Happening Today

Quebec premier, Baker at RAM, Oprah at UMass-Lowell

— Gov. Charlie Baker delivers opening remarks at the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans annual conference, Seaport Hotel, 1 Seaport Ln, Boston, starting at 8:30 and through the day. 

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito join Sen. Harriette Chandler and Rep. Linda Dean-Campbell for a ceremonial event honoring the passage of a civics education bill, American Antiquarian Society, 185 Salisbury Street, Worcester, 9 a.m. 

 — Massachusetts Port Authority Board of Directors meets with an agenda that includes a Worcester Airport update, preliminary screening committee update/CEO search firm contract, a Massport CAC update, Piers Park 3 memorandum of understanding, and revised budgets for Logan terminal projects, One Harborside Drive, East Boston, 9 a.m. 

 — Quebec Premier François Legault addresses members of the New England Council and the New England-Canada Business Council, Hampshire House, 84 Beacon Street, Boston, 10 a.m. 

— The Administration and Audit Committee of the Pension Reserves Investment Management Board holds a meeting, followed by a meeting of PRIM’s Compensation Committee, both of which Treasurer Deb Goldberg is expected to attend, 84 State St., 2nd floor, Boston, 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., respectively. 

— The Arc of Massachusetts holds a vigil to press for legislative action on a bill to establish a registry of caretakers who have been found to have abused those they were supposed to care for, Room 437, 10 a.m. 

— Capt. Scott Tingle, a NASA astronaut and UMass Dartmouth alum, visits the university after spending 168 days in space aboard the International Space Station, Main Auditorium, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Rd, North Dartmouth, 11 a.m. 

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash and Secretary of Education James Peyser to announce the launch of the Commonwealth’s first-ever registered tech apprenticeship program, Wayfair Corporate Headquarters, Suite 7000, 4 Copley Place, Boston, 1:30 p.m. 

— Gov. Charlie Baker addresses attendees at the Retailers Association of Massachusetts’ 100th anniversary celebration, with RAM chairman Jerry Murphy and president Jon Hurst also participating, Omni Parker House, 60 School St., Boston, 5 p.m. 

— Media personality and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey receives an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the University of Massachusetts Lowell when she visits campus for the Chancellor’s Speaker Series, Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, 300 Arcand Dr., Lowell, 7 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

Sleep tight: Merrimack Valley residents brace for first blast of wintry snow and cold

With snow, rain and sleet on the way tonight, more than half of the families in Lawrence remain without natural-gas service and power as a result of the September gas-line explosions and fires, Mayor Dan Rivera said at a press conference yesterday, as the Eagle Tribune reports. Thinking beyond the weather threat over the next 24 hours, Rivera is also calling on Columbia Gas to have crews work next week on Thanksgiving day, reports CBS Boston. But the Herald reports that Columbia Gas plans to give workers the day off, despite the mayor’s pleas. 

Fyi: The U.S. Senate is now taking interest in the Merrimack Valley debacle, with plans to hold a local hearing next month on pipeline safety, MassLive is reporting.

Fyi, II:  Isaiah Thompson at WGBH reports that obscure language in otherwise routine agreements between the state and utilities may protect the state’s gas utilities, including Columbia Gas, from future lawsuits.

As real estate developers hit panic button over lockout, lawmakers mull the crucial question of when to hold hearings

Speaking of utilities and pipelines, from SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Sentinel & Enterprise: “House leaders are hoping to hold a hearing with senators next week on a bill that would force National Grid to extend health benefits to workers locked out of their jobs since June during a prolonged contract dispute, but remain uncertain why the Senate pushed ahead to schedule separate Merrimack Valley gas oversight hearings without them.”

The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock (pay wall) reports that real estate developers are now in full panic mode over their inability to get gas connections amid the National Grid lockout and a moratorium on non-emergency work.

Back to the future: Councilor says rent control is an option if housing crisis not solved

Mayor Marty Walsh yesterday rejected a moratorium on new development as a way to stabilize neighborhoods, like Roxbury, amidst relentless gentrification, the Herald reports. But City Councilor Michael Flaherty said something needs to be done about soaring rents – and he tells the Herald that, if all else fails, “we may have to revisit a conversation around rent control.”

If you recall, rent control was abolished in Massachusetts – specifically, in Boston, Brookline and Cambridge — in 1994. In effect, rent control would most definitely bring about a development moratorium without even passing a moratorium. Just ask any developer.

Epic cheap shot: Fitchburg State basketball player suspended for sucker punching rival player

The video has gone viral, big time, so big time that even the Washington Post is reporting on the vicious sucker punch a Fitchburg State basketball player landed on an unsuspecting Nichols College player the other night. In response, Fitchburg State has suspended and barred the player from campus, reports both the Post and Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise. The Post has the video of the incident, although it can now be found just about anywhere on the web these days.

State’s rainy day account bounces back to pre-recession levels

It took nearly a decade, but the state has built its reserve ‘rainy day’ account back to pre-recession levels, with $2 billion now stashed away after more than $700 million was added during the most recent fiscal year. Christian Wade runs through the numbers at the Gloucester Times. 

Gloucester Times

As Moulton and Pelosi trade barbs, newbie women like Ayanna Pressley may hold the speakership keys

Things are getting testy between U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, as they traded barbs yesterday in the ongoing fight over the House speakership, reports the Herald’s Kimberly Atkins and the Globe’s Christina Pregnant.

The Globe’s Liz Goodwin, meanwhile, reports how freshman House Dems may hold the key to whether Pelosi regains the speakership post. The Washington Post drills down deeper, noting the power struggle may come down to how newbie female members of the House vote – and that means women like U.S. Rep.-elect Ayanna Pressely, who yesterday reiterated she hasn’t made up her mind yet, as NBC News reports

Schadenfreude aside, here’s why conservatives should root for Harvard in discrimination suit

Conservative columnist George Will at the Washington Post notes that schadenfreude, like dry martinis at dusk, are among life’s more simple pleasures. But he warns that conservatives shouldn’t be too gleeful about the admissions-discrimination suit Harvard is now facing. At stake, Will notes, is whether government gets to shape who does and doesn’t get into colleges.

Washington Post

Tufts, BU and UMass targeted for lack of female leaders

Speaking of academia, from SHNS’s Chris Triunfo at WBUR: “Three Massachusetts universities will be the target of a campaign to increase the number of women leaders in their administration, according to EoS Foundation President Andrea Silbert. During a speaking event Wednesday, Silbert said that donors, alumni, faculty and students from Tufts University, Boston University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst are being organized to petition their school’s administration for higher representation.”

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Mary Markos reports that the Eos foundation is also criticizing Gov. Charlie Baker’s record on education appointments.


Fresh off his landslide defeat, Diehl sets sights on leading state GOP to glory

He couldn’t unseat U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren last week, but no matter. Geoff Diehl is now mulling a bid to lead the state’s Republican party, Matt Stout reports at the Globe. Diehl said he has been approached about seeking the post and is waiting to see whether current GOP Chair Kristen Hughes will run for a fourth term. A race between Trump acolyte Diehl and Hughes—a longtime ally of Gov. Charlie Baker—could become a proxy battle over the future of the GOP in the Bay State. 

Boston Globe

Massport’s CEO search: ‘Boston’s power-broker machine is in motion’

They say they’ve cast a wide net in the search for a replacement for outgoing Massport CEO Thomas Glynn. But, strangely, the top candidates being mentioned all seem to share the same gender-racial traits – Jay Ash, Michael Capuano, Joseph Aiello, Brian Goldman, etc. The Globe’s Jon Chesto has the details on the far-and-wide search for Glynn’s successor.

Fyi: Ash, secretary of economic development and housing, is also reportedly being mentioned as a candidate for other top private-sector posts at Associated Industries of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, Chesto reports. Fyi, II: In an editorial, the Globe heaps praise on Glynn as he steps down.

Boston Globe

Plan to float solar array on Quabbin sinks before it launches

A plan from a Millbury company to float a solar array atop the surface of Quabbin Reservoir has received a chilly reception from state officials who oversee the public water supply, Bradford Miner reports at the Telegram. We have a feeling we won’t be hearing much more about this. Just a hunch.


Newsflash: ‘The governor will not be a candidate for U.S. Senate’

 Gov. Charlie Baker’s campaign office is shooting down a Herald columnist’s report that he’s mulling a possible run for U.S. Senate in 2020, taking on Democrat incumbent Ed Markey, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy. “The governor will not be a candidate for U.S. Senate,” said Jim Conroy, a senior advisor to Baker’s re-election campaign. Oh well. It’s back to hounding the governor, who won re-election last week, about whether he’s decided yet to run for a third term in 2022.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

For a mere $25K, you too can be a bigwig at Charlie Baker’s inauguration

Speaking of the governor, the Globe’s Matt Stout and Joshua Miller have the invite details for the upcoming Baker-Polito inauguration, but you’ll have to pay as much as $25,000 to guarantee an invite. They have the details of the inaugural donation suggestions, including the lower status “pioneer” ($10,000) and “patron” ($2,500) categories of invites.

Boston Globe

Sick threefer: Reading and Framingham schools hit by racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic incidents

As Reading officials deal with a rash of swastikas and racist graffiti popping up in the town schools, as reported by the Globe’s Cristela Guerra, Framingham school officials have launched an investigation after a 10-year-old Muslim student received hateful and threatening letters in a storage bin, reports Zane Razzaqat MetroWest Daily News.

Despite the grinches on Beacon Hill, retailers looking forward to a merry holiday sales season

In an opinion piece at MassLive, Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, celebrates the 100th anniversary of his business group’s founding, while taking some swipes at policy makers on Beacon Hill for not doing enough to help retailers. Hurst and Gov. Charlie Baker today are expected to unveil holiday sales projections for Massachusetts this year, while the National Retail Federation has announced it is expecting robust 4.8 percent growth, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton at the Telegram.

No word from Healey on calls for new archdiocese investigation

Attorney General Maura Healey has yet to respond to calls from grassroots groups for fresh investigations into the payroll records of state’s Catholic archdioceses for signs they were knowingly moving around priests who were accused of sexual abuse, Mike Deehan reports at WGBH. A Healey spokesperson says the AG’s office will reach out to the groups for more information on what they are seeking. 

Btw: At last count, there are at least 13 other states with active investigations into clergy sexual abuse cases across the country, according to NBC News. Just pointing it out.


Brookline rejects ban on secrecy clauses in harassment and discrimination settlement cases

Brockton’s recent antics may serve as Exhibit A on why Brookline voters may end up regretting this move. From Paul Singer at WGBH: “The Brookline town meeting defeated a proposal Tuesday night to do away with secrecy provisions in settlements of racial or sexual harassment claims again the town. The town has settled four cases in the past two years, at a total cost of more than $700,000, but town officials argued that the settlements and the privacy provisions prevent extended and potentially much more costly litigation.”


Brutalist City Hall: Fifty years later, it’s still the object of scorn and praise

Boston’s “Brutalist” City Hill, still referred to by some as the “new” city hall, celebrates its 50th birthday this year – and Edgar B. Herwick III at WGBH notes that there’s still a great divide between those who think it’s just plug ugly and those who think it’s a masterpiece. We happen to like the building. Not a lot. But we like it. The real problem is the plaza.


Nova senior executive producer placed on leave

Not many details. But here’s what WGBH’s Emily Rooney has so far: “WGBH’s Beat the Press has learned that Paula Apsell, the longtime senior executive producer of NOVA and head of the WGBH Science Unit, has been placed on leave.  … The move came several weeks ago and while there is speculation in the building as to why Apsell was placed on leave, we were unable to confirm the reasons. We do know her departure was not voluntary.”


For the homeless, Western Massachusetts is not so bucolic

The recent takeover of the Greenfield Town Common by homeless people merely reflected a growing problem of homelessness throughout western Massachusetts, from Pittsfield to Springfield, reports Linda Enerson at CommonWealth magazine.


Kenmore Square’s Citgo sign gets landmark designation from commission

The Boston Landmark Commission has unanimously approved the designation of the Citgo sign in Kenmore Square as a protected landmark – and now it’s up to Mayor Marty Walsh and the city council to make it official, according to a report at WBUR.


Spilka undergoes minor foot surgery

Senate President Spilka is already up and around after undergoing minor foot surgery earlier this week, though she’s apparently no fan of the boot she has to wear. SHNS’s Matt Murphy has the details.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

2018 Distinguished Real Estate Awards Gala

Join NAIOP Massachusetts for the 2018 Distinguished Real Estate Awards Gala as we honor Related Beal for their achievements in real estate, charitable activities and community betterment. David Begelfer will be honored with this year’s Edward H. Linde Public Service Award in recognition of his 27 years of service to NAIOP.

NAIOP Massachusetts


On November 17, TEDxBeaconStreet will return to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum for a second year! Some of the most inspiring minds and speakers in the world will come to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum for the final day of TEDxBeaconStreet.


2018 Newman Civic Fellows National Conference

The Newman Civic Fellows National Conference is an annual conference exclusively for current Newman Civic Fellows that provides opportunities for networking, collaboration, and shared learning among Fellows. Only members of the 2018 Newman Civic Fellowship cohort may attend the 2018 Newman Civic Fellows National Conference.

Campus Compact

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Epiphany School’s Early Learning Center

Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Martin J. Walsh, among other state and city officials and guests, will join the Epiphany School to celebrate the opening of its innovative Early Learning Center (ELC) for infants, toddlers, and their families. Epiphany partners with low-income families to help them get on their feet and provides long-term support for their children through college and beyond.

Epiphany School

Today’s Headlines


Northeastern says faculty seeking to unionize are ineligible – WBUR

Parents, civil rights leaders want school closures delayed – Boston Globe


Charlton Planning board hears safety, security plans, concerns for proposed marijuana farm – Telegram & Gazette

Mashpee tribe rallies supporters for march on Capitol Hill – Cape Cod Times

Framingham grants two-year license to bike share company Zagster – MetroWest Daily News


Pelosi faces daunting challenge in speaker’s bid as Democratic foes stand firm – Washington Post

Helipads and airport lounges: The perks cities offered for Amazon’s HQ2 – NBC News

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