Walsh and the new “be bold” imperative 

Move aside Melania with your “Be Best” campaign. Marty Walsh has issued a new alliterative B-based edict for our times here in Boston, where the mayor has declared a pox on incrementalism and half-measures. 

“Be bold” was the mayor’s message in his State of the City speech last night.

It came in a plan to commit $500 million to affordable housing efforts, in a call for big increases in transportation funding, and in a vow to essentially forward-fund with city dollars the $100 boost in state aid that Boston schools are slated to receive once the recent education funding bill is fully phased in over seven years. 

All of it was meant to showcase a mayor committed to being, well, bold, a term he invoked repeatedly last night and one that figured prominently in the flurry of press releases his office issued on various aspects of his speech. 

In some ways, the call to be bold is hardly noteworthy. What mayor declares that now is the time for indecision and timidity? 

But Walsh’s stance takes on an added political dimension in the current climate. The Boston city council is not the pliant rubber stamp of the past, and it includes at least two dynamic women of color with forceful profiles who are seen as potential challengers to Walsh when he’s up for reelection next year. 

With that looming in the background, the mayor declared that Boston students can’t wait for the seven-year phase of the state education funding boost. “The time to act is now,” he declared, pledging to use city money to get the schools the $100 million in new funding the state formula will bring on an accelerated three-year timeline. It’s a funding plan “bold enough” to make the vision of quality schools across the district a reality, he said. 

One of the mayor’s would-be challengers, however, was less than impressed. City Councilor Andrea Campbell, who has made education a focus of her work, issued a press release following the speech ripping the performance of the schools, where she said 4 out 10 non-exam school students fail to graduate from high school, and two out of three of those who do finish fail to get a college degree within six years. 

“The Mayor’s announcement falls into a disturbing pattern of flashy announcements that feature big dollar figures, but never change the dynamic for children and families,” Campbell said. 

Meanwhile, Walsh made a big play on transportation, an issue on which his most frequently mentioned potential challenger, City Councilor Michelle Wu, has been out in front ahead of him. 

What was Walsh’s message to state lawmakers, as they prepare to take up transportation financing early this year? “Be bold,” he said. 

And if they aren’t prepared to go far enough, Walsh urged the Legislature to pass a bill that has stalled on Beacon Hill for several years to allow local communities to raise money for transportation spending through regional ballot questions. 

In November, fresh from a trip with local leaders to Los Angeles, Walsh appeared on The Codcast and spoke effusively of the recent successful ballot campaign there that added half a cent to the sales tax across the 88 communities that make up Los Angeles County to fund transit projects.

In what now looks like a preview of his State of the City speech, it was hard not to notice the way the mayor characterized that effort, led by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, and the challenge back home in Boston. 

“That’s a bold idea,” Walsh said of the LA ballot initiative. “We have to think bold here in Massachusetts, and I don’t think we think bold enough.” 

MICHAEL JONAS 


BEACON HILL

State employees filed more than 100 sexual harassment complaints over three years. (MassLive)

Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s call for stricter standards for broker-dealers who sell investment products takes a pounding from various financial services representatives at a State House hearing. (Boston Globe)  

Attorney General Maura Healey wins an injunction against five online vape retailers who were allegedly selling flavored tobacco products banned by a new state law. (MassLive)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announces major investments in education and housing in his State of the City address. (CommonWealth) The city is hoping private businesses in the area will help fund some of the housing efforts, a model that’s been rolled out in some high-cost West Coast cities. (Boston Globe)

Continuing an initiative to curb panhandling and other pedestrian use of medians on busy roads, New Bedford city workers have installed more angled stones. (Standard-Times) 

City councils in Greater Boston are seeing a wave of diversity, with more women and minorities elected to local posts than ever before. (Boston Globe

The Happy Frog sculpture on Main Street in Northampton, which doubles as a donation site for a local soup kitchen, was broken into. It’s unclear how much money was taken. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Massachusetts officials react to the news that Iran launched ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where US and coalition forces are housed. There were no immediate reports of fatalities. (WGBH) 

ELECTIONS

The state GOP blasts state watchdogs for taking a slap-on-the-wrist approach to campaign finance violations by a Middleborough selectman. (Boston Globe)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

A Globe editorial calls on the Legislature to approve a measure granting nurse practitioners wider latitude in caring for patients without a physician’s oversight. 

ARTS/CULTURE

The director of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts took aim at President Trump’s threat (since backed off of) to take aim at Iranian cultural sites. (WBUR)

TRANSPORTATION 

The Worcester City Council authorizes one of its members to organize hearings on whether the Worcester Regional Transit Authority should eliminate fares on its buses. (Telegram & Gazette)

A commuter rail train on the Worcester Line was running two hours and 20 minutes late Tuesday night. (Telegram & Gazette)

The Brockton Area Transit Authority will soon allow customers to purchase single-ride tickets and monthly passes on a mobile phone app. (The Enterprise) 

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Commercial fishing interests and wind farm developers are not on the same page when it comes to the layout of turbines, with a key fishing group calling for large travel lanes for vessels through the lease area. That’s a sticking point, as big travel lanes mean fewer turbines. (CommonWealth)

Cameron Peterson of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and Rebecca Winterich-Knox of the Massachusetts Climate Action Network call for a net zero building code. (CommonWealth)

Buzzards Bay Coalition’s application for a grant that would replace conventional moorings in Falmouth with new ones that are designed to reduce impacts on eelgrass is one step closer to happening. (Cape Cod Times) 

CASINOS

The Encore Boston Harbor casino is cutting about 70 jobs as it attempts to right-size its workforce amid lower than expected revenues. (Fox 25)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A Lowell man was ordered held without bail in district court Tuesday after allegedly threatening to open fire at a Middlesex Community College for the second time in four years. (Lowell Sun) 

A former Quincy lawyer Michael Moscaritolo is facing his second murder trial in the death of a Marshfield man killed during a botch burglary in 2015. (Patriot Ledger) 

MEDIA

WGBH announces a plan to open a news outlet in Worcester. (WGBH)

Lisa Stratton at the Herald News reveals the publication has sold its headquarters in Fall River and will temporarily occupy space at its sister Gannett publication in New Bedford. (Herald News)