Happening Today

Revere Special Election

Voters in Revere go to the polls today to weigh in on the Question 1 initiative petition for a slots parlor in the city if a license is made available by state voters in November. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Healey on health-care costs

Attorney General Maura Healey is scheduled to give the keynote remarks on the second and final day of the Health Policy Commission’s 2016 health care cost trends hearing, with Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and HPC chair Dr. Stuart Altman giving opening remarks at 9 a.m. and Healey speaking at 9:30 a.m., Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St.

Michael Bloomberg at Museum of Science

Gov. Charlie Baker joins former New York mayor and Medford native Michael Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies officials for their announcement of a major gift to the Museum of Science Boston, Front Plaza, Museum of Science Boston, Science Park, Boston, 11:20 a.m.

Hearing on DeLeo’s ethics task force

House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s proposal for a task force to review the state’s ethics, campaign finance, and lobbying laws is scheduled for a hearing before the State Administration and Regulatory Oversight Committee, Room B-1, 12 p.m.

Westfield Technical Academy

Gov. Baker visits Westfield Technical Academy to view the Westfield Technical Academy aviation and manufacturing programs supported by grants from the Massachusetts Skills Capital Grant Program, 33 Smith Avenue, Westfield, 3:30 p.m.

Markey at ‘Dining with the Stars’

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey is the featured guest at the Massachusetts Health Council’s 2016 Dining with the Stars awards gala, Sheraton Boston Hotel, 39 Dalton St., Boston, 5:30 p.m.

Leominster state rep debate

Republican Thomas ‘Frank’ Ardinger and Democrat Natalie Higgins will take part in an hour-long debate as the two face off to succeed outgoing Leominster Rep. Dennis Rosa, Leominster City Hall, 25 West St., Leominster, 6 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Judge: Not so fast on releasing DiMasi

A federal judge is asking for more information about why federal officials all of a sudden want an early release of Sal DiMasi from prison, expressing concern that DiMasi’s “former status as Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the stature of some who may be advocating for his release” may be influencing decisions, according to a report at WBUR. In an order issued yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf said “the government has provided the court only unverified statements, but not any evidence, regarding DiMasi’s medical history in prison, current medical condition, prognosis, or ability to function in prison.” DiMasi was convicted of corruption charges in 2011 and sentenced to 96 months in prison.


Are serious criminal justice reforms on the way?

Hmm. What to make of this? Leaders of all three branches of state government – executive, legislative and the courts — huddled behind closed doors for two hours in Gov. Charlie Baker’s office yesterday, reviewing and discussing research into criminal justice reform that could lead to such things as reduced incarceration rates and recidivism in Massachusetts, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy at South Coast Today. These types of meetings don’t happen that often. As one wag noted: “Everyone loves criminal justice reform until it comes down to paying (money) for reentry services, reducing sentences,” etc. Maybe they were setting realistic political goals and priorities for reforms? We’ll see. Proposed reforms of criminal justice laws have recently received surprising bi-partisan support across the nation.

SouthCost Today

Anti-marijuana group airs first TV ad, but Sheldon Adelson is the real star

As the Globe’s Joshua Miller notes, opponents of legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts have launched their first TV ad, described as a “powerful 30-second spot that imagines an almost dystopian neighborhood overrun by pot shops and stoners.” And it involves a little girl and her mom and an older stoner brother who, left unsaid, probably listens to Def Leppard. But the real behind-the-scene star is casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, who recently donated $1 million to the anti-pot campaign and is now drawing criticism from pro-Question 4 supporters, reports Michael Norton at State House News Service  (pay wall).

T to pursue cashless system. So does this mean a money room isn’t even needed?

As the MBTA and Carmen’s Union continue to fight over the privatization of the agency’s money-counting operations, the T’s oversight board yesterday authorized its staff to seek requests for proposals for companies to “design, build, finance, operate, maintain, and manage a new automated fare collection system,” i.e. a cashless system, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine. So how long is that new private money-counting contract with Brinks Inc. supposed to last? Just asking.


Mass. congressmen urge Goldberg to divest from Wells Fargo

Saying recent fraud controversies surrounding Wells Fargo raise “serious concerns” about the bank’s overall policies, four members of the state’s congressional delegation — Stephen Lynch, Michael Capuano, Katherine Clark and James McGovern – are asking Treasurer Deb Goldberg to divest the state from current and future business arrangements with Wells Fargo, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. In a letter to Goldberg, the four wrote that recent fraud revelations “raise serious questions about Wells Fargo’s policies that foster unethical behavior and drive employees to take advantage of unsuspecting customers.”


GOP legislative candidates, beware: Clinton’s lead over Trump remains rock solid in Massachusetts

Democrat Hillary Clinton maintains a 26-point advantage over Republican Donald Trump in Massachusetts, according to a new WBUR poll, as reported by Benjamin Swasey and Steve Koczela at ‘BUR. Before you yawn, keep in mind: At this point, the significance the Massachusetts presidential race is the ultimate size of Hillary’s impending victory, which is usually a harbinger of how legislative races will go, as Brent Benson at CommonWealth magazine has noted. And right now it isn’t looking good for GOP candidates.

One other interesting item from the ‘BUR poll: Clinton leads among women by 43 points, with just 16 percent of Massachusetts women having a favorable view of Trump. That huge gap is another thing that should be worrying Republicans.


For heaven’s sake, Tom Brady’s views on Trump don’t matter, sports writers

The Herald’s Steve Buckley says he’s “not one of the scorekeepers who stays up at night unfriending people who have identified themselves as Trump supporters.” But he is a sports writer who devotes an entire column as to whether Tom Brady does or doesn’t support Donald Trump. “It’s interesting to note that Brady no longer has the ‘Make America Great Again’ cap in his locker.” Ah, political journalism at its finest.

Boston Herald

Richard Branson … Michael Bloomberg … connect the dots

Now pay attention, Steve Buckley. This is how real political journalism is done. … Yesterday, Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Airways and other Virgin companies, blew into Boston for the Forbes Under 30 Summit and pronounced that Michael Bloomberg would make a fine president compared to Donald Trump, as reported by the Globe’s Mark Shanahan. … Today, billionaire Michael Bloomberg blows into town to make a major announcement about a donation to Boston’s Museum of Science, as reported by the Globe’s Shirley Leung. … Coincidence? Connect the dots. That’s how it’s done, Steve.

End of argument: Baker supports Children’s Hospital expansion

Everyone and their brother can weigh in on whether Children’s Hospital should proceed with its planned $1 billion expansion in the Longwood Medical area. But when the governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts weighs in on the issue that will be decided by his Department of Public Health, the game is over. And it is over, excluding any lawsuits, of course. The Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey has the details .

Boston Globe

Baker calls on FDA to speed up generic drug approvals

Alarmed at the escalating costs of prescription drugs, Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday criticized the Food and Drug Administration for taking too long to approve affordable generic drugs that could help drive down costs for the state and private consumers alike, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at MassLive. Not surprisingly, Eric Schultz, the CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, the giant insurer that Baker himself used to head, also blamed sky-high drugs costs for rising health-care costs in general. Both Baker and Schultz appeared at a health-care costs hearing yesterday in Boston.


Southcoast Health and Care New England call off merger

This is a big deal within the health care industry and among health-care advocates in general: Southcoast Health and Care New England have decided to terminate their agreement to merge the two not-for-profit health care systems, reports Wicked Local. The deal would have created the third largest health system in the state. The two sides said they just couldn’t reconcile their contrasting visions for a combined company.

Wicked Local

Cambridge courthouse reuse has statewide implications

A battle over the redevelopment of a former courthouse in East Cambridge could have ramifications for state properties across Massachusetts, Jon Chesto of the Globe reports. Neighbors and opponents of the proposed redevelopment are challenging whether the state can pass its exemptions from local zoning rules to a private developer—something that Attorney General Maura Healey’s office argues could impact the state’s ability to reuse up to 200 properties statewide. This is a big deal involving big bucks for the state. It could also many future developments.

Boston Globe

Question seeks to lower drinking age to 19

Voters in the 3d Hampshire District—which includes Amherst, home of the University of Massachusetts —will vote on a nonbinding referendum on Nov. 8 that asks lawmakers to look into lowering the legal drinking age from 21 to 19, Scott Merzbach of the Hampshire Gazette reports. Former Massachusetts resident Matthew Malone is responsible for the question, which would only lower the drinking age for wine and malt beverages and keep the current age for hard liquor. Although the district covers Pelham and Granby, all but three of the 310 signatures gathered to get the question on the ballot were gathered in Amherst, which is represented by Senate President Stan Rosenberg.

Hampshire Gazette

A helping hand across the bitter political divide

A GoFundMe campaign to raise money to get the North Carolina GOP office that was firebombed over the weekend back up and running was the brainchild of David Weinberger, a Brookline Democrat. The crowdfunding campaign is being held up as a rare moment of grace in an otherwise hyper-partisan political atmosphere, Spencer Buell of Boston Magazine reports. The campaign has garnered positive national headlines as it blasted past its $10,000 goal is less than 40 minutes, though Weinberger said he has received some pushback from within Democratic circles.

Boston Magazine

O’Connor: Tougher sex offender laws needed

In reaction to the recent release of a convicted child rapist from prison, state Sen. Patrick O’Connor is calling on fellow lawmakers to toughen restrictions on high-risk sex offenders and says he will file legislation aimed at doing so if he wins re-election, Jessica Trufant of the Patriot Ledger reports. O’Connor’s call comes amid growing alarm among many Weymouth parents about the release of convicted child rapist Richard Gardner, who moved back to town after serving 28 years in prison in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island and is in the midst of a 50-year probation sentence. 

Patriot Ledger

Trying to apply artificial intelligence to Donald Trump

First, let’s get the public-service side of this story out of the way: The MIT maker of a bot that spits out semi-coherent Donald Trump-like tweets, based on an artificial intelligence algorithm of Trump’s past mutterings, has announced – or actually his bot, DeepDrumpf, has announced – it’s helping crowdfund a campaign aimed at raising money for “Girls Who Code,” a nonprofit focused on closing the tech industry’s gender gap by teaching females STEM skills, the BBJ’s David Harris reports. Now for the fun part: You gotta check out DeepDrumpf’s past AI rants in general. They’re hilarious. One of our favorite tweets: “Together we can save America and use her weapons to defeat accountability and take back the world’s money.”


Today’s Headlines


The fundraiser after the GOP firebombing has roots in Brookline – Boston Magazine

Museum of Science changed Michael Bloomberg’s life, and now he’s giving back – Boston Globe


T board green lights fare collection bid process – CommonWealth Magazine

Wellesley police chief apologizes for “historical mistreatment” of minorities – Boston Globe

Yes on 4 campaign launches new television ad, featuring internist – MassLive

MBTA operators call out twice for every 20 days they work – Boston Magazine

Health care hikes hurting – Boston Herald

Rockport raises age for tobacco sales – Gloucester Times

Weymouth lawmaker says sex-offender monitoring needs work – Patriot Ledger

Falmouth judge facing complaint agrees to retire early – Cape Cod Times

Sheriff’s candidate returns $10,000 in donations from department employees – Hampshire Gazette

Nonbinding referendum in Amherst, Pelham, Granby calls for lowering drinking age – Hampshire Gazette

Southcoast, Care New England end plans for $2 billion, 8-hospital merger – Standard-Times


Inside Kelly Ayotte’s fight for survival – Politico

Trump says he would meet with Putin before election – Washington Post

Clinton plans big push into red states as Trump falters – New York Times

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