Happening Today

Trump inauguration

Republican Donald Trump is sworn in as president of the United State in Washington D.C., 11:30 a.m.

Baker in D.C.

Before the inauguration, Gov. Charlie Baker and First Lady Lauren Baker were scheduled to attend the National Governors Association Inauguration Breakfast in the morning and then head to the swearing-in ceremonies at the United States Capitol.

Moulton post-inauguration press availability

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton holds a post-inauguration press availability at his congressional office, 1408 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 3 p.m.

‘Occupy Inauguration Boston’

Boston Socialist Students, Boston Socialist Alternative, and Boston Movement for the 99% are organizing a ‘Resist Trump: Occupy Inauguration Boston’ protest, Boston Common – Parkman Bandstand, 6 p.m.

Non-inauguration events …

Mass Municipal League annual meeting

Massachusetts Municipal Association hosts its annual all-day meeting and trade show, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of State William Galvin, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and Auditor Suzanne Bump attending at various times and events, Hynes Convention Center and evening dinner at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.

Bill-filing deadline

Members of the Massachusetts Legislature face a biennial deadline to “seasonably file” proposed legislation by today, though late filed bills are routinely admitted and steered to committees throughout the two-year session, House and Senate Clerks’ Offices.

Campaign finance deadline

Year-end campaign finance reports from 2016 are due today at the Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

Today’s Stories

Pay raise spotlight

Because it’s now obvious that Beacon Hill leaders hope to slip huge pay raises through the Legislature while attention is focused elsewhere (i.e. Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington), we thought we’d lead today, front and center, with Frank Phillip’s excellent story explaining how, why and when lawmakers plan to act on the controversial pay-raise gambit. The issue could come up for a vote next week. Phillips also has a separate piece on how legislative per-diem perks could lead to some lawmakers avoiding paying tens of thousands of dollars in taxes. 

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Matt Stout and SHNS’s Matt Murphy at WBUR have stories on yesterday’s Beacon Hill hearing on the pay-raise maneuver. And the Globe’s editorial board is none too happy with how this is all playing out, even urging Gov. Baker to veto the legislation if lawmakers proceed on their current course.

Inauguration action and march — right here in Massachusetts

Sure, the focus of the nation and world will be on Washington today, as Donald Trump is officially sworn in as the next president of the United States of America. Many Bay State residents and groups will be in the nation’s capital for festivities, as reported at Wicked Local and the Eagle-Tribune.

But there’s also a heck of a lot happening right here in Massachusetts. By far, the biggest event will take place tomorrow: The Boston Women’s March. The Globe’s Shirley Leung has the best who’s-who list of those planning to attend the march, including many politicos, male and female (U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Attorney General Maura Healey, Mayor Walsh, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Sens. Karen Spilka, Linda Dorcena Forry, Sonia Chang-Diaz, Cynthia Creem, Patricia Jehlen) etc. etc. But Shirley also has an impressive list of local business women, not usually the types to attend such events, who are planning to march. 

Meanwhile, the Herald Marie Szaniszlo has a list of both anti- and pro-Trump events planned around the state, from today’s anti-Trump protest organized by socialists on Boston Common to Republicans whooping it up tonight in Braintree. And, of course, there’s the turmoil now roiling the national and local Girl Scouts movement, as the Globe’s Michael Levenson dutifully reports.

‘Diarrhea, Drunkenness and Dead Birds: 200 Years Of Inaugural Mishaps’

We don’t know how we missed this one, via WBUR. The 1800s had some strange inaugurations. Meanwhile, the Globe’s James Pindell has found some more contemporary inaugural nuggets, including Elvis impersonators, Obama’s botched oath taking, and a podium fire breaking out while Cardinal Cushing spoke at JFK’s inauguration.

Boycott bait: New Balance’s chairman donated $400K to Trump

The folks at L.L. Bean must be relieved, in a Darwinian survivalist type of way, that the attention of anti-Trump boycotts may soon shift away from their firm to Boston’s very own New Balance, now that the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan has reported that NB’s chairman, Jim Davis, sent a $396,500 check to Trump in September. New Balance’s response: “An employee’s personal support of a candidate does not equate to a company endorsement.” The long-time owner and chairman is now a mere “employee”?

Boston Globe

Dot-com déjà vu all over again: State’s jobless rate falls to mere 2.8 percent

If the rest of the country was economically performing like Massachusetts, Hillary Clinton would be the one getting sworn in today as president. According to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, the state’s unemployment rate fell to 2.8 percent last month, its lowest level since December 2000, during the old dot-com era. Not that the rest of country is doing poorly these days, with a national jobless rate of 4.7 percent. Democrats, Clinton in particular, simply did an awful job conveying the economic good news, though income has indeed been growing slowly.


Tracking Trump’s economic progress

The Globe’s Evan Horowitz outlines a great idea that the newspaper plans to implement moving forward: Tracking Donald Trump’s economic record from the outset of his administration, via stats on the trade deficit, tax rates and budget deficits, the value of the U.S. dollar, employment levels, the number of medically uninsured, and immigrant deportations. Of course, this raises the question: Why didn’t they do this for President Obama? And, if they had, would it have helped or hurt Democrats? If you read the preceding item above, you know our answer: Yes, the economic data over the past eight years would have probably helped Democrats, if Dems had been more inclined to focus more on economic issues during the campaign. But they weren’t so inclined – and so they paid the price.

Boston Globe

The personal touch: Report calls for ‘student-centered’ education reforms

State education leaders yesterday called for a more “personalized” and “student-centered” approach to education as the next step of school reforms in Massachusetts, according to a report at Wicked Local. So cutting through the education-industry jargon (itself in desperate need of reform), it basically means tailoring education more toward individual students, beyond old-fashioned tutoring and guidance counseling. SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) has a good side piece on what exactly is “personalization.”

Wicked Local

Double-standard mandates for self-driving cars?

There’s some really good, common-sense ideas in a bill that Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Sen. Jason Lewis, both Democrats, plan to introduce today on regulating self-driving cars, as reported by the Globe’s Dan Adams. In particular, the anti-“zombie” idea – designed to combat people from letting their self-driving cars autonomously whir around city blocks if they can’t find parking – is something we had never thought of before. But imposing a mileage-based tax on self-driving cars, mandating that they all be zero-emissions and allowing some large municipalities to ban them outright? Our thoughts: 1.) This is clearly opening the door for the controversial Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax that Gov. Baker claims he doesn’t like. 2.) Is zero-emissions both technologically and economically even feasible at this point? 3.) Giving municipalities such powers so early in the innovation process is a recipe for impeding innovation, not promoting it.

Boston Globe

Barnstable police chief makes one hell of a typo

Oops: Barnstable Police Chief Paul MacDonald says a coding error on his part led to the Cape community being listed among the nation’s most dangerous places to live, Haven Orecchio-Egresitz of the Cape Cod Times reports. MacDonald says all types of assaults were lumped into a single category for “aggravated assaults” as data were compiled, skewing the results and plopping Barnstable among the top 100 crime hotspots in the entire nation.  

Cape Cod Times

MassHousing conflict? Nah, it’s just her pa and live-in-girlfriend involved in a land deal

From Coleman Herman at CommomWealth magazine: “CommonWealth received a tip recently that an employee of the (Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency), Deborah Morse, played a role in a vote committing $73 million for the development of a property in Boston owned by the nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing. In presenting the deal to the authority’s board, the minutes of the meeting indicate Morse did not disclose that the nonprofit’s founder and chairman is her father and her live-in girlfriend is a vice president at the business.”


Goldberg’s directive: State alcohol laws for 2017, not 1933

SHNS’s Andy Metzger, while confirming a previous Globe story about how Treasurer Deb Goldberg wants to overhaul and update the state’s alcohol laws, obtained a directive from Goldberg establishing a new seven-member advisory task force on reforms of the system. “The Commonwealth’s alcohol laws have necessarily evolved since enacted in 1933, but many of those reforms have been both piecemeal and reactionary,” reads the directive. “Other changes have come by way of court decisions, although they may not be reflected in the statutes. The result is a system that lacks the cohesiveness that consumers, regulators, and businesses need.”


‘The Cautionary Tale of Samantha Power’

A MASSterList reader sent in this Commentary takedown of outgoing UN Ambassador Samantha Power, with the headline above and this subhead: ‘Every day she has to wake up knowing she became what she despised.’ Meaning the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former Harvard scholar found out the hard way it’s much easier to criticize a government’s foreign policy action (or inaction) as an outsider than it is to actually conduct foreign policy as an insider. Her next book could/should be titled: ‘The Limits of Moralism in Foreign Policy.’


Passengers can now get a Lyft at Logan

MassPort has hammered out an agreement that will allow Lyft drivers, assuming they pass background checks, to start picking up drivers at Logan Airport starting February 1, reports the BBJ’s David Harris. Next up after negotiations are completed: Deals with Uber and other ride-sharing firms.


T police presence to grow after TD Garden beating incident

Private security guards can no longer eject homeless people from the North Station platform beneath the arena and the T’s Transit Police will soon increase patrols there, Evan Allen and Nicole Dungca of the Globe report. The moves come after the Globe reported a truly ugly incident of a private security guard beating a homeless person with his own cane. 

Boston Globe

Report: Slots don’t slow lottery roll

Lottery sales grew at a slower pace at some stores near Plainridge Park Casino but overall the arrival of the state’s first slot parlor hasn’t dented lottery sales as many feared, according to a report penned by UMass Amherst researchers. Gintautus Dumcius of MassLive reports that the report’s authors, who presented their findings to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, caution that things may change as more casinos open in more parts of the state. 


Ash: Decision near on Berkshire Innovation Center funds

Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash says officials will decide in a matter of weeks whether to free up additional funds to help build and open the Berkshire Innovation Center in Pittsfield, Tony Dobrowoiski of the Berkshire Eagle reports. The project, considered a lynchpin in the development of a business park in the city, has been idled since late 2015 by a $3 million funding gap between the original cost estimate and actual construction bids. 

Berkshire Eagle

Walsh’s ed plan in hands of Big 3

The fate of Mayor Marty Walsh’s ambitious education plan for Boston—including universal pre-kindergarten and a $1 billion infusion of capital into school buildings— now lies firmly in the hands of the Beacon Hill’s leadership trio, Mike Deehan of WGBH reports. The support of Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Stan Rosenberg and Speaker Robert DeLeo would be required to make most, if not all, of the ideas raised by Walsh a reality. We have a hunch the mayor’s agenda is going to get pruned back a bit. Just a hunch.


Sunday public affairs TV

This is New England, NBC Boston, 9:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s main guest is Mayor Marty Walsh, who talks about his State of the City address and other issues. Other guests include Larry Dicara, former city council president, Peter Ubertaccio, professor of politics at Stonehill College, and Galen Moore, editor of StreetWise Media.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Jim Lowell, editor of Fidelity Investor, talks about the business community, markets and the economy under President Trump, while Jim Brett, New England Council CEO, looks at the potential impact of a Republican controlled White House and Congress on the New England economy.

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Jo-Anne Thompson, the CEO of Tommy’s Taxi, a 70-year-old family owned business based out of Framingham, shares insights into what it’s like to run a small cab company in the era of ride-sharing. 

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. Guest: Attorney General Maura Healey talks with anchor Ed Harding and State House reporter Janet Wu.  

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m.. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s focus: Saying Goodbye to Barack Obama.

Today’s Headlines


Evans considers extending body camera pilot program – Boston Globe

3 Hombres – Baker, DeLeo, And Rosenberg – May Hold The Fate Of Mayor Walsh’s Education Plan In Their Hands – WGBH

Judge upholds $2.6-million discrimination verdict against MBTA; tells authority to stop whining – Universal Hub

Boston women’s march is set to be second biggest of day – Boston Magazine


Mass. law would tax autonomous vehicles by the mile – Boston Globe

Pols on Beacon Hill make case to jack up salaries – Boston Herald

No promises made about more funding as Holyoke officials, firefighters discuss truck brownouts – MassLive

Very hungry caterpillars: Bad year predicted for trees beset by gypsy moths – Telegram & Gazette

Worcester once again seeking developer for old courthouse – Telegram & Gazette

Framingham/Worcester line commuter rail schedule may change – MetroWest Daily News

City Council president joins growing list of female leaders in Salem – Salem News

Advocates angered by Plymouth County sheriff’s deal with immigration officials – Patriot Ledger

Police chief takes blame for erroneous ‘most dangerous’ label – Cape Cod Times

In Worcester, paid parking can be for suckers – Worcester Magazine

State weighs more cash for Berkshire Innovation Center – Berkshire Eagle

Republicans at Mass. colleges say they have felt a backlash since the election – WBUR

Which Boston colleges have the most students from the 1 percent? – Boston Magazine

Brockton mayor files plan to pay back taxpayers for $7,850 for flowers, other purchases – Brockton Enterprise

Storm runoff running up big bills for Greater Lowell cities, towns – Lowell Sun


Associates of Trump scrutinized over links to Russia – New York Times

Trump’s Washington hotel is hub of inaugural action—and potential conflicts – Washington Post

Democrats opt for nature and meditation – Politico

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