Happening Today

National Day of Mourning, Baker to state funeral, DiMasi on the air

— On a National Day of Mourning for late President George H.W. Bush, federal offices, courts and some banks will be closed; the U.S. Postal Service will suspend regular mail deliveries; and the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will suspend trading.

— Gov. Charlie Baker travels to Washington, D.C. to attend the state funeral service for former President George H.W. Bush.

— Members of the House and Senate Ways and Means committees and the Executive Office of Administration and Finance are set to hold their annual consensus revenue hearing to start the process of putting together a new fiscal 2020 budget, Gardner Auditorium, 10 a.m.

— Students from Conservatory Lab Charter School give a holiday concert at the State House, Grand Staircase, 10:30 a.m.

Providers’ Council and University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute present a new report focusing on the Massachusetts community-based human services workforce, with a panel discussion with Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta, Sen. Eric Lesser, report author Christina Citino of the Donahue Institute and others, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., First Floor, Boston, 12:15 p.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez and Sen. John Keenan tour the ongoing renovations to Wollaston Station, 98 Woodbine Street, Quincy, 1:30 p.m.

— The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education holds a public hearing to hear from community members on the final application for the proposed Equity Lab Charter School, Lawrence Public Library, Sargent Auditorium, 51 Lawrence St., Lawrence, 4 p.m.

— Prior to the 14th annual Massachusetts Conference of Women, the summit hosts an opening night event, featuring speaking programs from author Elizabeth Gilbert, comedian Franchesca Ramsey and gymnast Aly Raisman, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St, Boston, 5 p.m.

— The Pioneer Institute, as part of its Lovett Peters Lecture Series, hosts experimental psychologist Steven Pinker at an event celebrating the institute’s 30th anniversary, Hyatt Regency, One Avenue de Lafayette, Boston, 6 p.m.

— Former House Speaker Sal DiMasi appears on Jim Braude’s ‘Greater Boston’ in the former North End Democrat’s first sit-down interview since his ‘compassionate release’ from federal prison, WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 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

Report: Deval Patrick to announce he’s not running for president

He said he would make a decision after the midterm elections – and that’s what he’s doing, apparently. From Stephanie Saul at the New York Times: “Deval Patrick, the former two-term Democratic governor of Massachusetts, plans to announce shortly that he will not run for president in 2020, according to a person close to Patrick. Patrick had been discussing a possible run with associates and had been traveling around the country to support Democratic candidates in the midterm elections. But he had also expressed some reluctance about a possible presidential run, telling David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, that he wasn’t sure there was a place for him. “

Gee, we can’t imagine who that “person close to Patrick” might be. Perhaps the first person named in the story after Patrick, the same person who was a consultant to Patrick’s first gubernatorial campaign in 2006? Just guessing.

In any event, we’re disappointed by the decision. Patrick would have contributed a more optimistic, positive tone to a presidential campaign that’s already shaping up to be about as shrill as you can get.

Btw: Beto O’Rourke, who’s pondering a 2020 presidential bid, recently met with former President Obama, reports the Washington Post.


Of course, early polls might have played a role in Patrick’s decision. Will they for Warren?

Recent polls have shown that Deval Patrick barely registered as a potential candidate for president. The same can, almost, be said for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who continues to lag far behind other potential Democratic candidates for president in surveys. Shannon Young at MassLive has the latest poll numbers, this time from Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies and The Harris Poll. Only four percent? Yikes.


Bennett stepping down as Baker’s public safety director

Amid ongoing scandals at State Police, Daniel Bennett, Gov. Charlie Baker’s public safety secretary, is stepping down and will be replaced by Thomas Turco, the state’s commissioner of the Department of Correction, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive and Matt Stout and Danny McDonald at the Globe. The departure of Bennett, a veteran prosecutor, marks the first major change in Baker’s cabinet since Baker won re-election last month, as the Globe notes. But it also comes amid nearly non-stop State Police scandals that became an issue in the recent gubernatorial race. So make of the move what you will.

National Grid gets pounded on Beacon Hill as DeLeo blasts ‘unconscionable’ treatment of workers

It wasn’t a good day on Beacon Hill yesterday for National Grid, as the utility took a pounding from Dem lawmakers upset by its continued lock out of more than 1,200 workers and as legislators moved on several fronts to make the utility literally pay for its actions against union members. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine has the details.

But what caught our attention was House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s particularly harsh words, as reported by SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall), about large companies’ “reckless” and “unconscionable” behavior towards workers in general. DeLeo’s real target, obviously, was National Grid, leaving one to wonder if the utility now thinks its actions are worth the political price it’s paying.


Is it right to judge a judge accused of helping an immigrant escape ICE?

We’ve quickly reached the debate-it-into-the-ground stage of FleeGate, i.e. the controversy over the murky actions of a Newton judge who sure looks like she played some sort of role in allowing an immigrant defendant to escape an ICE agent sitting in her courtroom.In an editorial, the Globe argues Judge Shelley A. Joseph shouldn’t sit on criminal cases as a grand jury investigates her alleged actions. But in a Globe opinion piece, Nancy Gernter, a former federal judge and Harvard Law professor, says the judge and others had good cause to be concerned about the imminent deportation of the undocumented immigrant. The Globe’s Adrian Walker writes that Gov. Charlie Baker and others are wrong to conclude, without all the evidence in, that Joseph is guilty of obstructing justice. The Herald’s Howie Carr is using the incident, it appears, as an opportunity to blast all judges.

Finally, Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive reports the courts have not changed Joseph’s assignment, despite Baker’s call that she be suspended.

As Herald editor expands his authority, Globe plans DC hires to counter Washington Post poaching

Two stories this morning impacting our two-newspaper town, both via UH: 1.) Herald editor Joe Sciacca is now editorial head honcho of all of Digital First Media’s newspapers in New England and upstate New York, reports the Lowell Sun. 2.) The Boston Globe is looking to hire a new bureau chief and two to three reporters in Washington, after repeated poaching of Globe talent by the Washington Post, reports Politico. “The Globe’s search signals that the paper remains committed to the Washington bureau,” according to Politico.

OK, here’s a third item: Joe Sciacca’s announcement on the Herald’s new website redesign, which, after a rough first morning, actually looks pretty sharp.

Warren supports union efforts at western Massachusetts publications

In other newspaper news: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has thrown her support behind efforts by employees to form unions at the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Valley Advocate and Amherst Bulletin, reports Jim Kinney at MassLive.


Medical examiner: Former Sen. Brian Joyce died of barbiturate overdose

The state’s medical examiner has determined that former state Sen. Brian Joyce, who was facing federal corruption charges, died from an overdose of a barbiturate drug that’s typically used to treat insomnia, reports Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine and Matt Stout at the Globe.

The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter goes a few gruesome steps further: The drug is also used to “euthanize pets and execute convicts.” The medical examiner’s office made clear that the manner of Joyce’s death is officially “undetermined,” meaning it can’t say if it was the result of suicide, an accident or homicide. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has more.

Springfield council pay raises: ‘When it smells bad, sometimes it is bad’

Springfield seems to be producing its share of political news these days, the latest being the city council’s late-night vote to raise members’ pay by 51 percent. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds, since the pay increases from $19,500 to $29,500. But when a pay hike is done against the recommendations of a board, over the objections of the mayor and during late-night proceedings, all hell can break loose. MassLive’s Peter Goonan has the details.


Without capitalism, Kennedy would be tending bar in the South End

Columnist Peter Lukas at the Sentinel & Enterprise isn’t impressed with U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy’s recent call for “moral capitalism,” saying Kennedy still benefits from the wealth created by his capitalist great grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. Which is true. But even Old Joe, via his work at the Securities and Exchange Commission, sought to tame capitalism – and his efforts largely worked. The issue is not capitalism vs. non-capitalism. It’s what type of capitalism we want.

Sentinel & Enterprise

Attorney withdraws from representing Fall River mayor, who moves back in with his parents

One of the high-powered criminal lawyers representing indicted Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia has withdrawn from the case and the mayor himself has apparently moved back into his parents’ home, the Herald News reports, citing a court filing. 

Herald News

RIP, President Bush and Judge Tauro, both champions of disability rights

Media critic Dan Kennedy pays tribute to “two giants in fighting for the dignity of people with disabilities” – the late President George H. W. Bush and the late U.S. Judge Joseph Tauro. Most of you know about the former, but the latter was also hugely influential in championing local disability rights, as the Globe’s Bryan Marquard explained the other day.

Dan Kennedy

Number of Mass. children without health insurance rises

For the first time in years, the number of children in the Bay State without health insurance rose in 2017 to 20,000, about 5,000 more than the year before, Christian Wade reports at the Newburyport Daily News. Advocates call the reversal—which knocked Massachusetts from the top spot nationally in terms of covered children—a “troubling sign” and say Trump administration-related disruptions to the health care and immigration landscapes may be to blame. 

Daily News

Farewell – and good riddance

SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports on the traditional farewell speeches of lawmakers who won’t be serving next term on Beacon Hill – and how some, including state Rep. Cory Atkins, used the occasion to bash House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s centralized leadership style. 

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Cariddi continues to give back to district long after her death

Former state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi may have passed away in 2017 but she continues to provide for her former district, Adam Shanks reports at the Berkshire Eagle. On Tuesday, officials revealed a $210,000 donation for the long-term upkeep of a bike trail connecting Adams and Williamstown, funds that come on top of earlier donations from her estate to the North Adams Public Library and a local high school.

Berkshire Eagle

The cup runneth over: State tax receipts now running nearly a half billion dollars over projections

More good news on the state fiscal front. From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “State tax collections five months into fiscal 2019 are running nearly half a billion dollars over benchmarks, fueled by $1.86 billion in November receipts. Tax revenues eclipsed the November benchmark by $61 million, and have exceeded the fiscal year-to-date benchmark by $423 million.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Boston’s pot rollout rumble

Boston’s imminent roll out of new pot shops has gotten a little bumpy. Isaiah Thompson at WGBH and Dan Adams at the Globe report on concerns by some councilors about the lack of diversity among would-be pot purveyors – and the Walsh administration’s response to the mounting criticism of the city’s marijuana licensing process.

Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez and Trahan: Proud outsiders

The Globe’s Nestor Ramos is praising the outsider trio of Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Lori Trahan for staking out political ground that “doesn’t sound much like the bend-over-backwards-for-bipartisanship, please-sir-may-I-have-another Democrats who might as well have Republican footprints tattooed on their necks.”

Boston Globe

Historical Commission may delay Kraft Group’s bid to demolish historic Foxboro home

The Foxboro Historical Commission is considering slapping a six-month demolition delay on a 215-year-old home the Kraft Group—owners of the New England Patriots—wants to tear down, Jim Hand reports at the Sun Chronicle. The Krafts have not disclosed what they want to do with the land underneath the Amos Morse house, but say keeping the decaying structure upright has become a challenge. 

Sun Chronicle

It’s war: Business groups mobilize against Wu’s work-schedule proposals

It’s no longer a looming showdown. It’s now outright war between business groups and City Councilor Michelle Wu, who’s pushing for tougher work-place scheduling rules for hundreds of city contractors and their employees, reports the Globe’s Jon Chesto.

Can new taxes actually change housing market behavior?

Saraya Wintersmith at WGBH has a good story about the various tax ideas floating around City Hall to address the affordable housing problem in Boston, including a tax on high-end condos and an “anti-speculation” tax. Joan Youngman, a senior fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, makes an interesting distinction: “Taxes are generally best designed to raise revenue and not to influence markets. It’s very difficult to predict how any specific tax will influence markets.”

In other words, a luxury condo tax, if it’s intended to raise money for affordable housing, would probably work as designed. An anti-speculation tax, whatever shape that would take, probably wouldn’t work as designed.


Brigham doctors and others rally against proposed ‘public charge’ immigration policy

From Miriam Wasser at WBUR: “Wearing white lab coats and holding signs that read “Protect Immigrant Families” and “Healthcare is a Human Right,” about 150 doctors and other Brigham Health employees rallied Tuesday   in Boston against a proposed change to a federal immigration policy. The policy, known as the ‘public charge’ rule, allows immigration officials to consider whether a person would be dependent on the government before granting a green card, visa renewal or other change in legal status.”


Patience wearing thin on second day of Berkshire transit strike

From Haven Orecchio-Egresitz at the Berkshire Eagle: “On the second day of a drivers strike, the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority ran a limited bus schedule Tuesday, and patience ran thin among riders who rely on the service. Around 10 a.m. at the Intermodal Transportation Center on Columbus Avenue, men and women trying to make their way to the Berkshire Crossing shopping center were finding it difficult.”

Berkshire Eagle

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

Author Talk and Book Signing with Dick Lehr

Author Talk and Book Signing with Dick Lehr, author of the new novel Trell.

State Library of Massachusetts

Today’s Headlines


Marty Walsh defends DA Rachael Rollins transition team – Boston Herald

Boston City Council questions Walsh administration over marijuana licensing – Boston Globe


Complaints against Ware town manager prompt investigation by selectmen – MassLive

Worcester property assessments rise by nearly 6 percent – Worcester Business Journal

Bourne residents want ‘seat at the table’ on Cape bridge changes – Cape Cod Times

Lawrence police: Sex tape may lead to charges – Eagle-Tribune


Senators: Saudi crown Prince was behind killing of Jamal Kashoggi – NPR

NYC sets minimum wage for Uber, Lyft drivers – The Hill

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