Film industry jobs
The Massachusetts Production Coalition, which describes itself as representing “the largest and most diverse network of film and media professionals and businesses” in the state, holds an advocacy day on Beacon Hill in favor of continuing state support for the sector, State House, 9 a.m.
‘Digital Commonwealth’ summit
State Comptroller Thomas Shack hosts a ‘first-of-its-kind’ summit for all 152 state agencies to discuss the evolving digital and fiscal landscape; Gov. Charlie Baker, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, Auditor Suzanne Bump, Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore, MassIT Executive Director Mark Nunnelly and Shack will make presentations, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 600 Atlantic Avenue, #100, Boston, 9:30 a.m.
29 Who Shine Awards
Gov. Charlie Baker attends the 29 Who Shine awards ceremony, held to recognize 29 outstanding student graduates from the state’s public higher education system, Grand Staircase, State House, 12 p.m.
Green Line extension project
MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board hold a joint meeting to learn of the new cost and scope of the over-budget Green Line Extension project, with a public comment period of 90 minutes, 10 Park Plaza, second floor conference rooms, 1 p.m.
Springfield Union Station tour
Congressman Richard Neal, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Amtrak officials tour Springfield’s Union Station, as officials try to replicate efforts in other cities like New Haven, St. Louis and Baltimore to refurbish historic train stations, Springfield Union Station, Frank B. Murray Street, Springfield, 1 p.m.
And the odds on the Green Line extension are …
If this were London, they’d be taking bets today on the Green Line extension project: Will MBTA and state transportation officials vote for or against restarting the controversial project at a meeting scheduled for 1 p.m. today?
Going out on a small limb, we’d wager officials either signal or actually vote in favor of resuming the project on a scaled-back basis. Too much is at stake and too much has already been spent to give it up. But we’ll know later today, perhaps.
While crushing Trump in Massachusetts, Hillary veers to the center
In one of the bluest of blue states, it should come as no surprise that Hillary Clinton is crushing Donald Trump by 24 points in Massachusetts, according to the latest Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll, the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan reports this morning. The only minor surprise: Clinton’s poll numbers are not above the 60 percent mark.
Not to harp on the point, but Clinton’s strong numbers here can’t be good news for Massachusetts Republicans’ down-ticket candidates.
BTW I: Gov. Charlie Baker’s positive polling numbers continue to defy gravity, the Suffolk/Globe poll finds. His job approval rating: 71 percent.
BTW II: Did you notice the NYT weekend story on how Clinton is veering toward the center, almost giddily calling on Republicans to join her against Donald Trump? The idea she needs to shore up her left, perhaps by selecting someone like Elizabeth Warren as a running mate, is just loony. Clinton knows better.
BTW III: Warren and Trump’s ongoing Twitter war is showing no signs of abating, reports the Herald’s Brian Dowling.
Fantasy Politics at its finest: Mitt running as third-party candidate
Only Billy Kristol could come up with this hare-brained idea: Convincing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to run as a third-party candidate against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The Washington Post’s Robert Costa reported over the weekend on a meeting last Thursday between Kristol, the long-time editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, and Romney, the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2012, about Mitt possibly running as an independent or whatever. The meeting apparently didn’t accomplish much and all signs point to Mitt not being shameless and stupid enough to run again.
Media Nation’s Dan Kennedy doesn’t think it’s such a far-fetched scheme: “I think Romney could win if he got on the ballot in all 50 states. He’s smarter and tougher than Jeb!, and he’s absolutely shameless, which is important. Romney says he won’t run, but that’s only because he hasn’t worked through the math.”
In a Herald story by Brian Dowling, GOP strategists say a Mitt run would only split the right-leaning vote and hand the election to Clinton.
Surprise ballot-question poll results
Some of the ballot-question poll results reported over the weekend, in a new Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll, quite frankly surprised us. As reported by the Globe’s Michael Levenson, 46 percent of likely voters said they would oppose legalizing marijuana for those 21 and older, while 43 percent said they would support it.
Considering the recent string of pro-marijuana votes in Massachusetts and across the country, we thought legalization would be leading by a wide margin. But Adrian Walker of the Globe isn’t that surprised: “I had no problem with decriminalization (of marijuana). No one should be arrested for smoking a joint. Medical marijuana? Of course people suffering with crippling illnesses should have access to regulated medication that will help to alleviate their suffering. That strikes me as a matter of basic humanity. But I’m not sure that means we want to become Colorado.”
He raises a good point that we were thinking too: The ongoing opioid crisis is hurting the pro-legalization arguments. Gov. Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh and Attorney General Maura Healey, all of whom oppose legalization, are emphasizing the anti-opioid point.
In another ballot-question poll result: Fifty percent of likely voters say they would support a November ballot question calling for lifting the cap on charter schools in Massachusetts, while 33 percent oppose it, the Globe reports. That’s a big swing in favor of lifting the cap (one surprise) and yet it’s not as big a majority as one might have thought (the second surprise).
On non-ballot issues: 53 percent of likely voters support legislation to protect transgender people from discrimination, compared to 36 percent who oppose it. Note to lawmakers: It’s safer than you think to vote for the bill and finally get this issue out of the way.
As for a proposed “millionaires tax” (which wouldn’t be on the ballot until later this decade), a whopping 70 percent say they would support higher taxes on the uber-wealthy, while only 24 percent opposed it, reports the Globe. Ten years ago, this idea would be going nowhere. But then came the 2008 Wall Street crash, the Great Recession and different attitudes.
Weymouth mayor rejects Spectra Energy cash
Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund said Friday he would reject an offer from Spectra Energy to pay the town $24 million in exchange for dropping a legal battle against a proposed natural gas compressor station—a fight the city is likely to lose, Christian Schiavone of the Patriot Ledger reports. “We don’t want the compressor station,” Hedlund said of turning down the funds for schools, firefighters and infrastructure work. “The consensus in my thought process and within the community is that we want to continue the fight.”
State weighs stormwater pollution control oversight
With Massachusetts cities and towns facing an $18 billion burden to comply with federal stormwater pollution-control regulations, Gov. Charlie Baker wants the state Department of Environmental Protection to take control of the situation, Christian Wade reports in the Eagle Tribune. The move would cost $4.7 million in next year’s budget and critics say it may lead to weakening of enforcement.
Local politics get nasty in Sandwich
Following a local election in Sandwich that saw incumbents tossed off the school committee and board of selectmen, allegations have surfaced that a PTA co-president may have violated IRS rules with an emailed endorsement, George Brennan of the Cape Cod Times reports.
State-sanctioned injection sites
Some in the New Bedford area want Massachusetts to join a growing list of states that sponsor and maintain sanctioned sites for opioid addicts to inject themselves under the oversight of medical professionals, Curt Brown of the Standard-Times reports. “We need to look at every possible solution,” said Carl Alves, executive director of Positive Action Against Chemical Addiction in New Bedford. “We’re in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse.”
Globe’s Spotlight team hammers away at sexual abuse allegations at private schools
Not content with its recent reporting about alleged sexual misconduct at St. George’s School and other prestigious prep schools, the Globe’s Spotlight team broadened its investigation to other institutions. Its findings are not as sensational in scope as those found in its now famous investigation into child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, but that doesn’t make them any less important:
“At least 67 private schools in New England have faced accusations since 1991 that staffers sexually abused or harassed more than 200 students, the Spotlight Team found through an examination of court cases, as well as interviews with alumni, relatives, school officials, and attorneys.”
Blunt message in Worcester: We’ll pull the eminent domain trigger
Officials in Worcester are letting property owners know that the city is serious about using its eminent domain power to redevelop downtown, Sam Bonacci of the Worcester Business Journal reports. “If we have a development in mind and a developer lined up, we are going to pull the trigger on eminent domain,” said Michael Traynor, the city’s chief development officer, who emphasized that the city would start by negotiating directly with property owners.
We’re tempted to ignore this news item out of pure self-interest. We like pollock. It has more taste than most other whitefish. It’s cheap. It’s a great alternative to cod. Sure, it has a vague gray color that turns some people off. But once you get over that it’s fine. Still, we’d prefer pollock remain a best-kept-secret item. Alas, that’s not going to happen, if fishing-industry players have their way, reports the Associated Press’s Patrick Whittle in the Providence Journal: “They’re trying to rebrand Atlantic pollock as New England’s fish, and the push is catching on in places like food-crazy Portland, where food trucks offer pollock tacos to eager crowds.”
Monday’s MASSterList Review of Book Reviews
‘Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution,’ by local author Nathaniel Philbrick, reviewed by David M. Shribman in the Boston Globe. Shribman comes out of the starting gate lauding Philbrick’s latest non-fiction book: “Nathaniel Philbrick’s new ‘Valiant Ambition’ may be one of the greatest what-if books of the age — a volume that turns one of America’s best-known narratives on its head, arguing that what is taught in schools consists of the facts, but not the broader truth.” Shribman says Philbrick’s book is ultimately about answering this question: “What if Benedict Arnold’s treason was not an act that split the nation but instead was the glue that bound it together and saved it?” In the end, Philbrick makes a convincing argument that Arnold’s treachery galvanized colonists, Shribman concludes.
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