Posts Tagged ‘Boston’

The Boston squeeze

Earlier this month a federal jury found two Boston city hall officials guilty of conspiracy to commit extortion after prosecutors proved that they told a concert promoter that unless it hired members of a union that had supported Mayor Marty Walsh, it wouldn’t get a permit for its event. [Jerome Campbell, WBUR, AP/CBS Boston, earlier here, here, here]

So far, so Boston. Even more characteristic of the city’s political culture: ten Boston city councilors put out a statement decrying the verdict. The really perfect touch? “Some 70 nonprofit organizations, representing environmental, LGBTQ, housing, senior, education, and civil rights advocates,” have also denounced the verdict, claiming that it interferes with “democracy.”

Veteran Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi calls it “bizarre” for these groups to “condon[e] threats from city officials as an acceptable standard for doing business in Boston”:

Supporters of Brissette and Sullivan argue that the case criminalizes advocacy. Suggesting that concert organizers hire union help might qualify as simple advocacy. But organizers of the Boston Calling concert were basically told there would be no permit unless they hired union labor. That’s wrong, and Brissette and Sullivan knew it. Joe Rull, the city’s former chief of operations, who testified under a grant of immunity, told the court that when Brissette wanted to employ that hardball tactic during a previous disagreement concerning the use of nonunion production workers he told him, “You can’t do that, it’s not legal.”

More from Josh McCabe:

Crime and punishment roundup

  • “Authorities noted in the complaint he lived ‘9 houses’ away from the site of a residence where drug transactions were occurring…” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt on $626,000 Missouri civil asset forfeiture seizure]
  • As Loyola lawprof Dane Ciolino points out, Louisiana “victims’ rights” bill seems meant to hobble public defenders’ witness investigations without holding law enforcement and D.A.s to same standards [Kira Lerner, The Appeal, earlier here, here, here, and here]
  • A “truly disgraceful chapter in the history of British policing” culminates in conviction of fantasist who made up child abuse charges against prominent figures [Dan Rivers, ITV]
  • The May 19 story on Dallas’s nonprosecution policy for lower-level offenses (“shoplifters’ holiday”) resulted in a discussion in comments of the similar policy of Suffolk County, Mass. (Boston) district attorney Rachael Rollins. Rollins’s policy has since come in for considerable controversy: “A Globe review of Rollins’s record reveals that, not only is the Suffolk DA dropping more cases than before, but some of the cases don’t seem “low-level” at all, involving serious bodily injury, major thefts, and career criminals.” [Andrea Estes and Shelley Murphy, Boston Globe, July 6]. [h/t reader Hugo C., who writes: “Two cases stood out to me: (a) an assailant who put an attorney in the hospital with long-term brain damage got no prison time, and (b) a criminal caught breaking into a warehouse with a crowbar (and found to be in possession of 39 stolen credit cars) was turned loose.”]
  • Electronic ankle monitors that not only report location, but also capture and report back audio of the wearer’s surroundings, raise difficult privacy issues [Kira Lerner, The Appeal via Chaz Arnett]
  • Alexandra Natapoff discusses her recent book Punishment without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal [Cato event video with Jonathan Blanks; related Cato podcast]

Labor roundup

  • Not headed to Gotham after all: “The RWDSU union was interested in organizing the Whole Foods grocery store workers, a subsidiary owned by Amazon, and they deployed several ‘community based organizations’ (which RWDSU funds) to oppose the Amazon transaction as negotiation leverage. It backfired.” [Alex Tabarrok]
  • “NLRB reverses course and restores some sense to its concerted activity rules” [Jon Hyman, earlier]
  • Among papers at the Hoover Institution’s conference last summer on “Land, Labor, and the Rule of Law”: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, “Executive Branch Overreach in Labor Regulation” discusses persuader, fiduciary, overtime, joint employer, independent contractor, federal contract blacklist, campus recruitment as age discrimination, and more; Price Fishback, “Rule of Law in Labor Relations, 1898-1940” on how reducing violence was a key objective of pro-union laws, anti-union laws, and arbitration laws; and related video; Christos Andreas Makridis, “Do Right-to-Work Laws Work? Evidence from Individual Well-being and Economic Sentiment” (“Contrary to conventional wisdom, RTW laws raise employee well-being and sentiment by improving workplace conditions and culture”) and related video;
  • Relief coming on NLRB’s Browning-Ferris joint employer initiative? [Federalist Society panel video with Richard Epstein, Richard F. Griffin, Jr., Philip Miscimarra, moderated by Judge Timothy Tymkovich; Philip Rosen et al., Jackson Lewis; earlier]
  • “Production company hires union labor after Boston officials allegedly threaten to withhold permits for music festivals. District court: Can’t try the officials for extortion because they didn’t obtain any personal benefit; the alleged benefits went to the union. First Circuit: The indictment should not have been dismissed.” [John K. Ross, IJ “Short Circuit,” on U.S. v. Brissette, earlier]
  • In 1922 a brutal mob attack resulted in the slaughter of 23 strikebreakers in Herrin, Illinois. Maybe something that should be taught in schools? [Robby Soave, Reason]

August 16 roundup

  • Federalist Society podcast with Wayne Crews and Devon Westhill on subregulatory guidance, agency memos, circulars, Dear Colleague letters, and other regulatory “dark matter”;
  • Having announced end to practice of funneling litigation settlement cash to private advocacy groups, AG Sessions plans to investigate some actions of previous administration in this line [New York Post, earlier, related Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz testimony on Obama bank settlements]
  • Update: jury acquits 4 Boston Teamsters on extortion charges in intimidation of “Top Chef” show and guest host Padma Lakshmi [Nate Raymond/Reuters (“smash your pretty little face”), more, Daily Mail (language, epithets); earlier]
  • “Hunted becomes the hunter: How Cloudflare is turning the tables on a patent troll” [Connie Loisos, Techcrunch]
  • Here’s a pro se sovereign citizen complaint if you can stand to look [@associatesmind thread on this N.D. Calif. filing]
  • IP license withheld: “Spain’s Bright Blue ‘Smurf Village’ Is Being Forced to De-Smurf” [Cara Giaimo, Atlas Obscura; Júzcar, Spain]

Police roundup

  • “My dad was a cop. He despised the bad guys. But he always told me, ‘we’re the good guys and people should always know the difference.'” [Rep. Eric Swalwell on Twitter, Daniel Dale/Toronto Star on President’s “You can take the hand away, okay?” remarks about handling of suspects in custody; reactions from IACP and rounded up at NYT; related Caroline Linton, CBS News on Suffolk County, N.Y. police department]
  • New legislation in Texas, pushed by police unions, authorizes special courts for cops, guards, and first responders who seek to blame misbehavior on job-related mental conditions [Jolie McCullough/Texas Tribune via Radley Balko]
  • Providence has bad habit of ticketing drivers over parking practices you’d assume were legal [Susan Campbell/WPRI, Scott Shetler/Quirky Travel Guy, 2011]
  • Boston cop to be reinstated with five years’ back pay after nearly choking unarmed man to death; victim, a corrections deputy, had settled with city for $1.4 million [Boston Herald via Jonathan Blanks] Camera saves footage from 30 seconds before activation button pushed: “Baltimore is reviewing 100 cases after video leaks appearing to show police planting drug evidence” [Veronika Bondarenko/Business Insider, Justin Fenton and Kevin Rector/Baltimore Sun] What’s it take for cops to get disciplined, anyway? [Jonathan Blanks on Fort Worth, Tex. whistleblowing case]
  • From the Des Moines Boy Police to D.A.R.E.: America’s long history of enlisting kids as cops to watch peers, family [Joshua Reeves, Reason]
  • Among the public policy involvements of the Fraternal Order of Police: arguing in the Bank of America housing-disparate-impact case for more bank liability to municipalities over lending practices [Liz Farmer, Governing]

Schools roundup

  • “It’s like open carry, but for Coppertone”: lawmakers in Washington move to “allow students to use sunscreen at school without a doctor’s note.” [Lenore Skenazy, Free-Range Kids]
  • Chicago Mayor Emanuel’s “life plan or no diploma” scheme meddles in grads’ lives [Amy Alkon]
  • Sounds like must viewing: School, Inc. is a three-part documentary on state of US education system based on work of late Cato scholar Andrew Coulson;
  • On both health care and K-12, U.S. tops the charts in cost but not in outcome quality. Yet people tend to draw very different lessons from the one case than the other [Arnold Kling]
  • Attacking appointee Candice Jackson, civil rights orgs “defend [educational] practices that the courts have ruled illegal, and every current U.S. Supreme Court justice would find illegal.” [Hans Bader, CEI]
  • Keen to “decolonize” curriculum, Boston Public Schools buy into dubious map theories [Kevin Mahnken, The 74 Million]

Labor roundup

  • Want or need to contract out of the rules set by Seattle’s new worker-scheduling ordinance? You’ll have to unionize. Cute, no? [Bruce M. Cross et al., Perkins Coie] Also in Seattle: ostensible safety initiative aims to force hotels to unionize, would require blacklisting of guests even absent legal complaint [Carla Murray, CrossCut]
  • “NLRB GC now wants to legalize intermittent and partial strikes” [Michael VanDervort]
  • Boston city hall to private firms: nice little outfit you got there, shame if it didn’t unionize [Steve Malanga, earlier here, here on alleged extortion scheme]
  • Less a university and more a shop floor: NLRB ruling on teaching/research assistants did more harm than good [Jon Hyman, earlier here, here]
  • NLRB makes it as quick and easy as it can for workers to join a union. But should they wish instead to leave… [Diana Furchtgott-Roth]
  • “Will NLRB’s New ‘Joint Employer’ Standard Discourage Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives?” [Seth Borden]