Globe)

Key senators seem open to the idea of giving municipalities greater control over granting liquor licenses. (State House News)

William Lantigua, the former mayor of Lawrence and an ex-state rep, is barred from running for any office in Massachusetts and on the hook for big fines due to his failure to comply with campaign finance laws. (Eagle-Tribune)


Data indicate the state’s Gateway Cities are facing a real estate double-whammy. (CommonWealth)

A Lowell Sun editorial says two proposed developments — one a privately built dorm for UMass Lowell and the other a tech company expansion — indicate Lowell is a good destination for business.

Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter announced a gun buyback program for anyone to anonymously turn in a working gun in exchange for a $200 gift card to a local grocery store. (The Enterprise)


The Massachusetts Gaming Commission approves the redesign of the MGM casino in Springfield. (Masslive)


A federal judge ruled in favor of congressional Republicans in a suit that claimed the Obama administration acted unconstitutionally in spending $130 billion on subsidies Congress never approved in the Affordable Care Act. The decision was put on hold pending an appeal. (New York Times)

Scot Lehigh contemplates the odd situation of a few Republican senators who think Donald Trump is nuts and won’t vote for him (hello, Ben Sasse and Lindsey Graham!) but are balking at considering President Obama‘s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court because they’re hoping for a justice selected instead by a Republican president. (Lehigh says New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte is in her own category, with her declaration that she’ll support Trump but not endorse him.) (Boston Globe)


House Speaker Paul Ryan had warmer words for Donald Trump after their meeting to thaw their icy relations but stopped short of endorsing the presumptive GOP nominee. (New York Times)

The Globe gets a few thoughts from Elizabeth Warren on her tweet war with Trump, and continues the talk that her attack-dog ways look a lot like the role of VP candidate. (Boston Globe)


Boston’s building boom is extending well beyond its downtown neighborhoods, with Dorchester and other sections of the city seeing a wave of large-scale housing development. (Boston Globe)

The former head of the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis says the Fed’s policies “probably” contributed to the growth of income inequality in the wake of the Great Recession. (U.S. News & World Report)

A Verizon replacement worker was arrested and charged with drunken driving and negligence after he drove through a picket line in Westborough, hitting several strikers and a police officer and continued driving onto Route 9 with a striker clinging to the hood of his car. (MetroWest Daily News)

Apple invests $1 billion in a Chinese ride-hailing service that competes against Uber. (Time)


The Weymouth School Committee has adopted a policy to award posthumous high school diplomas after the parents of a student who committed suicide pushed for the change to help families gain closure. (Patriot Ledger)

Sandra Stotsky, a former senior associate commissioner in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, says Gov. Charlie Baker should embrace the pre-Common Core education standards that he championed as a member of the state education board. (CommonWealth) 


Federal regulators are shutting down a key scallop fishing area in the Gulf of Maine for nine months, the first closure of a fishing area since the quota system was instituted in 2008. (Associated Press)


Boston Police Commissioner William Evans vowed to have police body cameras operating by next month after a brief storm over comments he made on Wednesday when he said he hopes people see “that maybe we don’t need them.” (Greater Boston)

Morton Hospital in Taunton has terminated a state contractor tasked with evaluating mentally ill patients in the emergency room in the wake of criticism over treatment of a man who was released from the facility and went on a knife rampage, killing two people and wounding four others. (Herald News)

The state’s criminal justice system could be overwhelmed by tens of thousands of potentially tainted cases from two rogue state lab chemists. (Boston Herald)

Former Patriots’ tight end Aaron Hernandez‘s “right-hand man” was found guilty of being an accessory but acquitted in the murder of Olin Lloyd, the Dorchester man Hernandez was convicted of killing. (Herald News)

If his views weren’t so utterly familiar, one might express shock at Howie Carr‘s column today, which offers support for the extra-judicial beating handed down by police to a man in Nashua, New Hampshire (and captured on video) after a lengthy car chase that began in Massachusetts. (Boston Herald) Telegram & Gazette columnist Clive McFarlane has a very different view.

A Holyoke man is accused of selling bootleg cigarettes in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. (Masslive)


Facebook published a 28-page internal document on how its editors determine trending news topics to rebut a report that quotes anonymous former employees claiming the social media site suppresses conservative-leaning stories and artificially inflates those with a liberal bias. (New York Times)

Washington Post editor Marty Baron hit back at the charge from Donald Trump that Post owner Jeff Bezos is swaying the paper’s coverage of the presidential race, saying he has “received no instructions from Jeff Bezos regarding our coverage of the presidential campaign – or, for that matter, any other subject.” (Poynter)