Happening Today

Happy holidays!

No major government-related events are scheduled for today …

Today’s Stories

Is the Baker administration blowing it in Allston?

Allston residents and transit advocates are growing increasingly concerned that the Baker administration’s decision to delay a new transit station near the Allston railyards until 2040 could lead to the area becoming the next Seaport, i.e. a newly built-up urban neighborhood with notorious traffic problems. The Globe’s Jon Chesto has more. Meanwhile, in what we assume is a mere coincidence, the Globe ran an editorial yesterday that blasted the transit-station delay as a “short-sighted retreat.”

Boston Globe

Baker snags new campaign headquarters in … Allston!

Gov. Baker obviously believes Allston is just fine without a station – for the next 10 months anyway. From Matt Stout at the Herald: “Gov. Charlie Baker has quietly begun revving his re-election campaign, plunking down more than $46,000 this month to secure a new headquarters in Allston that already has about 10 staffers and a still-empty office for the candidate. The 9,000-square-foot space on Lincoln Street will not come cheap: At $23,125 a month, it costs more than four times what any of his potential Democratic opponents are paying in office rent, a sign of the financial heft the Republican wields early in the race.”

Boston Herald

The ties that bind? Senate investigative attorneys are frequent donors to Dems

It’s not a lot of money – and none of it has gone to sitting senators. Still, SHNS’s Katie Lannan at WWLP reports that the three attorneys hired by the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the Rosenberg-Hefner controversy have donated a combined $7,500 to local Dems over time. 

Speaking of the Senate controversy that led to Sen. Stan Rosenberg stepping down as the chamber’s leader, Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler says she expects more candidates to throw their hats into the Senate presidency ring, in addition to the four members aleady jockeying for the post, SHNS’s Lannan reports at BBJ.


Has the conservative Green locked up the GOP nomination in the Third?

Looks like Republicans now have a candidate to run against the winner of the Democratic primary free-for-all in the Third Congressional district, unless another GOP contender steps forward, perhaps a moderate to challenge the conservative Rick Green. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan at MetroWest Daily News: “The Republican field for the seat now held by U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, a Lowell Democrat, got a little smaller Tuesday, with one contender dropping out and throwing his support behind another. Calling it ‘the best opportunity’ the GOP has had in years to take the seat, Scott Gunderson of Groton said he is now backing Pepperell’s Rick Green.”

Meanwhile, Fitchburg’s Lou Marino, a Republican who had been eyeing a run in the Third, now says he’s looking at taking on U.S. Rep. Richard Neal in western Massachusetts, a move that would leave the GOP field clear for Green, founder of the conservative Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, in the Third. Katie Lannan at SHNS (pay wall) has more.

MetroWest Daily News

Northeast states sue EPA over air pollution from Midwest

Eight northeastern states – including Massachusetts — said yesterday they’ve sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force it to impose more stringent controls on a group of mostly Midwestern states whose air pollution they claim is being blown in their direction, Reuters is reporting at Yahoo. The suit is the latest development in a protracted legal battle to hold more “upwind” states responsible for pollution in the Northeast.

Yahoo News

Democrats may find it hard running against GOP tax package

When even Bernie Sanders says he’d keep portions of the recently passed Republican tax overhaul, you know Democrats are going to have a hard time making it a campaign issue next year. The reason: The tax bill’s benefits are spread out just far enough to make it popular with a lot of voters. The Washington Post has more. And the AP at the Herald looks at how many businesses, big and small, like the tax package.

Washington Post

The Great LLC Rush

Still on the subject of the GOP tax plan, from SHNS’s Andy Metzger: “Hoping to cash in on the new federal tax law, some Bay State workers have shown a growing interest in forming limited liability companies in time for the tax year that starts Monday, but a top state official is urging them to look before they LLC.” That top official is Secretary of State Bill Galvin, who is recommending that people consult with their individual tax adviser first.

Btw: The Globe’s Tim Logan had a good explainer piece the other day on how the LLC change will “sharply lower taxes for many small-business owners, from the pizza shop on the corner to the small manufacturer in the industrial park.”

SHNS (pay wall)

For whom the bells Chang …

Count the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld as among those who think Boston Schools Superintendent Tommy Change’s days are numbered. Meanwhile, Chang could be facing more than just the wrath of Mayor Walsh over the recent school-time fiasco. He’s also facing possible lawsuits in the coming year if the demands of those in the minority communities aren’t addressed, according to the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, as the Herald’s Bob McGovern and Kathleen McKiernan report.

Before jumping to the conclusion that Chang is now the victim of a Herald-led mob, the Herald, in an editorial, is actually defending Chang this morning, saying he’s brought “stability” and “creative energy” to the job over the past two and a half years.

Brookline Dem running for Smizik’s open seat next year

Brookline Town Meeting member and constable Tommy Vitolo has announced his candidacy to fill the State House seat now held by Rep. Frank Smizik, 73, who is not running for re-election next year, reports Jenna Fisher at Brookline Patch. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) reports that Vitolo, who works as a senior associate at Synapse Energy Economics, was until last week Smizik’s campaign treasurer and that he resigned from the post three days before Smizik announced he won’t seek a tenth term.

Brookline Patch

Highest paid teachers by towns

There are a few surprises, but MassLive’s list of the highest paid teachers by school districts is pretty much what you would expect: Suburban communities dominate. Carlisle ranks at the top, with an average teacher salary of $100,803, the only town hitting the six-figure average mark. MassLive has a searchable database on all towns and cities.


Plane skids off Logan taxiway, passengers evacuated, no one injured

This was a close call and it sounds like passengers and crew alike acquitted themselves well. From CBS Boston (with video): “Airline officials say a JetBlue Airways plane slid off of the taxiway at Boston’s Logan Airport. Officials say JetBlue Flight 50 from Savannah, Georgia, briefly skidded after it landed around 7:15 p.m. Monday. Firefighters helped passengers off of the plane into the snow and they were bused to the terminal. Authorities say no one was injured.”

CBS Boston (video)

City to residents: Do as we say, not as we do, in terms of snow removal

From Dan Atkinson at the Herald: “Boston residents slapped with tickets for not shoveling their sidewalks the night after Christmas are slamming city officials for failing to clear the sidewalk in front of City Hall until yesterday afternoon and for not penalizing the department responsible for the pathway.”

Boston Herald

From Quincy, with plows

Now here’s a welcome snow response. Quincy and Sandisfield certainly aren’t neighbors—they’re separated by more than 130 miles. But the city of presidents has done something quite neighborly, thank you very much, by donating three used plow trucks to the small town that lost its entire public works fleet in a fire earlier this month. Kristin Palpini of the Berkshire Eagle reports that Needham and Sudbury have also reached out to help replenish the Sandisfield fleet. 

Berkshire Eagle

Hate crimes? What hate crimes?

There were surprisingly few hate crimes reported last year in Massachusetts. So take a bow, good citizens of the commonwealth. But … but it turns out that many police departments have chosen not to participate in the hate crimes reporting process. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice isn’t happy. In fact, it sounds almost disappointed that there’s not more hate, or, more accurately, reported hate. The Globe’s Meghan Irons has the details, or lack thereof.

Boston Globe

Judge rips Sudbury for ‘wholly insubstantial and frivolous’ suit to block housing development

The judge sure didn’t mince words. From Jonathan Dame at MetroWest Daily News: “In a scathing decision that accused the town of acting ‘with an absence of good faith,’ a Land Court judge on Monday ordered Sudbury to pay more than $75,000 toward attorneys’ fees of two parties it sued in an attempt to block a 250-unit housing development in town center. Justice Howard Speiche ruled the town’s claims were ‘wholly insubstantial and frivolous,’ saying his earlier decision to dismiss the case wasn’t ‘anything resembling a close call.’”

MetroWest Daily News

Opening for Mitt? Salt Lake City Tribune calls for Hatch to quit

It’s usually an honor, but this year’s Utahn of the Year award by the Salt Lake Tribune went to U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch for all the wrong reasons, as the paper lambasted Hatch’s “utter lack of integrity” and called for the Republican to end his 42-year career. Hatch’s response? He said he was “grateful for this great Christmas honor.” If anything, this might make Hatch dig in his heels in favor of running for re-election, something former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, who reportedly has his eye on Hatch’s seat, isn’t exactly hoping for these days. Camila Domonoske at WBUR has more.


D. Herbert Lipson, RIP

This is big news in the local media world. From Tom McGrath at Boston Magazone: “D. Herbert Lipson, the outspoken and hard-charging owner of Boston and Philadelphia magazines, passed away Christmas morning after a brief illness. He was 88. Lipson’s son, David, chairman of the family’s company, Metrocorp, made the announcement. He said that his father had been admitted to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania last week for surgery.”

Boston Magazine

Mass hospitals fined over patient injury rates

Nine Massachusetts hospitals are among more than 750 nationwide facing financial penalties for high patient injury rates, Shira Schoenberg of MassLive reports. Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary, Metrowest Medical Center and Lawrence General Hospital are among those cited by the department of Health and Human Services under and Affordable Care Act program meant to drive down costs associated with hospital-stay related illnesses and injuries. 


Report hits Pilgrim on fundamentals

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued another critical report on operations at the waiting-to-be-closed Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Christine Legere of the Cape Cod Times reports. The plant’s performance, the latest report finds, is challenged by issues including a lack of detail in daily operation reports.  

Cape Cod Times

SHNS’s top ten political stories of 2017. And No. 1 is …

How busy was it politically in Massachusetts in 2017? So busy that not even the long-awaited indictment of former state Sen. Brian Joyce made the cut for State House News Service’ top 10 political stories of 2017. SHNS’s Matt Murphy has the countdown at Metrowest Daily News. We’ll give you one guess whichstory was No. 1. Answer with the link.

MetroWest Daily News

Stay tuned in 2018 for more Beacon Hill Town Square events!

Today’s Headlines


Floating hotel could be part of plan to re-make old dry dock – Boston Globe

Frosty reception for city shoveling ‘snow job’ – Boston Herald


State eyes ferry for Gloucester and Beverly – Gloucester Times

‘Fundamentals’ continue to challenge Pilgrim performance – Cape Cod Times

With state funds frozen, local shelters have fewer beds to offer this winter – Berkshire Eagle


What happens when Trump targets you on Twitter – Politico

Bitcoin boom a boon for alt-right groups seek to duck Web, business scrutiny – Washington Post

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