City Agriculture - December 24, 2015 - Happy Merry New and Bah Humbug Edition

Somewhere that's green ... How much do I love this stuff?? -Charley
Formatting repaired. - promoted by david

Homefarm – a conceptual proposal for the next generation of urban retirement housing. It presents a living and farming typology for Singapore (or elsewhere) that combines apartments and facilities for seniors with vertical urban farming

Urban Algae Folly designed by ecoLogicStudio is an interactive pavilion integrating living micro-algal cultures, a built example of architecture’s bio-digital future. Microalgae, in this instance Spirulina, are exceptional photosynthetic machines; they contain nutrients that are fundamental to the human body, such as minerals and vegetable proteins; microalgae also oxygenate the air and can absorb CO2 from the urban atmosphere ten times more effectively than large trees.

Tinyfield Roofhop Farm grows organic hops for craft breweries in Brooklyn, NY

Gangster gardeners in South LA

Washington DC building mobile urban farms

From Mumbai: Urban Farming & Gardening Goes Online With ‘’

Flat pack pop up urban garden

Detroit urban ag startup growing insects

Urban farming data collection toolkit, now in use in over 40 cities

Renting chickens and bees

UrbanFarmers‘ 14,000 square-foot urban rooftop farm in The Hague will be the largest in Europe

American Society of Landscape Architects on The Edible City

Merry Christmas, everyone!

God bless us, everyone. Recriminations in the comments, please. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas??)))

First Suffolk and Middlesex District Senate Special

Whaddya know? - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

Surprised we haven’t heard much about this race. The bigger papers haven’t covered it either. Locally in Cambridge, outgoing Vice Mayor Dennis Benzan has been mulling a run. He still has a lot of cash on hand from his city council race, where he failed to place on the council despite having the ninth highest votes on the first count.

In addition to that name, a North End blog has mentioned the following:

Outside Boston, former Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo is a likely candidate. He previously ran against Petruccelli in 2007 and could run again after recently losing his mayoral seat.

Other potential candidates with positions in the district include Beacon Hill’s Rep. Jay Livingstone, Rep. RoseLee Vincent of Revere and Rep. Adrian Madaro of East Boston. City Councilor Sal LaMattina from East Boston could throw his hat into the ring as well as the North End’s Stephen Passacantilli, aide to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and formerly LaMattina. Also from the North End, former City Councilor At-Large candidate and President of the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council, Philip Frattaroli is considering a run. Frattaroli is a small business owner…

Interesting to see how this will play out. My own take is that Rizzo is pretty controversial in his hometown according to folks I know who live in Revere, I know Dennis and like him, and Jay Livingstone has done a better job than his predecessor representing both sides of the river in his Back Bay/Cambridgeport based district. Otherwise, will have to see how this plays out. Inside money is probably going to Maduro, who represents the most populous part of the district and has the endorsement of the outgoing incumbent.

Healey to Step Up Gun Law Enforcement

Go Healey! With all due respect to my esteemed colleague, I'd like to make Baker a one-termer, and the AG can do it. - promoted by Bob_Neer

This is encouraging.

The Boston Globe reports Healey sent out a letter Tuesday to the 350 gun dealers in Massachusetts and her office plans spot checks on Bay State gun stores to make sure they’re not selling illegal guns.

“For me, this is a public health crisis and acting to address it is a moral imperative,” Healey wrote in the letter, which was also obtained by “There are simply too many guns that are too easy to obtain.”

Kudos to the AG!

Baker is popular and I don't care

As a partisan Democrat I guess I’m supposed to be disturbed by Charlie Baker’s popularity. Former Patrick spokesman Alec Loftus recently attributed Baker’s popularity to a good economy bequeathed to him by the previous administration. There may be some truth to this, but it’s not the whole story.

Baker is popular because he’s seen as taking knotty problems very seriously, and allowing them to play out in public in a relatively transparent way. He doesn’t make provocative, ideological or visionary remarks — to a fault. As far as it goes, this is usually fine. He’s playing out the thread of an ideological consensus that Governor Patrick helped forge. We don’t fight about culture war stuff generally; we’re not trying to tear down the functions of government brick-by-brick in pursuit of some billionaires’ utopia; we’re not in a jawbreaking cage match with public employee unions; we don’t have a budget crisis.

The Patrick administration’s best moments and lasting successes were in playing to the state’s strengths, and envisioning a future economy: Betting on biotech and clean energy, and — with the legislature’s help — keeping the state’s bond rating solid by passing modest tax increases in 2009.

It has been stated here in the comments many times: The Patrick administration was deficient in administrating several areas: DCF; the health care Connector conversion; and now — worst of all — the Green Line extension. You can put these events in context: We weren’t the only state with website problems, and certainly not the only one with big infrastructure cost overruns — which are the rule rather than the exception. Nonetheless, they happened. And it’s not OK.

Apparently we simply don’t have the expertise in-house to oversee big contracts, of whatever type. And that means that we’ve cursed ourselves to ridiculous, soul-crushing and unhealthy commutes, and government IT systems that don’t work. Much of that isn’t new or unique to the Patrick administration; but it is the continuation of our Pig-In-A-Poke contracting culture … the vision-strangling corollary of The Big Dig Culture.

With the T, we’ve held that “reform before revenue” is a false choice. I’ve come around a bit on that, since “reform before revenue” of course ought to apply to fare hikes as well as tax increases. The evidence is abundant of wildly incompetent management and lack of qualified oversight: Where the hell have the T board, the legislature, the auditor, and the Governor been?. Reform is the correct emphasis now. If you’re going to spend money, it should bring real contracting expertise in-house.

Steve Koczela puts it right: The managerial style is what’s playing well right now:

Of course, Baker needs to deliver on good management for his goodwill with the voters to continue. Having taken tough issues head on, he now owns of many of the thorniest problems in state government. If the changes he has made at the MBTA, the Department of Children and Families, the Health Connector and elsewhere do not improve matters, voters may start pointing the finger at him.

via Analysis: Baker’s Amazing Popularity Goes Far Beyond The Economy | WBUR.

In the absence of economic crisis, it’s reasonable in the first year to focus on these inherited bureaucratic messes. But the state’s major challenges are on transport, health care costs, energy, and housing. The solutions are not just bureaucratic, but structural. If Baker is going to take these on, he’s going to have to challenge the legislature. They generally don’t like that.

I’m a Democrat because I like good things to happen. I applaud Baker’s willingness to jump in and try to fix things. But I also fear that he and the legislature will be perfectly happy to let many things slide for the next few years. And that’s where the judgment happens.


Wonk Graphics: View of the biggest threat to the U.S. in the future

Well, the federal government is about 30% bigger now than it was in 1965, according to the St. Louis Fed. But the big recent jump was in 2009 ... swearing in of President Obama. - promoted by Bob_Neer

According to Gallup, 69% of the American public consider big government to be the biggest threat to the country in the future:

Below are the breakdowns by political party:

Ready for a White-Hot Christmas?

More evidence that the conservation-based strategy of et al is not working at all given a global climate, and is arguably a counter-productive time-consuming distraction. We need to research and develop carbon neutral energy sources that are less expensive than oil immediately. Call your legislator as thegreenmiles recommends. - promoted by Bob_Neer

The high on Christmas Eve is forecast to hit 67 in Boston, which would obliterate the old record high of 61. It’s part of a pattern of warm weather that’s set to break records across the country. The National Weather Service confirms December to-date has been insanely warm across New England:

  • Boston +9.2 degrees F
  • Worcester +10.2
  • Hartford +9.8
  • Providence +9.7
  • Portland, ME: +8.2
  • Burlington, VT: +11.9

With a week of 50s & 60s on tap, those numbers will only go higher. As Dave Epstein reports for WBUR, Boston is on pace to shatter the record for warmest December set all the way back in … 2006. Records fall fast in the Anthropocene.

It follows a November that burned up records globally, according to NOAA:

Trump gets first ever "King of Whoppers" title from

OK. - promoted by Bob_Neer

In’s annual review of not-so-truthy political statements

In past years, we’ve not singled out a single claim or a single person, and have left it to readers to judge which whoppers they consider most egregious.

But this year the evidence is overwhelming and, in our judgment, conclusive. So, for the first time, we confer the title “King of Whoppers.”

Have any favorites out of the list? Being a Michigan native, I gravitate toward the Ford Motor Company whopper.

Next hurdle cleared for ballot questions

Maybe government by ballot initiative with periodic Internet-based town hall meetings would be better than the Legislature ... - promoted by Bob_Neer

Per email from PoliticoMA…


Secretary of State William Galvin‘s office announced on Friday that seven of the 11 ballot question petitioners that filed signature papers with his office two weeks ago had officially gathered more than 64,750 signatures – bringing them one step closer to the voters in 2016 (or in one case, 2018).


– Relative to Ending Common Core Education Standards: 76,016 signatures

– An Act Relative to Expanded Gaming: 74,521 signatures

– The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act: 70,739 signatures (Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol)

– The Massachusetts Fair Health Care Pricing Act: 68,755 signatures

– An Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals: 95,817 signatures

– An Act to Allow Fair Access to Public Charter Schools: 70,716 signatures

– For the 2018 ballot: An Amendment to the Constitution to Provide Resources for Education and Transportation through an additional tax of incomes in excess of One Million Dollars: 92,617 signatures


– Constitutional Amendment Regarding the Public Funding of Abortion (for 2018 ballot)

– Ending Marijuana Prohibitions for Persons 21 of Age or Older (Bay State Repeal)

– Law Relative to Animal Shelter Record Keeping

– Law Relative to the Reduction of Euthanasia in Animal Shelters


The Legislature has until May 3 to take action on the proposed laws. If nothing happens, petitioners must gather another 10,792 signatures by July 6 to make it to the statewide ballot.

The so-called millionaires tax constitutional amendment must be acted on by two joint sessions of the Legislature before reaching the 2018 ballot.

Should Secretary Clinton apologize to Trump over "recruiting" remark at Saturday Night's debate?

She's correct! - promoted by Bob_Neer

That is all I have to say about that!

The Green Line Extension Is a Waste and Mostly for The Haves. Extend the Blue Line to Lynn and Beyond. Help the Real Folks

Controversial, to be sure, not to mention that the GLX is still (I think) required by a court order. That said ... how can it possibly be that expensive to lay some new surface tracks and build a couple new stations? As Mike Dukakis cogently observed, "it's not a complicated project." - promoted by david


One More Time: America, Guns, and Democrats

Good post. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Sometimes I’m grateful for the Internet, because otherwise I’d be on a street corner wearing a sandwich board. Before I drop the subject, for now, I want to say a few more words about guns. The funny thing about a futile effort is, it still feels better to try.

In September 2013, I wrote a short post arguing that three issues were poisoning American politics, and that things would not improve until they were resolved. The three issues were the wars, Washington gridlock, and unemployment.

I got two right. Gridlock is a problem for people like us. It’s not a problem for the country. A pretty sizable chunk of the country likes it.

The third problem is guns.

If you’d prefer, you can think of it as foreign wars, the domestic economy, and the domestic war.

You might consider “war” too strong. On two straight weekends in September 2015, more than 50 people were shot in Chicago. More than 100 people in nine days.

This is a national emergency, and we have a truly puzzling political stalemate over it.