Remembering 9/11, Cannabis commission meeting, Green Line extension
A number of events are scheduled to be held across the state today to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Here are some of them: Gov. Charlie Baker, First Lady Lauren Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Attorney General Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh participate in the flag lowering, moment of silence, and reading of all 206 Massachusetts victims of 9/11, State House Steps, 8:20 a.m. … State and city officials – including Gov. Baker, First Lady Baker, Lt. Gov. Polito, Attorney General Healey, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Mayor Walsh gather for a commemoration observance and Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery presentation, House Chamber, 9:15 a.m. … The New Bedford Fire Department holds a memorial exercise to commemorate the 9/11 terror attacks, New Bedford Fire Department, 868 Pleasant St., New Bedford, 10 a.m. … Gov. Baker Baker, Attorney General Healey and Commander of the Massachusetts Army National Guard Brigadier General Richard Johnson participate in the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund Annual 9/11 Service Project at the Mother’s Walk on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, John F. Fitzgerald Surface Road, Boston, 12 p.m. … A wreath laying ceremony will be held at the Boston 9/11 Contemplative Gardens with Mayor Walsh, Gov. Baker, First Lady Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito attending, Public Garden, Boston, 1 p.m.
Other events today:
Committee on Higher Education travels to Leominster for a hearing on bills dealing with investment in higher education, Leominster High School auditorium, 122 Granite St., Leominster, 11 a.m. … The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors and the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board will meet to discuss a water transportation study and the Green Line Extension, Transportation Board Meeting Room, Second Floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m. … The five members of the Cannabis Control Commission meet for the first time, with the commission expected to receive training in their responsibilities under the open meeting law from the attorney general’s office, One Ashburton Place, 21st Floor, Conference Room 1, Boston, 1 p.m. … The Joint Committee on Elder Affairs reviews 32 bills addressing long-term services and supports, housing and services come before, 1 p.m., Room A. …. Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Polito, House Speaker DeLeo, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and House Minority Leader Brad Jones hold a leadership meeting, with Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, who is scheduled to be in Austria, planning to call in to the meeting, according to Rosenberg’s office, Governor’s Office, Room 360, 2 p.m. … Newly-appointed Cannabis Control Commission chairman Steven Hoffman is a guest on ‘Greater Boston,’ WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m.
Irma loses punch, veers inland
Good news this morning: Hurricane Irma is being downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 1 hurricane, the AP is reporting at the Globe. Irma still packs a terrible punch, but less of a punch than feared, as it veers inland, possibly as a tropical storm by the end. Here’s a NYT map of Irma’s likely path.
Bridgewater State Hospital’s turnaround: ‘The results are remarkable’
Here’s more good news this morning: In an age when so many people are down on the government’s ability to reform itself and produce unqualified public policy successes, it was heartening indeed to read Sunday’s article by the Globe’s Michael Rezendes, a member of the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Spotlight Team, quoting mental health advocates’ effusive praise for the Baker administrations’ transformation of Bridgewater State Hospital, from a virtual house of horrors to something akin to a model mental health facility. “I didn’t think they’d be able to make the changes they’ve made, but they have the right philosophy and what they’ve done in five months is astounding,” said Christine Griffin, executive director of the Disability Law Center.
Read the story – and some of the stats backing up preliminary conclusions – and think what could happen if they applied the same reform principles to the rest of the mental health system.
Joe DeNucci, RIP
They don’t make ‘em like Joe DeNucci anymore – and he’ll be missed as a result. The Associated Press at Boston.com reports on the death of Joe DeNucci, the former world class middleweight boxer, state legislator and longest serving state auditor in Massachusetts history. The Herald’s Joe Fitzgerald has a nice write-up on Joe’s boxing years, not to mention his later State House years. From Auditor Suzanne Bump, via the Lowell Sun:
“Joe DeNucci’s compassion for others and his dedication to public service were legendary, and he made significant contributions to the betterment of government and its public. … Having served in the House with him, I can personally attest to the many qualities that endeared him to his Newton constituents. Joe’s family deserves our thanks for sharing him with the commonwealth for so many years.”
Time to give Equifax the Arthur Andersen treatment?
No surprisingly, Attorney General Maura Healey has announced an investigation of the huge data breach at Equifax, the giant credit rating agency, and the probe is most appropriate, in our humble opinion. “This data breach has the potential to be the worst we’ve ever seen—with nearly three million Massachusetts residents at risk,” Healey said in a statement. Mike Carraggi has more at Boston Patch. The NY Post reports how U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is also out for Equifax blood. Fyi: If you don’t understand the Arthur Andersen reference above, you can bone up on it here, via Wikipedia.
Herald slams Globe over delivery delays
The Boston Herald, which has a joint printing and delivery agreement with the Boston Globe, is no longer taking a grin-and-bear-it approach towards the Globe’s persistent home delivery problems, telling its readers that the Globe’s new printing facility in Taunton has clearly failed to live up to its promises, reports Don Seiffert at the BBJ. The Herald’s angry-sounding note to readers was also running in the paper over the weekend. As of yesterday, it didn’t look like the Globe was even close to fixing whatever’s wrong in Taunton, with Universal Hub reporting that the paper was warning of Sunday delivery problems.
Trump taps fed insider Andrew Lelling as next U.S. Attorney in Boston
President Trump played it safe late last week by selecting Andrew Lelling, a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Attorney’s office, as the next chief federal prosecutor in Boston, replacing former U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and ending a months-long guessing game about who would land the powerful fed post, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at MassLive. As the Globe’s Danny McDonald notes, Lelling’s appointment was apparently made without consultation with Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who refused to endorse Trump for president last year, though Baker’s office released a statement saying it was pleased by Lelling’s appointment.
Latest US Attorney setback: Teamsters Local 82 convictions overturned
Assuming the Senate somewhat quickly approves Andrew Lelling’s nomination as Boston’s next US Attorney, Lelling is probably going to have a major decision to make on whether to proceed with the high-profile City Hall-union extortion case, after the U.S. Appeals Court last Friday overturned the convictions of Teamsters John Perry and Joseph “Jo Jo” Burhoe on extortion charges in a separate case. The AP at WBUR has the details, while the Herald’s Brian Dowling reviews its potential impact on the City Hall case and the Globe’s Maria Cramer notes how the ruling is just the latest setback for fed prosecutors.
One other note: Teamster Local 82 was effectively disbanded by the union’s national office and folded into Teamsters Local 25, largely due to all its legal turmoil. Now the case against Local 82’s former top leaders has just collapsed. Pretty amazing turn of events.
The horror, the horror: Trump also taps ex-Romney speechwriter for judgeship
From Travis Andersen at the Globe: “He’s an author of horror novels, a former speechwriter for Mitt Romney, and a Harvard Law graduate who says on his website that he studied in ‘witch-haunted Massachusetts.’ And if President Trump has his way, Brett Joseph Talley will add federal judge to his resume.”
Brahmin Wannabe Syndrome
Ah, the Brahmin Wannabe Syndrome, also known as the Downton Abbey Syndrome, that powerful human desire to recreate and be counted among the aristocratic elite, to call one’s father “papa” and a 30-room mansion a “cottage,” to lord over others with exquisite manners and speech, to flout one’s superior being at every social turn. A local philanthropist and developer knows all about it – and that’s why she’s starting a new Back Bay private social club called Haddon Hall (not ‘abbey,’ please note) and plans to charge people, including high tech kings, up the yin-yang for the right to pronounce: “I am better than thee!”
The Globe’s Katheleen Conti has details on the grand business scheme.
Deval’s presidential ‘smoke signals’
The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports that some Dems are “expressing concern” that Valerie Jarrett, one of former President Obama’s closest confidantes, and David Simas, the CEO of Obama’s foundation, are sending “smoke signals” urging former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to enter the presidential race in 2020. But Obama himself isn’t apparently involved in the smoke signaling, Parnes notes.
Dem presidential wannabe rankings: Elizabeth Warren only No. 4?
Deval Patrick and/or his friends may be sending 2020 presidential smoke signals, but they’re apparently not reaching the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake, who doesn’t think much of Patrick’s chances in the Dem presidential sweepstakes, putting him at No. 12 among the party’s top 15 presidential contenders in 2020. So where does Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the darling of huge swaths of liberal America, fall on the list? At measly No. 4, behind Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy (huh?), ex-Vice President Joe Biden and numero uno himself, Bernie Sanders. Blake’s reasoning on Warren: “I don’t think she will run.”
Fyi: U.S. Reps. Seth Moulton and Joseph Kennedy III, both Massachusetts Democrats, aren’t even on the list, even though there’s been a lot of mostly mindless chatter about them possibly running in 2020.
Texas Democrats turn to Joe Kennedy III for ‘confidence boost’
He may not be on the Washington Post’s list of likely presidential candidates in 2020. Still, what was U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, a Massachusetts Democrat, doing in Austin, Texas over the weekend? Giving a “confidence boost” to Texas Democrats at the party’s annual Johnson-Jordan fundraising dinner, reports the Houston Chronicle. And giving pundits plenty more speculative copy to print about Kennedy’s future political plans.
Republicans rip Warren’s single-payer flip
Massachusetts Republican are trying to make hay of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s recent embrace of single-payer health care, even though she’s opposed single-payer in the past, saying her move is proof she’s coveting the White House in 2020, not representing Massachusetts in 2018, reports the Herald’s Hillary Chabot.
Pot firm lands $10M to build massive Mass. facility
The plan to build one of the largest marijuana cultivation and processing facilities in the country in Freetown is one major step closer to reality. The publicly traded Americann, Inc. said it had reached a deal to sell $10 million worth of its stock to a financing company, Mary Serreze of MassLive reports, funds that will be at least in part deployed to build the first phase of what could eventually be 1 million square feet of pot production.
Uber, Lyft drivers get modified background check rules
State officials on Friday announced they would modify the background checks required for Uber and Lyft drivers, an apparent response to criticism that existing rules unfairly ruled thousands out from driving for the ride-hailing services because of minor or long-ago offenses, reports the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro and the Herald’s Jordan Graham. Critics say the new rules don’t go far enough.
Winter is coming—or maybe it never left
Lufthansa is suing MassPort for failing to adequately clear snowbanks during the historic winter of 2014-15, Adam Gaffin reports at Universal Hub. The airline is seeking at least $2.8 million in damages after one of its jet engines failed after sucking in snow alongside a runway, prompting it to cancel a flight, order a replacement engine and put passengers up for the night.
Shadow-casting tower will mean changes in Eastie, too
Turns out it may be more than just shadows on Boston Common being changed by the proposed 775-foot Winthrop Square tower: James Aloisi writes in CommonWealth Magazine about the consequences of the proposed high-rise at it relates to Logan Airport, where it will require shifting flights to lesser-used runways, increasing noise impacts from East Boston to Everett.
Enough is enough: NH Dems pressure their secretary of state to quit Trump voter-fraud panel
After the head of President Trump’s voter-fraud panel repeated unfounded claims that out-of-state voters (read: evil Massachusetts operatives) last year tipped the U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire to Democrat Maggie Hassan, Granite State Dems are now demanding that their secretary of state, Bill Gardner, quit the Trump commission, according to a report at Talking Points Memo, which describes Gardner as “nominally” a Democrat.
Official Massachusetts 9/11 Commemoration Events for Families in Boston
Author Talk and Book Signing with Larry Tye
BostonYPA After 5 Social: Last Chance for the Patio!
Norwell Democratic Town Committee Monthly Meeting
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