Don't ask the state senate's education chairwoman how she's voting on the charter-school ballot question

State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz says she's so disgusted with both sides of the Question 2 issue she doesn't want her answer to be used by either of them to bolster their case.

"I have real beefs with the way the campaigns have been carried out," she said tt a candidate forum sponsored by the Ward 11 and 19 Democratic ward committees in Jamaica Plain last night.

Not that she likes the question itself, either. Chang-Diaz said Question 2, which would allow the expansion of the number of charter-school seats in Massachusetts, is "a menu of bad options, and that's putting it politely."

She said that while it's inexcusable some parents are forced to keep their kids in public-school programs that aren't working for them when there might be better charter options, it's equally awful that the question would drain money away from public schools that really can't afford to lose the funds.

"I don't know what to tell you," she said. "Those are terrible choices."

What compounds the issues, she continued, is that the state is probably already underspending $1 billion to $2 billion a year on education.

Chang-Diaz is opposed in the Sept. 8 Democratic primary for the 2nd Suffolk district by perennial candidate Roy Owens. He did not attend.

Like Kevin Bacon always says: Remain calm, all is well!

Yes, there are military-type helicopters flitting all over downtown, the South End and the harbor tonight. Boston Police acknowledge they're part of some training exercise involving the Defense Department and local police that BPD was really hoping nobody would notice, except it's hard to keep the local twitterati quiet when helicopters are afoot:

Convicted rapist arrested for attack that started in the South End and ended as a rape in a Roxbury park

Boston Police report arresting a man on charges he forced a woman at knifepoint to walk a half mile to a park and then raped her.

Eduardo Rodriguez, 31, is scheduled for arraignment tomorrow in Roxbury Municipal Court on charges of aggravated rape, indecent assault and battery, armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping and intimidation of a witness, police say.

WHDH reports Rodriguez was released this past December after serving a sentence for a 2007 rape.

Police say Rodriguez rode up to the woman on a bicycle as she walked in the area of Greenwich Park and Claremont Street around 1 a.m. on Sunday, then forced her at knifepoint to walk to Carter Playground on Columbus Avenue, where he raped her.

Police say they found and arrested Rodriguez today at Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard.

Innocent, etc.

Bowling alley won't be spared in developer's plans for new residential complex near Alewife T stop

Cambridge officials and residents this week consider a developer's plans to replace the Lanes & Games bowling alley on Rte. 2 with two "multistory elevated residential structures" to be called the Residences at Alewife Station.

The ​North Cambridge Stabilization Committee gets first crack at Criterion Development Partners' plans - which also call for demolishing an adjacent motel - at a meeting that starts at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 24, at the Daniel F. Burns Apartments, 50 Churchill Ave. The Cambridge Conservation Commission then holds a hearing on the proposal at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday.

The project needs commission approval because it would be built in a floodplain. The two buildings would be elevated above a surface parking lot to survive a "100-year" flood. The buildings would also include tanks to store three days' worth of sewage in the event of such a flood.

The Planning Board will also have to approve the proposal.

The new buildings would be next to the Vox on Two apartments, which Criterion built atop what used to be the Faces nightclub.

Amtrak, CSX exempt from state paid sick-leave law, court rules

A federal railroad law passed in 1938 means the two railroads don't have to comply with a state law - passed by voters in 2014 - that requires Massachusetts employers to set aside paid sick leave for their workers.

US District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton wrote in a ruling that the federal Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act overrides the state law. In their original complaint, the railroads argued that that law makes paid sick time a matter for collective bargaining.

They said many of their workers already have sick-time benefits that meet or exceed the state standard of up to 40 hours per year of paid sick leave, but that they shouldn't be forced to provide that sort of benefit for other workers who haven't won it in collective bargaining.

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