Automatic voter registration, Cannabis Control, and more
— The Massachusetts Health Connector Authority Board meets, with Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders chairing, Health Policy Commission offices at 50 Milk Street, 8th floor, 9 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker joins University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan, Lowell Mayor William Samaras and others at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the UMass Lowell Fabric Discovery Center, 110 Canal Street, Lowell, 10:30 a.m.
— House plans to meet in a formal session, House Chamber, 11 a.m.
— Senate meets in a formal session with plans to take up legislation concerning the Massachusetts teachers retirement system, automatic voter registration, climate change adaptation and other issues, Gardner Auditorium, 11 a.m.
— The MassDOT Office of Outdoor Advertising holds a public hearing on off-premise billboards, signs and other advertising devices, Conference Rooms 5 and 6, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, 11 a.m.
— Cannabis Control Commission meets to consider approving a license for Cultivate Holdings, LLC, of Leicester, Hearing Room B-1, 1 p.m.
— Advocates and experts will hold an over-the-phone press briefing to discuss their letter to Mayor Walsh on Boston’s climate action plan, with Ben Hellerstein, state director of Environment Massachusetts, Michele Brooks, Boston community organizer for the Massachusetts Sierra Club and Nathan Phillips, a professor of earth and environment, participating, 1 p.m.
— The Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance hosts a ‘90s-themed demonstration on the State House steps to call for changes to the school funding mechanism established by the 1993 education reform law, State House steps, 1 p.m.
— The U.S. Green Building Council, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the Massachusetts Climate Action Network and the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships hold a roundtable discussion on obstacles to creating more zero net energy buildings, Reggie Lewis Center, 1350 Tremont Street, Roxbury, 1 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker visits Column Health in Somerville with Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, Column Health, 401 Highland Avenue, Somerville, 1:30 p.m.
For more calendar listings, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available) and MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.
Standing up for NATO: Finally, bi-partisan agreement in Washington
Sorry for starting off a local political newsletter with national and international news. But the president’s behavior in Europe this week – and his openly “rubbing salt in the wounds” of NATO members – has been so alarming and depressing that it’s heartening to see Republican and Democratic lawmakers back in Washington, for a change, acting in a bi-partisan fashion to assert their support for a nearly 70-year-old alliance that’s preserved the peace and bolstered freedom for hundreds of millions of people, as reported at WBUR.
Meanwhile, Juliette Kayyem, a faculty member at Harvard’s Kennedy School and a former gubernatorial candidate (it should be noted), is ripping into the president’s anti-NATO antics at WGBH, saying: ““(In) the destruction of the post-World War II order… guess who wins? Putin.” Anyone care to argue? … OK, now on to local matters. …
Trade war casualties: Construction and tourism officials fret over higher costs
Speaking of presidential policies, the Globe’s Tim Logan and Adam Vaccaro report that local developers are getting increasingly nervous about the impact of President Trump’s trade war on the costs of steel, lumber and other building materials in booming Boston. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Jordan Graham says the local tourism industry is freaking out over the prospect of fewer Chinese tourists visiting Boston.
NIMBY outbreak: Harbor Towers residents sue state over new harbor tower
Only their towers should be allowed to block the views of Boston Harbor, damn it! From Catherine Carlock at the BBJ: “The residents of Boston’s Harbor Towers have filed suit against the commonwealth and the owner of the adjacent Harbor Garage, seeking to halt development of a 600-foot skyscraper at the garage site and to stop the implementation of the state-approved plan guiding future waterfront development in Boston.”
In other NIMBY news, from Universal Hub: “On a South End street full of roof decks, controversy explodes when one building owner wants to build a roof deck.”
NIMBY outbreak, Part II: Take that, Starbucks (and McDonalds, Burger King and Taco Bell etc.)
Speaking of NIMBYism: In the wake of the North End furor over Starbucks wanting to open a store at the very gateway to the Italian neighborhood, the city council has agreed to explore a proposal that would make chain outlets formally justify themselves before opening in Boston neighborhood business districts, Universal Hub reports. We like this line from the post because, well, it’s true: “(Councilor) Wu said the measure, based on similar ordinances in other cities, would help local businesses that now find themselves under assault by national chains looking to glom onto the successful neighborhood districts the local business owners built.”
Then again, the Globe’s Nestor Ramos, who has no sympathy for Starbucks, says the critics have nevertheless generated enough arguments to “win a NIMBY bingo game.”
Rosenberg and Hefner’s lawyers: ‘Level the playing field’ by publicly outing accuser
From the Herald’s Brian Dowling: “Ex-Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg and his estranged husband, Bryon Hefner, want to ‘level the playing field’ by publicly naming the John Doe suing them over sex abuse claims — a rare demand the alleged victim’s attorneys say could lead to disastrous ends.” The Globe’s Matt Stout has more.
New Bedford poised to land Lesley University campus
This is interesting: New Bedford officials have confirmed that Lesley University is working on an agreement to open a satellite campus in the city’s downtown, Aimee Chiavaroli reports in the Standard-Times. The Cambridge-based college appears poised to occupy space in the DeMello International Center, a move that would be good news for a city looking to rebound on the strength of its position to be a major player in the offshore wind industry.
How a tardy budget plays into the governor’s run-out-the-clock hands
With Massachusetts the only state in the union not to have a new budget in place, the Globe’s Joshua Miller and Matt Stout take a look how Democrats’ drawn out budget talks mostly benefit Republican Gov. Charlie Baker. Bottom line: It gives him more run-out-the-clock veto leverage and, well, he gains public-relations points.
A sampling of the sentiment running against the legislature: In an editorial, the Berkshire Eagle is blasting lawmakers’ “inexcusable” legislative bottleneck at the end of sessions.
Baker’s State Police OT plan hits reality …
The Globe’s Matt Rochereau reports that, after the paper’s review of internal documents and past cost-control efforts, Gov. Charlie Baker’s ambitious plan to reduce overtime pay at State Police is “unlikely, if not impossible.” The bottom line: They can’t hire and train new state troopers fast enough to replace departing troopers, not with current funding.
Gonzalez vows to find millionaires-tax alternative, but can’t present plan until after election
Speaking of realities: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez say he’ll find a way to soak the rich one way or the other, now that the Supreme Judicial Court has axed the proposed millionaires-tax proposal from this fall’s ballot. But he can’t develop a plan without first consulting the Department of Revenue – and he can’t consult DOR unless he’s elected governor. So he can’t present a plan until after the election, reports Tori Bedford at WGBH.
Transportation taxes: Letting local voters decide
Speaking of alternatives to the millionaire’s tax, this isn’t a bad idea by state Sen. Eric Lesser: Allowing regions of the state to hold local ballot initiatives to fund buses, highways and bike paths etc., an option available in most other states. No one likes taxes. But they also like well-maintained transportation infrastructures. SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Greenfield Recorder has the details.
Of course, there’s always another way for communities to raise funds for infrastructure work: Domino’s Pizza’s online “Paving for Pizza” program. Lowell is going for it. Steve Annear at the Globe has the details.
Braintree wants $1 million in traffic work for Amazon warehouse
Of course, there’s yet another tried-and-true method of getting money to pay for town services: Shaking down companies. Under a new plan, Amazon and its landlord would be required to fund $1 million worth of traffic upgrades in Braintree in order to open a distribution center that some residents have vocally opposed, Fred Hanson reports in the Patriot Ledger. Amazon has already offered to hire a police detail to help manage traffic during certain hours.
Millville: ‘We have hit rock bottom’
Naturally, voters can be moody when it comes to local taxes. Take Millville, where voters faced a tough choice: Approve a property tax override that would raise taxes on average by about 25 percent or reduce services. Voters chose the latter – and now the town’s street lights are going dark, the senior center has closed and the library is open only eight hours a week. The Globe’s Laura Crimaldi has more on the financial plight of the small working-class town on the Rhode Island border.
Northeastern students protest ICE amid pushback
As they vowed, Northeastern students yesterday held a protest over a multimillion-dollar research contract the university has with ICE. But both ICE and President Trump are pushing back against the anti-ICE sentiment sweeping liberal ranks, reports Sean Phillip Cotterat the Herald. Meanwhile, the Herald, in an editorial, says the Northeastern protest makes no sense, since the ICE research contract has nothing to do with immigration.
DeLeo: ‘Very difficult’ to pass Senate’s ICE amendment
Speaking of ICE, from SHNS’s Matt Murphy at WGBH: “Despite sympathy among the 117 House Democrats for immigrant families being separated along the southern border, House Speaker Robert DeLeo reemphasized Wednesday that it would still prove ‘difficult’ for him pass legislation through the chamber aimed at curtailing the reach of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Massachusetts.”
Jenny Phillips, filmmaker wife of Globe’s Frank Phillips, dies on Nantucket
Jenny Phillips, an accomplished documentary filmmaker and wife of long-time Globe State House reporter Frank Phillips, drowned earlier this week after jumping from her small sailboat to swim to shore in Nantucket, reports the Globe’s Billy McDonald, who has more on the tragedy and on her impressive career. Mike Pescaro at NECN also has a report. Our condolences to the entire Phillips family.
Can Capuano survive being reasonable on the Kavanaugh nomination?
The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld wonders how much longer U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano can keep saying it’s a “little too early for me to draw a final conclusion” on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Concludes Joe: “Capuano can stubbornly cling to his old-fashioned notion that a Supreme Court nominee deserves a fair hearing. But it’s at his political peril. He’ll soon find out there’s no place for reasonableness in politics any more.”
Christmas in July: House-approved economic development bill included $125M in earmarks
Besides a sales-tax holiday and funds for the Black Falcon terminal on Boston’s waterfront, there were a few other extra items attached to the House’s just-passed economic development bill, namely $125 million in earmarks. Shira Schoenberg has the earmark details for western and central Massachusetts, including the economically vital $250,000 for baseball field lights at Aaron Krock Memorial Park in Worcester.
Now we have an accurate count of exactly how many hard-core progressives are in the House: 18
Speaking of the economic development bill, we found it interesting that the sales-tax holiday proposal that was attached to the legislation was approved 124-18 in the House, with progressive Democrats voting in opposition, as reported by SHNS. So there you have it: Despite all their noise on a wide range of issues, there are only 18 truly hard-core progressives in the chamber. Just pointing it out.
Rockland releases dramatic video of Town Hall interlude and … that’s it?
Rockland officials released the much-discussed video that shows part of the late-night Town Hall interaction between a now-former selectman and the now-suspended town administrator – and, for all the gnashing of teeth, there’s nothing steamy in the video as far as we could see. Just a lot of shots of (now former) Selectman Deidre Hall and Town Administrator Allan Chiocca walking around hallways, occasionally touching one another, although one scene does depict the administrator coming out of a room with his neck-tie suddenly loose at the collar.
Mary Whifill of the Patriot Ledger also has more details on the 29-page report that found Hall was the sexual harasser. For truly raunchy coverage, you can always go to Turtleboy, as more than a few of our readers have informed us.
Urban planner falls in love with Boston’s baffling, most distinctly non-planned streets
Geoff Boeing, an urban planning postdoc at UC Berkeley, has studied how roads are laid out in a number of American cities – and Boston, as well as Charlotte, N.C., take the cake in terms of the chaotic and baffling, reports Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin. But Boeing doesn’t seem to mind: “I find Boston’s street patterns illegible and difficult to navigate. But as a newcomer I can settle for concomitant sense of wonder, bafflement, and inexplicable adventure that accompanies every simple right turn.”
There’s a lot of great reader comments accompanying the post, btw.
Haverhill stands by locked-out National Grid workers
The Eagle-Tribune reports that the city of Haverhill has joined others in the region in supporting National Grid gas workers who have been locked out of their jobs and stripped of health benefits by the giant U.K.-owned utility. Haverhill’s council voted not to support new gas projects the company brings before the council until the employees are allowed back to work.
Wanted in Medway: Developer for land once given away with bottle caps
The town of Medway is hoping developers can help figure out how to reuse 82 acres of mostly undeveloped land that was given away in the 1920s as part of a soda company promotion, Zachary Comeau reports in the Worcester Business Journal. Early last century, the land was chopped up into hundreds of tiny lots that were given away by the Clicquot Club company to customers with winning soda bottle caps.
Falmouth becomes sixth town to call for passage of medical-aid-in-dying legislation
From Cynthia McCormick at the Cape Cod Times: “After listening to a retired Falmouth physician who has stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer make his case for medical aid in dying, the Falmouth Board of Selectmen voted Monday night to become the sixth municipality in Massachusetts to pass a resolution calling for the state Legislature to legalize the practice.” The other communities to pass similar resolutions are Provincetown, Cambridge, Lexington, Northampton and Amherst.
Catholic order fights Waltham eminent domain move
Waltham seems determined on this one, so the order may not have a prayer. From Sean Phillip Cotter at the Herald: “The obscure Catholic order of Stigmatines is in a fight with Waltham City Hall over plans to take the religious group’s property by eminent domain for a new public high school. People who have worshipped and been helped by the order of priests and brothers are rallying to their cause.”
DPH launches ad campaign on dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping
From Shria Schoenberg at Masslive: “The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is launching a statewide ad campaign to teach parents of school-age children about the dangers of vape pens and e-cigarettes. The campaign will include ads on public transit, online and through social media, as well as on billboards.”
The Climate Action Business Association’s Annual Cookout
Join the Climate Action Business Association for an evening of grilled cuisine, refreshments, and lawn games. Learn what our organization has been involved with this year, and engage with fellow member businesses and environmental professionals
5th Annual Strategic Internal Communications–East Coast
For the past 4 years this highly anticipated conference has continued to bring over 100 internal communication professionals together to benchmark best practices. Together, over 3 days, attendees have brainstormed solutions for their biggest challenges, shared cost-effective resources, and gained an inside look at internal communication strategies from leading organizations.
South End By Foot: A NAIOP Summer Walking Tour
Visit some of the South End’s most exciting commercial & residential projects, including completed developments & those to come. Following a presentation by Jonathan Greeley of Boston Planning & Development Agency, attendees will be guided on a walking tour to hear from developers of the Flower Exchange, Harrison /Albany Block Developments & AC Hotel / 7INK by Ollie at Ink Block.
Suffolk County Candidate’s Forum: District Attorney & Registry of Deeds
Please join Boston’s Ward 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 19 Democratic Committees for a joint forum with the candidates running for Suffolk County District Attorney and Suffolk County Registry of Deeds.
CFO of the Year Awards 2018
Don’t miss your chance to meet & learn from Boston’s top CFOs at the 10th annual CFO of the Year Awards!
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