Happening Today

‘Black Excellence,’ MBTA meeting, David Cameron in Boston

— Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus hosts a ‘Black Excellence on the Hill’ event, with numerous current and past lawmakers expected to be attend, including caucus chairman Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Karen Spilka, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, Great Hall, 11 a.m.

— Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development holds a public event where attendees can present testimony on draft regulations for paid family and medical leave, MassHires Career Center, 255 Essex St., Lawrence, 11 a.m.

— The MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board meets to discuss agency reports, the Better Bus program and the Capital Investment Plan, State Transportation Building, Transportation Board Room, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg attends the CFA Society of Boston’s 33rd annual market dinner, which will feature special guest David Cameron, the former prime minister of Britain; the location of the downtown Boston event is not listed for security reasons, 5:30 p.m.

— MBTA officials host a community meeting to offer information about the Better Bus Project and Automated Fare Collection 2.0, Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building, Community Room 200, 2300 Washington 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.

Today’s Stories

‘The Dynasty rolls on’

As the Patriots get ready for their Tuesday Duck Boat parade following their latest Super Bowl win last night, Ian O’Connor at ESPN pronounces: “It’s time to appreciate this Patriots dynasty as the greatest in sports.” We still believe the Russell-era Celts and NY Yankees of old can lay legitimate claim to such a distinction. But it’s nice to see the national media finally acknowledging a Patriots dynasty exists at all.

Re last night’s huge win, some random stores that caught our attention — From Christopher Gasper at the Globe: “If this was it for Rob Gronkowski, he went out in a big way.” … From Bill Speros at the Herald: “Julian Edelman delivers MVP performance.” … And Chad Finn at the Globe has 13 thoughts on the Pats’ hard-fought win triumph …. Fyi: Mayor Marty Walsh said what before leaving for Atlanta the other day? The Globe’s Milton Valencia has the details. And, yes, Gov. Baker and his Swampscott pals attended the game, reports SHNS (pay wall). And, yes, Bob Kraft had nice things to say about Donald Trump before the game, reports the Herald’s Joe Dwinell.

Warren apologizes to Cherokee Nation for DNA test

As U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren gets ready to possibly/likely announce her official candidacy for president this weekend in Lawrence (Globe), the senior senator from Massachusetts remains bogged down in a now old controversy that just won’t go away, i.e. her past claims of Native-American heritage. Warren on Friday apologized to the Cherokee Nation for her handling of a DNA test that she had hoped would put an end to the controversy – and clearly didn’t. The New York Times and the Globe’s Elizabeth Goodwin and Jess Bidgood have the details.

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Hillary Chabot and the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld both say Warren’s apology is too little, too late.

Warren isn’t the only Dem issuing apologies these days …

It seems most Democratic candidates for president, not just Elizabeth Warren, are apologizing for something or other these days – Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, etc. The NYT has the details.

Of course, the most recent Dem apology of all apologies came from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who apologized on Friday for appearing in a “clearly racist and offensive” costume in his 1984 medical school yearbook – and then he effectively withdrew the apology by saying he wasn’t the man in the photo. The NYT reports he’s now fighting for his political life. Meanwhile, Sean Philip Cotter at the Herald reports local Dems are calling for Northam to resign. 


They’re back: Auto mechanics coalition launches six-figure ‘right to repair’ ad campaign

They fought over a similar issue a few years back – and now they’re back big time. From SHNS (pay wall): “A coalition of auto repair and parts shops launched a six-figure radio and digital advertising campaign on Monday to build support for an update to the right to repair law, warning of wireless automotive technology advancements that could once again threaten the livelihoods of independent mechanics.”

Meanwhile, ‘Need to Impeach’ launches campaign to pressure Neal on Trump

He’s the type of fanatic Nancy Pelosi is trying to keep at arm’s length. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “Billionaire businessman Tom Steyer’s campaign to remove President Donald Trump from office will land in Springfield this week where ‘Need to Impeach’ will begin a two-week ad campaign designed to organize Congressman Richard Neal’s constituents behind the immediate impeachment of Trump.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Jury: Springfield was ‘deliberately indifferent to civil rights of citizens’

George Graham and Peter Goonan at MassLive dive into the fine-print of a federal jury’s decision last week that found a Springfield police officer used excessive force and committed assault and battery on a man – and the jury went further, much further, accusing the city of being “deliberately indifferent to the civil rights of its citizens through a policy or custom of inadequately supervising or disciplining its police officers.”


Charter school accused of faking application letters drops bid

Never mind. The proposed Lawrence charter school whose founder was accused of crafting fake letters of support from community organizations has withdrawn its application, Keith Eddings reports at the Eagle-Tribune. Frank DeVito asked the state’s education commissioner to shelve the proposal for Equity Lab Charter School on Friday, days after the newspaper questioned the authenticity of the school’s letters of support. 

Eagle Tribune

Struggling Hampshire College limits number of incoming freshmen this fall

Over the objections of students, alumni and faculty members, Hampshire College, which recently announced it’s open to a possible merger in order to survive, has decided it won’t admit a full freshmen class this coming fall, in a move some see as a step towards eventual closure. Jim Kinney at MassLive and Laura Krantzat the Globe have the details.

Meanwhile, Michael Damiano at Boston Magazine has a big piece on how the financial woes at Hampshire and other small colleges could transform New England’s higher-education landscape in coming years.

Convicted child rapist seeks to serve on sex-offender board, saying he’s ‘uniquely qualified’

Jim Russell at MassLive reports that Joel Pentlarge, a convicted child rapist and former conservation and zoning board member in Ware, is seeking appointment to a new committee that’s been formed in response to complaints that there are too many sex offenders in town. In a letter to the town manager, Pentlarge says he’s “uniquely qualified” for the post and his appointment would “ensure that this committee fairly represents and considers the views and concerns of all members of the Ware Community.”

We’re sure his application will get the proper consideration that it deserves.


Meanwhile, child-care industry braces for stricter background checks of workers

We suppose this is sort of related to the post above. The Globe’s Kay Lazar reports the new state and federal laws requiring stricter background checks of child-care employees could force out thousands of workers who have prior criminal offenses and make life more difficult for child-care operators who are already facing an acute labor shortage.

Baker’s ‘Orwellian’ drug pricing policy

The Pioneer Institute’s William S. Smith writes at CommonWealth magazine that Gov. Charlie Baker’s Medicaid drug-pricing proposal has some “promising” ideas in it, but there’s “one terrible provision,” i.e. the part that would allow law enforcement agencies to get involved if the state doesn’t like the prices offered by companies. “To refer a company to law enforcement authorities because you disagree with their pricing is nothing less than the criminalization of a policy dispute,” he writes.


Dueling chicken ordinances in Chelmsford

We’re still trying to figure out the socio-economic forces that led to the recent outbreak of Green Acres Syndrome, i.e. the current craze of raising chickens in suburban backyards. In Chelmsford, they’re also trying to figure things out, with two dueling chicken ordinances on the agenda at tonight’s Special Town Meeting, reports Alana Melanson at the Lowell Sun.

Lowell Sun

Inspector General: Methuen officials likely broke laws by approving ridiculous police contract

And they also defied any and all fiscal common sense. From Kiera Blessing at the Eagle-Tribune: “Following an investigation, the state inspector general’s office has found that former Methuen mayor Stephen Zanni and the former City Council likely broke state and local law when they approved the controversial police contract that has roiled the city since the middle of last year. In a statement released Friday, the office recommended that the City Council take steps to “rescind” its prior vote on the contract, contact the State Ethics Commission and consult with legal counsel.”

Eagle Tribune

The marijuana black market: Still alive and well in Massachusetts

It all comes down to price, convenience and good old-fashioned shopping habits. From Naomi Martin at the Globe: “More than two years after Massachusetts voters legalized marijuana, the illegal market remains stubbornly robust: Some 75 percent of the pot sold in the state this year will be under the table. The major impediment has been the achingly slow rollout of licensed pot shops, and at the current rate it could take another three years or more before enough stores are open to make an appreciable dent in the black market.”

Boston Globe

Statewide election spending fell last year by 20 percent

We missed this story from the other day. From the Associated Press at WBUR: “Candidates for statewide office in Massachusetts spent $26.4 million during the last election cycle, a big number but 20 percent less than what was spent by statewide candidates four years ago. That’s according to figures released by the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.” When you get right down to it, there weren’t any hotly contested statewide elections last year and so …


McGovern: Trump’s border wall is ‘immoral’

From Tori Bedford at WGBH: “Congressman Jim McGovern criticized President Trump’s insistence on the construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the proposal is ‘immoral’ and would ultimately take away from infrastructure needs in individual states, including Massachusetts.”

The Weld candidacy: ‘Not that either party is clamoring to draft him’

The Globe’s Adrian Walker writes about the “long, strange trip” that Bill Weld’s political career has become — and he predicts the former Massachusetts governor will end up as political “roadkill” if he runs for president in 2020.

Boston Globe

Mandatory solar panels on new buildings: Only a matter of time for Massachusetts?

The city of Watertown recently passed a new ordinance that requires solar panels on most new commercial buildings, a mandate other communities are mulling and one that may eventually apply to buildings statewide, if backers have their way. Craig LeMoult at WBUR has the details.


Can someone please explain why Seth Moulton keeps popping up in N.H.?

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton was in New Hampshire again this past weekend – and once again said he was there because he was invited. He declined to discuss if it might – just might — be tied to a possible run for president in 2020. The Globe’s James Pindell attempts to clear up matters – and, admirably, admits he can’t.

Boston Globe

Warren calls for ban on U.S. nuclear first strike

This, obviously, has to be seen, partly, through the context of her run for president in the Democratic primary. From a report at WBUR: “U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to make sure the United States never uses nuclear weapons first. The Massachusetts Democrat has introduced a bill with Democratic U.S. Rep. Adam Smith of Washington that would make it the official policy of the United States not to use nuclear weapons first.”


He’s not going away: Scott Lively mulling run for Congress or governor

In its Political Notebook column, the MetroWest Daily News, via SHNS, reports that conservative firebrand Scott Lively, who earned 36 percent of the vote in last year’s GOP gubernatorial primary, hasn’t ruled out running for governor again – or maybe he’ll run for Congress.

MetroWest Daily News

State won’t block reinstatement of firearm licenses

From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “In a reversal, Governor Charlie Baker’s administration has told local police chiefs it will not block the court-ordered reinstatement of certain firearm licenses, opening up a new front in a legal fight that could touch hundreds of prospective gun owners.

Baker gets a warm welcome at Boston mosque

Isaiah Thompson at WGBH reports on Gov. Charlie Baker’s visit on Friday to the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, becoming the first sitting Republican governor to visit a mosque in Massachusetts. Fyi: We’ve recently written, based on media reports, that Baker’s visit to the mosque was the first by any sitting governor. Not true. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, visited a mosque when he was governor.


Wynn says it will meet June opening date for Everett casino

Even as the state Gaming Commission mulls the future of Wynn Resorts’ license to operate the Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett, the gaming company’s CEO is seeking to reassure investors that the $2 billion project remains on track to open on time in June, Jon Chesto reports at the Globe. 

Boston Globe

Bay State likely waiting a while to recover tolls from Connecticut drivers

An effort by Gov. Charlie Baker to recoup $5 million worth of unpaid tolls owed by Connecticut drivers may have to wait until the Nutmeg State decides whether to start collecting tolls of its own, Susan Haigh at the Associated Press reports. Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont could propose a toll plan in his budget later this month, which could open the door to a reciprocal toll-collection agreement between the two states. 

Boston Herald

Congressional Roundtable with Rep. Stephen Lynch

Please join the New England Council for a Congressional Roundtable with U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch. The Congressman is serving his 10th term representing Massachusetts’ 8th Congressional District.

The New England Council

Boston College Chief Executives Club luncheon – Featuring Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Founder Martha Stewart will be the featured speaker at the Boston College Chief Executives Club luncheon on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston. The luncheon will begin at noon with the program starting at 1:00 p.m.

The TJX Companies

Author Talk and Book Signing with Linda F. Nathan

Author Talk and Book Signing with Linda F. Nathan, Author of: When Grit Isn’t Enough: A High School Principal Examines How Poverty and Inequality Thwart the College-for-All Promise

State Library of Massachusetts

Politics & Eggs with the Honorable John Delaney

Please join the the New England Council and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics for Politics & Eggs with The Honorable John Delaney. Mr. Delaney is a former member of Congress having represented Maryland’s sixth Congressional District. He was the first announced Democratic candidate for President in the 2020 election.

The New England Council

“How Does Cambridge Engage?” Opening Conversation & Annual Meeting

What does this story of everyday people in Cambridge and Boston, who took collective action to stop top-down highway projects, and envision a different future for themselves have to teach us today? What collective memory of this time lives on, and where does it live?

Cambridge Historical Society

Power Breakfast: Health Care

Boston Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


Starbucks launches mobile delivery in Boston – Boston Business Journal

Wynn CEO reassures investors Everett casino will open on time – Boston Globe


Kennedy supports social security expansion and taxes to pay for it – Sun Chronicle

Housing at Northsore Mall moves forward – Salem News

McGovern vows not to accept corporate money – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Dueling chicken articles top Chelmsford warrant – Lowell Sun


Trump won’t commit to making Mueller report public – New York Times

Denver voters to weigh decriminalization of magic mushrooms – NBC News

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