By - 7/28/09 - 2:31 pm

Mike Ball interviews at-large City Council candidate and libertarian Sean Ryan, who sees economic collapse as just the catharsis the country needs, but who admits that in the short run, he'll be running on a platform of more charter schools (with the ultimate goal of education vouchers) and an end to the BRA.

Ryan on 9/11 and the Federal Reserve.

By - 7/28/09 - 12:26 pm

Chris Lovett analyzes BPD crime stats.

By - 7/28/09 - 8:05 am

Of course, even if he wanted to, he couldn't, since he obviously doesn't live in Boston.

The other day, the Globe explained why Bostonians get to see roughly 72,000 commercials a day in which FiOS Guy triumphs over Cable Oaf even though they can't sign up for it. Verizon says it'll get around to wiring up New England's largest city one of these days and that dense cities are simply harder to wire than spread-out suburbs, but Tom Menino says it's a personal vendetta against him because he wants the company to pay taxes on its wires along public ways.

Ars Technica reports Boston isn't alone: New York and Washington have been slow to get FiOS as well.

By - 7/28/09 - 8:02 am
Defaced sign

Dan Farnkoff passes along this photo of a defaced Yoon sign on Poplar Street in Roslindale.

By - 7/26/09 - 12:08 pm

The Boston Herald will stop distributing "Uncle Henry's Swap or Sell It Guide," which has been linked to illegal gun trafficking in Boston, the Globe and E&P report.

By - 7/26/09 - 8:36 am

The Boston Fire Department tweeted last night:

Incident Response: Tech Rescue response for Barnes & Noble bookstore at 660 Beacon St. Kenmore Square. at 11:22pm.

Incident Update: Small one foot square piece of morter fell to sidewalk. No injuries. Turned building over to BU (owner) to secure. 12:30 am

Final Incident Update: Six story building. Morter fell from top. BU will have engineer check further in the morning. Sidewalk closed for now

By - 7/24/09 - 4:51 pm

Ferris Wheels Bike Shop throws a last-minute Down to the Wire Tour de France Party this Saturday, July 25th, 8-11 pm. Since Lance is defending his place on the podium in the perilous climb up Mont Ventoux, the night seems party-worthy.

Join cycling enthusiasts at Jeanie Johnston Pub, 144 South Street, Jamaica Plain. A free raffle, Tour 101, Tour trivia, and the Jeanie Johnston's great food and drink round out a fun evening.

By - 7/24/09 - 6:07 am

There are "significant" delays on the Newbury/Rockport lines due to a tree that has fallen on the tracks.

By - 7/24/09 - 6:05 am

Signal problems at Orient Heights causing 5-10 minute delays on the blue line.

By - 7/23/09 - 2:52 pm

Over at the Dorchester Reporter, Mike Deehan and Gin Dumcius have started a podcast on this fall's elections. In their first 'cast they talk about the mayoral candidates' differing approaches to charter schools and take a look at "reprecincting" - turns out that some precinct lines haven't been redrawn in 50 years, so some precincts are humongous while others are minuscule. Podcast feed.

Obligatory disclosure: I do Web stuff for the Reporter folks.

By - 7/23/09 - 7:32 am

Scooters are cute and functional.

These little vehicles can transport people and belongings - albeit not many - great distances on very little fuel. They can navigate small areas and can be stored in a fraction of the space of a traditional car.

Best of all, they can be parked nearly anywhere so they have a positive impact on the municipal parking challenges most big cities face.

By - 7/23/09 - 7:31 am

City Councilor Michael Flaherty says he opposes Mayor Menino's plan to increase meals and hotel-room taxes in Boston, saying adding 0.75% to the meals tax and 2% to the hotel tax would unfairly burden local diners and business owners already hard hit by the recession.

Flaherty, who wants to replace Menino, says there's plenty of fat in the existing city budget that could be could to raise the $18 million Menino says the city would gain by implementing the taxes. Both proposals go before the city council on July 19; Flaherty will vote against both.

Kevin McCrea also opposes the new taxes: "The city is not in a fiscal crisis, just a crisis of management."

... If, unfortunately, the tax increase is passed remember that the Mayor promised to have it offset the residential property tax. If he doesn't include that in his legislation, you will see yet another example of him saying one thing and doing another.

Flaherty's statement:

By - 7/22/09 - 2:57 pm

The tax on meals, already set to increase to 6.25% next month, will go up to 7% Oct. 1 under a plan released today by Mayor Menino to combat a drop in state aid.

By - 7/22/09 - 11:50 am

Says the state should raise the gas tax instead (which, of course, isn't going to be happening anytime soon), Wicked Local Allston/Brighton reports:

... The proposed 19.5 percent fare increase is an unsustainable cost for many Boston residents. In addition, service cuts have been proposed on many evening and weekend routes, as well as those routes that have experienced lower ridership. However, these routes are often the only option for many residents who work evening or weekend shifts and do not have any other reliable forms of transportation. ...

By - 7/21/09 - 4:37 pm

Mayoral candidate Kevin McCrea says he would emulate a pilot state program and hire civilians to handle flagging at construction sites - but also make detail work available to police cadets who can't get on the BPD because of budget constraints:

The benefits of this are many. We allow police officers to be at their best for their important job of public safety. We help to lower the unemployment rate in Boston by hiring residents to fill these jobs. We lower taxes for Boston residents by lowering the costs of construction to our roads, bridges and buildings in the City of Boston. This can help lower the cost of building housing as well.

His complete statement:

By - 7/21/09 - 4:34 pm

Mike Ball struggles against the blandness he says makes up the platforms of most of the people running for at-large seats on the city council this year:

... Rather than nothing ventured, nothing gained, the motto for the council primary is more like the turtle who sticks his neck out gets his head cut off. ...

By - 7/20/09 - 10:12 pm

A weekend visit by out-of-town friends served as a welcomed reminder of how much fun it is to browse the Boston-Cambridge used bookstores. We didn't manage to visit all of them, but we spent quality time in four:

Brattle Book Shop on West Street is full of great finds, especially the $1-$3-$5 outdoor bargain stalls. This is my favorite used bookstore in the area.

Commonwealth Books adjoining the Old South Meeting House is a great little bookstore jam packed with books.

By - 7/17/09 - 1:00 pm

Mass. High Tech reports on Openairboston, the non-profit trying to build a citywide public WiFi network.

The effort initially focused on traditional wireless access points (like the ones you can see on lightpoles all over Brookline), but organizers realized that would prove impossibly expensive and so are now using a "mesh" approach, in which each subscriber's computer is essentially equipped to act as an access point through a cheapo router. The result: Free WiFi in parts of the Fenway.