Baker in D.C., Lowell’s new quarter and more
— St. Francis House hosts an advocacy and informational breakfast for lawmakers to meet former guests and board members, Nurses Hall, 9:30 a.m.
— Gaming Commission meets to set the agendas for future meetings, with new Chair Cathy Judd-Stein attending, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.
— Department of Mental Health hosts its annual Metro Boston Area Citizens Legislative Breakfast, with Sen. Nick Collins and Rep. Liz Miranda sponsoring the event, Great Hall, State House, 10 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker will speak at a U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee hearing on climate change in Washington, 1324 House Office Building, Washington, 10 a.m.
— The U.S. Mint launches its Lowell National Historical Park Quarter, part of the America the Beautiful Quarters program, with Marc Landry, the agency’s acting associate director for the numismatic and bullion directorate, Lowell City Manager Eileen Donoghue, UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney and park superintendent Celeste Bernardo attending, Lowell Memorial Auditorium, 50 East Merrimack St., Lowell, 10 a.m.
— The Oral Health Caucus and Health Care For All will host a discussion about oral health integration, with Sen. Harriette Chandler, Rep. Kevin Honan and Dr. Charles Steinberg, president of the Pawtucket Red Sox, expected to attend, State House, Room 222, 10 a.m.
— Sen. Michael Moore and Rep. Tackey Chan host a breakfast briefing with Massachusetts Association for Community Action, Room 428, 10:30 a.m.
— Governor’s Council meets on the governor’s nomination of Michael Doherty as clerk magistrate of the Western Division Housing Court, followed by a second hearing, chaired by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, on the governor’s nomination of attorney Jeffrey Clifford as a Quincy District Court judge, Council Chamber, with hearings starting at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m., respectively.
— UMass Boston students, staff, faculty and allies rally outside the West Garage, part of a daylong parking boycott and picket organized by the Coalition to Save UMB in protest of new higher parking fees, West Garage, UMass Boston, University Drive West, Boston, 12 p.m.
— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg chairs a meeting of the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust’s board, One Center Plaza, Suite 430, Boston, 1:30 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.
Warren hit with another ‘American Indian’ disclosure, apologizes for all past claims
Days before she’s expected to formally announce her bid for president, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been hit with another disclosure over her past claims of Native-American heritage, this one via the Washington Post, which reports Warren listed herself as an “American Indian” on her Texas state bar application in 1986. Warren is now apologizing for ever claiming Native-American heritage, not just for her botched DNA test last year, the Post reports.
The latest heritage flap comes less than a week after Warren apologized to the Cherokee Nation for, well, it’s not quite clear what she apologize for last Friday, though it was tied to the whole heritage mess, as the Globe’s Jess Bidgood reports. The Herald’s Joe Dwinell has more on the ongoing controversy that Warren simply can’t escape and, needless to say, the Herald’s Howie Carr is all over the issue. Btw: It’s not high on her political priority list, but a Kentucky MAGA youth is threatening to sue Warren and others for libel. The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky explains.
State’s financial hole grows to $400M
Not good. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Sentinel & Enterprise: “Despite continued economic growth, state government fell into an even deeper financial hole in January when tax collections missed their target by $195 million leaving state finance officials staring at a $403 million gap more than half-way through the budget year.”
Baker to call for new federal emission targets
From the Globe’s Jess Bidgood: “Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is set on Wednesday to call for the federal government to take significant action to respond to the threat of climate change, marking a sharp contrast with his party’s orthodoxy on the issue. Baker, a Republican, is scheduled to testify on the issue before the House Committee on Natural Resources, which is holding its first hearing on climate change since 2009 as a part of an effort by Democrats to bring the issue to the fore now that they control the House.”
SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) has more on Baker’s expected call for federal emission targets.
Walsh to the rescue: Mayor stops on I-93 for motorist whose car burst into flames
From Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin: “On the way home after the Patriots parade (Tuesday) evening, Mayor Walsh spotted a car on fire on the Expressway. The Boston Fire Department reports his Hizzona stayed with the driver until firefighters could arrive to douse the flames.”
And UH adds: “Anybody remember the time there was a fire in the Pru tower and Ray Flynn ran up the stairs towards it?” UH readers most definitely do – and provide the details.
Parking ‘strike’ at UMass-Boston
The fee does sound more than a little steep for what’s still a largely commuter college. From Sarah Batencourt at CommonWealth magazine: “Students, staff, and faculty at UMass Boston say they plan to hold a ‘parking strike’ on Wednesday, urging people not to park at campus garages and lots where charges have increased from $6 to $15 a day. … The students and faculty say the higher rates are being used to offset the cost of debt associated with the construction of a new $69.3 million eight-level parking garage.”
Starbuck’s Howard Schultz in Cambridge: ‘I’m not deterred’
More from the 2020 front, from the Globe’s Michael Levenson: “Howard Schultz, the billionaire former chief executive of Starbucks, defended himself Tuesday against the blistering criticism he has received from Democrats who say he will help reelect President Trump if he runs as an independent for president in 2020. ‘I’m not deterred by it,’ Schultz.”
Weld’s long-shot bid for president: It will be long over before it even starts
Former Gov. William Weld may have rejoined the Republican Party and he may soon announce he’s challenging President Trump in the GOP primary, but the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes that his potential candidacy is probably going nowhere fast in New Hampshire.
‘Bernie, we hardly knew ye’
While the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes Bill Weld’s political obituary before Weld even declares for president, the Lowell Sun’s Peter Lucas is all but doing the same for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, arguing that the Vermont senator’s socialist views are now common coin in the Democratic Party, rendering Sanders a political has-been.
Lawrence mayor to state: Scram
It’s not exactly ‘drop dead,’ but Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera is making it clear he’s ready for the state overseers who have been keeping a close eye and tight controls over the city’s financial house for the past nine years to pack their bags. In his state of the city address, Rivera said balanced budgets and restored reserve funds prove the fiscal oversight is no longer needed, Keith Eddings reports at the Eagle-Tribune.
‘Rise of the Robot Reporter’
This is the most talked about – and emailed – story in the journalism world today, i.e. Jaclyn Peiser’s piece in the NYT on the “Rise of the Robot Reporter” at Bloomberg News and other news organizations. Yes, automatically written news stories. No belly-aching and sarcastic human contributions required. The Times has examples of the automated stories.
But can a new state commission save us from robots?
With robots knocking at the journalism gate, this from SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Lowell Sun: “At a time when acquisitions of local papers by international chains and waves of mass layoffs mean the news industry itself is often making headlines, a state lawmaker has offered up a plan she hopes will ‘sound the alarm.’ Rep. Lori Ehrlich, a Marblehead Democrat, filed a bill that would create a 17-member commission to study ‘communities underserved by local journalism,’ including ‘the adequacy of press coverage,’ effects of social media, print and digital business models, and ‘public policy solutions to improve the sustainability of local press business models and private and nonprofit solutions.’”
It’s obviously a well-intentioned bill, but you have to wonder how much government can and, most importantly, should do to help a profession that takes pride in its constitutional independence from government.
John S. Driscoll, long-time Globe editor, RIP
Speaking of journalism, via Bryan Marquard at the Globe: “John S. Driscoll, who took over leading the newsroom of The Boston Globe at a time of turmoil and guided the paper for nearly seven years with a sure, steady hand, died Tuesday. He was 84 and had lived in Rye, N.H., in retirement.”
The Big Wait: State Police crash probes plagued by long delays
The Globe’s Shelley Murphy and Matt Rocheleau report on how State Police investigations into serious car crashes – sometimes crashes involving fellow police officers – take much longer to complete than crash probes in other states. In some cases, the investigations can take years.
As if on cue, Jeanette DeForge at MassLive reports that State Police, after a six-month investigation, have finally released a redacted report that shows Chicopee Police Chief William Jebb was cited for a marked lanes violation after crashing his motorcycle in July on an Interstate 391 off ramp. There was no explanation on why the finding took so long, DeForge reports.
The system works: Ride-hail drivers fail background checks in large numbers
Still on the general subject of cars and drivers, from Christian Wade at the Salem News: “More than 15 percent of potential ride-hail drivers last year — more than 30,000 applicants – were rejected for failing a state criminal screening despite having passed checks by Uber and Lyft, according to state regulators. The rejected applicants were too young, had criminal backgrounds or had problems with their driving records, according the state Department of Public Utilities.”
Lawsuit magnets: Legislators file student loan bills despite almost guaranteed legal challenges
The Globe’s Matt Stout reports that lawmakers on Beacon Hill have filed all sorts of bills related to regulating student loans – and they all have one characteristic in common, besides dealing with student loans: They’re likely to draw lawsuits if passed. He explains.
As goes Newton, so goes the nation when it comes to anti-Israel bias in schools?
Sean Savage at the Jewish News Syndicate reports on the increasing concern by some that the anti-Israel bias in Newton schools, as many see it, may be spreading far and wide. “What’s happening in Newton schools is part of a trend in public schools nationwide,” says Miriam Elman, a professor of political science at Syracuse University and the new executive director of the Academic Engagement Network “Not only does anti-Israel hostility on college campuses influence the next generation of high school teachers, but these high school teachers are in turn sending kids up to college with a misinformed view of Israel.”
Lawmakers will get full stipends for committee assignments not even assigned yet
As the wait for legislative committee assignments on Beacon Hill stretches into a second month, SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports that Treasurer Deborah Goldberg’s office is confirming lawmakers will indeed get full financial stipends for chairing committees, once they get their committee assignments.
SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)
No single-payer litmus test, please
Scot Lehigh at the Globe writes that Democratic voters need their collective heads examined if they make support for “Medicare for All” a new litmus test for Dem presidential candidates. He does note that, to her credit, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been “more skillful in her calculated ambiguity” toward the issue, but that’s not saying much.
So when is a drug dealer not a drug dealer? The SJC will decide
Deborah Becker at WBUR and Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine review the case that went before the Supreme Judicial Court earlier this week about what, legally, constitutes being a “drug dealer” In Massachusetts. It sounds simple, i.e. someone who sells illegal drugs to others. But what if it’s someone buying heroin on behalf of a friend who later dies of an overdose? Not so simple.
‘Remembering Rosa Parks’
This is a more than appropriate gesture. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan at WGBH: “MBTA buses are rolling into Black History Month bearing a new tribute to Rosa Parks. In keeping with a law signed last month, the buses are now sporting red decals that say ‘Remembering Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott” and feature a photo of Parks.’”
There’s always a 40B back-up plan
Nearly 1,000 voters packed a special town meeting in Seekonk and overwhelmingly rejected a plan to rezone property long occupied by a shuttered movie theater — but it might not matter. As Stephen Peterson at the Sun Chronicle reports, developer Charles Tapalian has already shifted focus to a 40B affordable housing project that will enable him to skirt local zoning entirely.
Author of text offering drugs to cop is off to jail
Seems about right. The North Adams man who made headlines because he mistakenly texted a police officer to arrange a drug deal has been sentenced to more than two years in prison, Patrick Johnson reports at MassLive. Christopher Letalien pleaded guilty to a drug possession charge in connection with his arrest in December, shortly after he sent a text to an officer offering to sell Ritalin at $20 per pill.
When it rained it poured in 2018 …
From Benjamin Swasey at WBUR: “About 61 inches of rain fell on Massachusetts in 2018, the wettest year on record for the state, with 3 feet falling in the second half of the year. The 2018 mark was more than 16 inches above Massachusetts’ 20th-century average, continuing the slight upward trend in the state’s annual average precipitation.” Bottom line: It wasn’t a good year to have a leaky roof – which one of us did and still do, near the chimney, of course.
Ex-Quincy school board member and state GOP official disbarred
From Joe DeFazio at the Patriot Ledger: “A former Quincy school committee member and state Republican party official charged with stealing money from an elderly client at her now-closed law firm has been disbarred. Christine M. Cedrone was prohibited from practicing law after submitting an affidavit of resignation to the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County, which has jurisdiction over disciplinary proceedings for lawyers in Massachusetts.”
Bobcats bouncing back in New England
Thanks to conservation efforts, bobcats are making a comeback across New England – and more than a few biologists want to learn a lot more about the mysterious critters, reports Patrick Skahill at WBUR.
Martha’s Vineyard town wants help overseeing tribe’s bingo hall
Officials in the tiny Martha’s Vineyard town of Aquinnah want a regional commission to help it oversee the bingo hall being planned by the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, Ethan Genter reports at the Cape Cod Times. Selectmen have reached out to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for help now that the Supreme Court has cleared the way for the tribe to open the bingo operation in a former community center.
‘Sorry, but Tom Brady isn’t the GOAT. Bill Russell is’
If you haven’t gotten your fill yet of Patriots victory parade news, definitely check out these Globe’s photos showing just how large the crowds were yesterday in Boston. There’s more photos at Boston Magazine. What a glorious day.
But Boston wouldn’t be Boston without some sort of debate to disrupt the collective peace and happiness – so here’s a Peter May column at WBUR arguing that, with all due respect to No. 12, Bill Russell remains our local and national GOAT. Eleven championships in 13 years. That’s hard to argue with, you gotta admit.
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.
“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?
Power Breakfast: Health Care
Boston’s first Chick-Fil-A wins board approval – Universal Hub
Howard Schultz defends himself during visit to Cambridge – Boston Globe
Worcester city council told youth violence reduction plan showing results – Telegram & Gazette
Holy Cross sit-in ends after meeting between students and administration – Worcester Magazine
Weymouth mayor ends bid to keep police chief past age 65 – Patriot Ledger
State: Vineyard Wind can seek local permits for cable – Cape Cod Times
Beto O’Rourke to make 2020 decision by end of February – New York Times
Trump calls for unity–on his terms – Politico
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