All-electronic tolling begins
Cash will no longer be accepted on the Mass. Turnpike as the state switches to all-electronic tolling today, requiring drivers to use EZPassMA transponders or get billed by mail at higher costs.
MBTA Control Board
The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board will meet to discuss public feedback from two recent public meetings regarding the strategic goals of the MBTA, Transportation Board Meeting Room, Second Floor, 10 Park Plaza, 9 a.m.
Tsongas tours New Balance’s Lawrence factory
U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas visits New Balance’s Lawrence factory and meets with company officials and workers to highlight American manufacturing, New Balance, South Union Street, Lawrence, 10:30 a.m.
‘Building an Inclusive Boston’
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh offers remarks at Beyond Conflict’s “Building an Inclusive Boston: A New Conversation on Race, Bias & Divided Communities,” MIT Media Lab, 75 Amherst St., Cambridge, 10:45 a.m.
‘Ask the mayor’
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is a guest on Boston Public Radio’s monthly ‘Ask the Mayor’ segment, WGBH-FM, 89.7, 12 p.m.
Comm Ave. groundbreaking
Gov. Charlie Baker joins Mayor Marty Walsh, Highway Administrator Thomas Tinlin, Boston University president Robert Brown and others to break ground on the second phase of the Commonwealth Avenue improvement project, 855 Commonwealth Ave., 3 p.m.
Goldberg at New England Choice Awards
Treasurer Deb Goldberg will attend the New England Choice Awards 2016 – INDIA New England News gala, The Westin Waltham-Boston, 70 3rd Avenue, Waltham, 7 p.m.
On your mark, get set, go: All-electronic tolling starts today
The state officially switches over to all-electronic tolls today on the Mass Turnpike, and workers will immediately start the process of demolishing now obsolete toll booths on the Pike. For info on the new system, check out DOT’s web site on electronic tolling. DOT also has a pretty interesting video on how the demolition and reconstruction process will play out. MassLive has an excellent info-graphic slide show on why demolishing the old toll booths is far more complicated than you might think. And, finally, Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive has a story on how those with leased vehicles might want to double check the fine-print rules if they don’t have transponders. It might get tricky.
Baker slows it down on budget cuts
Democratic leaders have won a minor victory on Beacon Hill: Gov. Charlie Baker, who was urged by House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stan Rosenberg to slow it down when it comes to budget cuts, is in fact slowing it down when it comes to budget cuts. Baker’s budget chief, Kristen Lepore, is still talking about the need for future budget cuts to fill a projected $294 million budget gap, but she said the administration will hold off “at this time,” reports both Matt Murphy at SHNS (pay wall) and Matt Stout at the Herald. It’s more of a tactical retreat than a strategic retreat by the administration, but it’s still a retreat.
As Baker backs down on cuts, Dems start talking taxes for T
After you watch this Twitter video of the now infamous Orange Line smoke-out in which passengers had to smash windows and pry open doors to escape train cars, you’ll have an idea why some Democrats, both at City Hall and on Beacon Hill, are now openly talking about raising taxes to fix the T, in yet another potential fiscal flashpoint with Gov. Baker. “You need a steady flow of money coming into the T,” Mayor Marty Walsh said yesterday, as reported by SHNS’s Sam Doran and Andy Metzger at WCVB. “And the way you do that is by assessing a fee to something or doing some type of tax increase.” Meanwhile, Mike Deehan at WGBH writes that Dem legislators are also starting to mutter the dreaded ‘t’ word – and we’re not talking about the ‘t’ in MBTA. From Rep. Daniel Ryan of Charlestown: “We need to invest in the infrastructure. We need to, you know, raise taxes and have a serious discussion about why the gas tax failed a couple of years ago.”
T pension continues to hemorrhage
Just as you’re beginning to think it’s time to give the MBTA a break, along comes news about the latest agency problem that can’t be fixed with more tax dollars, only covered up. From the Herald’s Matt Stout: “The troubled MBTA pension plan’s investments sank another $90 million in value in 2015, dipping below $1.5 billion and feeding calls by critics for it to embrace more transparency and, more bluntly, ‘stop wasting money.’” Note: The pension’s administrative expenses have recently spiked by $1.8 million, or 45 percent, Stout writes.
Poll: Question 2 deadlock, Question 4 closer than thought
With less than two weeks until the Nov. 8 election, a new Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll shows that Question 2, which would lift the cap on charter schools in Massachusetts, is now a literal toss-up, with likely voters split on the measure 45 percent to 45 percent. As we’ve noted before, other Question 2 polls have been all over the map in their survey findings, but this one seems to ring true, based on pure hunch.
Meanwhile, supporters of Question 4, which would legalize marijuana in the state, can take heart, with likely voters backing the measure by 49 to 42 percent. But that’s a narrower lead than what other polls have been showing of late. The Suffolk/Globe poll, assuming it’s accurate, indicates that Question 4 is still in play. Fyi: Question 1, which would authorize a new slots parlor in Revere, is getting croaked, while Question 3, which calls for more humane treatment of farm animals, is way ahead.
Liz vs Curt: Not even close
If the possible showdown between U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and ex-Red Sox star Curt Schilling were a baseball game, Curt would have been scratched from the line-up by now. Warren is absolutely crushing Schilling in a new Suffolk/Globe poll, 58 percent to 24 percent. Despite his Sox heroics over the years, Schilling’s unfavorable rating among likely voters is 41 percent, with only 18 percent having a favorable view of him, reports the Globe’s Joshua Miller. Warren is seen favorably by 56 percent of likely voters and unfavorably by 31 percent, Miller writes.
Teachers call for Question 2 investigation
The Massachusetts Teachers Association and the American Federation of Teachers are calling on state and federal officials to investigate whether the campaign pushing to lift the cap on state’s charter school is engaging in an illegal pay-to-play scheme, Kathleen McKiernan of the Herald reports. The move comes a day after the International Business Times reported that the Yes on 2 campaign has received $778,000 in donations from the same Wall Street money managers who receive millions in fees for overseeing teacher pension funds.
DCF warns on pot question provision
Child welfare advocates are warning that a provision tucked into Question 4 could make their work harder if voters legalize recreational marijuana next month, Joshua Miller of the Globe reports. The question contains a clause that says marijuana use cannot be used as the primary cause for taking away parental custody. Department of Children and Families issued a statement saying any restrictions on social workers would be “troubling, especially given the unprecedented spike in DCF cases fueled by the opioid epidemic.”
Dear Harvard Endowment: ‘Lazy, fat and stupid’ is no way to go through life
Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. has conducted a wide-ranging review of Harvard University’s mammoth endowment fund, including interviews with employees, and found that money managers are rewarding themselves with huge bonuses for exceeding “easy-to-beat” investment goals, Bloomberg News reports. One of those interviewed said the secretive endowment fund has become “lazy, fat and stupid.” … OK, you know you want to view it: The YouTube clip of Dean Wormer’s “fat drunk and stupid” warning to poor Flounder.
Feds to judge: DiMasi really is suffering ‘extraordinary’ ailments
Federal officials were forced yesterday to argue that, yes, they really do believe Sal DiMasi is seriously ill enough to justify releasing him from prison early, due to his “extraordinary” worsening condition as the former house speaker battles cancer, according to a new federal filing, as reported by the Globe’s Milton Valencia. Whether the federal judge, Mark Wolf, believes the fed prosecutors is a different story. Wolf, who has questioned whether DiMasi is getting preferential treatment, will decide later on whether DiMasi gets out of prison early.
‘There’s lying to police and then there’s lying to police, court rules’
A number of news outlets ran stories about the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling yesterday on people lying to police, but you have to love Adam Gaffin’s headline (above). Here’s his summary at Universal Hub: “A man convicted on two counts of ‘misleading’ state troopers in a criminal investigation had one of the counts tossed today because only some of his lies might have changed their investigation into how somebody got smashed in the head with a bottle during a brawl at a house party he and his sister threw. The distinction is important because state law defines ‘misleading’ statements as those meant with ‘the intent to impede, obstruct, delay, harm, punish, or otherwise interfere thereby with a criminal investigation,’ the court said.”
Biotech investors swallow valium as they contemplate a Dem sweep
Investors are bailing on biotech stocks amidst fears that Hillary Clinton and Congressional Democrats will sweep to power in Washington next month and bring with them anti-pharmaceutical industry biases and regulations, reports the Globe’s Robert Weisman. The Nasdaq biotechnology Index is down 6.6 percent in recent weeks, largely due to those fears, although some Dems, like U.S. Reps. Richard Neal and Joseph Kennedy, have expressed doubt Democrats can win control of the House.
Register candidate would eliminate Register job he’s seeking
John Keith, an independent candidate running for Suffolk County Register of Deeds, says he wants to eliminate the position he’s seeking, saying the administrative function is better served by an appointee, Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub reports. At a candidate’s forum sponsored by Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale, Keith said the position—being sought by three independents as well as Boston City Councilor John Murphy—“should be abolished. The problem is, there’s not a lot of responsibilities in this job.”
Tufts janitors next to strike?
Janitors at Tufts University have authorized union officials to call for a strike if no contract agreement can be reached with the cleaning company they work for, WBUR reports. Among the demands of the union, which has been in negotiations with C&W Services since August, are conversion of more positions from part-time to full-time, as well as wage increases. The vote comes just days after dining hall workers at Harvard University declared victory following a strike that lasted nearly three weeks.
Mass. Millionaires multiply
Here’s potential campaign fodder for those pushing for a new “millionaire’s tax” in Massachusetts: More than 15,000 Bay State residents reported income of $1 million or more in 2014, a 22 percent increase over the prior year, Craig Douglas of the Boston Business Journal reports. Douglas has a lot of other interesting data on the state’s wealthiest residents.
Oops: Easton is eight years behind in filing its state paperwork
A slew of local regulations in Easton—including a medical marijuana zoning bylaw and a downtown historical preservation district—may be unenforceable because the community hasn’t filed the proper paperwork with the office of the Attorney General since 2008, Cody Shepard of the Enterprise reports. At least one developer is miffed that he has been forced to jump through regulatory hoops that may not have been required in retrospect. The town is considering hiring an outside lawyer to investigate what went wrong.
Sunday public affairs TV
Keller At Larger, WBZ-TV, Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. Sarah McCarthy Welsh, executive eirector of the Mass. Women’s Political Caucus, will join host Jon Keller to discuss the role and attitudes of women in this campaign cycle.
This Week in Business, NECN, 11 a.m. Brian Golden, director of the Boston Planning and Development Agency (formerly the Boston Redevelopment Authority), talks about the agency’s rebranding and provides updates on some major building projects in Boston; Shirley Leung of the Boston Globe discusses some of the top business stories of the week.
On The Record, WCVB TV, Channel 5, 11 a.m. Guest: U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and State House reporter Janet Wu.
CEO Corner, NECN, 11:30 a.m. John Maguire, CEO of both Friendly’s and Johnny Rockets, talks about each chain and what makes them different and yet how there might be some synergies.
CityLine, WCVB TV, Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s focus: Helping Bostonians.
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