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By Danielle Dreilinger | Wednesday, April 18, 2012
April 18, 2012
Follow WGBH News Focus: The MBTA the week of April 23 — and tell us what you'd do to fix the T.
BOSTON — On April 17, the MBTA launched a new initiative to address fare evasion on the Green Line: In off-peak hours, D Branch passengers will be allowed to board and depart using the front door only. In addition, the agency is continuing monthly "fare blitzes" to keep riders honest.
"It's only fair ... pay your fare!" the press release chirped. And on the April 18 morning commute, T riders tweeted ... well, let's see.
By Toni Waterman & Wires | Thursday, January 26, 2012
Jan. 26, 2012
BOSTON — This week, a second Newton public employee was arrested for possessing child porn. Peter Buchanan, who has worked for the city's public library, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Newton District Court to possession of child pornography and distribution of materials depicting a child in a sexual act. A library official said that Buchanan rarely had contact with children.
However, adding to parents' concerns is the news that David Ettlinger, 34 — the Newton second-grade teacher arrested on Jan. 27 on charges of possessing child pornography — advertised his babysitting services on national website Sittercity.
Newton superintendent of schools David Fleishman said there’s no policy against a teacher babysitting and said Ettlinger did in fact babysit for some Newton Public School children. He defended the policy:
"I employ babysitters myself and I actually look for people who have worked with children. To ban our teachers from babysitting, we would be taking a pool of people away," Fleishman said. "And, remember this is such an isolated case — that’s what I’ve been telling parents … most people can be trusted and are really good with children."
Fleishman said Ettlinger underwent a CORI check last year and nothing alarming was found. Ettlinger's babysitting profile has been removed from the site and anyone who may have had contact with him has been notified. Fleishman also stated that the charges against Ettlinger are unrelated to other recent allegations that have surfaced in Newton.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
By Sarah Birnbaum | Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Nov. 29, 2011
BOSTON — After 32 years in Congress, Barney Frank was ready for two more. But then, a new district map came out, expanding his political territory for the 2012 race. And the idea of reaching out to 325,000 new constituents was enough to call it quits.
“If I were to run again, I would be engaged full-fledged in a campaign, which is entirely appropriate, nobody ought to expect to get elected without a contest. But the fact that it is so new makes it harder, in terms of learning about new areas, introducing myself to new people,” Frank said during a press conference announcing his decision on Monday.
At 71, Frank said he wasn’t up to the rigors of a modern-day election battle.
“Look, I don’t like raising money. I would have to start now raising another couple of million dollars,” Frank said.
Frank has faced re-districting before -- and won. In 1982, just one term into his Congressional career, he defeated Republican Congresswoman Margaret Heckler after their districts were combined.
Since then, Frank has all but coasted to re-election, winning most contests with at least 67 percent of the vote. But with the way the district was just redrawn, could the race in 2012 have been too close to call?
Tufts University Political Science Professor Jeff Berry said this district would have remained Democratic. “Its’ a bit more Republican than it was in the past, but the heart of the district are Newton and Brookline, which are very Democratic, and very liberal, cities,” Berry said.
Berry says Frank’s retirement marks the end of an era. “This is no longer Kennedy’s Democratic party, John Kerry is probably in his last term, Barney Frank is gone, John Olver is now gone, so we’re in a transition,” Berry said.
As an outspoken Massachusetts liberal, Frank has been a target of Republicans nationwide, from Reagan to Gingrich and so many in between.
In 1987, he was the first Congressman to voluntarily acknowledge he was gay. His most embarrassing moment occurred in the late 1980s when his relationship with a male prostitute became public, leading to a House reprimand.
But Frank emerged from scandal to become one of the most powerful lawmakers on Capitol Hill. As the recession hit, he helped broker deals during the sub-prime mortgage crisis; as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, he oversaw the financial industry during one of the most turbulent economic times in history. His name is attached to a sweeping overhaul of financial regulations, known as the Frank-Dodd act, aimed at preventing another mortgage crisis.
Frank said after he leaves office, he’d like to teach and write, and maybe get around to finishing that doctoral thesis. "I think I have the longest uncompleted phd thesis in Harvard history haunting me, and there are other things I’d like to do," Frank said.
Frank is also known for his quick wit, and as he announced he wasn't running, he took the opportunity to share the best part. “I don’t have to even pretend to be nice to people I don’t like,” Frank said.
By Adam Reilly | Wednesday, May 11, 2011
May 11, 2011
BOSTON — Newly minted U.S. Senate Candidate Setti Warren kicked off his Senate campaign on Tuesday, then head to New Bedford and Brockton to get started. The Newton mayor will have to travel plenty in the coming months to raise a statewide profile that’s almost nonexistent.
But Warren’s newfound interest in higher office is getting a chilly reception in his hometown.
When Setti Warren kicked off his US Senate bid at an American Legion hall on Tuesday, he received an enthusiastic response, with a large crowd applauding an announcement speech bespeaking Democratic values.
But here in Newton Highlands, Warren’s senatorial bid got an almost frosty reception.
“I think it’s a mistake career-wise for him,” said one Newtonian.
“I’m very disappointed. Thought he would be there for at least one full term,” said another.
Newton Tab and Wicked Local Newton publisher Greg Reibman says that while Newton residents like Warren, it’s no wonder they’re bristling.
“There’s a feeling that this is way to soon. And even as the mayor admits he did say to people he would stick around. He did say he would do a full term and maybe even more,” Reibman said.
Reibman adds that Warren has already done some good things as mayor, like bringing the controversial Newton North high school project to fruition. Now, though, Warren has to negotiate with the city’s unions -- and that just got a whole lot trickier.
“There’s 11 city contracts open. And here’s a guy who’s running for a democratic nomination,” Reibman said. “So there’s a big concern: Can he negotiate union contracts – municipal contracts and the teacher contracts – with integrity without also trying to appease the unions too much?”
In the end, Reibman predicts many Newton residents will get over their initial disappointment, especially if Warren’s Senate bid takes off. But based on the early reaction, that may take a while.
By Jess Bidgood | Monday, May 9, 2011
May 9, 2012
BOSTON — Newton's Mayor Setti Warren will run for U.S. Senate in 2012.
The Democrat posted a video message online and sent a tweet Monday morning declaring the bid:
In the video, Warren drew on basic Democratic beliefs. "I believe in the core values of creating opportunity for all Americans, and protecting the most vulnurable," Warren said. "Yes, we need to cut government spending, but we cannot let a crisis born of fiscal mismanagement destroy all that we stand for as Americans."
Warren also referenced his experience in the Clinton White House; as New England FEMA Director; as a staffer for Sen. John Kerry and as an intelligence specialist serving in Iraq. But he admitted he lacks name recognition.
"I'm probably about as well-known as Scott Brown was at this point two years ago," Warren quipped.
Warren dug into Sen. Brown, who he'd face if he becomes the state's Democratic nominee. "(He) has not been the independent voice in the Senate that so many expected him to be. He's voted 87 percent of the time with his national Republican leaders," Warren claimed.
Recent polling shows Brown to be the state's most popular politician with an edge over all possible Senate candidates.
Warren joins a Senate field relatively short on declared candidates (his only official opposition thus far is CityYear founder Alan Khazei and activist Bob Massie), although a number of promiment state Democrats, like Rep. Michael Capuano, are rumored to be considering a run.
He won't necessarily be the state Democratic establishment's first choice. Last month, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank — a Newton resident — reportedly told Warren not to run, saying it's too soon in his four-year term to commit to a campaign.
Just a few hours old, the campaign is already causing some unease in Newton; the Twitter handle @recallsetti promises to tweet about "how he neglects Newton while he runs for Senate."
Warren will formally announce his bid at an event on Tuesday.