Happening Today

Immigrant advocacy

As the House begins debate on a new state budget, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition will lead its supporters on a trip to legislative offices to oppose what it calls “anti-immigrant” amendments to the budget, General Hooker entrance, State House, 9 a.m.

House budget week

The House embarks on its annual budget deliberations on Monday with revenue-related amendments handled first, House Chamber, 11 a.m.

MBTA control board meeting

The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control meets to cover a number off issues including commuter-rail and Green Line fare collections and the MBTA retirement fund, 10 Park Plaza, suite 3830, 12 p.m.

Wynn Boston Harbor review

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission plans to review issues related to the Wynn Boston Harbor casino in Everett, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, 1 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Feds will have a hard time making a case against Walsh

Not since the waning days of the Kevin White administration has scandal clouds hung so heavily over Boston City Hall. The Globe’s blockbuster story over the weekend that federal officials are probing alleged strong-arm tactics by unions, perhaps even by Mayor Marty Walsh while he headed the local building-and-trades union before becoming mayor, is definitely serious. But how serious? Sure, the feds apparently have wiretaps of Walsh telling a development firm that it could face permitting problems for a project in Boston if it didn’t play ball with the union on another project in Somerville. The mere mention of “wiretaps” is pretty sensational stuff.

Yet the Herald, while playing catch up on the story, has a good piece on the Hobbs Act that the feds might conceivably use against Walsh, assuming he’s ever indicted (and that’s a huge assumption). The Hobbs Act presents a lot of hurdles for the feds. Then there’s the possibility that the feds are on a fishing expedition. “I’ve seen agents leaking stuff to the press just to stir the pot and try and generate statements from witnesses where they don’t have any,” former assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Kendall told the Herald.

Again, this is all serious stuff. But how serious? How much do the feds have? Right now, it doesn’t look like much.

Btw: The Globe’s big Sunday story was reported by an impressive team of Andrew Ryan, Mark Arsenault, Milton J. Valencia, Adrian Walker, and Shelley Murphy.

Deval Patrick is on a preliminary list of Hillary’s VP choices

Last week, it was Elizabeth Warren’s turn. This week, it’s Deval Patrick’s turn in the ongoing parlor game of who will be Hillary Clinton’s vice president running mate. The New York Times over the weekend reported that the Clinton camp, increasingly confident it’s close to wrapping up the Democratic nomination, has started the process of drawing up lists of potential running mates. One of those under preliminary consideration is Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor. 

At least one local observer, Thomas Whalen, a political historian at Boston University, thinks Patrick, as an African American, makes more sense on the ticket than Warren, the Massachusetts senator and darling of progressives. “African-Americans overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party,” Whalen is quoted by the Herald as saying. The Times article by Patrick Healy says that Warren has not been ruled out, but also notes “she has not been helpful to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, declining to endorse the former secretary of state.”

Other Democrats under consideration, according to NYT story, include Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, former governors of the key state of Virginia; Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a swing state; and Thomas E. Perez, President Obama’s labor secretary and a Hispanic civil rights lawyer.

New York Times

‘Scrap taxi medallions’

In the age of ride sharing, it needs to be said: It’s time to scrap the antiquated, unfair, costly and ridiculous system of regulating taxis tied to the issuance of medallions by government officials. And that’s exactly what the Globe said in a long editorial over the weekend, calling for elimination of the medallion system because it’s, well, antiquated, unfair, costly and ridiculous. This question cuts to the core of the current debate: “Is the purpose of the taxi medallion system to provide a steady income for medallion owners and the drivers they employ? (Or, as state Representative Michael Moran recently said, to provide income to banks that financed the purchase of the medallion in the first place.) Surely not. Yet that’s just what the medallion system has become.”

We’re not sure if that constitutes an “existential” question, as the Globe oddly describes it. However, existential or not, somehow we’ve gotten to a point where propping up the medallion system has become the point of the medallion system. It needs to go.

Boston Globe

Mass. looks to regulate, nurture self-driving car sector

Speaking of government regulation of transportation, state officials plan to convene a meeting this week of key players in the emerging self-driving car industry, as Massachusetts prepares to issue regulations to ensure it remains a center for innovation in the field, Jordan Graham of the Herald reports. The Wednesday meeting is expected to include representatives from Google, Tesla, Audi and Uber as well as local startups. Let’s hope they’re serious about developing a system that promotes, not stifles, innovation and competition.

Boston Herald

Baker wants cities, towns to control own liquor licenses

On yet another regulatory front, the Baker administration is seeking to give communities the ability to issue more liquor licenses, saying the current approach—which caps licenses based on population—is stifling economic activity, Christian Wade reports in the Eagle Tribune. The legislature has shown little receptivity so far and Wade notes that former Gov. Deval Patrick had tried to lift the cap but got nowhere with lawmakers.

Eagle Tribune

Poll: Traffic getting worse, but drivers have hope

More than half of Boston-area residents say traffic is getting worse and 14 percent say they’ve considered moving because of it, a new poll finds, according to Fred Thys of WBUR. The poll also shows that 81 percent of residents believe better public policy—including investments in the MBTA—could improve the situation.


Tiny homes to the rescue on Nantucket?

Town Meeting on Nantucket has backed a proposal by a local builder to allow small-scale homes to be built on trailers, enabling them to be shifted around the island, a move that supporters say could help address a crushing local housing problem, Ethan Genter of the Cape Cod Times reports. Traditional mobile homes are banned on the island, where the median home price sits north of $1 million.

Cape Cod Times

Worcester puts property owners on notice

Property owners in downtown Worcester are being put on notice that the city is prepared to use its eminent domain powers to force redevelopment if necessary, Lisa Eckelbecker of the Telegram reports. A $100 million urban renewal plan was unveiled last week targeting 118 acres in the city’s core district.

The Telegram

After the sale of the Berkshire Eagle, what next?

The Berkshire Eagle has been sold to a group of locally based investors who will take over next month, setting the stage for the next chapter in the history of the Pulitzer-prize winning paper, widely considered one of the best local newspapers in the country, Conor Berry of MassLive reports. The sale returns the paper to local ownership after 20 years in the MediaNews Group.


Brockton casino decision looms

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will meet Tuesday to begin deliberations on the resort casino license application sought by the city of Brockton, Phillip Marcelo of the Associated Press reports in a story carried by the Standard-Times and other outlets. Deliberations are expected to be complicated by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s First Light casino project in Taunton, but a vote could come as soon a Thursday.


‘Chinese delegation to talk lobster’

If they were from Norway, no one would care. But since they’re from China, it matters. So a visit today by a delegation of Chinese and Chinese-American officials is being treated as big deal in Gloucester, reports Sean Horgan in the Gloucester Times. From the story: “Mark Ring, chairman of the city’s Fisheries Commission, said the Chinese delegation has a two-pronged focus, with the group from the consul general’s office interested chiefly in lobsters, while those from the culinary federation seem more interested in the wide variety of Gloucester seafood that ultimately could find its way onto the menus of Chinese restaurants throughout the country.”

Gloucester Times

Monday’s MASSter List Review of Book Reviews

‘Most Blessed of the Patriarchs’: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination, by Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf, reviewed by Joshua Kendall. In his review, Kendall appreciates the non-traditional approach that Gordon Reed, a Harvard Law School professor and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘The Hemingses of Monticello,’ and Peter S. Onuf, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Virginia, take towards Thomas Jefferson, perhaps the most famous of America’s Founding Fathers. “Rather than offering the stuff of conventional biography, the authors profile Jefferson by devoting chapters to his views on key concepts such as ‘Home,’ ‘Plantation,’ and ‘Politics.’ Not surprisingly, they keep returning to his central contradiction — that one of history’s most articulate enemies of tyranny owned hundreds of slaves, including his mistress, over whom he held dominion.” In addition, the authors rightly delve deep into Jefferson’s detached relationships with his children, Kendall writes.

Boston Globe

Today’s Headlines


View is wait and see on Walsh and labor probe – Boston Globe

Boston housing prices are rising but city’s not in top 10 – Boston Globe

Ex-Fed: Marty Walsh wiretap leak could be an effort to drum up witnesses – Boston Herald

WBUR Poll: Boston-Area Residents Say Traffic Is Getting Worse, But MBTA May Be A Solution – WBUR


AG Healey to host national conference targeting cybercrime – Standard-Times

Massachusetts weighs another casino for crowded southeast – Standard-Times

Carney: horse racing returns to Brockton Fairgrounds this year – Enterprise

Fitchburg hearing targets flavored tobacco sales – Telegram & Gazette

What would a third Connecticut casino mean for Mass.? – Boston Globe

Worcester puts downtown property owners on notice – Telegram & Gazette

Baker wants local control of liquor licenses – Eagle Tribune

Tiny homes may help big problem on Nantucket – Cape Cod Times


Cruz, Kasich working together with goal of beating Trump – Boston Globe

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