Research laboratory, MBTA Control Board, Victim Rights Awards, DA candidates forum
— Gov. Charlie Baker, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, U.S. Army Major General Cedric Wins and officials from the Department of Defense gather for a ribbon cutting and announcement with Northeastern University and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security, 141 South Bedford Street, Burlington, 10 a.m.
— The Atlantic magazine hosts a summit on health care, with Attorney General Maura Healey taking part in a moderated conversation about the opioid epidemic, The Intercontinental Boston, 10 a.m.
— National Alliance on Mental Illness holds its annual advocacy day to promote priorities that include an increase in funding for mental health service, with NAMI Massachusetts executive director Cheri Andes, Sen. Cindy Friedman and Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, speaking, Great Hall, 10:30 a.m.
— The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board will take up its approximate $2 billion fiscal 2019 budget and also hear an update on commuter rail performance, State Transportation Building, 2nd Floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.
— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Attorney General Maura Healey, U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan are among those expected to attend the Victim Rights Awards Ceremony where officials will announce $65 million in funding for services offered to crime victims, Grand Staircase, 1 p.m.
— Western Massachusetts housing activists join state and local officials, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash for an affordable housing roundtable, Tree House at Easthampton Meadow, 1 Treehouse Circle, Easthampton, 1 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Harriette Chandler, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and House Minority Leader Brad Jones gather for a leadership meeting, Governor’s Office, Room 360, 2 p.m.
— JP Progressives, the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union hosts a forum with Suffolk County District Attorney candidates Evandro Carvalho, Linda Champion, Greg Henning, Shannon McAullife, and Rachael Rollins, English High School, 144 McBride St., Jamaica Plain, 6:30 p.m.
For more calendar listings, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall) and MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.
Empire building alert: Healey to investigate UMass’s $50M takeover of Mount Ida College
It’s not clear what she can do or how seriously she’ll look into the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s proposed $50 million purchase of the tiny and financially struggling Mount Ida College in Newton, as announced by UMass on Friday. But the mere fact Attorney General Maura Healey is probing the deal shows that this may not be the done deal, or at least a bump-free deal, that UMass folks had hoped. The Herald’s Brian Dowling and Kathleen McKiernan and the Globe’s Jeremy Fox have more on Healey’s action and the uproar among some Mount Ida students.
The Globe’s Laura Krantz has more details about what UMass-Amherst plans to do with the 72-acre Newton campus, such as using it for a base for internships and academic collaborations with Boston-area companies.
UMass may have some sound reasons for the takeover, but it does smack of old-fashioned administrative empire building at a time when students and parents are demanding lower tuition prices from public universities.
Professor: Why isn’t that $50M for Mount Ida not going to the struggling UMass-Boston?
Aaron Lecklider, chairman of the American Studies department at UMass Boston, makes some good points about UMass-Amherst’s decision to buy Mount Ida College, and its Newton campus, when UMass-Boston is starving for money. In a Facebook post, he notes that the UMass-Amherst students who will use the Mount Ida campus are not exactly the same type of minority and working-class kids going to UMass-Boston. Lecklider’s post via UH.
State halts legal-fee support for embattled judge accused of sexual misconduct
The state’s court system is no longer paying the legal fees of embattled judge Thomas Estes, accused of carrying on a sexual relationship with a courthouse worker and now fighting to save his judicial career, Larry Parnass reports at the Berkshire Eagle. Initially, the state was providing legal representation through the Executive Office of the Trial Court, but that support ended after the Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended Estes be removed from the bench and suggested that lawmakers could pursue his impeachment.
Troop E’s towing companies of choice
Even before the recent overtime scandal that prompted Gov. Charlie Baker to propose elimination of the troop, the State Police’s Troop E apparently had a favorite towing company it would steer motorists to on the Pike, an arrangement found to be “irregular” and harshly criticized by the state inspector general – and yet State Police continue to play favorites with towing companies, reports the Globe’s Kay Lazar.
Separately, the Globe’s Nestor Ramos doesn’t sound very optimistic about efforts by the Baker administration to reform State Police. The reason: Past reforms efforts never got very far, thanks to union clout.
Harvard Lampoon student finds it’s not nice to fool a future president of the United States
CBS’s ’60 Minutes’ featured a story last night on the famous comedy magazine The Harvard Lampoon and, as J.D. Capelouto at the Globe notes, one of the Harvard students says a lawyer for then candidate Donald Trump threatened to get him expelled from Harvard for a prank he and others pulled on Trump in 2015. It involves a stolen “presidential chair” that was presented to Trump by Lampoon members posing as Harvard Crimson staffers.
Massachusetts not the only state swept by Potomac Fever
Massachusetts may have its ‘Fab Five’ – Elizabeth Warren, Deval Patrick, Seth Moulton, John Kerry and Joseph Kennedy III – either eyeing a White House bid or being talked about as potential presidential candidates. But other states seem to be suffering from a bad case of Potomac Fever as well, as potential challengers to President Trump emerge left and right across the country, reports the Globe’s Annie Linskey.
Everett councilor accused of racist remarks toward Haitians
It started with another person’s rant on Facebook about a traffic dispute with a driver in Everett, including a reference to a “nasty Haitian woman” and the remark (and we’ve added spaces): “TEMPTEDTO GET OUT OF MY CAR AND KILL SOMEONE.” Everett City Councilor Stephen Simonelli’s response? “Hallelujah, we say learn how to drive the rules of the road learn language, stop complaining should be grateful for just being here we know you nothing but you want everything.” And then all you-know-what breaks out, Fox 25, via UH, reports.
Promoting Boston’s diversity won’t happen until the promoters themselves diversify
Speaking of racial harmony and lack thereof, the Globe’s Adrian Walker would dearly like to see more diversity represented in the promotional materials used by Boston to boost tourism. But he finds that when it comes to diversity, the promoters themselves are not exactly a diversified lot – and probably won’t be for a while.
Report: Rail operator knew about engineer’s prior DUI-related suspensions
It turns out that the former operator of the T’s commuter rail system knew that a man had his license suspended twice for being pulled over for drunk driving – and still put him in control of locomotive trains carrying thousands of passengers, reports the Globe’s Andrea Estes. He was later suspended for two rail-related incidents, one of them for “extreme negligence.” Did we mention he was the son of a chief justice of the Boston Municipal Court?
Could a trade war with China hit the T’s plans for new Orange Line and Red Line cars?
Just what the T needs. Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub, via Global Rail News, reports about the concerns by CRRC MA, the Chinese-owned company building the T’s new subways cars, over a potential trade war between the U.S. and China. Items on a retaliatory tariffs list reportedly include rail-related products such as rails, electrical signaling, safety and traffic control equipment and self-propelled coaches and rolling stock parts. Btw: They’re now testing one of the new Orange Line cars in Boston, UH reportsin a separate post (with photo).
Bloomberg: WynnResorts has had talks about selling Everett casino
Did the Everett Leader Herald get it right? The small newspaper last week reported that Wynn Resorts, reeling from the sexual-harassment charges against its former CEO, is “close to selling” its Everett casino, reportedly to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Now Bloomberg News is reporting that Wynn chief executive Matt Maddox has had informal talks about the sale of the still-under-construction Everett casino, citing a “person familiar with the discussions.” Bloomberg didn’t mention potential buyers.
Meanwhile, the Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that speculation is indeed running rampant that Wynn may unload the Everett project, though a gambling expert at Boston College is highly skeptical about such reports.
Deval Patrick’s brother-in-law makes the wrong kind of headlines, again
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but the brother-in-law of former Gov.—and increasingly buzz-worthy 2020 presidential contender—Deval Patrick is in trouble with the law again. The Patriot Ledger reports that Bernard Sigh on Friday was arrested on a warrant for violating an abuse-prevention order filed on behalf of the victim in an ongoing rape, kidnapping and assault case against him. This time, he’ll likely be behind bars for a while: A judge revoked his bail and ordered him held for 90 days.
Federal judge upholds state’s assault weapon (and ‘copy cat’) ban
Considering recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gun control, this isn’t a big surprise, but it’s still important. From SHNS’s Michael Norton at CommonWealth magazine: “A federal judge ruled the state’s 1998 assault weapons ban did not violate the Second Amendment and also upheld Attorney General Maura Healey’s 2016 decision to notify gun owners that ‘copycat’ assault weapons were also subject to the ban.”
Denver Post staff in open revolt against the same hedge fund that now owns the Herald
They’ve had it with the staff cuts, despite the paper’s profitability, and now the Denver Post staff is in open revolt against its ultimate owner, Alden Global Capital, the same hedge fund that, via its Digital First Media, recently bought the Boston Herald. The headline on a Denver Post editorial: ‘As vultures circle, The Denver Post must be saved.’ The NYT has the details on the now out-in-the-open feud.
Meanwhile, the NYT newsroom embroiled in its own ‘woke’ civil war
Joe Pompeo at Vanity Fair has a much-talked-about piece about the ‘woke civil war’ that’s reportedly engulfed the New York Times. Basically, the piece says that the NYT newsroom is not only in generational turmoil, but also political turmoil, i.e. moderate liberals of old versus more progressive young journalists, print-era journalists versus more opinionated digital-era journalists who want all-out confrontation with Trump et gang, etc. Pompeo makes the Times newsroom sound like a satellite extension of a politically correct college, up to and including newsroom complaints about “microaggression” and editors holding “office hours” for disgruntled employees.
The show must go on: ‘Urinetown’ bumps MSNBC’s town hall with Warren at Westfield State
The kids – and their stage production of ‘Urinetown’ – have prevailed over MSNBC’s plan to hold a televised town meeting with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren at Westfield State University. Faced with a social-media backlash and student outrage, WSU on Friday cancelled the MSNBC event, after students protested that they had previously booked the same stage on April 13 for their production of ‘Urinetown,” according to a report by Ryan Trowbridge at Western Mass News.
Speaking of kids flexing their political muscle, they were grilling U.S. Reps. Steve Lynch and Michael Capuano at a ‘Town Hall for Our Lives’ event over the weekend in Roxbury, reports Jordan Frias at the Herald.
Liberal troll: ‘He makes his living telling lies on the Internet’
He says it’s satire and his way of undercutting the far right. But others say Maine’s Christopher Blair, aka ‘Busta Troll,’ is nothing but a cynical troll making money deliberately peddling fake news and stirring up needless political trouble on the Internet. The Globe’s Billy Baker tracked Blair down in Maine and got an interview with the self-described ‘liberal troll.’
Bump: State broke its funding promises to regional school districts
Auditor Suzanne Bump, in an opinion piece at CommonWealth magazine, is quite blunt: The state of Massachusetts is not keeping its promises, and not following the law, to fund the added transportation costs incurred by towns when they established regional school districts to allegedly save money. It’s hitting rural districts particularly hard, she notes.
Warren proposes $100 billion opioids-addiction campaign
It’s a lot of money and, as a result, perhaps politically unrealistic. But at least U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is rightly thinking big on a big problem, proposing a massive $100 billion federal program over ten years for opioid addiction treatment and other anti-opioids programs. Lynn Jolicoeur and Deborah Becker at WBUR have the details .
Walsh commits $2M to police body camera program
From Milton Valencia at the Globe: “Mayor Martin J. Walsh has put aside $2 million in next year’s budget proposal to fund a police body camera program — a measure that could allow the city to begin implementation as soon as July.”
Michelle Obama: ‘Women weren’t comfortable voting for a woman’
Appearing late last week at the Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston, former First Lady Michelle Obama made it clear: She will not be running for any elected office. But she also made clear her opinions on a wide range of political issues, including why she thinks so many women didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Laura Colarusso at WGBH has the details.
Offshore wind contract: Go for a twofer, governor
Peter Rothstein, president of the Northeast Clean Energy Council, is urging the Baker administration not to limit itself to selecting just one offshore-wind project for Massachusetts. If the price is right, it should go for two or more, as a way to further boost the state’s emerging offshore-wind industry, he writes at CommonWealth magazine.
Capuano vs Pressley update: Two candidates, one voice, still
Two progressive candidates, same progressive agenda. That’s what the Globe’s Joshua Miller found last week at an Emerson College event featuring U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano and City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who’s challenging Capuano in this year’s Democratic primary in the Seventh Congressional District. Except for style, race and gender, there’s simply not much policy difference between the two, as Josh re-confirms.
Beth Israel-Lahey got a bye from the state on cost controls
This is a nice catch by CommonWealth magazine’s Jack Sullivan: “State health officials stripped language from a document that would have required the merger of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health to prove they’ll meet legislatively mandated cost growth benchmarks, a requirement officials made sure was adopted as part of the recent merger between Partners HealthCare and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. The change in language during the Department of Public Health’s Determination of Need process has some industry officials and patient advocates up in arms.”
Lawmakers approve bill calling for rape-kit testing
From the AP at the Herald: “Legislation aimed at prioritizing the testing of rape kits for possible DNA evidence is awaiting Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s signature before becoming law. The language was included in an omnibus criminal justice overhaul bill approved by the Massachusetts House and Senate this week. The bill includes a requirement that all existing untested kits associated with a reported crime be submitted for testing within 180 days.”
Thinking ahead: Radio station decides it’s never too early to call election result
An innocent mistake or an April surprise? WMYV on Martha’s Vineyard aired a report giving the win in the Edgartown selectmen’s race to the incumbent, even though the election was still more than a week away at the time, George Brennan reports in the Martha’s Vineyard Times. The challenger learned of the fake news report when co-workers offered condolences on her defeat. The station says the error occurred when a news copywriter was writing a “pre-story” on the election that wasn’t supposed to air until after the April 12 election.
Candidates’ Forum: Suffolk County District Attorney
Listening to the Voice of the Customer Workshop
What would Frances Perkins do?
Emerging Trends in Wellness Conference
Power Breakfast: Real Estate
Candidating with Leonard Golder, Rick Green, and Terry Ryan
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