Happening Today

Airline bag fees

U.S. Senator Edward Markey joins Massport CEO Thomas Glynn and John Breyault of the National Consumers League for a press conference calling on airlines to suspend checked bag fees this summer in an effort to help alleviate long security checkpoint lines at airports, Terminal E Arrival level, Boston Logan International Airport, 11 a.m.

‘Ask the Mayor’

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, whose administration is now engulfed in controversy over yesterday’s indictment of his tourism chief, is a scheduled guest on Boston Public Radio where he’ll speak to co-hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on their “Ask the Mayor” segment, WGBH-FM 89.7, noon.

‘Bay State Business Link’

Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo and Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Rooney host the inaugural Bay State Business Link, a partnership between DeLeo’s office and the chamber to spur business-to-business collaboration across all regions of the state, Springfield Technical Community College, Scibelli Hall, 10 a.m.

Today’s Stories

Marty ‘Damaged Goods’ Walsh

Poor Marty Walsh. Pundits barely had time to read the indictment of Kenneth Brissette — Walsh’s director of tourism, sports, and entertainment who was charged yesterday with “union-related extortion” – before pronouncing that Walsh’s re-election prospects were now in serious jeopardy.

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “Mayor Martin J. Walsh has gone from unbeatable incumbent to damaged goods in just months, a shockingly quick descent that’s left him politically exposed a year before he faces voters. And it could get worse.” Meanwhile, the Herald’s Howie Carr is referring to Walsh as “Mayor One-and-Done.”

We have to admit we were among those whose initial reaction to Brissette’s arrest and indictment was: “Extortion in the exchange for what?” The warnings of civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate – who has repeatedly complained of fed overreach in prosecuting people for what many would consider normal political behavior – did jump to mind.

No matter, since the more you read about the case, such as Adrian Walker’s column in the Globe this morning, the more you realize that Walsh himself is probably the target of the feds. Walker: “This isn’t just an indictment of Brissette. It is an indictment of the way this administration does business, and the way it — perhaps illegally — protects its allies in labor.”

In other words: Walsh is damaged goods.

Common Cause going after GOP fundraising machine

Common Cause and other reformers are pushing new legislation that takes direct aim at the Massachusetts Republican Party’s collection of huge amounts of money under federal campaign rules, effectively dodging more strict state-mandated limits, the Globe’s Frank Phillips reports. The main thrust of the legislation is to reverse a recent decision by the Office of Campaign and Political Finance that found Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito weren’t violating a 1998 state law that bans state political figures from using federally raised donations.

Boston Globe

Baker appears to be in trance-like denial over Weld’s VP bid

Gov. Charlie Baker was expressing skepticism yesterday that former Gov. William Weld will really and truly take the plunge and run as vice president on the Libertarian party ticket, even though Weld indeed has announced he’s running, Tori Bedford of WGBH reports. Baker declined to say if he’d cast a vote for his former boss. “I’ve been assuming for awhile, at this point, that I’m probably not going to be voting at that level for anybody.”


Romney rules out third-party bid

With the earth-shaking news that one former Massachusetts governor was jumping into the presidential race (Bill Weld, as the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential candidate), we missed the news that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has officially ruled out a third-party presidential bid and has stopped recruiting others to attempt their own third-party quest, as reported by New Boston Post’s Blake Neff.

New Boston Post

Marzilli seeks pension boost because voters terminated his job

Former Sen. Jim Marzilli is seeking a $12,000-a-year boost to his pension, saying he is entitled to a Termination Retirement Allowance because he lost his 2008 re-election bid after being arrested on sexual misconduct charges, Laurel Sweet and Matt Stout of the Herald report. Marzilli said his staff submitted a resignation letter without his knowledge and argues that he is entitled to the extra pay because he was in the end terminated from his job by voters.

Boston Herald

The Issue That Won’t Go Away: Solar caps

The issue that many legislators would prefer to go away isn’t going away: A month after Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill raising the cap on solar net metering—following five months of legislative wrangling—some in the industry are already saying the cap needs to be lifted yet again, Bruce Mohl of CommonWealth Magazine reports. The higher cap on private solar projects is already bumping up against the limit in National Grid territory, Mohl reports.


Stodgy old GM goes after Zipcar in Boston

General Motors Co. is set to launch its car-sharing startup Maven in Boston later this year, competing directly with Boston-based Zipcar Inc. and other firms, the Boston Business Journal’s Sara Castellanos reports. Maven, which allows users to find and rent cars through a mobile app by the hour or by the day, is already available in New York City, Chicago and Ann Arbor, Michigan. “We think Boston is a really strong city for car sharing and we know the appetite was big, and there are a lot of players in the space, but we think Maven offers a little more refined experience,” said Annalisa Bluhm, manager for Urban Mobility Communications at GM.


Meanwhile, stodgy old Liberty Mutual jumps into venture capital

What’s going on with all these old-line companies jumping into cutting-edge businesses in Boston? Next up: Boston’s Liberty Mutual, the giant insurance company, has launched a new venture capital arm, with a $150 million fund to invest in early-stage, tech-service hybrid companies, reports BostoInno’s Olivia Vanni. In January, Liberty Mutual also announced it was starting an incubator, Solaria Labs, that would occupy space in WeWork’s South Station location.


McGovern: ‘This Congress is just too damn chicken to do its job’

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern is still trying to prod Congress into officially authorizing the current military action in the Middle East. He recently posted his latest House floor speech over at BlueMassGroup. An excerpt:

“I guess this Congress is just too damn chicken to do its job when it comes to war and we’re going to kick the can into the 115th Congress. Every single member of this House should be ashamed. Our collective silence – our collective indifference – is dismissive of our Constitutional responsibility. This chamber is guilty of moral cowardice. I urge my colleagues to show some backbone and demand that the Majority Leadership of this House carry out its constitutional duty to debate and vote on an AUMF for Iraq and Syria.”


Lowell clinic turns away addicts due to lack of counselors

A Lowell opioid-addiction treatment clinic says it has closed admission to new patients because it can’t find enough counselors to match demand, Todd Feathers of the Lowell Sun reports. The ratio of patients to counselors at the Habit OPCO clinic is as high as 95 to 1, while an ideal level is 75 to 1. 

Lowell Sun

MGM prez feels the buzz as project advances

MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis says he feels excitement building in the city now that work has begun in earnest on the $950 million downtown resort casino project expected to open in the fall of 2018, Peter Goonan of MassLive reports. “I think there is a sense this is coming to life,” Mathis said after meeting with about 50 downtown residents. “It’s nice to have that energy back.”


Sunday public affairs TV

On The Record, WCVB TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. Guest is Dr. Tommy Chang, Boston School Superintendent

Matter of Fact with Fernando Espuelas, WCVB TV, 11:30 a.m. Guests include U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), who will discuss trade agreements, tax policy, and efforts to promote renewable energy, and Politico reporter Hadas Gold, who discusses the campaign of Bernie Sanders and other presidential candidates.

CityLine, WCVB TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. Discussion of opioid crisis with DPH Commissioner Monica Bharel M.D.

This Week in Business, NECN, 12:30 p.m. Tom Hopcroft, Mass Technology Leadership Council CEO, and Bobbie Carlton, founder of Innovation Women, talk about the state’s tech sector; Barbara Erickson, president & CEO of The Trustees, talks about the organization and its plans for the summer season.

CEO Corner, NECN, 8:30 p.m. Clayton Spencer, the president of Bates College, talks about the school, its mission and the importance of a liberal arts education.

Today’s Headlines


What the indictment of Boston’s top tourism official means for the Walsh administration – WBUR

Ken Brissette’s arrest puts Marty Walsh on the defensive – Boston Herald

Union chief says he had no knowledge of alleged wrongdoing – Boston Globe

City official arraigned on extortion charge, released on bond – Boston Globe


Bill pushed by Common Cause would rein in GOP fund-raising – Boston Globe

Disgraced ex-solon Jim Marzilli says he deserves pension bonus – Boston Herald

Crash sparks call for tighter marijuana regs – Boston Herald

MGM president Mike Mathis said he hears the excitement as casino project moves forward – MassLive

Worcester police promote first African-American captain, new deputy chief – MassLive

Gov. Charlie Baker: Investigation into trooper’s death raises questions about marijuana legalization – MassLive

Worcester city manager seeks emergency crackdown on illegal use dirt bikes – Telegram & Gazette

Solar cap clamor resurfacing already – CommonWealth Magazine

Gov. Baker unconvinced by talk of Weld VP run – WGBH

State economy on ‘precarious footing’ – Worcester Business Journal

Lowell opioid clinic forced to turn away addicts – Lowell Sun


House GOP defeats gay rights measure, prompting shouts of ‘shame’ – Boston Globe

Trump rehashed ‘rape’ allegation against Bill Clinton – Boston Globe

Congress, White House strike rescue deal for Puerto Rico – Boston Globe

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