Treasurer Deborah Goldberg chairs a State Retirement Board meeting, One Ashburton Place, 21st floor, Boston, 10 a.m.
‘Celebration of Christmas’
Rep. James Lyons hosts a “Celebration of Christmas” that includes a Nativity scene, Great Hall, 11 a.m.
The Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus continues its listening tour to hear from residents to shape its Communities of Color Agenda, Lawrence Public Library, 51 Lawrence St., Lawrence, 6 p.m.
Dan Rea hosts the fourth annual NightSide Charity Combine, WBZ NewsRadio 1030. 8 p.m.
Let the post-Ortiz jostling begin
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s departure was so expected that media outlets had already begun weeks ago writing stories about who might succeed her as the region’s top fed prosecutor. Now the speculation will only intensify after Ortiz officially announced yesterday she will be stepping down, as reported by Sean Philip Cotter at Wicked Local, only days after her high-profile Probation Department case was ingloriously overturned by a federal appeals court.
We know this: It’s possible, or likely, Gov. Charlie Baker, who refused to endorse Donald Trump for president, won’t be consulted by the incoming Trump administration on who should replace Ortiz, as the Herald’s Matt Stout reports. Meanwhile, the incoming Trump administration, and whoever might be selected to replace Ortiz, are on an apparent ideological collision course with Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat, on how to handle a slew of legal cases facing fed and state prosecutors, reports the Herald’s Bob McGovern.
As for Ortiz’s legacy, the Globe’s Christine Prignano takes a look at all the high-profile cases handled by Ortiz over the years. Notice how many public-corruption cases they involve, some valid, some now seemingly discredited.
Dems find their anti-Trump mojo, attempt to tie president-elect to Baker
For Democrats, it really doesn’t matter if Gov. Charlie Baker repeatedly and emphatically refused to endorse Donald Trump for president during the election. They’re now trying to nail the Republican Baker for being “silent” on the president-elect’s controversial cabinet picks, as Dems finally begin to recover from the shock of Trump’s election and realize anti-Trump fervor can actually help them, reports the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan.
Ho, ho, ho. Marty cleans up on campaign-fund presents
From the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “Christmas has come early for Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who’s celebrating the Yuletide season by hauling in a staggering sum of campaign cash designed to scare off any potential 2017 challengers. Walsh has pulled in nearly a quarter of a million dollars in just the first half of this month alone, and for the year, he’s broken the $2 million mark, records show.”
Gamergate foe Brianna Wu says she’s running for Congress
Brianna Wu, a Boston area game developer who became an outspoken defender of women facing harassment within the game industry, is running for Congress in 2018, stressing the economy and stopping the migration of Boston students and entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley, reports Dean Takahashi at VentureBeat. In a Facebook post, Wu, a Democrat, doesn’t say which district she’ll run in two years from now, though some of her social-media fans are urging her to run against U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch. We know this: The Globe is reporting she’s ruling out running against U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark. BostInno’s Olivia Vanni has more on Wu’s plans.
As Eversource removes retirees from health plans, Healey demands probe of utilities’ profits
The two moves are technically not tied together, but they are related. In a move to curb costs, Eversource Energy is transferring 14,400 retirees from its health care plan next year, instead offering to reimburse them for buying their own private insurance, reports the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro and Katie Johnson. The union representing some of the retirees is not happy.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Healey, upset with a recent rate hike granted to National Grid, yesterday pressed for a probe by DPU into how it calculates profits and rates for utilities, reports the Herald’s Brian Dowling. Eversource is set to ask for its own rate hike next month. For some reason, we have a feeling Healey is going to have something to say about its profits, hefty executive payouts and recent health-plan moves.
Lawmaker finally gets his Nativity scene at the State House
It took a lot of behind-the-scenes wrangling – including threats of legal action and appeals to House Speaker Robert DeLeo – but state Rep. James J. Lyons Jr., an Andover Republican, will get his Nativity scene in the State House today, reports the Herald’s Matt Stout and O’Ryan Johnson. “I think it’s important, it’s an expression of what a lot of Christians really believe Christmas is all about,” said Lyons. Zachary Bos, state director for American Atheists, told the Herald his group would have mounted a legal challenge if they had more time.
Critics rip preliminary criminal-justice recommendations
As expected, advocates for comprehensive criminal-justice reforms were disappointed yesterday after researchers unveiled ideas that focused on non-sentencing issues when it comes to making changes to the state’s justice system. At a hearing yesterday, researchers outlined ideas ranging from hiring more probation officers to providing new services to those released from prisons, reports Katie Lannan at State House News Service. But they didn’t address incarceration rates – and that angered some. “They’re talking about supervision and drug treatment and minor changes and they’re not talking about the fact that people are going to jail in such numbers and they don’t have jobs to come home to,” said Calvin Feliciano, SEIU Local 509’s deputy political director who disrupted the discussion at one point yesterday.
First, it was Ink Block at the former Boston Herald site. Now it’s WOOsteria, a new arts and theater complex, at the former site of the Telegram & Gazette in Worcester, reports Alban Murtish at MassLive. WOOteria is being developed by the Cultural Coalition and the Worcester Business Development Corporation.
Campanelli Construction tapped to build huge pot facility in Freetown
From the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock: “Denver-based medical marijuana facility developer AmeriCann (OTCQX: ACAN) has named Campanelli the general contractor for the first phase of its planned 1 million-square-foot Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Center in Freetown, which will be the largest facility of its kind when fully built out.”
Boston: ‘Cannabis Capital of the World’
With investors like AmeriCann and “canna-tourists” expected to pour into the Boston area now that marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, some experts think the pot industry will propel the state to new highs, economically speaking, reports Phil Demers at MassLive. “Unlike other places where cannabis is legal, Boston is within driving distance of many of the most populous places in America,” said Troy Dayton, CEO of The Arcview Group. “This will make Boston the cannabis capital of the world in short order. This cannabis tourism will drive significant revenue, tax dollars, and job growth which will make legalization very attractive to neighboring states.”
Legalized weed complicates bus crash charges
But there will be an apparent price to pay for becoming Cannabis Capital of the World. Police in Gloucester say they can’t yet charge a 20-year-old man who admitted he was high on marijuana when he crashed his car into a school bus full of kids, citing the state’s recent legalization of the drug, Antonio Planas and O’Ryan Johnson of the Herald report. While the driver—who admitted to toking up—could still face weed-related charges at a future court date, the head of the state’s police chief association said the issue highlights a flaw in the legalization move and how the hands of cops are tied because there is no easy and fast tests to assess pot-induced impairment.
Goldberg resists pressure to go cashless at Lottery
Treasurer Deb Goldberg said she plans to resist efforts to allow non-cash purchases (i.e. credit cards) of lottery tickets, despite declining sales of scratch tickets and a hoped-for move to online games, Sean P. Murphy of the Globe reports. Other states have begun to allow tickets to be bought with credit cards, but Goldberg fears allowing non-cash sales would exacerbate gambling problems and send more consumer into debt.
Unlikely allies: Trump voters want Warren’s consumer bureau to stay
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s efforts to preserve the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from possible Republican elimination is gaining support from an unlikely source: Trump voters. Nik DeCosta-Klipa of Boston.com reports that a Morning Consult poll finds only 7 percent of Trump supporters want the bureau wiped out, while 15 percent want its powers expanded and 41 percent want it left just the way it is.
More green means more Lawn on D
The Lawn on D, a super-hip and popular park for the non-winter months, will be back in Southie again come spring, thanks to a new infusion of sponsor money, Spencer Buell of Boston Magazine reports. The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority says Citizens Bank has pledged $250,000 to help run the park, which has been cutting down on the red ink it was leaking thanks to increased concession revenue and more special events.
Can you name the smallest town in Massachusetts?
Did you know there are 29 towns in Massachusetts with populations of less than 1,000 residents? And do you know which town is the smallest among them? MassLive has the answers. Hint on the smallest town: It has regained population since its low in the 1950 census, but it’s still below its official 1870 count, six years after its incorporation. Here’s a Wikipedi entryy on its history and stats.
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