Happening Today

President’s Day, new state comptroller, Pressley at anti-wall protest

— Today is President’s Day, a federal and state holiday, and most government offices and schools will be closed, as well as banks and the stock market, though many private businesses and retail stores will be open. — Gov. Charlie Baker and his family return to Massachusetts after a vacation in Florida. 

— North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor takes over as state comptroller, after the recent resignation of former comptroller Thomas Shack.

— Sen. Julian Cyr and Rep. Sarah Peake speak at the Harwich Democratic Town Committee’s 20th annual JFK Presidents Day Brunch (paid admission), 400 East Restaurant, 1421 Orleans Road (Route 39), East Harwich, 10 a.m..

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— U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley attends a ‘Presidents Day Protest to Fight Trump’s Fake Crisis and Racist Deportation Forces,’ Harvard Square Subway Newstand Kiosk, 0 Harvard Square, Cambridge, 1 p.m.

— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren will hold a California organizing event for her presidential campaign outside of Los Angeles, California, The Alex Theater, 216 N Brand Blvd., Glendale, Calif., 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.

Today’s Stories

Bill Weld: A traitorous Benedict Arnold, principled opponent of tyranny or just a good sparring partner for Trump?

The state’s new Republican Party chairman, Jim Lyons, is harshly criticizing former Gov. Bill Weld’s preliminary move to run as a Republican against President Trump in the 2020 GOP primary, comparing him to traitor Benedict Arnold for quitting and then rejoining the party, reports the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld. On a Sunday talk-show, Weld defended his launch of a presidential exploratory committee, saying he’s doing it for the good of the country, the Washington Post reports. At CommonWealth magazine, Brian Jencunas, a local Republican speechwriter and political strategist, writes that Weld could actually inflict some political damage on Trump, in a loser Eugene McCarthy or Pete McCloskey kind of way. In an editorial, the Herald welcomes Weld’s candidacy, saying it will “undoubtedly bring a level of fun and vibrancy to the race” and may even serve to toughen up Trump before a general election.

Local reactions to Trump’s wall move: ‘Abuse of power’ … ‘dangerous precedent’ … ‘thinks he’s a dictator’

Speaking of the president, Donald Trump’s declaration of a “national emergency” in order to build a US-Mexico border wall, without Congressional authorization, is drawing harsh local fire. U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is calling it an “abuse of power,” reports MassLive, while U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern says the president “thinks he’s a dictator,” reports WGBH. In an editorial, the Globe says the president’s unilateral move sets a “dangerous precedent,” while the Globe’s Michael Cohen writes that the emergency declaration threatens democracy.

ICE detainees go on hunger strike in Boston jail

And speaking of immigration issues, dozens of people detained by federal immigration officials are refusing meals at the Suffolk County House of Correction in Boston in protest of alleged abuse, jail conditions and the questionable legality of their detention, according to activist groups, as reported at WBUR.

WBUR

Political payback: Polito reimburses herself $226K for past campaign loans dating back to ‘90s

From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “With six figures in the bank and reelection in the rearview, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito paid herself back more than $226,600 in campaign loans shortly before Christmas — some of which were more than 20 years old, records show. Polito, who’s now twice won election on a ticket with Governor Charlie Baker, absolved personal loans that included $20,000 she lent her state Senate run in 1998 and another $200,000 around her first attempt at statewide office in 2010.”

Boston Globe

Meanwhile, Polito’s home left off town’s online database — at husband’s request

It’s apparently legal, but also highly unusual. The Globe’s Matt Stout (again) reports how Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito’s husband requested, and got, details of their new $1.5 million lakeside home in Shrewsbury scrubbed from an online database. Stout reports that the move is “unheard of among the state’s other highest-ranking elected officials” and an “anomaly” in Polito’s hometown.

The Herald seems to be riding to Polito’s defense, or at last trying to you-know-what on the Globe’s story, with an article about how security consultants say “fears of attacks in the current politically charged climate” are “reasons enough” for pols like Polito to keep such details out of the public domain. We’ll have to remember that next time the Herald files a freedom-of-information request tied to other government officials who could make similarly expansive claims.

Rep. Decker and victim-rights advocates: Non-disclosures can actually empower women in harassment cases

State Rep. Marjorie Decker, Kim Dawkins and Risa Mednick defend the House’s recent move to keep non-disclosure agreements as an option for women in sexual-harassment cases on Beacon Hill, writing at CommonWealth magazine that NDAs can actually be used as “powerful and effective tools” for women bringing harassment complaints. They explain – and their arguments are persuasive.

CommonWealth

Baker and Walsh: The lucky few when it comes to GE

Re GE’s recent decision to scale back its local expansion plans while handing back $87 million in taxpayer incentives, the Globe’s Shirley Leung simply can’t resist: “Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh bet big on General Electric — and just won again. Not only did GE relocate its headquarters to Boston from Connecticut in 2016, now it won’t cost taxpayers a dime. A scenario, ahem, that I laid out as a possibility back in October when GE abruptly switched CEOs amid another restructuring. Oh, ye of little faith.”

Meanwhile, state Sen. Eric Lesser thinks the GE money should be re-invested in Massachusetts vocational schools, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall). And state Sen. Adam Hinds has another suggestion on how to spend some of that GE money: Finishing the cleanup of the Housatonic River, over which the company and the EPA have been at odds for years, reports the Berkshire Eagle.

Count Warren as among those bashing away at Amazon …

Speaking of corporate giveaways: She’s a senator from Massachusetts, but she’s also a candidate for president, so U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is joining other Dem presidential wannabes in bashing Amazon following the tech titan’s recent pull-out from its mega-development deal in New York, the NYT reports.

NYT

… and about Warren’s motherhood strategy, political wingman and response to heckler

In other all-things-Warren political coverage, the Globe’s Jess Bidgood reports how Elizabeth Warren and other female Dem candidates for president are starting to stress their roles as mothers in shaping their political priorities. The Globe’s Jess Bidgood and Victoria McGrane have a profile on Dan Geldon, Warren’s loyal campaign chief of staff and long-time political wingman for the senator. And, finally, Warren was heckled at the start of a speech in Georgia the other day, apparently over her Native American heritage claims, prompting Warren to say to the man, “Be easy, be easy.” The crowd roared its support for Warren .

Could tariffs war derail the Chinese maker of the T’s new subway cars?

You knew it was almost too good to be true. The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro reports that, as things stand now, the Trump administration’s global trade war with China may well hit the Chinese maker of the T’s new Orange and Red Line subway cars hard – just as it’s about to start producing the cars in large numbers in Springfield. At the least, the tariff fight could lead to much higher costs for CRRC – if it can afford the higher costs.

Sterling Suffolk: ‘Fraud, kickbacks, political cronyism’ fueled Everett casino deal

The Herald’s Alexi Cohan has an update on new allegations by Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, which lost the state’s casino-license sweepstakes to Wynn Resorts: “Amended complaints in the ongoing lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in Boston allege that Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria purportedly received kickbacks as a result of disputed land acquisition agreements and that hidden deals with land developers tainted the casino application process.‘By fraud, kickbacks, political cronyism crossing the line of legality and other unlawful methods, the Defendants conspired to fix the application process,’ the lawsuit states.”

Boston Herald

Among DeLeo’s priorities: Statewide (not just eastern Mass.) economic development

Considering he was speaking at a North Shore Alliance for Economic Development event, it’s not surprising that House Speaker Robert DeLeo emphasized economic development as one of his top legislative priorities this year on Beacon Hill. But he also emphasized that it had to be statewide economic development, not just in eastern Massachusetts.William Dowd at Wicked Local and Christian Wade at the Eagle-Tribune have the details on DeLeo’s general list of priorities this session.

The incredibly shrinking Boston EPA office …

Craig LeMoult at WGBH reports on the low morale and shrinking number of EPA workers here and elsewhere amid a general rollback of federal environmental rules and regulations.

WGBH

Ayanna Pressley’s husband: From City Hall job to general all-around consulting

Three days before U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley was sworn in as a new member of Congress, her husband quit his $92,500 gig at City Hall to launch his own consulting company. The timing of the move, more than anything, is raising more than a few eyebrows, as the Globe’s Matt Stout reports.

Boston Globe

Legislation calls for $5M per day fines against utilities for service loss

We understand the sentiment behind it, but we’re not sure potentially bankrupting utilities is the way to go. From Christian Wade at the Eagle-Tribune: “Gas companies could be fined to up $5 million a day for failing to restore service to customers in a timely manner, under the latest legislative proposal in response to the gas fires and explosions that ripped through the Merrimack Valley five months ago.” 

Eagle Tribune

AG to New England Baptist: Start serving more inner-city patients

Considering that New England Baptist Hospital is located amid two needy neighborhoods, this is the least the hospital can do. From Liz Kowalczyk at the Globe: “Attorney General Maura Healey’s office has reached an agreement with the hospital requiring it to work harder to attract low-income patients, who now constitute less than 3 percent of its business. Baptist executives said they will launch a major multilanguage marketing campaign this spring directed at residents with MassHealth, the state Medicaid program.”

Lee Radziwill, sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, RIP

This is of local interest, for obvious political reasons. From the NYT: “Lee Radziwill, the free-spirited former princess who shared the qualities of wealth, social status and ambition with her older sister, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, but who struggled as an actor, decorator and writer to share her sister’s aura of success, died on Friday at her home in Manhattan. She was 85.”

NYT

All they want to be is a cop and a firefighter …

A black police officer and a black firefighter go up against white establishments. Guess who won? Initially, they lost. Then they won. Now they’re pushing to get the jobs they believe they deserve. The Globe’s Joshua Miller takes a look at one New Bedford police officer who’s fighting to become a state trooper, while the Globe’s Alejandro Serrano reports that a Brookline firefighter who complained about a racist remark is fighting to get his job back, with the help of a state commission.

Revenue slips at MGM Springfield, putting full-year targets in jeopardy

Revenue at the state’s only full-fledged resort casino slumped nine percent from the month before in January, an expected seasonal slowdown that still casts doubt on MGM Springfield’s projections for its first full year of operation, Jim Kinney reports at MassLive. MGM Springfield reported $19.7 million in revenue, its lowest monthly take since opening last August; the casino would need to average nearly $35 million a month in revenue to meet its full-year goal of $418 million in gross gambling revenue, MassLive reports. 

MassLive

Walsh says T should listen to riders, better explain need for fare hike

As the T prepares to hear from the public about its proposed fare increases, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is urging transit officials to listen to the concerns being raised by riders about the cost and quality of T service. But he stopped short of joining calls for the 6.3 percent increase to be shelved altogether, Brooks Sutherland reports in the Herald. 

Boston Herald

Lawmakers file bills to lift the veil on secret court hearings

The Globe’s Spotlight team gets results (or at least preliminary results). From the Globe’s Todd Wallack: “Ten state lawmakers have sponsored legislation to lift the veil of secrecy over criminal hearings run by court clerks in district and municipal courts in Massachusetts.  At issue is the current controversial practice in which clerk magistrates and their assistants routinely decide behind closed doors whether to approve charges before suspects are publicly arraigned before a judge.”

Boston Globe

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.

herNetwork

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

Metro

3 men arrested after posting racist flyers in East Boston – WBUR

Fired Globe exec sues John Henry, company over severance pay – Boston Business Journal

Massachusetts

Springfield Mayor Sarno pulls out of police supervisor talks – MassLive

For first time in Mass, male inmate will get methadone – Boston Globe

Half of North Quincy T parking gone – Patriot Ledger

Nation

Maine paid for 40 rooms at Trump hotel for LePage, staff – Portland Press-Herald

Dems prepared to force Trump to reveal private talks with Putin – Politico

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