Boston Globe ‘Potlight’ Team Is Less Than Frank

May 3, 2019

First, a disclaimer.

Yesterday’s Boston Globe Spotlight Team report on political influence in the Massachusetts Weed Bakeoff is a terrific piece of reporting.

Increasing their nut graf:

[S]o far, winning a license to sell pot in Massachusetts often seems to be determined by whom you know — or if you can afford to pay a lobbyist or consultant who knows people.

At least 12 of the 17 recreational pot stores open as of May 1 hired lobbyists or former politicians. The Boston Globe Spotlight Team obtained, through public records requests, thousands of e-mails relating to pot shop proposals in a host of communities. The fingerprints of influence peddlers — consultants, lawyers, lobbyists — are all over them.

This should be no surprise; it would be a surprise, in fact, if the influence business had taken a pass on the lucrative potential of pot. But the flood of former government officials coming into the pot business — including former governor and current presidential candidate William F. Weld, former state House speaker Thomas M. Finneran, former state senator Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., former Boston city councilor Michael P. Ross and even former Boston police superintendent-in-chief Daniel Linskey — is striking.

 

Noticeably absent from that roll-your-own call: former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, even though the Globe itself recently noted his tokin’ contribution to the weedification of the Bay State.

Barney Frank joins local marijuana business

When it comes to marijuana, Barney Frank and Bill Weld were both decades ahead of the political curve.

Frank, the longtime former Massachusetts congressman, supported legalization when he was a state representative in the early 1970s. Weld, for his part, backed medical marijuana as the governor of Massachusetts in the early 1990s. (Neither proposal went anywhere.)

Now, it’s Frank who will follow in Weld’s footsteps by joining a marijuana company. But while Weld last year joined the board of a slick conglomerate with national ambitions, Frank is linking up with a decidedly less corporate operation: Beantown Greentown, a local group of underground growers, marketers, and event organizers — you may remember their 100-foot joint stunt — trying to go legit.

 

The hardreading staff is not at all sure why the Globe bogarted Barney in its otherwise impressive investigation.

But our interest is definitely high.


Walsh Inaug: Herald Trumps Globe in Local Crookerati

January 7, 2014

Both local dailies did a good job covering Marty Walsh’s inauguration as Boston’s 48th (or 54th or 58th) mayor.

The Boston Globe gave it it nearly four full pages in the A section, along with the requisite sonorous editorial.

The Boston Herald seemed to throw its entire newsroom at the torch-passing: eight columnists, seven reporters, twelve pages, and a cautiously optimistic editorial.

But, not surprisingly, it was in the boldface coverage of the day-long shindig where the Herald proved superior, especially in noting the less-than-luminaries who attended.

The Globe pointed out the Big Three:

Even some whose political legacies are shadowed by controversy showed up. Dianne Wilkerson, a former state senator, who was released from prison last fall after serving time for a bribery conviction, was in the audience. So, too, was Thomas Finneran, the former House speaker who pleaded guilty to obstructing justice in 2007, and former state treasurer Tim Cahill, whose trial on public corruption charges ended in a mistrial, probation, and a fine.

 

Howie Carr also gave a nod to the if-you’re-indicted-you’re-invited set. But the Inside Track had a little something extra:

 

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 3.12.46 PM

 

Score one for the feisty local tabloid. Don Forst must be smiling somewhere.