Happening Today

Senate preliminary election, Minimum wage legislation, Online lottery games

— Voters from Medfield to Rehoboth will head to the polls today to winnow the field of Democratic and Republican candidates running to replace James Timilty in the state Senate. Municipal elections are planned in other towns and cities today as well

— Wyoming Treasurer Mark Gordon will address the National Association of State Treasurers Annual Conference before a day of events in the Boston area, Boston Marriott Long Wharf, 8:15 a.m.

— The coalition of labor, community and faith groups that successfully pushed lawmakers to raise the minimum wage in 2014 holds a press conference in support of raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, Room 222, 10:30 a.m.

Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will accept testimony on bills concerning the state’s minimum wage, Gardner Auditorium, 12 p.m.

— Advocates rally in support of renewable energy prior to a Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee hearing on related bills, State House steps, 12 p.m.

Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies travels to Springfield for a hearing on 23 pieces of legislation dealing with regional development and workforce issues, Springfield Community Technical College, One Armory Square, Springfield, 1 p.m.

Joint Committee on Public Service will review about 50 bills dealing with insurance, including a number of bills concerning the Group Insurance Commission, Room 222, 1 p.m.

Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure will review legislation pushed by Treasurer Deb Goldberg to allow the Massachusetts Lottery to sell its products online, Hearing Room A-1, 1 p.m.

— The Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture will consider bills about tidelands, wetlands and on-site sewage disposal systems, Room B-1, 1 p.m.

— Treasurers from around the country will be treated to a dinner and entertainment by ‘nationally renowned performers from Boston’ at the closing event of the National Association of State Treasurers Annual Conference at the State House, State House, 6 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker returns to Massachusetts after attending the Republican Governors Association policy summit in Chicago.

Today’s Stories

MGM reassures nervous Springfield after it unveils plan for $675M casino in Bridgeport, Conn.

In a major escalation of the ongoing casino war in southwestern New England, MGM Resorts announced yesterday ambitious plans for a new $675 million waterfront casino in Bridgeport, Conn., halfway between New York and New Haven and 80 miles south of Springfield, Mass., where MGM is building a $950 million casino in the city’s downtown. The Hartford Courant has the details. It’s just the latest development in the ongoing battle between MGM, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, which, it should be noted, has its own proposal for a new casino in East Windsor, Conn., just across the border from Springfield.

In Springfield, Mayor Domenic Sarno said he’s spoken to MGM CEO James Murren and has been assured that the company remains focused on building a “very successful and robust” casino in Springfield, reports Dan Glaun at MassLive. But how successful and robust, with so many current and planned casinos in the region, is the question.

Hartford Courant

Report: T and bus mechanics in talks over privatization standoff

CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports that the MBTA and the union representing bus-maintenance workers, who have been battling over possible privatization of T garages, have entered into “serious” talks to resolve differences. Local 264 of the International Association of Machinists has been pushing a proposal that it says would save the T money without resorting to privatization. Meanwhile, union members held an anti-privatization rally outside the T’s Transportation Building offices yesterday, while the union has simultaneously launched an ad campaign criticizing privatization and potential private-sector vendors who might handle such contracts, reports Mike Deehan at WGBH.


New T general manager: ‘We care’

Speaking of the MBTA: At his first meeting as the T’s general manager, Luis Ramírez said yesterday that after extensively riding the T and talking to other riders, he’s learned one thing: Passengers don’t think the transit agency cares about their concerns. “Nothing is further from the truth,” Rivera said at a T Control Board meeting. “We care.” CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) have more.

Sisk, former DCR deputy, seeks Braintree council seat

There’s always a DCR connection. Matthew Sisk, former deputy commissioner of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, is now in the running for a District 6 Town Council seat in Braintree, Fred Hanson reports in the Patriot Ledger. Sisk resigned last year after allegedly using the lights and sirens on a DCR vehicle to bypass city traffic in what was just one in a series of embarrassing episodes for the agency. 

Patriot Ledger

In Milford, a hotly contested vote on pot shops

In addition to some 20 cities that are holding municipal preliminary elections today, voters in the town of Milford will decide whether to close the community entirely to legal marijuana shops, the AP’s Bob Salsberg reports. This election is being closely watched if only because 52 percent of Milford voters backed Question 4 last November.  

The referendum campaign has been a high-profile and sometimes bitter one: Charlene Arsenault of the Milford Patch reported over the weekend that a vehicle owned by the leader of the group organizing the referendum was vandalized and that the group received a threatening, profanity-laced email. 

SouthCoast Today

The ‘Puff Bus’ is headed to Massachusetts

Speaking of pot, via the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “A Colorado company is eyeing Massachusetts to operate ‘mobile cannabis lounges’ where customers hitch a ride on a party bus and smoke or vape weed to their hearts’ content as the bus tours local dispensaries, hotels and bars. The ‘puff bus’ is already in operation in Denver but the owners of the company, called ‘Loopr,’ say they are looking to expand to other states, including California, Nevada and Massachusetts, in 2018.”

Boston Herald

Here we go again: GOP pushes latest ObamaCare repeal bill, Baker rallies opposition

What was thought dead is actually alive. Senate Republicans are back with yet a new bill that would effectively dismantle most of ObamaCare, reports the NYT and the Washington Post, and Times columnist Paul Krugman is sounding the alarm that the bill may well pass if Democrats don’t get off their complacent political butts. Last night, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was trying to rally the Democratic troops on Twitter to oppose the latest Republican repeal attempt.

Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, once again, is opposing the GOP gambit and spent some time in Chicago earlier this week rallying Republican governors to defeat the legislation, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall). Fyi: The Times has a good explainer piece outlining the key differences between the Senate bill and ObamaCare.

Council clown unmasked

It took three intrepid Herald reporters to unmask the truth, but they finally did it: The mysterious clown running for Boston City Council is none other than the former Kevin McCrea, a Boston developer who legally changed his name to Pat Payaso (‘payaso’ is Spanish for ‘clown’) and he’s not clowning around about the race, loaning his campaign $1 million with his own money. He’s also issued an open challenge to Howie Carr. The Herald has the details.

Boston Herald

Walsh up 31 points over Tito in latest mayoral poll

Speaking of city elections: Mayor Marty Walsh holds a commanding 31-point lead over rival Tito Jackson in the Boston mayoral race, according to a new poll by Emerson College, as reported by the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld. How bad is it for Tito? He’s getting trounced even in his own neighborhood of Roxbury.

Boston Herald

Trahan takes step toward running for Tsongas seat, setting up a potential ‘Marty vs Marty’ race

Lori Trahan, a business consultant and former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Marty Walsh, has launched a fundraising drive in what appears to be a possible/likely bid to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, reports Chris Lisinski at the Valley Dispatch. If she runs, she would be the second former political chief of staff in the race, with Dan Koh, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s former chief of staff, also running.

The Lowell Sun’s Peter Lucas says many were looking for a ‘Marty/Marty’ fight of a different sort, with Marty Meehan’s former wife, Ellen Murphy Meehan, once expected to run. But she’s ruled out a bid. Fyi: Lucas says all eyes are on state Sen. Eileen Donoghue. “Should Donoghue run, it could clear the field of other serious women candidates like, for instance, fellow state Sen. Barbara L’Italien of Andover. Donoghue’s candidacy could even clear the field of serious male candidates from Lowell.” Which may explain why Trahan and L’Italien, and two others, are only in exploratory mode right now.

Valley Dispatch

Latest Airbnb tax could raise $20 million

Lawmakers sent back to the drawing board to rework a proposal to tax short-term home rentals, such as those arranged via Airbnb, are now floating a 5 percent state tax on rentals — enough to pump as much as $20 million into state coffers annually, Christian Wade reports in the Gloucester Times. The modified plan, which allows for communities to levy their own taxes of up to 6 percent, seems to have satisfied the state’s hotel lobby. 

Gloucester Times

Environmentalist’s jeer, fishermen cheer Zinke’s call to resume commercial fishing off Cape

US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended that commercial fishing resume in a protected area off the coast of Cape Cod that former President Obama recently declared as a national marine monument, according to reports by the Globe’s David Abel and the AP’s Patrick Whittle at WBUR and SHNS’s Katie Lannan (paywall). Needless to say, environmentalists aren’t happy but fishermen are pumped.

Boston sports teams ‘Take the Lead’ in fighting racism

In the aftermath of ugly racial incidents at Fenway Park, the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and Revolution are teaming up to address racist behavior at sporting events, the Globe’s Adrian Walker reports. For instance: “Later this month, at a Fenway event, the teams will unveil the beginning of their project: a public service announcement featuring athletes calling on fans to take a stand against racism and hate speech at sports venues. Each of the teams has agreed to prominently play the video in their venues.”

Boston Globe

NYT: Warren and Sanders are not two peas in a progressive pod, really

The NYT’s Jonathan Martin, via the Globe, has a story about how U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, both liberal icons, are trying to reshape the Democratic party – and how they’re approaching the quest in different ways. The differences are in style, not substance, and so … it’s a rather dull story, actually. But we did find this interesting: “Warren is spending some time with bankers: She attended a party fund-raiser in July at the summer residence of a former UBS executive, and she recently met privately in Washington with JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon.” Huh?

Dr. Paul Gray, RIP

Another sad local death. Dr. Paul Gray, the former MIT president credited with diversifying the school’s student body and thus transforming MIT itself, has passed away. The Globe’s Bryan Marquard has the details

Boston Globe

And they’ll get it: Phillips Academy launches $400M fundraising drive

You have to remind yourself it’s just a high school. From Max Stendahl at the BBJ: “Phillips Academy, the prestigious preparatory school located in Andover, said Monday that it has launched a $400 million fundraising campaign, which it called the largest such effort ‘in the history of independent schools.’ The campaign has already secured $140 million in pledges, the school said.”


Former HUD secretary to advise Harvard on giant Allston build-out

Shaun Donovan, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama, has been tapped as a senior strategist and adviser to Harvard University’s 10-year, multibillion-dollar redevelopment of large swaths of Allston, reports the Harvard Gazette, via the BBJ. Donavan is a Harvard version of a BC Triple Eagle, holding a bachelor’s degree from Harvard, a master’s from the Harvard Kennedy School and a master’s in architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Harvard Gazette

Bring it on: Mayor and MBTA boast of winter preparations

The Walsh administration and the MBTA yesterday outlined their plans to push back against Mother Nature this winter, showing off their check lists of locked-and-loaded snow plows, backup generators and mountains of road salt. The Globe’s Steve Annears and SHNS’’s Colin Young at WCVB have the details. Personally, our reaction to all this talk of winter is the same as one resident’s response in Steve’s piece: “Please no! Not yet!”

‘That she blows’

If they were drilling for oil, they’d be rich now. But work crews looking for water leaks hit a pipe instead and got a massive water geyser over Boston Common yesterday morning. NBC Boston has a video of the geyser. It was huge. With the headline ‘Thar she blows,’ Universal Hub has some photos (check out the third one). 

Massachusetts Businesses Urge Lawmakers to Support Increased Renewable Energy Standard

Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy

Celebrity Endorsement PR: Making it Work

PRSA Boston

Commercial Leasing Onsite Course

NAIOP Massachusetts

Cape Cod Scallop Fest

Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber

Today’s Headlines


Voters could elect a clown to the Boston City Council – Universal Hub

Walsh races out to huge lead – Boston Herald


Methuen bans recreational marijuana establishments – Eagle-Tribune

The Constitution as savior: AG Healey speaks at Smith College – Hampshire Gazette

The dog-eat-dog world of politics takes a bit out of Heroux – Sun-Chronicle

One on one: Deborah Goldberg, Mass. Treasurer – Telegram & Gazette

Local, state officials seek large-scale composting changes – MetroWest Daily News


Mueller inquiry sets tone with shock-and-awe approach – New York Times

Momentum builds for Obamacare repeal – Politico

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