Happening Today

Moulton on foreign policy, Steyer in Springfield, and more

— The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets, with plans to vote on new charter schools, the expansion request from Excel Academy and Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School request to amend their charter; and the Board will also discuss the Alma del Mar Charter School-New Bedford Partnership, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, starting at 8:30 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who has acknowledged he’s mulling a run for president, is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the Brookings Institution, Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.,Washington, D.C., 9:30 a.m. 

— Massachusetts Head Start Association holds advocacy day at the State House, with Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Patricia Haddad expected to speak, Grand Staircase, 10 a.m. 

National Cannabis Industry Association kicks off its third annual ‘Seed to Sale Show’ in Boston, Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St., Boston, 10 a.m.

— Sen. Harriette Chandler and Rep. Kimberly Ferguson sponsor Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts Annual Advocacy Day, Great Hall, 11 a.m. 

American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts executive director Carole Rose is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m. 

— Attorney General Maura Healey will deliver the keynote address and participate in a question and answer session at a monthly networking luncheon hosted by the Corridor Nine Area Chamber of Commerce Business Forward Females group, Marriott Courtyard Marlborough, 75 Felton St., Marlborough, 12:30 p.m. 

— The MassHousing board of directors meets, 1 Beacon St., Boston, 2 p.m. 

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh attends a Harm Reduction Commission Meeting, McCormack Building, 21st Floor, 1 Ashburton Pl., Boston, 3 p.m. 

Tom Steyer, who launched ‘Need to Impeach’ in October 2017, will host a town hall in Springfield to urge U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to act quickly to remove President Trump from office, Cedars Banquet Facility, 375 Island Pond Road, Springfield, 6:30 p.m.

— Sen. Becca Rausch, Reps. Michelle DuBois and Maria Robinson, and Quincy City Councilor Nina Liang will discuss their experiences in political life at the first in a series of events hosted by the Outreach Committee of the Mansfield Democratic Town Committee, National Black Doll Museum of History and Culture, 288 North Main St., Mansfield, 7:30 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. 

Today’s Stories

Storm closings, early dismissals and postponements …

With a winter storm expected to hit the region this afternoon, just in time for the evening commute, many schools have cancelled classes or plan early dismissals today. MassLive and the Globe have listings.

Meanwhile, the T is planning to add subway cars this afternoon to handle an expected crush of early-departure workers, reports MassLive. As for other scheduled events, such as those listed above in our Happening Today section, check in advance to make sure they’re still a go. Bottom line: Be careful out there today.

Tentative deal reached to avert federal shutdown

Let’s hope this sticks. From the Washington Post: “Key lawmakers announced a tentative deal late Monday that would avert another government shutdown at the end of the week while denying President Trump much of the money he’s sought to build new walls along the U.S.-Mexico border.”

Fyi: Gov. Charlie Baker, before last night’s agreement, had urged lawmakers in Washington to reach agreement to avert another shutdown that would only harm “regular people.” He added that the state was “better positioned” to deal with another shutdown if it happened, reports MassLive.

Washington Post

It’s official: We have the worst traffic in the nation

No mention of how we’re also the worst drivers in the nation. From the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro: “Gridlock during the peak of the morning and evening commutes was worse in Boston in 2018 than in any other major metropolitan area, even Los Angeles with its infamous traffic, according to a report from Inrix, a transportation data firm that publishes annual rankings of congestion around the world.”

Fyi: At his website, Mayor Marty Walsh reacts to the new report – and outlines all the steps the city is taking to relieve traffic congestion. Unless we’re mistaken, he seems to be throwing the state under the bus on some matters. You decide.

Boston Globe

The Pike’s coming mini-Big Digs

Speaking of transportation matters, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports on how state transportation officials are planning to handle a series of coming construction projects – including the planned 1000 Boylston Street residential tower over the Pike – in order to minimize, hopefully, expected Pike traffic congestion caused by all the construction.

Fyi: Mohl has a separate report on how the T, during last week’s mammoth Patriots victory celebration in Boston, had to throw open some fare gates to accommodate the crush of passengers trying to get onto trains. T officials said they were more concerned about public safety than collecting fares.


The state’s highway tunnels and bridge repairs bill: $1.6 billion

One last transportation-related post, from SHNS’s Chris Lisinski at the Lowell Sun: “The Metropolitan Highway System, a network of major bridges and tunnels in and around Boston, will likely need $1.6 billion in maintenance and upgrades over the next decade, according to a review presented to transportation officials Monday. ‘We have a big job ahead of us,’ said Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack.” A big job indeed.

Lowell Sun

More on the ‘likeability’ of female presidential candidates …

The Boston Globe has been pounding into the issue of gender double-standards faced by female candidates, such as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who are running for president. Now the NYT has its own report, which borders on an outright opinion piece at times, on the “likeability” and other gender double-standards faced by woman on the campaign trail.

Fyi: In an opinion piece at the Globe, Barbara Lee is cautiously optimistic that female candidates this year can overcome the double standards.


At Salem State, Moulton draws a crowd as he ponders White House bid

Speaking of presidential wannabes, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton held a student town hall at Salem State University Monday, an event transformed into a media crush by reports earlier in the day he was considering a run for president. Dustin Luca at the Salem News reports that the congressman was well-received by students and that at the behest of one student, Moulton signed a pledge promising not to take donations from the fossil fuel industry. 

Salem News

Restaurants seek to prune beer gardens run by brewery rivals

The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that state Sens. Ed Kennedy and Nick Collins have filed a bill that would limit the number of one-day licenses that bars could have to run outdoor beer gardens. So who’s behind this effort? The restaurant industry, which is none too happy about all the craft-brewery beer gardens that are popping up when the sun is out. Jon has the details.

Boston Globe

What do you get when you combine a former prosecutor, cop and state lawmaker? A pot shop dream team!

This is interesting. From Sean Philip Cotter at the Herald: “A former state rep, an ex-Suffolk County prosecutor and a former high-ranking Boston cop are teaming up to run a proposed pot shop in Allston. Former Suffolk County prosecutor Amy McNamee is listed as the CEO of Union Twist, a recreational and medical marijuana shop proposed for 259 Cambridge St. Former Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief Daniel Linskey is the security consultant and former state Rep. Marie St. Fleur (D-Boston from 1999-2011) is the chief operating officer. All three are listed as the company’s ‘founding team.’”

Boston Herald

Goldberg to huddle with lawmakers about DOJ ruling on online lottery games

From SHNS’s Colin Young: “While she is in the nation’s capital this week, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is planning to meet with members of the state’s congressional delegation to discuss how a Department of Justice ruling could affect her wish to see the Massachusetts Lottery begin selling products online. … In an opinion reached late last year and released publicly in January, the DOJ reversed a 2011 ruling that gave states legal cover to sell lottery products online.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Smith & Wesson rebuffs nuns, stands by Second Amendment

Take that, sisters. From Jim Kinney at MassLive: “The parent company of Smith & Wesson rebuffed a group of shareholding nuns who asked the company to do more to fight gun violence saying — in part — that its gun customers wouldn’t stand for it. ‘The Company’s reputation as a strong defender of the Second Amendment is not worth risking for a vague goal of improving the company’s reputation among non-customers or special interest groups with an anti-Second Amendment agenda,’ management at Springfield-based American Outdoor Brands Corporation wrote in a 20-page response issued Friday.”


Still a toddler: State’s marijuana industry needs more time to fully ‘mature,’ regulator says

Speaking of pot, the state’s emerging marijuana industry will take considerably more some before it reaches full ‘maturity,’ says Cannabis Control Commission chairman Steven Hoffman, as Shira Schoenberg reports at MassLive. Besides approving more retail pot stores across the state, regulators must still tackle thorny issues such as marijuana cafes and figuring out how to address drugged driving.

Fyi: The industry will be taking another baby step toward maturity tomorrow, with the planned opening of a new retail pot shop in Hudson, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton at Wicked Local.


What does the Herald’s owner really want from Gannett? Its real estate

The Washington Post has an interesting story about how Alden Global Capital, the bottom-feeder hedge fund that ultimately owns the Herald and other newspapers across the country, has a little-known subsidiary that has been quietly buying up real estate being unloaded by struggling newspapers across the country. It’s even purchased real estate from Gannet, the newspaper publisher that Alden reportedly wants to buy.

Washington Post

Committee assignments held hostage, Day 40

SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) reports that 40 days after lawmakers were sworn into office, there’s still no new legislative committee assignments coming out of the offices of Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo. They say be patient. The assignments are coming soon.

Though a ‘big fan’ of his former boss, Baker holds off on backing Weld for president

Gov. Charlie Baker, who once served in the administration of former Gov. Bill Weld, is not allowing himself to get dragged into 2020 presidential politics so early in the game, yesterday declining, politely so, to endorse Weld if he should indeed run for president as a Republican. “I’m a big fan of Bill Weld the person, but the decision he makes to run for office is very much his own,” Baker said, as reported by Shira Schoenberg at MassLive.

Btw: Unless we’re reading it wrong, it sure sounds like Baker doesn’t believe any GOP challenger can knock off President Trump.


Second and third thoughts on Marty Meehan’s ‘revolting’ salary at UMass …

Joseph Ramsey writes at WBUR that he was initially outraged after recently reading about UMass president Marty Meehan’s hefty six-figure pay package and the “revolting administrative salaries” of others at UMass. Then he had second thoughts about the salaries when he realized they were being used as cannon fodder against further funding of UMass. But he ends his piece with a third thought: His initial revulsion toward the salaries is still valid.


Citing attacks, state denies permit for shark researcher

State marine officials have denied a shark researcher’s request to conduct studies in state-controlled waters in 2019, citing the dangers of shark attacks after a tragic 2018 beach season, Doug Fraser reports at the Cape Cod Times. Officials cited the inclusion of baiting of sharks in the plan by Ocearch to tag and track Great Whites in their denial of the request. 

Cape Cod Times

Show the new Errol Morris film, damn it!

Harvey Silverglate at WGBH writes about the controversy, if you can call it that, over Errol Morris’ new documentary film “American Dharma” about Trump political advisor/guru Steve Bannon. The film is apparently not hard-hitting enough for some critics who want Bannon portrayed as Darth Vader incarnate, but Silverglate, who’s seen the film, says “American Dharma” is devastating in its own way and deserves to be widely distributed.


What’s worse: Running Partners HealthCare, GE or the MBTA?

The Globe’s Shirley Leung has a good column this morning on the thankless job of managing Partners HealthCare and the giant egos at play within the organization. Fyi: She thinks the Partners CEO job probably isn’t as bad as running GE or the MBTA. We’re not so sure about that.

Boston Globe

The state’s ‘staggering’ family-homelessness problem: There is a solution, you know

City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George and Deborah Hughes, president and CEO of Brookview House, provide all the depressing stats about how the family homelessness problem is growing to ‘staggering’ levels in Massachusetts – and, yet, there is a solution. It’s not a simple one, but it is a solution. They explain. 


No more appeals: Michelle Carter jailed after suicide-by-text conviction is upheld

The AP’s Alanna Durkin Richer at WBUR reports that it’s off to jail for Michelle Carter, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for sending her suicidal boyfriend text messages urging him to kill himself – which he did. Carter’s conviction was upheld last week by the Supreme Judicial Court, so Carter is now going to spend the next 15 months in prison. 

The Globe’s Kevin Cullen has more on the case.


Is the Democratic Party imploding before our eyes?

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar apologizing for blatant anti-Semitic remarks (“It’s all about the Benjamins baby”), U.S. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pressuring Nancy Pelosi to act on the ‘Green New Deal,’ the political turmoil in Virginia, and Elizabeth Warren’s ongoing heritage-claims woes. Add it all up and you have … a party implosion? The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld thinks so.

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Hillary Chabot this morning tries mightily to stretch a one-day story, at most, into a two-day story, i.e. Warren’s “explosive comments” about whether President Trump will be a free man or not in 2020. 

Boston Herald

Now it’s the BPD’s turn: Three officers suspended amid payroll-abuse investigation

First the State Police. Now the Boston Police Department. The Globe’s John Ellement and Maggie Mulvihill are reporting that three Boston officers have been put on administrative leave amid an investigation into alleged payroll abuses in the department.

US attorney releases Round 2 of anti-opioid TV and radio ads

The harsh anti-opioid ads released by former Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb didn’t exactly go over well in 2017, as the Globe’s Felice Fryer reports. So now U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, apparently having learned some lessons, is out with new kinder and gentler anti-opioid TV and radio spots that are sparking less criticism, Fryer writes.

Another triumph: Brockton lottery champ wins back city job

This guy might actually get tired of winning. Robert Lundstedt, who made headlines last year by winning a $100,000 lottery game nine separate times, has scored another victory, after the city of Brockton gave him back the job that he was fired from for not complying with a residency requirement, Marc Larocque reports at the Enterprise. The city says Lundstedt has agreed to live in the city as a condition of returning to his $90,000-a-year carpentry job.


Could Virginia’s political turmoil spill over into Massachusetts?

These are wild times in Virginia, where the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general are all fighting for their political lives. Of interest in these parts is the case of Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who’s accused of, among other things, sexually assaulting a woman at the 2004 Democratic presidential convention in Boston. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) reports that Attorney General Maura Healey and Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’s offices are mum about whether they have or may open investigations into the alleged incident. We seriously doubt they have or will. Still, it bears watching.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Joan Vennochi has more on the ‘complexifier’ circumstances of the Fairfax case.

Tax credits may clear way for North Adams museum

The former head of the Guggenheim Museum says his long-mulled plan for a model train and architecture museum in North Adams has new life, thanks to Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision to declare the city’s downtown an Opportunity Zone under a new federal tax credit program, Bill Densmore reports at the Berkshire Eagle. Thomas Krens also unveiled a study that argues the project will create 2,000 jobs and generate $180 million in economic activity in the northern Berkshires. 

Berkshire Eagle

“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


Massport is unloading another acre of its holdings in South Boston – Boston Globe

At UMass we need the kind of leadership money can’t buy – WBUR


Hampshire College’s state of flux concerns Amherst town manager – MassLive

Retail marijuana store set to open this week in Hudson – MetroWest Daily News

‘Charter update’ sparks heated exchanges at New Bedford school board meeting – Standard-Times


GOP livid with Trump over ignored Kashoggi report – Politico

Lawmakers reach ‘agreement in principle’ to avoid shutdown – New York Times

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