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12/12/2017

‘Bama showdown | Audit brawl | Zoning ‘tweaks’

 
Norvus
 
 
Happening Today
 
Hurricane-victims tuition break, Beth Israel-Lahey merger, Menorah lightings
 

-- Estonia President Toomas Hendrik Ilves will talk about applying Estonia's cyber-defense strategy internationally at a conference organized by Boston Global Forum and the Michael Dukakis Institute for Leadership and Innovation, Loeb House, Harvard University, 17 Quincy St., Cambridge, 8:30 a.m.

  -- The Board of Higher Education will entertain a motion to temporarily extend in-state tuition rates at public universities to students enrolling this academic year after being displaced by hurricanes from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Massachusetts Bay Community College, 50 Oakland St., Library Atrium, Wellesley, 10 a.m.

-- State marijuana regulators meet to continue policy discussion and debate on the draft regulations the Cannabis Control Commission plans to file with the secretary of state's office by the end of the month, Gaming Commission meeting room, 101 Federal St., 12th Floor, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

-- Health Policy Commission meets to initiative a cost and market impact review of a proposed merger involving CareGroup's Beth Israel Deaconess, Lahey Health System, Seacoast Regional Health Systems and Mount Auburn Cambridge Independent Practice Association, 50 Milk St., Boston, 12 p.m.

-- Health Policy Commission Board meets with Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders attending, 50 Milk St. - 8th floor conference center, Boston, 12 p.m.

-- Gov. Charlie Baker, Auditor Suzanne Bump, Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Attorney General Maura Healey, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Sen. Cynthia Creem, Secretary of State William Galvin, Israel Consul General Yehudi Yaakov and others attend the ceremonial lighting of 15-foot Chanukah Menorah, Grand Staircase, State House, 4 p.m.

-- Treasurer Deb Goldberg will attend the Copley Square Annual Lighting of the Chanukah Menorah, center of Copley Square, facing the Boston Public Library, Boston, 5:30 p.m.

-- The Massachusetts Department of Transportation holds a public meeting on the I-90 Allston Interchange Improvement Project, Auditorium of the Pierce Elementary School, 50 School Street, Brookline, 7 p.m.

 
 
 
 
Today's Stories
 
Three Bridgewater guards acquitted, but not the system …
 

Three former guards at Bridgewater State Hospital may have been acquitted yesterday of involuntary manslaughter charges tied to the death of a 23-year-old patient with schizophrenia, Joshua K. Messier, who was “forcibly strapped to a bed in a brutal scene captured on prison video,” as the Globe’s Michael Rezendes reports. But there’s no doubt Messier’s tragic death led to major reforms at Bridgewater – something Messier’s mother noted yesterday with dignity and grace. The Globe, which has been all over the long-running legal saga, has more.

Boston Globe
 
 
Republican Baker supports Democratic Senate candidate in Alabama
 

The dramatic U.S. Senate race in Alabama will finally be settled by voters today – and, for what it’s worth, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, openly reiterated yesterday he supports the Democratic candidate, Doug Jones, over GOP candidate Roy Moore, accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls. “I certainly don’t want to see Roy Moore win. That means, obviously, that I would be supporting the alternative,” said Baker. SHNS’s Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine has more, including Baker dancing around the fact that a fundraising effort between state and national Republicans means some locally raised funds might be indirectly flowing to Moore.

CommonWealth
 
 
A new 4,000-seat music venue in Charlestown?
 

For some reason, we don’t think we’ve heard the last of this proposal. From Seth Daniel at the Charlestown Patriot-Bridge: “When people in Charlestown think about seeing a show or a concert, they typically look to the south towards the TD Garden, but if a plan by Hood Park holds, a new 4,000-seat concert and entertainment venue could occupy the first floor of a newly proposed five-story parking garage on the Hood Park campus in just two short years.” CPB piece via Universal Hub.

Charlestown Patriot-Bridge
 
 
Administration plan would ‘tweak’ suburban zoning rules to boost housing construction
 

It’s not quite the third-rail of Massachusetts politics, but it’s close to it: Modifying local zoning rules to allow more housing. But that’s precisely what Gov. Charlie Baker is doing, proposing a “technical tweak” to local zoning laws that now call for a two-thirds majority vote to approve many zoning changes needed for new housing, reports the Globe's Tim Logan. It’s part of the governor’s plan to boost housing by 135,000 units by 2025. The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock reports the administration’s plan also calls for $10 million for a newly created Housing Choice Initiative.

 
 
New England Clean Power Link
 
 
Hotel building boom under way in MetroWest
 

At least they’re building hotel rooms in the suburbs. Jonathan Phelps at MetroWest Daily News reports that a robust regional economy is helping to drive hotel construction in the western suburbs, a trend observers say is likely to continue into the foreseeable future. Three hotels have opened their doors in the region in the past year and at least two more are under construction or in the permitting pipeline. 

MetroWest Daily News
 
 
Thirteen states sue to scramble Bay State’s cage-free egg law
 

Four years before it’s set to take effect, a state law approved by voters banning the sale of eggs and other products from animals confined to small spaces is being challenged by a coalition of 13 states that say it violates the Constitution, Joshua Miller of the Globe reports. The law’s backers appear unwilling to let the law go over easy. … Ba-dum-tshh!

Boston Globe
 
 
Are Uber and Lyft costing Logan parking fees?
 

The NYT doesn’t specify how much individual airports are losing in parking fees due to the rise of Uber and Lyft users who are no longer parking at airport facilities as often. But the Times piece does cite Boston’s Logan Airport as one among many airports apparently suffering from reduced parking fees and looking at other ways to raise revenue, including new fees and offering VIP parking spaces to frequent airline travelers.

NYT
 
 
Chandler’s staff – but not Chandler – moving into Rosenberg’s State House offices
 

They’ve already inscribed her name on the doorway to the president's office and her staff started moving into former Senate President Stan Rosenberg’s State House digs on Monday. But Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler is holding back from moving in – at least for the time being, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy. All in all, this is probably the most concrete evidence yet that Stan isn’t returning as president, for coveted office space anywhere, once occupied, is rarely relinquished without resistance.

SHNS (pay wall)
 
 
Can Massachusetts Republicans gain from Rosenberg and Joyce controversies? Probably not
 

WGBH’s Adam Reilly, interviewed on Morning Edition, doesn’t think the combined controversies swirling around former Senate President Stan Rosenberg and former state Sen. Brian Joyce, both Democrats, will translate into gains for the state GOP: “Republicans were not able to capitalize on a number of previous scandals in the State House: Charlie Flaherty, Sal DiMasi, Tom Finneran. I don't know how much leverage they're going to get out of this.” He has more.

WGBH
 
 
 
 
Baker and Bump go at it over DCF audit
 

This is one of those rare occasions when the usually mild-mannered Gov. Charlie Baker looks and sounds really peeved, perhaps because Auditor Suzanne Bump ultimately questioned something the governor takes great pride in: His management skills. Anyway, Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive reports on Baker’s counter-attack against Bump’s scathing audit of the Department of Children and Families, saying he was "dismayed" that the audit used data two to three years old and calling the report "irresponsible." And then Dumcius allows Bump, in a separate article, to unload on the governor’s "political statement."

 
 
City Hall trial pushed back four months
 

From the Herald’s Laurel Sweet: “The extortion trial of two top City Hall officials has been set back nearly four months to March 26 so their lawyers can sort out whether Kenneth Brissette and Timothy Sullivan were indicted on a theory of culpability since invalidated by both a jury and a federal appeals court. In both cases, Teamsters walked away from charges they wielded threats to bully reluctant businesses into giving them jobs they argued they had a right to fight for.”

Boston Herald
 
 
Rep. Fernandes to undergo surgery to remove benign tumor
 

Here’s hoping for a quick recovery for the representative. From SHNS’s Colin Young: “Rep. Dylan Fernandes will be out of commission through the end of 2017, with plans to recover from a surgery scheduled for Wednesday, in which doctors will remove a footlong benign tumor from his leg. In an email to supporters with the subject line ‘I have a rare disease,’ the freshman representative said the tumor in his left thigh is a fibro adipose vascular anomaly, a rare disease that has caused him chronic pain for 15 years.”

SHNS (pay wall)
 
 
The Ashbrook allegations: After tirades, ‘creepy’ sex talk, hugs, back rubs
 

Martha Bebinger at WBUR gets to the heart of the matter quickly: “Tirades directed at young women in the studio. Name calling and belittling critiques of show ideas during meetings. ‘Creepy’ sex talk, hugs and back or neck rubs after a dressing down. That’s the pattern of alleged abuse described by 11 mostly young women and men who filed a multi-page document outlining their complaints against On the Point host Tom Ashbrook.”

The tirades mean little in the context of today’s #MeToo movement. Half of the bosses in America, both male and female, would be fired if obnoxious outbursts are now included on the list of impermissible things in the workplace. It’s what came after Ashbrook’s apparent tirades that matter. But, strangely, those incidents aren’t further elaborated on in the story after the lead.

WBUR
 
 
Millionaire-tax opponents call ballot question ‘truly radical’
 

From the Herald’s Bob McGovern: “Business groups fighting to block the so-called millionaire tax from next year’s statewide ballot say the proposed constitutional amendment is ‘truly radical’ and should not go to the voters, according to a brief filed with the state’s highest court. ‘Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit to exclude from the 2018 ballot an initiative petition that threatens to undermine our representative system of government and our separation of powers, and the long-standing consensus that the Legislature must maintain ultimate control over public finances,’ wrote Kevin Martin, an attorney representing the businesses.” 

Boston Herald
 
 
Hundreds of user-created gift idea collection created for everyone on your list
 
 
St. Hilaire tapped as state GOP director
 

From the Salem News: “Matt St. Hilaire may have lost out a bid for a seat on the City Council, but he will be right in the thick of politics when it comes to the 2018 general election. St. Hilaire, who came up short by 11 votes in his Nov. 7 bid for a council seat and forced a unsuccessful recount last weekend, won the recommendation to serve as the Massachusetts Republican Party’s executive director from MassGOP chairwoman Kirsten Hughes.”

Salem News
 
 
Four Dems now lined up to take on GOP Sen. Ross
 

Two more Democrats say they’re gunning at unseating Republican Sen. Richard Ross next November, Jim Hand reports in the Sun-Chronicle. Becca Rausch of Needham and Kristopher Aleksov of Wayland recently entered the race, doubling the number of Democrats interesting in taking on Ross. 

Sun Chronicle
 
 
Pollack defends West Station delay till 2040
 

From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Amid strong pushback from neighborhood activists and others, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack on Monday defended the Baker administration’s decision to put off until at least 2040 the construction of a new transit station serving an emerging neighborhood being developed by Harvard University in Allston. … The secretary said the proposed station would attract few riders and would undermine efforts to provide midday layover space for commuter rail trains. She also said there is no funding set aside for the station.”

CommonWealth
 
 
The GLX’s ‘tough love’ steps may not apply to future T projects
 

Speaking of T projects, Frederick Salvucci, the former state transportation chief and now a senior lecturer at the Center for Transportation and Logistics at MIT, is impressed with a lot of the ‘tough love’ measures that the Baker administration implemented to get the Green Line Extension financially back on track. But not all the measures can, or should, be applied to future MBTA projects, he writes at CommonWealth magazine.

CommonWealth
 
 
Job Board
 
 
Five ideas for GateHouse when, or if, it takes over the Herald
 

Media critic Dan Kennedy at WGBH updates some long-ago advice he had for the Boston Herald – most of which was subsequently ignored – and wonders if any of the ideas might benefit the newspaper’s likely new owner, GateHouse Media. We’re not sure anything can help newspapers at this point. Young people just aren’t reading newspapers.

WGBH
 
 
Markey predicts court battle over net neutrality changes
 

Warning that proposed FCC changes to net neutrality rules could harm the state’s tech economy, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey is predicting that a push to gut Internet-access protections will be challenged in court, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Sentinel & Enterprise. "I think there is a very good chance that anything the FCC does on this Thursday will be overturned in the courts, and there is a wide group of private sector companies and private interest groups which are going to band together to take this to the courts," Markey said.

Sentinel & Enterprise
 
 
Healey joins others AGs in opposing Trump’s acting director of consumer bureau
 

From SHNS at Boston’s Banker & Tradesman: “Attorney General Maura Healey and her counterparts from other states are backing a legal challenge to the leadership of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, arguing that President Donald Trump’s appointment of an acting director will hinder the agency’s independence and effectiveness. … Healey on Friday joined 17 other attorneys general on an amicus brief supporting English, saying it’s crucial to keep the CFPB independent and its succession plan aims to ensure that autonomy.”

Banker & Tradesman
 
 
Report: Massachusetts going soft on education standards
 

The Pioneer Institute will release a report Tuesday warning that the state erred in adopting what it calls ‘mediocre’ federal standards to measure education success and suggests scrapping the embrace of Common Core and returning to pre-2010 state-based standards. Christian Wade of the Salem News has the details.

Salem News
 
 
Today's Headlines
 
Metro
 

4,000-seat music venue planned for Charlestown - Charlestown Bridge

So long, Bud—Sam Adams is now the official beer of the Red Sox - Boston Globe

 
Massachusetts
 

Once promising Boston Power cuts Westborough presence - Boston Business Journal

Worrcester city manager to ramp up efforts to combat chronic homelessness - Telegram & Gazette

State, volunteers to plow Sandisfield after plows lost in fire - Berkshire Eagle

This Lynn nonprofit is hiring residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands - Lynn Item

 
Nation
 

Alabama senate race closes with a barrage of out-of-state star power - Washington Post

Spotlight back on Trump harassment accusations - The Hill

 
Beacon Hill Town Square

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Dec. 12, 6 p.m.
A Conversation on the State of American Diplomacy with Ambassador Nicholas Burns
Hosted by: Foreign Policy for America (fp4america.org)
 
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Dec. 13, 8:30 a.m.
Community Forum on CRISPR
Hosted by: CBI
 
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Dec. 13, 11:30 a.m.
Reducing Community Risk through Increasing Natural Resource Resiliency
Hosted by: North Shore Technology Council
 
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  • Wide ranging summary of the latest news on Massachusetts politics, public policy, and government
  • Rich array of sources, both conventional and niche
  • Beacon Hill's most comprehensive Calendar of upcoming political, policy and advocacy events
  • Check our Job Board identifying Beacon Hill's best new positions available in government, politics and public policy