Climate change order
Gov. Charlie Baker joins Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton and legislative leaders to sign a Climate Change Strategy Executive Order, Room 157, 11:45 a.m.
Gov. Baker, MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack and MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve visit the Perkins School for the Blind and announce the launch of a paratransit partnership with Uber and Lyft, 175 North Beacon Street, Watertown, 2 p.m.
Baker ‘deeply disappointed’ by marine monument designation
The Baker administration is siding with fishermen over President Obama’s decision to create a new marine monument about 130 miles southeast of Cape Cod, saying it is “deeply disappointed” and that the move will undermine the state’s fishing industry, SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports (pay wall). But Obama said yesterday that the designation, which will ultimately lead to a ban on commercial fishing in the area, is necessary to protect a “fragile ecosystem” at a time of major climate changes. The Globe’s Laura Crimaldi has more reactions from both local environmentalists and fishermen.
Federal judge questions Teamsters sentencing deal
A federal judge is questioning what appears to be a rather lenient sentencing deal for a Teamsters member who has pleaded guilty to pressuring producers of the “Top Chef” TV show to hire union workers, reports the Herald’s Jordan Graham. “What’s been agreed on here is a substantial variance and departure from the guidelines, and I’m going to scrutinize that very carefully,” said U.S. Judge Douglas P. Woodlock of the house-confinement deal for Mark Harrington, former secretary-treasurer Teamsters Local 25. The case is tied to the overall federal investigation into alleged strong-arm tactics on behalf of unions by those in and out of City Hall.
Data shows drought deepening
New data shows more than half of Massachusetts is now in extreme drought conditions, the first time that much of the Bay State has been so parched, Lisa Creamer of WBUR reports. The U.S. Drought Monitor released new data Thursday showing a 30 percent increase in the area of the state now in extreme drought and 98 percent in at least a moderate drought condition.
Still, even communities that have taken drastic steps to address the drought have yet to begin backing up enforcement of water bans. In Worcester, which this week was forced to activate a plan to buy $1.7 million worth of water from the MWRA, the city continues to issue warnings to residents caught violating the complete ban on outdoor watering, Cyrus Moultonof the Telegram reports. The city has sent more than 100 letters to property owners who have not complied, but has yet to issue a single $100 fine for a first offense.
Kerry’s planned future sounds an awful lot like Al Gore’s post-VP career
Secretary of State John Kerry, who will be out of a job in five months, plans to move back to Beacon Hill when the Obama administration ends and hopefully dedicate his time to environmental causes, possibly within the private sector, reports the Globe’s Victoria McGrane. “I will certainly want to stay involved somehow on issues that matter to me, I think particularly on the environment,” Kerry said “The environment is something I’ve been involved in all my life.’’ Sounds like a career path first blazed by Al Gore following his unsuccessful bid for president in 2000 – an environmental career path that ultimately led to a small fortune and a Nobel Prize. It would be hard for Kerry, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2004, to beat that post-public office record of achievement. But who knows?
Moulton backs legalizing marijuana
U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton came out in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, putting him in direct conflict with a number of top politicians, including Gov. Charlie Baker. Moulton told WGBH’s Boston Public Radio that the state has “an obligation to regulate it and make it as safe as possible” and said legalization would help address issues related to pot use, such as driving under the influence of the drug.
DCR patronage update
Earlier this month, the Herald’s Matthew Stout counted at least five members of the Republican state committee with jobs at the Baker Administration’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, the same agency that threw a private bash using state resources and the same agency whose top two administrators were suspended for their party-hearty ways. Now the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld brings the updated DCR patronage count to nearly a dozen. He names names and lists the salaries.
Warren to FBI: Quid pro quo on emails, please
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has sent a letter to the FBI basically saying that if it’s going to release embarrassing emails from Hillary Clinton’s private computer server, all in the name of transparency, then it should also release the emails, notes and documents of those tied to any investigation of the 2008 Wall Street financial collapse, the Globe’s Victoria McGrane reports. The FBI opened up this can of worms, not Warren. So why not turn over the Wall Street documents? In the name of transparency, of course.
Peyser’s blunt message met with boisterous response at UMass Boston
With the University of Massachusetts Boston facing a $22.3 million budget gap, staff cuts and major construction overruns, state Education Secretary James Peyser delivered a blunt message yesterday to school officials about the need to control spending – and he received an equally blunt and boisterous message back from faculty members demanding more state funding, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine. “Educational leaders need to become increasingly hardheaded in separating the wheat from the chaff,” said Peyser, who added that UMass “can’t afford to keep marginal programs on life support in hopes that they’ll eventually get better or bigger. … Trying to be all things to all people is a formula for mediocrity.” At a protest outside, Massachusetts Teachers Association president Barbara Madeloni later said she was “chilled” by Peyser’s remarks.
How bad is it at UMass Boston? From the Globe’s Laura Krantthis morning: “UMass Boston faces a $22.3 million budget gap that has brought higher tuition, cuts to about 100 adjunct professors, and fewer classes this year. … Several construction projects have been plagued by unexpected setbacks that will cost the university extra millions. A new parking garage will cost $71 million instead of $45 million, and an underground utility project will be $233 million instead of $177 million, UMass trustees learned this week.”
Meanwhile, UMass Amherst breaks ground on $62M business center
Let’s hope the folks in Amherst have better luck than UMass Boston in keeping construction costs within budget. A ceremonial groundbreaking will be held this morning at UMass Amherst for a new $62 million “business innovation hub” tied to the Isenberg School of Management, reports Jim Kinney at MassLive. The new center, expected to be completed by late 2018 and ready for occupancy by early 2019, will have 70,000 square feet for labs, classrooms, career center and other academic services.
Worcester gets OK to redevelop downtown
The city of Worcester got the green light Thursday from state officials to move forward with a massive downtown redevelopment plan, including taking property by eminent domain if necessary, the Telegram & Gazette reports. The plan identifies 21 specific properties for improvement or razing and could represent as much as $100 million in additional private and public investment in the city’s core.
T shutdown process has $3.8M price tag
Late every night, the MBTA follows a convoluted shutdown process for its subway system, a procedure that may cost the agency $3.8 million annually—enough to pay for late night service, former Transportation Secretary James Alioisi writes in CommonWealth Magazine.
Healey: Supreme Court’s Backpage.com ruling could help locally
Attorney General Maura Healey is expressing optimism that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling clearing the way for the Senate to compel Backpage.com to provide documentation will have a positive impact on local efforts to shut down the site’s sex listings, Dan Atkinson of the Herald reports. Law firm Ropes & Gray has asked the Supreme Court to reinstate a lawsuit it filed on behalf of sex trafficking victims.
Sunday public affairs TV
DC Dialogue, NECN, 10 a.m. Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos talks about his latest presidential poll in Ohio which shows Trump ahead and New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell talks about the Offshore Wind industry in his city. Plus, concerns for the fishing industry following the designation of a major offshore area as a national marine monument.
On The Record, WCVB TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. Guest: Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and State House reporter Janet Wu.
This week in Business, NECN, 11 a.m. Jim Rooney, the Greater Boston Chamber CEO, talks about the state’s 3.9 percent unemployment rate, driverless car testing in the city and plans to privatize more functions at the MBTA. Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, discusses the impact of no sales tax holiday, and Doug Banks, editor of the Boston Business Journal Editor, reviews other key business stories of the week.
CEO Corner, NECN, 11:30 a.m. Celia Clancy, chief executive of Country Curtains, talks about how she is looking to reinvigorate and expand the 60-year-old brand.
CityLine, WCVB TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s focus: The 2016 Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival: A Sneak Peek with the City Music All Stars.
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