Worcester hires Zimbalist, Mullan

Worcester’s hush-hush courtship of the Pawtucket Red Sox just got a bit more interesting.

The Telegram & Gazette reported that the city hired Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist and former Massachusetts secretary of transportation Jeffrey Mullan to work as consultants on the project.

Zimbalist is generally regarded as a skeptic when it comes to public financing of stadiums. He has said stadiums are rarely a catalyst for economic development, but he acknowledges sports teams can have a powerful social or cultural impact on a community. Zimbalist was a leading critic of Boston’s pursuit of the 2024 Olympics and wrote a book about that effort with Chris Dempsey.

Mullan, an attorney at Foley Hoag in Boston, is an inside player who is skilled in development and transportation. He served as secretary of transportation under former governor Deval Patrick from 2009 to 2011.

Both Zimbalist and Mullan declined comment. Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. confirmed the hirings, but provided few other details, other than to say talks with PawSox officials are ongoing. Worcester is reportedly eyeing a location in the Canal District for a new stadium.

While Worcester officials have negotiated privately with the PawSox, talks in Rhode Island have been more public and contentious. The Senate Finance Committee wrapped up a series of hearings on October 24 related to a stadium proposal that would have the PawSox put up $12 million and the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency chip in another $71 million through a bond sale. Over the 30-year life of the bonds, the team would pay off principal and interest on $33 million, the state $23 million, and the city $15 million.

It’s unclear whether the PawSox are also talking to other communities, but the Telegram & Gazette reported that Weymouth is a serious contender. Mayor Robert Hedlund declined comment, but said the city “is always open to opportunities for economic development.”

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

The House criminal justice bill, set to be released today, is likely to take up broad reform, according to Assistant Majority Leader Byron Rushing. (CommonWealth)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A Brockton woman has filed a discrimination complaint with the state against city officials charging she was passed over for the code enforcement post for the Board of Health that went to an ex-Boston cop who was terminated after a video surfaced of him allegedly assaulting a civilian. (The Enterprise)

The Lowell Sun reports on how much more house you can get in Lowell compared to Boston, using as one example a $1.5 million castle-like abode in the Belvidere neighborhood on two acres with four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, two kitchens, a pool, and on and on.

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

A 26-year-old man carrying a semi-automatic rifle and wearing a ballistic vest walked into a church in a small town outside San Antonio, Texas, and shot and killed 26 people at a Sunday service and wounded at least 20 others before he fled and was found dead from a gunshot wound. (New York Times) Reports say the shooter was a former airman who was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force following a court martial for assaulting his wife and child. (Associated Press)

A Boston Globe editorial says the House tax plan would take from the “somewhat rich” and give to corporations and the “very rich.”

Rev. Eugene Rivers, a cofounder of Boston’s Ten Point Coalition, says he and other black ministers will meet today with Attorney General Jeff Sessions to discuss approaches to ending gang violence in American cities. (Boston Herald)

US Sen. Rand Paul was allegedly attacked by his neighbor on Friday and suffered five broken ribs. (Washington Post)

Thirty-five states (including Massachusetts) and the District of Columbia signed a memorandum supporting North Dakota’s bid before the US Supreme Court to collect sales taxes from internet retailers who don’t have a physical presence in the state. (Lowell Sun)

A local supporter who was a Trump delegate to last year’s Republican convention says the president’s backers are sticking with him despite, not because of, his intemperate behavior. (Boston Globe)

ELECTIONS

Revisiting one of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s biggest defeats — his bid to make Charlestown a host community to the Wynn Resorts Everett casino. (CommonWealth) Tomorrow’s Boston mayoral election could set a new low for turnout. (Boston Globe)

Yvonne Abraham revisits the raft of sexual harassment allegations made against Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria three years ago and marvels — not in a good way — at the fact that he’s running unopposed for reelection tomorrow. (Boston Globe)

The MetroWest Daily News endorses Yvonne Spicer to become the first mayor of Framingham.

The Herald News endorses incumbent Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia for reelection despite what it says have been missteps and an impending federal investigation.The paper’s editorial board said Correia’s opponent, City Councilor Linda Pereira, was qualified but has spent too much time attacking him personally rather than laying out her vision.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Orsted, the Danish clean energy company partnering with Eversource to develop offshore wind farms, is the third power company to open an office in downtown New Bedford, a show of confidence that the Whaling City will become the center of the region’s wind energy industry. (Standard-Times)

A Great Barrington woman claimed she was sexually harassed during a massage more than a year ago but has yet to get a hearing on her complaint before the state Board of Registration of Massage Therapy. (Berkshire Eagle)

An early morning fire Sunday destroyed Jamie’s Pub, a North Scituate landmark, on the 10th anniversary of its founding namesake’s death and during the 50th anniversary of the iconic South Shore eatery. (Patriot Ledger)

EDUCATION

Liam Kerr of Democrats for Education Reform says Boston Teachers Union president Jessica Tang’s attack on his organization rings hollow. (CommonWealth)

A new study says, contrary to conventional wisdom, says there is no correlation between housing growth in the Boston area and an influx of new public school students. (Boston Globe)

A recent study by the Massachusetts State College Association found that male professors on average earn more than females across the system, have 2.1 years more of service, and hold more full professorships despite being outnumbered by women. (MetroWest Daily News)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

C. Grace Whiting of the National Alliance for Caregiving and Richard P. Burke of Fallon Health say caregivers for seniors deserve support. (CommonWealth)

Gerard Vitti of Healthcare Financial Inc. calls President Trump’s declaration of an opioid crisis an empty declaration. (CommonWealth)

TRANSPORTATION

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack says the MBTA is “turning the corner” on service and equipment but she admitted customers may not be noticing the changes. (Keller@Large)

The 28 specialty license plates issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles raise nearly $5 million a year for the nonprofits that sponsor them, with the Cape Cod plate and the environmental plate featuring the right whale the most popular. (Wicked Local)

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is asking the MBTA to start express commuter rail service between Providence and Boston but T officials say it can’t happen until there is expansion at South Station. (Associated Press)

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and Chris Dempsey of Transportation for Massachusetts make the case for greater investment in transportation. (Lowell Sun)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The state Department of Public Health is seeking volunteers from around the state to test for a study of chemical exposure. (Standard-Times)

Several towns in southern New Hampshire, including Salem, Plaistow, and Windham, are struggling with contaminated groundwater and exploring the possibility of importing water via pipeline from Manchester. (Eagle-Tribune)

The federal flood insurance program is broke and broken but there’s no consensus on how to, or even who can, fix it. (New York Times) The story is similar to a piece done locally several years ago by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting focusing on shoreline homes that repeatedly flood during storms with owners continually being paid for damages beyond their home’s worth.

CASINOS

A Herald editorial says early numbers from the Plainridge Park slots facility show the bet the state placed that Massachusetts could repatriate dollars that had been gambled out of state is paying off.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Disgraced former New York congressman Anthony Weiner is reportedly set to begin serving his sentence on charges related to exchanging obscene material with a minor at the federal prison in Devens. (Boston Herald)