MassWorks Infrastructure program
Gov. Charlie Baker joins Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, Rep. Paul Mark, Greenfield Mayor William Martin and Greenfield District Court Judge William Mazanec for an announcement related to the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, 11 Olive Street, Greenfield, 9 a.m.
DiMasi filing due
After asking for early compassionate release of Sal DiMasi, the federal government has until today to respond to Judge Mark Wolf’s requests for “evidence” of the former speaker’s bad health and other information, 10 a.m.
Tsongas on the air
U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas is a scheduled guest on “Boston Public Radio” with co-hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, WGBH-FM, 89.7, 11:30 p.m.
Clarks Americas ribbon cutting
Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash celebrates the grand opening of the new headquarters for Clarks Americas Inc., a footwear company, 1265 Main St., Waltham, 12 p.m.
Vietnam War flags
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Springfield Veterans Services Director Tom Belton hold a press conference to ask for volunteers to place flags at veterans’ graves in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, Vietnam War Memorial, Court Square, Springfield, 1:15 p.m.
Women’s Political Caucus awards
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Sen. Karen Spilka, and Rep. Elizabeth Malia will be among the honorees at the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus annual Abigail Adams Awards, Fairmont Copley Plaza, 138 St. James Ave., Boston, 6:15 p.m.
Charter school debate
WGBH and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate will host “The Citizens’ Choice: Raising the Cap on Charter Schools,” moderated by Greater Boston’s Jim Braude, with supporters and opponents of the charter school ballot question, Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, 7 p.m.
Women in Politics
Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Wilmington Selectmen Chair Judy O’Connell and Brookline Selectwoman Nancy Heller will share stories of their experiences for “Women in Politics,” hosted by The Transition Network, Hotel 140, 140 Clarendon Street, 2nd floor large meeting room, Boston, 7 p.m
Neighborhood Health slaps freeze on new Medicaid enrollments
This may be dull stuff compared to the whacked-out presidential race everyone is now morbidly following, but it is a big policy-wonk deal, as reported by the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey: “Neighborhood Health Plan has stopped accepting new Medicaid members after losing $241 million since 2014, a troubling sign of how hard it is to serve low-income in a state with some of the highest health care costs in the country. Neighborhood, a subsidiary of Partners HealthCare and the largest Medicaid insurer in Massachusetts, said it temporarily froze enrollment as part of a ‘corrective action plan’ developed with state health officials.” … Maybe health-care costs are going to be a bigger under-the-radar issue in the election than we thought.
Ayotte to Warren: Butt out
In response to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren trooping north across the border to campaign for Hillary Clinton and other Dems, New Hampshire’s U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, facing a tough re-election fight, basically tells Warren to mind her own business, according to a Boston Herald report. “I have a long history of standing up for the people of New Hampshire, so the thing about her coming to New Hampshire, a Massachusetts senator, and telling the voters, telling New Hampshire what to do, I think we see right through that.”
Ben Affleck goes on a f—ing tear, urges New Hampshire to just f—ing vote
Forget Elizabeth Warren telling New Hampshire residents how to vote. Ben Affleck has a fun parody of a Bostonian urging our ‘kid brothers’ in New Hampshire to just f—king vote, the little sh-t heads. Ben story and accompanying video via the f—ing Boston Herald.
Report: Wall Street taps into teacher pension fees to fund charter campaign
Money managers are using fees charged to Massachusetts teachers for overseeing their retirement funds to advance the charter school movement opposed by most teachers, David Sirota reports in the International Business Times. “Executives at eight financial firms with contracts to manage Massachusetts state pension assets have bypassed anti-corruption rules and funneled at least $778,000 to groups backing Question 2, which would expand the number of charter schools in the state,” Sirota writes, adding that because the funds are being used to support a policy initiative backed by Gov. Charlie Baker—rather than the politician himself—they are not covered by federal campaign laws.
Question 4: Yes, no, no
The Globe’s editorial board has come out in favor of legalizing marijuana, basically saying that, yes, Question 4 is flawed but state leaders have not been proactive enough about dealing with the issue of marijuana, so “Question 4 is all we’ve got.” But the Globe’s own Joan Vennochi says Question 4 is indeed an “industry-driven mess of a proposal” that deserves to be defeated for that reason alone. The Herald’s editorial board also comes down on the it’s-a-mess side and announces its opposition to Question 4. The takeaways? There seems to be a consensus that Question 4, as written, is indeed an unholy mess but … it’s all we’ve got and voters are poised to approve it in less than two weeks. So lawmakers better be ready to handle the issue, starting on Nov. 9, not a day later.
Rep. Jay Kaufman: Can someone please help me with all these senior tax exemption requests?
State Rep. Jay Kaufman, the House chair of the Revenue Committee, has an idea: After dealing with one too many individual requests by towns for senior citizen property tax exemptions, why not come up with legislation to let towns implement exemptions on their own? “Help me craft some legislation for next term that would spare the other 348 communities the need to go through this process,” Kaufman implored, after hearing requests yesterday from Wayland, Sudbury and Reading, reports SHNS’s Colin Young. It’s a good idea. But here’s our question: Will Beacon Hill lawmakers readily give up that exemption power? For some reason, we doubt it. They usually don’t like giving up power to towns.
Romney sounds positively progressive these days
We had to do a quick reread of Kimberly Atkins’s Herald column to make sure it was really Mitt Romney saying what she quoted him as saying at a recent chamber event in Washington. But it was indeed Mitt Romney, who four years ago was basically accusing vast swaths of the American population of being moochers. Now he says education and wage stagnation are the biggest issues being ignored by today’s presidential candidates. “Look, rich people and business people do well whether there’s Republicans or Democrats in charge,” Romney said. “The real people who suffer when business is leaving or not successful are the people in the middle class.” What can you say? He’s right.
Secretary of State: 130,000 people have voted early so far
Secretary of State William Galvin’s office says at least 130,00 people have voted early so far under the new voting-early system started this week in Massachusetts, the Associated Press reports at Boston.com. OK, maybe early voting won’t increase overall voting across the state through the election cycle. But it’s obviously popular with 130,000 people, and counting, and that makes it a success, in our humble opinion. The numbers are impressive.
Is the MBTA firing of managers a prelude to more privatization?
Showing that it doesn’t go after only little-guy jobs at the T, the MBTA has given the boot to six human resources managers after they allegedly missed the fact that 20 percent of the T’s employees were incorrectly billed for health and retirement benefits, a lapse that cost $600,000 to resolve, as reported by the Globe’s Nicole Dungca. “We’re seeing a significant legacy of mismanagement,” said acting general manager Brian Shortsleeve. But then you read further down that the T might shift some of the duties within the human resources unit to either the state Group Insurance Commission or an outside company. Nothing wrong with that per se. We’re just pointing out the timing of the two moves.
Hard cider tax is a hard sell to local producers
Producers of hard cider in Massachusetts want their beverage taxed like beer, not like champagne, and they’re calling the higher tax bracket for hard cider “unfair and nonsensical,” reports SHNS’s Colin Young at the Herald News. We’ll drink to that.
If the shoe fits …
Massachusetts may have lost thousands of shoe manufacturing jobs over the decades. But the state still retains thousands of white-collar corporate jobs tied to the shoe industry, as the Globe notesin a cool little story tied to today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new Clarks Americas Inc. headquarters building in Waltham. It’s just the latest major real estate move by a shoe company here in Greater Boston, following the recent openings of new corporate offices for New Balance and Converse. A certain MASSterlist author wrote about this curious (but very welcome) real estate phenomenon last year at Banker & Tradesman (pay wall). All these years later, it’s amazing the shoe industry still has a major footprint here, pun intended.
Question of the day: Why is DOT shutting down the E-ZPass customer call center this weekend of all weekends?
Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive wants to know: With all-electronic tolling starting this Friday, why is MassDOT closing its E-ZPass customer service call center Friday evening through the weekend? It’s to prep for the switch to all-electronic tolling, state transportation officials say. “It’s not simply bulldozing old toll booths,” Thomas Tinlin, Mass. highway chief, said earlier this week. The call center outage is “necessary in order to update and activate the new EZDriveMA system.” Well, OK. We get it, sort of. The state has set up an email address for people with concerns or questions: Aetinfo@dot.state.ma.us.
Wynn has designs on casino — and stopping Question 1
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission gave its final blessing to the design plans for the Wynn Boston Harbor resort casino, setting the project in motion toward a June, 2019 opening date, Sean Murphy of the Globe reports.
But Steve Wynn isn’t taking any chances when it comes to potential competition, with the president of Wynn Boston Harbor saying the mogul is prepared to spend lots of dough to defeat ballot Question 1, which would authorize the state to license a second slots-only casino in nearby Revere, the Globe’s Murphy also reports.
Matching funds more scarce as Community Preservation Act grows
Cities and towns that adopt the Community Preservation Act have seen a dwindling state matching funds in recent years, a situation likely to be exacerbated if Boston adopts the program in November, Christian Wade reports in the Salem News. While some communities saw 100 percent matches in the early years of the CPA, this year’s average will be just 19 percent, despite supplemental funds being pumped in by lawmakers and Gov. Baker.
Brockton mayor withdraws support for needle exchange
Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter is withdrawing his support for a state-sponsored needle-exchange program in his city, saying officials were not honest about the program’s policies, Marc Larocque of the Brockton Enterprise reports. Carpenter said he believed the program would operate on a needle-for-needle basis, only giving out as many as it took in, but that turns out not to be the case. “The program was not properly explained to us when it came into the door,” he said.
Lowell judge’s public defenders ban heads to SJC
The Mass. Supreme Judicial Court will take up the question of whether a Lowell judge has the authority to ban public defenders from his court room, Lisa Redmond of the Lowell Sun reports. Judge Thomas Brennan banned public defenders from appearing before him in Lowell Drug Court, which launched in 2014 as an alternative to traditional court proceedings. The state’s Committee for Public Counsel Services has challenged the move and the SJC will hear the dispute on Nov. 9.
Black bears move east, filling scare void left by Great White Sharks
Just in time: As Great White Sharks migrate south for the season, black bears are now moving east, providing ample scare-the-readers fodder for the next few months, until the Quabbin Reservoir rattlesnakes issue takes center stage again. Speaking of which, WWLP reported earlier this month: “Five months have gone by and still no working group has been created to study the plan to bring venomous rattlesnakes to the Quabbin Reservoir.” We need that working group’s findings for more rattlesnake headlines, please! … Black-bears-moving-east story via SHNS’s Mike Norton at Wicked Local and the Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo.
Sometimes you just have to get away from the news
While on the subject of wildlife, MASSterList has a new Facebook posting, this one on a Washington Post slideshow of National Geographic’s entries for nature photographer of the year. They’re stunningly beautiful photos. One of our favorites is the shot of a waterfall in Fujinomiya, Japan. Sometimes you just have to get away from the news of the day. So check it out.
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