It’s not just your imagination, it has been colder and rainier
Spring has seemingly not sprung in Wellesley, Massachusetts, but to continue with colloquialisms, April showers have certainly brought May flowers. Last month, April had 21 days of precipitation, which is more than any other month on record going all the way back to 1872. Part of this number can be attributed to days when it starts raining late at night and continues into early the next morning, but there have still been a lot of rainy, cold days. Dave Epstein, the weather correspondent for The Boston Globe, notes that May itself is not New England’s warmest month but that its high temperatures are normally in the 60s and 70s. As of May 5, 2019, the high temperature has yet to crack the high 50s. Things could turn around as May normally only has 12 days of precipitation, but it could also continue on this rainy and cold pattern.
Women and minority-owned businesses receive less than 1 percent of all money given to Boston contractors
In 2018, the city of Boston awarded 664 million dollars for contracts in a variety of causes like construction or professional goods. 0.91 percent of that money went to minority-owned businesses and 0.88 percent went to women-owned businesses, meaning that about 99 percent of the money went to businesses owned by predominantly white men. These numbers were released as part of a new city council ordinance requiring the quarterly reporting of city contracts to increase the transparency in use of taxpayer money. Back in 2016, the city administration said it would focus on equal competition for city contracts but city councilors still had to demand the data. Part of the equity problem is that the application process is convoluted and can be expensive, a barrier to smaller businesses.
Controversial forum on Palestinian Rights proceeds on UMass Amherst campus
An anonymous group of Jewish students sued the University of Massachusetts Amherst to stop a forum on Palestinian rights from proceeding on campus claiming that the forum would promote antisemitic thinking. However, a judge ruled that speech cannot be prohibited before it happened and so the forum will proceed. Activist group Jewish Voice for Peace weighed in on the controversial event stating that conflating criticism of the Israeli government and Zionism with antisemitism is a dangerous path and that the forum should be allowed to happen. It happened on May 4, 2019. The event was attended by highly visible figures like Roger Waters of the band Pink Floyd and co-chair of the women’s march Linda Sarsour. Approximately 2,000 people attended the event, as well as about a dozen protestors.
All-electronic fare collection system for MBTA is delayed
The MBTA had a plan to convert to an all-electronic fare collection system similar to the London system by mid-2021 but the San Diego company managing the project, Cubic, has said that it will have to adjust some of their goals for milestones. While neither the MBTA nor Cubic have given specific reasons for the delay but it is assumed to be due to both technology and policy issues. This system is supposed to speed up boarding on buses and trains while allowing for more consistent fare collection. It will also allow the pricing of public transport to be more flexible, like discounts for low-income riders, pricing based on time of day and distance, and a maximum spent per month on travel. The project is a massive overhaul of the whole system but was supposed to happen relatively quickly. Cubic is also managing a fare system switch in New York, which is on track but less intensive than Boston and installed a system for Chicago in 2013, which was more troubled.