Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 206]: Pot restrictions high on City Council wish list

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now have laws on the books legalizing marijuana to some extent.

And with California’s massive medical marijuana infrastructure expected to buoy a potential $7 billion recreational marketplace, experts see no end in sight to the pot shop proliferation.

In Worcester, up to 15 licenses could be awarded once state regulators open the floodgates next July. And city councilors want their say on where these retail outlets will put down roots.Hitch is hungry for answers.

Hitch is hungry for answers.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 205]: Last stop, Union Station

Whether it’s failed nightclubs or high-speed trains, improved commuter rail service to Boston or deficit spending, Union Station has a way of staying in the news — and in the hearts of so many residents and decision makers in our city.

It’s a monument not only to history but to the possibilities of tomorrow. But much like the covert entrance to its parking garage, there is another side rarely seen.

For far too many of our friends, coworkers, uncles and sisters it’s become the final destination of a life overtaken by opioid addiction. Hitch has thoughts.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 204]: Amazon-to-Worcester talk? It’s a jungle out there

Much like the top Red Sox affiliate moving to the Canal District, the prospect of online retail behemoth Amazon choosing Worcester for the site of its economy-changing HQ2 is a dream almost too sweet to wake up from.

And with visions of so many dollars and jobs and tax breaks dancing in their heads, chins have been wagging about the possibilities from Airport Hill to the Burns Bridge.

Of course, there are drawbacks, too, and plenty of warning signs back in Seattle. Pros and cons? Yeah, Hitch has some thoughts.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 203]: Warren and Markey, first responders

There are about 3.4 million people — Americans — living in Puerto Rico.

Nearly two weeks ago Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Yesterday, half of those Americans were still without drinking water and some two-thirds remained without electricity, including a few hospitals.

President Trump, as has become American custom, has been widely criticized for his callous, less-than-urgent response.

Never fear, though, Hitch says, because Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey are on the case.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 202]: In anticipation of Petty vs. Lukes

It’s been more than 20 years since the City Council gathered for its biannual group photo without Joe Petty and Konnie Lukes in the picture.

They’ve combined for eight years in the mayor’s office, too, Petty — less polarizing than Mariano or Levy and less ambitious than Murray — finishing his third term as entrenched as any mayor in the city’s recent history.

Lukes, of course, has never been known to shy away from a challenge.

With all that history together, Hitch sizes up the upcoming campaign.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 201]: Trump bashing? There’s a remote chance you’ll miss it

Even the best of our presidents had their flaws.

Transformational JFK was a legendary lecher (and not the only one). Washington and Jefferson were among those to infamously own slaves. The list goes on. But President Trump raises the ire of his opponents like few elected leaders in history.

His recent irresponsibly pandering speech and attack on the First Amendment rights of NFL players is merely the latest salvo from the Troll-in-Chief.

Hitch, for one, thinks it’s high time to change the channel.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 200]: On health care, McGovern’s a Bernie Bro

What do you do when you have an upstart Republican challenging you in your district and a Trump confounding you in the White House?

If you’re Worcester Rep. Jim McGovern, well, you pretty much keep on doing your thing — with a little lean further to the left. Long an advocate for improved health care, particularly better nutrition in schools, McGovern recently latched onto progressive pied piper Bernie Sanders’ latest push for universal coverage.

For Hitch, though, something still doesn’t quite add up.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 199]: On Gaffney’s battle with the media

Michael T. Gaffney may well be the (self-proclaimed) People’s Councilor® — he certainly won’t be the People’s Mayor for at least the next two years — but he’s proved to not be much of a media darling.

There are several plausible reasons for this. Sure, the city’s GOP standard-bearer has built an impressive base of support while earnestly serving his community, but that hasn’t stopped columnists and commenters — a largely liberal set — from painting the agitating attorney with a Trumpian brush.

And now, Gaffney has told the media he has nothing more to say to us. Hitch thinks he knows why.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 198]: State cannabis commission needs more green?

At long last, state leaders in absolutely no hurry to abide by the will of the voters when it comes to legal recreational marijuana have assembled a quintet of commissioners to craft the regulatory framework that will guide the burgeoning industry into existence next July … maybe.

Turns out, the $2.5 million set aside for this endeavor could be cause for concern (less so, you’d think, if there was more pot available!). Hitch thinks lawmakers should stop blowing smoke.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 197]: Winds of change hit downtown landmarks

Mother Nature has spared us New Englanders for now as historic Hurricane Irma mercifully sputters to her demise over the Southeast after Harvey’s similarly destructive sojourn.

But natural disasters aren’t the only thing powerful enough to spin Worcester’s world upside down.

In the span of six days we learned that Shack’s clothing store and Elwood Adams Hardware — and their combined 324 years of Main Street history — are not long for downtown.

A gut punch to the city’s soul. Hitch, for one, was whipped into a frenzy over the news.