Happening Today

MBTA privatization, budget conference committee, Warren in Salem

— Auditor Suzanne Bump attends a Massachusetts Association of Regional Schools meeting to discuss her office’s recent report on updating the structure and finance of regional school districts, Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, 215 Fitchburg St., Marlborough, 10 a.m.

— The Massachusetts Chemistry and Technology Alliance hosts a ‘Chemistry Makes It in Massachusetts’ lobby day, Nurse’s Hall, 10 a.m.

Joint Committee on Financial Services holds a hearing on dental and health insurance matters, Hearing Room B-2, 10:30 a.m.

Joint Committee on Public Health and the Caucus of Women Legislators holds an informational hearing on the public health aspects of domestic violence, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Maureen Gallagher of Jane Doe, Inc. and others expected to speak, Rooms A-1 and A-2, 10:30 a.m.

— The Senate Committee on Post Audit will continue its inquiry into the MBTA’s plans to privatize bus maintenance, Room B-2, 10:30 a.m.

— The conference committee negotiating a close-out supplemental budget for fiscal 2017 meets, Room 243, 11:30 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren joins Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and first responders for a naloxone demonstration, followed by a roundtable discussion on the opioid crisis with health care professionals, law enforcement and city officials, Salem Fire Department, 48 Lafayette St., Salem, 11:30 a.m.

Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture travels to Lenox for a hearing on water quality bills, Town Hall, 6 Walker St., Lenox, 12 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III and James McGovern talk about public service with Leominster High School’s senior class, 122 Granite St., Leominster, 1:30 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker and legislative leaders hold a semi-regular private meeting on legislative and other matters, Senate President’s office, 2 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Collette Divitto of Collettey’s Cookies, Joseph Hooley of State Street Corp. and Navyn Salem of Edesia are honored as ‘New Englanders of the Year’ by the New England Council at its annual dinner, Seaport Hotel/World Trade Center, Commonwealth Hall, 200 Seaport Blvd., Boston, 6 p.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey hosts a town hall forum in Leominster, Leominster City Hall, 100 West St., Leominster, 6:30 p.m.

— Senate President Stanley Rosenberg is interviewed on NECN’s ‘The Take,’ NECN, 160 Wells Avenue, Newton, 7 p.m.

— Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and challenger Sen. Tom McGee debate at the Lynn Community TV studios; the debate takes place at 5 p.m. for airing on Lynn cable access around 8 p.m.

Today’s Stories

BREAKING NEWS: Trump’s ex-campaign chairman charged by grand jury, told to surrender to authorities

From the New York Times: “Paul Manafort and his former business associate Rick Gates were told to surrender to federal authorities Monday morning, the first charges in a special counsel investigation, according to a person involved in the case. The charges against Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Mr. Gates were not immediately clear but represent a significant escalation in a special counsel investigation that has cast a shadow over the president’s first year in office.” CNN has more


MEMA: More than 300,000 without power this morning

Be careful out there this morning. Extremely strong winds have knocked out power to more than 300,000 electric customers as of 6:45 a.m., according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, as reported by the Boston Globe, and meteorologists are warning of nasty weather continuing until the rain and wind move out to sea later this morning. There are widespread reports of flooding in coastal areas, temporary road closures, rail delays and NECN is reporting Route 9 in Natick has been closed due to flooding. A number of schools have cancelled classes, reports CBS Boston

Beacon Hill’s ‘Me Too’ moment

A column by the Globe’s Yvonne Abraham scored a direct hit late last week on Beacon Hill, anonymously citing aides, lobbyists, activists, and legislators complaining of rampant sexual harassment at the State House and prompting House Speaker Robert DeLeo to announce on the House floor on Friday that a comprehensive review will be launched to review the House’s sexual harassment policies and to make recommendations by March. The Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan, the Herald’s Matt Stout and SHNS’s Katie Lannan at WGBH have more, as do CBS Boston and NECN, among others.

Meanwhile, female lawmakers on Beacon Hill want more immediate action. From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “Describing themselves as ‘saddened and angered,’ the co-chairs of the Women’s Caucus Sexual Assault Working Group are calling for immediate implementation of a five-step action plan that includes mandatory sexual harassment training for all state employees and an anonymous survey to gauge the level of harassment within the State House.” Gov. Charlie Baker said over the weekend he planned to order his staff to review the executive branch’s harassment policies, saying any harassment will not be tolerated, reports WCVB TV. 

Sadly, no one should be surprised by the allegations. And no one should be jumping to the conclusion that this is somehow unique to Beacon Hill. The NYT is reporting that nearly 200 women have signed a letter denouncing a culture of sexual misconduct in Sacramento, for instance. 

Romney still considering run for U.S. Senate in Utah … and Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead

The Atlantic’s coverage of the Utah Senate race is starting to resemble that old SNL skit in which a newscaster would gravely intone: “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.” In the Atlantic’s case, it’s: Mitt Romney is still poised to a run for U.S. Senate if Senator Orrin Hatch steps down. Except late last week the Atlantic sounded a bit more certain that Hatch will indeed step down, though it did add an obligatory “reportedly” to its alert. The piece prompted a minor flurry of follow-up Mitt stories at MassLive.com and the Boston Globe and elsewhere over the weekend.

The Atlantic

‘The marque race’

Christian Wade at the Salem News reports that the crowded Third Congressional District contest has become the ‘marque race’ of 2018. And it’s also become one of the most ethnically diverse Congressional elections in Massachusetts, reflecting the changing political dynamics of the state, he writes. 

Salem News

Beacon Hill lobbyists’ divided loyalties

Beacon Hill lobbyists getting paid to represent the two opposing sides of an issue at the same time? It may be happening more than you think at the State House. The Herald’s Matt Stout names names and names bills in which there were divided loyalties. “Bottom line, it’s unethical to take money to represent two opposing sides in a policy fight, just like it would be unethical for a lawyer to represent the defense and the plaintiffs in a case,” says Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at the think tank New America, who wrote the 2015 book, ‘The Business of America is Lobbying.’

Boston Herald

Worcester undertaker asks lawmakers: Who will pay to bury the unclaimed dead?

A Worcester funeral director known for handling final arrangements for the indigent says he’s ready to take legal action to get the state to take responsibility for paying what the burials actually cost, Mark Sullivan of the Telegram reports. Peter Stefan, who made headlines in 2013 for being willing to handle the burial of marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, says he loses money every time he picks up a body that goes unclaimed by family members. 

The Telegram

Legal shakedown: Bay State may end up paying millions for ‘mitigation’ costs tied to hydro-power lines

Hopefully, this won’t turn into a case of death by a thousand cuts, or, more precisely, numerous financial demands imposed by neighboring states and groups on developers of proposed hydro-transmission lines. From Edward N. Krapels at CommonWealth magazine: “It’s time to ask why transit states should receive such extremely high compensation for facilitating an energy source that provides an important public good to the entire region. Are the neighboring states ultimately taking advantage of the Commonwealth’s desire to use clean energy?”


Farm-tourism bill aims to clear local regulatory clutter

Agri-tourism for everyone! Lawmakers will hold a public hearing this week on legislation filed by Rep. Stephen Kulik of Williamsburg that would create a nine-member commission to study ways to help farmers tap into the fast-growing agricultural tourism industry, Richie Davis reports in the Recorder. The commission would be charged with finding ways to clear the path for such ventures—think: pick-your-own apples or farm weddings—around local regulatory hurdles. 


Pumpkin Lattes Alert

If history is any guide, time is running out for all those still mulling a potential race for governor next year in Massachusetts, reports Joshua Miller at the Globe. “When the pumpkin lattes come out in the year before an election season, you need to be making your decision, because you have to raise dough in two consecutive years to run for governor,” said political consultant David Guarino. But there is one notable exception to the general rule that fundraising and organizing have to start roughly now. Can you name it? Josh has the answer.

Boston Globe

Healey slams Trump administration’s student-loan forgiveness change

From Donna Goodison at the Herald: “State Attorney General Maura Healey yesterday fired back at U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos following a report that the Trump administration may only partially forgive federal loans of students defrauded by for-profit colleges. The move runs counter to the Obama administration’s policy of erasing that debt. … ‘Secretary DeVos and her team want to give predatory schools a free pass to cheat students and taxpayers,’ Healey said.”

Boston Herald

Secessionist Anarchists Alert: As Catalonia goes, so goes California?

While going through the motions of saying secession is not ‘necessarily desirable,’ Bill McKibben, a visiting scholar at Middlebury College, makes clear in a Globe op-ed that he views secession as a potential option, perhaps driven by California, if the current Trump-era ‘weirdness’ continues. Someone should get McKibben a copy of Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address, in which Lincoln expended a considerable amount of time knocking down all the constitutional, legal and moral arguments for secession of his time, boiling it down to this: No democracy can survive if the losing side in an election reserves the right to not abide by the results of an election. “Plainly the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy,” Lincoln wrote.

Despite its famous ‘better angels of our nature’ flourish at the end, it’s a rather dull, legalistic speech by Lincoln, proof he hadn’t yet found the soaring, elegant voice he would later exhibit during the Civil War. But it’s still a brilliant speech, one that some foolish people should read  before they pen romantic nonsense about ‘resistance’ and inadvertently find themselves on the historical and moral side of long-ago Confederates.

Boston Globe

Mercer-nary Money

New York billionaire Robert Mercer et family apparently have plans to dump a whole lot of PAC money in Massachusetts next year as part of a media campaign to discredit U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren before she possibly runs for president in 2020, Annie Linskey is reporting at the Globe. Among other past activities, Mercer has bankrolled former Trump chief strategist Stephen Bannon’s hard-core conservative agenda and activities.

Boston Globe

Brockton mayoral candidates duke it out over … a desalination plant?

Of all things, a major issue to emerge in the Brockton mayoral race between incumbent Bill Carpenter and 26-year-old Jimmy Pereira is whether the City of Champions should spend $78 million to buy a rarely used desalination plant. It’s a big deal in Brockton. Craig LeMoult at WGBH explains.


The Massachusetts economy is running on all cylinders

A week after state officials announced that the state’s unemployment rate had dipped below 4 percent, MassBenchmarks, an economic journal published by the UMass Donahue Institute with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, announced late last week that the state’s economy grew by a very impressive 5.9 percent in the second quarter, while employment grew at a substantially faster pace than the national average. SHNS’s Michael Norton has the good-news details at the BBJ.  


GE’s very bad week

OK, maybe the economy is ailing here and there. General Electric lost $23 billion worth of market value last week, as the company’s stock price fell more than 11 percent, Laura Berman of The Street reports.  Meanwhile, the company’s board of directors says it wasn’t aware that former CEO Jeff Immelt had a second private jet following him around in case it was needed, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. The board apparently found out after the paper starting asking about the practice. 

Everything you ever wanted to know about the ‘Dossier’ controversy

Confused about all the claims and counter-claims surrounding the ‘Dossier’ brouhaha? The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler has a good primer on the “tangled allegations involving Russia, President Trump and Hillary Clinton.” Btw: Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says Clinton’s campaign chairman and the former Democratic Party head need to explain what they knew about a dossier of allegations about President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, reports the Associated Press reports at the Globe.

Washington Post

Baker once again vetoes ‘functional equivalent of new property taxes’

For the third time, Gov. Charlie Baker has vetoed a bill that would allow property owners to establish local ‘Community Benefit Districts’ that could levy new assessments on property owners to pay for extra services. “These assessments are the functional equivalent of new property taxes,” Baker wrote in his veto message, as reported by SHNS’s Colin Young. 

SHNS (pay wall)

No permit, no problem, insist organizers of right-wing rally

They’re not taking no for an answer. The organizers of a planned right-wing “free speech” rally next month say they’re determined to proceed with the event even though the city of Boston has denied them a permit over concerns it might “interfere with a family-friendly 5K road race scheduled for the same day,” write the Globe’s Evan Allen and Laura Crimaldi.

Boston Globe

Yes, Rick Green is on the political radar, of fellow Republicans

Republican Rick Green, a businessman from Pepperell and former chairman of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, is officially ‘on the radar,’ but it’s the political radar of the National Republican Congressional Committee, not necessarily of the voters. Roll Call has the details on Third Congressional District candidate.

Roll Call

Newburyport mayor’s race shaken up by fake website allegations

A fake website designed to look like it belonged to Newburyport mayoral challenger Robert Cronin had a brief life before it was taken down over the weekend but not before shaking up the race with incumbent Donna Holaday, Richard Lodge reports in the Newburyport Daily News. The site questioned Cronin’s background and used an address to make it appear it belonged to his campaign. Holaday said her campaign had no knowledge of the site.

Newburyport Daily News

Norton override opponent dinged on campaign finance failings

The head of the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance says a Norton resident failed to properly disclose more than $1,500 worth of spending he did on fliers and signs he spent on an ultimately successful campaign to derail a $2.2 million override of Prop. 2 1/2, Rick Foster of the Sun-Chronicle reports.  

Sun Chronicle

World Stroke Awareness Day

Get Ahead of Stroke Campaign

Informational Hearing: Domestic Violence as a Public Health Issue

Joint Committee on Public Health & the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators

Salute to Veterans

Boston Business Journal

City of Worcester – Candidate Debates: At-large Council Candidates

City of Worcester

2017 Annual Conference: 10 Years of Strengthening Massachusetts

Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

2017 a2ru National Conference Arts in the Public Sphere: Civility, Advocacy, and Engagement in Boston

Northeastern University, Boston University, Massachusetts Technological Institute, Tufts University

Driving Down Demand for Diesel: Experimental Evidence from India on a Driver Training and Incentive Program

Harvard University

Research with Refugees: Pulling Back the Curtain

The Henry J. Leir Institute for Human Security

Cocktails & Public Policy: Meet Stephanie Pollack – The State’s Transportation Czar

HKS Alumni Association of New England

Mass. Marijuana Summit: Understanding the challenges and opportunities in the new age of legalization

State House News Forum

Today’s Headlines


Brissette lawyers seek ’Top Chef’ gag – Boston Herald

More than 10 percent of city school buses are late, despite MIT’s help – Boston Globe


After controversy, a Muslim burial at Hope Cemetery in Worcester – Telegram & Gazette

Berkshire Museum art sale dilemma isn’t new to former AG Coakley – Berkshire Eagle

Brockton mayoral challenger Pereira pulls out of final debate – Brockton Enterprise

Average tax burden for Lowell High project over $8K – Lowell Sun


Home builders raise a hammer, try to smash GOP tax bill – Washington Post

Journalism’s broken business model won’t be solved by billionaires – The New Yorker

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