Happening Today

Baker in Vermont, Lindstrom on the air, water quality in Scituate, and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker attends the 42nd Annual New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers Conference in Stowe, Vermont.

— Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash appears at separate events in Leominster and Gardner to celebrate their respective downtown revitalization efforts, starting at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., respectively.

— Republican U.S. Senate candidate Beth Lindstrom appears on ‘Greater Boston,’ WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m. 

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— Hundreds of Scituate residents upset at the quality of water in the town are expected to attend a Board of Selectmen tonight, Scituate High School, 606 Chief Justice Cushing Hwy, Scituate, 7 p.m.

— The Department of Public Utilities will hold an evidentiary hearing on a petition from National Grid to review and approve reconciliation of its 2017 Gas System Enhancement Plan, One South Station, 5th floor, Hearing Room A, 2 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.

Today’s Stories

Payroll scandal warning signs missed at State Police

Internal investigators at the Mass. State Police found evidence of unworked overtime and other fraudulent payroll activity as far back as 2011, long before the current scandal that has resulted in retirements, arrests, guilty pleas and an ongoing federal investigation, Kay Lazar and Matt Rocheleau report at the Globe. The paper reports that Colonel Kerry Gilipin, who is now overseeing the agency, herself flagged some troopers for questionable overtime but overall gave a positive review of the now infamous Troop E.

Boston Globe

Not coming out swinging: Baker launches his play-it-safe re-election campaign

As expected, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker over the weekend officially launched his campaign for re-election – less than a month before the Sept. 4 primary – after months of saying he was too busy with government and legislative work to hit the campaign trail. Jeremy Fox at the Globe and Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive have the details on the campaign kickoff in Shrewsbury, where Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito made clear they’re going to run an upbeat campaign focused on the governor’s record on jobs, education the opioid crisis.

To the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld, the launch had all the hallmarks of a “safe” campaign to come: “With polls showing the Republican governor trouncing his two Dem rivals and one Republican opponent, Baker simply has no reason to run an aggressive campaign that exposes him to risk.”

How Baker and other moderate GOP governors manage to survive in blue states

The NYT has a piece on how a handful of moderate Republican governors, including Gov. Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, have not only survived but also thrived in largely blue states. The key to their success: “A crucial mix of bipartisanship, aggressively mild temperaments and gentle checks on liberal proclivities have kept moderates and independents happy in their states.”

NYT

Governor approves non-compete reform but rejects ‘patent troll’ crackdown

One more item on the guy in the corner office: Yes, there was an official sales tax holiday this past weekend, after Gov. Charlie Baker signed the massive economic development bill passed by lawmakers in the waning minutes of the legislative session. Besides the sales-tax holiday provision, the bill also contained a reform of the state’s non-compete law, which was left alone by Baker, and a crackdown on so-called “patent trolls,” which the governor rejected, reports SHNS’s Collin Young at CommonWealth magazine.

At MassLive, Gintautas Dumcius has more on the veto of the patent-troll provision, which Baker said would have “unintended consequences” for Massachusetts residents and companies.

CommonWealth

Warren softens racist accusation after police chiefs denounce her comments

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was on the defensive over the weekend, qualifying and partly walking back her harsh rhetoric that the criminal justice system was “racist … front to back” and saying there’s actually a lot of “terrific” and “hardworking” people within the criminal justice system, report  Miriam Schwartz and Joe Dwinell at the Herald and Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. Warren’s rhetorical retreat followed denunciations by the Yarmouth police chief and others across the state of her original “racist … front to back” comments, as Laura Crimaldi reports at the Globe.

Gov. Baker waded into the fray over the weekend as well, though Sean Phillip Cotter and Brooks Sutherland of the Herald report he had to be pressed to do so.

Thanks, New York Magazine: The bullseye now painted on Warren’s back

Speaking of Elizabeth Warren, her designation by New York Magazine as the Dem frontrunner in the 2020 presidential derby is more of a burden than blessing, reports the Globe’s Liz Goodwin, noting it only draws extra scrutiny and puts a “target on her back.” Former Gov. Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic nominee for president, says it’s a “killer” label for any candidate.

Boston Globe

One more time: Moulton says he’s not planning 2020 run

Despite his regular appearance on extended lists of potential 2020 Democratic candidates, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton said Sunday he is “not planning to run for president,” Brooks Sutherland reports at the Herald. Moulton has boosted his national profile significantly in recent months, rallying Democratic voters in special elections across the country and taking on President Trump via Twitter. But Moulton says all that activity is focused on the immediate issue of the 2018 midterms. “[W]e have to win back the House to restore some balance in Washington,” he said. We doubt this will dampen speculation about his ambitions, for people can always change their minds. We’ll see.

Boston Herald

Amatul-Wadud hits back at Telegram piece tying her to radical Muslim cleric

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, a Muslim attorney and Democratic challenger to U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, is rebutting a Worcester Telegram story about her legal work for a radical Muslim group and cleric who has regularly spouted what many consider anti-gay and anti-Semitic rhetoric. Shannon Young at MassLive quotes Amatul-Wadud as saying that the inflammatory rhetoric was “not authored by me, promoted, discussed or ever spoken about by me” and that her entire campaign has been regularly subjected to “religious intolerance, slander and hate.”

But the Telegram story, by Mark Sullivan, makes clear that Amatul-Wadud was asked point blank whether she agreed with, or would disavow, some of the cleric’s controversial remarks. She effectively dodged the questions.

Fyi: Matt Szafranski at Western Mass Politics & Insight takes a look at the First Congressional District race in general – and regional differences impacting the contest.

Telegram

100 newspapers answer Globe’s call to respond to Trump attacks

As many as 100 newspapers nationwide have answered the Globe’s call to publish editorials around the common theme of pushing back against President Trump’s repeated description of journalists as the “enemy of the people,” Morgan Gstatler reports at The Hill. Globe editorial page editor Marjorie Pritchard began reaching out to other publications last week about publishing an editorial this coming Thursday focusing on how Trump’s attack on the free press are impacting local communities. 

While some pundits say the move will only reinforce the idea that the media speaks with a single voice, most of the reaction has been positive.

The Hill

Lawsuit challenges state’s ban on campaign buttons and political apparel at polling places

Two Massachusetts residents, one a Democrat and the other a Republican, have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on “passive shows of support,” such as campaign buttons, at polling places, reports Jordan Graham at the Herald. “The government should not be in the business of telling people what to wear when they vote,” said Jeremy Colby, an attorney who brought the suit.

Boston Herald

So what’s keeping Ayanna Pressley from being the next Ocasio-Cortez?

Joanna Weiss of Politico digs deep into the Michael Capauno/Ayanna Pressley battle in the 7th Congressional district and finds that Pressley has the potential to be the next Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez—if only she can find a way to win. Weiss notes that unlike the incumbent Ocasio-Cortez unseated, Capuano is fully engaged in the primary fight and Weiss notes that Pressley continues to lag the seat holder in fundraising.

Politico

The Alewife garage closure: Another avoidable T debacle

The MBTA’s Alewife parking garage was scheduled to re-open this morning after crews spent the weekend making emergency repairs on the massive structure after a hunk of concrete fell on a parked car last week. 

Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine has more on the weekend closure and emergency work. The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro and Matt Rocheleau report that the deteriorating state of the garage has been obvious for years to customers – and that an engineering firm late last year warned the T of “imminent failure” at the garage.

On a related note, Gov. Charlie Baker shot down the idea of reviving the so-called millionaire’s tax proposal to help fund the type of investment the T needs to prevent it from crumbling before commuters’ eyes, telling the Herald’s Sean Phillip Cotter the T agency should “do a better job with the dollars we have.” 

‘Baker’s surrender without a peep’

Speaking of the T, the Globe, in an editorial, is taking Gov. Charlie Baker to task for not pushing for another MBTA exemption from the anti-privatization Pacheco law. “Politically, it would have been difficult to win another exemption. But Baker’s surrender without a peep is another illustration of his cautious approach to governing.”

Boston Globe

Waving the white flag: A decade later, police construction details still dominate civilian flaggers

Remember when Gov. Deval Patrick signed legislation that would allow civilian flaggers to be used on state highway projects? No? Don’t worry. Seems that few others remember. A decade after the cost-saving legislation was passed, police details continue to dominate state construction projects, Elaine Thompson reports at the Telegram. In 2017, civilian flaggers earned just over a half-million dollars on state projects, while police earned more than $45 million. Lawmakers, meanwhile, continue to steer clear of any moves seen as further targeting the detail cash-cow lest they anger police unions. 

Telegram & Gazette

Republicans now using ‘Abolish ICE’ against moderate Democrats

Another idea coming from the progressive left that’s hammering moderate Democrats in other parts of the country: The ‘Abolish ICE’ movement. The New York Times has the details.

NYT

New England’s small colleges are struggling financially

Mount Ida was just the tip of the iceberg. A review of federal data conducted by the Globe finds a host of small New England colleges barely clinging to financial viability. Laura Krantz reports that demographic trends are leading to falling enrollment at as many as half of such schools, which likely portends more mergers or closings in the years ahead. 

Boston Globe

Boston not likely to follow NYC’s lead on capping ride-sharing vehicles

Isaiah Thompson at WGBH reports that Boston is unlikely to ever follow’s New York City’s recent move to cap the number of Uber and ride-sharing cars on city streets for one reason: Massachusetts law currently prohibits such local controls over ride-sharing. And the Massachusetts Legislature, as we all know, is not exactly known for giving up its authority over local matters.

WGBH

‘Legislative limbo’

The AP’s Bob Salsberg at WBUR has a good round-up piece of all the bills that have been sent back to lawmakers with amendments from Gov. Charlie Baker – legislation dealing with short-term rentals, data breaches, civics education and other items – and how those bills are now in “legislative limbo.”

WBUR

Full-time legislators: ‘In most of America, this would never be tolerated’

Speaking of the Legislature, the Globe’s Jeff Jacoby goes after our full-time General Court, arguing that Massachusetts is one of only a handful of states that tolerates effective year-round lawmaking. “Massachusetts persists in the delusion that legislating is a full-time job, requiring ‘professional’ lawmakers with staffs, offices, and full-time salaries,” he writes. “That superstition is continually being contradicted by the Legislature’s subpar performance.”

Boston Globe

Taking aim at non-fatal shootings in Boston

David Bernstein at WGBH takes a look at Suffolk DA candidate Greg Henning’s call to beef up investigations of non-fatal shootings in Boston. The idea is supported by other candidates, though they question why Henning, currently supervisor of the DA office’s gang unit, is only bringing up the subject now.

WGBH

Worcester to PawSox: No NIMBY worries here

If the Red Sox decide to move their Triple-A affiliate from Pawtucket to Worcester, there is one hurdle they won’t have to worry about: NIMBYism. Dave Nordman and Mark Sullivan of the Telegram talk with residents and property owners in the Canal District, where a new ballpark would be built to host the team, and find that aside from worries about traffic getting even worse in the already infamous Kelley Square, the welcome mats are are most definitely out.

Telegram & Gazette

Walter Brooks, RIP

Walter Brooks, the founder of Cape Cod Today, who died late last week at the age of 87, is being remembered for his pioneering approach to bringing local news and information to the web. Colleen Cronin of the Cape Cod Times reports that Brooks kept a hand in the site’s operation until his later years. 

Cape Cod Times

Amid trade disputes, Baker heads to Vermont to meet with regional leaders

The AP’s Wilson Ring at WBUR has a story on today’s regional meeting in Vermont, between New England governors and eastern Canadian premiers, and how they hope to maintain regional cooperation amid growing trade tensions at the national levels. Gov. Charlie Baker is among those attending the annual conference.

WBUR

Shoppers out in droves on tax-free weekend

Finally: They came. They shopped. They avoided paying sales tax. From the Berkshires to Boston, retailers were reporting heavy traffic in their stores during the state’s first tax-free weekend in three years. One Attleboro appliance shop said it would do a month’s worth of business in just two days, Judee Consentino reports in the Sun-Chronicle, while the Telegram’s Cyrus Moulton found a lot of shoppers pulling the trigger on purchases they had previously been on the fence about and Dick Lindsay of the Berkshire Eagle writes that one Pittsfield furniture store reported its best single day of sales ever. 

Btw: We’re curious to see the final numbers. Some areas of the state — notably Lynn, Peabody, Salem and other parts of the  North Shore — got hammered by rain and floods over the weekend, something we assume cut down on the shopping.

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) Public Meeting (In Person Meeting Option)

This registration is for the in-person meeting only. If you would like to attend by teleconference please register here – https://nejac-public-teleconference-option-august-2018.eventbrite.com

NEJAC

Sheriff Cocchi’s Annual Summer Cookout

At the Springfield Elks: 11 a.m. – Hot dogs, hamburgers, clam chowder, grinders with sausage, peppers, and onions 5 p.m. – Beef kabobs & chicken dinner, baked potato, corn on the cob Live music! Games! Raffles and more!

The Committee to Elect Nick Cocchi

Digital Summit Boston 2018: Digital Marketing Conference

AMAZING CONTENT. BRILLIANT SPEAKERS. PRODUCTIVE NETWORKING. FUN WITH FRIENDS. BE THE HERO OF THE OFFICE. NICE EXTRAS.

TechMedia

VOTER SUPPRESSION IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Richard Cohen, President, Southern Poverty Law Center

We Are America the Beautiful is pleased to host Richard Cohen, President of Southern Poverty Law Center to discuss: Voter suppression trends; Issues with voter ID, early voting, purges of voter rolls and restrictions in registration processes; Court rulings

We Are America the Beautiful

Today’s Headlines

Metro

In race for Suffolk DA, residency questions swirl – Boston Globe

Massachusetts

Lowell opioid calls spike in July amid unrelenting crisis – Lowell Sun

Brazilian church denied application for spot in downtown Framingham – MetroWest Daily News

Stoughton man’s snake story slithers into national spotlight – Brockton Enterprise

New charter schools sought for Lawrence and Haverhill – Eagle-Tribune

Former Walsh, Warren spokesperson Gabrielle Farrell joins NH Democrats as communications director – WMUR

Nation

Cost of living rises at fastest rate in decade – The Hill

At Carrier, the plant Trump saved, morale is through the floor – New York Times

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