Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Hyding Out

"More than 100 eviction cases at Hyde Park apartment complex could leave a lasting mark" by Tim Logan Globe Staff, June 21, 2021

Before COVID-19, Amanda Pichardo had a solid job as a nurse assistant, a daughter in Boston Public Schools, and an apartment at Georgetowne Homes in Hyde Park.

When the pandemic forced schools to close, Pichardo had to quit work to stay home with her daughter. Suddenly, paying rent became a challenge. She applied for rent relief, she said, but that application fell through the cracks of a state bureaucracy overwhelmed by tens of thousands of applications. By March, despite having gone back to work, Pichardo still owed about $2,000 in back rent.

That’s when her landlord took her to Housing Court, seeking an eviction for nonpayment.

Pichardo’s is one of at least 113 such cases filed in March against tenants of Georgetowne Homes — one of Boston’s largest privately run affordable housing complexes — by its owner, Beacon Communities. Most have been resolved and dismissed, with tenants successfully tapping the gusher of rental aid flowing from Beacon Hill and Washington, D.C. A handful, including Pichardo’s, are nearing a similar resolution. Few if any tenants will lose their homes, but the ramifications of this short-term crisis could resonate for a long time. As public records, eviction cases are searchable by potential future landlords, credit agencies, or anyone else ― even if they are quickly settled.

“These eviction filings come with real consequences,” said Steve Meacham, organizing coordinator at tenant advocacy group City Life/Vida Urbana. “They’re a black mark on your record.”

Who knew “a lot of people who were struggling to pay rent,” what with the booming economy and all, and it is “profoundly disappointing.”

I flip above the front-page fold and find the latest of a series of drownings across New England this month, this time it is 10-year-old Yoskarly Martinez, who went missing in the waters off Conimicut Point Park on Sunday afternoon, and after an overnight search her body was recovered in Narragansett Bay.

"MBTA police pension fund overpaid retirees by hundreds of thousands of dollars over more than a decade" by Matt Stout Globe Staff, June 21, 2021

Officials at the MBTA Transit Police pension fund overpaid retirees by nearly $500,000 at the same time it was receiving millions in money from the transit agency, according to a state investigation, which found officials mishandled the benefits of dozens of former Transit Police staff.

The MBTA Police Association Retirement Plan for years operated with “no system” to track and end payments to retirees when they were no longer eligible to receive them, state Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha’s office found.

That led the $94.5 million fund to make costly mistakes over 13 years between 2005 to 2018, during which it paid $470,217 more than it should have to two dozen retirees, Cunha said.

The fund reported having 110 retirees and beneficiaries in 2018, meaning those who were overpaid would have accounted for 22 percent of all those receiving benefits that year. Twenty retirees continued to receive monthly supplemental checks — ranging between $500 to $700 each month — when they shouldn’t have, including one retiree who was overpaid by $58,100, according to Cunha’s office.....

[That's when I got off the ride, but you can stay on the train if that is your want]

Remember that item the next time the bailed-out MBTA cries poverty.


It's what they used to call a moral victory, as the White House said Monday it views the Senate’s work on an elections bill overhaul and changes being offered by Senator Joe Manchin as a “step forward,” even though the Democrats’ priority legislation is expected to be blocked by a Republican filibuster, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the revisions proposed by Manchin are a compromise, another step as Democrats work to shore up voting access and what Biden sees as “a fight of his presidency.”

He's defeated CVD then?

"A tornado swept through communities in heavily populated suburban Chicago, damaging more than 100 homes, toppling trees, knocking out power and causing multiple injuries, officials said. There was relief Monday, though, as authorities reported that it appeared no one had died....."

Thank God.

Also see:

Federal eviction protections also are set to expire on June 30. 


He won't meet with Biden, either.

My initial reaction to the headline and World co-lead was what has Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed done to offend his globali$t masters?

"President Joe Biden’s special envoy for North Korea said Monday he hopes to see a positive reaction from the North soon on U.S. offers for talks after North Korea’s leader ordered officials to prepare for both dialogue and confrontation....."

The trilateral talks also involve South Korea and Japan.

"The party of Armenia’s prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, won a snap election over the weekend that also signaled at least grudging acceptance by Armenians of a peace settlement negotiated last fall with Azerbaijan. Forced on Armenia by battlefield losses and negotiated by Pashinyan, the settlement remains deeply unpopular. It ended a six-week war over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic-Armenian area inside Azerbaijan, but at a steep cost for the Armenian side. The deal ceded territory that included centuries-old monasteries that are a touchstone for Armenian national identity. In the immediate wake of the deal in November, nationalist protesters stormed Pashinyan’s office and tore his nameplate from the door. It seemed unclear whether he could remain in power to enforce the tentative peace in the South Caucasus, a region where Turkey and Russia compete for influence, but the election results announced on Monday showed Armenian voters apparently willing to accept Pashinyan’s agreement, and with it a cleareyed view of their country’s difficult security challenges. Election officials said Pashinyan’s party, Civil Contract, had won 53.9 percent of the vote. Pashinyan celebrated the win as a “mandate of steel” from voters. In a video address, he said it would “restore social and national consolidation” after the war. A bloc of parties headed by a former president, Robert Kocharyan, came in second with 21 percent of the vote. Kocharyan said on Monday that the results were tainted by fraud. Kocharyan and other opposition candidates had criticized the peace settlement....."

The talk of fraud has been pooh-poohed in this case, unlike their neighbors to the north, and voters apparently rejected the renegotiation of the Russian-brokered deal through more forceful diplomacy because it was based largely on the wishful thinking that Azerbaijan, Turkey and Russia might accept changes.

"Mexico’s president vowed to investigate the border shootings that left 19 dead over the weekend, even as the latest homicide figures showed a rebound in killings nationwide. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said evidence indicated that 15 of the victims were innocent bystanders. Reynosa is located across the border from McAllen, Texas, and authorities are still investigating the motive, though in the past, drug cartels have sometimes used random killings of civilians to turn up the heat on rival gangs, or intimidate local authorities....."

You would think the U.S. would be hopping mad about such things, but....


Found 'em in Georgia:

"The former coastal Georgia prosecutor who was criticized and ultimately voted out of office last year because of how she handled the Ahmaud Arbery shooting and other cases is now the focus of a grand jury investigation, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned. State Attorney General Chris Carr’s office has been calling witnesses and overseeing a Glynn County grand jury inquiry into former Brunswick district attorney Jackie Johnson, according to multiple people with knowledge of the matter who agreed to discuss the probe on condition they not be identified. The scope of the grand jury's review is unclear and no indictments have been announced, but Carr has been critical of the way Johnson handled the Arbery case, and last year his office requested a GBI investigation into the events surrounding her recusal from the case....."

He was headed north to New York City -- or was it west to Los Angeles, STAT?


Time to check the political and virus notebooks:

"The book “Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History,” a new book by Washington Post journalists Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta that captures the dysfunctional response to the unfolding pandemic— which draws on interviews with more than 180 people, including multiple White House senior staff members and government health leaders — offers new insights into last year’s chaotic and often-bungled response, portraying the power struggles over the leadership of the White House coronavirus task force, the unrelenting feuds that hampered cooperation and the enormous efforts made to prevent President Donald Trump from acting on his worst instincts. The Post obtained a copy of the book ahead of its June 29 publication. The book offers new insights about Trump as the president careened between embracing miracle coronavirus cures in his quest for good news, grappling with his own illness — which was far more serious than officials acknowledged — and fretting about the outbreak’s implications for his reelection bid. Among the revelations are....."

That was when I started looking for the trash can.

Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.

The New York Times had this comment on the artwork as they browsed through the Chinese bookstore.

"Younger Americans are less likely to be vaccinated than their elders, and factors like income and education may affect vaccine hesitancy, according to two new studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of the gap in rates could be attributed to the fact that many young adults did not become eligible for vaccination until March or April, but uptake has also been slower among younger Americans, and a substantial proportion of them remain hesitant. If vaccine initiation rates remain stable, by late August, just 58 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds will have been vaccinated, compared with 95 percent of those 65 and up, the researchers found. Vaccination rates lagged for young men, people living in rural counties and people living in counties where a high share of the population was low-income, uninsured or lacked access to a computer or the internet. In a second study, 24.9 percent of 18- to 39-year-olds surveyed said that they would probably or definitely not get vaccinated. Those who were young, Black, low-income, lacked health insurance, lived outside of metropolitan areas or had lower levels of education were less likely to report being vaccinated or to say that they definitely planned to be vaccinated. The studies highlight the hurdles that remain in improving vaccine coverage, with two weeks to go until President Biden’s self-imposed July 4 deadline for getting 70 percent of adults at least partially vaccinated. In recent weeks, his administration has shifted its approach, moving away from mass vaccination sites and adopting more targeted strategies, including the creation of mobile or pop-up vaccination clinics and on-site vaccination events....."

That's because the kids realize they do not need it.

"COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have dipped below 300 a day for the first time since the early days of the disaster in March 2020, while the drive to put shots in arms hit another encouraging milestone Monday: 150 million Americans fully vaccinated. The coronavirus was the third leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020, behind heart disease and cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but now, as the outbreak loosens its grip, it has fallen down the list of the biggest killers. CDC data suggests that more Americans are dying every day from accidents, chronic lower respiratory diseases, strokes or Alzheimer’s disease than from COVID-19. About 45% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC, but U.S. demand for shots has slumped, to the disappointment of public health experts. New cases are running at about 11,400 a day on average....."

I will be the first-ever technology transfer hub for coronavirus vaccines in South Africa.


The planned chaos backfired a little bit, didn't it?

Turned the whole country Republican!

So that's where the ACLJU is hiding after going AWOL on the massive and tyrannical civil liberties violations of us all during the past year!

They are still trying to take the gun out of your hand, so I would empty the clip before the appeal.

What happens when the local pinpoint turns off your feed because, you know, you aren't on board?

More dicking around bye the ACLU.

Is she high?


Time to let it all hang out:

FILE - In this June 5, 2021, file photo, crowds gather on L Street Beach in the South Boston neighborhood of Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
FILE - In this June 5, 2021, file photo, crowds gather on L Street Beach in the South Boston neighborhood of Boston (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

After a year of masks, it such a nice sight to see.

Of course, there are those who are complaining:

What they used to call party poopers, readers, and how many jobs with that cost the drivers?

Here is the cop they sicced on them:

"Arbitrator orders reinstatement of Somerville police detective fired following machete attack; Mayor vows to appeal, says system is “rigged” and calls for police reform" by Shelley Murphy Globe Staff, June 21, 2021

A Somerville police detective used poor judgment in 2015 when he texted a street source the address of a 17-year-old who had stolen marijuana from him, but he was not to blame when the man and an accomplice attacked the teenager the next day with machetes, an arbitrator has ruled.

The city lacked just cause to fire Dante DiFronzo three years ago, according to the arbitrator, who ordered him reinstated as a detective after he completes training on handling informants and street sources, yet the arbitrator also found that DiFronzo, 47, deserved a lengthy suspension and is not entitled to back pay or benefits.

Mayor Joseph Curtatone of Somerville denounced the June 4 ruling as “absolutely disgusting” and said he will appeal the case to a Superior Court judge. He questioned the arbitrator’s objectivity and said the decision to overturn the officer’s termination highlights the need to reform how police discipline cases are handled. Arbitration is the appeals process used by most law enforcement agencies, based on collective bargaining contracts.

“The system is rigged, and it does not tip in favor of human rights or civil rights,” Curtatone said. “Employers must be able to take action against the small percentage of officers who are bad actors and not be second-guessed by an arbitrator,” but DiFronzo’s lawyer, Timothy M. Burke, said the arbitrator was picked by city officials and DiFronzo based upon his neutrality and conducted an independent review, including 15 days of testimony.

“The mayor of the city is free to appeal and they will lose,” said Burke, calling Curtatone’s objections to the decision “sour grapes and without merit.”

[Maybe Mike Bloomberg could help him out]

In his 77-page decision, Harvey M. Shrage, who has worked as an arbitrator for 32 years and is a Western New England University professor, found that DiFronzo seemed so focused on finding a teenager suspected of breaking into a vacant apartment in February 2015 that his judgment was “clouded” when he traded information with a street source, Jonathan Machado.

Shrage said it wasn’t improper for DiFronzo to reach out to Machado, who had a criminal record, for help finding the suspect, Henry Alvarez. But DiFronzo should have “reevaluated” the situation once Machado told him that he was also looking for the teenager and planned to give him a “beating” because he had stolen a backpack of marijuana from him.

“Do what you got to do,” DiFronzo texted Machado on March 1, 2015. He provided an address on Alston Street in Somerville where he believed Alvarez was hiding and urged him to get a photograph of him for police if he found him.

The next day, Machado and an unidentified accomplice forced their way into the home where the teenager was hiding, wielding machetes, according to a police report. While Machado held a knife to the head of one occupant, his accomplice allegedly stabbed Alvarez repeatedly. A man who was hiding in another room with his 1-year-old daughter called 911. Alvarez underwent surgery and survived.

DiFronzo told police he “had a hunch” that Machado was involved in the attack and arrested him three weeks later, but he did not tell supervisors about the texts, according to the arbitrator. Eighteen months later, prosecutors alerted Somerville police that investigators had discovered the concerning messages during a search of Machado’s phone.

Last year, Machado, 26, was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to home invasion, armed robbery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

During the arbitration hearing, DiFronzo testified that he warned Machado several times not to harm Alvarez, and he had assured him that he wouldn’t. He said he didn’t share his texts with investigators because he thought they were irrelevant, according to the ruling.

The Somerville police union argued that DiFronzo was not responsible for the stabbing and cited evidence that Machado had spotted the victim on the street and chased him to the house where he was stabbed.

The arbitrator said DiFronzo “used poor judgment, justifying discipline in his handling of the case” but determined there was insufficient evidence to support the city’s claim that the stabbing was a direct result of the information that DiFronzo gave Machado. The arbitrator also rejected the city’s claim that DiFronzo tried to conceal his alleged wrongdoing by failing to disclose the texts.

“In reaching this conclusion, I have carefully considered the lack of clear guidance provided to officers in the manner that they interact with street sources,” Shrage wrote. He said DiFronzo’s conduct wasn’t motivated by personal interest or benefit.

Shrage said the former police chief who disciplined DiFronzo apparently gave “significant weight” to a 2017 letter from prosecutors, who warned that if DiFronzo were called to testify in a criminal case, they would be obligated to disclose his misconduct involving Machado. Shrage said he didn’t believe that status disqualified him from fulfilling his police duties, noting that the union said 10 Somerville police officers are currently working “without issue” after being named in similar warnings, known as Brady letters.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan referred the case to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, which declined to charge DiFronzo.

Burke said DiFronzo was named police officer of the year twice and came under scrutiny when he publicly criticized the mayor’s oversight of the Police Department.

[You can't make this stuff up!]

“This was a biased investigation and anyone familiar with the promotional system within the city of Somerville is aware that numerous officers, including relatives and supporters of the mayor’s, have been given questionable promotions with significant disciplinary backgrounds,” Burke said, “and Dante was very outspoken about that,” but Curtatone said the city has invested millions in the Police Department during his tenure to make it a model of 21st century policing, and reinstating DiFronzo would undermine public trust.

“He directly assisted in a violent act that almost resulted in someone’s death,” Curtatone said. “We’re lucky that person is still alive.”

[Like you CVD collaborators!]

I'm told there is really an “entrenched police culture” in the Sh!thole that is Somerville.

"A labor union that represents Boston municipal employees has filed a complaint with a state agency claiming the city did not seek its input in its return-to-work plan and failed to bargain in good faith regarding its COVID-19 reopening. SEIU Local 888, which represents more than 8,000 state, municipal, and education workers in Massachusetts, made the claim with the state’s Division of Labor Relations last week. The legal action was first reported by The Boston Herald. The union’s move comes after Acting Mayor Kim Janey’s administration recently took heat from some city workers who viewed the city’s reopening plan as inflexible for those in need of child care. In a statement addressing the union’s complaint, a spokeswoman for Janey said “Mayor Janey remains committed to flexibility, as we fully restore vital services to Boston residents. We do not have further comment at this time on the pending litigation.” In its complaint, the union said Janey earlier this month issued orders for its workers to physically return to work locations vacated because of the COVID-19 public health emergency....."

It was an incredibly disrespectful thing to do!

Also see:

Here is something to think about:

Not as much as watching television or reading a newspaper, and I had no appetite for that  odorless piece of sh!t, sorry.

I'm told the state is a national leader in vaccinations so traffic, for all intents and purposes, is back to about 2019 levels on most roadways in Massachusetts at this point, as stadiums and ballparks are welcoming fans back at full capacity. Restaurants can seat guests indoors and outdoors with no minimum spacing requirement or maximum party size, and in yet another sign of the state’s progress after more than a year in a state of emergency, roadway congestion is again crushing commuters across the region. Traffic evaporated in the early days of the pandemic as many professional workers with the flexibility to do so shifted to remote work and schools closed their doors to the public, but now, Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said Monday, transportation officials are “seeing a return to a lot of previous travel times.”

Of course, the analysis came with a handful of caveats, but..... pfffffft!

"Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont’s administration unveiled an $8 billion to $10 billion plan Monday that aims to reduce commuter rail times from Connecticut to New York City by as much as 25 minutes by 2035. The plan could also cut the trip from New Haven to the Big Apple by 10 minutes as early as 2022. The announcement came on the same day Metro-North Railroad returned eight trains to the New Haven Line, as demand for commuter rail service increases amid the region’s emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic. Another service increase is planned in August. “Connecticut is coming back from COVID-19. Commuters are returning to the rails,” Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz said during a news conference held at the Stratford Train Station with Lamont and other officials. “So it’s critical that we continue this momentum by investing in world class rail service. Time For CT moves us in that direction.”

Will take you straight to the shore:

Salisbury Beach in June 2020.
Salisbury Beach in June 2020 (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)

Graciela Femenia as Nindiría, a Nicaraguan immigrant who makes a living selling tamales, in Adriana RoCale’s “East Boston, Nos Vemos.”
Graciela Femenia as Nindiría, a Nicaraguan immigrant who makes a living selling tamales, in Adriana RoCale’s “East Boston, Nos Vemos.” (Speakeasy Stage Company)


Time to get back to work:

"Sometime this summer, you’ll be able to buy shares in a Boston company with the ticker symbol DNA. Ginkgo Bioworks was founded about a dozen years ago by a group of MIT grads and one of their professors, and the focus has always been on manipulating genetic material, DNA, to get living cells to perform new jobs. While scientists have been doing that for decades in labs, Ginkgo wanted to find ways to automate and accelerate what has been a largely manual, slow, craftsman-like process. The goal? Helping pharma companies to develop drugs, or industrial companies to produce new chemicals — perhaps even someday enabling living cells to spit out a cost-effective liquid fuel to replace gas. Ginkgo is in the midst of an acquisition by a publicly held “blank check” company, Soaring Eagle, that will give it a public stock market listing, valuing the company at $15 billion. Cofounder and chief executive Jason Kelly likes to compare Ginkgo to Amazon Web Services, which provides computing power and data storage without needing to own the hardware. They hope to do the same for anyone who needs custom-crafted cells, enzymes, and other organic ingredients. I spoke with Kelly and cofounder Reshma Shetty. What follows is an edited version of our conversation....."

It's almost time to Ginkgo.

Amy Goldstein of the Wa$hington Compo$t says that according to federal health officials and other Medicaid experts, much of the increase is because of a rule change that was part of the first coronavirus relief law adopted by Congress last year.

Just going to wing the rest of this because I quit!

I'm going to hop on a flight and get outta here:

"Airline ticket sales fell a little in May after rising steadily in the first four months of the year, according to a firm that tracks bookings, suggesting that demand for tickets for summer travel might not be quite as strong as airlines had hoped. It is not clear why bookings were lower in May and whether the trend has continued into June, but analysts and airline executives have expressed optimism in recent weeks that demand for travel is strong. Other countries are increasingly opening up, too. The European Union urged its member states Friday to lift a ban on nonessential travel for Americans. People are also buying more tickets for later in the year than they were this time in 2019, the year before the pandemic took hold. In a securities filing earlier this month, American Airlines said strong summer sales helped it generate a cash profit in May for the first time in more than a year. Delta Air Lines has said it expected leisure travel within the United States to be fully restored this month. Several of the most popular destinations this summer are in Hawaii, according to Adobe. Other popular stops include Bozeman, Mont.; Nantucket, Mass.; Las Vegas; Richmond, Va.; and Orlando and Fort Myers in Florida. Most analysts and airline executives expect that a full recovery will take years — but hotels are faring much better and people are also spending more on travel related goods......"

How about dinner and a movie when you get to where you are going?

"Smithfield Foods was one of the first companies to warn that the United States was in danger of running out of meat as coronavirus infections ripped through processing plants in April 2020 and health officials pressured the industry to halt some production to protect workers. Now, a lawsuit filed last week by Food and Water Watch, a consumer advocacy group, accuses the giant pork producer of falsely stoking consumer fears and misleading the public. The suit says the nation was never in danger of running out of meat. It claims there were ample supplies in cold storage, while at the same time pork exports to China, in particular, were surging. The suit was filed in Superior Court in Washington, where a law allows a nonprofit group to sue on behalf of consumers without needing to show that they suffered direct harm."

I gue$$ you will just have to settle for a salad instead, and don't talk with your mouth full or during the picture:

"Steven Spielberg, a filmmaker synonymous with big-screen enchantment, has set a new deal with Netflix in which his production company, Amblin Partners, will make multiple feature films per year for the streaming giant. The partnership, one long courted by Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, is a major get for the company that, amid increasing competition, brings perhaps the most beloved film director more officially into the streaming fold. The deal announced Monday doesn’t specifically include any movies to be directed by Spielberg. This December, he will release “West Side Story” theatrically with Disney’s 20th Century Studios. Amblin has a separate deal with Universal Pictures for theatrical releases."

I've soured on his films, the pervert, and after dinner you can go $hopping:

"The deals during Amazon.com’s annual Prime Day sale will be stingier this year, according to merchants. The two-day event, which began Monday, arrives as the world grapples with the lingering effects of the pandemic. Supply-chain disruptions — including the Suez Canal shutdown earlier this year and a spike in COVID cases that has hobbled two of China’s busiest ports — have pushed up costs and made Amazon suppliers wary of selling too much during a profit-crushing sale. Many say they’re also holding back inventory in case shipping delays persist through the busy Christmas holiday shopping season. Amazon merchants, who account for 60 percent of sales on the website, are betting cash-rich consumers will overlook the more meager bargains and still swarm Prime Day. Amazon, which has posted record profits this year, can afford to discount heavily. Many consumer-products companies don’t have that luxury and are thinking about raising prices as much as 10 percent this year, said Shanton Wilcox, a partner at PA Consulting, whose clients include packaged-goods outfits confronting inventory shortages. ’'Prime Day is going to be less exciting than it has been in the past,’' he said. ’'You don’t want to scare away demand, but you have to manage profitability.’'

Are you $ick of the excu$es yet?

They "po$ted record profits" but it still isn't enough to keep Bezos from gouging you!