Sal DeMasi’s release
Former House Speaker Sal DiMasi is scheduled to be transferred from the custody of the Bureau of Prisons to his wife, Deborah DiMasi, ending his prison sentence early due to illness, according to an order by federal Judge Mark Wolf, Federal Correctional Institution Butner, Old North Carolina Highway 75, Butner, N.C.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets to discuss the commission’s annual report, an evaluation of executive director Edward Bedrosian and the implications of marijuana legalization, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.
MASSPIRG’s dangerous toys report
MASSPIRG will hold its 31st annual “Trouble in Toyland” report that reviews potentially harmful toys for kids this holiday season, UMass Boston Early Learning Center, 2 Harbor Point Boulevard, Dorchester, 10 a.m.
ADDP budget rally
The Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers, people with developmental disabilities, direct support professionals and their families rally at the State House to urge Gov. Charlie Baker to fully fund many Department of Developmental Services priorities, Grand Staircase, 11 a.m.
Baker, DeLeo at MassEcon
Gov. Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo are scheduled to speak at MassEcon’s 13th Annual Team Massachusetts Economic Impact Awards, Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, 606 Congress Street, with DeLeo scheduled to speak at 11 a.m. and Baker at 12 p.m.
Serving up turkey
Senate President Stanley Rosenberg volunteers to serve a Thanksgiving dinner at Victory Program’s Celebration of Life Thanksgiving dinner, held each year to honor community members living with HIV/AIDS, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, 5 p.m.
Goldberg on NECN
Treasurer Deborah Goldberg appears live on NECN with Sue O’Connell, New England Cable News, 160 Wells Avenue, Newton, 6 p.m.
Buyout bust: Efforts to trim state workforce faltering
Gov. Charlie Baker will only say that the proposed state worker buyout program is “more complicated” than prior budget-cutting retirement packages offered by the state, while Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore says it’s too early to speculate about how the program is performing. But Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka, the chamber’s chief budget writer, spilled the beans to SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Daily News, saying the “last I spoke to them it wasn’t doing as well as they thought,” though she cautioned she last spoke to administration officials over a week ago. As if a week matters. The administration would have been trumpeting the program if it was working by now.
Healey vows to ‘vigorously oppose’ judge’s order to testify in Texas
From the Herald’s Bob McGovern: “Attorney General Maura Healey is promising to ‘vigorously oppose’ a Texas judge’s order for her to testify in a deposition over her probe of Exxon Mobil’s climate change policy — a demand a former judge and AG say is highly unusual.” The former federal judge is Nancy Gertner. The former AG is Martha Coakley. And they’re indeed right: This is a highly unusual state-vs-fed showdown, not to mention a potentially humiliating development if Healey is indeed forced fly to Texas for a courtroom deposition.
Is there nothing college administrators won’t cave to these days?
The American flag is burned at Hampshire College a few days after the election. OK, the college responds by quickly replacing it, then has second thoughts and takes the flag down, calling the flag a “disruptive symbol” and saying its removal will allow the college to “focus our efforts on addressing racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviors,” reports Martha Shick at the Globe. No mention of taxpayer support for the college via student loans being “disruptive.”
Now here’s how to protest, short of burning and cravenly removing the flag: “Rage donations,” which have become all the rage among the post-election disaffected, as donors take out their anger over a future Trump presidency by contributing to groups vulnerable to potential funding cuts and/or sure to annoy the hell out of Trump et gang once he moves into the White House, as reported by the Globe’s Sacha Pfeiffer. Among the groups benefiting from a huge surge in donations since the election are the local Conservation Law Foundation, American Civil Liberties Union, the Anti-Defamation League, immigrant organizations.
‘Silence is not an option’
And here’s another way to protest without being offensive: Hundreds of people braved the cold yesterday to rally at the State House against hate crimes and bigotry, as part of a post-election Anti-Defamation League event attended by a number of State House leaders, including Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Attorney General Maura Healey and others, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. “Silence is not an option,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg, the first Jewish president of the Massachusetts Senate and one of several speakers who referred to the Holocaust. “We will stand together so that we can say never again, never again, never again.” The rally followed news of a recent significant spike in anti-Semitic, racist and other bigotry-driven incidents in the state, many of them after the recent election.
Healey reports 400 calls on new hate hotline
On the same front: Attorney General Maura Healey reports her office has received about 400 calls since launching a hotline for people to report incidents of harassment, violence and bias-motivated threats following the recent election, writes Tori Bedford at WGBH. “It’s really run the gamut,” Healey said yesterday on Boston Public Radio. “In Springfield, a Puerto Rican couple woke up to have their door keyed, ‘go home.’ In Attleboro, we saw graffiti in the schools, the N-word and the KKK.” Sadly, the list goes on.
Battle over non-competes may not be over
House and Senate negotiators have quietly resumed talks over a possible late-year deal to curtail use of controversial non-compete agreements that restrict the ability of workers to land jobs at competing firms, SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports at the BBJ. Rep. John Scibak, a House negotiator on the bill, and Sen. Dan Wolf, the co-chair of the Labor and Economic Development Committee, are trying to see if a compromise can be stitched together before the official end of current session. Murphy reports in a separate SHNS piece (pay wall) that Senate President Stan Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo promise to revisit the issue next year if current talks break down.
Baker endorses Brown, Brown endorses himself (and Mitt)
Gov. Charlie Baker says former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is a “worthy and worthwhile candidate” to be the next head of the Veterans Administration in the Trump administration, reports Jim O’Sullivan at the Globe. Brown did Baker one better yesterday, pronouncing he’s the “best” candidate to be the next VA chief, as Brown continued his not-so-subtle lobbying for the job by meeting up with the President-elect Trump on Monday in New York, reports the Herald’s Kimberly Atkins. Is Brown suffering from a bad case of Potomac Fever or what?
Oh, Brown magnanimously endorsed Mitt Romney for Secretary of State, saying the former Mass. governor would be a “brilliant” choice.
Could Moulton’s mini-revolt cost him his seat on the House Armed Services Committee?
David Bernstein at WGBH writes that U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s mini-revolt against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi may end up costing him a seat on the prized House Armed Services Committee. But here’s the thing: Does a former war veteran really care about such piddling things? Bernstein reports that Moulton’s real aim may not be immediate results: “By standing against the current leadership, Moulton might be trading short-term ostracization for a longer-term shot at leadership among those who will matter more in the long run—when, someday, Democrats eventually return to majority power in the House.”
DiMasi’s early release from prison comes with restrictions
Former House Speaker Sal DiMasi, convicted on corruption charges in 2012 and now suffering from cancer, is scheduled to be released from prison today, following a federal judge’s compassion-release ruling last week. Here’s the main post-release restriction DiMasi will face, via the Globe’s Roy Greene: “Under an order from Judge Mark L. Wolf, DiMasi must serve two years of supervised release, the first six months of it confined to his Melrose home. DiMasi’s movements will be severely restricted: he may leave home only for emergencies and for medical appointments and religious reasons.”
End of era: Fidelity’s Ned Johnson, a giant of finance and local business, retires
Edward “Ned” Johnson’s announcement yesterday that he’s stepping down as chairman of Fidelity Investments, handing over the reins of Boston’s arguably most famous and successful company to his daughter Abigail Johnson, isn’t a surprise. But it’s still a shock. Johnson, 86, a deeply private man, has almost been a one-man Vault for Boston over the decades, building Fidelity into a national and international powerhouse within the financial world, creating thousands of jobs over the decades in Boston and eastern New England, redeveloping huge swaths of the South Boston waterfront long before it became today’s trendy Seaport, starting Boston Coach (the pre-cursor of Uber in its own industry-disrupting way), consolidating local newspapers into a mega-media chain, and quietly donating tens of millions of dollars to local non-profits, particularly the now much-admired Peabody Essex Museum. The word “giant” gets bandied about too often when it comes to describing business and political leaders. But the word fits for Johnson: He was, and is, a finance, business and philanthropic giant.
Plainridge falls short of local hiring goal
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is coming to the defense of Plainridge Park casino, saying the slots parlor is already making improvements even as an audit found the slots parlor fell well short of targets for hiring local residents, Jack Sullivan of CommonWealth Magazine reports. During its licensing process, Plainridge had set a goal of hiring 90 percent of its workforce from within 20 miles of the state’s first—and still only—casino, but has only achieved a 65 percent local hiring rate, state Auditor Suzanne Bump has found. Bump also found Plainridge was negligent in attaching the winnings of gamblers known to owe back child support, which the MGC said stemmed from a software snafu since solved.
Numbers show what Worcester rail commuters already know: Service sucks
Just 60 percent of commuter trains on the MBTA’s Worcester line have run on time in the past month, including less than half of the trains carrying morning commuters into and out of Boston, WCVB’s Doug Meehan reports. Commuter rail operator Keolis cited several factors for the delays — which put the line well below others in terms of performance – including Mass Pike construction that’s slowed trains.
Brockton mayor fights order to turn over emails
Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter has been ordered by the state supervisor of public records to turn over to the city clerk emails from his private Gmail account, but the city’s attorney say the messages may contain sensitive information that is exempt from the public records law, Marc Larocque of the Enterprise reports. Former resident and onetime mayoral candidate Ron Matta has been seeking the emails for “email@example.com” since last spring.
Quincy mayor to donate tainted campaign contributions to charity
Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch is among the politicians who will donate funds received by their campaigns to charity after an Avon businessman was found to have improperly reimbursed employees for donations, Patrick Ronan of the Patriot Ledger reports. Koch received $1,000 that was later traced back to the owners of Bairos New England Distribution. Bairos was also found to have violated campaign laws with similar donations to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Attorney General Maura Healey.
With Clinton’s popular vote lead now approaching 2 million votes, Lesser says enough
Hillary Clinton lost the Electoral College election, but her lead in the popular vote is now approaching 2 million votes nationally, prompting calls to end the Electoral College across the nation. The latest is from state Sen. Eric Lesser, who has filed a state resolution that calls for federal officials to start the Constitutional process to end the EC, reports the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Frankly, he has a point. A squeaker election like 2000? OK, it was close enough not to complain too much about the Electoral College. But two million votes? That’s a big, big margin.
Cranberry industry factoids that will wow your Thanksgiving guests
Why talk politics over the Thanksgiving dinner when you know there’s no chance in hell of anyone agreeing with your brilliant viewpoint? Instead, wow ‘em with facts and pop quizzes about the state’s cranberry industry, such as: Name three native fruits of North America still cultivated today in Massachusetts. You know one of them. But do you know the other two? The BBJ’s Doug Banks has plenty more cranberry industry facts.
Free java for weary T-Day travelers
And after impressing everyone with your cranberry industry knowledge and eating yourself into an exhausted post-turkey stupor, make sure you pull over at a state service plaza, where the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is serving up free coffee to weary travelers, starting at 10 p.m. Thursday and ending on Friday, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. MassDOT also gave out free coffee on the Fourth of July and Columbus Day.
Proceeds from sale of Winthrop Square garage would go to parks, housing – Boston Globe
Boston College details field house plans – Boston Herald
Red Sox join with Fenway groups to oppose height of proposed Charlesgate building – Universal Hub
Marty Walsh: Hamilton performance shouldn’t ‘have gotten political’ – Boston Magazine
Michael Dell snags luxury condo in Boston – Boston Business Journal
Real-time crime mapping by Springfield police called ‘next evolution’ in policing – MassLive
S. Coast rail oversight shifted from T to state – CommonWealth Magazine
Audit: Plainridge casino falls short in hiring goals – CommonWealth Magazine
AG Healey vows to fight judge’s deposition order in Exxon case – Boston Herald
Framingham property values on the rise – MetroWest Daily News
Quincy mayor one of three officials to receive prohibited donations – Patriot Ledger
Quincy city council tags wage rule onto new zoning for North Quincy T station – Patriot Ledger
Nantucket prepares for visit by VP Joe Biden – Cape Cod Times
Rockwell’s ode to political indecision, ‘which one?’ fetches $6.5 million at Sotheby’s auction – Berkshire Eagle
Sen. Eric Lesser files bill calling for abolishing Electoral College – Hampshire Gazette
Mass. employers having trouble finding qualified workers – Worcester Business Journal
Councilor: Brockton mayor spending tax money for college course was ‘not legal’ – Brockton Enterprise
Report: Cost estimates rise sharply on proposed new Lowell high school – Lowell Sun
Trump is seeking to build a diverse team, aides insist – Washington Post
Investors bet Trump recharges economy – New York Times
Clinton fights demand for more information on emails – Politico
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