Happening Today

Station closing, SJC hearings, MBTA Control Board

Wollaston Station on the Red Line closes today for an expected 20-months reconstruction project.

— The Supreme Judicial Court will hear eight cases, JFK Federal Building, 9th floor, 15 New Sudbury Street, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren visits the Dimock Center in Roxbury for a tour and roundtable discussion on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF), 55 Dimock Street, Roxbury, 10:30 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army Gerald O’Keefe and National Park Service Superintendent James Woolsey gather for the transfer of the Springfield Armory museum collection from the U.S. Army to the National Park Service, Springfield Armory NHS Museum, One Armory Square, Suite 2, Springfield, 11 a.m.

— The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board meets to discuss workforce modernization, Red and Orange line procurement and infrastructure, and updates from the general manager, State Transportation Building, 2nd Floor, Transportation Board Room, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.

Boston Federal Reserve president Eric Rosengren will participate in a monetary policy discussion hosted at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C., 1 p.m.

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Chief of Arts and Culture Julie Burros will announce the seven artists chosen for the next round of the city’s artist-in-residence program, Boston City Hall, 3rd Floor Mezzanine, 1 City Hall Square, Boston, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker meets with Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler and House Speaker Robert DeLeo for a leadership meeting – the first since Sen. Stan Rosenberg stepped aside from the presidency – with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and House Minority Leader Brad Jones also participating, Speaker’s Office, 2 p.m.

— Members of the Quincy City Council are sworn in for their new terms, with state Auditor Suzanne Bump expected to attend, James McIntyre Government Center, 1305 Hancock St., Quincy, 7:30 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Still digging and pumping their way out of last week’s storm …

It’s still a mess out there following last week’s “bomb cyclone.” Here’s some news from hard-hit Marshfield (Wicked Local), disgusting sewage-inundated Nantucket harbor (WBUR), a Brockton snow plow drama (Enterprise) and the new homeless shelter at South Station (Dig Boston), to highlight just a handful of dramas now playing out across the state. Meanwhile, Craig LeMoult at WGBH reports on flooding in Marblehead, Situate and Boston’s Seaport – and how last week’s widespread flooding is raising concerns about coastal resiliency in the age of climate change.

Meanwhile, GM Rameriz lashes out at cold-snap T critics

What’s sauce for the goose isn’t sauce for the gander? A day after the MBTA scolded Keolis for commuter rail delays and cancellations (Boston Globe), the T’s general manager scolded people for having the nerve to criticize MBTA delays and cancellations. From Hillary Chabot at the Herald: “MBTA ‘turnaround CEO’ Luis Manuel Ramirez indicated this weekend’s massive delays were unavoidable thanks to ‘Siberian temperatures,’ in a now-deleted tweet that came as T officials were again forecasting late trains for beleaguered commuters heading back to work. Ramirez, faced with an avalanche of criticism about the cold-snap delays, lashed back on Saturday in tweets he later deleted.”

He has a point about the cold snap and criticism, of course. But, perhaps because he’s a newcomer, he doesn’t quite grasp yet that the T has a huge credibility problem tied to years of pathetic excuse-making for a dysfunctional system that doesn’t seem to work well in any season – and Ramirez’s tweet, while containing an obvious truth, falls within in that inglorious excuse-making pattern.

Btw: The MBTA is reporting that there there will indeed be more delays today, reports the Globe’s Abigail Feldman. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin has more on the post-storm/freeze delays.

Robert Crane, RIP

From Globe’s Bryan Marquard on the sad death of the late Treasurer Bob Crane: “Robert Q. Crane, who built a legendary career in Massachusetts politics with one foot unapologetically planted in the state’s colorfully roguish past and the other leading the way to a more modern government, died of pneumonia early Friday, his family said. He was 91 and had been both the longest-serving state treasurer and the first chairman of the state lottery, considered the most successful in the nation.”

The Herald’s Howie Carr and Joe Fitzgerald remember Crane, fondly and unapologetically. From Fitz: “You can now close that door on political lore in Massachusetts because Bob Crane died yesterday at 91 and we’re not going to see, or hear, or laugh with anyone like him again.”

Boston Globe

Mystery firings: Bump terminates three data analytic workers

The old dump-bad-news-on-a-Friday-in-the-middle-of-an-Artic-freeze trick. From the Herald’s Matt Stout: “State Auditor Suzanne Bump said she fired an employee and two contractors after they didn’t disclose a potential conflict of interest to her, throwing the integrity of their work into question. Bump’s stunning disclosure, made (Friday) afternoon in a brief statement, came without many details, including the identities of the three people she fired, the nature of the conflict or what audits they worked on. But the discovery appeared to sow deep concerns in her office: Bump hired an outside accounting firm to review their work and she referred the matter to the State Ethics Commission for further review.”

Boston Herald

Top ten gubernatorial races in 2018

Massachusetts didn’t make the cut in terms of the Washington Post’s top ten gubernatorial races to watch this year in the U.S. No surprise, considering Gov. Charlie Baker’s commanding lead in polls here. But Connecticut and Maine made the cut. The potentially most interesting, low-down, mud-slinging race in the nation: The Battle of the Billionaires in Illinois.

Washington Post

Lookie here: Regional officials discussing how to pursue ‘pot tourism’

The state’s 16 regional tourism councils are starting to discuss how the new marijuana industry could become a major tourism draw for Massachusetts, reports Christian Wade at the Salem News. Sooner or later, the state’s tourism office is going to have to get involved, one way (pro-pot tourism) or the other (anti-pot tourism).

Salem News

Republicans tout their ability to work with Elizabeth ‘Supervillain’ Warren

There are two ways to view this story by the Globe’s Victoria McGrane: 1.) Elizabeth Warren is, surprisingly, getting compliments from Republicans for working in a bi-partisan way on Capitol Hill, undercutting the notion that’s she’s a ‘supervillain’ ideologue or 2.) Republicans are feeling the heat for not working in a bi-partisan way on Capitol Hill, so they’re straining to prove they can even work with a ‘supervillain’ ideologue like Elizabeth Warren. We suspect the truth tilts heavily toward the latter.

Boston Globe

Lindstrom taunts Warren over GOP tax-overhaul bill

More proof that many local Republicans think the GOP tax-cut plan will ultimately be popular with voters. From Donna Goodison at the Herald: “GOP U.S. Senate candidate Beth Lindstrom is calling out incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Warren for opposing the GOP tax reform bill, demanding to know if she will vote to reverse the plan if Democrats regain control of Congress this year. ‘You fought tooth and nail to stop these reforms from happening,’ Lindstrom said in a video released today. ‘And you didn’t mince any words about how bad it would all be. Senator, you were wrong.’”

Boston Herald

Meanwhile, local firms bemoan medical-device tax in Republican plan

Is Republican Senate candidate Beth Lindstrom going to defend this provision within the GOP tax overhaul plan? We doubt it. Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times reports on how a tax on medical devices, which was once harshly criticized by Republicans, has been reauthorized under the Republican-approved tax overhaul law – and many medical-device employers in Massachusetts aren’t happy.

Gloucester Times

Anonymous websites running nude photos of local women

This is disturbing. Kayla Canne at the Sun Chronicle has uncovered an anonymous thread specific to North Attleboro that had nearly 200 posts and 100 photos and videos of mostly young local women in sexual positions. “The images were seemingly shared with or taken by former boyfriends or lovers. Posters on the site, kept anonymous and identified only by six-digit member numbers, spoke of the women’s alleged sexual preferences. Others asked for more identifying information: The women’s last names, social media accounts, the year they graduated. They made deals to trade photographs, bargaining pictures of women in different positions in exchange for others. They spoke of what they would do if they could get them in bed.”

It gets worse: There are hundreds of other similar threads, organized state by state, town by town, and they include photos from Wrentham, Mansfield, Seekonk, Dighton-Rehoboth, Attleboro, Norton and Mansfield, Canne reports. Police in at least two towns had no idea the sites existed.

Sun Chronicle

About those ‘fear-mongering, self-serving’ calls for new pipelines …

You knew this would happen the moment Stephen Dodge, head of the New England Petroleum Council, penned an opinion piece at CommonWealth magazine in favor of building new natural gas pipelines in Massachusetts: A counter opinion piece against new natural gas pipelines. And here it is, via the Conservation Law Foundation’s Greg Cunningham, who writes that the oil and gas industry every year takes advantage of high winter energy prices to engage in “fear-mongering, self-serving calls” for more pipelines.

But it’s not over: Carl Gustin, a senior advisor with SalientPoint LLC and former utility executive, is calling for more pipelines too at CommonWealth, prompting, we assume, another point-counter-point blast.

So now taking photos of state office buildings is illegal?

They’re requiring visitors to show IDs and go through metal detectors before entering some state buildings. Now a reporter walking down a sidewalk can’t stop to take a photo of an architecturally prominent state office building in downtown Springfield? Apparently so. Patrick Johnson at MassLive has the details on the latest government move to turn public buildings into virtual fortresses.


Remember Sweeper Bob? Meet Painter Joe

Joe Ramsey of Dig Boston introduces readers to another real live person behind the shrinking administration at UMass Boston. A month after the Globe struck a nerve with its own piece on the downsized Sweeper Bob, we meet John Flaherty, the last remaining member of what was once a five-person campus painting crew. The 53-year-old recently learned that his job, too, will be eliminated, and casts doubt on whether the plan to contract painting work going forward will actually reap any savings. 

Dig Boston

‘The voter-fraud vampire hunters’

Matt Dunlap, a Maine Democratic member of the now defunct Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, explains why the commission’s demise was inevitable. Hint: Vampires, werewolves, Bigfoot, the Thing etc. don’t exist. But what about White Walkers? Don’t forget White Walkers.

Washington Post

Braving the freeze: Dem gubernatorial candidates make their pitches in Greenfield

Give ‘em credit for showing up on Saturday, considering the deep freeze over the weekend. Mary Serreze at MassLive has details on the admirable appearances of Setti Warren, Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie at a forum in Greenville.


Is Howie Carr hedging his Herald bets by selling premium-blend coffee?

Media critic/observer John Carroll notices that the Herald’s Howie Carr is now pitching “Honest Howie’s Coffee” at his Howie Store website. “And the cost for this Signature Blend?” asks Carroll. “A knee-buckling $10.99. Then again, gotta pay those fees at Mar-a-Lago, right? Or maybe Howie Carr(toon) is just preparing for the One-Daily Town era to arrive.”

John Carroll

Take that, Auditor Bump: Globe report says ‘glaring problems’ at DCF addressed but …

The Globe’s Michael Levenson reports that, Auditor Suzanne Bump’s recent critical audit aside, many “glaring problems” at the Department of Children and Families have indeed been addressed by the Baker administration. “But a Globe analysis, focused on some key data points, indicates that while the agency is functioning better internally, the increased stability and resources haven’t yet led to significantly better outcomes for children.”

Boston Globe

Obama coming to Boston to talk about … sports?

Maybe he’ll provide some early March Madness tips. From Nik DeCosta-Klipa at Boston.com: “Former President Barack Obama is coming to Boston next month to talk about… sports? Apparently so. Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey announced Friday night that Obama is scheduled to speak Friday, February 23, at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.”


Walsh not sold on body cameras just yet

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is ‘not convinced yet’ that the city should expand a police body camera pilot program, Tori Bedford of WGBH reports. Walsh says a preliminary report on the 100-officer test program will be out soon and that funding more than 2,000 additional cameras for the entire force will be part of budget talks. 


Worcester election echoes in former councilor’s libel lawsuit

Former Worcester City Councilor Mike Gaffney has filed suit against Turtleboy Sports for fraud and libel for coverage during and after last fall’s election, Brian Lee of the Telegram reports. Gaffney and his wife dropped out of races just weeks before ballots were cast. The suit claims the blog threatened Gaffney with publishing an unfavorable story and also falsely inflated its own readership numbers. 


So where is Mitt’s home away from home? Or is it his away home from home?

The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham looks back at Mitt Romney’s tearful defense in 2002 that he really and truly was a resident of Massachusetts, not of Utah, and how he’s now poised to claim he’s really and truly a resident of Utah, not of Massachusetts. Speaking of Mitt, the Globe, in an editorial, strains mightily to make its Wizard of Oz analogy work regarding a Mitt run in Utah. They should have just stuck with Pinocchio.

Former Brockton mayor misses another inauguration

Maybe it’s personal. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Whatever the reason, former Brockton Mayor Linda Balzotti missed the third straight inauguration of Mayor Bill Carpenter, who ousted her from office in 20013, Tom Relihan of the Enterprise reports. Carpenter’s victory over Balzotti stands as one of the narrowest in the city’s history, with just 55 votes separating the candidates. 


Snapped: Local comedian doesn’t find the cold funny, not at all

Finally, Josh Gondelman, a Stoneham native and former area stand-up comedian, laments at the NYT that he can no longer, as a proud New Englander, heap contempt on others who complain about the cold: “I am finally ready to admit that I hate the winter. This is a big deal for me. It took the recent ‘bomb cyclone’ to put me over the top.”


BBJ Book of Lists 101 Seminar

Boston Business Journal

Rennie Center Case Study of Teacher Culture Change: Bay State Reading Institute’s Partnership with Everett Public Schools

Bay State Reading Institute

Today’s Headlines


31-unit development eyed for Mission Hill – Boston Herald

Barack Obama will speak at MIT sports conference – Boston Herald


Charter jockeying in Amherst in full swing – Hampshire Gazette

WSU seeks replacement for campus student center – Telegram & Gazette

Area food panties gird for benefits cuts after tax bill – Berkshire Eagle

Salem State lauded for Latino success – Lynn Item


Trump administration sends mixed signals on infrastructure plan – Washington Post

Before any new business, Congress has plenty of old business to resolve – NPR

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