Happening Today

Pension board, pot advocates respond, DeLeo in Springfield

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins Sen. Mike Rush, Rep. Paul McMurtry and local officials to celebrate economic developments in the Dedham area, Blue Ribbon BBQ, 340 Washington Street, Dedham, 9 a.m.

— The state pension board meets today in the wake of the fund’s reported big gains in 2017 and the recent stock market correction, 84 State Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh attends A Celebration of Peace: A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an event hosted by the Channing School, 35 Sunnyside St., Hyde Park, 9:30 a.m.

Transportation for Massachusetts holds a briefing to discuss the future impact of autonomous vehicles in Massachusetts, with Sen. Eric Lesser, Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Rafael Mares of the Conservation Law Foundation and others expected to speak, House Members’ Lounge, 10:30 a.m.

— Environment Committee co-chairs Rep. Pignatelli and Sen. Gobi, Elizabeth Henry of Environmental League of Massachusetts and others launch the fiscal 2019 ‘green budget,’ Room 350, 10:30 a.m.

— Leaders from the Yes on 4 ballot initiative campaign and officials from the Marijuana Policy Project hold a press conference to respond to recent criticisms by the Baker administration and others of proposed Cannabis Control Commission pot regulations, Beacon Street, in front of the State House, 11 a.m.

— Rep. David Linsky and gun violence survivors advocate for passage of extreme risk order legislation at an event hosted by the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, Grand Staircase, 11 a.m.

— Sen. James Welch hosts child health policy experts to discuss CHIP and children’s mental health, Room 428, 11 a.m.

— Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m.

— House Speaker Robert DeLeo joins Greentown Labs CEO Emily Reichert, Rep. Joseph Wagner and others to discuss Greentown Labs’ new site in Springfield, Universal Plastics, 75 Whiting Farms Rd., Holyoke, 12 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 1:30 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker attends a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate Mimecast’s new North American headquarters in Lexington, Spring Street Office Park, 191 Spring Street, Lexington, 2 p.m.

Lt. Gov. Polito, State Treasurer Deb Goldberg, MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg and officials from Billerica announce the financing of municipal water infrastructure projects, Town Hall, 365 Boston Road, Billerica, 2:30 p.m.

— Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy and Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz participate in an event marking the city’s selection by Money magazine as the best place to live in Massachusetts, Napoli Room, Gosman Sports Center, Brandeis University, 415 South Street, Waltham, 3 p.m.

— Former state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry is a guest on ‘Greater Boston,’ WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m.

Today’s Stories

The Warren speech: ‘Let’s talk about Pocahontas’

As the Herald notes in an editorial this morning, JFK gave his famous Catholic speech, Mitt Romney his Mormon speech and Barack Obama his racial speech, all three delivered by presidential candidates trying to calm concerns about their backgrounds and bedrock beliefs. But will U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Native-American speech yesterday, before the National Congress of American Indians, also succeed in making some pause in their criticisms and concerns about her controversial claims of Native-American ancestry? Our gut instinct: The speech will probably help Warren tamp down growing concerns on the left about her Native-American-ancestry claims. But it’s not going tamp down criticism on the right. Exhibit A: Michael Graham’s column this morning in the Herald. She’s going to get swift-boated on this, big time, if she runs for president in 2020. We’re just saying.

The Globe’s Matt Viser and Liz Goodwin, the Herald’s Kimberly Atkins and the Washington Post have more on Warren’s speech. Here’s the full text of her address, via MassLive. The Herald’s Hillary Chabot, btw, also thinks the controversy is not going away.

Accused hacker launches Senate bid from behind bars

Speaking of Elizabeth Warren, the race for her U.S. Senate seat has a new entrant — and he shouldn’t have trouble distinguishing himself from the other Republicans in the race. Martin Gottesfeld, who is behind bars and facing up to 15 years in federal prison for hacking Boston Children’s Hospital’s computer network as a form of protest over the treatment of Justina Pelletier, already has volunteers collecting signatures to get his name on the ballot, his wife tells the Associated Press at the Lowell Sun.  

Lowell Sun

First poll puts Capuano up 12 over Pressley

Is it our imagination or does this sound much closer than one would have expected at this point? Anyway, U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano enjoys an early 12-point lead over Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley in the Democratic primary for the 7th Congressional district, the first WBUR/MassInc. poll of the race finds. Simon Rios reports that Capuano is particularly strong outside the city of Boston, where he drew support of 66 percent of voters, while Pressley enjoyed an 11-point advantage in the city itself. The poll also found 15 percent of likely Democratic primary voters were undecided. Bottom line: Capuano is vulnerable.


The Orralls wants to keep state rep seat in the family

Norman Orrall says he will run to fill the 12th Bristol District state representative seat now held by his wife, Keiko Orrall, who has launched her own bid for state treasurer, Charles Winokoor reports in the Taunton Gazette. An engineer by trade, and a registered Republican, Orrall said he would leave his job at the Department of Conservation and Recreation to focus on the race and eliminate any potential conflicts. 

Taunton Gazette

WEEI to suspend programming tomorrow for talk-jock sensitivity training

Amid yet another controversy over racially offensive remarks by one of its on-air hosts, WEEI, under pressure from advertisers, is taking the unprecedented step of suspending all live sports-talk programming tomorrow so its employees can undergo sensitivity training, reports Dan Glaun at MassLive. 

Globe columnist Shirley Leung, who has been relentlessly hammering away at WEEI all week, says the move is a step in the right direction. But she adds: “Admittedly, it’s hard for me to picture morning show hosts Kirk Minihane and Gerry Callahan sitting through the daylong session without sneering, but hope springs eternal.” Actually, it’s one of the more exquisite forms of punishment they could be subjected to – having to listen all day, hour after hour, to sensitivity trainers, knowing if they snort too much from the back of the class, they’re out, along with their six-figure paychecks. It’s going to be pure torture for them.

Trump’s local bridge to nowhere …

From Adam Vaccaro at the Globe: “As part of its campaign to boost infrastructure spending, the White House posted a criticism of lengthy government permitting that singled out the long-delayed reconstruction of the Anderson Memorial Bridge near Harvard University. Except the Trump administration posted a picture of the wrong bridge to illustrate its point.”

However, the White House did get the “bloated, tangled patchwork of regulatory oversight” part right.

Boston Globe

Mitt delays Senate announcement after Florida shooting – and after Utah GOP chairman blasts his candidacy

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney postponed an expected announcement today that he’s running for U.S. Senate in Utah, citing the latest mass shooting in the U.S., this time at a Florida high school, according to The Hill and an Associated Press report at the Herald.

But the delay also came after biting criticism of his candidacy from an unlikely source, as Courtney Tanner at the Salt Lake Tribune reports: “The Utah Republican Party chairman blasted Mitt Romney’s anticipated Senate run, hitting him for ‘essentially doing what Hillary Clinton did in New York’ — campaigning in a state he hasn’t spent much time in. ‘I think he’s keeping out candidates that I think would be a better fit for Utah because let’s face it Mitt Romney doesn’t live here, his kids weren’t born here, he doesn’t shop here,’ Rob Anderson told The Salt Lake Tribune in an interview.”

Salt Lake Tribune

Moulton: After latest school shooting, Trump needs to ‘get off his ass’ on gun control

Speaking of the Florida tragedy, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, a Democrat, agreed with President Trump’s sentiments, following yesterday’s mass shooting in Florida, that “no child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.” But Moulton, who has pushed hard for new gun control laws following previous gun attacks, added in a tweet: “I invite (Trump) to get off his ass and join me in trying to do something about it.” Jaclyn Reiss at the Globe has more.

Boston Globe

Forry bids adieu … for now

According to most media reports, former state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry’s farewell speech yesterday at the State House indeed had all the trappings of a major political event, reflecting the genuine respect and goodwill lawmakers hold for Forry. But … is it really a political good-bye? “I won’t promise you today that I won’t be back someday, somehow,” Forry said. “This is not a forever good-bye; this is not a sad farewell.” And it probably isn’t. The Globe’s Victoria McGrane and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (paywall) have more.

Deval Patrick’s brother-in-law indicted on kidnapping, rape and assault charges

The rouge brother-in-law of former Gov. Deval Patrick was officially indicted yesterday on charges of kidnapping, rape, assault and battery, and witness intimidation, according to reports by the Globe’s Alana Levene and the Herald’s Matt Stout. We’ll only add: Besides the victims directly harmed by his alleged actions, can you imagine how painful this is to the Patricks, or any family with such an obviously troubled relative? 

If Logan tries to put ‘lipstick’ on a terminal, is it still a terminal?

From Katheleen Conti at the Globe: “Logan Airport’s Terminal E could soon have a Jetsons-like futuristic look — complete with a lipstick-red roof and skylights in the shape of ‘eyelashes. Multinational engineering firm AECOM, along with Madrid-based luis vidal + architects, were selected by the Massachusetts Port Authority to modernize the 44-year-old international flight terminal with a proposal that may transform the busy building into an iconic new Boston landmark.”  

Boston Globe

Dan Kennedy: Maybe Digital First will eventually sell the Herald after it guts it to the bone?

Media critic Dan Kennedy writes at WGBH that the Boston Herald would have probably been better off being sold to GateHouse Media, rather than Digital First Media, the “brutal cost-cutting” firm that won Tuesday’s bankruptcy auction for the newspaper. But he’s holding out hope that maybe, perhaps, one day, similar to what happened at the Berkshire Eagle, Digital Media might sell the Herald down the road to local people who actually care about local news.


Thank Narcan for drop in opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts?

This is encouraging news: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported yesterday that deaths from opioid overdoses fell last year by 8.3 percent compared to 2017, reports Martha Bebinger at WBUR. That’s 178 fewer deaths than in 2017. The Herald’s Lindsay Kalter reports that some public health officials believe the growing use of the overdose-reversal Narcan is the likely reason for the decline in fatalities, not a decrease in overall opioid use.

Sorry, Charlie, but the T shouldn’t be raising fares

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi isn’t buying Gov. Charlie Baker’s view that the T “should” be looking at more fare increases to plug its expected $111 million deficit. Instead, the governor should be looking at a gas tax increase or other revenue sources to pay for T capital projects, she argues. Meanwhile, some Boston City Council members want to re-evaluate the city’s annual financial contributions to the T as the agency mulls yet another fare hike, reports Dan Atkinson at the Herald.

Another Baker agency strafes Cannabis Commission’s proposed regulations

Have DOC and DCF weighed in yet? Maybe today or tomorrow. Anyway, it was the Department of Public Health’s turn yesterday to criticize the Cannabis Control Commission’s proposed pot regulations, warning new pot cafes and home delivery of marijuana would create “negative consequence to public health and safety,” reports SHNS’s Colin Young at the BBJ. DPH’s strafing run follows recent regulation criticisms fired off by Baker administration budget, public safety and environmental officials – and by the governor himself, of course. Fyi: Marijuana advocates plan to hold a press conference today to respond to many of the Baker administration’s criticisms.


Ashbrook out for ‘abusive work’ behavior, not sexual misbehavior

WBUR’s ‘On Point’ host Tom Ashbrook, already on suspension, got the official heave-ho yesterday, but it turns out the dismissal is not another MeToo# moment. From Martha Bebinger at WBUR: “BU says investigators found that Ashbrook’s conduct ‘created an abusive work environment’ but determined that his conduct, while unwelcome, ‘was not sexual in nature and did not constitute sexual harassment under the school’s Sexual Misconduct/Title IX policy.”

Meanwhile, this was definitely a MeToo# moment. From Priyanka Dayal McCluskey at the Globe: “As a top executive at an organization that fights for workers’ rights, Tyrék D. Lee Sr. allegedly made unwanted advances to women in the office and sometimes engaged in lewd behavior in front of colleagues, according to several people with knowledge of his behavior. Lee was suspended from his job at the state’s largest health care workers union in December amid allegations of inappropriate conduct.”


Is Sen. Donoghue the next to leave the Senate?

Sen. Eileen Donoghue, who some view as a contender to be the next Senate president, is being mighty careful in choosing her words these days about whether she’s aiming to succeed Lowell City Manager Kevin Murphy, who has announced he’s retiring April 1. “I have made no determination,” Donoghue said when asked if she is interested in succeeding Murphy, himself a former state representative. That means she’s thinking about it. Alana Melanson at the Lowell Sun, Joshua Miller at the Globe and Colin Young at SHNS (pay wall) have more.

Post-Northern Pass: Calling Charlie Baker

Peter Rothstein, president of the Northeast Clean Energy Council, says the Baker administration needs to step in aggressively, and quickly, to break the stalemate over what to do next after N.H. regulators rejected the Northern Pass hydropower transmission line through the Granite State. 


Red Sox start warming up for Fenway development projects

From Donna Goodison at the Herald: “The Red Sox’ real estate arm is ramping up plans to redevelop six parcels around Fenway Park that now include parking lots, garages and a sports bar, in addition to 20 acres in front of JetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Fla. FSG Real Estate is evaluating ‘myriad’ uses for the sites, including expanding the Fenway Park and game-day ‘experience,’ according to Jonathan Gilula, the team’s executive vice president of business affairs.”

Boston Herald

Celebrate Waltham!

Waltham, Brandeis and Bentley communities

YDMA Panel: Running for City Council

Young Democrats of Massachusetts

Author Presentation – Gerard Doherty

Wellesley Senior Center

Mass. Marijuana Summit II: New regs, federal threat, financial hurdles

A dynamic and controversial industry is only months from launching in Massachusetts. The regulations are complex and the barriers to entry formidable. How can we make sense of the arrival of recreational marijuana, an industry that may soon exceed $1 billion annually?

State House News Forum

Today’s Headlines


Spare Change News turns 25 – WGBH

Mayor Walsh urges deal to save Boston Herald pensions – Boston Herald


Framingham to weigh Airbnb regulations in wake of rowdy party – MetroWest Daily News

Pittsfield to join opioid lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies – Berkshire Eagle

Northampton council considering new decorum rules for public – Hampshire Gazette


Trump endorses 25-cent gas hike, lawmakers say – Politico

After Sandy Hook, at least 237 more school shootings – New York Times

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