Bayside Expo re-development, Gaming Commission, House and Sen. Dems caucus
— The Massachusetts Port Authority Board holds its monthly meeting, Massport Executive Offices, 1 Harborside Drive, East Boston, 9 a.m.
— UMass Board of Trustees holds ‘special meeting’ to consider the selection of a developer to build a mixed-use urban innovation campus at the site of the former Bayside Expo Center, with the UMass Building Authority meeting afterward, UMass Club, 32nd floor, One Beacon St., Boston, 10 a.m.
— Massachusetts Gaming Commission is expected to meet for its first full meeting with new chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.
— The MassDevelopment Board meets, 99 High St., 11th Floor, Boston, 10 a.m.
— Reps. Jack Lewis, Paul Donato and Dan Cullinane are among the expected speakers at the annual YMCA Advocacy Day, Great Hall, 10 a.m.
— Sen. Patricia Jehlen and Rep. Danielle Gregoire host a ‘Home Care and Elder Services 101’ briefing for legislators and staff with Mass Home Care, Room 428, 10 a.m.
— Senate Democrats meet in a caucus, where leadership and committee assignments could be ratified, Senate President’s third floor office, 11 a.m.
— House Democrats meet in a caucus, where leadership and committee assignments could be ratified, Rooms A-1 and A-2, 1 p.m.
— The Cannabis Advisory Board, which makes occasional recommendations to the Cannabis Control Commission, meets to vote on its latest recommendations concerning social consumption of marijuana and home delivery of pot, Department of Transportation Building, Conference Room, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 2 p.m.
— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson for the ribbon cutting of the Yarmouth Police Department’s Sgt. Sean Gannon Training Complex, 340 Higgion Crowell Road, West Yarmouth, 2 p.m.
— 32BJ SEIU holds rally in support of the non-union security officers employed by WGBH subcontractor McGarr Security, WGBH headquarters, One Guest St., Boston, 3:30 p.m.
— Former gubernatorial candidate Don Berwick and MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, who worked on the 2006 state health care reform law and the 2010 federal Affordable Care Act, talk about ‘Medicare for all’ on ‘Greater Boston with Jim Braude,’ WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 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.
Is Mitch McConnell calling Ed Markey’s bluff on Green New Deal?
That evil Mitch McConnell. The Republican Senate Majority Leader is forcing – forcing! – a vote on the Green New Deal resolution unveiled last week by U.S. Sen. Ed Markey et gang – and Markey is furious. The Globe’s Michael Levenson has more on McConnell’s “provocative political gambit” aimed at putting Democrats on the spot regarding the GND “socialist wish-list.”
Meanwhile, the Herald Joe Battenfeld and Michael Graham are having a field day with Markey’s parliamentary dilemma. WGBH’s Tori Bedford has more on Markey’s defense of the Green New Deal and Republican criticism of the resolution.
Btw – Headline of the day, if not the week or month, via Boston.com: “Ed Markey says Republicans ‘mock flatulence to deflect from facts’ on climate change.” As the article notes: Yes, flatulence.
UMass to name developer of Bayside Expo site as faculty members mobilize against plan
Another UMass-Boston donnybrook in the making? The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock and Gintautas Dumcius report that University of Massachusetts officials plan to vote this morning on a winning bid to develop the 20-acre Bayside Expo Center site – and UMass-Boston professors, veterans of recent battles with UMass administrators, are already gearing up for a fight. Fyi: The potential sale price for the site could hit as high as $200 million. The Globe’s Tim Logan has more on the coming UMass action/battle.
Walsh and Golden to developers: Spread the building-boom wealth via diversity
Speaking of developers and developments, Mayor Marty Walsh and Brian Golden, head of the Boston Planning & Development Agency, are calling on the real estate and development industry to effectively start sharing the building-boom wealth by diversifying their ranks with more of those left out of the current building boom in Boston.
Roger Lau, former Kerry and Clinton aide, will lead Warren’s 2020 campaign
Is third time the charm for Roger Lau? From the Globe’s Victoria McGrane and Jess Bidgood: “Elizabeth Warren has chosen Roger Lau, a longtime aide who worked on presidential campaigns for John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, to manage her bid for the presidency, elevating an experienced operator from her inner circle who has helped her win two Senate races as she launches her bid for the White House.”
Report: Warren among trio of Dems that Trump team sees as most likely opponents
She may not be doing well in preliminary primary polls, but U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is one of three Dems that President Trump’s re-election campaign is convinced has the strongest chance to emerge from the crowded primary field — and is already targeting them with opposition research, third-party media criticism and, of course, presidential tweets, Alex Isenstadt reports at Politico.
Although Trump himself believes former VP Joe Biden could be the toughest to beat in 2020, his campaign has honed in on Warren and Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris just to be safe. Meanwhile, Elana Schor of the Associated Press takes a look at the balancing act that Warren and other presidential hopefuls have to pull off as they juggle running for the White House while serving their home-state constituents.
Will Dixville Notch lose its ‘first in nation’ primary status?
Hold the cyber presses: New Hampshire’s Dixville Notch may lose its one and only claim to fame as the ‘first in the nation’ town to vote in presidential primary elections. Why? Potential election irregularities. How you can screw up a handful of votes, we don’t know. But Casey McDermott at WBUR has the details.
Report: Weld will tee up Trump primary challenge launch on Friday
Wasn’t he supposed to have announced this a short while back? Anyway, Bill Weld will use a “Politics and Eggs” event in New Hampshire on tomorrow morning to announce a “substantial move” toward launching a GOP primary challenge against President Trump, but he should expect a chilly reception from the state’s Republican party, reports John DiStafo at WMUR in Manchester, N.H.
Opioid overdose deaths fall slightly for second straight year in Mass.
Keep in mind that 1.) Overdoses in general continue to rise and 2.) These are still unacceptably high death rates. Still, this is good news, via Cody Shepard at Wicked Local: “For the second straight year, opioid-related overdose deaths declined last year in Massachusetts, now having dropped 6 percent over the last two years. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health released its latest quarterly report on Wednesday that showed the state had 1,974 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths last year. That number represents a 4 percent decrease from 2017, when the state had 2,056 deaths.”
‘Rapping fentanyl nebulizer’
Switching from opioid-overdose deaths to opioid-prescription abuses, the Herald’s Laurel Sweet and the Globe’s Jonathan Saltzman have the latest on the Insys Therapeutics trial in Boston, the latest installment focusing on a rap video two executives put together to motivate sales people to sell, sell, sell the company’s opioid-painkiller spray product. Setting aside the whiff of racism in the video, the two nevertheless have it sort of right: Insys executives, if the racketeering charges against them are true, have acted no better, as we’ve noted previously, than street-corner drug dealers right out of ‘Wired.’
‘One of Dante’s seven layers of hell’: Figuring out prescription drug prices
OK, one more prescription-drugs post. SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Telegram reports that the state’s Health Policy Commission is once again calling for policymakers and others to take action on prescription price spending and administrative costs. “I think there’s one of Dante’s seven layers of hell that is devoted to understanding pharmaceutical pricing, and I think it’s just next to the one where you consider administrative costs,” says says David Cutler, an economist and member of the commission.
Btw: These are obviously trying times in general for drug-industry officials arguing against price controls, including Gov. Charlie Baker’s call to rein in prescription drug prices. The Globe’s Joan Vennochi explains.
Springfield Republican joins papers dropping comic over hidden vulgarity
The Springfield Republican says it will join about a dozen newspapers nationally and no longer run the ‘Non Sequitur’ comic after a recent strip included a vulgarity aimed at President Trump. Artist Wiley Miller says he scrawled the partially hidden offending message –”go f— yourself”– while drafting a strip and forgot to remove it, Ray Kelly reports at MassLive.
Federal judge appears skeptical of plaintiff’s claims in Harvard discrimination case
From Deirdre Fernandes at the Globe: “US District Judge Allison Burroughs appeared skeptical Wednesday that plaintiffs had offered enough proof that Harvard College intentionally discriminated against Asian-American applicants, given that no rejected students testified during a three-week trial.”
We have a minor problem with his problem, to wit: What if the plaintiffs had produced a rejected student or two? Would their appearance really have been a make-or-break moment? We hope not. The actual problem with the suit, in our eyes, is the obnoxious notion that test scores, and test scores alone, should dictate who does and doesn’t get into Harvard and other colleges.
Virginia lieutenant governor accuser to meet with Rollins
After all, there’s always a Massachusetts angle. From the Globe’s Danny McDonald: “Vanessa Tyson, who has accused Virginia’s lieutenant governor of sexually assaulting her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, will meet with the Suffolk district attorney’s office to detail her allegations, according to her attorney. Debra S. Katz, an attorney representing Tyson, said in a statement that she spoke with Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins Wednesday afternoon and told her Tyson will meet with the district attorney’s staff and law enforcement.”
Worst kept secret no more: Google confirms move into Kendall Square tower
Another real-estate development post: Google is finally confirming that, yes, it intends to lease a huge chunk of a planned new tower at the site of the MIT Coop building in Cambridge’s red-hot Kendall Square, as Catherine Carlock at the BBJ reports.
Another state troop pleads guilty in OT scandal
How many more to go? From Scott Croteau at MassLive: “Another Massachusetts State Police trooper accused of stealing overtime money by skipping specialized patrol shifts and writing fake tickets to hide his actions agreed to plead guilty to one count of embezzlement. The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that 40-year-old Heath McAuliffe of Hopkinton, agreed to plead guilty to one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds.”
Meawhile, five Springfield police officers charged in barroom brawl case
Speaking of cops behaving badly (allegedly), Dan Glaun at MassLive and Marie Szaniszlo at the Herald report that five Springfield police officers have been charged with assault in a now infamous brawl outside a Springfield tavern nearly four years ago.
Everything you ever wanted to know about MassDOT’s Silver Line ramp plan and more …
Ari Ofsevit, a member of the TransitMatters board of directors, gets deep, super-deep, into the policy-wonk weeds surrounding MassDOT’s Silver Line ramp proposal near Logan – and, somehow, he makes a clear and persuasive argument at CommonWealth magazine that transportation officials are blowing it.
Former Rep. Dave Vigneault, RIP
Matt Szafranski at Western Mass. Politics and Insight and Peter Goonanat MassLive, have pieces on the sad death of former state Rep. Dave Vigneault, 82, who began his State House career when John F. Kennedy was in the White House and who’s remembered as a “passionate fighter for political causes and candidates and an advocate for civil rights since the 1960s.”
Bristol Sheriff Hodgson admits he goofed on allocating ICE payments for holding immigrants
This is unusual. The target of a critical state audit is openly admitting he got it wrong – and that the auditing problem will be fixed immediately. In this case, it’s Bristol Sheriff Thomas Hodgson acknowledging Auditor Suzanne Bump got it right when she called out his office over payments it gets from the federal government to keep roughly 200 illegal immigrants locked up, as the Herald’s Mary Markos and Joe Dwinell report.
Eversource charges ahead with back-up battery storage system for Martha’s Vineyard
Eversource’s plan to build a new lithium-battery storage facility on Martha’s Vineyard is being touted as a back-up power system during peak usage and emergency situations. But it can also be viewed as a test for future storage of solar and wind power, making it a very interesting development. The Herald’s Jonathan Ng has the details.
Hearing-goers heap praise on Vineyard Wind
Speaking of renewable energy and the Vineyard, federal regulators collected a flood of positive comments in support of the Vineyard Wind offshore wind farm proposal during a hearing on the environmental impacts of the project, Rich Saltzberg reports at the Martha’s Vineyard Times. Although concerns were expressed about the project’s impact on right whales and fishing grounds, the vast majority of those at the meeting said the urgent need to address climate change far outweigh any impacts identified so far.
We suspect some of their enthusiasm stems from the fact that Vineyard Wind is not Cape Wind. Just a hunch.
Winter Activity Fun Fair
This “Winter Activity Fun Fair” – hosted by First Teacher and sponsored by Boston School Finder – will bring together families and their children for a morning of fun activities and an opportunity to learn about their Kindergarten options and register for school.
Congressional Roundtable with Rep. Ann Kuster
Please join us for a Congressional Roundtable with Rep. Ann Kuster. The Congresswoman was elected in November 2018 to serve her fourth term representing New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District. She currently serves on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the House Agriculture Committee.
Building and Furthering a Career in Commercial Real Estate
Hear dynamic young professionals from NAIOP’s Developing Leaders program discuss their careers, how they got started, and the many opportunities available in the industry today.
herNetwork Women Mean Business Spring Conference 2019
herNetwork cordially invites you to our Women Mean Business conference! Our theme this year is “The Power of You.” The purpose of our conference is to empower, educate, and connect our students of all majors and years with other students and with professionals across a broad range of fields.
Lynn’s police chief says opioid-related deaths dropped by 22 percent in 2018 – Lynn Item
Boston fire union president to step down – Boston Globe
Bourne meeting on ICE program draws crowd – Cape Cod Times
Umass RAs and peer counselors ask for racial training, complain about working conditions – Daily Hampshire Gazette
Confidence wanes in Massachusetts housing market – Boston Business Journal
Everyone’s running and that could be dangerous for the Democrats – FiveThirtyEight
Congress moves to act on gun control amid partisan debate about background checks – Washington Post
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