Happening Today

Merrimack Valley inspections, DPU lockout meeting, Gonzalez presser

— In an attempt to determine what repairs may be required before gas service can be restored, teams of plumbers, electricians, assessors, National Guard members and translators will begin inspecting individual homes and businesses that have been without gas service since the Sept. 13 explosions in the Merrimack Valley.

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh joins community members, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Boston Transportation Department officials to celebrate new bike share stations installed in Mattapan and Roslindale, Mattapan Square, River Street at Blue Hill Avenue, 9:30 a.m.

—  United Steelworkers Locals 12003 and 12012 leaders, representing locked out National Grid workers, meet privately with the Department of Public Utilities to discuss safety complaints, Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, Boston, 10 a.m.

— Courts and community correction centers continue to hold public events this week to celebrate diversity, with Judge Shannon Frison, District Attorney Joseph Early Jr., Worcester Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis and Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. speaking at a Worcester County public event, Worcester Court Complex, 225 Main St., Worcester, 10 a.m.

— Democratic nominee for governor Jay Gonzalez holds a press conference to call for Gov. Charlie Baker to remove Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett and State Police Col. Kerry Gilpin and to appoint leaders from outside the department, State House, 10 a.m.

— State Sen. Marc Pacheco sponsors Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day at the State House, Great Hall, 12 p.m.

Governor’s Council holds a hearing on Gov. Baker’s proposed transfer of Judge Susan Sard Tierney from the probate and family court in Suffolk County to the Barnstable County Probate and Family Court, and then later holds its weekly meeting, Council Chamber, the former at 11 a.m. and the latter at 12 p.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12:30 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack and MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramirez highlight the introduction of the T’s first extended-range hybrid bus into the Silver Line fleet, 1 Silver Line Way, Boston, 1:30 p.m.

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh will take part in a discussion about the national and personal toll of the opioid epidemic with authors Sam Quinones and Maureen Cavanagh, Old South Church, 645 Boylston St., Boston, 6 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

Baker’s commanding lead, thanks mostly to Dems and Independents

Another poll, this time by WBUR, shows Republican Gov. Charlie Baker with a huge lead over Democratic rival Jay Gonzalez, confirming a prior Suffolk/Globe survey showing that the race isn’t really a race. Steve Brown at WBUR has more on Baker’s 68-24 point lead in the ‘BUR poll – and how Democrats are breaking for Baker, not Gonzalez, who still has extremely low name recognition.

As if trying to steal the thunder of the new WBUR poll, the Globe’s James Pindell revisits the data from the prior Suffolk/Globe poll, also noting how Democrats and Independents are backing Baker – with Republican voters actually more divided in their support for the GOP governor. 


Oh, and Warren is croaking Diehl

Not to forget: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, is still way ahead of her main GOP opponent, state Rep. Geoff Diehl, in another WBUR poll. Benjamin Swasey at ‘BUR has the details on Warren’s 56-30 lead, a margin that’s slightly smaller than the one found in a recent Suffolk/Globe survey. There’s no major party crossover in this poll, which seems to roughly mirror the 2016 presidential results in Massachusetts.

Btw: Independent candidate Shiva Ayyadurai appears to be pulling some support away from Diehl.


First gubernatorial debate set for Oct. 9, with two more to follow on Oct. 17 and Nov. 1

Back to the governor’s race: SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the MetroWest Daily News reports that the first gubernatorial debate between Gov. Charlie Baker and Democratic challenger Jay Gonzalez will take place on Oct. 9, with WBZ-TV host Jon Keller as moderator, according to campaign officials cited by Murphy.

It will be the first of three debates. A WGBH hosted debate, moderated by Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, is set for Oct. 17, the station confirms in a press release. The third debate will be hosted by a media consortium at WCVB studios on Nov. 1.

MetroWest Daily News

There’s no doubt: Voters not confused about Question 3

Just to make sure voters weren’t confused by the odd wording of the Question 3 ballot initiative that would repeal the state’s new transgender rights law, Steve Koczela at WBUR reports that pollsters recently asked people a follow-up question to gauge where they stand on the repeal measure. Sure enough, the results were the same: They’re against repeal and want to keep the law.


There’s no doubt, Part II: Warren backs Question 1

This is interesting. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is venturing into the contentious Question 1 debate, siding with nurses in their battle to increase nurse-staffing ratios at hospitals. Dan Glaun at MassLive has the details.


Won’t you please help Attleboro mayor pay for his pet dog’s veterinarian bills? Please?

This is a political first – we think. Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux is under fire for reaching out to friends and family to help pay a $7,000 veterinarian bill for his beloved dog Mura, George Rhodes reports at the Sun Chronicle. Heroux defended his outreach–which some in the city say raises ethical concerns– noting it was limited to his closed Facebook group but leaked out, thanks, Herous contends, to his political opponents. 

You’ll know he’s venturing into truly dangerous political and legal waters if he starts putting out appeals to help pay for his dry cleaning and Dunkin’ Donuts bills, if you catch our meaning.

Sun Chronicle

Dunkin’ dropped donuts years ago, not just yesterday

This is no big surprise, since Dunkin’ Donuts has already been rolling out prototype “Dunkin’” stores, without “Donuts” in the name, for a while now. But the corporate folks in Canton made it official yesterday: Dunkin’ Donuts will now be known as just Dunkin’, as of next year. Max Stendahl at the BBJ has the name-change details.

As for the quality of Dunkies’ donuts, don’t get us going on the subject. They taste and feel like they’re made with Duncan Hines cake batter. Too soft, too squishy, too small, too bland. Nothing like old-fashioned bakery donuts that have actual heft, crunch and cracks, even occasional brown knobs. … OK, with that rant out of the way, back to all things politics. 

BBJ (pay wall)

Trahan and Pressley: Products of ‘locally-driven heterogeneity’?

David Bernstein at WGBH has a good piece on the political differences between Ayanna Pressley and Lori Trahan, the Democratic victors in the Seventh and Third Congressional primary elections, and how their views reflect the differences between their districts. “It just might be that locally-driven heterogeneity is the direction that congressional Democrats are heading,” he writes.

In other words: Pragmatists and progressive Democrats will just have to learn how to get along.


New York inspectors to help oversee gas-line replacement work in Merrimack Valley

Gov. Charlie Baker has announced that a team of inspectors from New York will assist state DPU regulators in overseeing the replacement of 48 miles of gas lines in the devastated Merrimack Valley area, reports the Herald’s Mary Markos. The story doesn’t say so, but we get the impression the New Yorkers are needed because of the Bay State’s shortage of inspectors, an issue that WGBH’s Mike Deehan writes about this morning. 

Boston Herald

USAReally: A new source for morning political newsletters?

We see we may have a new source for objective and insightful political news for our morning newsletter: USAReally, courtesy of fearless Russian journalists who the NYT libels this morning by suggesting they might have ulterior motives for their web venture.

Seriously, check out the site. It’s actually sort of brilliant, hitting all the ideological and emotional buttons of both the left and right. Here’s a simple grammatical giveaway that something is amiss: The site’s trouble with the use of the word ‘the,’ as in this opening line from its ‘About Us’ section: “Today, people of US do not receive …” 


MassHousing: Home of six-figure salaries, take-home cars and parking

From the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld and Joe Dwinnel: “The state agency charged with funding affordable housing is home to some of the most lucrative jobs in the state, with its executive director and other top aides each making more than $200,000 a year, while spending more than $100,000 on a fleet of leased cars with downtown parking, a Herald review has found.” Among other things, the Herald reports that nine MassHousing employees rake in more than $200,000 a year and more than 150 of the quasi-public agency’s 375 employees make more than $100,000.

Boston Herald

Walsh boosts city’s housing production goal by 30 percent

Speaking of housing: As more people move into Boston from the suburbs and housing prices soar across the city and region, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has decided to increase the city’s goal of building more housing units by 2030, from 53,000 units to 69,000 units, up 30 percent. The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock (pay wall) and the Globe’s Tim Loganhave the details on the ambitious new plan.

Are Wynn Resorts’ days numbered in Everett?

The state Gaming Commission meets tomorrow to hash out a “hearing process” after it receives a long-awaited report on sexual harassment at Wynn Resorts, holder of the Everett casino license, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. The Herald’s Jordan Graham reports that “pressure is building for tough action that could mean stripping (Wynn Resorts’) exclusive Boston-area gambling license.” Among those favoring tough action: Former Attorney General Martha Coakley.

FYI, also from Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive: “Mohegan Sun, which has lobbied for Wynn Resorts to lose the eastern Massachusetts casino license, is now seeking to remove the state Gaming Commission chairman from the process to determine whether Wynn keeps the license, based on “shocking” comments he made to reporters.

Planned Parenthood declines to endorse anyone in governor’s race, citing Gonzalez and Baker’s ‘100 percent’ scores

Speaking of the governor’s race: A day after NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts PAC endorsedDemocratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts has announced it will remain neutral in this year’s general-election contest for governor, citing the perfect pro-choice scores of both Gonzalez and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, the Globe’s Matt Stout reports. It’s yet more evidence of Baker’s ability to attract, or neutralize, the Democratic vote.

Boston Globe

Baker taps Pappas to serve out Suffolk DA Conley’s term

SHNS’s Colin Young at WBUR reports that Gov. Charlie Baker has tapped John Pappas, a 24-year veteran of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office and currently its chief trial counsel, as interim district attorney, serving out the last few months of resigning District Attorney Dan Conley’s term. Pappas will serve until a newly elected district attorney, either Democrat Rachael Rollins or Independent Michael Maloney, takes office in January.

Fyi: The Globe’s Adrian Walker has a column on the departing Conley, who Walker notes doesn’t really deserve the reputation as a “right-wing sheriff type.”

Prayers answered: Nuns win a shareholder round against Smith & Wesson

The suits didn’t want it. But the nuns did. Jim Kinney at MassLive reports how activist Catholic nuns succeeded yesterday in getting shareholders of Smith & Wesson’s parent company to provide a report on how it monitors gun violence in America. The CEO was none too pleased. In an editorial, the Globe praises the “resolute work of an inspired band of sisters.”


Rain or shine: State House rally goers decry hunger in Massachusetts

It may have rained on their rally but not on their spirits. A couple dozen people – including some lawmakers – gathered outside the State House yesterday to draw attention to hunger in Massachusetts. SHNS’s Katie Lannan has the details.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Walsh to fellow recovering addicts: ‘Life gets better’

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh knows all about addiction and has never hidden the fact he’s a recovering alcoholic, so it was no surprise he showed up yesterday at the Lowell House’s annual breakfast celebrating recovery to tell people that “you’ve just got to work at this program a day at a time” and that “life gets better.” Chris Lisinski at the Lowell Sun has more.

Lowell Sun

Nearly 10 years after conception, Berkshire Innovation Center breaks ground

Finally. After nearly a decade of delays and broken promises, state and county officials gathered in Pittsfield yesterday to break ground on the Berkshire Innovation Center, a $14 million workforce development center designed to anchor for additional life sciences and technology development. Tony Dobrowoiski at the Berkshire Eagle has the details and the timeline.  

Berkshire Eagle

Lynn gives bike-shares the boot

As Mayor Marty Walsh today announces the expansion of bike-share services in Boston (see our ‘Happening Today’ section above), the Lynn City Council is giving Ant Bicycle and LimeBike until Nov. 1 to remove all of their shared bikes from the city, expressing disappointment at the number of bikes found abandoned on sidewalks and elsewhere during a four-month trial period, Gayla Cawley reports at the Lynn Item. 

Lynn Item

Judge says town, cleaning contractor not liable in teacher murder

A superior court judge has found that the town of Danvers and a cleaning contractor dispatched to clean the crime scene cannot be held liable in the 2013 murder of teacher Colleen Ritzer, Julie Manganis reports at the Salem News. The judge did allow a wrongful death claim against the school’s architects to move forward. A 14-year-old student of Ritzer’s was convicted of raping and murdering her in 2015.   

Salem News

HIPAA Privacy Rule Compliance-Understanding New Rules and Responsibilities of Privacy Officer

New York Events List

Women in Science and Politics featuring Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

Gina McCarthy, former head of the EPA under President Obama, Nandita Scott, cardiologist and elected member of Hingham’s Rec Commission, and Katie McBrine, pediatrician and current candidate for State Senate, Plymouth and Norfolk, will discuss the importance of having science-literate women in public office.

Committee to Elect Katie McBrine

2018 Inner City 100 Conference & Awards

2018 Inner City 100 Conference & Awards – the premier networking and management education event for fast-growing urban businesses. Timed with its 20th anniversary of recognizing America’s fastest growing urban small businesses, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) has expanded its 2018 Inner City 100 Award ceremony (IC 100) into a two-day event.

Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC)

11th Annual Public Performance Conference

Please join us for the 11th Annual Public Performance Conference. The goal of the conference is to examine and discuss performance management research and models for the adoption and implementation of compelling practices in the public sector.

Suffolk University

Today’s Headlines


Boston’s economic growth lags Silicon Valley, Seattle – Boston Business Journal

Boston raises its goal for new housing by 30 percent – Boston Globe


Done deal: Worcester council OKs ballpark financing – Telegram & Gazette

Town, cleaning company found not liable in Ritzer murder – Salem News

Mashpee manager to push for tribal land bill – Cape Cod Times

UMass probes racist graffiti found in dorm bathroom – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Climate change is destroying national parks at an alarming rate, study finds – Washington Post

In Yale’s culture of privilege and alcohol, her world converged with Kavanaugh’s – New York Times

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