Happening Today

Wynn court hearing, Baker-Polito celebrations

— The Nevada judge who in November temporarily halted the release of findings from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by Steve Wynn will hear arguments on whether to continue to bar release of information, Las Vegas, Nevada, 9 a.m. PST, 12 p.m. EST

— Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito hold the first of two inaugural celebrations today, this first being in Springfield, Student Prince Cafe and Fort Restaurant, 8 Fort St., Springfield, 3 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito hold the second of two inaugural celebrations today, the second being in Worcester, Union Station, 2 Washington Sq., Worcester, 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

Rude shock: Durgin-Park to shut doors

This is arguably bigger than the Citgo-sign controversy and even the governor’s inauguration: The Boston Globe and NBC Boston and WBZ are reporting that Durgin-Park, the centuries-old Boston restaurant serving up Ye Olde Yankee fare and home to some of the rudest waitstaff the world has ever known, is closing on January 12.

Did Baker make education funding the top issue on Beacon Hill this session?

Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday officially began his second term as governor, after being sworn in at the State House amid traditional pomp and pageantry. In his wonkish and non-partisan way, Baker made clear that education funding, transportation, the opioids crisis and other issues will be his top second-term priorities, as Scott Brown at WBUR and Matt Stout and Victoria McGrane at the Globe report. Here’s the full transcript, via WBUR, of the governor’s inaugural address yesterday.

Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that it was Baker’s call to address school funding issues that may end up dominating Beacon Hill proceedings this coming session – and she’s probably right. With widespread calls (outside of suburbia) for changes in the state’s funding formula and with the prospect of lawsuits over the formula, education funding will indeed be a major and contentious issue moving forward, although that doesn’t mean there will be actual changes to the formula, considering past haves-versus-haves-not divisions on the issue 

Btw: In an editorial headlined “It’s a ‘Groundhog Day’ agenda on Beacon Hill,” the Globe takes swipes at both Baker and the legislature for past inaction on a number of issues, from education funding to health care spending. “The governor’s agenda, as outlined in his speech, is a sound one but also familiar,” the paper says.

About that two-year backlog of National Grid pipeline work …

The Globe’s Katie Johnston reports that National Grid workers are relieved that the utility’s six-month lockout of union employees may finally be over, but some are still nervous about what concessions their unions may have made to end the labor dispute.

Meanwhile, Callum Borchers at WBUR reports that real estate developers are also breathing a sigh of relief now that National Grid and unions have reached a tentative agreement to end the lockout. But now comes the next challenge: Getting to work on the estimated 2-year backlog of pipeline projects that were left hanging by the long labor dispute.

Why is the ghost of Hillary Clinton haunting Elizabeth Warren and not other candidates?

The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert has a piece on the gender double-standard that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is being subjected to these days, i.e. how she’s burdened with comparisons to Hillary Clinton while other candidates (read: males) are not. The Washington Post’s Annie Linskey and David Weigel have a similar double-standards story: “The women looking at White House campaigns continue to shoulder gendered criticism and demands not placed on their male counterparts: to be strong but not too tough, to be assertive without being pushy, lest voters turn away.”

Another thing is also pretty clear: Warren is milking the Hillary comparisons for all they’re worth, in videos and fund-raising emails.

Btw: This seems like such old news already, even though it happened only yesterday morning, but Donald Trump’s lobbed another insult yesterday at Warren. Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine has the details.

Uh oh: Regarding that ‘control-freak’ and ‘inauthentic’ Warren

Are they going to get you-know-what for writing the following? We’ll see. David Bernstein at WGBH writes that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren can be her own worst enemy sometimes, coming across as a calculating and carefully controlled pol. What she may need to do to win the Dem nomination for president is adapt the campaign playbook of John McCain, who threw out the political playbook to finally win the GOP nomination in 2008, he writes. There’s a mention of Hillary Clinton in the piece, but not in the context of ghosts.

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Michael Graham sees plenty of inauthenticity in Warren’s recent beer chugging video, similar to … Michael Dukakis riding in a tank in 1988, of course! He also mentions the John Kerry cheese-steak incident from 2004. Btw: They’re not too thrilled about Warren in New Hampshire, reports the Globe’s James Pindell.

Warren’s ‘pre-distribution’ vs Bernie’s ‘redistribution’ economic policies

One more Warren item: Steven K. Vogel has an interesting column at the NYT that looks at the ‘pre-distribution’ and ‘redistribution’ economic policies of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, respectively. He explains the differences. But basically it comes down to Warren favoring reforms of capitalism, versus Sanders favoring redistributing the fruits of capitalism – and Vogel thinks Warren has it right. Btw, from the New Yorker: ‘Don’t Underestimate Elizabeth Warren and Her Populist Message’


Pressley and Trahan make their first-day policy vows

Ayanna Pressley and Lori Trahan were officially sworn in yesterday as the newest members of the state’s Congressional delegation – and they made their immediate policy goals quite clear. Jacqueline Tempera at MassLive reports that Pressley is vowing to fight for stronger gun laws, while Shannon Young at MassLive reports Trahan is calling for an end to the federal government shutdown.

Kennedy valiantly falls 217 votes shorts of thwarting Pelosi’s bid for House speaker

The Globe’s James Pindell has a fun story about how U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III yesterday received exactly one vote – and it wasn’t his vote – for speaker of the U.S. House. And it wasn’t cast by U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton. So who did vote for Kennedy? Hint: Kennedy campaigned for him this past election.

Boston Globe

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: From BU Brat Pack Mashup to Congresswoman

To mark Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s swearing in as a member of Congress yesterday, Universal Hub has a video of Ocasio-Cortez dancing the day away on a Boston rooftop when she was a BU student in 2010. But it seems some people are using the video as a means to mock Ocasio-Cortez, prompting others to defend AOC, reports Steve Annear at the Globe. Watch the video yourself. We think it’s harmless, capturing a joie-de-vivre attitude of young students just having fun. What’s there to mock? Bonus video at UH: Ayanna Pressley reading from Maya Angelou’s “On the Pulse of the Morning” when she was a city councilor.

Up Up and Away: Here come the balloon bans

Banning plastic bags? That’s so 2018. The Cape town of Orleans is poised to join Nantucket and Chatham in banning “lighter than air” balloons from being sold or released in the community, Ethan Genter reports at the Cape Cod Times. Selectmen referred a proposed bylaw–complete with $50 fine for letting go of your helium balloon –to be studied ahead of spring town meeting. … OK, we couldn’t resist and neither can you: ‘Up Up and Away’ (YouTube).

Cape Cod Times

Fight looming over stoned-driving proposals

Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo are vowing to pass new laws targeting stoned drivers, after a state commission recommended tougher roadside actions against people driving while high on pot, reports the Herald. They may run into some troubles getting laws passed. The ACLU is expressing early concerns about stoned-driving proposals, reports Quincy Walters at WBUR.

‘Mitt Romney was for Donald Trump before he was against him’

OK, one more bash-the-Mitt-piñata item, from Eileen McNamara, who finds it hard to believe anyone is taking Mitt Romney seriously as he positions himself as a leader of the principled Republican opposition to President Trump. “Romney has been on both sides of so many issues in his career that inconsistency is his most dependable political trait,” she writes at WBUR. And she provides a long list of those inconsistencies.

But here’s a surprise: The Globe’s Scot Lehigh thinks Romney deserves credit for raising important points about Trump’s authoritarian-friendly foreign policy views.


Can Boston’s ‘new insiders’ change the city’s racist image?

With the rise of new African-American political and governmental stars like Ayanna Pressley, Rachael Rollins, Steve Tompkins and William Gross, David Bernstein at Boston Magazine explores whether Boston can finally start to lose its racist image. There are hopeful signs – but also discouraging signs, he writes.

Boston Magazine

Marking the 100th anniversary of the Great Molasses Flood

The 100th anniversary of the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 is coming up on January 15. It’s a sad and surreal event in Boston’s history and we’re sure we’ll be reading more about it in coming weeks. Getting an early start, the Boston Public Library has already scheduled a talk on the 15th with Stephen Puleo, author of ‘Dark Tide,’ reports Universal Hub, which has details on other planned events.

Universal Hub

Ex-councilor in Salem accused of forging deed to home

Former Salem city councilor and attorney Stephen Lovely says claims being made before the Board of Bar Overseers that he forged a deed to a multi-family home he acquired are politically motivated, Julie Manganis reports at the Salem News. In a response to the complaint, Lovely said he believes the inquiry was “prompted and perpetuated by political means in the city of Salem.”

Salem News

The great ‘what if’ of offshore wind

Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports that ISO New England, overseer of the region’s grid system, conducted a study to find out what would have happened to electricity prices last winter if a major offshore wind farm had been up and running. From Mohl: “The analysis indicates a working wind farm last winter would have reduced the region’s carbon dioxide emissions and wholesale electricity prices, but not enough to eliminate the impact of the region’s pipeline constraints.”

It’s actually an encouraging finding for offshore wind. No one said wind farms are the only solution. They’re just one of many solutions.


Northeastern and Nahant: Can’t they just get along?

Adam Reilly at WGBH reports on Nahant residents’ frosty response to Northeastern University’s plan to expand its Marine Science Center on the scenic coastal peninsula north of Boston. The main concern of residents: More traffic and more college students.


Tarr proposes monitors on future gas projects in Massachusetts

Speaking of energy, from Christian Wade at the Eagle-Tribune: “Natural gas companies would be required to have experienced technicians on job sites to monitor gas pressure in the lines during work, under a proposal filed Thursday. Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, filed the proposal in response to the gas fires and explosions that ripped through the Merrimack Valley four months ago.”


From domestic violence advocacy to beer, shutdown impacts grow

Nonprofit agencies that provide services to victims of domestic abuse are facing a funding crunch because of the federal government shutdown, Dustin Luca reports at the Gloucester Times. The Violence Against Women Act, which funds four employees at one Salem agency, expired just as the shutdown began.

Meanwhile, in a far less serious matter, Norman Miller at the MetroWest Daily News reports that Bay State breweries that ship their products out of state could face a financial pinch amid delays in having their labels approved for sale because the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is shuttered. 

Gloucester Times

Healey joins appeal of Texas ruling striking down Obamacare

From Kristin LaFratta at MassLive: “Obamacare was struck down by a federal judge in Texas last month, and now a nationwide coalition of attorneys general, including Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, want to appeal that decision. … On Thursday Healey joined a coalition of 17 attorneys general across the country to file a notice of appeal in federal court for the case Texas v. U.S.”


Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Senate President Karen Spilka, who talks with host Jon Keller about taxes, mental health reforms and other issues.  

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Jim Lowell, Adviser Investments’ chief investment officer, talks about prospects for the markets and the economy in 2019; Mike Volpe, Lola.com CEO, discusses his business travel company and a new partnership with American Express; and the Boston Globe’s Jon Chesto reviews the week’s top business stories.  

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. A repeat of a prior show featuring Stephen Kramer, CEO of Bright Horizons Family Solutions

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Senate President Karen Spilka, who speaks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: New Year, New You.

Roots of Migration: US Immigration Policy Past and Present

Join us this year as we present workshops on essentials issues in nonprofit management such as supervision, financial management, fundraising, communications, and more! We have trained more than 3,000 nonprofit professionals on the skills needed to take the lead in their work and their careers.

Better Nonprofit Management Training Series

2019 Leadership Institute

The goal of the NAIOP Massachusetts Leadership Institute is to develop the practical knowledge and leadership skills that are necessary to advance the careers of mid-level commercial real estate professionals with 10+ years of experience. This is a 12 week program (January 15 – April 4).

NAIOP Massachusetts

Power Breakfast: Economic Outlook

Join the BBJ for a panel discussion looking into 2019!

Boston Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


Developer proposes $9 milion transit-oriented housing project in Hyde Park – Boston Business Journal

A real warm mess: Talks, music, baked goods planned for 100th anniversary of the Great Molasses Flood – Universal Hub


All ages committee appointed in Swampscott, plans for more inclusive community – Lynn Item

Sentencing of Quincy con man postponed for 4th time – Patriot Ledger

Democrats back in charge of Barnstable County board – Cape Cod Times

Berkshire hospitals restricting visitors to stop spread of flu – Berkshire Eagle


Democrats won the House on Obamacare. Here’s how they plan to defend it – Politico

McConnell insists he has ‘no particular role’ in ending shutdown – CNN

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