Animal-safety bill ceremony
Gov. Charlie Baker holds a ceremony to mark the signing of “An Act Preventing Animal Suffering and Death,” a bill originally filed Sen. Mark Montigny to protect pets trapped in vehicles, Ashburton Park, 1 p.m.
Attorney General Maura Healey offers welcoming remarks at the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Units’ Opioid Symposium, 100 Cambridge St., Conference Room B, Boston, 8:45 a.m.
Sen. Joseph Boncore is among the judges at the Department of Agricultural Resources’ 32nd annual Massachusetts Tomato Contest at Boston Public Market’s demo kitchen in Haymarket Square. Agriculture Commissioner John Lebeaux acts as emcee, 100 Hanover St., Boston, 11 a.m.
Milton officials back Joyce in home controversy, blast Globe coverage
In a pretty amazing turn of events, three members of Milton’s board of assessors say state Sen. Brian Joyce did nothing wrong when it came to the remodeling and apparent under-assessment of his Milton home – and the vice chairman of the board blasted the Boston Globe for news coverage that brought “undue scrutiny” to Joyce’s dealings in Milton, reports Jack Sullivan at CommonWealth magazine. “If the (Globe) reporter had contacted the assessor’s office, it is my belief the article would have been very different, if it was written at all,” James Henderson read from a written statement. “I doubt any taxpayer in Milton would want to go through what this taxpayer (Joyce) is going through. It’s just not fair.”
In effect, the assessors are saying the Globe’s story that Joyce may have shortchanged the town on property taxes by not telling them about past renovations is simply wrong on many counts. But in an earlier Commonwealth article by Sullivan, Globe editor Scott Allen said the paper stands by its story and has proof there were home renovations made by Joyce without the town’s knowledge. He also said that Joyce declined to talk to the Globe. “The assessors have not been in the house since 2002,” Allen said. “The house has clearly been renovated since 2002. We’re not wrong.”
This has become a very strange story about a story, with two completely opposite explanations about what happened.
Scott Brown dragged into nasty Fox News sexual harassment suit filed by former Weld aide
Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s name has popped up in the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Fox News by former host Andrea Tantaros, who claims Brown made sexually inappropriate comments to her while on set and put his hands on her lower waist, reports the Globe’s Tracy Lan. Brown, who isn’t named as a defendant in the suit, adamantly denied the accusations by Tantaros, who once served as communications director for Massachusetts Gov. William Weld. “Her statement about our limited on-air, green-room interactions are false,” Brown said. “There were never any circumstances of any kind whatsoever in which I had any interaction with her or any other employee at Fox, outside the studio.” Meanwhile, Gail Huff is defending her hubbie. “It’s all a lie, it’s all a fabrication,” Huff told the Herald’s Inside Track. “It’s all an attempt to bolster a lawsuit that appears to be meritless.”
But Tantaros and other females at Fox News aren’t backing down from their assertions about a culture of sexism at Fox. “Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values,” Tantaros said in her suit. “But behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny.”
Pipe dream: Spectra vows to push ahead with pipeline project, despite withdrawal by utilities
Spectra Energy is vowing to keep pushing for the proposed Access Northeast pipeline project in New England, even though both Eversource and National Grid have withdrawn their applications for approval of natural gas transportation and storage contracts tied to the project, reports Michael Norton at State House News Service. In filings with the Department of Public Utilities, Eversource and National Grid cited last week’s surprise Supreme Judicial Court decision barring ratepayer financing of pipeline projects for their move to end their Access Northeast agreements. But Arthur Diestel, stakeholder outreach director at Spectra Energy, said Sprectra isn’t giving up. “We are committed to assuring that Access Northeast remains on track to meet strong demand in Massachusetts and New England to bring to the region the energy that is so desperately needed,” he said.
The long arm of DOT
As Massachusetts switches to a cashless tolling system on the Mass Pike and other roadways, cracking down on toll scofflaws without transponders is going to take on greater importance. As a result, state transportation chief Stephanie Pollack is planning to send letters to her counterparts in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island, asking them to help the Bay State to get their drivers to pay up for cruising through the state without paying tolls, reports MassLive’s Gintautas Dumcius. Massachusetts already has “toll violation enforcement reciprocity” agreements with Maine and New Hampshire – and Pollack is effectively asking for similar agreements with other nearby states. In the past, state DOT officials have said Connecticut motorists are the top out-of-state toll scofflaws.
Fresolo campaign draws scrutiny
State elections officials are closely watching the campaign launched by John Fresolo, a former Democratic state representative who resigned three years ago amid an ethics investigation, to regain his old Worcester seat by using the United Independent Party to gain access to the Nov. 8 ballot, Frank Phillips of the Globe reports. Officials have taken note of a surge in UIP registrations in the city of Worcester and are concerned that Fresolo may be pressuring voters to switch their registration. Ironically, the new voters rounded up by Fresolo are not being welcomed by UIP founder Evan Falchuk, who needs his party to grow to avoid losing its automatic place on ballots. “His alleged behavior is abusive and unethical — if not illegal,’’ Falchuk told Phillips. “The UIP totally and completely disavows him.”
Child Advocate: No more room at DCF
The Department of Children and Families is at capacity and straining at the seams as the number of children it places in foster and group homes has grown in the past two years, Matt Stout of the Herald reports. Child Advocate Maria Mossaides says the agency is “at capacity” and is dealing with almost 9,500 children in various capacities, up 10 percent since the start of the Baker administration.
Colleges lament teaching-assistant union ruling
A decision by the National Labor Relations Board clearing the way for teaching assistants at private universities—including those still enrolled in graduate school—to join unions has some Boston colleges worrying that the issue will become a campus distraction, Greg Ryan reports in the Boston Business Journal. Harvard Yard is expected to be a flash point for the issue—most of the 3,000 graduate student workers there have indicated a desire to unionize.
Fishing port mayors blast Obama plan
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell is joining forces with a fellow city leader from the opposite coast to voice opposition to President Obama’s plan to create marine monument areas that they say could damage local fishing industries, Steve Urbon of the Standard-Times reports. Both Mitchell and Monterey, Calif. Mayor Clyde Roberson have written to the Obama White House to express their “serious concerns” about the impacts of any monument declaration.
What did Baker know and when did he know it?
The Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League is claiming that Gov. Charlie Baker knew in advance that Attorney General Maura Healey was planning to crack down on the sale of copycat assault weapons and did not step in to stop it, reports Evan Lips of the New Boston Post. A spokesperson did not address the question of when Baker was aware of Healey’s plans, although Healey’s office has previously said that it informed the governor’s staff in advance about its intention to crack down on assault weapons. GOAL, which has led protests against Healey’s actions, is also no fan of Baker, having backed his Republican rival, Mark Fisher, in the 2014 primaries, Lips notes.
SJC revives suit over lost high school graduation
The state Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that a lower court wrongly tossed out a lawsuit by a former Lee high school student who was suspended and prohibited from graduating with her class—even though she eventually got her diploma three years ago, Bob Dunn of the Berkshire Eagle reports. Kathleen Goodwin was suspended because the school thought she’d been charged with a felony when in fact she faced a misdemeanor charge of receiving stolen property. Because she already has her diploma in hand, any lawsuit that proceeds would include compensation for the lost opportunity to graduate along with the rest of her class.
Trump lags in Mass. fundraising
Despite his strong showing in the GOP primary here, Donald Trump is lagging well behind both Hillary Clinton and past Republican standard-bearers in terms of Bay State fundraising, Tracy Jan and Victoria McGrane of the Globe report. Trump had raised less than $700,000 here as of July 31—before two recent fundraisers—compared to nearly $11 million for Clinton. Mitt Romney raised almost $12 million locally in 2012 and John McCain managed to scrounge up more than $4 million in 2008. “A typical Republican politician would do pretty well in Massachusetts, but Donald Trump is not a typical Republican politician,” said Bob Maginn, Mass. GOP chair and Romney donor Bob Magian.
Matt Taibbi: Don’t bet against Schilling beating Liz
Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi thinks former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling might do better in a race against Elizabeth Warren than many people think, if only because he may be the heir apparent to Donald Trump’s “white-guy grievance movement,” after Trump’s likely drubbing by Hillary Clinton this November: “Having proven incapable of running a business, being a good steward of either his own money or the taxpayers’, or holding down the world’s cushiest job, Schilling naturally decided to get into politics. Don’t bet against him winning a Senate seat in my home state of Massachusetts, either. His would be a victory for the cause of ignorance and tone-deafness perhaps even exceeding Trump’s capture of the Republican nomination.”
Read it all. It’s pretty funny, except for Taibbi’s almost obsessive rants against white guys. We happen to know a lot of white guys who are: A.) not angry B.) not Trump supporters C.) not ignorant D.) actually decent husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, friends, colleagues, citizens etc. But to point this out is most un-PC these days, so we better be quiet or we’ll be accused of being angry white guys.
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