The Codcast: Baker and the T

There’s no consensus about what specific actions the MBTA should take to right itself, but so far everyone seems to appreciate the work of the all-volunteer Fiscal Management and Control Board and Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision to take ownership of the T and all its headaches.

Baker this week waded into the weeds at the MBTA and tried to adjust public expectations, warning that the turnaround at the T would take years to accomplish. Eileen McAnneny, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and co-chair of the FixOurT Coalition, and Rafael Mares, vice president at the Conservation Law Foundation, came on the Codcast to discuss Baker’s remarks and the long-term prognosis for the state’s struggling transit authority.

One interesting exchange: McAnneny worries that pursuit of the Green Line Extension, South Coast Rail, and a North-South rail link could distract a transit authority already stretched thin trying to maintain core services, but Mares thinks the state Department of Transportation could ease the T’s burden by shouldering some of these construction projects. For all of CommonWealth’s transportation coverage, click here.

— Bruce Mohl

 

BEACON HILL 

Attorney General Maura Healey‘s decision to crack down on the sale of copycat assault weapons in Massachusetts triggered a one-day gun-buying frenzy resulting in more than 2,500 of the rifles being sold that were, according to her order, illegal. Now she’s threatening legal action against gun dealers who sold the weapons. (CommonWealth) Gov. Charlie Baker says Healey has the authority to clarify the definition of an assault weapon. (Masslive) Adrian Walker calls Healey’s move long overdue. (Boston Globe)

State officials say the economy continues to show strength even as tax revenues continue their slide. June numbers were down compared to a year ago. (CommonWealth)

A House-Senate conference committee reaches a deal on pay equity legislation. Baker says he would support a tax on Airbnb users. (State House News)

The state lottery considers a tie — in which players simply win back the amount they paid for a ticket — a win in promoting the odds of winning to would-be suckers customers. (Boston Globe)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

With reservoirs facing lower-than-average capacity, Worcester imposes restrictions on outdoor water use. (Telegram & Gazette)

The state Civil Service Commission slammed the Boston Police Department for its handling of applications to join the force, saying it needed to inform rejected candidates of their right to an appeal. (Boston Herald)

A Lowell Sun editorial praises city officials for cracking down on absentee slumlords who don’t fix code violations. Fix it or lose it, the editorial says.

A Black Lives Matter sign at Somerville City Hall stirs debate. (WBUR)

A Patriot Ledger editorial says a proposal to create a two-tiered property tax system in Quincy by increasing the levy on properties such as condos and high-rise apartments while reducing the value of owner-occupied homes deserves a hearing. Mayor Thomas Koch dismissed the idea.

A Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit from taxpayers against Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia that attempted to block the city’s move to privatizing trash pickup. (Herald News)

The curate of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Beverly is placed on administrative leave for allegedly drinking alcohol before driving young church members on a mission trip. (Salem News)

ELECTIONS

Donald Trump, in accepting the Republican nomination for president, pledges to restore order and tells the audience, “I am your voice.” (New York Times) Time’s headline: “Midnight in America.” Here is the full text of Trump’s speech.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren says Trump sounded like a “two-bit dictator.” The Atlantic’s David Frum analyzes Trump’s bad bet on anger. Political speechwriters said the speech was a “missed opportunity” void of personal insight that conjured up chaos and promised overnight fixes that can be summed up in two words: “I alone.” (New York Times) Joan Vennochi says Trump passed the basic test of projecting the image of someone who Americans could imagine as president — even if it was a far cry from the image that took him to the Republican nomination. (Boston Globe) Trump is not reprising Nixon, but Caesar, writes Jeff Greenfield. (Politico)

Kevin Peterson and Darnell Williams say say Trump’s dark message only sows fears and division. (CommonWealth)

Scott Brown calls on Gov. Charlie Baker to vote in the presidential race. (Masslive)

Chris Christie isn’t the only one who can play the indictment game. Jeffrey Goldberg indicts three leading Republicans who he says know Trump should have been stopped, but cravenly caved:  Christie, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton. (The Atlantic)

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia is reportedly the frontrunner to be Hillary Clinton‘s running mate. (New York Times)

Meredith Segal, a liberal pro-Obama, pro-Sanders Democrat, says progressives should support the November ballot question to raise the cap on charter schools in Massachusetts. (CommonWealth)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The National Basketball Association has withdrawn next year’s All Star game from North Carolina because of the state’s controversial law that eliminates anti-discrimination protection for gays, lesbians, and transexuals. (New York Times)

Biogen CEO George Scangos is stepping down. (Boston Globe)

In an effort to improve the taste of the egg patty in its breakfast sandwiches, Dunkin Donuts is adding more of a special ingredient: eggs. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION

Only two school districts in the MetroWest region have responded to an order from the secretary of state’s office to comply with a statewide public records request from a Brigham Young University researcher for salary data broken down by race and gender. (MetroWest Daily News)

The kerfuffle over a WBGH report on possible changes to admission criteria for Boston’s exam schools continues, with Boston Magazine offering this summary of the conflict over a story reported by Peter Kadzis that Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang and Mayor Marty Walsh both say is based on a school department document that doesn’t exist.

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

No progress: Lowell officials say 40 people died in the community from opioid-related deaths during the first half of the year; last year, 47 died the entire year. (The Sun)

The New Bedford City Council voted to endorse a medical marijuana dispensary in the city but it is opposed by Mayor Jon Mitchell, creating what he says is a “legal question that hasn’t been tested.” The state requires a letter of support from a community’s chief executive or top legislative board. (Standard-Times)

TRANSPORTATION 

A no-layoff clause in an agreement with a union representing management workers angers the MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board. (CommonWealth)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

It’s crunch time in the Massachusetts energy debate: CommonWealth offers a potpourri of opinion on natural gas pipelines, hydroelectricity, and whether pending legislation will drive up or cut the price of electricity.

CASINOS/GAMBLING

The state environment secretary, Matthew Beaton, signals that Wynn Resorts is close to clearing the final regulatory hurdle with his agency needed to proceed with its Everett casino. (Boston Herald)

Brockton Fairground officials hoping to bring horse racing back to the venue were dealt a blow when the Gaming Commission recommended against a request for $1.47 million to cover administrative and operation expenses at the track. (The Enterprise)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

The recent Supreme Court decision throwing out the corruption conviction of former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell may make it harder to win corruption convictions in Massachusetts cases, including in the investigation of state Sen. Brian Joyce and the indictment of Boston city hall aides. It might also help the appeals of state probation officials convicted on similar charges. (Boston Globe)

Boston Police work to build trust with residents one ice cream cone at a time. (Governing)

MEDIA

Roger Ailes is out at Fox News. (U.S. News & World Report)