AIM’s global trade breakfast
Gov. Charlie Baker is scheduled as the keynote speaker for Associated Industries of Massachusetts’ Global Trade Symposium and Awards Breakfast, Gillette Stadium, Putnam Club, Foxborough, with Baker’s keynote at 8:30 a.m., awards at 9 a.m., and a business panel on trade, 9:30 a.m.
The Pension Reserves Investment Management Board meets with Treasurer Deborah Goldberg as chair, 84 State St., second floor, Boston, 9:30 a.m.
Report on marijuana possession arrests
The ACLU and the Yes on 4 campaign, which is seeking to legalize adult use of marijuana, host a press conference to release a new report detailing marijuana possession arrests in Massachusetts, Roxbury District Court, 85 Warren St., Boston, 11 a.m.
MBTA and MassDOT meeting
The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board will meet with the MassDOT Board of directors, 10 Park Plaza, second floor, 12 p.m.
Rep. Tackey Chan is scheduled to speak, followed by Ambassador Zhang Qiyue, Chinese consul general in New York, at a China Day event co-sponsored by the consulate and the Legislature’s Asian Caucus, Great Hall, State House, 12:30 p.m.
Deborah Becker will host a WBUR panel discussion between supporters and opponents of Question 4, which would legalize marijuana, Beaufort Hotel, 47 Commercial St., Gloucester, 5 p.m.
Transgender repeal deadline
Opponents of the new law aimed at banning discrimination against transgender individuals have until today to turn in certified signatures to place their proposal on the 2018 ballot.
Carmen’s Union blocks trucks from exiting T money room
In protest of the T’s plan to privatize its money-room operations, the Carmen’s Union has set up a picket line and was blocking MBTA trucks from leaving the Charlestown facility this morning, reports the Globe’s John Ellement. “We are standing up for our members today and we are standing up for our riders,” union president James O’Brien told the Globe. “Privatization does not work.’’
The action is a major escalation in the showdown between the union and the T, which is eyeing a number of privatization moves at the financially struggling transit agency. In the case of the money room, the MBTA is poised to award a contract to Brink’s Inc. to oversee operations, in the first major privatization move since lawmakers gave the T sweeping powers to overhaul the agency, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports.
Baker vows further management shakeup at troubled agencies
Heads continued to roll yesterday with the firing and resignation of two politically wired staffers at Gov. Charlie Baker’s embattled Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld and Matt Stout report. A third staffer tied to a plot to “coerce” a state worker to get her Democratic fiancé to drop out of a state senate race has also been demoted, the Herald reports. The trio are just the latest casualties in the ongoing string of patronage-related scandals engulfing Baker’s environmental office and the agency it oversees, the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Baker is vowing to make further management changes, though it seems his energy and environmental secretary, Matt Beaton, and his former campaign driver, James C. McGinn, are safe, for now.
“I have a lot of faith in Matt Beaton,” said Baker at a press conference yesterday. After all the patronage crud that’s gone on under Beaton, himself a former GOP state representative? OK. … Kevin Franck at the Herald: Why aren’t Democrats making a bigger stink about the stink from Baker’s environmental and parks agencies?
Maybe the mid-year budget cuts won’t be that deep
The state’s tax revenue outlook modestly improved last month, raising hopes that mid-year budget cuts might not be as severe as expected, the Globe’s Joshua Miller reports. But there’s a big “but” to the September numbers: After accounting for the state skipping its annual sales tax holiday this year, revenues have generally been flat. Meaning? The economy could be slowing and bigger problems may lie ahead, Miller writes.
Retailers bemoan loss of tax-holiday sales
The Retailers Association of Massachusetts says the legislature’s decision to forego a sale tax holiday this summer left many retailers with lighter pockets. Sales were 45 percent lower than the same week a year ago—when the holiday was staged—and down 24 percent for the month of August overall, RAM president Jon Hurst told a North Shore Chamber of Commerce meeting Wednesday, reports Ethan Forman at the Salem News. “Online competitors have a 365 day a year sales tax holiday,” Hurst said, “and this year we couldn’t get our two-day holiday.”
Charter school polls are all over the map, Part II
The latest poll on Question 2, which would lift the cap on charter schools in Massachusetts, shows 47 percent against charter schools and 34 percent in favor, with the rest undecided, according to the Western New England University Polling Institute, reports MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg. But a poll released last week by WBZ-UMass Amherst found that 49 percent support lifting the cap and 39 percent oppose it. Then again, a September poll by WBUR and the MassINC Polling Group found 48 percent against and 41 percent for. We suspect not even Nate Silver could make sense of these results. BTW: In April, Western New England’s poll showed 51 percent in favor and 26 percent opposed.
And starring Michael Beach as Deval Patrick …
Mark Wahlburg’s “Patriots Day” teaser trailer is now out on YouTube. Hopefully the movie is better than the teaser, which is pretty dull and restrained (perhaps deliberately so considering the tragic storyline). But it’s still great to view a slim John Goodman as Police Commissioner Ed Davis, Michael Beach as Gov. Deval Patrick, Kevin Bacon as FBI agent Richard DesLauriers and we thought we saw a peek of Vincent Curatola as Mayor Menino. Here’s the IMDB full listof cast and crew.
‘We know how you feel, Gary Johnson’
The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham has a field day with Bill Weld’s latest erratic behavior, this time his signaled intent to dump the Libertarian party that he only recently joined: “We know how you feel, Gary Johnson. Bill Weld stepped out on us, too. Poor pet. You and your tender New Mexico heart believed our former governor would be yours always. ‘I’m a Libertarian for life,’ our Bill declared just a few short months ago. You had to beg the small-government zealots at the party convention to accept him as your running mate.”
MWRA outlines $1.5B water tunnel fix to avert potential ‘catastrophic’ failure
The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority is eyeing a long over-due $1.5 billion upgrade of the dilapidated water tunnel system that provides 60 percent of the water to eastern Massachusetts, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton at the Enterprise. “If something went wrong and there was a leak that developed, it would be catastrophic,” says MWRA Executive Director Fred Laskey, whose agency is looking at creating redundant water flow systems that would allow it to fix the tunnel networks.
Question 4: ‘There’s something wrong with this revenue picture’
State Treasurer Deb Goldberg thinks Question 4’s proposed tax rate on legalized marijuana, assuming the ballot initiative passes next month, of 3.75 percent is “actually quite low” and she prefers the “higher the better” approach towards taxing pot, as other states have done, such as a 29 percent rate in Colorado, 37 percent in Washington and 25 percent in Alaska and Oregon, reports SHNS’s Colin Young at Wicked Local. “There’s something wrong with this revenue picture,” Goldberg said at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce event yesterday.
Meanwhile, the latest flashpoint between opponents and proponents of Question 4 is over billboard and other advertisements for pot in states where marijuana is already legal. Check out the Washington billboard shot, featuring earthy young people playing the guitar, that accompanies MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg‘s piece. Sort of looks like the famous Coca Cola “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” commercial from 1971. Also looks like old 1960s cigarette ads before they were banned.
Greater Boston Interfaith Organization is the latest to oppose Children’s expansion
Backers of the Prouty Garden and insurance companies opposing the $1B expansion of Boston Children’s Hospital, sure. Makes sense. But now the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization is voicing its opposition to the planned build-out that some say could give Children’s near monopoly status within pediatric circles in the Boston area, reports the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett. “We should all be very worried about what Massachusetts tax and premium payers may face if this project goes forward as planned,” states a GBIO letter.
Town braces for tobacco industry suit
The tiny and tony South Coast town of Marion could become the first municipality in the country to be sued by the tobacco industry if it includes menthol cigarettes in its ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products, Michael DeCicco of the Standard-Times reports. The state’s association of health boards and the Public Health Advocacy Institute say they will provide free legal support to the town if litigation results.
Campanello out at addiction recovery group too
Fired Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello is no longer associated with the addiction recovery group he co-founded, Deborah Becker of WBUR reports. John Rosenthal, who co-founded the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Institute, which aimed to help spread the work of Gloucester’s Angel Program, said the former chief stopped working with the group around the time the investigation that led to his recent dismissal began. “We are moving forward. I’m sad for what’s happened for the chief and the community of Gloucester, but it has nothing to do with PAARI and we just have to move on,” Rosenthal tells Becker.
UMass Boston weighing Uber pact
UMass Boston is considering a formal partnership with ride-hailing service Uber to offer students another way to get to the Dorchester campus, Kelly O’Brien reports at the Boston Business Journal. Since it already runs free shuttles from MBTA stops to campus, the school would likely use Uber to help commuters who drive to get to campus from remote parking lots.
Goldberg to roll the dice again for online lottery
Treasurer Deb Goldberg plans to renew her push next session for online lottery games, amid falling profits at the Massachusetts Lottery, reports SHNS’s Colin Young at the Telegram. The legislature this past session failed to pass online lottery games. But Goldberg said the Lottery has to change with the times or face declining revenues.
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