MBTA Control Board, Board of Education, and more
The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board will hold a meeting to discuss the updates on budgets, the Green Line Extension project, commuter rail performance and other topics, Transportation Board Room, 2nd Floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker meets with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and House Minority Leader Brad Jones, Speaker’s Office, Room 356, 2 p.m.
— State Auditor Suzanne Bump tours the Boys and Girls Club of Brockton, 233 Warren Ave., Brockton, 3 p.m.
— Board of Elementary and Secondary Education holds a special meeting to present a preview of the redesigned school and district report cards that will be published later this month, 75 Pleasant St., Malden, 5 p.m.
— Boston Planning and Development Agency holds a public meeting to discuss the development proposal for MassDOT Air Rights Parcel 12, a plot by the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street, which has been disrupted by the TurnpikeHynes Convention Center, Room 101, 900 Boylston St., Boston, 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.
R.I. governor to propose pot legalization ‘with reluctance’
State by state, the pot holdouts are folding. From Tom Mooney at the Providence Journal: “Facing the ‘inevitable’ prospect of being encircled by states that have legalized recreational marijuana, Gov. Gina Raimondo will propose this week that Rhode Island do the same. ‘I will say, I do this with reluctance,’ she told The Journal last week. ‘I have resisted this for the four years I’ve been governor. … Now, however, things have changed, mainly because all of our neighbors are moving forward” with legalization.’”
Boston is doomed: Time to sound climate-change retreat, head to the ‘uplands,’ regroup in Worcester
At CommonWealth magazine, architects Peter Papesch, Franziska Amacher and A. Vernon Woodworth say it’s time to admit climate-change defeat and start planning “our retreat into the uplands,” i.e. a full-scale migratory shift away from Boston and the seashore in general. The biggest potential economic winners in all this: Worcester and New Hampshire, if we’re reading this dire assessment right.
Poaching progressives in N.H.
The Globe’s Liz Goodwin and James Pindell have a good story on how U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the first big-name Dem to announce she’s running for president, spent the weekend in New Hampshire effectively trying to poach progressive votes away from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and other left-wing presidential wannabes. Bernie, the progressive darling of 2016, is definitely vulnerable to poaching, report the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, another lesser-known Dem candidate, former Obama cabinet member Julian Castro, has thrown his hat into the presidential ring, reports the AP at WGBH. MassLive’s Shannon Young, btw, has more on Warren’s weekend swing through New Hampshire.
Trump’s last stand? President tweets away about Warren, the Bighorn, Wounded Knee and …
Perhaps he’s feeling embattled and lonely in the White House. Perhaps he’s trying to deflect attention from other pressing matters. Whatever the reason, President Trump turned to old reliable last night, tweeting once again about “Pocahontas” and, as an added bonus, the “Bighorn” and “Wounded Knee” and … it just keeps getting stranger than strange. The Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss has the details on the president’s latest late-night tweet against a certain senior senator from Massachusetts.
Bail trends under scrutiny as new panel eyes reforms
From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “More than a year after the state’s high court ruled judges setting bail must consider a defendant’s ability to pay, state officials are embarking on an examination of the bail system in Massachusetts that will consider measures including potential impacts of eliminating cash bail.”
Baker vetoes ban on flame-retardant chemicals
This one isn’t going away. From the Associated Press at NBC Boston: “Gov. Charlie Baker has pocket vetoed a bill that would ban flame retardant chemicals from being used in a variety of household products. In a letter sent to lawmakers on Friday, the Republican governor said while he supports the legislation’s goal of eliminating the toxic chemicals, he cannot sign the measure in its present form.”
Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive has more on the governor’s veto of the bill, which was supported by consumer groups and firefighters.
Meanwhile, Baker administration approves air permits for controversial Weymouth gas compressor
Speaking of a controversial action by the governor on Friday, from SHNS Michael Norton at Wicked Local: “In a decision blasted by South Shore lawmakers as reckless, irresponsible, and dangerous, Governor Charlie Baker’s administration on Friday approved air quality permits for a natural gas compressor station in Weymouth, with state environmental regulators concluding the Enbridge Energy project conforms with air pollution regulations.”
The administration’s decision didn’t stop more protests over the weekend against the proposed compressor, as Audrey Cooney reports at Wicked Local.
Spilka to keep distance from sports-betting debate due to son’s job with DraftKings
The Globe’s Matt Stout reports that Senate President Karen Spilka, whose son works at DraftKings as a a “workplace experience” manager, is planning to stay away from any future sports-betting legislation tied directly to her son’s employer, assuming there is sport-betting legislation on Beacon Hill this session.
Speaking of sports gambling, the operator of Suffolk Downs is planning to submit legislation this week at the State House that would allow it to run horse races at the Great Barrington Fairgrounds while keeping simulcasting rights in Boston, reports the Globe’s Jon Chesto.
Did you know they once tried to blame the Great Molasses Flood on terrorists?
Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine talks with Stephen Puleo, author of the ‘Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919,’ about some of the lesser-known facts tied to the city’s strangest disaster, including how the owner of the flimsy molasses tank that burst under pressure 100 years ago initially tried to blame the tragedy on anarchist terrorists. Fyi: Boston Magazine is going all out on the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Great Boston Molasses Flood, with a photo gallery of the shocking destruction caused by the flood, a timeline of the tragedy and other pieces.
Oxford CEO sues Treasury over inclusion on Russian oligarchs sanctions list
Valentin Gapontsev, founder and CEO of Oxford-based IPG Photonics, has sued the U.S. Treasury Department for listing him as a Russian oligarch, a designation he says could mean loss of government contracts and other income. Zachary Comeau reports at the Worcester Business Journal.Gapontsev was included on the sanctions list because his name appeared on a list of top Russian billionaires compiled by Forbes magazine, which has since removed him from that list because he lives in the U.S.
As subway and bus ridership fall, commuter rail’s passenger count is up 20 percent
From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Passenger traffic on the MBTA’s commuter rail system grew by more than 20 percent between 2012 and 2018, with nearly all lines posting increases, according to sources familiar with the data. At a time when subway and bus passenger counts are trending down, the uptick in commuter rail traffic is a positive sign for the MBTA. The data could trigger the purchase of additional passenger coaches.”
The commuter-rail ridership increase comes as transit officials grapple with how to improve service in areas where service is not all that reliable, as the Christian Wade reports at the Gloucester Times.
Globe cans top advertising exec who violated ‘safe, welcoming and comfortable’ work enviornment
Considering the Globe’s recent brushes with sexual harassment charges and controversies, this is raising some eyebrows: The paper has “cut ties” with a top ad executive who, while no details are available, apparently crossed a line when it comes to a “safe, welcoming, and comfortable working environment for all employees.” Make of it what you will. The Globe’s Mark Arsenault and the BBJ’s Don Seiffert (pay wall) have the details, or lack thereof.
Auto-buying tip for the homeless: Own a Subaru Forester, pitch a tent on top
And speaking of the Boston Globe, we had to check the print edition of the Sunday paper to see if they really did run this article, as Universal Hub claims, and, sure enough, there it was in the auto section (and posted on Boston.com): A car review that says if you’re ever evicted from your apartment because you can’t pay the rent, you can always own a 2019 Subaru Forester with a roof that can hold 700 pounds. “Knowing that you can pitch a tent on top of your car means you’ll never be homeless again.”
From UH’s Adam Gaffin: “Did nobody at the Globe actually read this before it got their publishing imprimatur?”
Shutdown showdown: Paycheck protest and other local worries
Federal workers last week protested in Boston over the federal government shutdown that’s now led to their not getting paid, with U.S. Sen. Ed Markey joining the protesters and accusing President Trump of using federal workers as “hostages” and “pawns” in a political game, reports the AP’s Alanna Durkin Richer at the Herald.
Meanwhile, Tori Bedford at WGBH reports that Mayor Marty Walsh is growing increasingly concerned about the shutdown’s impact on federal housing and public-health funds flowing to Boston. The Herald’s Jonathan Ng reports that the shutdown is starting to hit federal courthouses across the country. The Globe’s John Hilliard writes that local food banks plan to meet today to discuss their response if the shutdown dries up funds for food stamps, food banks and other services. And the Globe Yvonne Abraham is asking: Do you miss your government yet?
About those proposed taxes on real estate deals …
The Globe’s Milton Valencia and Tim Logan take a look at the new real estate taxes that city councilors have proposed to pay for more affordable housing and to curtail the “flipping” of properties, measures that are “part of a bold and controversial movement across the region to tax developers who have been profiting off of a historic building boom.”
As others have pointed out about these proposals, raising funds from real estate deals for specific purposes is one thing, but trying to influence the markets (i.e. anti-flipping) is an entirely different matter and probably doomed to failure.
Pressley puts her Dorchester condo on the market for $409K
She certainly can’t be accused of flipping her condo, since she’s owned the unit for more than ten years. Michael Jonas reports that U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley has put her small condo in the Ashmont section of Dorchester on the market, asking for $409,000 for a unit she purchased in 2008 for $237,500. The new congresswoman is seeking a larger home for her family in Boston, Jonas writes.
Speaking of Pressley, she held a second “community swear-in” at Roxbury Community College on Saturday for her local supporters who couldn’t make it to the capital earlier this month, reports Quincy Walters at WBUR.
The politics of booze on Beacon Hill
In an editorial, the Boston Globe argues it’s time Beacon Hill lawmakers treat city officials like grownups and allow them to issue liquor licenses as they see fit, rather than the mayor and others going hat in hand every year to the State House seeking permission to expand the number of establishments selling liquor in Boston.
The War on Nip Bottles: The Salem Front
Speaking of booze, the Salem City Council has voted unanimously to support a resolution calling on state leaders to add single-service liquor bottles –or nips — to the state’s bottle deposit law, Dustin Luca reports at the Salem News. The cities of Chelsea and Everett have implemented outright bans on nip bottles, though such bans are now being challenged by package store owners.
Sorry, but ranked-choice voting just won’t work in our ‘one-and-a-half-party state’
Paul Schlichtman, an Arlington Democrat, writes at CommonWealth magazine that talk of ranked-choice voting may be “fun and trendy,” but he questions if it would really work as designed in a state with such a weak Republican Party and so many uncontested elections.
Police officer resigns after vintage German Lugar is sold off to gun dealer
A Manchester-by-the-Sea police officer –who also served as the department’s firearms instructor – has resigned amid allegations that he sold a vintage German Lugar handgun that was supposed to be kept in police storage. The department learned of the $650 sale to a gun dealer after a resident recently went to the police station to retrieve the Lugar that had belonged to his father, reports NECN (with video). Wicked Local also has more.
Local authorities say they’re drowning in open arrest warrants
There are nearly 400,000 open arrest warrants on the books in Massachusetts–or about one for every 17 residents in the Bay State–a flood that’s stressing local law enforcement and reflects a national trend, Eli Sherman reports at the Enterprise. Police departments often lack the resources to track down subjects of such warrants, who are often detained only after being stopped by police for other reasons.
Urgent care centers are proliferating, but not in low-income areas where they’re most urgently needed
The Globe’s Liz Kowalczyk and Priyanka Dayal McCluskey report on the increasing number of walk-in medical clinics, or “urgent care centers,” across the state. But they’re not proliferating where they’re arguably needed most: Low-income areas.
Settling the tab: Cities and towns will get $1.1 million for early voting costs
Auditor Suzanne Bump has done the math and determined that the state should send $1.1 million to cities and towns to defray the costs of holding early voting during the 2018 midterm elections, the Associated Press reports via WBUR. With 584,000 voters submitting ballots before election day last year, that works out to about $2 per each early vote that was cast.
State’s anti-bullying law is not stopping the bullies
Following the recent suicide of a Lowell teen who was apparently bullied by other students, Rick Sobey at the Heraldreports on the rising suicide rate in general in Massachusetts – and suicides by teens in particular. Meanwhile, from Alexi Cohan at the Herald: “Nine years after the suicide of Phoebe Prince shocked legislators into action against school bullies, Massachusetts schools are failing to protect thousands of kids from their tormentors, with as many as 14,000 kids claiming they were bullied in a recent survey while just 2,000 cases a year are reported to the state.”
The Herald’s Joe Dwinell reports that more than 1,000 retired public workers each received $100,000 or more in pension pay last year, with one ex-worker topping off near $350,000, all them within a pension system requiring ever more taxpayer funds to keep it afloat. The Herald’s Howie Carr is going after UMass president Marty Meehan, who Howie says is in line for a $10,000 a week pension for life, by his calculation.
In Framingham, students not content with Columbus Day compromise
Just weeks after the Framingham School Committee voted to combine Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day on the district calendar, a group of students is leading a push to remove the explorer altogether. A petition being circulated by the Black Student Union will ask the city council to overrule the school board and wipe Columbus completely from the calendar.
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).
Faith and Justice in Society: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Perspectives
“Faith and Justice in Society: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Perspectives” will bring people from across Greater Boston together to learn about Jewish, Christian and Muslim perspectives on social justice from prominent religious leaders, deepening their awareness of our shared religious and social heritage.
Live Webinar: Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning
Join AIM on a Webinar led by experts from Wolf & Company who will discuss best practices for achieving and maintaining safety, security, and compliance in times of trouble. In addition to providing ample time for your questions, you will also hear first-hand from one of Wolf’s clients, Kurt Shouse, AVP, Information & Cybersecurity Officer Florence Bank, about his recent experiences.
Power Breakfast: Economic Outlook
Join the BBJ for a panel discussion looking into 2019!
Author Talk and Book Signing with Jim Hamilton
Author Talk and Book Signing with Jim Hamilton, Author of The Black Cats of Amherst
Executive Forum – The State of Massachusetts Business 2019
Join us on January 25 as AIM presents the 2019 State of Massachusetts Business address and Economic Outlook Forum. AIM President Rick Lord and a panel of experts will discuss solutions to one of the most persistent challenge facing employers today: the shortage of qualified workers.
Get New Insight and Practices for Boosting Revenues
Are you ready to infuse your product, marketing and sales efforts with fresh ideas that work? Past Summits have won rave reviews. Learn more and register at StrategicMarketingSummit.com
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