Happening Today

Generation to Generation

Secretary of Elder Affairs Alice Bonner, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ellen Goodman, Boston Foundation associate vice president Jennifer Aronson and Encore.org vice president Phyllis Segal are scheduled to speak at the campaign launch of Generation to Generation, an effort to connect adults 50 years and older with youth organizations, Boston Foundation, 75 Arlington St. – Suite 1000, Boston, 9:45 a.m.

Whittier Street housing grant

Mayor Marty Walsh, U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano and House and Urban Development deputy secretary Nani Coloretti are expected to announce a a major grant to rebuild the Whittier Street housing development in Roxbury, Whittier Street Apartments, 1158 Tremont Street, Roxbury, 11 a.m.

MBTA-MassDOT meeting

The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board meets jointly with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to discuss Red and Orange Line infrastructure, the Green Line Extension Project, debt refunding, transit-oriented development policy and other topics, Transportation Board Meeting Room, Second Floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.

North-South rail link

The group dedicated to the pursuit of an underground rail link between North Station and South Station meets, Room 428, 12 p.m.

Human services providers

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore speak to human services providers at a Providers’ Council forum, discussing the state’s current financial health and budget cuts, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, 12 p.m.

Baker in Israel

Gov. Baker is on a trade mission in Israel today and meets with Israeli digital health and cyber security executives, discusses Massachusetts as a model innovation economy at a conference, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah and attends the U.S. ambassador’s reception and dinner.

Today’s Stories

Now we know: Romney never stood a chance

The skeptics were right: Mitt Romney, in retrospect, never stood a chance of becoming Donald Trump’s secretary of state. Mitt, the former Bay State governor, had too much political baggage and his geopolitical views, especially on Russia, were just too diametrically opposed to Trump’s views. Mitt got played and now looks like a fool for kissing Trump’s ring after the election, all for a high-status job.

Not that Trump’s highly unusual pick for secretary of state, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillteron, is going to sail through confirmation hearings. Even Republicans are worried about Rex’s seemingly pro-Putin stand and two GOP senators, Lindsey Graham and John McCain, are calling for a probe of Russia’s antics during the recent election, the Washington Post reports. Trump is in full angry-denial mode, as Reuters reports, about reports that say Russia was indeed behind efforts to influence the election – in Trump’s favor. Can you imagine Romney having to go to bat for Trump – and Putin – on this issue?

Washington Post

Moulton: ‘Russia is an enemy of the United States’

U.S. Rep Seth Moulton, a Democrat, is mincing no words on what he thinks about Russia and Trump’s selection of Rex Tillerton as secretary of state, as reported at CBS Boston: “He’s picked a Secretary of State who’s an oil guy, who has the closest ties with Putin of just about anybody in America. Russia is an enemy of the United States. The ties the Trump administration has shown to the Putin regime are incredibly troubling. I hear this from national security experts not just on the Democratic side, but the Republican side, as well.” Fyi: To get to the Rex-Russian quotes, you first have to wade through the part about Moulton trying to assuage the fears of Dems, and some Republicans, about a future Trump presidency.

CBS Boston

Is Healey off to Texas or not?

We’re sure we’re not the only ones who have wondered if Rex Tillerton’s very unexpected selection by Donald Trump to head the State Department might somehow impact the ongoing Maura Healey-ExxonMobil feud. The state’s attorney general is still fighting a federal judge’s ruling that she must testify in a Texas courtroom this week over her climate-change investigation of ExxonMobil, now headed by good old Rex. We should know by today whether she’s headed to the Lone Star State or not.

Lynch: While Dems discussed bathrooms, Trump talked jobs

U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-South Boston, thinks Donald Trump won the election partly because his campaign did a better job than Hillary Clinton’s in addressing the concerns of the average American worker, reports WBZ News at CBS Boston. And what were Dems doing? “We were talking about which bathroom to use, we’re talking about free-range chicken, all these other issues out there, GMOs, that I don’t think really affect in the short term what Americans worry about most on Election Day,” Lynch said on Keller at Large on Sunday.

CBS Boston

Confirmed: Lantigua plots comeback from Caribbean

An Eagle-Tribune reporter tracked down former Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua at his home-away-from-home in the Dominican Republican and confirmed that he plans to return to the city, where he continues to own property, to launch another mayoral bid. Lantigua made history by being the first Latino to lead the hard-scrabble city but served just one troubled term before losing to current Mayor Daniel Rivera, who finds himself embroiled in controversy over the city’s handling of a high-profile murder case. 


Hardline conservatives grudgingly get in line to back Baker in ‘18

Even though another fight is brewing over control of the state Republican Party, conservatives are nevertheless lining up, though not too enthusiastically, behind Gov. Charlie Baker’s assumed re-election bid in two years, reports the Herald’s Hillary Chabot. The bottom line: Who else are they going to support? Maura Healey, if she runs? Setti Warren, assuming he runs?

Boston Herald

‘It’s smoke `em if you got `em’

There are a still a lot of unknowns as marijuana becomes legal later this week in Massachusetts, thanks to last month’s passage of Question 4. But AP’s Bob Salsberg at WBUR says one thing is clear: “For now, it’s smoke `em if you got `em.” Otherwise, officials stress people still can’t sell marijuana and do much of anything else with weed, until other key provisions of Question 4 kick in and until lawmakers make clear what can and can’t be done moving forward. Meanwhile, the Herald reports the city of Boston has launched an information campaign with marijuana legalization occurring this week.


Emails: Baker administration hasn’t ruled out a tax on how much people drive

There’s the public stand, then there’s the behind-the-scenes stand, as Shira Schoenberg reports at MassLive: “Although Gov. Charlie Baker in August vetoed a pilot program to test a new tax on miles traveled by Massachusetts motorists, emails obtained by The Republican show his administration is not ruling out considering a similar pilot program in the future. ‘VMT (vehicle miles traveled) may be a tool that is needed down the road so we do not wish to slam the program itself too directly,’ Department of Transportation legislative director Michael Berry wrote in an email to staffers at the Executive Office of Administration and Finance as Baker was crafting his veto message.” She has other emails along the same lines. 

 The establishment types really want this tax, don’t they? Not that the folks who have been priced out of mass-transit corridors want it.


Despite reforms, commuter rail still spinning its wheels

Even before the first snowflakes fell this year, the T’s commuter rail operator had already canceled more than 220 train trips this fall, four times as many as last year, in just the latest sign that Keolis Commuter Services is having difficulty keeping the trains running on time, Nicole Dungca of the Globe reports. Cancelation rates reached in October haven’t been seen since the peak of the near-apocalyptic winter of 2015. Makes you wonder what will happen if there’s another near-apocalyptic winter, despite all the recent T reforms. Would the service get worse, if that’s possible?  

Boston Globe

Baker’s salary dilemma: Anger Stan or anger voters?

We have a hunch what Gov. Charlie Baker will do when it comes to the legal requirement next month that he adjust, or not adjust, pay for lawmakers and the state’s top officers, amidst all the recent budget cuts. As explained by the Herald’s Matt Stout, some lawmakers, including Senate President Stan Rosenberg, weren’t happy when then Gov. Deval Patrick froze lawmakers’ salaries two years ago. Now it’s Baker’s turn to make a decision on pay. 

Boston Herald

‘The San Antonio Solution’

The Globe’s Spotlight Team ended its excellent series on the wretched state of our mental-health care system in Massachusetts with an uplifting (and envy inducing) story on the highly admirable efforts by those in the San Antonio region dealing with mental-health issues: “They’ve taken on many of the critical problems this Spotlight series has found still rampant in Massachusetts, including poor coordination among institutions, limited training for law enforcement, and dwindling options for care. They have acted aggressively and spent heavily, confident their investments would pay off. They’ve done what many Bay State advocates dream of, and one thing those advocates resist: taking decisions on treatment and medication out of the hands of the most severely ill.” 

Boston Globe

SJC approves privatization of mental health services, handing setback to union

Speaking of mental health issues, SEIU Local 509 is not happy about this SJC decision, not at all. From SHNS’s Colin Young at the Telegram: “The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Friday affirmed Auditor Suzanne Bump’s approval of the privatization of government mental health services in southeastern Massachusetts, which Bump approved in March citing $7 million in savings.” In a statement, SEIU Local 509 president Susan Tousignant, whose union brought the suit, said the SJC has “played an unfortunate role in endangering the lives of thousands of children and adults.”

The Telegram

Hundreds rally in Wayland to support Islamic center

After receiving a threatening letter that calls for genocide against Muslims and describes President-elect Donald Trump as the “new sheriff in town” who will carry it out, the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland found out it has a lot of people protecting it back, as demonstrated by a large rally yesterday in support of the center, reports Brian Benson at MetroWest Daily News. The support “has given us, your Muslim neighbors and fellow Americans, hope beyond hope,” Faisal Khan, the center’s director of religious affairs, said of the outpouring of moral support. State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, and state Rep. Carmine Gentile, D-Sudbury, were among those at the Wayland gathering on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Jeremy Fox reports that Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Senator Elizabeth Warren were among a huge crowd of more than 2,000 people who attended a unity rally at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury yesterday, as speakers decried intolerance in general.

MetroWest Daily News

Babson lets pro-Trump students back on campus, lawyer demands apology

Babson College has informed two students they can return to campus after a school police investigation foud, according to one of their lawyers, that the duo didn’t drive around hurling racial and homophobic slurs after Donald Trump’s victory last month, reports the Herald’s Jack Encarnacao. A lawyer for one of the students is demanding an apology and retraction of prior statements by college officials. Babson president Kerry Healey, the former lieutenant governor, is mum for now about the case, which has raised serious questions about freedom-of-speech rights on campuses.

Boston Herald

Slide in public college enrollment continues

The number of students enrolled in Massachusetts public colleges and universities is down for the third straight year, reflecting larger demographic trends and posing challenges to administrators, Gerry Tuoti reports in the Telegram. This fall saw near 11,000 fewer students enrolled in the state’s higher education system than in 2013,  a 5.5 percent decrease over that time. 

The Telegram

Six-month house arrest sought for Teamsters in ‘Top Chef’ case

Mark Harrington, a former head honcho at Teamsters Local 25, would serve a six-month house arrest for his role in pressuring a ‘Top Chef’ TV crew to hire union labor, under an agreement with fed prosecutors, reports the Herald. A judge must still approve the sentence. Stay tuned for more union-thuggery updates as the fed probe continues.

Boston Herald

Wrongly convicted face high bar for compensation

Those wrongly convicted in Massachusetts face a high bar for being compensated by the state, even in the wake of a 2004 law that allows such victims up to $500,000 each, according to a piece by Jennifer McKim of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting published in a number of outlets, including WGBH.  State Sen. Pat Jehlen, the Somerville Democrat who sponsored the law governing compensation, said she may seek updates after hearing numerous complaints about the steps those seeking compensation must take. 


Is Massachusetts a ‘primary care desert’?

Despite a reputation as a global leader in health care, much of Massachusetts is actually a ‘primary care desert’ for residents, with no doctors filling the role in nearly a third of the state’s 351 communities, Kami Phillips writes in CommonWealth Magazine. In all, 41 percent of the state has “little to no convenient access to primary care physicians,” making it harder for residents in more rural areas to access preventive care. “


Today’s Headlines


Officials hope to make it easier for storefronts to host live acts – Boston Herald

City councilor clashes with ministers group – Boston Globe

How many evictions are there in Boston? No one really knows – Boston Globe

City council makes pitch for 2 percent alcohol tax – Boston Globe

Joint effort as weed goes legal – Boston Herald

Team Walsh kicks into high gear – Dorchester Reporter


State’s largest landfill accused of fouling neighbor’s wells – Boston Herald

Beacon Hill salaries on tap as Baker wrings in new year – Boston Herald

Central Mass. gun buyback nets 260 weapons in single day – Telegram & Gazette

From caricatures to cranberries: See how Massachusetts’ congressional members decorate their offices – MassLive

Commuter rail issues getting worse, not better – Boston Globe

Central Mass. VA receives highest government rating – Telegram & Gazette

College enrollment declining in Mass. – Telegram & Gazette

Flood maps may prompt trip to D.C. by Scituate contingent – Patriot Ledger

Lantigua plotting his political comeback – Eagle-Tribune

Mass. = primary care doctor desert – CommonWealth Magazine

As Trump takes aim at unions, labor’s clout sags in Mass. – Boston Business Journal

Former Brockton auditor says mayor’s flower spending slipped by her – Brockton Enterprise


Key GOP senators call for bipartisan election probe – Washington Post

Democrats fear another Trump trouncing – Politico

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