Politics

With order, Obama lays down milestone in immigration debate

By 
Andy Metzger, State House News Service
Nov. 21, 2014

Heading into his final two years in office when Republicans will hold majorities in both houses of Congress, President Barack Obama on Thursday announced a unilateral move to provide some surety for parents who are in the country illegally, earning praise from members of the Massachusetts delegation and scorn from other corners.  Read more

$100m US purse for apprentice programs: Labor Secretary cites Boston unit as a model

Thomas Perez, US Secretary of Labor, center, spoke with third-year sheet metal apprentices Sean Bettencourt, left, and James Dearden, right, as Rachel Kaprielian, Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development listens during a Monday visit to the Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 17 in Lower Mills. 	Tiffannie Bond photoThomas Perez, US Secretary of Labor, center, spoke with third-year sheet metal apprentices Sean Bettencourt, left, and James Dearden, right, as Rachel Kaprielian, Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development listens during a Monday visit to the Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 17 in Lower Mills. Tiffannie Bond photo

While touring the Local 17 Sheet Metal Workers’ headquarters in Lower Mills on Monday, US Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez announced a $100 million program of competitive grants to help fund apprentice programs like Boston’s Building Pathways organization.  Read more

Missed chance for collaborative approach at City Hall

Mayor Walsh’s decision to veto a City Council plan to create a Commission on Black and Latino Men and Boys is an ill-timed and disappointing decision from the still-new administration. The city council should act to override the mayor’s veto.  Read more

‘We’re not for sale’ - Powerful interests circle site on Southie line

By 
By Lauren Dezenski and Bill Forry
Nov. 19, 2014

Widett Circle and its environs are coveted by powerful interests— from Bob Kraft to a South Boston-based trash transfer station. Only one problem: The people who run the 20-plus businesses in the New Boston Food Market don't want to sell. Photo by Lauren Dezenski

The 16-acre New Boston Food Market on the South Boston-Dorchester line, a vital cog in Boston’s food supply chain, is once again in the crosshairs of powerful redevelopment forces, despite the fact that its current occupants insist that their properties are not for sale.

Already furiously engaged in fighting against a proposal to site a $10 million trash transfer facility, merchants in Widett Circle and neighboring Newmarket are now facing an even more daunting and potentially existential threat in the form of dueling proposals to build massive sports stadiums on or near their land. Proponents of a bid to lure the 2024 Olympic Games to Boston have pitched the idea of reclaiming parts of Widett Circle for the site of a new Olympic Stadium.  Read more

At Faneuil Hall, parents rally for better schools

By 
Andy Metzger, State House News Service
Nov. 13, 2014

Decrying lackluster education around the state and calling on new leaders to do better, activists and students rallied in front of Faneuil Hall Thursday morning.

The rally was organized by Families for Excellent Schools, a group new to Massachusetts that has put pressure on the mayor of New York City for his opposition to new charter schools.  Read more

THE PREDICAMENT OF THE MASSACHUSETTS REPUBLICAN

George DonnellyGeorge DonnellyThey have been treated like 1950s children, left to play on their own, and sometimes squabbling among themselves with nobody paying much attention. Now, the most politically powerful person in Massachusetts will be one of theirs. And the Massachusetts GOP, especially its few elected leaders, small in number and largely ignored for so long, will come out of the shadows.

It sounds like a good story line. But don't bet on it.

The gravitational forces weighing against the Bay State Republicans are still very strong, and actually may increase as the GOP takes over Congress next year. The local Republican messages of fiscal sobriety and economic growth may be drowned out by the noise from the national stage. The grinning face of Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, and the culture wars that are certain to continue, will be a drag on Bay State Republicans' fortunes unless they focus intently on the theme of opportunity for all.  Read more

A mixed reaction to BRA plans for Mount Vernon St.

By 
Eliza Dewey, Special to the Reporter
Nov. 13, 2014

Mt. Vernon Street meeting on Nov. 5.: Residents and stakeholders got hands on in reviewing BRA plans for a re-design of Columbia Point's main drag. Photo by Eliza Dewey Mt. Vernon Street meeting on Nov. 5.: Residents and stakeholders got hands on in reviewing BRA plans for a re-design of Columbia Point's main drag. Photo by Eliza Dewey A city initiative to revamp Mount Vernon Street at Columbia Point is moving ahead, although feelings about the proposal are mixed based on the input of stakeholders at a public meeting last Wednesday.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), the city’s planning agency, held the session to discuss the final design of the project’s first phase. Referred to by developers as the “25% Plan,” the document describes the basic layout of a street, including the number and width of lanes, the width of the sidewalk, and the location of bus stops, crosswalks, street lighting and other outdoor amenities. The so-called “100% Plan” will include more detailed drawings that would eventually be available for construction bids.

The project also involves Boston’s Transportation and Public Works departments as well as McMahon Associates; Crosby, Schlessinger & Smallridge LLC; and Omloop Design as outside consultants.  Read more

Three pitch city for Maxwell site in Uphams Corner

The 2.5 acre Maxwell Box Company parcel, now owned by the city, is adjacent to the Uphams Corner MBTA station on the Fairmount Line.

The city of Boston is vetting a trio of proposals submitted by development teams to turn an old Uphams Corner manufacturing complex into a mix of housing and other uses. The former Maxwell Box Company at 65 East Cottage St. is one of several dormant sites along the Fairmount commuter rail corridor that are now on the fast track to revitalization thanks in large part to state and federal investment in the transit line.

The Maxwell site, which formerly housed a bread factory, is a 2.5-acre industrial parcel that sits adjacent to the Uphams Corner MBTA station. It was seized by the city in 2011 for its owner’s failure to pay back taxes and was briefly considered as a new home for a municipal storage yard in the waning days of the Menino administration.  Read more

Menino’s way: It worked

In Mattapan, 2010: The mayor's playful side came out often. Here, he's busting chops as workers paint a sidewalk. "Hey, ya missed a spot." Photo by Bill ForryIn Mattapan, 2010: The mayor's playful side came out often. Here, he's busting chops as workers paint a sidewalk. "Hey, ya missed a spot." Photo by Bill Forry

Mayor Thomas M. Menino died last Thursday at his home in Hyde Park after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 71 years old.

No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, the news of Menino’s death was a sad moment for any objective Bostonian who has a pulse and a heart. Menino’s retirement brought with it the promise of further contributions to the city’s civic life and — more importantly— to his family, who loved him so dearly.  Read more

Patrick, Baker put politics aside as transition begins

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, State House News Service
Nov. 5, 2014

Governor-elect Charlie Baker, right, met with Gov. Deval Patrick, left, n Wednesday. SHNS photo

Beginning a transition effort, Governor-elect Charlie Baker on Wednesday met with Gov. Deval Patrick, who during the just-ended campaign repeatedly said Baker had an "authenticity problem" and backed Attorney General Martha Coakley in the race to succeed him.

Patrick and Baker met for over half an hour in the Corner Office to discuss the transition, one of Baker's first stops after claiming victory early Wednesday morning over Democrat Martha Coakley.  Read more