Happening Today

Firearms dispute, Abigail Adams honorees and more …

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and members of the Cabinet convene in New Bedford for their weekly meeting, which will feature presentations and discussions with local officials and organizations, SMAST (UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology), 706 S Rodney French Blvd., New Bedford, 10 a.m.

Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security holds a hearing on about 50 pieces of legislation dealing with firearms, including a bill that would remove the regulatory authority of Attorney General Maura Healey over consumer protection laws governing firearms, Hearing Room A-1, 11 a.m.

— Gaming Commission Chairman Steve Crosby, commissioner Bruce Stebbins, Sen. Linda Forry, Boston City Councilor-at-Large Ayanna Pressley, MGM Springfield President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Mathis and others launch “a major recruitment and outreach effort” aimed at increasing diversity in the union building trades, Sheet Metal Workers Local 17 Training Center, 1181 Adams St., Dorchester, 11:30 a.m.

Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs holds 2017 annual meeting, with House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Rep. Aaron Vega, Early Education Commissioner Thomas Weber and Derek Frechette, father of Christian Frechette of Christian’s Law and Safety Around Water, Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center, 181 Boston Post Rd. West, Marlborough, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at the 99th annual meeting of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, LaCava Building, 3rd floor, Bentley University, 175 Forest St., Waltham, 1:30 p.m.

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg will speak at the demolition milestone ceremony at Lafayette Square and Jill Rhone Park, 371 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, 3:30 p.m.

— WGBH News’ Scrum podcast tapes a live show covering the 2017 Boston city election, with co-hosts Adam Reilly and Peter Kadzis joined by the Boston Globe’s Meghan Irons, the Bay State Banner’s Yawu Miller and the Dorchester Reporter’s Jennifer Smith, Banshee Pub (upstairs,) 934 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, 6 p.m.

— The 30th Annual Tribute to Abigail Adams is held today to honor a number of women, including the governor’s chief of staff, Kristen Lepore, who will be introduced by Gov. Charlie Baker, U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rakhi Kumar of State Street Global Advisors and Linda Whitlock, corporate director, leadership advisor, and investor; Auditor Suzanne Bump will also be attending, Fairmont Copley Plaza, 138 St. James Ave., Boston, starting at 5:30 a.m. and the governor’s address at 6:45 p.m.

— Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry receives the Thomas Menino Award for Outstanding Community Service at FamilyAid Boston’s Home for the Holidays celebration, Exchange Conference Center, 212 Northern Ave., Boston, 6 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican, and 350.org executive director May Boeve will be presented with a ship’s navigational compass as recipients of New Frontier Awards, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, 6 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Lawmakers send bilingual education bill to Baker

From SHNS’s Michael Nortion: “Fifteen years after voters approved the so-called English immersion law, the Massachusetts Legislature on Wednesday approved a bilingual education reform bill designed to give educators more flexibility in teaching English language learners. A conference committee report filed Tuesday night by House and Senate negotiators was endorsed by the House 155-1. The Senate approved it unanimously as the branches wrapped up formal sessions for 2017.”

The Globe’s James Vazinis and WBUR’s Max Larkin have more on the big, and quickly passed, legislation.

SHNS (pay wall)

Baker swears in new State Police chief amid report controversy

Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday moved quickly and quietly to appoint Colonel Kerry Gilpin as the head of the Massachusetts State Police, a day after the agency’s top two commanders suddenly retired amid the growing controversy over the redaction of a police report involving the daughter of a central Massachusetts judge, reports Scott Croteau at MassLive. Gilpin, a 23-year veteran of the State Police, replaces Richard McKeon, who stepped down on Tuesday. Baker said that Gilpin will review the policies and procedures around editing arrest reports in light of the controversy, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive.

Needless to say, the appointment isn’t quieting the hounds. The Herald’s Joe Dwinnell and Matt Stout report that the initial spike-it tip may have come from District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.’s office. The Globe’s Joan Vennochi says Baker and lawmakers owe it to the public to explain how and who gets to edit embarrassing police reports. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes that Baker is now in the “direct line of fire” of police unions and the attorney representing two troopers who refused orders to alter the reports.

UMass-Boston starts first round of layoffs

In the private sector, this wouldn’t warrant a blurb in the paper. But at a major public college, it’s big news when a prestigious university starts laying off people, 36 in this round and possibly more on the way at UMass-Boston. SHNS’s Michael Norton at the BBJ and the Globe’s Laura Krantz have the details.

New record? Woman arrested after stealing four cars in one crazy day

We’re bumping this one up due to the impressive achievement involved. From Phil Demer at MassLive: “A 33-year-old Massachusetts woman is being held without bail in Berkshire County after a series of alleged car thefts which appear on paper like an attempt at reenacting an unglamorous, real-life version of ‘Gone in Sixty Seconds.’ Police say Chandra Bourelle, of Adams, stole four cars over the course of the day Friday.”

And she moved up in quality at each stage, ending the day with a new BMW, Demer notes. Now back to all things politics.


Deval has the ‘clearest path’ to the Dem presidential nomination?

Move aside, Elizabeth Warren and Seth Moulton. Jeff Robbins, a local attorney and former U.S. delegate to the UN, writes at the Herald that former Gov. Deval Patrick actually has the “clearest path to the (Democratic) nomination” for president among potential candidates. He explains why.

Boston Herald

Brookline etymology update: It’s now ‘Select Board,’ not ‘board of selectmen’

Score one for Brookline’s Michael Burstein, who first mischievously suggested that Brookline’s “board of selectmen” be renamed the “board of selectwomen.” It got the results he wanted. Brookline’s board of selectmen will now, henceforth, be known as the Select Board, reports Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine.

Boston Magazine

Transgender inmate sues state, demands transfer to women’s prison

This has Drudge Report written all over it, from Owen Boss at the Herald: “A transgender prisoner who says she is being humiliated and harassed by fellow inmates and prison guards is suing the Department of Correction in hopes of becoming the Bay State’s first transgender inmate to be transferred to a jail where she’d be housed among other women.”

Boston Globe

Regarding CFPB appointment, Warren asks for the impossible

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has some advice for President Trump, now that the top Consumer Financial Protection Bureau job has opened up: “This is no place for another Trump-appointed industry hack.” Shannon Young at MassLive has the details.


Desperate times: ‘Senate Republicans look to Trump to restore order amid Alabama upheaval’

No local angle here. Just a funny headline, when you think about it, i.e. turning to Donald Trump – Donald Trump! – to restore political order. 

Washington Post

Three takeaways from SHNS’s Mass. Marijuana Summit

State House News Service held its Mass. Marijuana Summit yesterday in Boston, and the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett has three takeaways from the event: Advocates don’t want anti-pot towns to get any cash, disagreement on the number of weed dispensaries, and recreational shops will be approved on a rolling basis. She has the details on each point.


Rosenberg: Many towns will come around to allowing pot shops

More from yesterday’s SHNS’s Mass. Marijuana Summit, via Colin Young at SHNS: “Responding to concerns that a wave of facility bans and moratoria might hold the recreational marijuana industry back, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said Wednesday morning that he expects many of the 100-plus cities and towns that have imposed some type of restriction on cannabis commerce within their borders will ultimately host some aspect of the new industry. A lot of the municipalities that have restricted marijuana business ‘just want to get it right’ and are waiting to see how the Cannabis Control Commission writes the rules for the nascent industry, Rosenberg said.”

SHNS (pay wall)

David Crosby makes an ass of himself by telling Trump customer he’s an a#@hole

The tweet by a fan was pretty lame, whiney and naïve, basically asking why one of the most politically outspoken musician activists of the 1960s would speak out against Donald Trump at an Arlington concert knowing it might “piss off” some in the crowd. The Twitter response of the 76-year-old David Crosby of Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fame: “If you’re a Trump dummy and you don’t like progressives Don’t come to my show asshole.” … Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine has more on the civil discussion. … The Globe is reporting that Crosby is making no apologies. 

Baker urges Homeland Security to let immigrants stay in US

From Shira Schoenbergat MassLive: “Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday sent a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke asking her to let citizens of Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras remain in the United States. ‘It is not consistent with the traditions and values of the United States …,’ Baker wrote.” Do you think this recent letter from Seth Moulton et gang about the Temporary Protected Status program had anything to do with this? Nah.

Meanwhile, SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) reports that the state Senate on Wednesday adopted a resolution calling on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to continue the TBS program for Salvadoran, Nicaraguan, Haitian and Honduran immigrants.

DOJ fires off ‘threating letter’ to Lawrence and other sanctuary cities

Perhaps Gov. Baker, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton and state senators should now turn their focus to the Department of Justice. From Dan Atkinson at the Herald: “The Justice Department has fired off a threatening letter to Lawrence and 28 other ‘sanctuary cities’ across the U.S., sending a shot across the bow of communities who shield illegal immigrants that federal grant money could be denied. It’s a warning — issued late yesterday to top cops in every city — that one immigration expert said will hurt police budgets.”

Boston Herald

Boston researchers to test procedure that reverses type 1 diabetes

This would be medically huge if tests prove successful. From Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ: “Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital are looking to begin clinical trials on a treatment that has the potential to cure type 1 diabetes using a patients own blood cells. Researchers from the hospital said they successfully used the treatment to reverse type 1 diabetes in mice. All the mice were cured of diabetes in the short term, and a third of the mice were cured for the duration of their lives.”


Hey, why not just deed R.I.’s capitol building to Amazon?

You can almost see Philip Eil shaking his head at ‘GBH as he writes about Rhode Island’s over-the-top bid proposal for the new Amazon HQ2, complete with a message from Gov. Gina Raimondo telling Amazon execs that if they choose Rhode Island, “You’d have the access, influence and impact that come from being a dominant employer in our state.”

And as we all know, Rhode Island knows a thing or two about political access and clout, so there. Anyway, check out the accompanying architectural rendering showing the state Capitol in Providence completely surrounded by Amazon buildings, a plan that Patrick Anderson at the Providence Journal has noted goes beyond “a suspension of disbelief.”


Bike-lane haters of Cambridge, unite!

They can’t take it anymore! From Marc Levy at Cambridge Day: “Fired up by protected bike lanes they feel are hurting local retailers, a group of residents and business leaders are vowing to take over citywide transportation planning by forming a grassroots group.” The coup plotters say they’re sick of “top-down” city planning regarding bike lanes – and they’re placing blame squarely on that lapdog of the bicycle-lane-industrial complex, the Cambridge City Council. … Cambridge Day piece via UH’s Adam Gaffin, whose headline we sort of stole and modified.

Cambridge Day

With poll numbers like these, why even bother holding ballot-question votes next year?

We’re not talking about likely victories for the proposed millionaire’s tax, sales-tax cut and family-leave initiatives on next year’s statewide ballot. We’re talking about lopsided to the extreme support for the measures, as shown in the latest polling numbers at WBUR. Total support for millionaire’s tax: 76 percent; sales-tax cut: 69 percent; family-leave: 82 percent.


High school teacher says university’s voting study plagiarized her ideas

A Worcester State University voting patterns study that made headlines last week is back in the news again for all the wrong reasons. Kerry Mulcahy, a teacher at Doherty Memorial High School in Worceester, says work she did for her doctoral dissertation was used in the report without her permission and wants it retracted, Nick Kbotsopolous of the Telegram reports. The university said it stood by the report, noting that it focused on voting trends in a single election cycle.  


How the heck does fixing a viaduct end up costing $1.2B?

Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive tries to explain how and why a crumbling Pike viaduct ends up costing $1.2 billion. It’s a gallant effort, but we’re not sure even a book could adequately explain why transportation projects cost so much in Massachusetts.


Boston’s high price for developing in town

Speaking of high prices: The Globe’s Tim Logan has two articles this morning about the side costs of developing in Boston, the first story on Boston Properties’ multimillion-dollar payout for a project’s shadows and the second pieceon WS Development’s ongoing talks to deliver neighborhood goodies galore in Seaport.

Onetime Obama vacation home on the market for $17.75 million

It was only the ‘summer White House’ for one summer, but a Chilmark home that hosted the Obama family’s summer getaway in 2013 is on the market with an asking price of $17.75 million, Ethan Genter of the Cape Cod Times reports. The real estate listing says the home is ‘truly a trophy property.’  

Cape Cod Times

To bill or not to bill: Lynn seeks state help with financial dilemma

Officials in Lynn will ask state lawmakers to grant it a one-time exemption to state law requiring a community to have a balanced budget before it sets a tax rate and sends out bills, Thomas Grillo reports at the Lynn Item. It would be the first time the city has been forced to seek such permission and comes as millions in new fees and taxes—including trash fees and contributions from medical marijuana companies — have yet to start flowing. 

‘Calling all politics fans!’

WGBH is putting out a call for “as many politicians, operatives, journalists, and #mapoli devotees” as possible to attend this evening’s taping of The Scrum podcast, featuring a panel that includes the Globe’s Meghan Irons, the Bay State Banner’s Yawu Miller and the Dorchester Reporter’s Jennifer Smith. Those heading to the event can gather upstairs at the Banshee, 934 Dorchester Ave., at 6 p.m., with taping starting at 6:45 p.m. More details can be found at the event’s Facebook site.

They weren’t making real donuts anyway

Dunkin’ Donuts is dropping the “donuts” from its name and has just put up its first Dunkin’-only sign in Boston, reports the Globe’s Natasha Mascarenhas and the Herald’s Donna Goodison. No big deal. Dunkin’ Donuts wasn’t making real donuts anyway, more like Dorothy Muriel’s cake-batter concoctions shaped liked donuts. Real donuts are crusty and sturdy, with air pockets, and can withstand actually being dunked in coffee, unlike Dunkin’s soggy and sad imitations. … And that’s our donut rant of the day.

‘The Scrum’ tapes at the Banshee

Calling all politics fans! WGBH News’ The Scrum podcast invites you to talk about Marty Walsh’s big win, the ongoing transformation of Boston’s City Council, and more. Our all-star panel includes The Boston Globe’s Meghan Irons, the Bay State Banner’s Yawu Miller, and the Dorchester Reporter’s Jennifer Smith. We’ll gather upstairs at the Banshee (934 Dorchester Ave.) Thursday at 6 p.m. and start taping at 6:45 p.m. We’re hoping for as many politicians, operatives, journalists, and #mapoli devotees as we can get, so please join us! All ages are welcome.


Today’s Headlines


Medical-marijuana dispensary approved on Newbury street, but could face legal challenge – Universal Hub

Seaport developer offers money for arts, park ahead of key Boston vote – Boston Globe


Walmart backs out of Pittsfield supercenter plan, but developer still in – Berkshire Eagle

Legislature sends broadband bill, including $45 million for western Mass., to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk – MassLive

Ex-Norton selectman accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars – Sun Chronicle

Gloucester set to ban plastic bags in 2019 – Gloucester Times

MetroWest Daily News to relocate, sell building – Worcester Business Journal


Hope Hicks may hold the keys to Mueller’s Russia puzzle – Politico

GOP senator rejects tax bill, others may be close behind – New York Times

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