Archive for July, 2010

Pres. Ross on Bikes, Boston, Budgets

Michael RossJoin us Tuesday, August 3rd to hear Boston City Council President Michael Ross. He’s driven, bright and candid.

We chatted him up at the opening of the new bike lanes on Commonwealth Avenue…talking cycling. He’s a regular rider and big on Boston as a biking center, along with Mayor Tom Menino. Sure, we’ll talk cycling, present and future.

We expect to get into the busy and bruising year in City Hall as well. The tight economy and disappearing stimulus money had everyone from district Councilors to teachers to firefighters scrambling to get or keep theirs.

We have one Councilor under federal indictment. More important certainly are the shifts in the body’s membership in the last election and with a recent resignation of a key player.

So far, Ross has held it all together. Listen live on Tuesday, August 3rd at 2:30 p.m. here for what’s next. If you can’t catch the stream, get it on demand later there, here at Left Ahead or on iTunes.


Boston Cycling on the Brink Podcast

Pete Stidman, co-founder of the Boston Cyclists Union, spoke about his group’s aims, and the delights and perils of two-wheeling Beantown. While we are well on the way to the mayor’s vision of being a prime cycling city, we have quite a ways to go.

Disclaimer: Mike is a BCU member and will be volunteering for them.

Pete differentiated his group from the more formal lobbying organization, MassBike, as well as from recreational bike clubs.  BCU will work with them, as well as Livable Streets Alliance, when goals overlap. Listen in as he describes some of BCU’s goals, including:

  • Cycletracks around town
  • Bike lanes the length of Mass Avenue
  • Improved and expanded police crash data collection and procedures
  • Upgraded training for MBTA bus drivers

We spoke of the animosity and misunderstandings among cyclists, motorists and pedestrians. Stidman addressed the most common dangers in cycling and the outlook for getting more commuters and recreational bikers on the streets. Right now, Boston lags cycling centers such as Portland Oregon, Minneapolis, and San Francisco in both percentage of citizens who bike and number of full-time cycling staff per capita.

Seasonal note: Over the summer, BCU promotes both cycling and itself with a long list of free tuneups and farmers’ markets. The BCU offers memberships there, but its website does not yet have online enrollment (coming soon). You can get the newsletter for free here.

As a bonus, we had a caller from Mesa, Arizona, who compared and contrasted the cycling experiences there.

icon for podpress  Boston Cycling on the Brink [51:41m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Stidman on Cyclists This Tuesday

The co-founder of the Boston Cyclists Union joins us Tuesday. Pete Stidman talks bike safety, trends in Boston and elsewhere, and what his group will be up to this year and beyond.

Listen live Tuesday, 7/27 at 2:30 p.m. Eastern if you can by going here. Afterward, you can listen on demand there, here at Left Ahead! or on iTunes.

For background and a preview, check Chris Lovett’s interview with Stidman on bike safety. Click below.

Bike Safety Priorities in Boston from Chris Lovett on Vimeo.


d’Alessandro Goes for 9th CD Podcast

Dem Mac D’Alessandro joined us in a wee breather in his 21 cities and towns in 21 days campaign. He’s going after the 9th Congressional District and heads toward the 9/14 party primary against incumbent Rep. Steve Lynch.

The differences couldn’t be starker, at least in MA terms. The seat used to belong to liberal star Joe Moakley from 1973 through his death in 2001. Lynch, a conservative Democrat, has held the seat since. The incumbent has seemed out of touch with the delegation and electorate, supporting among other issues the Iraq War, efforts to defeat health-care reform, in favor repeatedly of the PATRIOT Act and more.

In contrast, D’Alessandro offers strong and detailed positions on schools and the environment as well as sweeping issues such as reviving the economy and national defense. He walked us through key aspects of how he’d work to increase employment, reduce military expenditures (particularly private contractor firm waste) and where he stands on foreign policy.

“I want to take an organizers spirit to Congress,” he told us. That has been a big part of his résumé and he spoke of advancing his ideas in Congress. For special interests/lobbyists for example, he said “they are having their way.”  He’d stand up to them and set an example, joining with the few doing that already. Likewise, he would call out those who favored the G.W. Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and funding current wars while saying we could not afford domestic programs.

He spoke of those who decry extending unemployment benefits in this deep recession and who say those are incentives for people not to seek work. “That’s hogwash!” he said. He wants to make sure we “keep our heads above water as an economy” as we work to add jobs.

Listen in as he describes his attitude toward a two-state Middle-East solution and more. On energy for one, he favors removing subsidies for petroleum producers. “If the market was allowed to act like a market..perhaps we’d have more fuel-efficient vehicles now,” he said.

In a ranging show, he covered a lot of topics. The only area where we were at a lot was the same. His campaign has not been able to get Lynch to debate. We haven’t had any response to getting him to speak with us and you.

icon for podpress  Mac d'Alessandro [57:38m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Mac Wants 9th CD Seat

d”AlessandroNext week, our show guest will be Mac d’Alessandro. He’s aiming for the 9th MA Congressional District.

From his stump speeches and website, that’s both a pro and con campaign. He has a detailed platform to get us back to work and out of war, among other issues. He also portrays himself as the anti-Steve Lynch, the incumbent.

By the bye, we’ve invited Lynch on several times. His campaign has not responded. We amuse ourselves being aware that while our guests don’t necessarily win their contests, those who turn us down or ignore us invariably lose. That might be a coincidence.

Mac will tell us why his program is better and how he expects to sway a long, varied district with its share of socially and fiscally conservative voters.

This show will start on the regular day but a half hour later than usual. Catch the live stream here at 3 p.m. Eastern, Tuesday, July 20th.  If you can’t get to it live, check back at that URL or here.


Tobin in Transition Podcast

We had a packed show — with a single guest — today as Boston City Councilor John Tobin joined us. He’s moving after nine years of being the most prolific and innovative legislator in that body. He discussed that and his new role as VP of city and community affairs.

He honestly couldn’t address what that will mean to the dream he’s had since first grade of being mayor here. He sure didn’t rule it out.

He did talk about the many who would warm his city hall chair. He faced a personal problem with long-term Chief of Staff David Isberg and longer-term buddy Matt O’Malley both saying they wanted to run in the (yet unscheduled) special election for the District 6 seat. Listen in as he talks about how the three of them finessed that, leading to Tobin’s endorsement of O’Malley.

I’ve been one of the many cranks in his district of Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury for years. I knew quite a bit about him. He revealed more about his upbringing and his family’s idea of pubic service…that did not necessarily mean running for office.

He addressed prickly issues sure to arise. Those include PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) deals between Northeastern and other universities with Boston, the role and duty of such institutions in adopting individual public schools, and even free internet access as a civil-rights issue.

The soon to be ex-councilor never shied from anything in that role, did not in the show, and surely won’t in his new job.


icon for podpress  John Tobin [64:12m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Crosstown Tobin

John TobinTomorrow, we chat with Boston City Councilor John Tobin, who has the town abuzz. He abruptly quit to take a VP spot at Northeastern U handling community relations.

As the most prolific and innovative councilor, his absence is likely to cause power shifts. Already, the scramble to replace him is filling the media here. Moreover, NU isn’t the only area school with troubled community and town relations. How he handles that role could have big impacts in Boston, Cambridge and beyond.

Join us Tuesday, July 13th at 2:30 p.m. Eastern to explore all that and more.  Join us on BlogTalkRadio for the live stream here,  or come to Left Ahead!, the show URL or iTunes later to listen or download the show.


Eh, America? Podcast

We do a July 4th week look at what’s right, wrong and fixable about America. From a wide age and American experience range, Ryan and Mike hit on their hopes and the big issues — political and economic — they want addressed before this mid-year and the next Presidential election.

Some are throw-your-hand-up crucial ones, like trashing that absurd filibuster process in the U.S. Senate that has plugged progressive legislation for many decades. We want some serious leadership by President Obama as well as Congressional big shots too.

Listen in for our take.

Note: Ryan cited the trends in deficits and expenses. That appears here.

icon for podpress  Eh, America? [52:46m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download