Happening Today

Governor’s Council, Esplanade pavilion design, Cape Rail Trail

Supporters of automatic voter registration gather at the State House to lobby lawmakers to back legislation sponsored by Rep. Peter Kocot and Sen. Cynthia Creem, Room 228, 9:30 a.m. … Treasurer Deborah Goldberg chairs a meeting of the Massachusetts School Building Authority Board, 40 Broad St. – 5th floor, Suite 500, Boston, 10 a.m. … Administration & Finance Assistant Secretary of Capital Finance Jen Sullivan gives a general overview of the state’s capital expenditure and borrowing plans to the House Committee on Bonding, Room B-1, 10 a.m. … Senate Democrats gather for a closed-door caucus ahead of Thursday’s formal session, 11 a.m. … The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority will hold a board meeting to approve its fiscal 2018 capital improvement program, current expense budget and water and sewer assessments, 100 First Avenue, Boston, 1 p.m. … Governor’s Council holds its weekly assembly with a vote possible on the nomination of attorney Diane Freniere to the Superior Court bench, Council Chamber, Room 360, 12 p.m. … Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and other state officials celebrate the Cape Cod Rail Trail extension project, Cape Cod Rail Trail Parking Lot, 424 Route 134, Dennis, 2:30 p.m. … Department of Conservation and Recreation holds a public meeting to present three design options for a new Esplanade Riverfront Pavilion and the surrounding landscape, State Transportation Building, Conference 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 6 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Cindy Friedman wins Dem primary for Donnelly’s seat

Cindy Friedman, the longtime chief of staff to the late state Sen. Kenneth Donnelly, won the Democratic primary last night to fill Donnelly’s seat, all but guaranteeing she’ll be the next senator representing the Fourth Middlesex District, reports the Boston Globe and Arlington Advocate and Lowell Sun. Check out the photo accompanying the Arlington Advocate story. Pure jubilation. Friedman, who defeated state Rep. Sean Garballey and state education board member Mary Ann Stewart, now faces Green-Rainbow Party candidate Ian Jackson in a general election that Friedman is expected to win.

DeLeo signals compromise on pot tax

It wasn’t much of a concession – nor much of a signal, for that matter – but House Speaker Robert DeLeo indicated in an interview last night that he’s willing to compromise with the Senate on taxing retail marijuana, a major sticking point in getting a marijuana-regulation bill passed, ideally this week. “I suppose there could be some negotiation,” said DeLeo on Jim Braude’s ‘Greater Boston’ show. Both DeLeo, whose chamber is pushing for a 28 percent tax, and Senate President Stan Rosenberg, whose chamber wants a 12 percent tax, seemed cautiously optimistic that a deal on taxes and other sticking points can be worked out. 


The Governors Plot

The New York Times has a good story on how a small group of bi-partisan governors – including Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican – played a pivotal role in blocking, for now, the Senate Republican health-care plan. Among other things, the Times mentions, as does WGBH’s Mike Deehan, the letter that Baker co-signed on Monday blasting the GOP plan. To be clear: Gov. John Kasich, a Republican from Ohio, and Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat from Colorado, are given credit as the leaders of the lobbying effort.

Fyi: One is tempted to say there was also a “senators plot,” but this WaPo article makes it clear it was more like senators jumping ship.


SJC justice can’t tout his ties to UMass

Supreme Judicial Court Justice David Lowy may be the first high-court judge to graduate from UMass-Amherst, but he can’t tout his alma mater in a university-sponsored video because it would “abuse the prestige” of the judiciary and allow UMass to “advance its interests,” the state’s Committee on Judicial Ethics has ruled, reports Bob McGovern at the Herald. OK, the “advance its interest” part we get. The “abuse the prestige” part seems pretty expansive and smacks of snobbery, frankly.

Boston Herald

Mitchell Chester, longtime education chief, RIP

This is a real blow to the education community in Massachusetts: Longtime Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester died Monday evening after a short illness, prompting an outpouring of sorrow and tributes from across the state, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan at MassLive. Among others, Gov. Baker said Chester will be “terribly missed by all” and praised his years of dedication and accomplishments. All in all, a sad day.


WBUR poll numbers look mighty good for Baker and Warren

WBUR’s Fred Thys has all the latest poll numbers, so we’ll just say Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Elizabeth Warren are sitting mighty pretty heading into next year’s re-election campaigns. Baker is crushing all three declared Democratic candidates, though it should be noted that Newton Mayor Setti Warren appears to be the strongest of the Dem challengers, though even he trails Baker by 27 points. The potentially most formidable Dem candidate against Baker? Attorney General Maura Healey, who says she’s not running for governor. 


The amazing popularity of the ‘millionaire’s tax’

The same WBUR poll shows that the proposed ‘millionaire’s tax’ — expected to be on next year’s statewide ballot unless business groups can get it knocked off – continues to attract spectacular support. How spectacular? Eighty-one percent of those polled are either strongly or somewhat strongly in favor of it.  Our hunch says the strong support traces back to the 2008 financial crisis and Wall Street bailout. They helped define the times.

Fyi: The WBUR poll, as reported in a separate story, also shows a sharp increase in voter concern over climate change.

Galvin asks for, and gets, delay in shadow-bill vote

From fast track to pit stop, lawmakers have agreed to delay a vote on the proposed “shadow bill” – i.e. the compromise legislation that would let the Winthrop Square tower project to proceed, shadows or no shadows – after Secretary of State William Galvin said the Massachusetts Historic Commission needs more time to study the building’s impact on the Boston Common and other downtown sites, reports the Globe’s Tim Logan.

Boston Globe

Medical-marijuana operator and two others accused of insider trading by SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission is going after three people accused of insider trading on shares of Ariad Pharmaceuticals, reports the BBJ’s Max Stendahl: “The complaints, filed Tuesday in Boston federal court, level charges against two former senior officials in the Cambridge biotech’s drug safety and risk management unit, Maureen Curran and Susan Dubuc. The other defendant, Harold Altvater, is the husband of a former Ariad employee, and runs a medical marijuana business in Malden and Methuen.” The business is apparently this company.


Not a good idea if you own a driving school

A three-time state representative candidate has landed himself in trouble with the police after he allegedly boasted on social media that he let his 13-year-old son drive his car, Brian Lee of the Telegram reports. Stephen Comtois II, who is also a former Brookfield selectman, operates a driving school and state officials say a separate investigation is under way on that front. 


Warren was against single-payer before she was for it: Why?

The Globe’s Astead Herndon tracks the evolution of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s political position on a single-payer health care system, from opponent a few years ago to proponent as of this week. Her new position was made clear in a Wall Street Journal article (pay wall) on Tuesday, as she tries to win back voters in Trump country.

Time for Trump to ditch ‘Pocahontas’ insult?

For some reason, we have a hunch President Trump will pay no attention to advice that he stop calling U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas,’ as some suggest in this Globe piece by James Pindell.

Boston Globe

Healey: Don’t pay attention to the man tweeting behind the curtain

Attorney General Maura Healey says President Trump is full of you-know-what when he claimed victory on Twitter earlier this week after the Supreme Court allowed certain parts of his travel ban to stand while it examines the issue, writes Tori Bedford at WGBH. “Don’t pay attention to the tweets,” Healey said. “They actually don’t reflect fact or reality here.”


T consulting contract a train wreck in the making?

This should be an interesting one to follow. From Matt Stout at the Herald: “The MBTA is paying a consultant $260,000 to oversee a pricey new train safety project similar to one she helped supervise in California that was plagued by delays, reports of infighting and calls to bring in better management during her tenure.”

Boston Herald

Lottery on track for record-setting profit as prize payouts decline

Even though gross Lottery sales are expected to fall by about 2 percent this fiscal year, the Lottery’s is poised set a new profit record of more than $1 billion, reports SHNS’’s Colin Young at the Telegram. There may be no direct correlation, but it should be noted that Lottery prize payouts have also declined over the past year.

SHNS (pay wall)

The Walsh fundraising and charitable juggernaut

Mayor Marty Walsh has 50 times more campaign cash on hand than challenger Tito Jackson, outpacing even Mayor Thomas Menino’s fundraising prowess, reports Jim O’Sullivan at the Globe. The source of much of the dough: Real estate developers. Meanwhile, the mayor’s charitable fund hauled in $400,000 last year, also from city heavy hitters, reports Dan Atkinson and Matt Stout at the Herald.

Cranberry growers: Help us fight Quebec and Wisconsin

From SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Herald News: “They cultivate the state’s official berry, and now cranberry growers are asking for the state to extend a helping hand, assisting them to keep pace with a worldwide market where Quebec and Wisconsin are the dominant players.” Their weapon of choice: Tax credits to help rebuild bogs and plant new varieties of vines.

Herald News

Hey, let’s get a movie credit for those film tax credits

Speaking of tax credits, Rep. Paul McMurtry, who owns a movie theater, says the least Hollywood could do for the millions they’re getting from Massachusetts is a little credit at the end of movies, as in a movie credit that states “Proudly Made in Massachusetts.” He’s filed a bill that would require films that get a state tax credit to give the state credit, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger.

SHNS (pay wall)

Is the Mashpee tribe shifting strategies?

Is this a strategic move or an admission of defeat? The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has suspended its request for the U.S. Department of the Interior to review its eligibility to have land placed in a trust, choosing instead to put all its chips on court appeals, as it pursues building a new casino in Massachusetts, Chris Lindahl of the Cape Cod Times reports.

Cape Cod Times

Funding pinch puts lid on TechSandBox

TechSandBox, an early-stage startup incubator that focused on companies based west of Boston, is shutting down, citing a lack of sustainable funding, David Harris of the Boston Business Journal reports. The nonprofit said even suburban companies tend to want to fund startups located closer to the urban core.


It’s not over: Lowell asks AG to sort out high school siting rules

So maybe it’s not over after all: Some in Lowell are questioning whether the divided city council vote in favor of siting a new high school at Cawley Stadium is actually the final word on the matter. Todd Feathers of the Lowell Sun reports that Mayor Edward Kennedy has requested that the state Attorney General’s office weigh in on whether the School Committee must also approve the relocation.

Lowell Sun

USA-Europe Shared Services Summit and Awards

Boston Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


Vote on downtown shadows could be pushed back – Boston Globe

Boston is the worst-driving major city in America, insurance company says – Boston.com


Panhandling prompting variety of proposals from Holyoke officials – MassLive

T consultant’s past work got off track – Boston Herald

Worcester city manager gets best-ever evaluation – Telegram & Gazette

SSA: Ferry captain mistook sailboats for buoys – Cape Cod Times

Pittsfield’s $1.4 million deficit shows deep costs of snow and ice removal – Berkshire Eagle

Brandeis receives $50M gift, largest in its history – Boston Business Journal

Lowell mayor appeals to AG in Lowell school siting flap – Lowell Sun


Inside the GOP’s surprise health care flop – Politico

Unafraid of Trump, GOP senators feel free to go their own way – Washington Post

Ex-Trump adviser’s firm paid $17 million from pro-Russia party – New York Times

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