Gateway Cities investment proposed

The think tank MassINC called on the state of Massachusetts to invest $1.7 billion over 10 years to help revitalize some of the state’s Gateway Cities. The investment amounts to roughly $1,000 for every resident of the 24 municipalities.

A report issued by the Boston-based think tank (which also publishes CommonWealth) said the state’s investment would trigger $3.4 billion in new development, $7 billion in overall investment, and lead to the creation of 80,000 new jobs.

At a meeting yesterday at the Hampshire House in Boston, lawmakers and municipal officials from the Gateway Cities hailed the proposal as a way to not only get the struggling communities back on their feet but to transform them into economic engines.

Gregory Bialecki, the state’s secretary of housing and economic development, applauded the report’s focus on Gateway Cities and said the state has to prime the pump for private investments in the communities. But he was noncommittal about new state funding, saying the first priority is cataloguing what the state spends now in these cities and perhaps sharpening the focus of those investments.

“The challenge of looking for additional resources is a big one,” he said.

The push for state investments in smaller Massachusetts cities grabbed a lot of press attention in those cities, but little elsewhere. The Globe and the Herald took a pass on the report, but it received heavy attention in Lowell, Brockton, Fitchburg, Springfield, and Taunton.

–BRUCE MOHL

Beacon Hill

Over the last four years, the number of Massachusetts residents with so-called Class A licenses that allow them to carry high-capacity weapons has increased almost 27 percent. In Boston, the increase is even greater, more than 50 percent, CommonWealth reports. Check out gun permits in your own town in the data spreadsheet.

Housing officials on the South Shore say Gov. Deval Patrick’s plan to regionalize housing authorities would do more harm than good. CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas says Patrick’s proposal says as much about the awkward partnership between the governor and Lt. Gov. Tim Murray as it does about housing policy. The Herald editorializes against the move, arguing that “there is plenty of room for reform absent a wholesale power grab.”

Patrick is also proposing reforms for the state pension system that would require workers to stay on the job longer and work to an older age in order to gain retiree health coverage benefits.

Sen. Barry Finegold, an ally of Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua, comes out in support of legislation that would bar municipal candidates like Lantigua, who fail to file campaign finance reports, from running for reelection, the Eagle-Tribune reports. Lawrence’s local rep, Frank Moran, also supports the legislation.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone won’t run for reelection in 2014, opening up a seat that has often served as a launching pad for statewide candidates.

Howie Carr says that with the recent arrest of former state rep Jose Santiago, the resignation of Rep. Stat Smith on federal voter fraud charges, and an upcoming court date in Rep. Carlos Henriquez’s domestic violence case, 2013 “is shaping up to be another banner year for CSI State House.”

Rep. Dan Winslow is planning to write a book proposing solutions to pressing state government charges, and will tour the state in support of the effort. Who does he think he is?

Casinos

Steve Wynn throws down a $1 billion marker in his bid for a casino in Everett.

Municipal Matters

The New Bedford City Council, still smarting from Mayor Jon Mitchell’s rejection of a pay raise for them last summer, amped up its battle with the first-term mayor, claiming he is dragging his feet on vital capital improvements in the city.

Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt is working with the attorney general’s office to make sure blighted homes are brought in line with state and city building codes, the Salem News reports.

National Politics/Washington

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who is considering a US Senate run, wrote a column for a student newspaper in college in which he revealed he hated gays until a counselor helped him change his homophobic views, the Star-Ledger reports.

Keller@Large thinks Sen. John Kerry is a hoot when he tells jokes about how boring his speeches are.

Joe Biden and the NRA clash. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, picks up 400,000 new members since the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Politico reports.

Elections

Barney Frank backs US Rep. Ed Markey for the US Senate seat that John Kerry is expected to vacate, the Republican reports.

Business/Economy

Cerberus Capital Management Company, the equity firm that owns Steward Health Care among other businesses, purchased the Shaw’s Supermarkets and Star Market chains for $3.3 billion but industry experts don’t expect the group to hold onto it for long. The Wall Street Journal reports that the chains are ripe for resale, since the real estate Cerberus acquired in the supermarket deal is worth at least as much as the markets themselves.

The state’s affordable housing bank provided more than $1 billion in loans last year, a sign, officials say, of the market’s recovery.

The Kresge Foundation is investing $150 million in a turnaround effort in Detroit.

Education

Allegations of past sexual abuse or misconduct at the private Landmark School in Beverly are growing, the Salem News reports.

Health Care

The National Institutes of Health confirmed that legendary NFL linebacker Junior Seau, who played his final seasons with the New England Patriots, was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when he committed suicide. CTE, a degenerative brain disease that causes depression, has been posthumously diagnosed in a disproportionate number of people who suffer concussions from head trauma such as football players, boxers, and combat soldiers.

The current flu outbreak has reached pandemic proportions and the Centers for Disease Control says it has coincided with the worst outbreak of whooping cough in nearly 60 years. Flu-o-phobia takes hold among T riders.

State Sen. Brian Joyce is asking federal officials to stop the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton from continuing to use shock therapy for aversion therapy treatment to control behavior in disabled students.

Transportation

Lt. Gov. Tim Murray said the governor will not sign any transportation bill that does not include funding for the South Coast commuter rail project.

The MBTA is threatening to cancel a contract with a South Korean company that the T says is behind schedule and doing shoddy work on a $190 million contract to deliver 75 new commuter rail cars.

Energy/Environment

Gov. Deval Patrick signs a bill designed to help curb the spread of zebra mussels.

Greater Boston looks at the new wind turbines in Gloucester as a way for the city to use the resource that once powered its fishing vessels to generate a new economic growth.

Criminal Justice

The New York City Medical Examiner’s office is reviewing more than 800 rape cases for possible mishandling of DNA evidence, the New York Times reports.

Media

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The New York Times dismantles its environment desk but says its commitment to environmental coverage remains strong, Inside Climate News reports.

Iran plans to make film to correct Ben Affleck’s Argo, the New York Times reports.