Happening Today

DeLeo’s priorities, compressor pre-hearing and more

— House Speaker Robert DeLeo is expected to provide an update this morning on legislative ‘progress and priorities’ in a speech at Salem State University, Enterprise Center at Salem State University, 121 Loring Ave., Salem.

— Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins this morning joins MBTA Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green, Boston Police Commissioner William Gross, BPD command staff and Suffolk prosecutors at the Joseph Lee School for the DA’s ongoing Reading Day program, 155 Talbot Ave., Dorchester.

— The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection holds a pre-hearing conference regarding an appeal of an air quality permit for a proposed natural gas compressor station in Weymouth, MassDEP Southeast Regional Office, 20 Riverside Drive, Lakeville, 9:30 a.m.

— Conversations on this week’s ‘Beat The Press’ include media coverage of the Parkland shooting anniversary, CNN’s coverage of 2020 presidential candidates and the Los Angeles Times’ attempts to gain control of staff’s outside projects, WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m.

— ‘Basic Black,” hosted by Callie Crossley, looks at hair and the hair care industry within African American culture, with panelists Dr. Sotonye Imadojemu of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, salon owner Erinn Pearson, Wellesley College professor Kellie Carter Jackson and master barber Lex Daluz, WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7:30 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker continues his vacation in Florida with his family, with plans to return to Massachusetts on Monday.

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

Reports: Weld’s in, warns of ‘grave peril’

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld was scheduled to make an announcement this morning in New Hampshire about his presidential ambitions. But the Manchester Union Leader’s Kevin Landrigan got the scoop last night: Weld is indeed forming an presidential exploratory committee to run for president as a Republican. “I think there definitely is a path to victory but you want to test the market a bit,” he told UL in an interview. 

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld confirms that Weld is indeed forming a committee, warning that the country is “in grave peril” and that he “cannot sit quietly on the sidelines any longer.”

Union Leader

Beacon Hill’s ‘centrist’ shift …

MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg has a good summary story on all the major legislative committee assignments announced yesterday on Beacon Hill, including the appointments of state Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, D-Boston, and Sen. Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport, to head the powerful House and Senate Ways and Means committees.  

Meanwhile, SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) noticed the “centrist thread” evident in new Senate President Karen Spilka’s committee assignments in general yesterday. And CommonWealth magazine’s Andy Metzger and Bruce Mohl report on how Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, on the eve of a major education debate, was reassigned from atop the education committee and replaced with Sen. Jason Lewis of Winchester. SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) notes how two suburban lawmakers now head both education committees on Beacon Hill. And, finally, Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports on western Massachusetts’ loss of legislative-leadership clout in general at the State House. 

Btw: In their piece, Metzger and Mohl also report: “House Speaker Robert DeLeo kept the chairmanship of the tourism committee vacant pending the outcome of an investigation into Rep. Paul McMurty for allegedly grabbing the backside of a fellow lawmaker.”

Btw II:  Here’s the full list of Senate leadership postings and the full list of House leadership postings.

Walsh for governor in 2022? He won’t rule it out

If the mayors of South Bend, Indiana and New York can run for president, why can’t the mayor of Boston run for governor? That may, or may not, be how Mayor Marty Walsh exactly views it. But he is apparently mulling a run for governor, point-blank telling the Herald’s Brooks Sutherland that “I’m not ruling anything out” and that he’ll make a decision “when the time is right.”

Boston Herald

‘Game changer’: Sale of Bayside Expo site could net UMass-Boston $235M

From SHNS’s Katie Lannan at CommonWealth magazine: “The University of Massachusetts on Thursday tapped Boston-based Accordia Partners to develop the former Bayside Expo Center site, agreeing to a deal that university officials said could generate a transformational $235 million in revenue for its Boston campus.”

Transformational indeed. From UMass Boston Chancellor Katherine Newman: “This is a game changer. This is the beginning. … This is like the first day of the rest of our lives at UMass Boston.” Not surprisingly, we’re not hearing much this morning from the UMass-Boston faculty, who were apparently up in arms before details of the sale were revealed yesterday. Maybe we missed something. But $235 million is indeed $235 million – and UMass-Boston has long needed such a financial shot in the arm. The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock (pay wall) has more on the mega-Bayside deal.


As GE scales back plans in Boston …

This isn’t too much of a surprise, but it’s still a jolt: The financially struggling General Electric yesterday officially announced it will not build a new 12-story office on Fort Point Channel and instead pay back $87 million in incentives to MassDevelopment, reports the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock and Greg Ryan (pay wall) and SHNS’s Michael Norton at the Lowell Sun.

And so ends, for now, all the hype and high hopes that GE would act as a sort of uber-catalyst for the local economy, after it decided a few years back to move to Massachusetts from Connecticut. Needless to say, GE’s plight has instead become Exhibit A on why state and city officials should be very cautious about offering incentive packages to lure companies to Massachusetts.

… Amazon pulls out of NY deal

The Globe’s Jon Chesto makes the obvious connection between GE’s move yesterday in Boston to Amazon’s decision yesterday to pull out of its partial-headquarters deal in New York, as the NYT reports. From Chesto: “The high-stakes Corporate Incentive Game just became tougher to play.”

Amazon’s retreat from New York, amid fierce political opposition to a state incentives package offered to the e-retail giant to locate in Queens, doesn’t mean that Boston is back in the hunt to lure the Amazon jobs to the Hub. “Amazon does not plan to look for another location at this time, and will continue with plans to build offices in Arlington, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee,” according to a MassLive report.

Btw: At the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge last evening, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was “flabbergasted” when he found out that Amazon was nixing its deal with New York, the NY Post reports. Meanwhile, the NYT, in an editorial, is blasting activists for giving New York an economic black eye. The paper tries to spread the blame around to other folks, of course, but it’s clearly upset with the protest crowd.

Shutdown deal approved, Pressley votes no, Trump to declare ‘national emergency’

U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley was among those who opposed a bipartisan compromise deal to avert another federal government shutdown, citing the “abusive” actions of ICE, reports the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter. But her opposition wasn’t enough to block passage of the deal in the U.S. Senate and House yesterday, as the NYT reports, and now President Trump is poised to declare a “national emergency” today to bypass Congress in order to build his planned Mexican-border wall.

Holy controversy: Satanic group files discrimination complaint against council over invocation rejection

They want them to give the devil his due in Boston. From Marie Szaniszlo at the Herald: “A Salem-based satanist group that claims it was denied a chance to say the invocation at a City Council meeting has filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.” A possible legal defense: That they’re out-of-town satanists?

Boston Herald

Flutist settles equal pay lawsuit with BSO

Details are not available, but Cintia Lopez at WBUR reports that the principal flutist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra has quietly settled her equal pay lawsuit against the prestigious cultural organization, with the Suffolk County case being dismissed after an agreement was apparently reached.


Lowell mayor resting comfortably after surgery to remove gallbladder

From the Lowell Sun: “Mayor William Samaras had his gallbladder removed at Massachusetts General Hospital Wednesday, and was back at home Thursday resting comfortably. Samaras, 76, was admitted Wednesday morning, had the surgery, and spent the night in the hospital. … ‘I feel good,’ said Samaras. “But my doctor told me to lay low for a few days.’”

Lowell Sun

Hampshire students plan protests over school layoffs and ‘gross mismanagement’

Students, faculty members and alumni at Hampshire College are planning campus protests today as administration officials prepare for the first of two rounds of layoffs at the financially struggling school in western Massachusetts, reports Jim Russell at MassLive. Organizers are accusing the administration of “gross mismanagement.”


Defending Markey’s seriousness on climate change …

The Globe’s Scot Lehigh isn’t getting a chuckle out of Republican attempts to embarrass U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and other backers of the Green New Deal, writing that the GOP’s Mitch McConnell et gang are cynically distorting and using the GND as a weapon to disguise their own lack of seriousness on climate change.

Boston Globe

Warren’s ‘ultra-millionaire’ tax: The good, the bad and the legality

Arjun Singh at WGBH reviews the economic arguments for and against U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposed “ultra-millionaire tax,” as well as the legal debate over whether it’s even constitutional. Btw, Singh adds something we hadn’t seen, but are not surprised to see, to wit: A poll showing solid support for the tax among Democrats and even among Republicans.


MGM CEO tells investors Springfield casino is still ‘ramping’ up

Gambling activity at the state’s only full-fledged resort casino is “slower but ramping,” the CEO of MGM International told investors this week, Jim Kinney reports at MassLive. CEO James Murren also said the 250-room hotel at MGM Springfield is operating ahead of projections and that the casino was planning to be more “tactical” in its marketing ahead of the arrival of Encore Boston, which is slated to open its doors in June.


Pipeline backers pounce after Holyoke utility declares a moratorium on natural-gas hookups

From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Supporters of building another natural gas pipeline into the region have been quiet for some time, but they resurfaced on Thursday after discovering a municipal utility in Holyoke had declared a moratorium on new natural gas hookups last month. Holyoke Gas & Electric announced on January 28 that pipeline capacity constraints were preventing access to new supplies of natural gas, requiring the imposition of a moratorium on news natural gas connections.”


Stiff-arming Warren, Coakley to raise money for Kamala Harris in Boston

The Globe’s Matt Stout and Victoria McGrane report that former state Attorney General Martha Coakley is among the hosts of a planned fund-raiser next week for California Senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris, in a move that signals U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren “cannot count on home state loyalty to bring prominent Massachusetts players to her side.”

Boston Globe

At least Seth Moulton is talking about foreign policy …

In other presidential-wannabe news, Rachelle Cohen at the Globes writes that it’s refreshing to hear a potential Democratic presidential candidate, in this case U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, talking seriously about U.S. foreign policy, as opposed to non-stop Trump bashing and lurching ever leftward on domestic issues. 

In Swansea, help for failing mall is a pot-shop deal sweetener

Plantopia, one of three pot firms hoping to score a host community agreement with the town of Swansea, is offering cash to help plan a brighter future for the failing Swansea Mall, Peter Jasinski reports at the Herald-News. The firm says it would drop $15,000 to help fund an urban renewal plan to revive the mall as well as an annual payment toward the work going forward.

Herald News

At opposite ends of state, shuttered supermarkets and rattled shoppers

Senior advocates in Adams say elderly residents who don’t feel safe driving out of town will be the hardest hit by news that Big Y will close the community’s only supermarket early next month, Larry Parnassreports at the Berkshire Eagle. The store says it still hopes to find a buyer but plans to close March 7 either way.

The news from the Berkshires comes as another grocery chain, Shaw’s, closes the doors for good on its Lynn outlet Saturday, leaving that city’s downtown without a supermarket, a void that the Lynn Item reports other stores will try to address by offering shuttle buses to their more remote locations.

They weren’t buried alone …

Discouraged by all the negative news of late? Here are two stories that should make you feel better about the state of our civic life.

The Herald’s Jessica Heslam reports that about 500 strangers showed up yesterday for the burial of Army Sgt. Pete Rooney, 97, a D-Day veteran who officials initially worried would be quietly buried alone. Veterans and other made sure he wasn’t alone. Meanwhile, the Globe’s Kevin Cullen writes about how Ursuline Academy students answered the call to attend the funeral of another veteran, Donald Benson, 74, who died in a VA hospital and also faced a lonely farewell – until the students and the folks at Lawler & Crosby Funeral Home acted.

Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Eileen McAnneny of Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, who talks with host Jon Keller about lagging state revenues and Gov. Baker’s proposed tax hikes.  

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Jim Rooney, Greater Boston Chamber CEO, weighs in on GE downsizing and plan to return $87 million in incentives to the state; Amazon’s pullout from the New York deal; UMass’s sale of the Bayside Expo site and other issues.    

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. A look at Boston Medflight and its CEO, chief pilot and critical care nurse, all of them women.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guests: Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo, followed by a discussion with Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker and WCVB Republican political analyst Rob Gray.

This is New England, NBC Boston Channel 10, 11:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s topics: Shine Your Light for Boston Children’s Hospital; Project Innovation check-in with Year Up; Black History Month; and celebrating Ashland teenager Jake Silver, who is battling terminal cancer.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: Heart Health Monday.

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.

First Teacher

Presidents’ Day Family Festival

In celebration of Presidents’ Day, the JFK Library will host its eighth annual Family Festival featuring presidential storytelling, creative activities, musical performances, and Museum tours and hands-on programs to bring the Library to life in new ways for all ages.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

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.

The New England Council

Celebrate! with Flying Ship Productions – Rosa’s Ride

This moving production with original songs, inspirational scenes, and exciting dances traces how Rosa Parks handled various experiences of discrimination leading up to the famous Montgomery, Alabama bus incident sparking the modern civil rights movement.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Rockland Chamber Annual Breakfast: Rockland Moving Forward

Rockland and South Shore Chamber members are invited to attend the Rockland Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Breakfast. This year’s theme is “Rockland Moving Forward” and will feature the key leadership who are guiding the community forward.

South Shore/Rockland Chamber of Commerce

Diverse Professional Roundtable – Business Meeting

Diverse Professionals Roundtable is a professional association, sponsored by the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, committed to the development of professional and personal relationships among senior leaders of racial and ethnic diversity in Central Massachusetts. DPR members grow and expand their influence and make a positive impact on the Worcester community.

Worcester Chamber of Commerce

NPO Group’s 2019 Annual Meeting

You’re invited to our first meeting of 2019! The NPO Group’s Annual Meeting agenda includes: networking, discussion on hot topics affecting NPOs, and the election of Steering Committee Officers and Members.

South Shore Chamber of Commerce

Business After Hours – February 2019 – Redemption Rock Brewing Co.

Business After Hours is an opportunity for you to network with other Chamber members and guests. Meet new contacts, develop new leads, and exchange ideas. Join us and hundreds of area professionals for a fun, informal networking event!

Worcester Chamber of Commerce

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.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Water: The Global Crisis and What Must Be Done Now

There is a global water crisis — increasing drought, desertification, floods, migrations, and social justice stressors. This forum will focus on the connection between the unfolding climate catastrophe and the water crisis; outline a global view of the ecological problems; focus on places that serve as case studies of resource scarcity and conflict; and point toward possible solutions.

Massachusetts Peace Action

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.


Rally: US Hands off Venezuela!

Join us as we support Venezuelan sovereignty and oppose US meddling in Venezuelan affairs, through sanctions and military threats.

Massachusetts Peace Action

Today’s Headlines


Somerville attempts to draw in minority pot shop owners – WGBH

Metco aims for fairer admissions process – Boston Globe


State narrows canal traffic suggestions – Cape Cod Times

Economic risks on horizon, Boston Fed economist says – Worcester Business Journal

Fugitives won’t get a free pass in Bristol County, DA says – Standard-Times


‘Off the rails’: Inside Trump’s attempts to claim victory in his border wall defeat – Washington Post

Colorado marijuana sales top $6B since 2014 legalization – NBC News

How to Contact MASSterList

Send tips to Matt Murphy: Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: Publisher@MASSterList.com or (857) 370-1156. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.