Archive for Massachusetts

Transportation Equity Podcast

Just imagine what 58 transportation-oriented private and governmental groups could think of and accomplish together. Don’t imagine. Go to Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA.org) and see. Start with the last year’s legislative recap here.

Josh Ostroff, interim director, spoke today on the aims and needs. We are two transit geeks, who love everything from trains to bikes (and tolerate cars as needed). Among our fast-talking topics were:

  • transportation equity, getting everyone including the poor from where they live to where they work or want to play quickly, safely and affordably
  • maintaining roads, bridges and rails
  • planning, building and repairing for multi-modal transit
  • transit for the “unrich’ who don’t have choices for work, education, and just getting around

Regular readers and listeners know I’m big on transit. I expect more shows with principals of T4MA. Meanwhile, look through the site for what fits your interest. Consider the T4MA half day conference Fast Forward to saturate yourself in the subject.

icon for podpress  T4MA Transit Equity [30:14m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Four Questions for MA Voters

bwak

MA, thanks to the legislative gods, is not at the head of ballot initiatives. That onerous crown still belongs to CA. There, virtually any crackpot with a loony fetish can get it on the statewide ballot, given enough petition signatures. Here at least, all proposals go through that process, then a stringent screen by the Attorney General for legal stuff like constitutionality, and then legislative action in one or two sessions.

For fun, look at the AG’s filings here and Ballotopedia’s who-made-the-cut table.

Eventually the laggard Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office will mail a booklet to registered voters listing the details of the four questions on November’s sheet. I’m a warden at a Boston polling place and I suspect that 90% or more of voters won’t read the booklet and arrive ignorant.

Pity, there are some goodies that made the cut. I deal with:

Q1: Expanding slot machine gaming.

Q2: Charter School Expansion.

Q3: Conditions for farm animals.

Q4: Legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana.

I give an example or two of what didn’t make the ballot and why.

If you’re like most of my precinct’s voters what you want is the word. I can’t say on election day, but my call, just for you, is N, N, Y and Y.

icon for podpress  2016 MA Ballot Questions [29:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MA Ballot Questions and Public Transit Shows Coming

The next two Tuesday shows have disparate topics:

  • TU 8/23, I’ll cover the four, likewise disparate, Massachusetts ballot questions for November 8th.
  • TU 8/23, the interim director of Transportation for MA (a huge coalition of public interest groups) joins me to discuss how to get everyone from home to work and back at a reasonable price on a reasonable schedule, safely.

If you want to listen live or chime, click here at 2:30 PM Eastern on 8/23 for the ballot questions. Likewise, if transit equity is real to you, click here at 1:30 PM Eastern on 8/30 or the T4MA show.

As always, the shows are available afterward back here, at the show URL or on our iTunes page.

 

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No VP Warren Podcast

We’re not through with Elizabeth Warren yet in Massachusetts. You can’t have her as 2016 Vice President. She’s my U.S. Senator and is better than just fine.Elizabeth Warren

I get into why she’s effective beyond merely doing the job for us and discuss pros and cons of Hillary Clinton bringing her on the ticket. Unlike my usual cited sources, this is personal and my perceptions.

She has been doing a great job with her small stable of political and positions she rides in D.C. She largely is the conscience who shames the lackluster, plodding Senators with her dynamism and accomplishments. She was on the ground running even before she got to the Senate. She could do a great job for the next President as the leading Senator and not the disappearing lackey.

icon for podpress  No VP Warren: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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No! Town, Boston

You want to do something exciting and edgy? Boston will watch from a distance.

Let’s not talk about the old Banned-in-Boston literature and performance. Let’s not talk about Blue Laws. Let’s come to recent times, the past few years

The mayor, other pols, and citizens have defeated:

  • Summer Olympics
  • More, easy-to-get liquor licenses
  • A single F1 car race
  • In town casino
  • 24-hour mass transit
  • Late-night mass transit

What gives in a city, town really, that loves to brag it is world class? Alas, Adam Gaffin over at universalhub.com is like spot on when it call this the city that always sleeps.

A few centuries ago, Boston and Charleston SC were seen as sister cities. Their social conservatism accounted for much of the zeitgeist. They did develop stifling Blue Laws together. Boston also hid behind Puritans, then and still it ducks behind its Roman Catholicism. Those were supposed to account for and excuse the petty and nasty limits on human behavior, speech and even thought.

I’ve lived in Boston for 36 years, after a decade in Manhattan. I draw my conclusions on why this town will live vicariously through its huge student population and asthenic arts life, as though that was plenty of vitality and creativity for everyone. Harrumph.

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MA AG on Changing Opioid Culture

Maura Healey, the MA Attorney General, joined me for a quick show on her efforts to reverse the addition and deaths of opioids. She reminded me that she promised this as a priority two years ago when she was running for office. She’s on it.

Last week, I covered the new prescription drug law. You can hear that here.

Listen in as she talks about her office’s multifaceted approach of education and enforcement. This is serious stuff with daily deaths and addition everywhere in the commonwealth. She looks at the US having 5% of the world’s population consuming 80% of the opioids. She has plans and policies to change that.

icon for podpress  MA AG on opioids [16:50m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Healey on Opioids

MA Attorney General Maura Healey joins me Monday, May 2nd at 3 PM Eastern for a quick session on opioids. The crisis is very real, very deadly.

We’ll talk last month’s new law designed to help. The chief law enforcer will tell us what that means and how far it gets us.

I’ll drill down a bit into the role of doctors and pharmacists in this mess.

If you can listen live, catch us then at by clicking here. Otherwise, get her show on demand back here, at that URL or on our iTunes page.

Podcast Eve Note: I shall run an intro show Saturday, April 23 at 1:30 AM (click here to listen live). I intend to discuss my own, non-addicted medically based experience as a foretaste of the Healey show.

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MBTA Fair Fares Podcast

The MA legislature and recent governors have lacked vision, and still do on mass transit. They look for shortcuts, quick fixes and binary left-brained answers to questions that should demand deep analysis and keen insights.

Residents, particularly those in the Boston area, will get another fare hike of between 9 and 10%. It makes life harder on poorer citizens and solves absolutely none of the T’s troubles.

I talk a bit about the absurd and irrational debt service, about the shameful forward-funding scheme the legislature pile on the MBTA, and why they won’t even consider admitting they thoroughly blew it, much less try to fix it.

When these hikes are under discussion, a few of us call and yell and write and testify that they need to ask meaningful questions. The only one they seem to come up with is not meaningful, rather it is “How big a fare raise and we get?”

Honk. Wrong question.

My rant is has two sides. First and most obvious is fix the damn funding blunder, so the T can have cash flow for operations and maintenance. Harder but more important is asking what we want and expect from the T.

The answer is not the stupid one — on-time trains that are clean and safe. Those should be sine qua non. No, if we want mass transit to be affordable for getting all from where they live to where they work, if we want it to reduce vehicular traffic, noise, pollution and other congestion, we need to be willing to subsidize it like we do with cars and trucks.

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation report on T funding is here.

icon for podpress  MBTA Fair Fares: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Demon vs. Raptor…on to November

Let’s interrupt the political theater for a brief moment of reality. My guy, Bernie Sanders, has almost surely lost the Dem nomination for President. On the other side, there’s an even chance Donald Trump will come into the GOP convention with a majority of Delegates.

Clinton vs. Trump in November. The war hawk vs. the hate monger.

I talked about the mundanities, such as number of delegated needed and already bagged for the nominations. I spoke of the likelihood that each will arrive at the July convention with a majority and the nomination.

I also stuck my neck out with a prediction that Trump will have his 35% or so of the electorate that responds to emotion and bluster. Yet we see that every for years. There is always at least that much or even up to 48% who will vote for any bozo who honks his clown nose to the proper tune.

This was just a rant. At least my Boston precinct voted for Bernie yesterday.

icon for podpress  Demon vs. Raptor [26:16m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MA Without the Usual Suspects Podcast

Mild apology up front, as our service cut off the podcast just at 30 minutes with no grace. We were still holding forth, but there’s some beef in the bun. Ryan and Mike looked to the strong possibility that Boston mayor may not run and the term-limit certainty that the governor can’t.

We never got to speculating about a possible special election for US Senate if John Kerry gets sucked into an Obama cabinet post.

We had plenty to consider and pontificate about with possible replacements for Mayor Tom Menino and Gov. Deval Patrick. Ryan’s hoping for a Boston dark horse, but Mike figures on a city councilor. They name names. Likewise for governor, we went through some prime suspects and wild cards.

Listen in as we play what-if and who.

icon for podpress  MA Usual Suspects [30:04m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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