Happening Today

Pot conference committee, T Control Board, Pike lane reductions and more …

U.S. Senator Edward Markey holds a press conference with union and disability rights advocates on the Senate GOP health care bill, JFK Federal Building, 9th floor, 10 a.m. … MBTA Control Board discusses potential retirement-benefit reforms, a possible ban on alcohol ads and other issues, 10 Park Plaza, 12 p.m. … Marijuana conference committee meets to hammer out a compromise on competing pot-regulation bills, Room 348, 2 p.m. … Gov. Baker meets with Senate President Stan Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Speaker’s Office, 2 p.m. … The Mass Pike (I-90) will be reduced from four lanes to three lanes between the Allston Interchange and the Beacon Street Overpass to allow for work on the replacement of the Commonwealth Bridge. … Boston Mayor Martin Walsh attends the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Miami. … More calendar items below in Beacon Hill Town Square.

Today’s Stories

MBTA to push for major retirement reforms

The MBTA’s proposed retirement-benefits overhaul to be unveiled today isn’t as draconian as an early online Globe headline suggests (‘MBTA wants to take an ax to retirement benefits’), for it applies to future employees and would bring the T’s lucrative benefits in line with what teachers and other state workers get. But they are major, major changes for the T, whose struggling pension system now has more retirees than active workers, as the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro reports.

Boston Globe

Lockout at Baystate Franklin Medical

The labor showdown between Baystate Franklin Medical Center and its nurses finally came to a head yesterday, after the hospital began a lockout in anticipation of a strike this morning by 200 nurses, reports Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ. This is ominous news for those trying to avert similar action at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.


Jared Kushner’s real estate firm: From Slummerville to $285M loan from Deutsche Bank

The Globe’s Matt Viser has a story that looks at Jared Kushner’s budding real estate career flipping properties in Somerville, before he became Donald Trump’s son-in-law and before Somerville became today’s Somerville. No earth-shattering revelations. He made some costly blunders, tried to bully some Harvard-grad tenants and made an impressive profit, with his father’s generous financial assistance, of course.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post has a piece this morning on how Kushner’s real estate firm secured an election-eve $285 million loan from Deutsche Bank as it fended off charges of mortgage fraud and aiding a possible Russian money-laundering scheme.

The good, smart and worrisome of Baker’s health-care bill (including new ‘dental therapists’)

John McDonough outlines the five key things he found poring over the documents of Gov. Baker’s health-care reform package – and he writes that he especially likes the part about expanding the scope of practice for nurse practitioners, optometrists, and podiatrists, while creating a new mid-level provider called “dental therapist.” Dentists undoubtedly have a different opinion on this clause.


Trump on Warren: ‘Hopeless case … highly overrated … Pocahontas … a lot of hatred … so angry. … hurt Hillary’

The guy is incorrigible. The Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss and the Herald’s Jack Encarnacao has the latest anti-Elizabeth Warren outburst from a president who just can’t seem to act presidential by rising above the fray.

Warren: ‘I get it. … 0-for-4 in special elections — that sucks’

Before President Trump’s most recent anti-Warren outburst, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was trying to rally demoralized Dem troops and urging the party faithful not to fight amongst themselves after four straight Congressional election losses to Republicans, reports Chris Cassidy at the Herald. “I get it,” said Warren. “It’s tough out there right now for the Democrats. You don’t have to remind me. … 0-for-4 in special elections — that sucks.”

Fyi: Warren said that U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who has called for leadership changes in the wake of the election disasters, “makes a very legitimate point” but added: “I just want to be really clear that we’re not firing at each other.”

Boston Herald

Moulton town hall disrupted by man who thinks the Russian-collusion scandal is actually an ISIS conspiracy

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s Town Hall meeting in Beverly on Saturday was briefly disrupted by man yelling “There is no Russia collusion!” and added “It is an ISIS conspiracy” and shouted “Build the wall,” reports CBS Boston. Moulton deadpanned to the audience: “(We) should we take a snap poll about who he voted for.” 

CBS Boston

Leadership change for Moulton

Speaking of Moulton, his current committee of one will soon become a joint committee of two after his girlfriend, Liz Boardman, said yes to his marriage proposal that was delivered on the Speaker’s Balcony of the U.S. Capitol building, CBS Boston also reports.

CBS Boston

Poll: Walsh up 31 points, pummeling Jackson across all voting segments

If the mayoral race was a boxing match, the ref would have called it by now. But it’s not a boxing match, so there’s still hope for Tito Jackson, even though a new Suffolk University/Boston Globe shows Mayor Marty Walsh up by a commanding 31 points, reports the Globe’s Meghan Irons. Jackson, who is African American, is even behind among black voters. Give Tito credit: He’s still swinging away, reports the Herald’s Hillary Chabot.

Fyi: The same Suffolk/Globe survey shows that voters are divided by race over whether Boston is a racist city, as reported in a separate Globe story by Jim O’Sullivan.

Boston Globe

Gonzalez pushes for western Mass. support, vowing to be ‘governor for the whole state’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez appears to be following in the footsteps of his old boss, former Gov. Deval Patrick, by pushing hard for votes in western Massachusetts, endorsing high-speed rail in the region and vowing to be “governor for the whole state.” Shannon Young has more at MassLive.


Environmental League’s George Bachrach to step down

After ten years leading the Environmental League of Massachusetts, George Bachrach, the 65-year-old former state senator, says it’s time to step down. He’s passing the baton to Elizabeth Turnbull Henry, who has spent the last six years as head of energy and climate programs at Adidas. SHNS’s Matt Murphy has more.

SHNS (pay wall)

Baker, Patrick, Neal and others celebrate Union Station reopening in Springfield

It was a black-tie affair over the weekend when pols and other gathered for the grand reopening of Springfield’s Union Station, after a $94 million renovation of the downtown transit hub, reports Lucas Ropek at MassLive. Among those in attendance were former Gov. Deval Patrick, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Gov. Charlie Baker (who didn’t go black tie, by the looks of it).


DA appealing ‘archaic’ rule used to vacate Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction

Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn has filed an appeal of the decision to vacate Aaron Hernandez’s conviction of murdering Odin Lloyd, saying the judicial move was based on an “archaic rule not based on the Constitution,” CBS Boston reports. Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star, committed suicide before his conviction could be appealed, prompting a judge to vacate the jury conviction.

CBS Boston

‘Baker doubling down on failed biotech strategy’

The Pioneer Institute’s Jim Stergios says former Gov. Patrick’s $1 billion biotech initiative never generated the number of promised jobs, cost taxpayers $74,500 per job of those that were created, and earmarked half of the funds to the University of Massachusetts, in a move he calls “politically wired subterfuge.” And yet Gov. Baker has ‘doubled down’ by promising another $500 million. “Baker’s forte has always been his desire and ability to develop policy starting from data,” he writes. “The data on this initiative should have made the governor’s life sciences do-over dead on arrival.”


How about just calling it ‘Select Board’?

A major battle has broken out in Wakefield over use of the word ‘selectmen’ (as in M-E-N) as the official designation of elected town leaders and their boards, in the latest gender-language flare-up, reports the Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert. A suggestion: How about just calling the governing bodies ‘Select Boards’ (a nod to centuries-old tradition, a nod to modern gender sensitivities) and allow members to call themselves ‘selectman’ or ‘selectwoman’ or ‘board member,’ or whatever they want. We’ll have to give more deep thought on how to get around the ‘alderman’ dilemma. 

Boston Globe

Maine and N.H. officials call for probe of possible Russian hacking of state election systems

We missed this piece late last week by the Globe’s Annie Linskey, who writes that the Maine and New Hampshire secretaries of state are calling for a presidential commission to focus on Homeland Security and Bloomberg News reports that Russian hackers may have penetrated the elections systems of 21 to 39 states. 

Boston Globe

Ooops. Rivals jump on Rep. Paul Heroux’s accidental Facebook posting

His campaign rivals in Attleboro are having a field day with this. From Jim Hand at the Sun Chronicle: “State Rep. Paul Heroux briefly posted a message on Facebook Thursday saying he doesn’t want to run for mayor even though he is in the midst of a campaign for the position. … Heroux said he meant to send the message privately to a former girlfriend, but accidentally posted it publicly.”

Sun Chronicle

Why not ‘dissolve’ Illinois and give away the pieces to other Midwestern states?

Like we’ve said: If you think the budget outlook is bad in Massachusetts, just remember it can always be worse. Illinois is on track to become the first state to have its credit rating downgraded to ‘junk’ status, ABC News reports. The Chicago Tribune’s John Kass thinks it may be time to ‘dissolve’ Illinois: “Our beloved Illinois has proved that it just doesn’t deserve to survive. So why not let our friendly neighbors like Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky just take the parts they want?” He has a map of suggested boundary changes.

Chicago Tribune

Baker is reshaping the courts, but has a way to go to match Patrick’s impact

Gov. Charlie Baker is well on his way to reshaping the state’s courts, already surpassing the number of judicial appointments by Gov. Mitt Romney during his term in office. But Baker, with 71 appointments to date and a potential 19 more on the way, still has a long way to go to match Gov. Deval Patrick’s 190 appointments over two terms, reports the Herald’s Matt Stout.

Boston Herald

Globe move dings Herald deliveries

The Boston Herald is apologizing for late newspaper deliveries, telling readers that the problem stems from the Globe’s move out of its Morrissey Boulevard headquarters, the Boston Business Journal reports. The Globe has printed the Herald for several years and the latest snafu has angered many of its own readers, who have taken to Twitter to blast about late deliveries of the Globe.


Lawrence candidates are seriously lagging on campaign finance disclosures

Like many an enterprising reporter, Keith Eddings set out to use Office of Campaign and Political Finance reports to find out how much the eight candidates for mayor have spent on the race so far, only to find out that three of them have filed no financial disclosure forms at all, and that others, including the former mayor, are months behind on their filings.  

Eagle Tribune

Uber arrives in Western Mass., largely to serve New Yorkers and Bostonians, for now

Both Uber and Lyft have begun to aggressively expand their footprints in the Berkshires, the last part of the state to see the ride-hailing services arrive, Clarence Fanto reports in the Berkshire Eagle. Early forays are aimed at summer tourists from New York and Boston. 

Berkshire Eagle

Postgres Vision 2017

Postgres Vision

Champions of Mentoring

Mass Mentoring Partnership

USA-Europe Shared Services Summit and Awards

Boston Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


Short-term rentals playing havoc with city’s housing market – Boston Globe

Marty Walsh has 31-point lead over Tito Jackson in mayoral race, poll shows – Boston Globe


Western Mass. judge is in the running for spot on SJC – Berkshire Eagle

Beekeepers buzzing over pesticide bill – Telegram & Gazette

Framingham: General Chemical probed for Superfund – MetroWest Daily News

Details surrounding Iyanough crash still unavailable – Cape Cod Times

T commuter rail WiFi plan under fire – CommonWealth Magazine

The House-Senate marijuana showdown is finally official – WGBH


Senate leaders push on health bill; opposition gains strength – New York Times

You’d Be Scared if You Were Donald Trump, Too – Foreign Policy

Kushner firm given $285M loan week before Election Day – Washington Post

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