Happening Today

WCVB disaster fundraiser, Farewell speeches, National Grid lockout hearing

WCVB Channel 5 hosts an all-day fundraising effort, ‘Relief Fund 5: Explosion Recovery,’ to help raise money for those impacted by the Merrimack Valley gas line disaster, WCVB Channel 5, starting this morning.

— The Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School hosts the multi-day 2018 Bipartisan Program for newly elected members of Congress, 79 John F. Kennedy St, Cambridge, starting this morning.

— Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch participate in the Siemens Healthineers Manufacturing Facility ribbon cutting ceremony, 333 Coney Street, Walpole, 9:30 a.m.

Boston City Council’s Committee on Small Business and Consumer Affairs holds a public hearing to discuss the city’s application and licensing process for marijuana businesses, Iannella Chamber, Fifth Floor, City Hall, Boston, 10 a.m.

— Physicians, researchers and employees rally against the federal government’s ‘public charge’ proposal and discuss implications for hospital patients and staff as well as immigrant families, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Fish Rotunda (15 Francis St. lobby, 10:30 a.m.

— Lawmakers who won’t be joining their colleagues for the start of the 191st General Court on Jan. 2 will give farewell remarks on Beacon Hill, House Chamber, 12 p.m.

— ACLU of Massachusetts executive director Carol Rose talks about Boston Police Commissioner William Gross’ recent Facebook comments about the ACLU and other issues, WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m.

— Lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy holds the first of two hearings scheduled in December on natural gas issues and National Grid’s lockout of gas workers, Hearing Room A-1, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, First Lady Lauren Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco Ureña, Massachusetts National Guard Adjutant General Gary Keefe, Retired Brigadier General Tom Sellars and Sen. Mike Rush honor military families at the Massachusetts Gold Star Family Tree Dedication, Memorial Hall, 2:30 p.m.

— U.S. Rep.-elect Ayanna Pressley joins Dr. Paul Farmer of the Center for Popular Democracy for a press conference to discuss the ‘urgent need for a bold, progressive policy agenda in the upcoming Congress,’ Harvard Kennedy School, 79 John F. Kennedy St, Cambridge, 5 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, First Lady Lauren Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito host the State House tree lighting, Grand Staircase, 5 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

Flee bargain, Part II: Baker calls for suspension of judge he appointed amid immigrant-release probe

This is getting very interesting. From the Boston Globe: “In a rare move that exposed a widening split over how to handle undocumented immigrants accused of crimes, Governor Charlie Baker called on court officials Monday to remove a Newton District Court judge from presiding over criminal cases while a federal grand jury investigates whether she helped a defendant evade federal immigration officials. ‘I don’t believe she should be hearing criminal cases until that federal case is resolved,’ Baker said, referring to Judge Shelley M. Joseph. ‘Look, judges are not supposed to be in the business of obstructing justice.’”

Btw: Baker appointed Shelley to the court just last year. SHNS’s Colin Young at the Milford Daily News has more.

Boston Globe

Despite veto threat, Springfield council moves ‘Welcoming City’ ordinance forward

Speaking of immigration matters: After two hours of contentious debate, the Springfield City Council again endorsed a ‘Welcoming City’ ordinance (i.e. the new preferred phrase by some for the apparently damaged-goods “sanctuary city” label) that would limit how much information local law enforcement shares with federal immigration officials, Peter Goonan reports at MassLive. The ordinance requires one more vote from the council before it heads to Mayor Domenic Sarno, who has vowed to veto the measure. 


Political newsflash: Red Sox accept invitation to White House

The Globe’s Peter Abraham has the jaw-dropping news: “The World Series champion Red Sox have accepted an invitation to visit the White House, team president Sam Kennedy said Monday night. No date has been set. It could be in February, March or April.”  

No one will be forced to attend the celebration hosted by THAT man, the team stresses.

UMass’ new football coach vaults into ranks of top-paid state employees

More from the politics-of-sports front: Florida State offensive coordinator Walt Bell will become the next head football coach at UMass Amherst, the school announced Monday and with a salary of $625,000 annually—a pay cut from what he’s currently making despite the promotion—he will likely find himself among the top-15 highest paid state employees. Josh Walfish reports on the signing at the Daily Hampshire Gazette.  


Super dilemma: How to get a majority to pass an anti-super-majority housing bill?

The Globe’s Tim Logan reports that Gov. Charlie Baker’s housing bill – which, among other things, would let towns change zoning laws via a simple majority vote, instead of a super-majority vote – is effectively stuck in limbo on Beacon Hill amid strong opposition by cities and towns. There’s hope – just hope – that the legislation might move forward during informal sessions at the State House. We’ll see. Btw: SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) reports that Baker’s top legislative priorities moving ahead are housing, the opioid crisis and climate change.

From bad to worse: Tribe’s financial backer reports substantial loss

The bad news just keeps coming for the Wampanoag Tribe. Last week, a judge granted the Interior Department more time to respond to a lawsuit questioning the tribe’s status and now comes word from Tanner Sterling at the Cape Cod Times that the tribe’s financial backers for its would-be Taunton casino project is taking a $440 million “impairment loss” on promissory notes issued by the Wampanoags. 

Cape Cod Times

Merrimack Valley disaster: The case of the missing plumbers

Believe it or not, about 95 percent of those affected by the September gas-line explosions and fires in the Merrimack Valley have now, according to the Eagle-Tribune, finally had their natural-gas meters hooked up.

And the earlier than expected restoration of service (the latest goal was completing work by Christmas) is apparently the result of employing “Plan B,” i.e. hiring more plumbers to help hook up gas lines to homes and business that lost service after September’s gas-line disaster. And that leads to the questions: Why weren’t more plumbers hired sooner? Why did so many people go so long without heat and other gas-line services? The Globe Milton Valencia has more on the missing-plumbers angle.

Btw: The Eagle-Tribune’s Zoe Mathews reports Columbia Gas is now closing a temporary trailer park established for those who couldn’t find housing over the past few months.

Healey tells Natick, Plympton and Rochester to quit stalling on pot shops

Attorney General Maura Healey’s office has rejected an extension of pot-shop moratoriums in Natick, Plympton, and Rochester, effectively forcing the towns to start accepting applications for pot businesses and telling them to stop trying to “kick the can down the road,” as the Globe’s Dan Adams puts it.

Boston Globe

‘Pot-shop proposals are popping up like daisies across Boston’

Speaking of pot shops, Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin tracks all the planned community hearings for proposed retail weed shops in Boston – and there are a lot of them in the planning stages in Mattapan, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain and East Boston. The City Council is also planning a hearing today on the general subject (see Happening Today above).

Meanwhile, East Boston has become the “latest in a growing list of neighborhoods pushing back against proposals to bring pot shops onto their streets,” reports Brooks Sutherland at the Herald. In an editorial, the Globe makes clear its view: ‘Boston should stop dragging its feet on marijuana shops.’

Universal Hub

Leicester police chief to other towns opening marijuana shops: Don’t panic

One more pot-shop item: Leicester Police Chief James J. Hurley is getting calls from officials in other towns who are bracing for the same traffic “onslaught” endured by Leicester when a new pot shop opened there last month. “We always say, ‘Plan for the worst and hope for the best,’” Hurley said. “We got the worst.” Eli Sherman at MetroWest Daily News has more.

MetroWest Daily News

The ghost of Willie Horton still haunts Dukakis

As the nation mourns the passing of former President George H.W. Bush, there’s no escaping the local fact that the controversial Willie Horton case still haunts former Gov. Michael Dukakis and Bush’s own legacy. The Globe’s Joan Vennochi explains.

Btw: We assume a lot of Dems are sort of hoping this is true, via the Globe’s Larry Edelman: ‘The economy cost George H.W. Bush a second term. Will the same happen to Trump?’

Elizabeth Warren’s own version of ‘moral capitalism’

U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III has grabbed a lot of attention by his recent call for a new “moral capitalism.” But NYT columnist David Leonhardt gives U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren a major plug for her own moral-capitalist proposal regarding “shared governance” on corporate boards, similar to a system in Germany.


Rollins aide vows to grill future prosecutors on ‘what it means to be a gangster’

More evidence that things are going to change in the Suffolk County District Attorney office come January. The Herald’s Joe Dwinell reports that DA-elect Rachael Rollins is standing by a transition team member’s social-media assertion that assistant prosecutors will be grilled on their views on “what it means to be a gangster” in Boston. We didn’t know there was a dispute over this. But there apparently is.

Boston Herald

After losing Wonderland, Suffolk Downs, NECCO and Amazon HQ2, Revere realizes it’s time for an economic master plan

Better late than never, Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo has decided it’s time his city embarks on its first comprehensive economic development plan in 50 years, after a long string of job-killing setbacks, reports the Globe’s Jon Chesto. Fyi: In case you haven’t noticed, Revere is one of those places in an almost permanent state of undergoing an “economic renaissance” that never really blossoms into a renaissance.

Soaring success: Bald eagle population rebounds in Massachusetts, thanks to state restoration efforts

They were extinct in Massachusetts just over a hundred years ago, but the bald-eagle population has come soaring back, to today’s 76 nests, thanks to a concerted restoration effort that was launched upon discovery of a lone winter nest in the Quabbin Reservoir area in the early 1980s. SHNS’s Colin Young at Wicked Local has the gratifying news.

Wicked Local

Baker defends stripping gun owners of licenses

We assume this isn’t playing well with large segments of the Republican base in Massachusetts. From Matt Stout at the Globe: “Governor Charlie Baker on Monday defended his administration’s role in a legal battle over firearm licenses, arguing the state was required to tell local police chiefs that hundreds of people should have their permits revoked at the urging of federal officials.”

Boston Globe

Marty Walsh gets everything: Western Mass. business leaders blast DOT’s ‘disrespect’ over I-91 viaduct

That spoiled brat Marty Walsh gets anything he wants in Boston. And what does western Massachusetts get? Disrespect! And western Massachusetts business officials are sick of it, at least as it applies to a proposed I-91 viaduct project. Jim Kinney at MassLive has the details.


Face it: Mexico City has a thing a thing or two to teach Boston about mass transit

At the Globe, Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs, and Quincy Miller, vice chair and president of Eastern Bank, say Mexico City’s solution to its traffic woes could be our solution, if we put our minds to it: A rapid bus transit system.

Boston Globe

Free at last: Rep. DiZoglio savors ‘sense of freedom’ as she moves to Senate

State Rep. Diana DiZoglio can’t wait to jump to the Senate from the House, where she says the “centralized power” and “very top-down style” of a certain speaker (i.e. Robert DeLeo) is stifling. SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Lowell Sun has more on her freedom-trail journey.

Lowell Sun

Greek unity: Harvard women join men in opposing university’s single-gender club policies

From Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine: “A new chapter in the controversy over  the school’s influential (and as some have argued, sexual assault-ridden) all-male groups opened on Monday, when a pair of lawsuits took aim at a policy designed to gut them. Joining those Harvard guys in the legal battle? Harvard women. Four sororities and two fraternities, along with three unnamed student plaintiffs, are joining forces in a state and a federal lawsuit, arguing that a policy that punishes students who participate in single-gender groups is unconstitutional.”

Boston Magazine

Lesser on the future of work: Transferring benefits from job to job, training accounts for workers and more

After attending a national conference on the “future of work,” state Sen. Eric Lesser of Longmeadow is all full of ideas on how to improve the lives of workers – such as being able to transfer benefits from job to job, training accounts for individual workers etc. – and he plans to file bills based on some of those ideas on Beacon Hill. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has the details.


Taps for 100-year-old veteran who played taps for so many others

We missed this story from last week by Geoff Spillane at the Cape Cod Times on the death of Albert Madden, 100, a World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veteran who for years played taps at military funerals for others – and who last week finally had taps played for him at a sad funeral and burial service at Massachusetts National Cemetery.

Cape Cod Times

Report: Time to change community college funding formula

From Ellie French at the BBJ: “Massachusetts’ community colleges are some of the most poorly funded in the country, but a new report suggests that a funding formula is the solution to ensure adequate money keeps flowing.”

BBJ (pay wall)

Last month’s news today!

In case you plan to click your way over to the Boston Herald’s website anytime soon, a small warning: The paper’s normally dysfunctional website was even more dysfunctional this morning, as it switches over to a new design and format. They seem to have cleared matters up a bit, after initially running sometimes weeks old stories. But we did appreciate learning that Cambridge’s Ben Affleck and ex-wife Jennifer Garner spent Thanksgiving together. We missed that story. Bottom line: She’s too good for him.

From Boston to Yorktown: Tales of the National Trails

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the National Trails Act of 1968, Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown, and other panelists explore key events at historic sites featured in National Historic Trails and National Recreation Trails.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

NAIOP Annual Holiday Party

Join NAIOP for an evening filled with holiday cheer, entertainment and networking at the NAIOP Annual Holiday Party, presented by the NAIOP Developing Leaders and open to all ages.

NAIOP Massachusetts

#RunforIt: Practical Tips for Political Beginners

So you’re thinking about running for office, but where do you start? Hear from door-knocking and handshaking experts on how to be successful.

Net Impact Boston

Getting to the Point with John Kerry

68th U.S. Secretary of State, United States Senator and author John Kerry will participate in a wide-ranging moderated conversation at the Institute. Secretary Kerry will discuss his recent memoir, Every Day is Extra, reflect on the current challenges facing our nation, and offer insights on the major milestones from his 50 years in public service and what lessons they offer today.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Questioning U.S.-Saudi Alliance: Yemen and the Politics of Famine

In this panel discussion, we will be joined by experts on U.S.-Saudi relations, our questionable alliance, the terrible consequences the war has had on civilians in Yemen, our own impact by creating weapons and selling them to Saudi Arabia, and how we should stop this and other disastrous human rights abuses in the future.

Massachusetts Peace Action: Next Gen

Today’s Headlines


Boston should stop dragging its feet on marijuana shops – Boston Globe

Toppling of Menorah in Cambridge Common seen by mayor as part of ‘pattern of hatred’ – Cambridge Day


Reporting error may have inflated North Adams violent crime stats – Berkshire Eagle

Lynn’s budget gap is projected as more than $5 million for FY 20 – Lynn Item

Global trade war has had limited impact in MetroWest – Worcester Business Journal

Hate speech popping up in Attleboro – Sun Chronicle


Trump hails Roger Stone’s ‘guts’ at start of dangerous Russia week – Politico

CIA Director Haspel to brief key senators behind closed doors about Kashoggi killing – Washington Post

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