Happening Today

Budget conference committee

Six House and Senate members hold their first conference committee to try to iron out chamber differences over the proposed $39.5 million state budget, Room 212, State House, 9 a.m.

Recognizing accomplishments of addiction-recovery students

Gov. Charlie Baker joins Action for Boston Community Development’s William Ostiguy High School officials to acknowledge the accomplishments of six addiction recovery students, AMC Loews Boston Common, 175 Tremont St., Boston, 12:10 p.m.

Devens 20th Anniversary

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito delivers remarks at a celebration commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Army’s closing of Fort Devens and ensuing redevelopment of the area for civilian uses, Fort Devens, 12:30 p.m.

Healey at memorial dedication for Charlestown activist

Attorney General Healey plans to make remarks at the memorial dedication for David Whelan, a lifelong Charlestown resident and community activist, Drydock2, First Ave., Navy Yard, Charlestown, 11:15 a.m.

Today’s Stories

Better luck next year: Despite Senate passage, zoning reform is going nowhere

The Massachusetts Senate yesterday approved a sweeping zoning reform bill aimed at spurring construction of new housing and encouraging sustainable growth, but even its supporters admitted the chances of the bill becoming law this session are slim to none, reports Colin A. Young of State House News Service. Supporters noted House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s lukewarm (at best) interest in tackling the issue and the general political challenge of an overhaul designed to overcome restrictive local zoning laws, so some senators were already talking about the ‘long game’ of pushing the bill into next year.

“What this discussion has clearly exposed is the complexity and political difficulty of this bill,” Sen. William Brownsberger. No kidding. With both municipalities and many builders expressing serious reservations about the legislation, that’s almost a textbook definition of a “political difficulty.”

SHNS (pay wall)

And in this corner is Liz ‘Sledgehammer’ Warren …

The NYT’s Jennifer Steinhauer has come up with a possible new nickname for Liz Warren, at least for the duration of the presidential campaign: The Sledgehammer, for Warren’s constant pounding away at Donald Trump.

With her endorsement yesterday of Hillary Clinton, Sledgehammer sounded ready to continue serving as Sledgehammer in Chief for the Clinton campaign. “I am ready to get in this fight and work my heart out for Hillary Clinton to become the next president of the United States, and to make sure that Donald Trump never gets anyplace close to the White House,” Warren told 
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last night, according to a report by the Herald’s Kimberly Atkins.

Warren is also still in contention to be Hillary’s vice presidential running mate, not just serving as the Sledgehammer, a role that would put Warren in an ideological bind, the Globe’s Joan Vennochi rightly notes: “The bigger question is whether she can be the principled, uncompromising progressive worshipped by the party’s left wing and do what needs to be done for Clinton as a vice presidential candidate — and, if Clinton wins, as vice president. Warren’s heart and soul really are with Sanders on the issues. But, for better or worse, she’s with Clinton now. And Clinton’s lucky to have her.”

Romney Summit: Already plotting ahead to 2020?

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s so-called Experts and Enthusiasts summit, or E2, in Utah is attracting a who’s who of the Republican Party. The main topic expected at the summit? Of course: Donald Trump. And what to do with Donald Trump. But it sure looks like the focus of the summit is about the post-Trump era of the Republican Party, i.e. plans for future presidential elections, the Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Dan Balz report.

“I am not expecting we will sit by the campfire singing ‘We Shall Overcome’ and group-hugging,” said GOP strategist Ana Navarro, a Trump critic. “Mitt Romney and other like-minded leaders can have a big influence on the reconstruction of the post-Trump Republican Party. We need to start those conversations now.”

Washington Post

‘Five Fun Ways to Protest Donald Trump’s Boston Fundraiser’

Kyle Scott Clauss of Boston magazine has complied a list of five nonviolent ways people can protest Donald Trump’s planned fundraiser in Boston on Monday. We weren’t thrilled with all the suggestions, though we sort of liked the taco bowls idea. How about everyone wearing Elizabeth Warren Halloween-like plastic masks? That’ll bug Donald to no end. We’ll give this more thought over the weekend.

Boston magazine

Mannal drops out race — and politics — at a candidates’ debate

State Rep. Brian Mannal used the unusual setting of a Democratic candidates’ debate to announce he will drop out of the race for the Cape and Island Senate seat and retire from politics, Geoff Spillane of the Cape Cod Times reports. Mannal used his opening statement to read a statement announcing his decision, citing “the dark side of politics,” then left to a round of applause. “Sadly, the unpleasant, hostile and frustrating experiences associated with running for and serving as a public official take a toll on one’s personal and familial life,” he said.

Cape Cod Times

Municipal pension burdens reaching breaking point

The Boston Business Journal’s Craig Douglas has a big story on the state of municipal pension systems – and it’s not pretty. About 20 of the state’s 104 pension systems have fewer than $1 saved for every $2 owed to retirees and dozens more are below the 70 percent funding threshold considered healthy among pension experts. From Douglas: “Tops on the list is the city of Springfield, which has a dollar saved for every $4 in payments owed to its 6,000 or so current and future retirees. “ That amounts to $750 million in unfunded IOUs.  

As it is, MassLive’s Peter Goonan reports on how Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno announced yesterday the creation of new pension reserve fund with an initial sum of $721,487 as part of an “aggressive” push to fully fund the system by 2035. Only 1,038 similar-size payments to go, mayor!


State deliberately draws the short straw on GE buildings

Somehow, it’s turned out that the state – not the Boston Redevelopment Authority – is going to be the thankless new owner and landlord of two of the three planned General Electric headquarters buildings in Boston’s Seaport, reports the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock. 

It’s still a free-rent bargain for GE, but it’s also a bargain for the city of Boston, which no longer has to worry about coming up with the dough to buy the buildings for GE. So why in heaven’s name would the state offer to take over Boston’s burden? “The easiest and fastest way of moving this project forward was working with MassDevelopment,” said Paul McMorrow, a spokesman for the state’s economic development office, according to a story by the Herald’s Jordan Graham. “It became apparent we were asking the city of Boston and the BRA to jump through hoops they did not need to jump through.” Not much of an explanation, but it will have to do for now.

Baker makes clear he’s no fan of north-south rail link

Gov. Charlie Baker left little doubt about where he stands on whether the state should invest in the proposed North-South Rail Link project that enjoys the support of two of his predecessors, Jon Chesto of the Globe reports. Although he says he has an open mind, Baker said he believes any major investments should be put into the MBTA’s existing infrastructure to improve performance. “We’ll do the study,” Baker said. “But I really want the investment to be in the core system.”

Boston Globe

Carmen’s union slams the brakes on T’s new absenteeism, overtime policies

Speaking of the MBTA, the Boston Carmen’s Union has filed a grievance over the MBTA’s new absenteeism and overtime policies, saying the agency unilaterally made the changes without proper negotiations, CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports. Union president James O’Brien said the union supports a strong attendance policy, but noted that members were merely following past management dictates before recent changes. “The fact is that for years, MBTA management implemented a system that advised employees to consistently misuse the Family Medical Leave Act,” he said.


Dudley ZBA rejects Muslim cemetery application

The Dudley Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously voted to reject an application from the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester to create a Muslim cemetery in the town, Debbie LaPlaca reports in the Telegram. The board said the society’s legal interest in the property eyed for the cemetery is not clear. The Islamic Society said it would appeal the decision.

The Telegram

Plainridge launches betting-control system

Plainridge Park Casino has rolled out a first-of-its kind technology that enables gamblers to pre-set limits on how much they drop into slot machines at the state’s only operating casino, George Brennan of the Cape Cod Times reports. The Play My Way system warns gamblers when they approach the limits they set for themselves, but does not preclude them from continuing to wager.

Cape Cod Times

‘Trump effect’ drives citizenship applications in New Bedford

Immigrant advocates in the New Bedford area say they are seeing a surge in applications for citizenship that they attribute to fears of a Donald Trump presidency, Auditi Guha reports in the Standard-Times. Citizenship classes that typically enrolled a handful of students now see three times that number and the overall number of applications is up from 150 at this point last year to 238 so far in 2016. “People are in a panic situation about what’s going to happen to immigration policy,” Helena DaSilva Hughes, executive director of the Immigrants’ Assistance Center.


Grand Prix refund well runs dry

Grand Prix of Boston has run through $400,000 it set aside for refunds to those who bought tickets to the now non-event in Boston, leaving some fans in the lurch, Mark Arsenault of the Globe reports. The organizers of the IndyCar race planned for Southie in September say they used some of the ticket revenue to lay groundwork for the event before it was canceled and are now trying to recover deposits from vendors to repay the remaining ticket holders.

Boston Globe

Fair game: Questioning foreign dignitaries about their sports allegiances

Those seeking to advance their foreign capital’s interests within Red Sox Nation could do worse than claiming affinity for the home team. Speaking ahead of Yehuda Yaakov, the consul general of Israel to New England, Gov. Charlie Baker spoke to the official’s diplomatic approach to fandom. “He grew up in Queens and he’s not a Yankee or a Mets fan or even a Giants or a Jets fan. Or you just lie about that because you’re here. I don’t know the answer to that,” Baker said at an event Wednesday celebrating Israeli-Massachusetts business ties. “He purports to be a Red Sox and a Patriots fan.”

— Andy Metzger / State House News Service

Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ TV, 8:30 a.m., Guest: Boston Mayor Martin Walsh will talk about violent crime and the “stop snitching” controversy, the federal probe of union activities, and party politics.

Boston College Chief Executives Club with Steve Wynn, NECN, 10 a.m., a replay of Wynn Resorts chairman Steve Wynn’s address to the Boston College Chief Executives Club earlier this week in Boston.

On The Record, WCVB TV, 11 a.m. Stephanie Pollack, secretary of transportation, is this week’s guest.

This Week in Business, NECN, 11 a.m Shirley Leung, associate editor of the Boston Globe, and Doug Banks, editor of the Boston Business Journal, discuss a number of the week’s top business stories, including a new study showing concern about growth in the city and Boston as the future host of the U-S China Climate Summit.

CEO Corner, NECN, 11:30 a.m., Shawmut Design and Construction CEO Less Hiscoe on some of the major projects they’ve worked on in the city and throughout New England.  

CityLine, WCVB TV, 12 p.m. Darlene Love, a Grammy winning artist and one of the subjects of Academy Award winning documentary ‘20 Feet from Stardom,’ joins CityLine for an entire episode to discuss early life in the business and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Today’s Headlines


In China, Mayor Walsh found little time to be a tourist – Boston Globe

Pagliuca family gets split decision on Back Bay garages – Boston Globe

Battenfeld: Kenneth Brissette was lobbied to kill rival festival – Boston Herald


Study: UMass Dartmouth generates half billion dollars for state economy – Standard-Times

Worries of Trump effect spur New Bedford immigrants to apply for citizenship in ‘record’ numbers – Standard-Times

Renovation of horse race track begins at Brockton Fairgrounds – Brockton Enterprise

Councilors: Opioid crisis a ‘state of emergency’ – Standard-Times

How many women are among the top 100 best-paid executives in Mass? Try two – Boston Business Journal

Marijuana proponents point to reduced teen use in push for legalization – Boston Business Journal

Mannal withdraws from state Senate race – Cape Cod Times

Lawrence council rejects Rivera’s $260M budget – Eagle-Tribune

Ashland school board looks for transgender sports policy – MetroWest Daily News

Whitman Rep. Geoff Diehl stands by his support of Trump – Patriot Ledger

Salem explores free public wifi – Salem News

Dudley zoning board rejects Muslim cemetery application – Telegram & Gazette

Massachusetts Senate passes zoning overhaul – MassLive

State sides with Herald on transit police pensions – Boston Herald

Carmen’s union grieves new sick leave policy – Boston Herald

Plainridge Casino agrees to cut odds on problem gaming – Boston Globe

Baker’s clear he’s no fan of North-South Rail Link – Boston Globe


Knock knock. Is anyone home at Donald Trump’s NH campaign? – Boston Globe

Warren finally delivers her long coveted endorsement – Boston Globe

Clinton to Trump: Delete your account – Boston Globe

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