For Pollack and Beaton, past makes for awkward prologue

Where you stand depends on where you sit.

That old adage is doubly true this morning when it comes to Gov. Charlie Baker’s cabinet. Two of his cabinet secretaries, Stephanie Pollack at transportation and Matthew Beaton at energy and environmental affairs, get attention in today’s Globe, with both toeing policy lines that put them at odds with their former selves.

The polymath Pollack, who carries an engineering degree from MIT and law degree from Harvard, is well-known in state policy circles from her years at the Conservation Law Foundation and at the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. And that’s just the problem.

Pollack was a fierce advocate of public transit projects while at CLF. Her most high-profile achievement was getting the state to agree to a series of mitigation projects aimed at boosting air quality as a counterweight to the car-focused Big Dig. The deal struck toward the end of the Dukakis administration averted a CLF lawsuit (the receiving end of which can be akin to a prolonged root canal) — and it committed the state to extending the Green Line north into Somerville.

That, of course, is where our story resumes, with Pollack now helming the state transportation office that delivered (after dancing a little inelegantly around the question) the news earlier this month that the Green Line extension seems to be about 50 percent over budget. With an extra $1 billion not kicking around in state coffers, Pollack must figure out the next move. She says the options include everything from devising a more cost-effective plan for the extension to scrapping the project altogether.

It’s a different tune, reports the Globe‘s Stephanie Ebbert, than the one advocate Pollack sang a dozen years ago when, in the face of state wavering over the Big Dig mitigation projects, she declared, “They can’t just say, ‘We’re broke.'”

If Pollack finds herself needing to dial back some of the fervor for transit spending she displayed in the days she wore her activist hat, Beaton is in a bit of the opposite situation.

As the Baker administration’s point-man on energy and environment policy, Beaton’s duties include serving as chairman of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, which built a $113 million waterfront terminal in New Bedford under Gov. Deval Patrick to repair and ship huge offshore wind turbines. The main driver of the project was Cape Wind, the huge wind farm slated for Nantucket Sound. But Cape Wind is now on the ropes and the pricey state-sponsored waterfront terminal has been “largely idle,” reports Jon Chesto.

As a Republican state representative from Shrewsbury, Beaton had been skeptical of the state marine terminal project. “It was a very big gamble,” he tells Chesto. “Unfortunately, the dice didn’t roll our way on this one.”

Now Beaton is in charge of figuring out a way to make it work..

Advocates for the project say it still may pay off for the state over a longer horizon as the wind energy sector matures. And the acting director of New Bedford’s port says the terminal might have uses for the city’s fishing industry.

Beaton, meanwhile, seems to be looking ahead for solutions, not back at his earlier doubts. “We’re really just looking at what is going to provide us with the greatest opportunity to have a stable, predictable stream of income,” he tells the Globe.




Disputes between selectmen and town managers are increasing in several towns south of Boston, with the animosity embarrassing residents and thwarting the ability to get things done. (The Enterprise)

The Boston city councilors leading the charge for a huge pay increase are also the cellar-dwellers when it comes to attendance at hearings called by the statutorily-weak 13-member body. (Boston Globe)

Twenty-one Salem residents challenge the approval of a new design for the Gateway Center, a project that includes a senior center, housing, and offices. (Salem News)

Hindus break ground on a temple in Groton. (The Sun)

Boston code inspectors fanned out yesterday in neighborhoods where students were returning to rental units, but area residents say year-round attention to code violations is needed, not an annual going-through-the-motions fall ritual. (Boston Globe)

Mashpee gives Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts a zoning green light. Now the state must do the same for construction.


The Baker administration approves a key environmental report for the Wynn Resorts casino in Everett, dealing a major blow to opponents led by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. (CommonWealth)

Correspondence between Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack and Attorney General Maura Healey highlight their different views of the Wynn Resorts casino proposal. (CommonWealth)

The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs has sent a second letter to the Taunton City Council clarifying that the agency will not, in fact, make a determination in the next 30 days on the Mashpee Wampanoag application for land in-trust for the tribe’s proposed casino. (Herald News)


Pressure grows for Major League Baseball to increase safety measures at ballparks, after a fan plunged to his death from the upper deck of the Atlanta stadium. (USA Today)


The Herald says presidential campaigns will break all records for television ad spending, with lots of TV spots hitting Boston stations, which have a good reach into first-primary-in-the-nation New Hampshire.

Steve Koczela says CNN’s method of selecting presidential debate contestants doesn’t make sense because the approach ignores more recent surges in popularity. (CommonWealth)


Commercial real estate lending in the Boston area is on a tear, leading some to worry about a bubble that could pop. (Boston Globe)

A New York Times editorial calls on federal regulators to break cable companies’ monopoly on set-top boxes that is a $20 billion-a-year rental bonanza for the industry.

Personal spending and income both rose in July, according to a report by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. (U.S. News & World Report)

A new study finds investment growth at private foundations slowed last year after back-to-back, double-digit increases. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

Hulu picks up movie package dropped by Netflix. (CNNMoney)


There is a surprising degree of optimism and good will being expressed from all corners as Holyoke prepares to begin a new school year under a state-appointed receiver. (Boston Globe)

UMass Lowell welcomes its largest and smartest freshman class ever. (Eagle-Tribune)

The Herald‘s Hillary Chabot says a focus on high salaries earned in the UMass system is missing from Beacon Hill concerns about increases in tuition for students.


A study from the Cranberry Health Research Center at UMass Dartmouth, a collaborative of academic and industry researchers, finds a link between the tart fruit and reduced colon cancer. (Standard-Times)


Washington, DC, officials are having some success reining in costs on their version of The Ride. (Governing)

US Rep. Michael Capuano says federal funding for the Green Line extension is not in jeopardy at this time unless state officials decide to scrap the project and start over. (Keller@Large) Not so fast on the Green Line extension, says an editorial in the Metrowest Daily News.


Solar batteries have the potential to revolutionize energy storage. (Christian Science Monitor)

How do you like them apples? New England orchards look poised to deliver a bumper crop this fall. (Associated Press)

Mount McKinley, the highest summit in North America, will revert to its Native Alaska name of Denali under an executive order by President Obama. (New York Times) Meanwhile, the move angers politicians in Ohio, home state to the peak’s former namesake, President William McKinley. (Time)

A newly discovered crustacean is named after Elton John. (Christian Science Monitor)


Brockton police say they are seeing a disturbing trend where gunmen will have friends rent cars that they then use to drive to shootouts in the city, making it harder for investigators to determine who the suspect is. (The Enterprise)

US Senior District Judge Mark Wolf must decide soon whether to recuse himself from the death penalty trial of convicted killer Gary Lee Sampson. Wolf previously overturned Sampson’s death sentence because a juror had not fully disclosed her background. Wolf’s participation in a panel discussion last summer that included someone now slated to be called as a anti-death penalty witness has prompted calls for him to step down from the case. (Boston Globe)

A 23-year-old Salem man is accused of fatally stabbing a fellow employee at the Northshore Mall. (The Item)


Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and author of Awakenings, dies of cancer. (New York Times)

Horror movie director Wes Craven, who created screen slasher sensation Freddy Krueger as well as the successful Scream film franchise, has died of brain cancer. (New York Times)