Happening Today

Marijuana-delay protest

MassCann/NORML plans to protest the Legislature’s move this week to delay the start of retail marijuana sales by six months, State House, 12 p.m.

Baker at Jewish Community Housing

Gov. Charlie Baker visits Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly for a holiday lunch, 30 Wallingford Road, Brighton, 12:30 p.m.

DeFranco hosts ‘Nightline’

Marisa DeFranco guest-hosts “NightSide,” WBZ NewsRadio 1030, 8 p.m.

Today’s Stories

What a rush, Part II

The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition and others plan to hold a State House rally today to protest the Legislature’s surprise move this week to delay the start of retail sales of marijuana until mid-2018. The protesters are also hoping to put pressure on Gov. Charlie Baker not to sign the bill, but it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Baker, who was always against legalizing marijuana, will go along with lawmakers on the delay, reports the Herald.

Though it’s too early to tell how voters will react to the Legislature’s action on Wednesday, we suspect the price won’t be high, so to speak, because a delay isn’t such an unreasonable move, considering the public policy complexities surrounding pot legalization. But the way lawmakers approved the delay — in an “informal” session with barely a handful of legislators in attendance — continues to draw scorn, such as this Boston Globe editorial (“Fix the pot law, but not in a smoke-filled room’) and this MetroWest Daily News editorial (an “abuse of lame-duck sessions”). SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) has more on the pot-delay brouhaha.

Pittsfield eyes cultivation cash

Whenever pot shops get the green light, Pittsfield Mayor Linda M. Tyer wants her city to be in a position to cash in on the new industry, Carrie Saldo of the Berkshire Eagle reports. Tyer is forming a working group to identify potential city-owned property—such as the municipal airport—that could be made available for marijuana cultivation, saying growing the weed is “where the jobs are.” 

Berkshire Eagle

New Year gift to lawmakers: A 4.2 percent pay hike

The timing of this isn’t perfect, considering the controversial way the marijuana-delay bill was just passed. But after going eight years without a pay raise, Beacon Hill lawmakers will finally see a 4.19 percent increase in their pay next year, raising their base salary to $62,547, thanks to Gov. Charlie Baker, who yesterday exercised his constitutional authority to biennially review the median household income in the Bay State over the past two years and adjust the pay of House and Senate lawmakers, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. Though the state is facing tough financial times, eight years without a pay hike is a long time – and we suspect most voters would agree. And unlike the marijuana bill, the pay increase was arrived at via a fair and sensible process. 


Dear Boston: Tito’s going to run

The will-he-or-won’t-he drama appears to be coming to a climax: City Councilor Tito Jackson sure looks like he’s going to be running for mayor next year, taking on incumbent Marty Walsh, now that Tito has “drafted” the campaign manager for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his operatives have registered the titojacksonformayor.com website, reports the Herald’s Dan Atkinson and Jack Encarnacao. Tito’s also written a ‘Dear Boston’ note to the people of Boston on his Facebook page. We didn’t think Tito would do it, but it sure looks like everything is in place for a campaign, unless he gets cold feet. Note: The Herald’s Hillary Chabot reports that Tito may get a boost from the strong anti-Trump sentiment out there.

Strange appointment leads to strange termination fees

From Colman Herman at CommonWealth magazine: “The new executive director of the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency terminated three employees earlier this year and cushioned the blow by paying them a total of $144,552, according to records grudgingly released by the agency. The employee terminations followed soon after Timothy Sullivan was named executive director of the authority at strange meeting of the board of directors in January.” Here’s Bruce Mohl’s original story on that strange meeting.  


State Rep.-elect Bud Williams: ‘I’m tormented’

Bud L. Williams, the long-time Springfield city councilor who recently won election as state representative in the 11th Hampden District, says he just can’t make up his mind whether he’ll serve out his full council term through 2017 while also serving on Beacon Hill, reports Peter Goonan at MassLive. “I’m tormented by the decision,” Williams said. “It’s a tough decision.”

We have no idea if this is factoring into his decision, but if Williams leaves the council early his replacement would be Jesse Lederman, the ex-campaign manager for Ben Swan Jr., who lost to Williams in the Democratic primary this past fall, according to MassLive.


New job, curious timing

The mystery is over. It turns out that former Mass. Supervisor of Public Records Shawn Williams, who just recently stepped down, has taken a job overseeing records compliance for the city of Boston — and the timing of the move is raising a lot of questions, Meghan Irons and Todd Wallack of the Globe report. Williams apparently signed decisions on seven public records appeal cases involving Boston documents, after putting his name into the hat for the city job, including four he finalized after taking the position, the Globe reports.  

Boston Globe

Baker plans to attend Trump inaugural

Here’s some fodder for Gus Bickford, the new chair of the state Democratic party: Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican who refused to endorse Donald Trump for president, is nevertheless going to Trump’s inauguration next month, saying he was invited by the incoming administration, reports Matt Stout at the Herald. “I plan to participate fittingly in the observance,” Baker said. “It happens once every four years and as governor of the commonwealth, with an invitation like that, I plan to honor it.” The ball’s in your court, Gus.

Boston Herald

‘Same chimes, different channel’

Thank goodness. Only a few more days until NBC Boston finally debuts on Channel 10 in Boston, giving the boot to its long-time network affiliate WHDH-TV (Channel 7). And that means we’ll be subjected to fewer “same chime, different channel” advertisements being drilled into our heads by NBC/Comcast as it blitzes the airwaves with reminders of the big broadcast change coming to Boston on January 1. The Globe’s Shirley Leung and the Herald’s Donna Goodison have all the details of the planned switchover. Btw: As annoying as the ‘same chimes, different channel’ campaign may be, it’s impressively effective. It definitely sticks in the mind.

It’s not nice to fool a federal judge: Convicted lobbyist faces tough probation conditions

After finding that convicted Beacon Hill lobbyist Richard McDonough may have lied to prison officials about his alcohol abuse to pave the way for an early release from prison, U.S. Judge Mark L. Wolf next week is expected to impose some tough probation standards on McDonough, originally convicted of public corruption, writes the Globe’s Milton Valencia.

Boston Globe

Springfield T factory could also become permanent maintenance facility

CRRC MA, the Massachusetts arm of the world’s largest subway car manufacturer, is nearing completion of its $95 million factory in East Springfield, where it plans to build new Orange and Red subway cars for the MBTA. But the same facility might also get work doing regular heavy maintenance on the T’s aging fleet of subway cars in general, reports Jim Kinney at the BBJ .


Contract T worker in ‘money room’ complains of harassment

This is not a surprise and the T better brace for more of this as it privatizes other services. From the Globe’s Nicole Dungca: “An employee of the company that took over the MBTA’s cash-counting department last week from union workers says T employees harassed him Wednesday by taking photographs as he picked up a money vault in a rental truck, according to a police report. The MBTA said it disciplined at least one employee for posting the photographs on social media.”

Boston Globe

State park pipeline price tag put at $640K

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. is offering to pay the state $640,000 in compensation for land taken by eminent domain to allow a new pipeline to slice through Otis State Forest, Mary Serreze of MassLive reports. About half of the funds would be set aside for acquisition of new conservation land in the area. A judge will rule on the agreement in February. 


Report calls for ‘recovery coaches’ for opioid addicts

Less than half of those admitted to residential treatment centers in Massachusetts for opioid addiction complete their programs, according to a new state report that also encourages officials to create more ‘recovery coaches’ to assist addicts. Bob Salzburg of the Associated Press reports at the Telegram that the treatment programs report from an 11-member commission, created by the Department of Public Health, comes as 2016 opioid overdose deaths are expected to exceed last year’s levels. 


State’s pay-to-play booze case fizzles on technicality

Three prominent Boston bars — Game On, Gather, and Coogan’s Bluff – won’t be penalized for accepting nearly $80,000 in payments from a beer distributor to stock certain beers, after the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission ruled that the payments technically went to the bars’ corporate owners, not the taverns holding liquor licenses, reports the Globe’s Dan Adams. It’s a technicality, but it’s still a setback to state investigators, Adams writes.

Boston Globe

Happy New Year

We’d like to wish all our MASSterList readers a happy New Year. We’ll be returning first thing Monday morning, though with an abbreviated edition of MASSterList. Have a joyous weekend. See you Monday.

Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. Joe Mathieu meets with his broadcast colleague and host Jon Keller to discuss some of the “hidden” winners and losers in local and national politics in 2016.

On The Record, WCVB TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Mayor Marty Walsh, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and State House reporter Janet Wu.

This Week in Business, NECN, 11 a.m. A repeat of a recent show in which the Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung and the BBJ’s Doug Bank review the top local business stories of 2016.

CEO Corner, NECN, 11:30 a.m. Rebroadcast of a prior program with PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann, who talks about the Internet of Things and other technologies.

CityLine, WCVB TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s focus: An encore presentation of the Fight for Tech Equity

Today’s Headlines


Transformative Dorchester project has new funding – Boston Globe

Three Boston bars absolved in state pay-to-play case – Boston Globe

More signs Tito Jackson will take on Marty Walsh – Boston Herald

In messy breakup, six partners leave Boston firm to start new shop – Boston Business Journal

inside track columnist Gayle Fee is leaving the Herald – DanKennedy.net


Mass. lawmakers getting 4 percent raise – Boston Globe

Charlie Baker signals he’ll stall pot shop openings – Boston Herald

Calling Mass. lawmakers ‘cowards,’ marijuana activists to protest delay in pot shops – MassLive

Tennessee Gas agrees to pay state $640,000 for easement through Otis State Forest – MassLive

Barriers often short-circuit opioid treatment in Mass. – Associated Press

Quincy city council to consider pot restrictions – Patriot Ledger

Weymouth sues power plant owner over land deal – Patriot Ledger

Pittsfield mayor sees potential pot of money in marijuana cultivation – Berkshire Eagle

Townsend police officer resigns amid probe into citizens background checks – Lowell Sun

Video about mice in ceiling of Brockton housing spreads on social media – Brockton Enterprise

NBC Boston launches Jan. 1 but Bristol County will be in the dark – Standard-Times

Mass. housing paid settlements to terminated workers – CommonWealth Magazine


Obama faces difficult choices amid stream of last-minute clemency requests – NPR

Obama strikes back at Russia for election hacking – New York Times

The death of Clintonism – Politico

How to Contact MASSterList

Send tips to Matt Murphy: Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: Publisher@MASSterList.com or (857) 370-1156. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.