Fares can’t fix T; Your employer is watching; Fourfold data breach increase

 

Today: Remembering Iwo Jima survivors

Marine Corps League Metrowest Detachment 1037 hosts a ceremony honoring those who survived the carnage of the Battle of Iwo Jima more than 70 years ago. After fighting across the Pacific Ocean, the United States military wrenched the island away from Japanese forces over 36 days of a battle that killed 6,800 American and 19,000 Japanese fighters, according to the U.S. Marine Corps History Division. A collation with lunch and refreshments in the Great Hall follows the ceremony, Memorial Hall, 11 am.

 

No fare: For commuters, a day of deja vu

 

Yet another commuting meltdown enveloped the much of the commuter rail yesterday, this time from a failed signal between South Station and Back Bay Station. The signal is maintained by Amtrak, making a cameo in local transportation malfeasance. Innocent commuters, as always, took it on the chin.

Until a year ago, a widescale systemic breakdown like this would barely merit a mention in the media. It was business as usual, no story here. After last winter’s epic snows severely crippled the entire commuting system and transportation became the dominant public policy story in the region, now even minor delays receive coverage. The Globe dispatched transportation reporter Nicole Dungca and three other staff to cover yesterday’s signal failure and ensuing chaos. They talked to commuters, and guess what? They’re pissed off. Pressure from the media and the riding public that consistently points out the embedded flaws in our second-rate public transportation system will help drive improvements.

The T needs money. Yesterday, Gov. Baker, speaking on Boston Public Radio, defended raising fares the way to fix the T. We beg to differ. A nearly 10 percent fare increase would raise about $50 million. The T pays over $420 million in debt service annually. Until the $8 billion in principal and interest the T carries on its books are restructured, fare increases will be a drop in the bucket and won’t move the needle on service reliability. The T also needs to secure a new, significant revenue streams to address the $7 billion plus in deferred maintenance and to build for the future.

Yesterday and today’s delays are being presented as an aberration. They’re not. They’re part of a persistent pattern that management reforms and fare hikes can’t solve alone. Good news: The T announced this morning that the signal has been fixed. http://bit.ly/1TttRhr

 

While it was a bad day for commuters, we learned just how bad the year was for Keolis, the commuter rail operator. The company lost $29.3 million in its first year of operation, reports Andy Metzger of the State House News Service. “My sense is that it has been a more costly endeavor than Keolis assumed going into it,” commented Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack. http://bit.ly/21ddU0v

 

 

Rosenberg: Joyce deserves due process

Senate members said Sen. Brian Joyce, whose law office was raided yesterday by FBI and IRS agents, would not call for his resignation, saying the legal process should be allowed to play out.

“I don’t rush to judgment, especially in a situation like this,” Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said. “An individual’s reputation, integrity is on the line. It affects himself, his family, his constituency, his career.” More on the perspective of other Senators and the pressure Joyce faces by the Globe’s David Scharfenberg. http://bit.ly/1PJx0pE

 

Senate President Rosenberg reinforced his position when he was presented with a letter outside his office calling for Sen. Joyce’s resignation by Paul Craney, executive director of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.

“We’re asking you to take the lead and show the rest of your colleagues that this behavior isn’t tolerated, and only you can do that,” Craney said to Rosenberg. “As of right now, everyone is looking at you and saying, ‘What is allowed under this Legislature?'”

“We have very high ethical standards. If the ethical standards have been violated, then the Senate will take action,” Rosenberg responded.

The debate was captured on video by the State House News Service’s Antonio Caban, and can be seen on the SHNS’s Youtube channel: http://bit.ly/1oOZg1w

 

 

Data breaches affect over 1.3 million Mass. residents

The growing volume of compromised personal data affected 1.3 million Massachusetts residents last year, a fourfold increase from 2014, reports the Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes. The single breach was at Anthem Inc., the health insurer where 78 million customers’ personal information was compromised, including over 650,000 in Massachusetts. http://bit.ly/1oOU51q

 

 

Yes, they’re watching: Employee monitoring grows

 

Software that tracks employees’ computer activities is increasingly being adopted in the workplace, as, we all know, the temptations multiply beyond Facebook and other social media, writes Katie Johnston of the Globe. “Other major time wasters: fantasy sports and cat videos. One company that started monitoring workers’ computers discovered they spent 80 hours watching feline hijinks in a single month, said New York human resources consultant Corinne Jones.” The monitoring is legal, although Sen. Marc Pacheco has introduced a bill to require employers to inform employees about their electronic eavesdropping. http://bit.ly/24e1KXE

 

MassHousing hires director in 10 minutes 

The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency deliberated for just 10 minutes before naming a new executive director last month, Bruce Mohl of CommonWealth Magazine reports, citing minutes of the January meeting. The board entered executive session to discuss hiring “strategy’ — the topic was not on the board’s agenda for that day — but instead emerged and voted in favor of hiring Chief Financial Officer Timothy Sullivan to helm the agency.  In contrast, it took MassPort over a year to find its next leader, Mohl notes. http://bit.ly/24e2wnh

Who’s backing whom on Beacon Hill 

The Lowell Sun’s Kyle Plantz does a roll call of known Presidential endorsements on Beacon Hill and finds most Democratic Lowell-area lawmakers firm behind Hillary Clinton and a more varied set of endorsements on the GOP side.  http://bit.ly/1oskK3P

Charter waiting list at 34,000 

State education officials say the number of students on waiting lists to enter charter schools shrunk by 8 percent last year but still stands at 34,000, Kara Bettis of the New Boston Post reports. Although the state auditor and others have questioned the data, charter supporters say it demonstrates the need to lift the state’s cap on charters.  http://bit.ly/1RTisX8

Curtatone girds for battle with Wynn 

Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone said he won’t back down from what he expects to be a “vicious” campaign against his city from Wynn Resorts, which says the mayor’s decision to appeal an environmental permit would cost it $55 million a month, Brian Dowling of the Herald reports. “No amount of public harassment from Wynn is enough to stop us from addressing this issue,” he said.http://bit.ly/1Q57Pj0

Globe columnist Shirley Leung weighs in on the Somerville-Wynn issue, questioning the logic of Curatone’s legal action. “It’s a ridiculous claim considering that the 5.7 million square feet planned at the work-live-play Assembly Row development in Somerville would be nearly twice as big as the Wynn casino.” http://bit.ly/1PWbNa1

Worker says Baker team strong-armed her 

A state employee is accusing the Baker administration of using strong-arm political tactics to get her to back a Baker-chosen candidate for the state Republican committee, the Globe’s Frank Phillips reports. The Baker administration says no pressure has been applied, but Lisa Barstow, a GOP state committeewoman and director of community relations at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, said in an email peppered with all caps that the “hard anvil of the corner office came down on me with vengeance and no mercy” to get her to back candidate Peter Lorenz.  http://bit.ly/1owQVzx

Connecticut study may be boon for MGM 

MGM Springfield got some potentially good news from across the border in Connecticut, where a lawmaker wants to commission a study on whether the state should authorities a third tribal casino located just over the Massachusetts border, Dan Glaun of MassLive reports. The partnership of the state’s two Indian tribes, however, says no more study is needed and plans to move forward with plans to review proposals already submitted.   http://bit.ly/1Qq1kD0

 

 

Sunday public affairs TV

 

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV, 8:30 am. Congressman Stephen Lynch discussing war with ISIS, US foreign policy and the presidential race

 

DC Dialogue, NECN, 10 am, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D) MA and political analyst Scott Spradling

 

On the Record, WCVB-TV, 11 am:  Rep. Mike Capuano who discuss Green Line expansion as well as the nomination process for a new Supreme Court Justice.

 

This Week in Business, NECN, 12:30 pm, Mass Gaming Commission Chairman Steve Crosby and Greater Boston Chamber CEO Jim Rooney

 

Inside the Brand, NECN, 1 pm. Hosts Roger Berkowitz and Larry Gulko get inside stories from Dave and Busters CEO Dolf Berle and Polar Beverages CEO Ralph Crowley about their brands and how they evolve.

 

CEO Corner, NECN, 8:30 pm   Boston Celtics President Rich Gotham and Putnam Investments CEO Bob Reynolds give us an inside look into their major multi-year marketing agreement.