Happening Today

State offices, courts, schools and many businesses closed today due to storm

— Gov. Charlie Baker has ordered non-emergency executive-branch government closed today and has asked all residents to stay off roads due to today’s snow blizzard.

— All Massachusetts courts are also closed and most school districts have cancelled classes for the day.

— The MBTA will be operating on an ‘extremely reduced’ schedule. 

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Today’s Stories

‘Stay safe. Spring arrives next week’

As the Massachusetts court system has told its employees in regards to today’s storm: “Please stay safe. Spring arrives next week.”

One way to stay safe is to stay home, Gov. Charlie Baker is urging all Massachusetts residents, as the region braces for potential snow fall that may end up being measured by the feet, not inches, in some places, as reported at MassLive. The Globe’s John Ellement has an excellent, succinct timeline of what to expect from the storm today. Meanwhile, NECN is all over the weather forecast. Take your pick of live radar watches, live storm updates, etc. Universal Hub’s French Toast Alert System, fyi, is at “severe.” 

Town election-related deadlines are postponed

One other storm note, from the Associated Press at South Coast Today: “Town election deadlines will be postponed as Massachusetts faces its third nor’easter in two weeks. State secretary William Galvin announced Monday he obtained an injunction in Suffolk Superior Court postponing all municipal election deadlines for Tuesday, March 13. These include deadlines for registering to vote, submitting nomination papers and obtaining nomination papers. Voter registrations that were scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday night are rescheduled for 8 p.m. on Wednesday.”

Dartmouth’s John George admits he stashed $2.5M in safety deposit boxes

Former state representative and Dartmouth selectman John George continues to make a strong case for a place in the elected-officials-behaving-badly Hall of Fame: George pled guilty to an obstruction of justice charge connected to his efforts to hide more than $2.5 million in cash jammed into safe deposit boxes at South Coast banks, Curt Brown reports in the Standard-Times. George is already serving a six-year federal prison sentence on embezzlement charges and will be sentenced next month on the obstruction charge. 

South Coast Today

Despite term limits, Lawrence’s Rivera keeps raising campaign cash

What is Daniel Rivera up to? The Lawrence mayor is unable to run for his City Hall office again in 2021 due to term limits, but Rivera continues to stockpile campaign cash, including hosting a $1,000-a-table dinner this week, Keith Eddings reports in the Eagle-Tribune. Rivera says he’s fundraising in part to replenish his account—he spent more than $300,000 on his re-election bid—and in part to guard against a potential recall election. A recall election? Only in Lawrence would someone plan for that.

Eagle Tribune

Walsh commits to funding police body cameras

Is the long police-body-camera saga drawing to a close in Boston? From the Globe’s Milton Valencia: “Mayor Martin J. Walsh committed for the first time Monday to funding police body cameras in Boston. Walsh did not say how much funding the city would dedicate to the cameras, or provide details of what a body camera policy might look like, saying the city is still waiting for the final results of a one-year pilot program commissioned to determine whether police body cameras would work in Boston, and whether they would be worth the cost. Walsh did say that the funding would be ‘significant.’”

A report by the Herald’s Antonio Planas doesn’t make the decision sound so definitive, but he does report that police body cameras would cost $7 million in the first year and up to $25 million after five years. 

Both stories note that opposition to body cameras among rank-and-file officers appears to be waning. In other words, the political dynamics have changed. 

MBTA eyes fare hike next year, but parking fee increases could come sooner

CommonWealth Magazine’s Bruce Mohl and the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro report that the T’s oversight board is now eyeing a probable fare hike in 2019 – after this fall’s elections, it should be noted – rather than increase them later this year. But the board is still looking at ways to reduce spending and raise revenues to plug an immediate deficit – and that could mean parking-lot fee increases. The board is also looking how to raise new and additional revenues over the long-term.

Everyone has an opinion about the T …

Callie Crossley at WGBH and Renée Loth at the Globe both have some advice for the MBTA and both share this view, among other opinions: The T had better get its act together or ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are going to eat its lunch.

Btw: A union representing T workers, the Office & Professional Employees International Union Local 453, also has an opinion: It thinks Democrat Jay Gonzalez should be the next governor ultimately overseeing the transit agency. SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) has more on the union endorsement.

Chandler vows to help cash-strapped regional transit agencies

Speaking of public transit, from SHNS’s Colin A. Young at CommonWealth magazine: “As supporters of the public bus system in her hometown (of Worcester) worry about a ‘death spiral’ in services, Senate President Harriette Chandler said Monday the Senate’s budget will attempt to address the funding crunch for regional transit authorities. Chandler, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday heard a presentation on funding for regional transit authorities (RTAs) from Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack a day after the Amalgamated Transit Union spread word of a March 20 rally ‘against the level-funding of the 15 Regional Transit Authorities in Massachusetts’in Worcester.”

CommonWealth

Chandler: Other taxes and fees will be needed – in addition to the millionaire’s tax

We’re pretty sure opponents of the proposed millionaire’s tax are taking careful notes on this one. From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “In addition to plugging a $2 billion tax on the wealthy, Senate President Harriette Chandler on Monday told business leaders in Worcester that other taxes and fees may be needed to make the kind of investments in transportation and infrastructure that will boost the economy and open new opportunities.” She specifically mentioned possible new revenues from AirBnb, ride-sharing services, sports betting and online sales.

SHNS (pay wall)

Moulton’s Pennsylvania gamble

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who some believe is eyeing a White House bid one day, has lately gone out of his way to promote and support military veterans for elected offices across the country – and one of them, Democrat Conor Lamb, faces a big test today in a much-watched Congressional contest in Pennsylvania. As the Globe’s Astead Herndon reports: “A lackluster performance (by Lamb) could reveal the limits of Moulton’s ability to sway voters in conservative districts and tap into anti-Trump energy. (But) Moulton ‘could be very well-positioned if this works out,’ said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic political consultant. ‘It’s a good gamble.’”

Boston Globe

The grating cat-and-mouse drama between Warren and the media

CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas is tired of the “cat-and-mouse drama being played between the press and would-be candidates,” i.e. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who spent most of this past weekend dodging and weaving media questions about her presidential aspirations and whether she’d serve a full Senate term if re-elected this fall. He makes good points. Then again, what’s the press supposed to do? Ignore the fact she’s clearly devoting huge amounts of time and effort laying the groundwork for, well, something? It’s a cat-and-mouse game that will never end.

The Herald, meanwhile, is most definitely playing the cat in an editorial this morning that rips into Warren’s Sunday performance on multiple TV talk shows.

Anti-violence rally will take aim at Smith & Wesson plant

As thousands of Bay State students prepare to join Wednesday’s nationwide school walk out, a group of activists in Springfield say they’ll take their case to the gates of the Smith & Wesson facility in the city, Patrick Johnson reports at MassLive. Organizers say they’re targeting the company because of its role in manufacturing the AR-15, the assault-style weapon used in the Florida school shooting last month. 

MassLive

Massport to developers: Gussy it up, please

This might be a little late for critics who have long bemoaned the “boxy architecture” and lack of civic spaces in the booming Seaport. But at least MassPort is now requiring developers to include improvements to the “public realm” when pitching projects on its properties, reports the Globe’s Jon Chesto.

Boston Globe

They’re testing smart cars. Why not test ‘smart tolls’?

Michael Widmer, the former president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, writes at CommonWealth magazine that the state needs to A.) Reduce congestion on roadways and B.) Raise revenues for roadways. So maybe it’s time for “smarter tolling,” he concludes. “Given the seriousness of the congestion issue, why not undertake a modest pilot program on the Tobin Bridge or the Mass Turnpike to reduce tolls during off-peak hours and charge slightly higher tolls during the prime commuting hours?  Even encouraging a small fraction of drivers to alter their commuting times can have a significant impact on congestion.”

CommonWealth

Rematch: Ventura to take on Feeney again

If at first you don’t succeed … From Jim Hand at the Sun Chronicle: “Jacob Ventura, an Attleboro Republican, has announced he is running for state Senate, seeking a rematch with Sen. Paul Feeney. Feeney, D-Foxboro, edged out Ventura last year in a special election to replace former Sen. Jim Timilty, who resigned to become county treasurer. Feeney got 6,982 votes, or 47 percent of the total, to Ventura’s 6,405, or 43 percent, in a three-way race.”

Sun Chronicle

NECCO’s not so sweet future

Now we know why NECCO was so willing to sell off its Revere property to Atlantic Management last year. From David Harris at the BBJ: “Things are apparently not so sweet at Revere-based New England Confectionery Co. The maker of classic candies such as Sweethearts, the Clark Bar and NECCO Wafers is in the process of looking for a potential buyer — and may lay off 395 workers if a deal falls through.”

BBJ

Corporate history in the making: No bonuses for most GE executives

Still on the subject of struggling local companies, from Greg Ryan at the BBJ: “The year 2017 was a tough one for General Electric Co. and its top executives’ bonuses reflected that — though there was still plenty of compensation doled out. The Boston-based company (NYSE: GE) awarded only one of its senior executives a cash bonus in 2017, according to a proxy filing Monday. Neither current CEO John Flannery nor former CEO Jeff Immelt received such a bonus, nor did GE’s current and former chief financial officers, vice chairs, general counsel and human resources directors, GE said.”

BBJ

Markey wants to use grants to encourage other states to adopt Massachusetts gun laws

If you can’t convince them on the merits, might as well throw money at the problem. From Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine: “U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, joined by Marty Walsh and local law enforcement leaders, unveiled a bill on Monday that would encourage states to follow Massachusetts’ lead on gun control and adopt policies like comprehensive universal background checks. The legislation, from the acronym-fond Markey, has been dubbed the Making America Safe and Secure, or MASS, Act. It would set aside grants from the Justice Department of $20 million per year that could be used to incentivize states to adopt measures similar to those in place here.”

Fyi: The Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo is rightly referring to the plan as “long-shot legislation” and a GOP strategist says the odds of it passing are “slim to zero.”

Boston Magazine

MIT’s Berners-Lee, inventor of the web, says it’s time to crack down on tech giants

From a Financial Times piece that appears in the BBJ: “Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has attacked Facebook, Google and Twitter for promoting misinformation and ‘questionable’ political advertising while exploiting people’s personal data, in a stinging rebuke to the world’s biggest internet companies. … In an interview with the Financial Times, he said a new legal or regulatory framework may help to limit the power of big tech companies, which had become overly-dominant and unaccountable to ordinary users.”

BBJ

How not to teach civic lessons …

Joshua Otlin, the principal at Milford High School and a former social studies teacher, likes the general idea, as advocated by Alan Solomont and Arielle Jennings in a recent CommonWealth magazine piece, of promoting civics education in Massachusetts. But, also writing at CommonWealth, Otlin says he “vigorously” opposes their approach and says mandating civic lessons in schools in general is the wrong way to go.

Survey: One in four Mass. residents know opioid overdose victim

One-quarter of Massachusetts residents say they know someone who has died from an opioid overdose, a new survey finds, offering the latest data point to underscore the scope of the drug tragedy and crisis, Deborah Becker reports at WBUR. The survey conducted on behalf of Blue Cross Blue Shield also found that 71 percent of respondents say the opioid crisis is the biggest public policy problem facing the Bay State. 

WBUR

Let’s Talk About Paper

AIIM New England Chapter

The Great 401k Rip-off: How Wall Street, Big Business, and the Federal Government Stole Our Retirement

NE Adult Learning Services, LLC

Great Decisions 2018 – U.S. Global Engagement and the Military

WorldBoston

Getting to the Point with Pete Souza

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

2018 North Shore B2B Expo

The North Shore Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

Internet of Things (IoT): Enabling Technologies & Emerging Trends

UMass Lowell and Mass Tech Collaborative

The Uncounted: Civilian victims of America’s wars

MIT Center for International Studies (CIS)

Understanding the Baker-Polito Housing Choice Initiative

Massachusetts Association of Planning Directors

Renegotiating NAFTA: Partners for a Prosperous Economy – BOSTON

New England- Canada Business Council

Vietnam 1968: The War, the Turmoil, and the Presidential Election

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Today’s Headlines

Metro

A lot of empty storefronts on Newbury Street – Universal Hub

Walsh promises funding for police body cameras – Boston Globe

Massachusetts

Attleboro GOP office hit by fire – Sun Chronicle

Area schools take own approaches to Wednesday walkouts – Hampshire Gazette

Lowell, Billerica join suit seeking opioid damages from Big Pharma – Lowell Sun

Study gauges economic impact of offshore wind – CommonWealth Magazine

Nation

Bowing to NRA, Trump abandons gun control promise – New York Times

House ends Russia probe, says no Trump-Kremlin collusion – Politico

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