Happening Today

Indiana presidential primaries

Republicans and Democrats will vote today in the key Indiana presidential primary elections.

SJC to hear arguments in Aaron Hernandez case

The Supreme Judicial Court will hear arguments in Commonwealth v. Aaron Hernandez, the convicted murderer and former New England Patriots tight end; other cases include Timothy Deal and others v. Commissioner of the Department of Correction, Nancy Chadwick v. Duxbury Public Schools, Commonwealth v. Wayne Ruffin, the First Marblehead Corporation and another v. Commissioner of Revenue, and Commonwealth v. Bryan M. Grassie, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, second floor, Pemberton Square, 9 a.m.

Anti-pipeline rally

Environmental groups and activists organized by Mass Power Forward plan to celebrate the suspension of Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project and rally against a “gas pipeline tax,” State House sidewalk, 11:30 a.m.

Women’s Political Caucus

Gov. Charlie Baker addresses the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus’ 15th annual Good Guys Awards, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito also making remarks, Omni Parker House, 60 School St., 11:45 a.m.

Baker addresses education writers

Gov. Baker speaks at Education Writers Association 2016 National Seminar, Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, 1 p.m.

Pipeline hearing

The Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change meets to discuss the proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project and clean energy, Room 428, State House, 1 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Baker pleads: ‘I didn’t write the letter’

Gov. Charlie Baker was thrown on the defensive yesterday over a campaign aide’s blunt solicitation of campaign donations in return for direct access to the governor’s office, reports the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan. “I didn’t write the letter, and I didn’t see the letter until it showed up in the paper,” Baker told reporters yesterday. “We’re an open-door administration. We meet with all kinds of people.”

Democrats can’t miss on this one: PAC donations, access to governor’s office, do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do, former Chris Christie aide, etc.

Boston Globe

Shed no tears for IndyCar, Boston

A day after the hand wringers had their say on the demise of the IndyCar event in Boston, critics are hitting back, basically saying it was a ludicrous idea handled poorly by organizers.

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi: “The proposal’s unraveling says little about the willingness of Bostonians to embrace change and fun. It says everything about the need for skilled promoters who know how to organize, market, and underwrite such a venture.”

Herald editorial: “Some will insist it’s just another example of Boston’s too precious ‘we don’t buy our hats, we have our hats’ mindset. But the truth is that it had more to do with Mayor Marty Walsh going way too far out on this limb during his rookie year at City Hall.”

Commonwealth’s James Aloisi: “I have high regard for former City Councilor Mike Ross, but I believe he was wrong to bemoan the loss of IndyCar in a Boston Globe op-ed, expressing a concern that we are sending a message to the outside world that their ideas are not welcome. To the contrary, we are sending a message that we do not want ideas that fail to respond to our values, that fail to appeal to city residents across income and social spectrums.”

Rosenberg: Did Gunsmoke’s Marshal Dillon like rattlesnakes? No, he did not

Senate President Stan Rosenberg makes an excellent point about why there’s such fierce opposition to the state’s plan to colonize a Quabbin Reservoir island with rattlesnakes: Many people were raised watching Gunsmoke and they didn’t like rattlesnakes on Gunsmoke. MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg explains.

MassLive

‘Skeletal’ Green Line redesign gets thumbs down at hearing

The came, they saw, they didn’t like it. Residents and public officials weren’t exactly thrilled with the scaled-back version of the Green Line extension plan outlined at a Cambridge hearing yesterday, reports Wicked Local’s Natalie Handy. Christopher Park, of East Cambridge, was particularly upset with the revised new Lechmere station, saying it had been reduced to a “shaft.” Cambridge City Councilor Leland Cheung said the entire process has been “absolute train wreck of this management” and wondered why MBTA officials weren’t going after construction contractors for cost overruns that resulted in the need for a “bare-bones” redesign.

Wicked Local

Green-card money fueling investments in … opioid treatment centers?

In an attempt to land coveted green cards via a controversial federal visa program, wealthy investors from China to South America are sinking money into new private substance abuse and mental health facilities, including a 104-bed behavioral health and substance abuse center in Devens, reports the Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes. In the past, a surprising number of local and national condo and hotel projects have been funded by money from the EB-5 program, which allows foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in a development that creates jobs to qualify for a US visa, as Fernandes reports. But now the money is starting to flow to other types of projects.

Boston Globe

Data underscore strength of opioid epidemic

Maybe the state needs all the foreign green-card money it can get. The number of overdose deaths in the state continued to climb in 2015, rising 8 percent over the year before, new data from the State Department of Public Health shows, according to a report by Benjamin Swasey of WBUR. Early data from the beginning of 2016 seems to show the trend continuing as well.

WBUR

City Hall fights subpoena release

City officials continue to hold firm on not releasing any subpoenas received in connection with a federal investigation despite an order from state officials to release the documents, Jack Encarnacao of the Herald reports. The city argues that releasing the information would “interfere with an ongoing investigation and we are unwilling to take that risk.”

Boston Herald

Boston raises the transgender flag

Mayor Marty Walsh was joined by Sen. President Stan Rosenberg and transgender advocates in raising a transgender flag over City Hall yesterday, Gintautas Dumcius of MassLive reports. Boston became the first city in the state and the fourth nationally to fly the symbol and the move comes as the Senate is prepared to debate a bill aimed at preventing transgender discrimination.

MassLive

Chamber: Hydropower is good – and not so good

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce says it’s all in favor of importing hydropower from Canada as a way to increase the diversity and reliability of the region’s electricity supply. But it doesn’t sound all that excited about the plan’s potential costs, reports the State House News Service’s Michael Norton in a piece published in CommonWealth magazine.

CommonWealth (SHNS)

Worcester sees urgency in tobacco age increase

The Worcester Board of Health plans to press forward with a proposal to raise the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco to 21 in the city, expressing concerns that a statewide proposal to raise the age will be watered down by the time it clears the legislature, Nick Kotsopoulos of the Telegram reports. A public hearing has been scheduled for June 1 on raising the age and other restrictions, including one that would limit sales of flavored tobacco products.

The Telegram

Advocates’ overnight bus service proposal vetted

The MBTA is taking a closer look at a proposal floated by transit advocates that would use a small number of T buses to offer bare-bones late night service, Mike Deehan of WGBH reports. The T believes the service would cost far more than the $1 million estimate TransitMatters put on it, but will continue to study the option.

WGBH

Worcester called second-best New England city for startups

A new study from WalletHub says Worcester is the second-best city in New England to launch a new business venture, behind only Boston, Sam Bonacci of the Worcester Business Journal reports. Nationally, Boston ranked as the 14th best city for startups, while Worcester ranked 33rd and Providence came in at 149th.

Worcester Business Journal

The Left’s working-class problem

It’s always hard getting started, let alone through, a political essay that begins: “As this dystopian election campaign has unfolded, my mind keeps being tugged by a passage in Plato’s Republic.” But let us help you with Andrew Sullivan’s long New York magazine piece by plucking out something we found interesting, along the lines of yesterday’s MASSterList item on how author Thomas Frank and others are upset with modern liberalism’s detachment from the concerns of the working class. From Sullivan’s piece: 

“For the white working class, having had their morals roundly mocked, their religion deemed primitive, and their economic prospects decimated, now find their very gender and race, indeed the very way they talk about reality, described as a kind of problem for the nation to overcome. This is just one aspect of what Trump has masterfully signaled as ‘political correctness’ run amok … Much of the newly energized left has come to see the white working class not as allies but primarily as bigots, misogynists, racists, and homophobes, thereby condemning those often at the near-bottom rung of the economy to the bottom rung of the culture as well. A struggling white man in the heartland is now told to ‘check his privilege’ by students at Ivy League colleges.”

As for Republicans, they have their own working-class detachment problem: To the GOP establishment’s horror, it turns out the vast majority of blue-collar Republicans actually support Social Security and Medicare, another overlooked sentiment that Trump has adroitly tapped into of late.

New York magazine

‘Sweden Declares War On American Lobsters’

The once mighty Vikings of the North are whining to the EU, trying to declare North American lobsters— our Homarus Americanus from New England waters — an invasive species allegedly endangering local Swedish lobsters, reports WGBH’s David Bernstein. Led by U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, the entire state Congressional delegation has sent a letter in opposition to Sweden’s “scurrilous attack,” Bernstein objectively and calmly reports on the craven and callous Swedes. 

As Bernstein notes: “Apparently North American lobsters have been found in the waters of Sweden, Norway, and England. Not many, mind you: 32 of them over the past eight years. Some, reportedly, with their claws bound in rubber bands slapped on them on our side of the Atlantic. … Some suspect animal-rights activists were involved.” Or perhaps it was the work of the Swedish Secret Service posing as animal-rights activists?

WGBH

Today’s Headlines

Metro

City officials still mum when asked about subpoenas – Boston Globe

Boston becomes first city in state to fly transgender flag – MassLive

With little oversight, marijuana delivery services flourish – Boston Globe

Is Boston the city of No? – MassLive

Massachusetts

Mass. statistics show opioid overdose deaths continue to rise – WBUR

Report: Baker hydro bill won’t lower power rates – CommonWealth Magazine

Worcester health board cites ‘urgency’ to raise tobacco age – Telegram & Gazette

Worcester named second best New England city to start a business in – Worcester Business Journal

MBTA looks at overnight buses, gives the Green Line an inspection – WGBH

Nation

Trump may deliver crushing blow to Cruz in Indiana – Boston Globe

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