House budget, MBTA-DOT meeting, Dem gubernatorial forum
— The Department of Energy Resources and state utility company executives face a deadline today to choose a project that can deliver between 400 and 800 megawatts of offshore wind energy to the Bay State, but officials have signaled a possible delay in a decision.
— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh joins City Councilor Josh Zakim in signing a proposal to eliminate barriers to voter registration in the City of Boston, Eagle Room, City Hall, Boston, 9:30 a.m.
— Sen. Marc Pacheco, chairman of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, hosts a panel discussion on ‘The Economics of Coastal Infrastructure: Traditional and Innovative Finance Options,’ Room 428, 9:30 a.m.
— House members begin deliberations on the House Ways and Means Committee’s $40.98 billion fiscal 2019 budget, House Chamber, 10 a.m.
— Former Sen. Eileen Donoghue is ceremonially sworn in as Lowell’s new city manager, with Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan scheduled to attend, Lowell City Hall, 375 Merrimack St., Lowell, 10 a.m.
— Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery holds a hearing on four bills, Room B-1, 10 a.m.
— Early education advocates gather for a rally that coincides with the House’s consideration of the fiscal 2019 budget, with speakers including Senate President Harriette Chandler, Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia Haddad, House Education Committee Chair Alice Peisch and Sen. Sal DiDomenico, State House steps, 10:30 a.m.
— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito partners with the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators to host the second annual Denim Day at the State House recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Great Hall, 11 a.m.
— MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board holds a joint meeting with the MassDOT Board, State Transportation Building, 2nd Floor, Transportation Board Room, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker participates in the 2018 World Medical Innovation Forum, Westin Copley Place Hotel – NVIDIA Ballroom, 10 Huntington Ave, Boston, 1 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker swears in the Commission on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning, Room 360, 2 p.m. — Sen. Will Brownsberger talks about recent State Police scandals on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.
— The three Democrats running for governor – Jay Gonzalez, Bob Massie and Setti Warren – talk about their environmental and energy positions at a forum hosted by the Environmental League of Massachusetts, with the discussion moderated by State House News Service reporter Katie Lannan, Suffolk University Sargent Hall Function Room, 120 Tremont St., Boston, 5 p.m.
— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh joins members of his administration’s agencies for an open house where information will be shared about city services, capital projects and city programs, BCYF Shelburne Community Center, 2730 Washington St., Roxbury, 6 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.
Rep. Jim Miceli dies at Little League opener
This is terrible news. State Rep. Jim Miceli, one of the longest serving members in the Massachusetts House, died on Saturday after collapsing at a Wilmington Little League opening-day ceremony. Relatives and friends of Miceli, 83, who had to be hospitalized earlier this year after collapsing at a House caucus in Boston, are in shock and mourning over his death, reports Amaris Castillo at the Lowell Sun. “This whole thing is surreal,” said his nephew, Wilmington Selectman Mike McCoy. “I can’t believe he’s gone. It is always painful when you lose a family member. My uncle was deeply devoted to his family — they always came first. He dedicated the vast majority of his life to public service and his presence will be sadly missed.”
Globe columnist Kevin Cullen put on leave as newspaper investigates fabrication claims
Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen was placed on paid administrative leave by the newspaper late last week after WEEI sports-talk hosts accused Cullen of writing “wildly inaccurate” accounts about the Boston Marathon and where he was that fateful day five years ago, reports Jacqueline Tempera at MassLive and Marie Szaniszlo at the Herald. The Globe is now investigating the charges.
We’ll let the Herald and MassLive, as well as WEEI itself, explain the details (and personalities) involved in the controversy. Instead, we’ll jump to the analysis at WGBH’s ‘Beat the Press,’ where host Emily Rooney and guests, while cautious about accusations being hurled by the apparently grudge-holding Kirk & Callahan at ‘EEI, generally conclude that an investigation is merited, upon reading the recent Cullen column in question. The Herald’s Howie Carr is simply brutal, calling Cullen ‘Baby Barnicle.’
It’s safe to say that, yes, Peter Lucas is back at the Herald
Speaking of newspaper columnists: Lowell Sun political columnist Peter Lucas had another piece (this one on Beth Lindstrom, fyi) in the Herald this past weekend, signalizing that, yes, the former Herald political columnist is back in Boston. For some journalists and political-news junkies, Peter’s return to the Herald is of interest, due to his legendary ‘White Will Run’ story in 1983 and the journalistic and political folklore that’s surrounded the controversial piece ever since, as the Globe’s Frank Phillips explained in 2012.
The last days of Mount Ida: Public expressions of confidence, $30M in campus improvements, mounting debt
The Globe’s Laura Krantz and the BBJ’s Max Stendahl both have stories this morning on the last days, weeks and years of the doomed Mount Ida College, complete with public pronouncements of success and $30 million in campus improvements – all while the school’s debts steadily mounted.
Baker’s ‘awkward attempt to downplay the damage’
We missed this column from late last week in which the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld chronicles Gov. Charlie Baker’s “awkward attempt to downplay the damage” of various State Police scandals, including Baker’s uber-awkward “good news” comment. Meanwhile, Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive reports that lawmakers on Beacon Hill may indeed take a deeper look into the problems within the State Police.
‘It’s Romney vs. Kennedy for US Senate – again’
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, trying to become Utah’s next U.S. Senator, was dealt a setback over the weekend when a Utah Republican Party convention denied him the party’s official nomination, forcing Mitt into a GOP primary battle against a candidate named Mike Kennedy, CNN reports. Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub didn’t miss the fact that this will now be Mitt’s second battle against a Kennedy for a U.S. Senate seat, although they’re unrelated Kennedys.
Fyi: The Washington Post looks at Romney’s weekend setback and concludes he’s still the clear favorite to win the GOP nomination.
Your bill, sir: Hampshire Council warns towns they could be on the hook for millions
The Hampshire Council of Governments, the successor of the old Hampshire County government, has stunned its municipal members and even non-members by informing them in a letter that they’re effectively on the hook for its own multimillion-dollar woes, reports Jim Russell at MassLive. Among others, Belchertown officials are furious. “I don’t submit to bullying tactics,” town administrator Gary Brougham. “I question everything (in the letters) from a legal perspective and will seek board of selectmen authorization for a legal response to these threats.” Btw: The council says its decision was “reached in concert with a number of unnamed state legislators,” reports Russell.
Woburn’s Kaspersky Lab counters Twitter with Game of Thrones quote
Twitter has given the advertising boot to Kaspersky Lab, the Russian-owned cybersecurity firm accused of having direct ties to Kremlin spy services, reports the BBJ’s David Harris. The founder of the company, which has its North American headquarters in Woburn, responded in an unusual way – with a quote from Game of Thrones character Tyrion Lannister: “When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.” Give him marks for having his finger on the pulse of popular culture.
Mini-media circus alert: Judge’s sexual-misconduct accuser will be at SJC hearing
We have a hunch more than a few reporters will be at this hearing. From Laurel Sweet at the Herald: “The social worker whose sexual relations with a married judge could have him facing a historic expulsion will attend tomorrow’s argument before the state’s highest court for removing Thomas H. Estes Jr. from the bench, the Herald has learned.”
A time-honored tactic: Maine utility throws money at transmission-line opposition problem
With the state of New Hampshire having rejected the Bay’s State’s first choice for a new transmission line bringing hydro-electricity from Canada to Massachusetts, attention now turns to a back-up Maine plan. The Globe’s David Abel finds there’s some opposition to the project in Maine, but Central Maine Power has a handy solution to that problem: m-o-n-e-y.
Harvard graduate students vote to join … the United Auto Workers?
The Harvard Crimson reports that Harvard graduate-student workers, over the objections of university administrators, have voted to unionize, joining the ranks of grad students at Tufts, Brandeis, BC and other colleges who have had it with their work conditions at higher-education institutions. The union the Harvard students officially joined: The United Auto Workers. The Detroit Free Press reports that the Harvard vote brings to more than 15,000 academic workers in the Northeast who have chosen the UAW to represent them. The UAW’s next target: Columbia University.
Walsh endorses Capuano, Pressley backer dismisses move as ‘establishment politics’
This is an endorsement that matters, assuming the mayor actually puts some political muscle behind it in coming months, not just this past weekend. From Jennifer Smith at the Dorchester Reporter: Mayor Martin Walsh is endorsing US Rep. Michael Capuano in the Democratic primary for the Massachusetts Seventh Congressional District, where the 10-term incumbent is facing a challenge from City Councillor At-Large Ayanna Pressley. In a statement released Saturday, Walsh said, ‘Mike is one of the strongest champions for working people and urban communities in all of America.’” The Herald quotes a top aide to Pressley as saying the endorsement merely represents more ‘establishment politics.’
‘Airbnb doesn’t know how to quit when it’s behind’
First Airbnb picked on City Councilor Michelle Wu for daring to propose new regulations of the online home-sharing outfit. Now Airbnb is doubling down by going after all ‘Boston lawmakers’ in yet another Twitter assault, reports Universal Hub.
State rolls out new LGBTQ curriculum for schools
From Kathleen McKiernan at the Herald: “Bay State schools will be able to try a new curriculum with LGBTQ-themed history, English and health this fall that proponents say is an effort to help all students see themselves reflected in classrooms. … (The curriculum) will feature lessons on the 1969 Stonewall Riots and writings by gay and lesbian authors such as Langston Hughes and Willa Cather. It will also feature lessons like how Nick Carraway’s love for Jay Gatsby may have influenced themes in ‘The Great Gatsby.’”
Meanwhile, GOP treasurer candidate distances herself from transgender bill repeal
The times they are a changin’. From Hillary Chabot at the Herald: “State Rep. Keiko Orrall, a Republican vying to oust state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, appeared to distance herself from a vote against the Bay State’s transgender anti-discrimination law just as a push to repeal the headline-grabbing protections goes before voters in November.” Bottom line: Orrall, who voted against the new law as a legislator, says she’s not sure how she’ll vote on the statewide ballot question.
Googling through thought waves – with no keyboard or voice commands
This is pretty wild. CBS’s 60 Minutes last evening took a look at an MIT project that allows people to effectively tap into Google for information using only their thoughts. No keyboard. No voice commands. Just thought/brain waves — and then getting answers back via the same way. David Harris at the BBJ has more – with a video.
In Third District, a lot of cash is flowing in, but little is going out— so far
The slew of candidates running to replace Niki Tsongas in Congress may be on a record-setting fundraising pace, but so far have spent just a fraction of what they’re hauling in, Chris Lisinski reports at the Lowell Sun. Pundits say the approach by candidates in the Third District race makes sense given the long window ahead before the September primary.
After Saturday’s Silver Line-Chelsea launch, what’s next for the glorified bus line that’s still only a bus line?
Universal Hub has photos, videos and a handy map of the new Chelsea-to-Boston Silver Line bus service that was launched on Saturday, amid hope and expectations that it will improve transit service between the two cities. But Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine and the Boston Globe, in an editorial, review how the rest of the Silver Line still needs improvement, especially in Boston’s Seaport District.
It’s got to be said: South Coast Rail plan is flawed
Speaking of mass-transit issues, James Aloisi, a former state secretary of transportation, is all for the South Coast Rail project in concept. But he thinks the current plan will only lead to substandard service and low ridership. From Aloisi at CommonWealth magazine: “Electrification would take the currently proposed running time and improve it to a point where ridership might actually exceed the currently forecasted anemic level.”
Lawmakers seek 10 percent funding increase for regional transportation authorities
Another transportation item, via Adam Shanks at the Berkshire Eagle: “With the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority facing a budget shortfall, and potential service cuts, local legislators are stepping up to push for more funding. State Reps. William ‘Smitty’ Pignatelli, D-Lenox, and John Barrett III, D-North Adams, have filed an amendment to the House of Representatives budget that would increase funding for regional transportation authorities by 10 percent.”
Markey on Pompeo nomination: We don’t need a rubber stamping, torture defending, human-rights ignoring secretary of state
Ed Markey is mincing words again. From Shannon Young at MassLive: “U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, railed against President Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Mike Pompeo for secretary of state Friday, arguing that the country’s ‘top diplomat should embody the best of America’s values, not defend torture, promote division, ignore human rights or rubber stamp all presidential positions.’”
Remembering the USS Lexington more than seven decades later
Last month’s discovery of the wreck of the USS Lexington, the Quincy-built aircraft carrier sunk during the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942, is bringing back sad and painful memories for many who lost friends and loved ones so long ago, reports Heath Beasley Doyle at Wicked Local. The story is accompanied by historic photos and dive video of the doomed Lexington.
Advocates keep pressure on legislature to address public records loophole
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Advocates are trying to light a fire under the Massachusetts legislature to revisit the question of whether to drop its legislative exemption to the state’s public records laws, Christian Wade reports in the Salem News. Wade notes that a commission created to examine the issue has met just twice in the past year and has already extended its own deadline for a recommendation.
Too little too late? Group pushes for Community Preservation Act in Worcester
The Worcester City Council will take up a citizens petition this week that calls for them to put adoption of the Community Preservation Act on the ballot in November, but opponents are also organizing to keep the question from getting to voters, Nick Kotsopolous reports in the Telegram. ‘Yes for a Better Worcester,’ a group led by former Mayor Joseph O’Brien, is pushing for the city to adopt the CPA, while critics say Worcester already long missed the act’s gravy-train days when state matches were more robust.
MetroWest cities eye slice of federal tax incentive program
Both Marlborough and Framingham are taking steps to grab a slice of new federal incentives put in place as part of the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul approved by Congress last year, Jim Haddadin reports in the MetroWest Daily News. Neighborhoods in the cities are among more than 130 statewide that have been designated as potential ‘Opportunity Zones’ — or lower-income areas where developers could receive tax-free income from projects as long as they own them for at least 10 years.
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