The UMass Board of Trustees meets at UMass Boston’s campus center, with several speakers from UMass Boston expected to address the board, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, 9 a.m.
Keating at New England Council
U.S. Rep. Bill Keating addresses the New England Council breakfast, discussing congressional matters, the Hampshire House, 84 Beacon St., Boston, 9:30 a.m.
Public Health Counil
Public Health Council meets to receive an briefing from the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management on preparation for the 2017 Boston Marathon and a briefing on military culture awareness and to vote on a request for final promulgation of regulations dealing with personal flotation devices for children, 250 Washington St., 2nd floor, Boston, 9 a.m.
Council on Older Adults
Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders and Secretary of Elder Affairs Alice Bonner gather for a signing of an executive order establishing a Council on Older Adults and swearing in members of the Council, MIT Age Lab, 1 Main Street, 9th Floor, Cambridge, 1:30 p.m.
Baker at MassEcon
Gov. Baker gives remarks at the MassEcon Corporate Welcome Reception, Sanofi Genzyme, 500 Kendall St, Cambridge, 5:30 p.m.
Motley: ‘No regrets’
Outgoing University of Massachusetts Boston chancellor Keith Motley says he has “no regrets” about the physical and academic transformation of his school over the years, even though UMass-Boston is now mired in knee-deep red ink. “I have no regrets because if the creator blesses me to walk on this campus three years from now and you walk it with me, I know you’ll see an incredible institution,” Motley said at a UMass board meeting yesterday, as reported by the Globe’s Laura Krantz. Fyi: Krantz also reports UMass Boston’s operating deficit of $30 million has been slashed to about $7 million.
The Herald’s Matt Stout describes Motley, who’s stepping down at the end of the academic year, as “unapologetic,” though he isn’t denying, and certainly not bragging about, the school’s troubled finances. Sounds like Motley is trying to handle his departure with class and dignity – and succeeding.
Motley’s successor: The UMass-Boston budget process is broken
From Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine: “Barry Mills, who is slated to take the reins as interim chancellor at the University of Massachusetts Boston, painted a dire picture of finances and operations at the campus, saying the budget process is broken and that tough choices lie ahead for the school. Mills spoke at meeting of the UMass board of trustees where outgoing chancellor Keith Motley delivered a passionate address, defending his 10 years on the job, but publicly evincing no bitterness about his impending departure.”
Judicial candidate has some questions to answer about probate-court decisions
Of all days, Linda M. Medonis’s hearing today on her judgeship nomination comes as the Globe’s Andrew Ryan reports this morning about her apparently disastrous appointment of a court employee to the same Suffolk County probate office that’s now embroiled in controversy. Medonis is a top state probate administrator.
More than 20 courthouses would be shuttered under proposed plan
More than twenty courthouses across the state, including ones in South Boston and Charlestown, would be closed over the next few decades under a draft Courts Capital Master Plan, reports the Herald’s Bob McGovern. The bottom line: The state’s current 97 facilities would shrink to 75 courthouses, even if new start-of-the-art facilities are built, McGovern writes.
In Springfield, they’re wondering why the Hampden County Hall isn’t high on the renovation list, reports Patrick Johnson at MassLive. By the look of it, they should be thankful it isn’t on the closure list. For some reason, we have a feeling Beacon Hill lawmakers will have a say on which facilities stay or go.
Baker moves to curtail modern-day version of debtor’s prison
Why it took so long to do this is baffling, considering that debtor’s prisons mostly went out of fashion in the 19th Century, except in our court systems. From the AP at WCVB: “Gov. Charlie Baker wants to let criminal defendants who fail to pay fines or fees perform community service instead of going to jail. Baker is pushing a bill to allow the community service option, which he says will help create a fairer system where punishments fit better with crimes.” Two words: Long overdue.
Here’s nine million reasons why Elizabeth Warren backs the People’s Pledge
To say U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is on a fundraising roll is putting it mildly. The senior Massachusetts senator has amassed $9.2 million for her re-election bid, the vast majority of the money raised from small-donor individuals apparently galvanized by the election of Donald Trump, reports the Globe’s Victoria McGrane. The AP at the Herald is reporting that Warren raked in more than $5.2 million in the first quarter alone. No wonder Republican Geoff Diehl is refusing to sign the People’s Pledge that voluntarily limits contributions from large donors.
North Shore lawmakers press T on summer rail alternative
North Shore lawmakers are calling on the MBTA to make alternative transportation available when the Newbuyrport-Rockport commuter line is idled this summer for repair work, Dustin Luca of the Salem News reports. Lawmakers want the T to consider running buses on the route during the weekends the train won’t be operating and possibly expand water-shuttle service in order to minimize the impact on the area’s all-important tourism economy. “We can’t have service just completely shut down and interrupt weekends all summer long,” said state Sen. Joan Lovely.
Is Steve Lynch out of step with Dems, or are Dems out step with people like Steve Lynch?
CommonWealth’s Shawn Zeller has an interesting piece on U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, a true lunch-bucket moderate Democrat, and how the demographics in his district are changing while the state Democratic Party is moving left. It’s all true. And it’ll be interesting how some Dems, who bemoan the rise of the professional-managerial class and the decline of the working-class in their party, react to the coming primary battle between Lynch and Brianna Wu, a true card-carrying member of the professional-managerial class if there ever was one.
State seal of Massachusetts may be passing into history
The state’s official seal representing a native American Indian, with a slashing sword dangling over his head, may soon be passing into commonwealth history, if some lawmakers and critics of the seal have their way, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at SouthCoast Today. “I sincerely request that you consider our shared history and be cognizant of the genocidal accuracy of the symbolism that the seal in part portrays,” John Peters, executive director of the Commission on Indian Affairs, said at hearing yesterday of the Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. The seal adorns everything from the state flag to state stationery to Peters’ own business cards. Here’s a compromise suggestion: How about taking out the slashing sword, for a starter?
Ruling boosts tribe’s Martha’s Vineyard casino bid
Speaking of native Americans, from Kyle Scott Clauss at Boston magazine: “The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head have cleared a major hurdle in their push to build a casino on Martha’s Vineyard. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reversed an earlier District Court ruling that claimed the tribe had not displayed ‘governmental power’ over its land and was thus unable to operate a casino, the State House News Service reports.”
MassPort ties itself into knots rationalizing request for new parking spaces
MassPort may very well be right that: A.) Logan Airport needs more parking spaces and B.) Their plan is actually environmentally friendly. But Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin is also right to say the argument MassPort puts forth is more than a little counterintuitive. They need to sharpen their message about the benefits.
Baker hoping April showers bring May revenue flowers
The Baker administration, which hasn’t ruled out more budget cuts this fiscal year, is taking a wait-and-see attitude towards any budgetary action until it sees revenue numbers from April, when state- and federal-income tax filings are due, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy. If April numbers are as disappointing as the March figures, there may be tough decisions ahead this spring.
Are blue-collar kids getting squeezed out of suddenly popular vocational schools?
The stigma of attending vocational schools is slowly coming to an end, mercifully, as evidenced by the growing waiting lists to get into voc schools. But as Michael Jonas notes at CommonWealth magazine, vocational schools are suddenly getting picky about who gets into their institutions. “The right kids aren’t getting in,” says Scott Palladino, principal at Wareham High School on Cape Cod. “The kids who need to learn a trade, those hands-on kids, aren’t getting accepted.” In a way, those kids are victims of society’s otherwise laudable emphasis on gaining STEM and tech-related skills.
Poll: Central Mass. Trump voters stand by their man
As many as 90 percent of voters in the central Massachusetts towns where Donald Trump received more votes for president than Hillary Clinton still view the president “very positively” and believe he will, eventually, deliver on his campaign promises, a new WBUR poll conducted by MassInc. poll suggests. WBUR’s Anthony Brooks reports that while just 42 percent of all voters there view Trump favorably, that’s still ahead of the president’s national favorability ratings.
Baker’s 75 percent approval rating: Any more questions about why Healey isn’t running for governor?
Gov. Charlie Baker has regained the top spot as the most popular governor in America, according to a new Morning Consult survey, which shows 75 percent of voters approving of the job he’s doing as governor, MassLive reports. Meanwhile, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey are popular, but not nearly Baker-level popular, according to Morning Consult, as SHNS’s Colin Young reports at the Lowell Sun.
State health insurer partners with for-profit to improve care and save money at same time
This sounds like an interesting “accountable care” approach (see NYT explainer piece) to health insurance, as described by the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett: “The Group Insurance Commission, the quasi-state agency the oversees health insurance for state and some government employees, will partner with Iora Health starting this summer to provide specialized health care to around 2,000 people in an attempt to save the state money. Boston-based Iora, a for-profit health system that’s been providing primary care to patients over the age of 55 for years, will be available to those members who are enrolled in the UniCare plan through the state and also live near Iora offices in Medford and Hyde Park.”
Tito takes shots at Walsh over Olympics, IndyCar and other ‘distractions’
Tito Jackson is finally starting to act more like a boxer than a piñata, hitting Mayor Marty Walsh yesterday over his focusing on “distractions” such as the 2024 Olympics and IndyCar debacles and not enough on issues important to the working- and middle-classes, as Tori Bedford reports at WGBH.
Gone but not forgotten: Prouty Garden backers continue legal fight over a garden that’s no more
From Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ: “A group that’s fighting the demolition of a beloved garden at Boston Children’s Hospital is suing the state, saying there may be a connection between the state’s approval of the demolition last October and the hospital’s participation in a new pilot program around the same time. The lawsuit by the Friends of Prouty Garden in Suffolk Superior Court against Marylou Sudders, the secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, alleges the state refused to give petitioners documents it requested under the state’s Public Records Law.”
Amherst looks to staff up for retail weed
Amherst officials say they will need to hire two more police officers and four more emergency medical service workers to be ready for the arrival of retail marijuana shops in 2018, Diane Lederman of MassLive reports. Selectmen in the college town will discuss the new staffing—which could cost the town more than $500,000 annually—and other issues around legal weed shops on Wednesday.
J. Geils, RIP
John Geils Jr., aka J. Geils of the J. Geils Band fame, has passed away at the age of 71, according to reports at Huffington Post, the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. The band skyrocketed to national fame with mainstream hits like ‘Freeze-Frame’ and ‘Centerfold,’ but, sort of like Bruce Springsteen, their best wasn’t saved for last. Their earlier work was far superior to what came later. RIP, J. Geils. … Btw: How many of you used to think the band’s name was “Jake Geils”? We never really broke ourselves of that mispronunciation.
Fidelity’s Johnson fund donates $30M to national parks
It’s a Boston charitable fund that goes about its business quietly, discreetly, with no fanfare or press releases. The latest from Fidelity’s Edward C. Johnson Fund, gleaned from filings: A $29.7 million donation to the National Park Foundation for land acquisition, reports the Globe’s Beth Healy.
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