Patriots Day, Boston Marathon, but no Sox game
Today is Patriots Day, a state holiday, with state and local government offices closed. Many private companies operate at a reduced level today. Federal offices and stock markets are open.
— State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin, Hopkinton Police Chief Edward Lee and FBI-Boston Special Agent In-Charge Hank Shaw conduct a pre-Marathon media briefing tomorrow address race and venue security, Hopkinton Town Common, intersection of East Main Street and Ash Street, Hopkinton, 8:15 a.m.
— The Boston Marathon is held, with the first batch of participants starting at 8:40 a.m., the elite women runners at 9:32 and elite men runners at 10 a.m.
— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh marches in the Patriots Day Parade, City Hall Plaza, 1 City Hall Sq., Boston, 9 a.m.
— Mayor Martin Walsh crowns the male winner at the Boston Marathon awards ceremony, Boston Marathon Finish Line, 671 Boylston St., Boston, late morning.
— Gov. Charlie Baker attends the 2018 Boston Marathon and crowns the female marathon winner, late morning.
— The Boston Red Sox’s annual Patriots Day game has been postponed due to the bad weather, according to media reports.
The T’s beyond bad record of hiring bad drivers
It’s as if the T’s rail operator put out a sign reading: Bad Drivers Wanted. The Globe’s Andrea Estes has the shocking statistics on just how many bad drivers – including one whose license has been suspended 39 times – have been hired as commuter rail engineers to operate trains. A sampling: “Nearly 50 engineers have had their driver’s licenses suspended — 44 of them more than once, according to Registry of Motor Vehicle records reviewed by the Globe.”
Mathematically, it seems a blind-folded, pull-a-name-out-of-the-hat hiring system would have worked better.
RMV urges people to stay away this week
As Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin puts in, regarding RMV’s attempt to ease the long lines tied to the issuance of new ‘REAL’ driver’s licenses: “It’s not that Registry workers don’t love the public, it’s just that people seem to use vacation week as a time to do their Registry business and, well, with memories of last month’s long lines still fresh in mind, the RMV would just rather you do your business the following week if you can.”
Baker signs criminal justice bill despite ‘serious concerns’
Gov. Charlie Baker, with little advance notice, on Friday signed the sweeping criminal-justice reform bill recently passed by lawmakers, even though he has some ‘serious concerns’ about the package that he intends to address in separate legislation, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan at South Coast Today.
Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine writes how the Republican Baker comes across as a ‘reluctant reformer,’ even as the governor stated: “Viewed as a whole, this bill takes our criminal justice system and makes it better.”
In wake of Yarmouth police officer’s death, others want criminal-justice reform of a different sort
As Beacon Hill leaders mostly applaud passage of what some consider a landmark criminal-justice reform bill, police on the Cape and across the state are demanding reforms of a different sort in the wake of the killing of a Yarmouth police officer, allegedly by a career criminal who cops say has had 125 charges lodged against him over the years – and yet he was still allowed to roam free in society. Aviva Luttrell at MassLive and Brian Dowling at the Herald have the details.
Ethan Genter at the Cape Cod Times reports on the hundreds of people who held a candlelight vigil on Saturday night for Sean Gannon, the Yarmouth police K-9 officer who was gunned down while serving a warrant on Thursday.
Cambridge mayor calls video showing officer punching student ‘disturbing’
Then again … From Marc Levy at Cambridge Day (with video): “A review of police actions has been promised after a naked Harvard undergraduate reportedly high on hallucinogens was taken down by four officers at 9:09 p.m. Friday on Massachusetts Avenue near Harvard Square, with punches to the student’s torso captured on video. The Harvard Black Law Students Association is calling it ‘a brutal instance of police violence.’” Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern is describing the video footage as “disturbing,” reports Lucy Wang at the Harvard Crimson. NECN has more.
State pensions across the country: ‘Strange math’
The New York Times has a big piece on how public pensions across the country, mostly in blue states, are putting tremendous strain on state budgets. But the story is really about Oregon, where income earned by employees on the side (such as a football coach’s licensing deals and endorsements) are counted toward pension payouts and where long-ago stock market rallies are also counted. One Oregon eye surgeon’s monthly pension take: $76,000. Massachusetts, it should be stressed, isn’t mentioned in the story.
Weld: I’ve never tried pot, but I have tried Jack Daniels
Former Gov. Bill Weld is interviewed by the Globe’s Dan Adams about his latest cause and career move: Legalized pot and his joining the board, along with former House Speaker John Boehner, of a pot company. But has Weld, a former federal prosecutor, ever used pot? “I have never smoked a cigarette of any kind — and I blush to admit that, as a self-advertised, drop-dead Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia fan. But you can be an honorary fan if you have a glass of Jack Daniels in your hand — or a true blue fan if you have a glass of Jack Daniel’s in each hand.”
In Berkshires, elected officials meet citizens speed-dating style
Hoping to boost political and civic engagement, the Berkshire Athenaeum hosted a “speed-repping” event that enabled residents to meet several of their elected officials and share their concerns in quick succession, Haven Orecchio-Egresitz reports in the Berkshire Eagle. Among the officials on hand were state Sen. Adam Hinds and Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer.
Kerry-Heinz sell their Nantucket home for $17.5 million
They didn’t get the $25 million they originally asked for a few years ago. But former U.S. secretary of state and senator John Kerry and his wife Teresa Heinz did get $17.5 million for their 5,600-square-foot, waterfront summer home on Nantucket, reports Joshua Balling at the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror.
Massie: ‘I am the only true progressive in the race’
His two Democratic rivals, Jay Gonzalez and Setti Warren, may beg to differ, but Bob Massie is declaring himself the only true progressive (“in the full historic sense of the word”) in the Democratic primary for governor. As he writes at CommonWealth magazine: “The term ‘progressive’ had been dormant for decades, but was revived in reaction to the Democratic Party’s unhealthy willingness to compromise with corporate interests in exchange for campaign contributions. It is now often used less as a true description and more as branding.”
Meanwhile, Assumption College professor says Dems’ rush to embrace ‘progressive’ label doesn’t bode well for party
In an op-ed piece in the NYT, Greg Weiner, a political scientist at Worcester’s Assumption College and former aide to Sen. Bob Kerry, makes a distinction between liberals and progressives – and believes that “progressivism is inherently hostile to moderation” and “carries historical freight that augurs poorly for Democrats and for the nation’s polarized politics.”
Is Peter Lucas making a comeback at the Herald?
Peter Lucas had a column over the weekend in the Herald that states U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III is no Ted Kennedy. But what intrigued us is that Lucas, a former Herald political reporter and columnist who’s been writing for years now at the Lowell Sun, had a column at all in the Herald, now owned by the same company that owns the Sun: Digital First Media. Are we going to start seeing more of Lucas now in the Herald? Stay tuned.
Mass. Congressional delegation: Trump must consult Congress on Syria
While members of the state’s Congressional delegation are condemning Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its own citizens, they also object to Friday’s U.S. airstrikes against Syria as ordered by President Trump and they say the administration must first consult Congress when taking military action in the region, report Shannon Young at MassLive and Todd Prussman at the Herald.
Is life-sciences bill morphing into UMass sciences bill?
SHNS’s Michael P. Norton reports at the BBJ that a version of Gov. Charlie Baker’s life-science package – itself an extension of former Gov. Deval Patrick’s biotech initiative launched last decade – is now on the move on Beacon Hill. And about one-third of the $455 million package now includes investments in research and facilities for the University of Massachusetts system.
Former state Inspector General: ‘UMass has gone rogue with its expansion plans’
Speaking of UMass, from the Herald’s Kathleen McKiernan: “The Pioneer Institute slammed the UMass Amherst-Mount Ida deal, calling it ‘irresponsible’ yesterday in light of rising fees and tuition, the high salaries of top university brass and the growing debt load at the state’s flagship university. ‘UMass has gone rogue with its expansion plans,’ Gregory Sullivan, research director at the think tank, told the Herald.” Sullivan served two five-year terms as the state’s inspector general.
SJC backs Healey in Exxon Mobil climate-change case
Attorney General Maura Healey has won another round in her face-off against Exxon Mobil, after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court late last week ruled that Healey can compel Exxon to comply with her investigation into what the oil giant has known about climate change over the years, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive.
Sean Hannity’s dubious attempt to connect Robert Mueller to Whitey Bulger
The Globe’s Martin Finucane demolishes Fox News host Sean Hannity’s recent attempts to connect the dots between Boston gangster Whitey Bulger and Robert Mueller, a former federal prosecutor in Boston and now the special prosecutor looking into Russia’s influence in the 2016 election. Finucane’s opening point-by-point knockdown of Sean’s arguments: “What involvement did Mueller have with Bulger? None.” For Sean, it goes downhill from there.
Photographic proof: The ghosts of I-95
Universal Hub has some photos of the work that was completed nearly 50 years ago to extend I-95 through Boston – an effort that included demolishing hundreds of homes and businesses – before then Gov. Frank Sargent put a stop to the roadway madness. They’re kind of eerie photos of a project that just, well, came to a stop.
Patrick lays out nice and neat timeline for White House-bid decision
Former Gov. Deval Patrick is no longer playing a cat-and-mouse game about his interest in running for president in 2020. In fact, he’s even laid out a schedule for making a decision. “I don’t feel rushed,” he said. “I mean, really, I’m taking things a step at a time.” The Globe’s Michael Levenson has the details.
Ho hum. Another quarter, another multimillion dollar haul for Warren
She doesn’t really need it, David S. Bernstein argues at WGBH, but U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren still raised $3 million in the first quarter of 2018 alone, giving her an enviable war chest of $15 million more suited to a closely-fought campaign than the easy stroll to re-election many are forecasting. All three of Warren’s potential GOP rivals in November raised around $300,000 each in the same time period, Bernstein reports.
Appalled by Trump, Boston billionaire starts throwing big bucks to Dems
Boston hedge fund billionaire Seth Klarman used to lavish millions on Republican candidates for office. No more. The Globe’s Annie Linskey reports on how Klarman, alarmed at the election of Donald Trump as president, has already given $220,000 to 78 Democrats since 2016.
Thanks to local towns and cities, expect a very slow rollout of retail pot shops
Jim Smith, a partner at Smith, Costello & Crawford Public Policy Law Group, says applications for retail pot licenses may be pouring into the Cannabis Control Commission. But he warns not to expect many retail store openings anytime soon. The reasons: Outright local opposition and local regulations. “From lengthy municipal planning processes, zoning, siting, special permitting, and mandatory host community agreements, municipalities hold all of the meaningful cards,” he writes at CommonWealth magazine.
‘Red flag’ bill clears legislative committee
From SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Beacon Hill Patch: “A 19-member legislative committee Friday recommended passage of a bill that would authorize courts to prevent people from owning guns if the people are deemed dangerous. Anti-gun-violence activists, including students and many citizen activists, have recently stepped up their push for the bill, arguing it would provide a safety check to prevent dangerous people from accessing certain deadly weapons.”
Barnstable County official who targeted Florida survivors appears safe from recall push
Angry voters have begun collecting signatures on a petition to recall Barnstable County Commissioner and ex-con Ronald Beaty Jr. for his online tirades against a survivor of the Parkland school shooting in Florida, Geoff Spillane reports in the Cape Cod Times. But it appears Beaty’s position is safe for now: The County government has no mechanism to recall an elected official. Meanwhile, Beaty, who has spent time in prison for threatening to kill the president of the United States of America, says the petition is the work of “over the top politically liberal extremists.”
Baker’s spending plan raises asset caps for welfare
Gov. Charlie Baker’s spending plan would raise the limit on how much welfare recipients can have in savings accounts and other assets and still qualify for benefits, but some advocates want the thresholds thrown out entirely, Christian Wade reports in the Gloucester Times.
Zinke takes credit for Bay State’s offshore wind projects
Ryan K. Zinke, the U.S. secretary of the interior, seems to be taking credit for the planned offshore wind projects in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts, even though the process was started well before the Trump administration took power in 2017. No matter. In an op-ed at the Globe, he’s embracing offshore wind energy and is promising to work with fishermen and others concerned about future wind farms.
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Spring 2018 Robert C. Wood Lecture of Public and Urban Affairs
33rd Annual New England AFP Conference
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