Happening Today

Baker at Chamber, PRIM meeting, and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker this morning delivers his annual address to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and is expected to renew his push for housing-development legislation, Westin Copley Place Hotel, 10 Huntington Ave., Boston.

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg chairs a meeting of the Pension Reserve Investment Management’s board of directors, PRIM Headquarters, 84 State St., Room 250, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

Women’s Bar Association holds its annual legislative breakfast, at which Senate President Karen Spilka will speak and receive the group’s 2019 Public Official of the Year Award, Great Hall, 9:30 a.m.

— Sen. Jo Comerford and Rep. Tami Gouveia host teach-in on state budget and revenue with the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, Room 222, 10 a.m.

– The Environmental League of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, Nature Conservancy and other members of the Green Budget Coalition hold an event to officially announce their priorities for the fiscal 2020 state budget, Room 428, 10 a.m.

— Rep. James O’Day and Sen. Jason Lewis hold an info session on their legislation that would amend the state constitution to impose a surtax on incomes over $1 million to fund education and transportation, Room 350, 11 a.m.

— Sens. Collins, Brady and Timilty, and Reps. Cullinane, Driscoll, Cassidy, and McGonagle and the Haitian Artists Assembly of Massachusetts will host a special art exhibition and reception in honor of Black History Month, Room 428, 12 p.m.

— Boston Mayor Walsh’s proposed ordinance regulating shared mobility devices, or small vehicles, is up for a hearing before the Councilor Michael Flaherty’s Committee on Government Operations, Iannella Chamber, City Hall, 12:30 p.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey makes her semi-regular ‘Ask the AG’ appearance on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12:30 p.m.

— The Cannabis Advisory Board, which makes occasional recommendations to the Cannabis Control Commission, meets to continue voting on its recommendations around social consumption of marijuana and home delivery, Department of Transportation Building, Conference Room, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 1 p.m.

— Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Michael Moran host a legislative briefing with the Massachusetts Census Equity Fund to emphasize the importance of an ‘accurate and equitable count’ in the 2020 U.S. Census, House Members’ Lounge, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Sen. John Keenan, Reps. Jennifer Benson, Tackey Chan and Randy Hunt and representatives from AARP and MASSPIRG for a ceremonial bill signing of H.4806, An Act relative to consumer protection from security breaches, Room 360, 3:30 p.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka delivers remarks at the ‘Judicial Welcome to New Legislators: Behind the Bench’ event, Seven Justice Courtroom, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Sq., Boston, 4 p.m.

— The Boston Planning and Development Agency will hold a public meeting to discuss the proposed Suffolk Downs project by HYM Investment Group, 525 McClellan Highway Clubhouse, 3rd Floor, Topsider Room, Boston, 6 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

State’s ‘red flag’ law leads to firearm confiscations in six cases

From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “Massachusetts judges have issued a half-dozen orders stripping firearms from people identified as being dangers to themselves or others since a new so-called red flag law passed last summer, state court officials said. In all, courts handled seven petitions for an ‘extreme risk protective order’ over seven-plus months, according to the first data the state’s released since the law went into effect in July. In just one of the instances, a petition was denied after a court hearing.” SHNS’s Katie Lannan at WBUR has more.

Bottom line: The new law is getting used more often, and faster, than we would have suspected, considering all the thorny legal issues involved.

Boston Globe

The MBTA pension system: Not as bad as it looks or outright Ponzi scheme?

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski at the Milford Daily News and Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine report on the growing alarm over the financial state of the MBTA’s pension system, after the $1.45 billion fund paid out $151 million more than it took in last year. Brian Shortsleeve, a T control board member, said the negative cash flow is “akin to burning the furniture to heat the house,” but a union official said a negative cash flow is what you get when you suddenly lay off a bunch of people and dump them into the retirement system.

In an editorial headlined “MBTA pension system operates like a Ponzi scheme,” the Globe isn’t buying the union’s explanation, saying the T’s pension fund has become a financial “black hole.”

The outlier: Blue Line ridership increases while other lines see declines

Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine has a piece on the curious case of the T’s Blue Line, which has seen a recent upswing in ridership while other subway lines have seen a downtick. T officials are trying to figure out the elixir that seems to be doing wonders for the Blue Line.

Btw: In a Globe op-ed, Steve Poftak, the T’s general manager, defends the transit agency’s proposed fare hikes, saying they’re part of the T’s investment strategy of improving service over the long-term.


Step right up: Get your very own Robert Kraft affidavits (warning: explicit language)

If it works for the Boston Globe, it works for us, i.e. blaring a variation of the “Read the affidavits in the Robert Kraft case (warning: explicit language)” and seeing the post skyrocket to the top of the most-read list (at least at the Globe as of this morning). But if you want good summaries of all things Bob Kraft, Sean Philip Cotter at the Herald and Danny McDonald at the Globe have all the “tawdry details” involving the New England Patriots owner’s alleged sexual antics in Florida.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Kevin Cullen and the Herald’s Jessica Heslam have good columns this morning on women who are more than a little familiar with the human-trafficking world that Kraft et gang allegedly viewed as some sort of sexual playground.

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi nails it: The only thing famous johns apparently regret is getting caught. She also brings up something we’ve been thinking about too: That old 2009 case involving an unidentified “prominent businessman” caught up in a weird sex-extortion drama. Now who could that have been?

From Oxford, Mass. to Vero Beach, Florida: Kraft’s massage-parlor madame has certainly gotten around

It turns out that the manager of the Vero Beach, Fla. “massage parlor” that Robert Kraft allegedly frequented is none other than Lan Yun Ma, who was arrested earlier this decade on human trafficking charges for running a “health center” in Oxford, Mass. This was before the state recently passed a more aggressive anti-human-trafficking law, so she got off light. The Globe’s John Hilliard and John R. Ellement have more on Ma.

Boston Globe

Cut it out: Cambridge council passes tree removal moratorium

Despite warnings that city staff will be overwhelmed with requests for waivers, the Cambridge City Council voted Monday to install a one-year moratorium on tree-cutting, Marc Levy reports at Cambridge Day. Residents have been calling for tougher controls on tree removal after reports showed a steep decline in how much of the city is covered by leafy canopies.

Cambridge Day

OCPF: Former Correia chief of staff violated campaign law by selling fundraising tickets for lawmaker

The Office of Campaign and Political Finance says Gen Andrade, who until December served as chief of staff to embattled Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia, violated state campaign finance law by selling tickets to another pol’s fundraiser while on the city payroll, Jo C. Goode reports at the Herald-News. Andrade cooperated with the inquiry into the fundraising event for Rep. Alan Silvia and as a result the OCPF said it would not refer the matter to the attorney general for enforcement.

Herald News

Longtime mayoral supporter among winners in Brockton pot deal quest

Speaking of city hall insiders, city hall insiders are indeed among those who have struck marijuana host community agreements with Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter in the hopes of opening pot-related businesses in the city once a temporary moratorium expires, Marc Larocque reports at the Enterprise, citing records turned over to the paper via the Freedom of Information Act. A longtime political supporter of Carpenter, who gave $1,000 to the mayor’s re-election campaign around the time the deals were being negotiated behind closed doors, is involved with two businesses that won agreements, while a member of the city’s license commission appointed by Carpenter is also among the winners.


Hard Rock garage expansion plan: Future candidate for the ugliest building in Boston?

Is it an Ice Wall? A hardened above-ground bunker? Whatever it is, the Boston Preservation Alliance doesn’t like it, not at all, i.e. a developer’s plan to rebuild the Hard Rock Café garage next to Faneuil Hall Marketplace, reports Universal Hub. In a recent “strongly worded” letter, the alliance writes: “When the most recent renderings were shown to our Board of Directors there was a collective gasp and unanimous shaking of heads. …”  

You got to see the rendering at UH to believe it. Someone’s been watching Game of Thrones way too much, we suspect.

Universal Hub

Chatham wants shark barrier ideas — and fast

Speaking of walls, have they considered one for the Cape? Chatham officials say they hope to find a way to create a physical barrier to keep great white sharks from making their way to Children’s Beach and hope to have it in place by the time summer arrives, Doug Fraser reports at the Cape Cod Times. Everything from floating plastic ribbons and sonar-emitting buoys to curtains of bubbles and netting is on the table as the town looks to protect its youngest swimmers.

Cape Cod Times

Back for more: Baker resumes push for housing-production legislation

From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Salem News: “Gov. Charlie Baker will make housing production a central theme of a speech he is slated to deliver to business leaders on Tuesday morning as the governor prepares to file new legislation, possibly as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday, to relax zoning controls in cities and towns. The legislation the governor is preparing to file will be substantially similar to a bill he pushed hard for last session.”

Salem News

Oops: School superintendents accidently sends out application for another job to 3,000 parents and teachers

We recently had a similar “reply all” mishap. But nothing like this. From Jeanette DeForge at MassLive: “The superintendent of the Hampden-Wilbraham school district accidentally emailed an application for another job to more than 3,000 parents and staff in the school district.” The application was for a job long since filled by someone else, but …


John Kerry: Disband your climate denial panel, Mr. President

Former U.S. Sen. John Kerry has an op-ed in the Washington Post harshly criticizing President Trump’s move to gather together “experts” on climate change — experts who just so happen to be climate-change deniers. “We know what the outcome will be: President Trump’s council of doubters and deniers will convene to undo a 26-year-old factual consensus that climate change is a national-security threat multiplier,” he writes.

Washington Post

The Senate chamber renovation: ‘A labor of love’

SHNS Katie Lannan at the Lowell Sun and Ysabelle Kempe at the Globe get a tour of the Senate’s recently renovated chamber, a $22.6 million effort to repair deteriorating walls and ceilings and to blend the historic with the modern. “It has been a labor of love for everyone here,” said Senate President Karen Spilka. “It is almost an obligation to the residents of the Commonwealth to keep the State House in good shape.” 

At WBUR, Steve Brown has more on the chamber renovations – and some great photos of the finished product. Looks like they did a fantastic job.

Now that’s a sale: GE sells off life-science unit for $21B

If this doesn’t help GE’s bottom line, nothing will. From Greg Ryan at the BBJ: “General Electric Co. is selling a portion of its life sciences unit to Danaher Corp., the conglomerate formerly led by current GE CEO Larry Culp, for $21.4 billion, the company said Monday. GE (NYSE: GE) is sending Danaher (NYSE: DHR) its BioPharma business, which focuses on software and instruments related to the creation of biopharmaceutical drugs.”

BBJ (pay wall)

Retired Springfield police chief’s cash-out payment: $234K

Former Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri, who suddenly retired amid mounting controversies at the SPD, is getting a going-away payout of $234,222, including $46,629 in unused vacation time and $99,374 payout for a “six months notice requirement.” Peter Goonan at MassLive explains the buzzer-beater “sixth months notice requirement.”


State now accepting online applications for ‘welcome home’ war bonuses

It’s not a lot of money, but it’s a nice gesture by the state to help recent war veterans returning home to Massachusetts. And now veterans seeking the Massachusetts Global War on Terrorism Welcome Home Bonus can apply online, according to Treasurer Deb Goldberg’s office, as reported at Wicked Local.

Wicked Local

Long-time Chicopee mayor says it’s time to put down the gavel

Chicopee Mayor Richard J. Kos, who ran the city over the course of two separate six-year terms in office, has announced he won’t seek re-election, reports WWLP.  MassLive and Western Mass. Politics & Insight have more, including possible contenders for the post.


Stan Rosenberg: The gaming challenges ahead for Massachusetts

Former Senate President Stan Rosenberg, who’s been keeping a relatively low profile since leaving Beacon Hill amid a sexual-abuse scandal involving his husband, knows a thing or two about the state’s 2011 legalized gaming law, since he was a key architect of it, and he has an op-ed this morning at the Globe outlining the three main challenges facing the industry: The Everett casino license mess, a new casino for southeastern Mass. and sports gambling.

Speaking of sports betting, the Herald’s Michael Silverman today has the second installment of the Herald’s look at possible legalized sports gambling in Massachusetts – and he says it’s all about cell phones. Meanwhile, Treasurer Deb Goldberg has renewed her call for online lottery games, reports the Herald’s Mary Markos.

‘Harold Brown was a veteran, a hard worker, my friend’

The Herald’s Howie Carr pays tribute to Harold Brown, the billionaire Boston landlord who passed away earlier this week, saying he was not the ‘slumlord’ as portrayed years ago: “I know what some of you are thinking to yourselves: He had a few problems with the feds involving some city hacks during the 1980s. All I can say is, you had to be there in Boston City Hall back in those days. Half the people you ran into in the hallways were ex-cons. The other half were future cons. If you didn’t grease a few palms, you were out of business.”

Boston Herald

Environmentalists pressure Neal to jump aboard Green New Deal bandwagon

From Shannon Young at MassLive: “Dozens of environmental activists from across Massachusetts will gather in Springfield Tuesday to urge U.S. Rep. Richard Neal to join fellow delegation members in supporting Democrats’ ‘Green New Deal’ agenda. The Boston chapter of Sunrise Movement, a youth-led effort that seeks to force political action on climate change-related issues, announced Monday that it will hold a late afternoon rally with local high school students, college students and other environmental activists outside the Springfield Democrat’s State Street office.”

Cape groups: Use short-term rental tax revenues for long-term infrastructure

This is interesting. From Ethan Genter at the Cape Cod Times: “Four regional organizations have come together to advocate that Cape towns invest the incoming short-term rental tax revenue in future infrastructure and long-term community projects. … (The groups) are asking each of the 15 Cape towns to consider adopting a bylaw that would set up a special fund to pay for housing, wastewater, broadband, transportation and marketing of Cape Cod.”

Cape Cod Times

Women’s Network Breakfast: Tiffani Faison, Chef & Restaurateur

She’s made a name for herself nationwide for her dynamic personality, creative cuisine, and for being the runner-up on the first season of Bravo’s wildly popular Top Chef series.

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Capital Conversations with Rep. Bill Keating

Please join us for Capital Conversations with Rep. Bill Keating. Rep. Keating is currently serving his fifth term representing Massachusetts’ 9th Congressional District. He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The New England Council

Whose University is it?

MIT and Harvard rolling out the red carpet for the Saudi Crown Prince in March, 2018 was no fluke: it is symptomatic of the lack of democracy on campuses across the US. Increasingly, university administrators act in our name, but without our involvement.

Massachusetts Peace Action

Professionals of Color Career Summit

The Professionals of Color Career Summit (PoC) is a one-of-a-kind engagement providing world-class professional insights and career connections for Greater Boston’s diverse workforce. PoC connects mid-level and executive professionals with industry-leading inclusive organizations.

COLOR Magazine

I Want to Go to Jail

“I Want to Go to Jail” transports you back to February 1919, when women suffragists were arrested for picketing President Wilson in front of the Mas. State House, and served time in the Charles Street Jail.

The Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition of Massachusetts, the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center, The Boston Women’s Heritage Trail, and We Did It for You! Women’s Journey Through History

Boston Divest/Reinvest Hearing

The Boston City Council will hold a hearing on pension fund disclosure, socially responsible investment and reinvestment. Join the Divest/Invest Campaign to raise issues of divestment from fossil fuels, private prison companies, weapons manufacturers and the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and of the need for productive investment in Boston jobs and neighborhoods.

Massachusetts Peace Action

NAIOP @ Night at Bully Boy Distillers

Join NAIOP at Bully Boy Distillers, Boston’s first craft distillery, specializing in Whiskey, Rum, Gin, Vodka and Amaro.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Today’s Headlines


GE is selling its biopharma unit. How will this impact Boston? – WGBH

City Council questions lack of transparency with BuildBPS – Boston Herald


Workbar, Staples call off their co-working deal – Boston Globe

Worcester’s McGourthy named state economic development deputy secretary – Worcester Business Journal

Amherst council looks at funding for major projects – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Michael Cohen is said to have plans to go negative on Trump during testimony – New York Times

Bernie Sanders prepares to release tax returns – National Journal

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