Development speedbump | Portnoy strikes back | Will BPS go local? | Baker returns contributions | About Contrarian Boston |
No bidders: Ambitious Uphams Corner development plan hits speedbump
There were high hopes last fall that long-standing plans for the redevelopment of Dorchester’s Uphams Corner might be finally coming together.
But three months later, the Boston Planning and Development Agency is headed back to the drawing boards.
City officials failed to get a single bid on a proposal seeking developers interested in building affordable housing and commercial space next door to the historic Strand Theater.
As part of the deal, the developer would be responsible for teaming up with or bringing in new operator for the Strand, and for delivering new space for a city library branch as well.
While the theater is off-limits, the development would take place on an adjacent three-story bank building.
There was certainly interest in the deal, with dozens of people showing up for pre-bid conferences over the fall, the Dorchester Reporter noted.
Certainly, the buzz raised expectations, coming upon five years of neighborhood and city planning efforts aimed at creating an “Uphams Corner Arts & Innovation District.”
Now it’s back to square one. After assessing what the issues are, city officials plan to issue another request for proposals next month.
We have an idea: maybe the city should rethink its ask of developers, which seems like a lot here.
David Portnoy strikes back with lawsuit over sexual assault claims
He threated to sue. And now he has. Boston’s very own David Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, has filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts District Court against Insider.com, formerly known as BusinessInsider, over the digital news site’s “two stories that quoted women accusing him of sexual misconduct and assault,” the Washington Post reports.
“The site’s publication of ‘highly personal and private information’ was a violation of privacy laws in Massachusetts, where Portnoy lives, the suit alleges,” the Post reports.
Hmm. So why the federal suit if he’s claiming a violation of state privacy laws? In any event, the New York Post is all over the story, of course.
BPS woes: Time to look within for leadership?
Maybe it’s time for Boston to skip the old ‘nationwide search’ in the city’s hunt for a new schools’ boss.
The best argument against yet again seeking a bright new face from a distant city is Brenda Cassellius, the outgoing superintendent, who was previously secretary of education in Minnesota.
The product of a roughly year-long nationwide search, Cassellius distinguished herself once on the job by letting her superintendent’s license expire, generating months of unflattering front-page stories, and failing to win over enough internal support among principals before unveiling a school restructuring plan, among other snafus.
Oh, and let’s not forget Tommy Chang, the former hotshot LA schools’ chief who flamed out after three years, walking away with a $330K buyout.
“There is no reason to do a quote, unquote nationwide search,” said Larry DiCara, a former City Council president, top lawyer, and local political sage, adding Wu should look for homegrown talent. “It takes months if not years to figure out who’s who and what’s what.”
The real Diehl: GOP candidate’s half-baked campaign plan takes shape
With his hiring of Corey Lewandowski, Geoff Diehl has his brain trust, so to speak, in place.
Now the diehard Trumpie’s plan of attack is coming into focus: Keep repeating, ad nauseum, Maura Healey’s remarks to Boston business leaders in the wake of the riots that followed George Floyd’s murder nearly two years ago.
“Yes, America is burning. But that’s how forests grow,” the state AG told a meeting of Boston business leaders over Zoom in the wake of the riots that followed George Floyd’s murder.
OK, we’ll just say it wasn’t Maura Healey’s best rhetorical moment – it comes across as a trite, flip comment at a time when business owners in Boston and across the country were bearing the brunt of street riots.
Bu using this to stir up voter outrage here? Well, it might work – that is if we lived in Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, and not Massachusetts.
Democratic political consultant Doug Rubin, sees a potentially effective strategy that paints Healey as an insider, but by a moderate Republican, not by Diehl, at least based on the approach he is taking with his campaign.
In his very vocal support of Trump and his hiring of Lewandowski, Diehl already has two very big strikes against him.
“Healey has done a great job with her launch and her first few weeks, while Diehl looks like he is actively trying to lose a statewide general election,” Rubin said.
Politico’s scoop on bully-boss Eric Lander
Move over Boston Globe and Washington Post. There’s a new sheriff in town when it comes to political reporting.
Politico broke the story early Monday morning that Biden’s science czar, Eric Lander, an MIT professor and founder of Cambridge’s Broad Institute, was on the hotseat for allegedly engaging in workplace bullying.
The all-politics, all-the-time online news site, founded by a pair of Washington Post reporters, on early Monday morning broke the story of how the Biden’s science czar was fingered by administration officials for allegedly creating a toxic work environment.
Within a day of the report, Lander had resigned.
Through its online partner Stat, the Globe had some decent follow ups.
That said, Stat had run a piece three days before the Politico story on Lander’s leadership on the administration’s “cancer moonshot” drive. The story, which gave no hint of the behind-the-scene troubles at Lander’s office, looks pretty awkward right now.
File under: Blindsided.
Baker returns funds raised just prior to his announcement he wasn’t running again
You read it here first, i.e., how Gov. Charlie Baker hit up construction industry types for more than a hundred grand the day before he put the kibosh on plans to run for a third term.
Well, it seems some less-than-pleased donors wanted their money back after Baker said two terms were enough – and the Baker campaign has indeed returned some of the dough, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy at WBUR.
And now this from the Herald’s Howie Carr: “Refunds in the mail for Baker-Politio administration.”
What is Contrarian Boston?
I have fielded emails over the past couple weeks asking what Contrarian Boston is about.
Here’s a link to our mission statement – you can find it in the “about” section.
For a more prosaic, nuts-and-bolts description, read on.
An online newsletter, Contrarian Boston publishes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. In Contrarian Boston you’ll find analysis of the day’s news, and original reporting as well.
Our focus is:
· Politics and all levels of governance, good and bad, with an emphasis on state and local, with some national mixed in;
· Economic growth and business, especially real estate, housing and new development projects;
· The media and why it does what it does;
· Education, from school board spats to the doings of multibillion-dollar university endowments;
· And whatever else catches our fancy.
Contrarian Boston seeks contributors
Have a news tip? Is there an issue you would like to see explored? Interested in writing up a news item or short opinion piece? As Contrarian Boston gets on its feet, I would like to add more news and a wider range of commentary as well.
Intrigued? Drop me a line at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading and see you Friday.