Happening Today

Baker food-trust announcement, dental showdown, Warren at Chamber

— Gov. Charlie Baker attends the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations 35th Anniversary Celebration and makes an announcement relative to the Massachusetts Food Trust Program, State Room, 60 State Street, 33rd Floor, Boston, 9 a.m.

— Treasurer Deb Goldberg and School Building Authority executive director Jack McCarthy attend the groundbreaking ceremony on the Hillside Elementary School in Needham, 585 Central Ave., Needham, 10 a.m.

— Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz and other government, business, civic and academic leaders gather at the Pioneer Valley 100% Renewable Energy Visioning Forum to discuss how the Pioneer Valley can move toward an all-renewable energy future, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission Offices, 60 Congress St, Springfield, 10 a.m.

Division of Insurance holds a hearing on a dispute between the Massachusetts Dental Society and Delta Dental Plan of Massachusetts over whether dentists were pressured to join the low-cost PPO network, 1000 Washington St., Boston, 11 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks at a government affairs forum and luncheon hosted by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, 606 Congress St., Boston, 11:45 a.m.

— A dedication ceremony marks the naming of a bridge after former Rep. Ellen Story in Amherst, Montague Road bridge over the Mill River, Amherst, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan for the Massachusetts State Employee Performance Recognition Program Awards Ceremony, Gardner Auditorium, 2 p.m.

— NBC News and MSNBC national political correspondent Steve Kornacki, a Groton native, looks back at the year since President Donald Trump’s election, University Crossing, Moloney Hall, 220 Pawtucket St., Lowell, 2:30 p.m.

Today’s Stories

New State Police chief vows probe of Trooper-gate, sniping commences at Baker

Kerry Gilpin, the newly sworn in chief of the Massachusetts State Police, has announced she’s opening an investigation into the controversial scrubbing of a police arrest report involving the daughter of a central Massachusetts judge, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive and the Associated Press at WBUR. Attorney General Maura Healey is already investigating the matter. But that’s not enough for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren, who sniffs a good headline and is demanding, or, more precisely, his press puppeteer is demanding, an “independent investigation,” reports Joe Dwinell and Laural Sweet at the Herald. What, a Democratic AG isn’t qualified enough to handle an investigation?

The Herald’s Bob McGovern reports that an investigation could get nasty for Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration, perhaps rising to the level of obstruction of justice charges, in a worst-case scenario. The Herald’s Howie Carr, meanwhile, provides some helpful tips to District Court Judge Bibaud if he selects to pursue a two-pension escape. Three words: “involuntary disability provision.”

Republicans aren’t the only ones demanding Heroux’s House resignation

State Rep. Paul Heroux, who says he plans to keep his Beacon Hill job after he’s sworn in as mayor of Attleboro, says it’s “laughable” that Republicans are filing legislation to force him to quit his House post and that the GOP efforts would “probably just lead me to dig in my heels,” reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall). 

But, lo and behold, here comes the Boston Globe with an editorial calling on Heroux to choose one job or the other – and comparing Heroux, unfavorably, if that’s possible, to former Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua. We have a hunch Heroux isn’t chuckling too much over that insult.

Boston Globe

Special election set for McGee’s senate seat in Lynn

While Mayor-elect/Rep. Heroux clings to his two-paychecks jobs, it’s a different matter in another legislative district, as Tom Grillo at the Lynn Item reports: “A special election to replace state Sen. Thomas M. McGee will be held on Tuesday, March 6. Voters in Lynn, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Nahant, Saugus, and Swampscott will choose a new senator as McGee becomes the next mayor of Lynn. The primary is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 6.”

Lynn Item

After 24 years at the State House, Rep. Kaufman says it’s time to leave

State Rep. Jay Kaufman, a Lexington Democrat and a leading liberal on Beacon Hill, shocked supporters last night with news that he won’t be running for re-election next year, after serving nearly a quarter century on Beacon Hill, reports Heather Beasley Doyle at Wicked Local Lexington. “A good leader loves the people, tells the truth, and knows when to go away. To begin with the punch line for this evening, it’s time for me to go away,” Kaufman told an audience last night, apparently quoting Epharisto Matsuaire, an Oxfam organizer from Zimbabwe, as Doyle notes. “It’s not without some emotional baggage, to be sure.”

Wicked Local

No laughing matter: Warren calls Franken’s behavior ‘unacceptable’

U.S. Senator and former full-time comedian Al Franken is in a heap of political trouble over a sexual-groping allegation – and that’s put his fellow Democrats on the defensive, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who yesterday called Franken’s reported behavior “unacceptable and deeply disappointing,” reports Shannon Young at MassLive. SHNS’s Michael Norton at Wicked Local reports how Warren’s Republican campaign rivals are putting pressure on Warren to support calls for Franken’s resignation. 

Hundreds of UMass students rush to get vaccinated amid meningitis scare

This is getting serious. As many as 600 UMass students flooded the campus’ health services office for meningitis vaccine shots on Thursday in the wake of the second reported case of the illness at the school, David McLellan of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. Meanwhile, a crowdsourcing campaign for one of the two students already diagnosed has raised $15,000.  The Herald’s Brian Dowling reports that more than a thousand UMass students could end up getting vaccinations.


Keeping Lawrence schools on track – and away from ideologues

The Globe’s Scott Lehigh has a good column on the recently announced changes to the state’s receivership of Lawrence’s schools, saying the changes are welcome, as long as reforms are kept on track. He adds: “The announcement was not popular with some community and union activists, who want to see control of the schools revert to the elected, but currently powerless, Lawrence School Committee. One overheated objector even compared the move to colonialism (!) and called shame upon those making the announcement. Ideologues will be ideologues.”

Boston Globe

Hi, I’m from the New York Times and I just wanted to ask …

The New York Times is not amused that a professionally dressed woman named Contessa Bourbon would and did, for years, pass herself off as a Times reporter at “lofty-sounding panel discussion(s)” held by “think-tanky” institutes, and now the NYT has filed suit claiming dilution of the paper’s trademark by the impersonator, reports the Washington Post’s Eric Wemple, almost gleefully.

Washington Post

‘One of the most spectacularly, preposterously offensive speeches in the history of City Hall’

He now says it was only satire, a caricature of those opposing a marijuana dispensary in the Back Bay, NBC Boston reports. But a lot of people thought millionaire Oliver Curme was dead serious at a city hearing earlier this week when he unleashed an epic rant mocking wheel-chair bound people, describing breast cancer patients as “cadaverous,” insulting people with MS, telling vets with post-traumatic stress disorder to “get over it” and on and on. “For goodness sake, Newbury Street is a high-end shopping district,” he said. “We don’t want people like that scaring off the clientele.”

Here’s the YouTube video of the memorable moment. Spencer Buellat Boston Magazine has a great run-down of the shocked reactions to “one of the most spectacularly, preposterously offensive speeches in the history of City Hall.”

Mass. lawmakers slam House GOP tax plan

Massachusetts’ Congressional delegation was quick to denounce the House GOP’s passage yesterday of a controversial tax overhaul. Shannon Young at MassLive has the reactions of U.S. Reps. Richard Neal, Katherine Clark, Niki Tsongas, Bill Keating and Jim McGovern. All right, they’re all Democrats. What else would they say? But there’s widespread opposition across the political spectrum to this bill – and that’s one of the reasons why the Globe’s Evan Horowitz says final passage is no sure thing.


Please, no: Developers want us humming Billy Joel’s ‘Uptown Girl’

Is there no end to developers trying to “rebrand” entire Boston neighborhoods with new hip names, usually with a tired NY flare, like SoWa Boston? This has to be one of the worst of the lot, from Donna Goodison at the Herald: “If you’re wandering around the North Station area in the next few years, Boston Properties and Delaware North likely wouldn’t mind if a certain Billy Joel song gets stuck in your head. The co-developers of The Hub on Causeway, a 1.5 million-square-foot, mixed-use real estate project, are trying to rebrand the neighborhood historically known as the West End as ‘Uptown.’”

Boston Herald

Framingham developer: We have to build housing to compete with Boston!

Speaking of developments, the developer behind a proposed 360-unit apartment complex in the center of a business park says the housing is needed because companies are increasingly locating in Boston, where businesses can offer employees shorter commutes, Jim Hadadin reports in the MetroWest Daily News. Two corporate headquarters in the park are already vacant, a third will soon be cleared out as Computer Associates moves out and anchor tenant Staples has an uncertain future after its recent move to go private. 

MetroWest Daily News

City approves Fenway Center project over the Pike

One last development post, from the Herald’s Owen Boss: “The first phase of developer John Rosenthal’s Fenway Center project over the Massachusetts Turnpike has been green-lighted by the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s board. The $590 million project, which has a two-phased construction plan, will begin with two mixed-use buildings on terra firma next to the Mass Pike.” The state OK’d the project earlier this year.

Boston Herald

Gun advocates take aim at Healey’s powers to regulate firearms

This all ties back to Attorney General Maura Healey’s crackdown last year on ‘copy cat’ assault weapons. From Mike Deehan at WGBH: “The Legislature’s public safety committee heard a collection of bills that would take the authority to regulate firearm sales and manufacturing away from the Attorney General’s office. Healey used that authority in July 2016 to ban military-style weapons that she said had been modified to get around the state’s ban on assault rifles. ‘”There was no due process in her interpretation and I find that very disturbing … ,’ Bellingham firearms instructor and hunter Amanda Deveno told lawmakers.”

As Mike notes: “It’s unlikely the overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature has any appetite to alter Healey’s firearms authority or to reverse her enforcement decisions.”


Two-hundred environmental activists stage sit-in outside Baker’s office

They came, the saw, they protested, en force, yesterday outside Gov. Charlie Baker’s State House office, saying the Republican governor isn’t doing enough to halt natural-gas pipeline projects and promoting clean energy in Massachusetts, reports Craig LeMoult at WGBH. Among those at the sit-in was Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Massie, WGBH reports. A press release issued by activists last evening said 26 people were arrested by State Police after the building closed at 6 p.m.


Jewish Advocate editorial unloads on Jewish Community Relations Council

In an editorial headlined ‘What’s so Jewish about the Jewish Community Relations Council?’ earlier this week, the Jewish Advocate is wondering why the Jewish Community Relations Council has allegedly been silent and AWOL on recent anti-Semitic incidents, as well as on Jewish protests of a controversial screening in Marblehead of a film perpetuating a “number of hateful tropes” and the visit to Harvard of a “known sponsor of groups that commit terrorist acts against Israelis.” The editorial concludes: “We regret JCRC does not consider defending the Jewish community against anti-Semitism or the Jewish state against anti-Israel sentiment part of its purpose.”

Jewish Advocate

Democratic field grows to 10 in 3rd Congressional District

Two more Democratic candidates have tossed their hats into the overflowing ring of hopefuls vying to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, Chris Lisinsky of the Lowell Sun reports. The two new entries are 40-year-old Haverhill resident and former Navy intelligence specialist Alexandra Chandler—who appears to be the first openly transgender individual to run in a federal election in the state’s history—and  Patrick Littlefield of Foxboro, a 63-year-old entrepreneur who ran the center for innovation at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Lowell Sun

Generalissimo Franco Still Dead Alert: Gomez still mulling race for Senate

We’ll try to keep you informed about this ongoing drama that’s gripping the political world. From Steve Koczela at CommonWealth magazine: “The Republican primary field to take on US Sen. Elizabeth Warren next year now includes three candidates, but another contender is still eying the race. Businessman and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez is meeting with potential advisors to chart a path forward and still closely considering his options, according to a source with direct knowledge of the discussions. He ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2013 against Ed Markey after winning a three-way GOP primary.” Franko reference, as always, explained here (Wikipedia).


Dismay over home-care registry bill

From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “A bill creating a registry for home care workers is back on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk, to the dismay of home care workers who are considering a court challenge. ‘This legislation exposes these essential frontline direct care workers to enormous privacy and due process violations,’ wrote advocates for the home care workers in a statement.”


Lawmakers pass bond bill with funds for broadband and Soldiers’ Home

This was passed just prior to lawmakers finishing up their legislative business earlier this week. From the BBJ: “The state Legislature passed a $244 million bond bill with money for the expansion of broadband in Western Massachusetts and the construction of a new Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea on Wednesday, sending it to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk. … It includes $199 million for the design and construction of a new Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, a 135-year-old health care facility. It also includes $45 million for broadband as part of the “Last Mile” project.”


How about them Celts?

OK, we’ve refrained from mentioning the Celtics’ incredible run of late, post-Gordon Hayward injury, fearing we might be drifting too far away from all things political. But after last night’s victory over the defending champs Golden State Warriors, making it 14 straight for the Celts, it’s impossible to resist: How about them Celtics? Simply an amazing, young team. Here’s the Globe story and the Herald story on last night’s big win.

Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Gov. Charlie Baker, who talks with host Jon Keller about politics and top state issues.

This is New England, NBC Boston, Channel 10, 9:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s main topic: Thanksgiving in New England. 

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Spectrum Health Systems CEO Kurt Isaacson on the opioid crisis and the treatment facilities he runs across the country; Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Rooney on I-90 Allston changes, General Electric woes, state jobs figures; and Aixa Beauchamp, co-chair of the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund on the latest on the island’s recovery efforts.  

DC Dialogue, NECN, 11:30 a.m. AICUM president Rich Doherty on the impact of the GOP tax plans on the higher education community; Thomas O’Neill, CEO of O’Neill and Associates and the former lieutenant governor, on local and national politics, and New England Council CEO Jim Brett on the legislative session.  

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.

14th Annual Team Massachusetts Economic Impact Awards Luncheon


Presinar: Everblue Presents: Sparks Fly! Onsite Renewable Energy Production in Boston

CIC Boston

Tech-Based Training for Health Care Workers on the Move

Commonwealth Corporation

Criminalizing Poverty in America

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Today’s Headlines


Public briefed on body camera pilot – Dorchester Reporter

Back Bay tower wins key city board approval – Boston Globe

Keystone pipeline spills 210,000 gallons of oil on eve of permitting decision for TransCanada – Washington Post


Framingham: General Chemical fails to qualify for superfund program – MetroWest Daily News

Koch opposes taxing apartment buildings at higher rate – Patriot Ledger

Lawmakers produce amendment to save Brewster hayrides – Cape Cod Times

Berkshire Museum Collections Committee member quits in protest – Berkshire Eagle

Leominister mayoral recount will begin on Monday – Sentinel and Enterprise


Pentagon ‘erroneously’ retweets call for Trump’s resignation – Politico

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