If it feels like we’ve seen this movie before.
Mayor Marty Walsh gets out in front in support of the idea of a big sports event coming to Boston. Other government officials, whose buy-in is needed, seem cool to the idea. The blowback starts about the lack of any public vetting of the idea, with residents who will be most affected complaining about being cut out of the process. The mayor who had championed the idea suddenly starts sounding like the watchdog who is wary of it, delivering an ultimatum to the would-be event impresarios that could set the stage for the plug to be pulled on the whole thing.
That’s the Boston 2024 storyline that played out as the mayor went from enthusiastic booster of a Boston Olympic bid to the guy who killed it because of persistent concerns about taxpayers being on the hook to pay for any cost overruns. It also now looks a lot like the narrative of Grand Prix of Boston, the Indy car spectacle that is supposed to send race cars rocketing through the Seaport next September at speeds of 180 mph.
Plans for the race were hatched by the administration with remarkably little notice, and concerns about whether the event can be pulled off seem to be growing. The Boston Herald, which has been the main media outlet, well, driving the story, today reports that the city has given race promoters 14 days to secure agreements with the several agencies that control most of the course.
“It is expected that your team will finalize agreements with all interested parties within the next two (2) weeks,” Walsh’s chief of operations, Patrick Brophy, wrote in an email on Friday to Grand Prix of Boston, according to today’s Joe Battenfeld front-pager. “Please be advised that the Mayor grows increasingly concerned with the progress (or lack thereof) of those discussions.”
The race needs buy-in from Massport, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, and the state Department of Transportation, which all control parts of the planned course. Massport head Tom Glynn has said he’s not prepared to spend the $500,000 needed for road work to accommodate the race. A convention center official tells the Herald his agency isn’t “anywhere close” to reaching agreement with race organizers on use of its roads, and state transportation officials have issued no permits for the use of roads they control.
“It brings back bad memories,” the Globe‘s Joan Vennochi wrote last month of the parallels to the Olympic flameout.
Politico‘s Lauren Dezenski reported in September that a Seaport neighborhood association was calling for next September’s race to be cancelled, writing in a letter to City Hall that the race had been “developed in secret with no public process.”
As with the Olympics, there are dueling points of view as to whether Indy car racing in Boston would be a financial boon to the city or drain on public dollars. As with the tepid reaction of state leaders to Boston 2024, there are not a lot of other officials racing to support Walsh’s idea of car racing in downtown Boston.
With the clock now ticking on the new City Hall ultimatum, it seems we may know soon whether this version of the movie ends the same way as the first one.
Gov. Charlie Baker grades himself on the eve of his one-year anniversary of being elected and says his best move was reaching across the aisle to form his cabinet while his biggest regret was slow action on the MBTA. (Keller@Large)
The Registry of Motor Vehicles engages in a pay-to-play arrangement with driving schools, allowing them to book tests for clients without those clients having to wait in line. (New England Center for Investigative Reporting)
ML Strategies, the lobbying arm of the Mintz Levin law firm, has all bases covered on Beacon Hill. (CommonWealth)
A Sun editorial praises former UMass Lowell chancellor Marty Meehan and City Manager Kevin Murphy for helping the city land a $13.4 million grant to repair eight bridges.
The Islamic Center of Burlington is vandalized by graffiti artists. (The Sun)
An estimated 100,000 people turned out to celebrate Halloween in Salem. (Salem News)
Attorney General Maura Healey named D. Lloyd Macdonald, a retired Superior Court judge, to serve on the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. (Boston Globe)
Four casinos? Gaming Commission chairman Stephen Crosby thinks not. (State House News Service)
A Fitchburg State University student who was wrongly accused of being the Boston Marathon bomber plans to speak out for the first time Thursday. (Telegram & Gazette)
Dozens of police departments around the country have adopted the Angel program developed by Gloucester police that allows addicts to surrender their drugs and turn themselves in for treatment rather than arrest. (Associated Press)
The GOP presidential candidates demand greater control over debates. (Washington Post) The American Spectator calls on the Republican National Committee to go further than severing ties with NBC for the presidential debates, urging the GOP to boot out all the networks except Fox News.
The Herald News endorses Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter for reelection in his tight race with City Councilor Jasiel Correia.
The Standard-Times urges voters to stick with who they know in New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell for a third term over challenger Maria Giesta.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is cleaning up in the fundraising department going into tomorrow’s vote. (MassLive)
The Berkshire Eagle charges that Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi is coming up with “context-free” claims about his challenger City Clerk Linda Tyler. (Berkshire Eagle)
In an otherwise sleepy off-year City Council election in Boston, all eyes tomorrow will be on District 4, where 32-year incumbent Charles Yancey is facing a strong challenge from Andrea Campbell. (Boston Globe) Campbell outpolled Yancey by a wide margin in the September preliminary; this analysis in CommonWealth broke down the vote and showed why Yancey faces an uphill climb tomorrow. The final contest has become a door-knocking, street by street battle. (Boston Herald)
A question is likely headed to the 2016 state ballot that would require less restrictive caging of egg-laying hens, pigs raised for pork meat, and veal calves on Massachusetts farms. (Boston Globe)
Jeb Bush still does not think that his poor debate performance will have a negative effect on his candidacy. (Washington Post) Meanwhile, President Obama’s former chief of staff says Republican “dysfunction all started with Sarah Palin.” (Washington Post)
The explosion of clauses in the fine print of consumer and employment contracts that bar lawsuits and force disputes to be settled through arbitration has created an alternative private justice system that overwhelmingly favors businesses. (New York Times)
Those Internet disclaimers that almost nobody reads lead to some interesting policy dilemmas. (Not Running a Hospital)
The Christian Science Monitor takes the temperature of the middle class.
Local food banks are seeing a rise in need. (The Enterprise)
Dollar Shave Club, an upstart mail-order razor company, is making Gillette nervous as it markedly undercuts the shaving-product behemoth’s pricey blades. (Boston Globe)
Geico is turning to civil lawsuits to attack insurance fraud, but some say the insurer’s moves could end up hurting residents of low-income communities. (Boston Globe)
A doorman-staffed building arrives in Jamaica Plain. (Boston Globe)
Airbnb spends more than $8 million fighting a ballot question in San Francisco.
Richard Stutman, the head of the Boston Teachers Union, argues against lifting the charter school cap, saying public education shouldn’t be privatized. (WBUR)
Ohio Gov. John Kasich signs into law a measure requiring more charter school accountability. (Governing)
A Globe editorial backs the thrust of a provision in Gov. Charlie Baker‘s opioid legislation that would limit doctors to writing authorization for no more than an initial 72-hour supply for a first-time opioid prescription.
A new study says three-quarters of all US military personnel use dietary supplements, which are unregulated and have been tied to adverse effects. (Stat)
The cost of firewood in the Northeast is on the rise and timber industry officials says it’s because of fracking, as energy companies increase demand for hardwood to create “mats” on forest floors to roll heavy machinery across. (Associated Press)
Three years after Hurricane Sandy people are still building on the vulnerable East Coast shoreline. (Christian Science Monitor)
Property crimes on the South Shore are at their lowest level in 30 years, reflecting a national trend, according to data from the FBI. (Patriot Ledger)
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that police can no longer pull over vehicles simply because they smell pot: the driver must exhibit symptoms of impaired driving such as crossing lanes. (MassLive)
ESPN is shutting down its sports and culture website Grantland. (Nieman Journalism Lab)
The publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News says he intends to merge the newsrooms and cut back staff. (Philadelphia Business Journal)
Freedom Communications Inc., the owner of the Orange County Register, files for bankruptcy. (Los Angeles Times)
As the National Review turns 60, the editors of William F. Buckley’s journal say its conservative voice and views are needed now more than ever.
Former senator and actor Fred Thompson who briefly ran for president in 2008 has died at the age of 73. (New York Times)
The Kansas City Royals ended a 30-year drought by winning the World Series, beating the New York Mets four games to one. (New York Times)