The MBTA just announced that they'll be installing a new surveillance system on 225 buses by this summer. It's built around cutting-edge cameras that will provide a 360 degree field of view to monitors on each of the buses, to the Transit Police dispatch center, and to 80 squad cars equipped with similar monitors.
Total cost will be $6.9 million ... funded entirely by the US Department of Homeland Security. An additional 210 buses will get cameras but no on-board monitors.
The Bay State Banner's Yawu Miller put out a fine piece this week which demonstrated that Mayor Martin Walsh has only appointed two people of color to serve on his new 17-seat cabinet so far. As this juncture, there are still several cabinet appointments to go; so this publication joins the Banner in insisting that the mayor do better on that front while he has the chance.
BOSTON - Mayor Martin Walsh spoke to a Massachusetts Biotechnology Council event at the Omni Parker House ballroom this week, and focused his remarks on the challenge of bringing more jobs in the sector to Boston as well as to biotech powerhouse Cambridge - without continuing the open competition between the neighboring cities sometimes instigated by former Mayor Thomas Menino.
There's an event on Saturday evening that we'd like everyone to attend: the 1st Annual Activist Ball. It's a benefit for the encuentro 5 movement space and Occupy Boston Radio - both extremely worthy organizations that can really use your support. Virtually every significant progressive organization in Boston has held some kind of event or function at e5, and many groups - including this publication - have found a home there over the years as well.
Hot on the heels of last week's announcement of our new Radical Boston section, I'd like to launch another initiative this week. The Boston area is home to large numbers of university departments, research institutes, non-profits, unions, businesses, libraries and religious denominations that bring in all kinds of speakers from all over the world year round. Many of those talks express forward-thinking progressive ideas that Open Media Boston's audience would love to hear, but most folks won't be able to attend in person. And many events still aren't livestreamed.
After almost six years of doing nuts-and-bolts journalism about the activities of local progressive non-profits, unions, campaigns, parties, and movements, the Open Media Boston staff and I have been feeling like it's time to broaden our mandate beyond the kind of straight "this happened" reportage that we specialize in. Don't get me wrong, OMB was founded to do precisely that for a number of good reasons that I've discussed in the past (e.g., contemporary left publications allow far too much spewing of opinion, and do far too little hard journalism in my estimation). And we obviously don't plan to stop our coverage of pickets, strikes, lobby days, teach-ins, occupations and the like. Quite the reverse. More regular coverage of such activity is needed, and we're still working to find ways to fund that expanded coverage. However, we feel that the social movements that we care about will never succeed in their mission to build a more just and democratic society unless there are more public platforms where deeper discussion and debate about matters political economic, social and cultural is the order of the day.
A few days ago I got a press release from the Museum of Fine Arts announcing a new program to give discounted admission to Massachusetts residents who show Electronic Benefits Transfer cards at the museum's ticketing desks. That is to say, the roughly 900,000 people who manage to qualify for the remnant of the federal food stamps program (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) in the Commonwealth will get a break at our region's flagship art museum. But I was dismayed to find that the MFA is not letting EBT card holders in for free. They're charging them $3 a ticket for up to four tickets per card holder. And that amount must be paid in cash. People can't charge their EBT card to get in. Nor can they use credit cards, debit cards or checks like other attendees.
At long last we're pleased to unveil the new Open Media Boston website! You'll notice it still looks a little rough around the edges. That's because we're open beta test phase of our site build over the next couple of weeks and are planning an official site launch as soon as we're done testing and tweaking functionality.
Richard Stallman, noted software developer, software freedom activist and founder of the Free Software Foundation, will give the keynote address on Saturday, October 26 at 9:30 a.m. The address is entitled "Should the US have more surveillance than the USSR?"