Happening Today

MBTA control board, Handicap-parking bill signing, NYC-Berkshires rail and more …

— MassDOT’s Registry of Motor Vehicles and AAA will host a ribbon cutting event to announce that RMV license and registration services will now be offered to AAA members at the AAA branch in Webster, AAA Webster Branch, 400 South Main St., Webster, 10:30 a.m.

— The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board meets with an agenda that includes review of the authority’s ‘Integrated Vehicle and Facility Maintenance Plan,’ Green Line tracks, and Quincy Center Transit Oriented Development, Transportation Board Room, Second floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.

— The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Preliminary Screening Committee, part of the effort to find a successor to the late Commissioner Mitchell Chester, meets in open session, 75 Pleasant St., Malden, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, Sen. Eileen Donoghue and MassDOT officials at the ceremonial signing of a bill that imposes tougher fines on those who illegally park in handicap parking spaces, Room 360, 2 p.m.

— The Berkshire Flyer Working Group meets to discuss the potential for using a New York rail route to establish a seasonal passenger rail service between New York City and the Berkshires, MassDOT Highway District 1 Office, 270 Main Street, Lenox, 3 p.m.

— Former Globe columnist Mike Barnicle moderates a discussion titled ‘Fifty Years Later: What American Politics Today Can Learn from the Legacy of Robert Kennedy,’ with panelists Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and Chris Matthews, author of ‘Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit,’ Harvard’s Kennedy School, Cambridge, 6:45 p.m.

— Former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III are guests on ‘Greater Boston,’ WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Scaramucci threatens to sue Tufts student over op-ed columns

The Mooch is in the news again. From the Globe’s John Hilliard: “Tufts University postponed a Monday event featuring Anthony Scaramucci, a former Trump White House spokesman, after he threatened to sue a student and the school newspaper for defamation following the publication of an op-ed column criticizing him. Scaramucci, a Tufts graduate, has served on an advisory board at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy since 2016.” The Globe also quotes the editor of the Tufts Daily as saying the paper will run “Scaramucci’s letter demanding a retraction and an apology in Monday’s print edition.”

An apology? More like a white flag. Here’s the letter from Scaramucci’s lawyer, as published online by the Tufts Daily. No sign yet of the “apology.” Here’s hoping Tufts University has the spine to vigorously defend the student and newspaper against a powerful alum issuing obnoxious legal threats – and here’s hoping it’s not urging compromise. But considering the dismal record of colleges defending free-speech rights on campuses these days, maybe our hopes are misplaced. The Herald’s Jules Crittenden and O’Ryan Johnson have more on the controversy. Btw: Here’s the first column and the second column by Tufts grad student Camilo A. Caballero. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin typically cuts to the core of the issue in the lead of his story.  

Meanwhile, yet another battle over op-ed pieces …

As Tufts University grapples with a controversy stemming from two opinion pieces written by a student, CommonWealth magazine is caught in the crossfire between dueling op-ed writers — Jessica Tang, the president of the Boston Teachers Union, and Liam Kerr, director of the Massachusetts chapter of Democrats for Education Reform. One can almost see CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl with a clothespin on his nose as he writes the piece. 

 Fyi: The New York Time is expressing “regret” that many readers didn’t like a story that a reporter wrote about a Nazi sympathizer, but, as far as we can tell, it hasn’t apologized for the piece. Fyi II: The Koch brothers are now the apparent co-owners of Time Inc., or they’re investors in whatever is left of Time Inc, as the Times also reports.


Globe backs Berkshire Museum’s controversial sale of Norman Rockwell paintings

This is somewhat of a surprise: The Boston Globe, in an editorial, is backing Berkshire Museum’s controversial sale of artwork, including two Norman Rockwell paintings, as a way to raise badly needed funds. “The museum knows that it risks turning itself into a pariah in the art world with the sale. But that seems to be what it will take to remain viable, and no artist, not even Rockwell, could turn that into a pretty picture.”

Boston Globe

Tommy Heinson defends Holy Cross’s ‘Crusader’ nickname

Holy Cross has finished up an eight-week comment period to determine whether to shed its symbol the “Crusader” out of concerns the image might offend Muslims, reports the Herald’s Laurel Sweet. But former Celtics great and Holy Cross alum Tommy Heinson is warning that others will be offended if the name is dropped. “It’s political correctness run amok,” Heinsohn said. “There’ll be a hue and cry if they go through with this. The necessity of this thing is beyond the pale. Get a life.”

Boston Herald

Time for corporations to storm the DPU bastille?

Cynthia Arcate, head of an energy-buying consortium of nonprofits and government entities in Massachusetts, has had it with energy rulings by the Department of Public Utilities, decisions she says too often hit commercial and industrial customers hard and too often are backed by the AG’s office and the Department of Energy Resources. The latest flashpoint: Eversource’s proposed demand-response reduction program that Arcate says favors utilities – at the expense of commercial and industrial customers, again, she writes at CommonWealth.  


Make that three: Ethics Commission is the latest to open a probe of Troopergate

The state Ethics Commission is now looking into the controversy swirling around the scrubbing of an arrest report of the daughter of a central Massachusetts judge, reports the Globe’s Andrea Estes and the Herald’s Joe Dwinell. The commission’s move is the third investigation into Troopergate, following previously announced probes by the State Police and Attorney General Maura Healey’s office.

Speaking of Healey, she says the scandal has left a “lot of unanswered questions” and she plans to “get to the bottom” of why the ex-chief of state police ordered a trooper to redact the arrest report, reports Matt Stout at the Herald.

Baker signs overhaul of English immersion law

For a moment there, we thought he might veto the legislation. But he didn’t. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Sentinel & Enterpised: “Massachusetts schools will now have more options for how they educate students learning the English language, under a bill Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law Wednesday. A 2002 ballot law required English learners to be taught in sheltered immersion programs. Under the new law, school districts will be able to continue to use immersion, but will now also be able to choose a different approach to meet their students needs, subject to approval by state education officials.” In an editorial, the Herald is warning against a return to bilingual education that voters overwhelmingly rejected in a statewide vote in 2002.

Sentinel & Enterprise

… and he signs home-care registry bill opposed by industry groups

Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday signed a bill establishing a registry for home care workers, over the vehement objections of associations representing the Massachusetts home care industry, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive.


Contractors suing state over pay and benefits

Why it took nearly three decades to make this legal objection, we’re not sure, though we have an idea. Anyway, David Abel at the Globe reports that four individual Department of Environmental Protection contactors have filed a class-action lawsuit against the state that accuses it of violating equal protection laws by denying them the same benefits and protections as other state employees. “Attorney General Maura Healey has rejected their demands and has asked the court to dismiss the case,” writes Abel. “Healey contends that the contractors lack the standing to sue because the state has ‘sovereign immunity’ from such claims.”

Boston Globe

Manic Monday for Warren’s consumer bureau

It should be an interesting morning at the Consumer Fraud Protection Bureau in Washington. The agency—which traces its lineage back to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who proposed it while still teaching at Harvard—starts the week with two acting directors, one appointed by the agency’s former leader and the second hand-picked by President Trump, Renae Merle of the Washington Post reports. Complicating things further is a lawsuit filed Sunday seeking to block the White House from taking control of the agency. 

Washington Post

Partners HealthCare emerges as Beacon Hill’s largest lobbyist

More proof of Partners HealthCare’s powerhouse status in Massachusetts, bigger than any bank, utility, high tech firm, insurer, manufacturer, university etc. From Jon Chesto at the Globe: “As it defends its turf on Beacon Hill, the sprawling nonprofit organization has become the largest corporate spender on lobbying firms over the past year-and-a-half. During that time, Partners spent some $840,000 on outside lobbyists, including $303,000 in the first half of 2017, according to records kept by the Massachusetts secretary of state’s office.”

Boston Globe

Trahan plays her Lowell card in Third Congressional race

Lori Trahan, a candidate in the crowded Dem primary race for the Third Congressional District seat, is hoping new endorsements will help win over key voters in Lowell, even though she and other candidates hail from communities outside the gritty city. Last week, Trahan won the joint endorsements of Lowell’s three state legislators — Reps. Thomas Golden, David Nangle and Rady Mom, all Democrats from Lowell, the Lowell Sun is reporting. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) has more.

Meanwhile, the Thanksgiving holiday didn’t slow the runaway political train created by the open 3rd district congressional seat: Bopha Malone, a vice president at Enterprise Bank who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Cambodia at the age of 9, announced her bid for the seat over the weekend, bringing the field of Democratic candidates to an even dozen, Chris Lisinskyof the Lowell Sun reports. 

Lowell Sun

Pundit: Appointing Coakley to commission is a good first step but …

The Herald’s Hillary Chabot is praising the appointment of ex-Attorney General Martha Coakley and three other lawyers to review Beacon Hill’s sexual harassment policies, but she says House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stan Rosenberg must still publicly confirm and confront past sexual-harassment incidents at the State House.

Boston Herald

Walsh names ex-state budget official as CFO of Boston

Emme Handy, a senior finance director at the Cambridge-based Broad Institute and a former assistant secretary within the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance, has been tapped by Mayor Marty Walsh as the city’s new chief financial officer, reports the BBJ’s David Harris.


Healey investigating Uber security breach; other states launch own probes

Attorney General Maura Healey launched an investigation into a massive data breach and cover-up at rideshare company Uber, following news that the company paid hackers $100,000 to keep quiet about the breach, reports Tori Bedford at WGBH. “Just as a matter of law enforcement, it’s bad enough when you screw up, but the cover-up is always worse,’ Healey said during an interview with Boston Public Radio. A lot of other states are eyeing lawsuits against Uber, as the Washington Post reports.


State opening center to help seniors apply for food stamps

From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “In January, the state will open a statewide senior assistance office at its location on Front Street in Holyoke, which will be dedicated to helping seniors sign up for (food stamp) benefits they are eligible for. State officials are also making a renewed effort to track down seniors who are eligible for food stamps but have not enrolled.”


Walsh not sold on T alcohol ads

Mayor Marty Walsh isn’t cheering the T’s move to re-introduce alcohol advertising, saying the transit agency should try harder to find ad revenue from other sources like Amazon and Apple, reports the Herald’s Bob McGovern. But the Herald, in an editorial, is saying the mayor’s stance is hypocritical considering that the city allows alcohol to be served at the new Boston Winter festival on City Hall Plaza and at an open-air beer garden on the Greenway.

DeLeo taps brakes on cellphone car ban

Gov. Charlie Baker has shifted his position on banning cellphones and other handheld devices while driving, but not House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who continues to express skepticism about the idea, citing fears of minorities being targeted for stops by police, reports the Herald’s Matt Stout.

Boston Herald

BPS off-the-books payments snagged by IRS audit

Apparently, the Boston Public Schools feels books are for students, not for recording teacher fees. An IRS audit of the school district found some employees being paid off-the-books with student activity fees, James Vaznis of the Globe reports. The amounts in question aren’t known, but Vaznis reports the district has been aware of the audit findings since June and says it is taking steps to address them. 

Boston Globe

Mashpee tribal leader calls on Trump to ‘do right’ regarding casino

The leader of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe used the Thanksgiving holiday to make a direct appeal to President Trump to “do right” and clear the path for the tribe to build and open a casino in Taunton, the Cape Cod Times reports. Amid reports that debt from the project is limiting the tribe’s ability to provide regular services to its members, Chairman Cedric Cromwell issued a video message appealing to the administration for quick action and noting the tribe—whose ancestors were at the first-ever Thanksgiving—has been working to lay the groundwork for the casino for 40 years. 

Cape Cod Times

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


Wynn casino opens final phase of environmental cleanup – WBUR

The Seaport just might get a library after all – Boston Globe


Biden brings optimism, reflection to Nantucket stage – Cape Cod Times

Sheffield’s proposed 58 percent water rate spike is under the microscope – Berkshire Eagle

Plan to put temporary moratorium on Attleboro recreational pot shops meets resistance – Sun Chronicle

Three Framingham sites eyed for MassBay campus – MetroWest Daily News

Would more tolls level the playing field for drivers or just be a money grab for the state? – WGBH


Republicans fret over White House sales job ob taxes – Politico

Congress faces calls to reveal settlements for harassment – New York Times

How to Contact MASSterList

Send tips to Matt Murphy: Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: Publisher@MASSterList.com or (857) 370-1156. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.