Archive for December, 2008

Pot LITE Comes to Mass.

nickel.jpgNext week’s podcast kicks around marijuana enforcement under the week’s new standards. It’s not so simple as November’s ballot question seems.

On (not in) paper, possession of under an ounce of pot is a civil offense. If you’re caught, it’s supposed to be a $100 fine and no CORI record of a crime.

Back in the real world, the heat from Attorney General Martha Coakley to various mayors to district attorneys are pissed. They want various combinations of stronger local ordinances and regulations. On the face of it, they seem petulant that 65% of voters went against their long list of reasons to defeat the question.

They’d have it that criminal prosecution of small amounts of grass for personal use protects us from drug addiction, related crimes, auto fatalities and more. Libertarians and many progressives say police power should go to real crime and that prohibition didn’t work here any more than it did with booze.

Join us live Tuesday, January 6th at 2:30, or check back here anytime afterward.  The three usual suspects will try to separate the hysteria from the reality as Massachusetts becomes one of 11 states with some marijuana decriminalization.


Daily Rags Founder Podcast

paper.jpgThe era when every house got one or two daily newspapers is way gone. Papers have been folding, combining in various ways, and lamenting their pending bankruptcy.

We have our own judgments on why (and whether) media groups and individual papers are struggling. Also, Ryan pointed to yet another model as covered by David Carr in the New York Times.

We disagreed quite a bit, but did find that many large groups structured under crushing debt. They’ll have to break up voluntarily or sell off pieces to service that. Also, most papers work under a centuries-old model of quick cash and high margins. This worsened when they went public and tried to please shareholders.

The future may well be individuals or smaller companies buying a paper and dealing in a lower-margin world. Likewise, it may even be cheaper for people to start new papers in a market where the ailing monopoly is too expensive and too inflexible to survive as is.

The days when papers can thrive off net-based revenue may be too far out there for many, but the reality of living in a world of lower margins is there for the taking.

icon for podpress  Daily Rags [30:47m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Better Boston Biking Podcast

Boston’s cycling czarina (in reality Bicycle Coordinator) Nicole Freedman is in the vanguard of city cycling change. She inherited paper and little else a little over a year ago, but has a lot to show for work since.

She talked to us about the low-hanging fruit, as well as the harder tasks of turning around Boston’s reputation as a terrible town for biking.  Freedman used the master bike plan she found and as she put it plagiarized and stole from local and distant cities for the best ideas and methods.

Across the Charles River, Cambridge has a long lead and a bike-friendly reputation. Freedman’s counterpart there, Cara Seiderman, was on with us in July.  Catch her podcast here.

Freedman found that many things to advance Boston are relatively easy. Perhaps first, she has strong support from Mayor Tom Menino, who has gone from cycle antagonist to bike hero in the past few years. Other projects partially completed and in the works include:

  • Adding bike lanes to major streets as they come up for re-striping or repaving.
  • Identifying where present and prospective cyclists would need to park their bikes for commuting, shopping or visiting — and then putting enough, sturdy racks or cages there.
  • Educating citizens, police and companies on accommodating biking on the roads, in buildings and with other forms of transportation.
  • Holding and coordinating citywide and region-wide bike events and days.
  • Working with mass-transit agencies to ensure on-bus bike racks, access to subways, and other accommodation.

We have a mayor who bikes and a city that’s learning how to do the same. More bikes and fewer cars are in the works. Freedman talks about what it will take and how long.

icon for podpress  Boston Biking [45:46m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Biking Podcast Bump To Wednesday

happybikes.jpg Wednesday is the podcast day this week, not the usual Tuesday.  This is on the state and future of cycling (and non-motor vehicle transit) in Boston.

Our guest is the city’s Bicycle Coordinator Nicole Freedman, a.k.a. the Cycling Czar. Listen live on BlogTalkRadio Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. Otherwise, return to this site anytime to listen to or download the podcast.


Prez-Elect Rising

Ryan and Mike riffed on the surprise emergence of Barack Obama in the newly powerful role of President-elect.

These startling and demanding times require a cohesive and sure direction, something we haven’t seen in a long time. While saying we only have one President at a time, Obama has nonetheless run a two-President world since early November. Good on him and good for us.

We talked about what good may come of this pre-President role, whether it will become a template and new norm, and what drawbacks might be.

icon for podpress  President-elect [33:47m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Who Ya Callin’ Bike Unfriendly?!

Nicole FreedmanThe days when the Charles River separated good-for-cyclist from bad-for-cyclists are nearly gone. Boston has long had the earned rep for discouraging biking — bad roads, hostile drivers, no bike lanes, no racks,no bus/train accommodation.

The city’s cycling czar, a.k.a. Bike Coordinator Nicole Freedman, has been doing stuff you’ve seen and stuff you have no idea about…yet.

Even though we share a college culture with Cambridge, she’s playing catch-up to Cara Seiderman across the Charles.  Former champion cyclist Freedman remains competitive here too. At the recent Moving Together 2008, both of them spoke about their accomplishments and challenges in their towns. Freedman laughed that she freely stole Seiderman’s good ideas and was able to avoid her mistakes, the two sides of starting late.

She’s whittling away at her master plan.  The streets, parking, education, some fun special programs, bikes on and mass transit, and even some enforcement are in the mix.

We bring on Freedman Wednesday, December 17th. That’s the usual time on an unusual day of the week for us. Hear her stream live on BlogTalkRadio or check back here for the podcast.


Funding Fair Government

People just don’t know. Judy Meredith and her ONE Massachusetts are about changing that.

The long-term activist and lobbyist was our podcast guest today. She spoke of how to define and fund fair government, and how to convince both voters and lawmakers to make it happen.

Starting decades ago on adoption issues, learning how to lobby on many issues, and un-retiring to join the current challenges, she has lots of savvy. Early on, she learned to identify a key problem or issue, and only then approach politicians with a clear definition and workable solutions.

Listen in to hear what she and her group are working on now.

icon for podpress  Funding Massachusetts [61:17m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


ONE Massachusetts Podcast

We’re having the Real Clout activist, Judy Meredith, as our guest on tomorrow’s podcast. She founded both the Public Policy Institute and then ONE Massachusetts. As a long-term progressive and lobbyist, she is used to getting things done, regardless of impediments.

Even in today’s chaotic environment,  she is working to define key goals and set up the people and procedures to affect them. We’ll get into how ONE Massachusetts  targets its goals and goes for them.

You listen live Tuesday, December 2nd, at 2:30 p.m. here. Anytime afterward return to this blog to download the MP3 or use our player.