Though Good Friday is not an official federal and state holiday, some government entities and businesses observe the holiday in whole or in part. U.S. stock markets will be closed today while Massachusetts House and Senate offices will close at noon.
Markey on military action
U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, holds a media availability to discuss next steps for Congress and the Trump administration following recent military strikes in the Middle East, JFK Federal Building (City Hall Plaza side), 15 New Sudbury Street, Boston, 10 a.m.
Boston Marathon safety plan
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, city officials and Boston Athletic Association CEO Tom Grilk host a press conference to discuss safety during the Boston Marathon, Eagle Room, 5th Floor, City Hall, Boston, 12 p.m.
Municipal renewable energy
350 Massachusetts, Environment Massachusetts, Clean Water Action and Massachusetts Climate Action Network host a press conference to launch a campaign of Massachusetts towns and cities pushing for 100 percent renewable energy, Greenergy Park at Beverly High School, 3:30 p.m.
Trump’s latest military strike – and local reactions
President Trump’s latest military-strike order, this time targeting an ISIS stronghold with a gigantic non-nuclear bomb, is once again prompting members of the state’s Congressional delegation to ask where all this military action is leading, reports the Herald. “As is the case with every part of Trump’s foreign policy, we’re all trying to understand what is the strategy, what is our overall purpose here?” said U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton said dropping bombs on terrorists is the “easy part” compared to actually developing a political solution to what’s happening in Afghanistan. U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano said the action was “probably appropriate,” based on media reports.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, plans to hold a press conference in Boston this morning about the president’s military actions.
Prosecutors try to tie Walsh directly into City Hall union scandal
It wasn’t said explicitly, but, judging by this morning’s story by the Globe’s Milton Valencia, federal prosecutors sure seem to have their eye on Mayor Marty Walsh’s role in the union-extortion case brought against two City Hall aides.
Not a bad chunk of change: WGBH, other stations make hundreds of millions on frequency auction
Wow. WGBH, WLVI (Channel 56) and other area stations have received huge windfalls as a result of an FCC auction of broadcast frequencies sought by wireless carriers, reports the Globe’s Dan Adams and the Herald’s Jessica Heslam. We’re talking big, big bucks here: WGBH and its Springfield station WGBY ($218 million) and WLVI ($162 million). What’s the line about every yacht is up for sale? The same applies to frequencies, apparently.
Never mind: Islamic Society walks away from cemetery plan
Citing costs and remaining bureaucratic red tape, the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester abruptly dropped its controversial plan to create a Muslim cemetery in the town of Dudley, Steven H. Foskett Jr. reports in the Telegram. The group says it is instead working to secure space for Muslim burials at existing Worcester cemeteries. Dudley officials, who faced lawsuits and a federal civil rights investigation for their handling of the cemetery proposal, seem stunned by the sudden turn of events, according to published reports. You now almost have sympathy for them. They got put through the wringer.
Ready, set, go: Special senate election to fill Donnelly seat scheduled for July 25
An all-out scramble has started to fill the seat of the late state Sen. Ken Donnelly, who died recently after a long battle with a brain tumor. The party primaries for the 4th Middlesex District are set for June 27 while the general election will be held on July 25, reports Wicked Local, which credits SHNS as reporting that Rep. Marc Lombardo, a Billerica Republican, and Rep. Sean Garballey, an Arlington Democrat, are weighing possible bids for the seat. Senate President Stanley Rosenberg’s chief policy advisor, Jim DiTullio, and Donnelly’s chief of staff, Cindy Friedman, were both exploring possible campaigns as well, according to published reports.
Pollster: Don’t get cocky, Charlie
Gov. Charlie Baker is riding high in new polls, especially in small central Massachusetts towns, where he pulls strong support from even Democrats, according to a new WBUR poll. But Baker’s skyhigh numbers can’t be taken for granted, warns MassInc. pollster Steve Koczela at WBUR: “As Democratic leaders prepare for a contested primary, and eventually line up behind their own party’s nominee, their critiques of Baker will likely sharpen and grow more frequent. The question for Baker is: Can he hold onto enough Democratic voters to win, even as the environment grows more partisan?”
Baker thinks the state can avoid additional budget cuts
He’s making no promises, but Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday said he thinks the state’s current fiscal-year budget shortfall, now projected at $220 million, can be managed without cuts to state programs and services, reports SHNS’s Colin Young at the Telegram. “I would call that a last resort,” Baker said of cuts on top of previous budget reductions. “We managed to get through a $450 million shortfall the last three months of last fiscal year without resorting to 9Cs and, yeah, we would prefer to come up with other ways to find our way to balance.”
Shocker: MBTA approves $2 billion budget – with actual debate
CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl seems almost shocked that the MBTA’s control board debated and acted on a new $2 billion budget – right in front of the press and public. “What made the debate fascinating – by Beacon Hill standards – was that no one knew how it would turn out. In the carefully scripted world of Beacon Hill, the budget debate of the Fiscal and Management Control Board represented a rare example of live policy-making.”
As for the actual live policy-making, the new budget is tight and will require the T to dip into recently allocated state funds to balance the books. The budget could also lead to the privatization of four bus garages but avoids, for now, controversial cuts to weekend rail services and ride programs for those with disabilities, writes the Globe’s Nicole Dungca.
Meanwhile, the Herald’s Matt Stout reports that state Inspector General Glenn Cunha’s office has launched a “proactive” review of either the T’s outsourced “money room” program or its $28 million contract with Mancon to run a parts warehouse.
Business leaders warn ‘millionaire’s tax’ will hurt economy, force firms to leave state
In a subscription-only story this morning, the BBJ is reporting that business leaders are very down on the proposed “millionaire’s tax” in Massachusetts, so much so that Suffolk Construction chief John Fish says he may take business elsewhere if the tax is approved by voters next year. “I would deploy capital in other parts of the country,” he said.
MassDevelopment chief ousted by board
The longtime head of MassDevelopment, Marty Jones, who was hired in 2011 under former Gov. Deval Patrick, will be leaving in June after its board voted 8-3 not to renew her contract, clearing the way for the Baker administration to search for a new chief of the economic development agency, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the BBJ. The administration was adamant it wasn’t firing Jones but it wouldn’t provide explanations for why her contract wasn’t renewed. Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash, who chairs the board, praised Jones for her “integrity and vision.”
Rosenberg ‘not a fan’ of extending casino last calls to 4 a.m.
The House budget unveiled earlier this week has an outside section that would allow casinos to sell liquor to gamblers an extra two hours till 4 a.m. But Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that Senate President Stan Rosenberg is “not a fan of the idea,” in his words. “We said we’re not going to chip away at the statute because this is how it happens in state after state,” Rosenberg said. “First there’s one little change, then another little change and before you know it the commonwealth loses control of the industry.”
Baker is doing better at diversifying the executive branch than Patrick but …
From Colman M. Herman at CommonWealth: “Gov. Charlie Baker is doing slightly better than his predecessor in recruiting blacks, Hispanics, and Asians to work in the executive branch, but the way his administration goes about presenting demographic data makes it impossible to learn how individual agencies are faring, including his own office.”
Southwick: The reddest town in blue Massachusetts?
Anthony Brooks takes a look at one of the reddest towns in Massachusetts, Southwick, which has a Republican state senator, a Republican-controlled select board and school committee, and, yes, it voted for Donald Trump. It’s farming-based economy plays a big role in its culture and political outlook, as Brooks writes. Southwick’s distinctive panhandle (see town map) is also surrounded on three sides by crazy Nutmeggers, so maybe that contributes to its collective mindset?
About that state ‘safe driving’ law …
WGBH News is running an interesting feature throughout the year that looks at recently passed state laws and how they’re actually faring compared to the hype before they were passed. This week’s installment: The state’s “safe driving” law passed in 2010, which Adam Reilly reports isn’t exactly working out the way it was intended.
MassPort picks Omni for massive new hotel in Seaport
Just like that, Boston has yet another half-billion-dollar construction project to add to all the other developments under way in the city, with the latest plan via the Massachusetts Port Authority. The agency’s board yesterday selected Omni Resorts and Hotels and New Boston Hospitality to build a 1,054-room, $550 million hotel complex across from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock reports. Is this town going through a building boom or what?
Moulton barnstorms business groups to push north-south rail link
U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s address yesterday to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce wasn’t his first pitch to a business group this week on the benefits of building a north-south rail link in Boston. He also made the same argument earlier in the week to leaders at the Urban Land Institute, showing how economically critical he thinks the tunnel project is for the state, reports the BBJ’s Don Seiffert. CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas has more on Moulton’s chamber address yesterday.
Ashland request to freeze out records requester denied
The state’s supervisor of public records has denied a request from the town of Ashland to cut off the town’s most frequent requester of documents, who officials say may be using the requests to bully town hall employees and officials, Bill Shaner of the MetroWest Daily News reports. Steve Morgan filed 64 of the 100 total records requests tracked by the town in 2016.
Grand Prix CEO must steer clear of Massachusetts for the rest of his life
John Casey, the CEO of the never-to-be Boston Grand Prix, has agreed to a lifetime ban preventing him from promoting public sporting events in the state as part of a civil court settlement, Kyle Scott Claus of Boston Magazine reports. Casey will also pay $50,000, though his assets are currently frozen by a federal bankruptcy proceeding.
What? Time zone change could disrupt TV schedules for Pats games?
From Mike Deehan at WGBH: “One of the biggest problems experts laid out for the Legislature’s time zone commission Wednesday is that a change from Eastern Daylight Time to constant Atlantic time would affect the start times for live television, leading to late nights for sports fans.” What? If it in any way, shape or form disrupts our refined couch-potato TV viewing of Pats, Red Sox, Celts and Bruins games, we’re against it.
Belichick: Super Bowl win was ‘close to a miracle’
Speaking of the Pats, admit it: Their stunning Super Bowl victory in February still brings a smile to your face, especially when the normally stoned-faced Bill Belichick says the comeback win was “close to a miracle.” And he didn’t say it once, he said it twice: “Close to a miracle.” MassLive’s Kevin Duffy has more.
Happy holiday weekend
We wish everyone a happy Easter and Passover. We will indeed be back on Monday, Patriots Day. Until then, have a great holiday weekend everyone.
Sunday public affairs TV
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. Guest: Joe Mathieu of WBZ Radio joins host Jon Keller to discuss the Trump White House turmoil, the recent Syrian bombings, Gov. Baker’s popularity and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s new book.
This is New England, NBC Boston, Channel 10, 9:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s focus: Marathon Monday and Comcast Care Day.
This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO Pat Moscaritolo on the economic impact of the Boston Marathon; Equinox regional director Darren Cappetta on the firm’s new marathon sponsorship; and the Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung on the UMass Boston upheaval, the United Airlines passenger-dragging incident, and other business news.
CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. This week’s focus is on the Boston Marathon and how it is woven into the fabric of John Hancock, with John Hancock Financial chief executive Criag Bromley and two first-time employee runners.
On the Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.
Matter of Fact, WCVB-TV, Channel 5, 11:30 a.m. With host Soledad O’Brien, one of this week’s guests is former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who talks about his struggles with addiction and mental illness.
CityLine, WCVB-TV, Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s focus: Discovering Malaga Island.
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