Preliminary elections, Cannabis control meeting, ‘Aid-in-dying’ bills, Transportation needs
— Voters head to the polls today for preliminary elections in Boston, Framingham, Lawrence and elsewhere.
— The deadline to file nomination papers for the Senate special election to succeed former state Sen. Jennifer Flanagan is today.
— Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets with plans to discuss the ongoing search for a new elementary and secondary education commissioner and efforts to develop a new ‘next-generation MCAS,’ 75 Pleasant St., Malden, 8:30 a.m.
— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg attends the state Pension Reserves Investment Management Board education retreat, which is closed to press, 255 State St. – 12th floor, Boston, 9:30 a.m.
— The Revenue Committee reviews a variety of bills dealing with veterans, estate taxes and other tax relief, including Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal for a sales tax holiday in August 2017, Room B-2, 10 a.m.
— Cannabis Control Commission meets to discuss issues including plans to hire a full-time executive director, Ashburton Cafe meeting room, One Ashburton Pl., Boston, 10:30 a.m.
— Five senators on Tuesday plan to release a MassMoves report on the state’s transportation needs, Room 332, 11 a.m.
— The Public Health Committee holds a public hearing on two ‘aid in dying’ bills that lay out a series of requirements that must be met before a patient can receive a lethal dose of medication, Room A-1, 11 a.m.
— Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee hears testimony on bills related to transportation and the environment, Room B-1, 11 a.m.
— Boston Globe managing director Linda Pizzuti Henry talks at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce ‘City Awake’ young professionals network lunch, 265 Franklin St. – 17th floor, Boston, 11:45 a.m.
— Massachusetts Broadband Institute board of directors meets, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Kariotis Center Boardroom, 75 North Drive, Westborough, 12:30 p.m.
— Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee hears testimony on a variety of bills, including one backed by Attorney General Maura Healey on credit reports, Room B-1, 1 p.m.
— Joint Committee on the Judiciary accepts testimony on more than 50 real estate bills, Room B-2, 1 p.m.
— State Police Superintendent Col. Richard McKeon, Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey and the DEA’s Michael Ferguson hold a press conference on ‘the incidence of fentanyl and carfentanil in Massachusetts,’ State Police Headquarters, 470 Worcester Rd., Framingham, 2:30 p.m.
— MassBenchmarks, the economic publication, holds its 20th anniversary event featuring a panel discussion about the state economy and a presentation on economic trends and challenges, Boston Federal Reserve Bank, 600 Atlantic Ave., 3 p.m.
— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg attends the Greater Boston Food Bank annual board meeting, 70 South Bay Avenue, Boston, 4:30 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker attends a campaign event for Beverly City Councilor Matt St. Hilaire, according to St. Hilaire’s campaign, A&B Burger, 206 Cabot St., Beverly, 6:30 p.m.
Preliminary elections: Will Walsh land a TKO? Will it be Rivera v Lantigua?
Don’t foget there are preliminary elections today across the region. In Boston, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld wonders if Mayor Marty Walsh can score a TKO against mayoral rival Tito Jackson. Our view is that anything less than 60 percent for Walsh would be a moral victory for Jackson. The Globe provides lists of the mayoral and city council candidates in today’s preliminaries. Meanwhile, in Lawrence, the big question is whether incumbent Mayor Dan Rivera and former Mayor William Lantigua will face off in the finals, in a sort of local equivalent of an Ali-Frazier fight, or at least a Hagler-Sugar Ray match-up, keeping with Joe Battenfield’s boxing metaphor. In Framingham, it’s more like a crowded barroom fight for mayor.
Hurricane Maria hits home for Rep. Sanchez, literally
Here’s hoping they’re safe and sound. From SHNS’s Andy Metzger: “Five days after Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico, House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sánchez has yet to hear from his family members there, and Gov. Charlie Baker has been unable to connect with Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. ‘The apocalypse hit Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico’s screaming for help and people are worried that their calls won’t be heard,” Sánchez told reporters after a meeting between the governor and legislative leaders on Monday. He said, Unfortunately this isn’t garnering the attention that it should deserve right now.’”
Hmm. Maybe it’s not garnering attention because of …
The Trump-NFL debate: Reaching the Point Counterpoint stage
Gov. Charlie Baker said yesterday that President Trump’s comments on NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are “un-presidential and divisive,” reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Jessica Heslam has a full roundup on the reactions of Tom B, Bill B and the Dallas Cowboys to AnthemGate, or whatever you want to call this latest political brouhaha that’s now following a most distinct pattern: Outrageous presidential comment/tweet, ensuing protests, public displays of solidarity, pundits galore piling on (such as the Globe’s Kevin Cullen and Indira A.R. Lakshmann and the Herald’s Steve Buckley and Michael Graham).
We’ve actually reached a phase within the pundits-galore phase of the pattern: The dreaded Point Counterpoint phase, though no one will ever match the all-time greatest moment (via YouTube) in Point Counterpoint history. The next stage of the pattern, hopefully: The fizzle-out stage. Then we can start paying attention to real news like this (SHNS), as Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez points out, or this (NYT), as the Globe’s Joan Vennochi rightly points out.
Local officials in hot water after ugly NFL-related rants
We forgot about this stage: The NFL-Anthem controversy seeping down to the local level – and it’s getting ugly. Joseph Glynn, an outspoken member of the Yarmouth Housing Authority, turned in his resignation after receiving fierce blowback for sharing his thoughts on NFL players protesting during the national anthem in an expletive-and-epithet-laced post on Facebook, Madeleine List of the Cape Cod Times reports.
Meanwhile, in Brockton, Mayor Bill Carpenter said he asked for the resignation of Parks Commissioner Stephen Pina following his comments on a Web news story about the anthem protests, in which he directed players to leave politics to the politicians and to “ “dance monkey dance,” according to a report at the Enterprise. Pina, himself a combat veteran, said he “got sucked into the whole social media paradigm.”
Rep. Williams: Desecration of black veterans memorial result of ‘Trump Effect’
From Peter Goonan at MassLive: “The Vietnam Veterans Memorial monuments at Mason Square, which honor black veterans of Springfield, was smeared with crab apples over the weekend, an incident that was described by state Rep. Bud Williams as part of the ‘Trump effect.’ The vandalism happened sometime after a Saturday ceremony at the memorial commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.” The accompanying photos make it pretty clear a bunch of kids weren’t just randomly throwing crab apples.
The in-demand Betsy DeVos
Controversial U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is headed to Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where she’ll speak on charter schools and vouchers on Thursday. But there’s a growing list of people who want to meet with her about issues, not necessarily to welcome her to Boston, including Attorney General Maua Healey. The Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes explains.
Private sector chipping in to help the T in recruiting
CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl writes that the MBTA has taken up the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership’s offer to help fund the T’s efforts to recruit and retain top talent. The program may be relatively small ($750,000 to $1 million), but it can make a big difference and it’s one of the more interesting public-private partnerships out there, one that perhaps can be emulated elsewhere in government.
The Ride hits yet another bump in the road
From the Globe’s adam Vaccaro: “Despite showing some improvement during the summer, the company hired by the MBTA to streamline service for The Ride is still struggling to provide on-time trips for passengers with disabilities, frustrated officials said Monday. MBTA officials said they would, for a second time, postpone Global Contact Services taking over scheduling and dispatching for about one-third of daily The Ride passengers.”
We see you: Boston police quietly deploy drones over the city
It would have been nice to have had a brief debate about this before it was implemented, but maybe that was expecting too much. From the Globe’s Jan Ransom; “The Boston Police Department, without fanfare, expanded its crime-fighting arsenal earlier this year, purchasing several drones that it may use to photograph crime scenes — and raising concerns among privacy advocates. The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, after receiving a complaint in July that police officers were seen flying a drone over a Jamaica Plain housing development, learned through a public records request that the department had spent nearly $17,500 on three drones and related equipment over a three-month period beginning in January.”
By the numbers: The ‘creative economy’ at a glance
The numbers sure sound impressive. From SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Fall River Herald News: “The nonprofit arts industry supported 73,288 jobs in Massachusetts in 2015, generating $2.2 billion in economic activity, according to Americans for the Arts President Bob Lynch, who said jobs and the economy are the top agenda items for officials around the country and the new state-specific data can be used to undergird arguments for additional government funding.”
As Markey denounces GOP health plan, local health execs quietly lobby against it too
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’s opposition to the Republican health care plan seems to have all but killed the latest GOP attempt to repeal ObamaCare. Still, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey was taking no chances yesterday, outlining his statistical reasons for opposing the GOP proposal, including the 665,000 residents in Massachusetts who would could lose health coverage under the plan. But it may be the behind-the-scenes work of Massachusetts and other health-care experts that made the difference in the debate, including executives from Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston’s Children Hospital and other local institutions. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett explains.
And the winner of the best health care system is … non-single-payer Switzerland!
Speaking of health care: This is a really fun and clever way by the NYT (via the BBJ) to let others, not journalists, in their typical he-said/she-said fashion, decide which they think is the best health-care system in the world, using a NCAA-like tournament bracket system for eight countries (including the U.S.). The contest includes a first round, semi-finals and finals, as judged and advanced by experts. Switzerland, which has a mandatory insurance-based system similar to the Affordable Care Act, was the winner. … Think about it: While one U.S. political party vows to dismantle our budding Swiss-like approach to health care, a large faction of the other political party is vowing to replace it. Just pointing out how polarized and extreme we’ve become on health care.
Equifax fallout: Lawmakers to hear expanded credit rights and protection bill
Lawmakers today will review an expanded bill, as proposed by Sen. Barbara L’Italien and Rep. Jennifer Benson and backed by Attorney General Maura Healey, that would expand credit protections for consumers following the massive data breach at credit-rating giant Equifax, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. Massachusetts residents would be able to freeze their credit reports for free and their credit information could not be shared without their consent, under the recently revised bill, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan at WBUR.
Harvard Square lawsuit says pot shop violates fed racketeering law
Here’s one to keep an eye on: A Harvard Square property owner is asking a federal judge to block a proposed marijuana shop on the grounds that it is violating federal racketeering laws, Jessica Bartlett of the Boston Business Journal reports. The suit names a host of defendants, including the state AG’s office and the city of Cambridge, as well as pot-shop consultants and property owners. Some observers say the case could throw a wrench into the state’s efforts to open recreational pot shops next summer. We’ll see. It seems pretty far-fetched to us.
Keolis pumps up marketing to boost rail ridership (and its profits)
Keolis Commuter Services is not only cracking down on fare evaders to boost revenues, it’s also trying to pump up commuter-rail ridership via new advertising and marketing campaigns, reports Greg Ryan at the BBJ. As Greg notes, Keolis gets to keep some of the revenue generated from its efforts to curb fare evasion and increase ridership. No complaints here about that arrangement, as long as riders and taxpayers also benefit from the increased revenues.
High school football participation down in Massachusetts
It seems all the reports about football, concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) are taking their toll on the sport at the local high school level, even though, as the Globe’s Felice Freyer reported over the weekend, there’s yet no proven link between football and CTE. From Jeff Malachoski at MetroWest Daily News: “High school football participation across Massachusetts has dropped steadily in the past decade. In 2006, 22,189 high schoolers took to the gridiron, compared to 18,913 last year, according to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA). According to data from the National Federation of State High School Associations, the trend of decreasing football participation isn’t isolated to just Massachusetts. Nationwide, there were 27,880 fewer players in 2014 compared to 2008 when numbers were at a 10-year high of 1.1 million.”
Codfather gets 46 months, no keelhauling ordered
We’d be curious to hear what CLF’s Peter Shelley thinks of this sentence, via Simón Rios at WBUR: “The New Bedford fishing magnate known as the ‘Codfather’ was sentenced to 46 months in prison Monday after he pleaded guilty to cheating federal regulators by mislabeling tons of fish and smuggling cash out of the country. Prosecutors wanted U.S. District Court Judge William Young to sentence Carlos Rafael to 51 months in prison, fine him $200,000, and seize 13 of his fishing boats.”
Kayaker finds abandoned puppies in Blackstone River
Your heart will melt at seeing the accompanying photo, guaranteed, via Wicked Local: “UXBRIDGE – Six puppies, in a tied grain bag, were found by a kayaker in the Blackstone River on Sunday. Police are trying to track down the person responsible for what they termed ‘such a heinous act.’ The puppies were gathered by the animal control officer and are expected to be OK, police said. In a statement, police said the puppies are doing well, ‘considering the circumstances’ and are believed to be a Lab mix.”
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