Gun buybacks make return to Boston

Gun buybacks make return to Boston - The Boston Globe
Boston officials said yesterday they have raised approximately $40,000 to resume a gun buyback program, which will offer $200 Target gift cards for each working gun that is turned in.

In the last gun buyback, from 1993 through 1996, approximately 2,800 guns were turned in for $50 apiece. A study by criminologist David Kennedy found that almost three-quarters of the guns were made before 1968 and few were the type of semiautomatic pistol typically used in crimes.

Criminologists have also criticized gun buyback efforts for offering cash . They say cash can be used to buy more guns or drugs.

Katherine Mainzer, a community leader involved in planning the earlier buyback as well as the new program, said using gift cards bolsters fund-raising by allowing corporate sponsors to donate merchandise instead of cash. Police officials and community leaders said that they hope other corporations will follow suit.

For Charles, a mile-swim marker

For Charles, a mile-swim marker - The Boston Globe
Sanctioned swimming in the Chuck? My dogs have been doing this for years!

Geneva Cliffs lot trades in its garbage for green space

Geneva Cliffs lot trades in its garbage for green space - The Boston Globe

NSTAR being a good neighbor in Dorchester

"It's an unusual public-private partnership. NStar, which says it needs to hold onto it in case the city's power needs increase, still owns the property. But the utility promised unrestricted public access. The city pitched in some planning money to make the cleanup happen, and nearly 100 volunteers turned out over the Boston Shines weekend at the end of last month to rehab the former substation site at Bowdoin Street and Geneva Avenue."

Residents Harp on Local Issues - Harvard Task Force story in Harvard Crimson

The Harvard Crimson :: News :: Residents Harp on Local Issues

Local residents asked the University to redirect its public discussions toward neighborhood concerns like traffic and community benefits at a well-attended meeting of the Harvard-Allston Task Force that provided more details about Harvard’s projects in Allston Wednesday night...

But the audience quickly drowned out Porter’s presentation on the intricacies of embryonic stem cells with questions about traffic, community benefits, and the empty commercial space in Harvard’s properties along Western Ave.

“I’m all in favor of the stem cell building, but you’ve really got to do a better job of giving us information,” said Task Force Chair Ray Mellone.

“You telling us this is not going to help anyone here, who wants to know what’s going to happen to their homes,” added Charlesview resident Gloria Pearlmutter.

At a smaller meeting after last night’s public session, task force member Paul Berkley asked the bi-weekly meetings be reorganized so that their contents would reflect the needs of the neighborhood.

“We need to start having input on the agenda and not just being an audience,” he said.

Councilors accused of $$ sneak - Local Politics: Councilors accused of $$ sneak
Boston city councilors are again accused of violating the state Open Meeting Law - this time in a lawsuit that alleges they went behind closed doors to tinker with a plan to hike city bigwigs' salaries.

Boston home taxes may rise

Boston home taxes may rise anew - The Boston Globe

Residential property taxes in Boston are likely to rise again in the coming year, increasing by as much as 8 percent and adding up to $220 to the average tax bill for a single-family home.

The average tax bill for a single-family home in Boston remains lower than the statewide average of $3,823. The average in Boston is $2,753, based on a single-family home valued at $368,512 and including a 30 percent residential exemption.

The average tax bill for a single-family home was $10,420 in Brookline in fiscal 2006, $7,373 in Newton, $3,683 in Quincy, and $2,790 in Somerville.

The wall between suburbs and city

The wall between suburbs and city - The Boston Globe

...There are children, schools, and communities in desperate need of help, but since it's not our neighborhood and not our school, many believe it is not our problem.

We are an affluent state, but there are children in Massachusetts who are not provided an equal opportunity and there is little effort to even the playing field. While some children can dream about their future, others find getting safely through a school day a victory.

University Expansion in NY

The Manhattanville Project - New York Times

Story of Columbia's mega-expansion into West Harlem. Some interesting opportunities for comparison with Harvard/Allston.

The state of education in Boston

The state of education in Boston - The Boston Globe

An interview with Thomas W. Payzant, outgoing superintendent of Boston Public Schools and Richard M. Freeland, outgoing president of Northeastern University.

Watch out for these crime zones: Cops target hot spots for burglaries, rapes, car thefts - Local / Regional News: Watch out for these crime zones: Cops target hot spots for burglaries, rapes, car thefts

College students in Brighton are the most likely Hub residents to be hit by burglaries...

‘It’s horrible’
Since Lisa Pang bought Glenville Market in late 2003, she and her employees have been robbed at gunpoint twice, burgalized once. To add insult to injury, her home also has been broken into in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood where she’s trying to live and make a living.

Council can park advocacy elsewhere

Council can park advocacy elsewhere - The Boston Globe

"MANY THANKS to the Boston City Council for taking time out of its busy schedule to address the hot-button issue of parking vouchers for fans who attend rained-out games at Fenway."
Jack McDonald may be on to something here. Why is this what our City Council is spending time on, and we might also wonder why this is a front page story in the Globe?

Structural disrespect

Structural disrespect - The Boston Globe

This would not happen in Back Bay, what you're about to read. It wouldn't happen on Beacon Hill or in any of the mostly white, wealthy suburbs that surround the city.

It wouldn't happen because the residents wouldn't allow it, because state officials wouldn't even try it. But in Dorchester, those officials figured they'd give it a whirl.

6 candidates, 6 plans to curb Mass. exodus

6 candidates, 6 plans to curb Mass. exodus - The Boston Globe: "6 candidates, 6 plans to curb Mass. exodus"

The candidates agree that the situation is dire: Thousands of residents -- college graduates, retirees, and families -- leave Massachusetts every year, sapping the state of taxpayers, workers, and wisdom.

No more State Senate race

Dear Friend,

Over a year ago, I began my campaign for the Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex State Senate seat, which at the time was being vacated by Senator Jarrett Barrios. As you have seen over the past few months, our campaign had gained considerable momentum, garnering widespread support from elected officials, community leaders, organized labor and thousands of residents across this district.

Over the past few weeks, I have carefully analyzed what the impact of the re-entry of Senator Barrios – a well-financed, incumbent, Democratic State Senator - into the race would mean for my candidacy. It became increasingly evident to me that we were facing an uphill climb that would turn into a divisive battle that would divide our communities and the party. After careful consideration with my family and key supporters, I have made a decision to withdraw from the race, instead choosing to build on the strong foundation that our campaign has formed so that one day, I will be able to represent you in the State Senate.

As a sign of my thanks for your loyal support, I would like to invite you to a special campaign Thank You party next Wednesday evening, May 24th from 7 to 10 p.m. at the at the Silver Fox Restaurant, located at 2031 Revere Beach Parkway in Everett. Please feel free to bring family and friends.

The outpouring of support that I have received during my campaign has been a truly humbling experience. I feel no regrets, only appreciation for the support I have received and friendships that I have made. While my campaign for State Senate ends today my determination to help people remains intact. I consider myself one of the most fortunate elected officials in the world.

Your friend,

Anthony D. Galluccio

Allston Small Business Owner Convicted of Harboring Illegal Aliens

Another Small Business Owner Convicted of Harboring Illegal Aliens for His Company
"An Allston, Massachusetts businessman, has been convicted in federal court of knowingly harboring illegal aliens who were working for his cleaning business.

Evidence presented during the three day trial proved that, between 2003 and 2005, the defendant knowingly harbored illegal aliens from Brazil in an apartment he leased in Agawam and in a house he owned in Allston. He also employed some of the individuals he harbored and offered to sell others identification documents."

Harvard picks museum designer

Harvard picks museum designer - The Boston Globe
The Harvard University Art Museums will announce today the selection of a California firm to design the Allston-Brighton structure that will be a temporary home for thousands of artworks when Harvard's two primary art museums close in 2008.

The Los Angeles-based Daly Genik Architects specializes in what it calls ''reimagined" spaces: projects in which buildings created for one use are redesigned for another.

T officials get an earful about fare hike plans

T officials get an earful about fare hike plans - The Boston Globe

MBTA bus, subway, and train riders are paying too much for inadequate service, and a fare hike would drive users from the system, commuters and public transit advocates said yesterday.

Dennis DiZoglio, the MBTA's deputy general manager for development, said studies showed that overall ridership could dip as much as 6 percent if the fare increase goes forward.

But he said the alternative would be cuts in bus routes and subway service and deferred maintenance on the system, because the agency has been required by the Legislature to have a balanced budget since 2000.

Legislators - please correct this! Public Transportation is a crucial part of the public infrastructure. It should not be forced to "sink or swim" based on its ability to break even!

Zoning Board of Appeal hearings - May 23

36 Bayard St - Remove and replace existing deck. Erect all-season sunroom.

240 North Harvard St - Subdivide existing lot. Build 4 unit apartment building on newly created lot.

204 North Beacon St - Papa Gino's - Change legal occupance from store to restaurant

11 Brayton Rd - Build 2nd floor dormer on the rear of a one family dwelling

65 Tremont St - Build 7 unit apartment building with parking for 14 vehicles

Hearings start at 9:30 a.m. Room 204 City Hall.

It's Bike to Work Week!

Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition Bike Week 2006 Calendar
Put on those rain pants and start pedaling.

In Harvard Financial Outlook, Key Questions Remain

The Harvard Crimson :: In FAS Financial Outlook, Key Questions Remain

How will Harvard pay for its new campus?

"The planned expansion of the campus into Allston, meanwhile, will put an unknown amount of additional pressure on the Faculty�s finances.

The 500,000-square-foot science complex planned for Western Avenue, for instance, will likely be ineligible to receive federal funds because it will house the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

Government grants are usually a prime way for universities to win back some of the costs of science buildings after they become operational. But, Maull said, �Since the federal government doesn�t currently support stem cell work, we don�t get the overhead support.� "

No walk in the park

No walk in the park - The Boston Globe: "We are facing a crisis in Massachusetts that threatens our health, standard of living, and ability to attract and keep a strong and vibrant workforce. Our parks, once among the nation's best, are in disgraceful shape -- understaffed, underfunded, and increasingly unsightly."

Advocacy groups to T: Prepare for a fight over fare hikes

On the backs of riders
A unified front is slowly mounting against the MBTA’s proposed fare increase, with several rider advocacy groups joining efforts to put up a fight at upcoming public hearings that begin next week.

Under the T’s proposal, the fares would rise about 25 percent across the board beginning in 2007. That means subway fares would jump from $1.25 to $1.70, and bus fares would jump from 90 cents to $1.25.
Public meetings in the area are:
May 15
4:30 P.M.- 6:30 P.M.
State Transportation Building
10 Park Plaza
May 22
3:30 P.M. - 5:30 P.M.
Tip O’Neil Federal Bldg.
10 Causeway Street
May 23
6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.
Cambridge City Senior Ctr.
806 Massachusetts Avenue
June 6
4:30 P.M. - 6:30 P.M.
Boston Public Library
700 Boylston Street

Here is the listing of public meetings

Written comments will be accepted through June 30, 2006 and should be mailed to MBTA, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116, Attn: Fare Policy Committee
or sent via email to

It is crazy that we are making it harder for people to use public transportation! With everything going on in the world with the price of oil, the environment going to hell, traffic congestion, and so forth, our city and state should be encouraging public transportation! How about making the T FREE?

Harvard Plans Allson T Stop

The Harvard Crimson :: News :: University Plans Allsont T Stop

A report from Monday's Harvard Task Force meeting:

"The University will push Boston to establish a new commuter rail station near the Allston campus, Harvard officials said on Monday.

The stop is an outgrowth of a long standing Boston plan for a public transportation �urban ring� that would enable people to get into the western area of the city without being forced to connect through the Downtown Crossing and Park Street stations. Harvard wants to expand the ring more deeply into Allston than originally envisioned in order to create a �life science necklace� that would link Boston University, MIT, and Harvard. "

Advance Allston Fair

The Harvard Crimson :: Opinion :: Advance Allston Fair
An opinion piece about Harvard's plans for Allston

We are not worried that the University will repeat the same mistakes, but after the presentation of sketches for Allston's first new building-a science complex-students cannot help but wonder if the University will make all new mistakes, albeit of the same genus.

The airy glass structures of Behnisch are beautiful to be sure, but they do not highlight Harvard’s heritage or evoke its glory. Instead they evoke the new science complexes of Anycollege, U.S.A., something which Harvard is not.

O'Toole stepping down as police commissioner

O'Toole stepping down as police commissioner - The Boston Globe: "Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen M. O'Toole announced this afternoon that she will step down to accept the nomination as chief inspector of Ireland's national police force."

The announcement put to rest rampant speculation about her future amidst a crime wave that left seven people dead in as many days last week and nearly doubled the number of shootings in the city compared to the same period last year.

O'Toole's departure also handed a key decision to Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who said he was not worried about a change in police leadership on the eve of what police believe will be a bloody summer.

Vacant Lincoln Street 'telecom hotel' now up for sale - Real Estate News: Vacant Allston 'telecom hotel' now up for sale
The shiny but vacant building has for years hulked over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Allston, the only sign of life a rotating series of banners advertising its availability.

But the development that once aspired to become Boston Internet City is finally poised to retire an embarrassing title as the real estate market’s biggest - and longest reigning - white elephant.

After years of struggling to find a telecom and then a lab company to rent the 450,000 square-foot building, owner Cabot, Cabot & Forbes of New England is shifting gears.

Instead of renting, the firm has put the striking but empty complex on the market.

And the $21 million asking price - which comes after the developer sunk at least $65 million into the would-be tech mecca - has sparked a flurry of bids from buyers sensing a bargain.

“We would probably bring it (the sales process) to a head by the end of the month,” said Ed Maher, executive director at Cushman & Wakefield, the commercial real estate firm marketing the property.

Last call slated for Allston's Kinvara - Business News: Last call slated for Allston's Kinvara: "The Kinvara, an Allston Irish pub that's long welcomed young Irish immigrants and college students, will close this summer after 34 years.

The bar will be converted into an as-yet-unnamed casual American bistro with 100-plus seats by new owner Derek Brady, who's buying it from the Briar Group. "

Harvard IMP Notification Form

Institutional Master Plan Notification Form To Amend and Renew The Harvard University Allston Campus Institutional Master Plan

Illegals making it in Massachusetts: Immigrants flock to Hub's roadside hiring sites - Local / Regional News: Illegals making it in Massachusetts: Immigrants flock to Hub's roadside hiring sites: "A Herald surveillance of hiring sites in Somerville, Chelsea and Allston found that immigrant workers - many of them admittedly illegal - are being trucked to work sites in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, often to labor in hazardous jobs such as demolition, painting and general construction. "

City to revamp parking permit process

City to revamp parking permit process - The Boston Globe: "Officials said they also have expanded the areas covered by the program, including most of South Boston, to prevent commuters from parking in residential neighborhoods to avoid the high price of parking downtown"

Council OK's big raises for itself, mayor

Council OK's big raises for itself, mayor - The Boston Globe
After six minutes of debate and with no roll call vote, Boston city councilors approved 16.6 percent raises yesterday for themselves and the mayor.

The raises would increase the councilors' salaries from $75,000 a year to $87,500 and the mayor's annual pay from $150,000 to $175.000. Base pay for Massachusetts legislators is $55,570, with an additional $15,000 annually for those who chair legislative committees. The Massachusetts governor's salary is $135,000 annually.

According to data compiled by two national groups, Boston pays its mayor better than many cities in its size range. International City/County Management Association statistics show that in 2005, mayors of cities with 500,000 to 999,000 residents earned an average of $91,499.

Councilors passed the measure yesterday without first holding a public hearing on pay raises. The council's Government Operations Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing on the measure two weeks ago, but it was canceled.

The MBTA's new fare-hike plan

The MBTA�s new fare-hike plan - News - The Phoenix: "The Metropolitan Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) wants to start charging riders who take the Green Line outbound, in an effort to bring additional revenue to the cash-strapped agency. The change, part of a larger fare-increase proposal announced last week (which would bring rides up from $1.25 to $1.70), would go into effect in January 2007.
Conveniently, the T has scheduled public hearings and workshops - at which T riders can weigh in on the proposed changes - for May and June, when many Green Line riders are out of town. If you can't make it, you can send your concerns to . "

Condoleezza Rice coming to Brighton

Invitation to Rice debated at BC - The Boston Globe
Two leading theologians at Boston College have written a stinging letter objecting to the college's decision to invite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak at graduation and to give her an honorary degree.

4 candidates for governor to face off in live-broadcast debate

4 candidates to face off in live-broadcast debate - The Boston Globe
The first live-broadcast debate in this year's race for governor is set for May 18, though one of the major candidates, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, has declined to participate.

The remaining four candidates --Democrats Chris Gabrieli, Thomas F. Reilly, and Deval L. Patrick, and Independent Christy Mihos -- will square off at 7 p.m. at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. The debate will focus on jobs, the economy, and cost of living in Massachusetts, all of which have emerged as major issues in the 2006 race.

It will air live on NECN and WBUR-FM 90.9

City Council shirking responsibility, critics say - The Boston Globe

City Council shirking responsibility, critics say - The Boston Globe
Usually in May, the Boston City Council's Iannella Chamber is abuzz with activity. It is budget season, the time of year when the city's legislative body gets to exercise one of its only significant powers -- to influence the way the city spends its money. City councilors hold hearings at which they pore over the budget's details, and the Ways and Means Committee publicly delves into the mayor's proposals for each city agency.

But this year, the City Council has decided to do away with two-thirds of its usual hearings, electing to ignore the spending plans for 36 departments, including the mayor's office and the City Council. Some councilors say the change will streamline the process, focusing attention only on the 19 largest and most important budgets. But others, along with some citizens' groups, say the council is shirking its responsibility and cutting back the public's chance to shape city spending before the budget is set in stone.

State Parks Deteriorating

Groups Complain That State Parks Deteriorating - Yahoo! News: "'We had the first park in the Boston Common. We invented the playground,' Abbott said. 'Massachusetts has gone from being a leader in this field to being last. We now spend less on parks and recreation in Massachusetts as a percentage of personal income than any other state in the country.'
Over the past three years, the state's parks, beaches, pools and rinks have lost 158 employees, most of them maintenance workers. It has a backlog of $750 million worth of projects."