Happening Today

Gaming Commission, Kavanaugh hearing, Shark meeting

— The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education plans to make 2018 MCAS and accountability data public this morning.

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh travels to Columbia, South Carolina to attend the United States Conference of Mayors Fall Leadership Conference.

— The State House News Forum, along with the Eos Foundation and the UMass Boston Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, host a panel to discuss the Women’s Power Gap in Higher Education Study that will be released today, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Center, 10 Winter Place, Boston, with the morning event starting at 7:30 a.m.

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— After the resignation yesterday of Gaming Commission chairman Stephen Crosby, the commission meets to discuss the yet-unissued casino license in southeast Massachusetts and to review the process for its investigation into sexual-misconduct charges against the Wynn Resorts’ former chief executive, Steve Wynn,101 Federal St., 12th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee resumes its hearings on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual misconduct, Dirksen Senate Office Building 226, Washington D.C., 10 a.m. 

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg chairs a meeting of the State Retirement Board, One Winter St. – 8th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

Health Policy Commission meets amid several requests from health-industry officials to conduct a financial analysis of Question 1, which proposes nurse staffing requirements, 50 Milk Street, 8th Floor, Conference Center, Boston, 11 a.m.

— Middlesex County Superior Clerk of Courts Michael Sullivan conducts a naturalization ceremony for 50 new American citizens, with Superior Court Judge Susan Sullivan presiding over the ceremony, Middlesex Superior Court, 200 Tradecenter Dr., Woburn, 11 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker attends the second annual Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum, Innovation and Design Building, 5th Floor, 1 Design Center Place, Boston, 12 p.m.

— Visa CEO Alfred Kelly Jr. speaks at the Boston College Chief Executives Club luncheon, Wharf Room, Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Sens. Bruce Tarr, Michael Moore and Mark Montigny, Rep. Lou Kafka, MSPCA president Carter Luke and Animal Cruelty Task Force chair Elissa Flynn Poppey gather for the signing of a bill that strengthens animal cruelty prevention measures, MSPCA-Angell Adoption Center, 350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, 2:45 p.m.

— Town officials in Wellfleet have called for a community forum to discuss sharks after the recent fatal shark attack off Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet, Senior Center, 715 Old Kings Highway, Wellfleet, 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

High-stakes legal poker: Crosby resigns as Gaming Commission chairman, citing accusations of bias in Wynn case

As state regulators mull whether to strip Wynn Resorts of its Everett casino license due to accusations of sexual misconduct by its former CEO, commission chairman Stephen Crosby dropped a regulatory, legal and political bombshell yesterday by announcing he’s resigning, amid accusations from every direction that he’s either biased for or against Wynn Resorts. Jordan Graham at the Herald and Catherine Carlock at the BBJ (pay wall) have more on the surprise resignation by Crosby, who said he didn’t want to put the commission through the legal and political ringer by staying. 

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Jon Chesto reports on how Mohegan Sun, which has accused Crosby of alleged bias in favor of Wynn Resorts, has been “doubling down on its lobbying efforts in Massachusetts amid rival Wynn Resorts’ legal troubles.” Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive reports that an attorney for casino mogul Steve Wynn, the former Wynn Resorts chief executive, recently demanded Crosby retract comments that referred to Wynn as a “terrible predator.” 

Needless to say, with all the parties playing a high-stakes game of legal poker, the planned Gaming Commission meeting today should be rather interesting.

Kavanaugh-hearing fallout drifts north to Massachusetts

Speaking of sexual-misconduct allegations, Massachusetts can’t escape the political fallout over today’s dramatic hearing down in Washington over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, amid mounting allegations of sexual-misconduct by Kavanaugh when he was young. The Globe’s Travis Andersen reports that local Democrats – including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Attorney General Maura Healey, U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark and City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who is poised to join Congress in January – and women’s advocates are either calling for proceedings to be halted or Kavanaugh’s nomination withdrawn.

Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, a moderate facing re-election this fall, says Senate Republicans should postpone a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination until after an independent investigation can be done, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall). In a Globe op-ed piece, Susan Prout writes poignantly about what her daughter went through when she reported she was sexually assaulted at St. Paul’s School. The Herald’s Howie Carr, meanwhile, blasts what he calls a political double standard in how sexual assault charges are handled by the media and pols.

Boston Globe

There he goes again: Baker waits to take stand on Question 1 until financial report is finished

This must be killing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez, as Republican Gov. Charlie Baker once again takes his own sweet time in taking a stand on an issue, this time over the nurse-staffing Question 1 ballot initiative. The governor is waiting for the results of a new financial review of Question 1 by the Health Policy Commission, according to a SHNS report at MassLive.

Meanwhile, SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) reports that nurse union members are furious that HPC decided to conduct its financial review after meeting with hospital-industry officials. Fyi: The commission holds a hearing today to discuss the review and other matters.

MassLive

Twofer: Gonzalez calls for firing of State Police chief and T general manager

Speaking of the governor’s race, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez wants Republican Gov. Charlie Baker to clean house at the State Police and MBTA, starting with those at the very top. WGBH’s Mike Deehan has the State Police story – with the interesting twist that some Democrats don’t agree with Gonzalez. Meanwhile, Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine reports Gonzalez is also demanding that the T fire its general manager, Luis Ramirez. Jonas explains why.

Norfolk Sheriff Bellotti to step down to head Quincy College

In surprise move, long-time Norfolk County Sheriff Michael G. Bellotti, a former state representative, is stepping down from his county post to lead Quincy College for the next 18 months, as the struggling school searches for a permanent president, reports Erin Tiernan at Wicked Local. Bellotti has previously taught at the school and served on its board.

Wicked Local

Non-formula formula change: State to require districts to focus on 230 struggling schools

This doesn’t change the state’s school-funding formula, but it does point to why there’s pressure to change the state’s school-funding formula. From James Vaznis at the Globe: “School systems across the state will be required to provide targeted assistance to more than 230 schools where performance fell short on the latest round of MCAS scores or other measures, under a new state accountability system to be unveiled Thursday.” The Herald’s Kathleen McKiernan reports that 40 percent of Boston’s schools will require some sort of intervention.

DPU launches statewide review of all gas pipelines in wake of Merrimack Valley disaster

From Zoe Matthews at the Eagle-Tribune: “The state Department of Public Utilities will hire an independent evaluator to examine the safety of the natural gas system across the state, the agency announced Wednesday.” Gov. Charlie Baker says the review is being conducted “out of an abundance of caution.”

Eagle-Tribune

Space heaters deemed electrically unsafe for many older homes in Lawrence area

Speaking of the gas-line controversy, it’s going from bad to worse in the Merrimack Valley. From the Globe’s Milton Valancia and Cristela Guerra: “The immediate effort to provide heat to thousands of residents affected by the gas outage in the Merrimack Valley has hit a snag, as inspectors encounter many homes with outdated and underpowered electrical systems that cannot safely run space heaters.” Meanwhile, Keith Eddings at the Eagle-Tribune reports that portable showers are being deployed across Lawrence for residents who have now gone weeks with having to take cold showers.

Is 2018 the year of the independent candidate?

Forty-two candidates on the ballot in November are running without any party affiliation, a 50 percent increase from four years ago, Eli Sherman reports at the Patriot Ledger. Unaffiliated candidates range from the U.S. Senate candidate Shiva Ayyardurai to hopefuls vying for a host of state offices, including treasurer and secretary of state.   

Patriot Ledger

Town clerk who unilaterally cut his work week gets the pay bump he wanted

It worked! Webster Town Clerk Robert Craver, who last month began working reduced hours—taking off Thursdays entirely—because he said he wasn’t being paid enough will get an annual salary increase of $6,000 and has returned to his full, 35-hour workweek, Brian Lee reports in the Telegram. 

Telegram

ACLU, school district clash over Confederate flag seizure at Berkshire high school

The Berkshire Regional School District is defending itself against claims—lodged in part by the ACLU—that it infringed upon the First Amendment rights of two students when it confiscated a Confederate flag they were wearing at Monument Mountain High School, Heather Bellow reports at the Berkshire Eagle.  

Berkshire Eagle

DPU approves expansion of solar power in Massachusetts

The Department of Public Utilities has approved new financial incentives designed to expand the use of solar power in the state, as the state simultaneously tries to lower overall electric rates, reports SHNS’s Colin Young. The DPU action paves the way for an anticipated 1,600 megawatts of new solar installations.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Developer eyes apartment towers on former Channel 56 property on Morrissey Boulevard

A New York-based development group plans to build two towers with more than 750 apartments on the Morrissey Boulevard parcel that previously housed the Channel 56 studios. The Dorchester Reporter’s Bill Forry has the scoop and the details. 

Dorchester Reporter

E.T. phone home: UMass, Mount Holyoke professors land NASA grant to study ‘life beyond earth’

We could have gone with “failure is not an option,” but E.T works better, as Lucas Ropek at MassLive makes clear: “A microbiologist with the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a mineralogist at Mount Holyoke College have received a $635,000 grant from NASA to develop techniques to study evidence of ‘life beyond Earth,’ according to UMass. Jim Holden, with UMass, and Darby Dyar at Mount Holyoke, will work together over a three year period, using the funds from the large federal space agency to develop new methods to detect evidence of extraterrestrial life.”

They’re looking for microbial life, not little green men, Ropek adds.

MassLive

Police Settlement Day: Springfield and Brookline to pay $1.1M to settle beating, discrimination and lockup death claims

It was a busy day for police department attorneys in Springfield and Brookline, with three settlements totaling $1.1 million announced in the two communities. 

In Springfield, the city has agreed to pay $885,000 to settle lawsuits over an alleged beating of four men by off-duty officers, reports Dan Glaun at MassLive. In addition, Glaun reports that Springfield is paying $75,000 to an estate to settle the controversial death of a man who suffered an aneurysm in a police holding cell. In Brookline, a former Brookline police officer who complained of racial discrimination reached a $150,000 settlement with the town, reports  the Globe’s Danny McDonald. Did we miss any other police settlements yesterday?

Mayor joins critics of pot rally, citing ‘appalling’ mess left on Common

Mayor Marty Walsh is trashing the marijuana-themed “Freedom Rally” held earlier this month, saying attendees left behind an “appalling” mess on Boston Common, reports Dan Adams at the Globe. The mayor’s criticism comes as several members of the city council move to possibly boot future Hempfest rallies from the Common.

Boston Globe

State to get $7M from data-breach settlement with Uber

Attorney General Maura Healey’s office announced yesterday that Uber will pay $148 million — about $7 million of which will go to Massachusetts — under a nationwide settlement over the company’s failure to promptly report a 2016 data breach that compromised the personal information of 57 million users, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the BBJ.

BBJ (pay wall)

From Shelburne Falls to SCI Phoenix: Bill Cosby’s new home

Ray Kelly at MassLive takes a look at where Bill Cosby, who earlier this week was sentenced to three to ten years in state prison for sexual assault, will be living for a while: SCI Phoenix in Pennsylvania. It’s quite a change from his western Massachusetts home in Shelburne Falls.

MassLive

Tuesday’s rail commute: ‘Awful, bad, terrible’

Jack Sullivan at CommonWealth magazine reports on the T’s rail “commute from hell” on Tuesday, an event not covered so well by the rest of the media, perhaps because of “delay fatigue,” as he notes.

CommonWealth

Newsflash: Spilka keeps in touch with Rosenberg

It’s not as if he’s radioactive, literally or figuratively. But for the record: Senate President Karen Spilka says she has “periodically touched base” with former Senate President Stan Rosenberg, who resigned from the Senate earlier this year amid sexual-misconduct charges against his husband. SHNS’s Matt Murphy at MassLive has more.

‘America’s bloodiest battle’

This November you’ll be seeing a lot of stories on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, i.e. the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. But a month before the famous armistice, one more bloody battle had to be fought: The Meuse-Argonne campaign, the deadliest battle in U.S. history, worse than Gettysburg and Okinawa combined. A MassterList relative fought in the battle, so its anniversary means more than a little to us. The Washington Post has a remembrance.

Washington Post

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

Metro

Neither Boston nor Quincy budging in battle over Long Island bridge – Boston Herald

Financing secured, construction of tower at Government Center starts next summer – Boston Globe

Massachusetts

Residents renew noise complaints against Palmer racetrack – MassLive

Framingham will allow up to six recreational marijuana shops – MetroWest Daily News

Cohasset principal on leave as parents question abuse response – Patriot Ledger

Cape Cod National Seashore to get $9.7M in upgrades – Cape Cod Times

Attleboro mayor lashes out – Sun Chronicle

Nation

Russia probe conflicts rampant among Rosenstein replacements – Politico

Career prosecutor will bring wild-card element to Kavanaugh hearing – Washington Post

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