Senate sexual-abuse controversy; MBTA Control Board; Croatian president at Tufts
— Senators huddle in various groups throughout the day to discuss allegations against Senate President Stan Rosenberg’s husband that he sexually abused men with ties to the State House; Senate Republicans caucus at 10:30 a.m.; Senate Democrats caucus at 11 a.m.; all senators meet in joint caucus at 12 p.m.; full Senate is expected to meet to possibly vote on formal investigation into the allegations at 1 p.m.
— Capital Debt Affordability Committee is due to meet to discuss its options for what it could recommend as the prudent level of debt that Massachusetts can issue in fiscal year 2019, Room 373, 11 a.m.
— MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board meets with the Quincy Center Station and the integrated fleet and facilities plan among the agenda items, Transportation Board Room, Second floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.
— U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III addresses the Bristol County Chamber of Commerce, Fall River Country Club, 4232 North Main St., Fall River, 12 p.m.
— The Economic Empowerment Trust Fund Board meets with Treasurer Deb Goldberg chairing, One Ashburton Place – 12th Floor, Robert Q. Crane Conference Room, Boston, 1 p.m.
— Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders co-chairs the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts, 1 Ashburton Place – 21st floor, Boston, 2 p.m.
— The president of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, will give a talk titled ‘Multidimensional Approach in Croatia’s Foreign Policy’ at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, 160 Packard Ave., Medford, 5 p.m.
— Auditor Suzanne Bump attends the Massachusetts Women’s Forum Board Annual Meeting and Holiday event, Deloitte, 200 Berkeley St., Boston, 6 p.m.
— Former Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall is a guest on ‘Greater Boston,’ WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m.
— Treasurer Deb Goldberg will appear on the WBZ Radio ‘NightSide,’ WBZ studios, 1170 Soldiers Field, Boston, 9 p.m.
Mega-merger: CVS to acquire Aetna for $69B
Let’s get this story out of the way first, for it’s a deal that instantly reshapes the health-care industry and will be closely watched by local hospitals, life-science firms, insurers, pharmacies, consumers, lawmakers and regulators. From the Wall Street Journal: “CVS Health Corp. agreed to buy Aetna Inc. for about $69 billion in cash and stock in a move to transform the pharmacy company and capture more of what consumers spend on health care. Aetna stockholders are to receive $207 per share—$145 in cash and 0.8378 of a CVS share, or $62, in stock, the companies announced Sunday.” The big immediate question: Will the merger pass antitrust scrutiny?
Globe calls on Rosenberg to step down during investigation
Now for the big local political news: Stan Rosenberg’s job. The media heavyweight of the state’s liberal establishment, the Boston Globe, in an editorial, is calling on Senate President Stan Rosenberg to temporarily step aside from his presidency, saying it would be too hard for victims of alleged sexual-abuse by his husband, Bryon Hefner, to speak to Senate investigators as long as Rosenberg is in office.
Meanwhile, besides state Sen. Barbara A. L’Italien, who called for Rosenberg’s resignation on Friday and again on Sunday on WCVB-TV, other senators are uncomfortable with Rosenberg staying in office during any Senate investigation, though some say he can and should stick it out as president, reports the Globe’s Jeremey Fox. Senators meet today in caucuses to discuss an expected Senate investigation into the allegations and to discuss, we assume, Rosenberg’s future.
Reports: Senators Fory, Donoghue and DiDomenico already lining up votes to succeed Rosenberg
Even though Senate President Stan Rosenberg said on Friday he would not step down as president, more than a few senators are acting as if it’s only a matter of time before the coveted spot opens up. On Sunday, WCVB’s Janet Wu (3:40 mark of video) flatly said “several senators” are “already collecting votes to succeed Rosenberg.” Appearing on the same On the Record show, Democratic political analyst Mary Anne Marsh said she knew of three women gauging support for the presidency “as we speak” and then mentioned Sens. Linda Dorcena Forry, Eileen Donoghue and Karen Spilka. She also mentioned a fourth candidate, Sen. Sal Sal N. DiDomenico.
Sure enough, the Herald’s Hillary Chabot and Joe Battenfeld report this morning that Forry, Donoghue and DiDomenico indeed “scrambled over the weekend to line up votes they would need to take the presidency.” But the Herald reports that “Rosenberg loyalists” Spilka and Senate Majority Leader Harriette L. Chandler have “pushed to keep the Amherst Democrat in power.” Then again, GOP political analyst Ginny Buckingham, appearing with Wu and Marsh on WCVB, mentioned that Chandler might be a potential candidate for the post, along with Sen. Barbara A. L’Italien. The latter seems a little far-fetched, since L’Italien has already declared she’s a candidate in the Third Congressional District race, but you never know.
MassLive: Hefner also sent genitalia photo to State House insider
This is the type of drip-drip-drip revelation some senators dread on an ongoing basis if Stan Rosenberg stays in office during an investigation. From Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive: “Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg’s husband Bryon Hefner earlier this year sent a text message with a picture of male genitalia to someone who works in Massachusetts state politics. The unsolicited picture from Hefner was of a random person’s penis and the message was apparently meant for someone else in politics, according to the person who received it. … The recipient, who MassLive is not naming, is not one of the four men who came forward to the Boston Globe and alleged Hefner sexually harassed or assaulted them.”
Hey, what about the victims? They’re hesitant to step forward if Stan’s around
The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham, who first broke the news that four men were alleging sexual-abuse by Senate President Stan Rosenberg’s husband, had another big piece on Saturday, circling back to the still-anonymous victims and getting their feedback after Rosenberg’s emotional press conference on Friday, at which he said that he’s staying as president and that his husband will be entering an alcohol treatment center. Here are two quick takeaways from Yvonne’s piece:
— The accusers, three of whom allegedly have ties to the State House, are hesitant to testify before any Senate investigation because of the political dynamics involved and they’re prefer a more independent investigation.
— Most of them weren’t impressed with Rosenberg’s press-conference performance on Friday and were ticked off that Rosenberg seemed to be using alcohol abuse as an excuse and cover for his husband. “A lot of people have alcohol problems, and they don’t assault people,” said one of the alleged victims.
Gov. Baker and lawmakers call for independent investigation and reporting agency
So what type of investigation should proceed in the Rosenberg/Hefner affair? An independent Senate investigation, if that’s possible? A criminal investigation, perhaps by Attorney General Maura Healey, if that’s even appropriate? Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday said the Senate must hire an investigator with high stature and full independence, reports the Herald’s Donna Goodison. Meanwhile, Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that lawmakers not only want an independent investigation, of some sort, but also a new independent entity and protocols for reporting charges of sexual abuse and harassment.
Mass. Medical Society drops opposition to physician-assisted suicide
This is big news in the medical community – and on Beacon Hill, where pending physician-assisted-suicide legislation was emotionally debated just two months ago. From Laura Crimaldi at the Globe: “The Massachusetts Medical Society voted Saturday to end its longstanding opposition to physician-assisted suicide and adopted a neutral stance on what it now calls ‘medical aid-in-dying.’ The society’s governing body approved the changes in separate votes. Delegates voted 151 to 62 to retract the policy opposing physician-assisted suicide. The provision establishing a neutral position on medical aid-in-dying passed by a margin of 152 to 56 votes.” Anne-Gerard Flyn at MassLive has more.
Not so fast, Mitt
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s plans for a return to political life via a vacant Utah Senate seat could be complicated by President Donald Trump, who appears to remember Mitt’s biting criticisms of him during last year’s presidential campaign and who is now urging Sen. Orrin Hatch—who, at 83, is the longest-serving Republican senator in history—to seek one more term, Alex Isenstadt of Politico reports. Trump is slated to appear at a rally in Utah on Monday and Hatch is due to ride to and fro aboard Air Force One.
Lowell’s Cory Lewandowski strikes again – this time at Trump et gang
Speaking of last year’s presidential election: Cory Lewandowski lost out in a power struggle within Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016 – and now the former campaign manager is going after his nemesis, campaign chair Paul Manafort, via a new tell-all book, “Let Trump Be Trump,” reports the Washington Post, which obtained an advance copy of the tome. Though Lewandowski claims he still believes in Trump, his co-authored book doesn’t exactly portray Trump as a cool, calm and collected leader. But we already knew that.
Cape Wind declared dead years after it died
The controversial Cape Wind project actually died in early 2015 after Eversource and National Grid pulled out of an agreement to buy its electricity. But it took till now for the developers to effectively ask for the death certificate, making the death official. The Cape Cod Times has the details on the fed termination of the Nantucket Sound lease for Cape Wind.
State: No West Station in Allston until 2040
The state has opted to first realign the Turnpike and rebuild an elevated stretch of the Pike near Boston University before proceeding with construction of new “West Station” in Allston, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth. The target date for the station: 2040, i.e. 23 years from now. Jim Aloisi, a member of the board of TransitMatters and a former state secretary of transportation, says it’s “completely wrongheaded” to proceed with a transit-orientated development project without the transit portion that attracts development.
Pundits: Going cashless is the way to go for the T
The Globe’s Dante Ramos and CommonWealth’s James Aloisi both agree: To improve T service, it’s essential the MBTA make the switch to an integrated cashless fare system, despite concerns low-income and senior citizens may encounter problems with the switch. Writes Ramos: “(T)here’s a price to everyone — including poor and elderly people — if the MBTA treats riders like helpless sheep who can’t adapt. … If anything, the T should have been giving customers a firmer push away from cash payments long before now.”
Globe’s circulation takes a summer plunge amid print-delivery woes
This is the last thing a newspaper needs at this point. From the BBJ’s Don Seiffert: “The Boston Globe paid a hefty price this summer in terms of subscribers for its disastrous and well-documented transition from printing its newspaper in Boston to its new facility in Taunton. The Globe’s Sunday print circulation numbers were down 9.4 percent year-over-year — a total of 22,621 readers — for the three-month period from July to September this year, according to figures the newspaper recently filed with the Alliance for Audited Media. Its weekday circulation during that period was even worse, falling 9.8 percent year-over-year.”
Don’t forget: Special Election Tuesday will fill Flanagan Senate seat
Can a special senate election really fly under the radar in Massachusetts? If it was ever possible, this may be the week with the Senate in such turmoil, but Paula Owen of the Telegram reminds us that four candidates are seeking the Worcester and Middlesex District seat vacated by now Cannabis Control Commission member Jennifer Flanagan. Tomorrow’s election slate includes Democrat Susan Chalifoux Zephyr and Republican Dean Tran, as well as Independent and Green-Rainbow Party candidates.
Three selectmen face recall vote in Stoughton on Tuesday
Stoughton voters on Tuesday will decide whether to give the boot to three of five selectmen entangled in a dispute over the board’s handling of its town manager’s contract and departure, reports Joe Pelletier at the Patriot Ledger. It’s a convoluted recall process, requiring six separate votes on each ballot. Pelletier explains.
What if you hold a special election and not enough people voted? Billerica just found out
In case you missed it, Billerica voters went to the polls Saturday to weigh in on a referendum seeking to overturn a town meeting vote to fund a recreational fields maintenance program—but it turns out the entire $25,000 exercise was for naught, Rick Sobey of the Lowell Sun reports. Called at the behest of Selectman George Simolaris, a majority of voters rejected the overturn measure. But the election actually didn’t draw enough voters to have its results ratified, so the referendum didn’t matter in the end. The town meeting vote stands.
Warren attacked from the left over Native-American heritage controversy
This can’t be good for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who already has her hands full fending off “Pocahontas” attacks from the White House and continued attacks from Republicans over her past claims of Native-American ancestry, to wit: an attack from the left via Rebecca Nagle at the progressive Think Progress. Nagle doesn’t view Warren as a hero for recently calling “Pocahontas” taunts a “racist slur.
Drug addiction center or a mere prison?
If they’re dressed like prisoners, treated like prisoners and housed like prisoners in a locked prison complex run by the Massachusetts state prison system, it’s pretty safe to say they’re prisoners, first, not addicts at an overnight rehab center. The Globe’s Maria Cramer and Felice Freyer report on the state’s new drug treatment center in Plymouth. Needless to say, this isn’t the most medically effective way to deal with opioid addicts, one would assume.
Former Essex DA to head State Police’s probe of Troopergate
At least he’s not from the Worcester DA’s office. From the Associated Press at WBUR: “A former district attorney will lead an investigation into revisions made to a Massachusetts State Police report about the arrest of a judge’s daughter. Police Superintendent Kerry Gilpin said Friday that former Essex County District Attorney Kevin Burke will lead the probe and report his findings back to state police.”
Beloved UMass custodian takes budget crunch on the chin
Laura Krantz of the Globe puts a human face on the fiscal belt-tightening at UMass Boston — and the face is a sad one: A campus janitor, Bobby Carroll, who just last year was singled out for his 30 years of work at the school, will be let go in January, two years before he becomes fully vested in his retirement benefits. You have to wonder how many recently hired white-collar administrators didn’t get the ax.
Dempsey adjusts to life after the State House
Peter Francis of the Eagle-Tribune catches up with former state Rep. Brian Dempsey to talk about his new role as a lobbyist, his work alongside former Gov. William Weld and how his home city of Haverhill will have to adjust to no longer having a local connection to the chairman of the Ways and Means committee.
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