Happening Today

Snow storm cancellations and delays, MBTA meeting, and more

— A number of State House and government events, including a planned budget hearing today,  have been postponed, cancelled or delayed due to last evening and this morning’s snow storm. Meanwhile, non-emergency executive-branch and House and Senate employees begin work at 11 a.m. today.  The calendar items below were, as of last evening, still scheduled to proceed on time today.

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition holds its 23rd annual Immigrants’ Day event to rally support for the Safe Communities Act, Great Hall, 10 a.m.

— The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board meets with an agenda that calls for discussion of the authority’s preliminary fiscal year 2020 budget, bus facilities and a fare proposal, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III will sit down with Nick Burns, former U.S. ambassador to Greece and NATO, to discuss the ‘intersection between domestic and foreign policy,’ Harvard Kennedy School, Littauer Building, Fourth Floor, 79 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge, 12:15 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker huddles privately with Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Karen Spilka and other lawmakers for a semi-regular leadership meeting, Governor’s Office, 3 p.m.

— University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan delivers his third annual State of the University address, outlining the opportunities and challenges ahead for the five-campus system, UMass Club, One Beacon St., 32nd Floor, Boston, 5 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

Mystery money: So where did Lori Trahan get that last burst of cash for a media blitz that put her over the top?

The Globe’s Andrea Estes reports that U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan’s numbers and explanations still don’t add up, i.e. how and where her campaign managed to raise $371,000 in the crowded 2018 Democratic primary that allowed her to launch a late TV advertising blitz that helped her narrowly win the party nomination (and ultimately the Congressional seat itself). At least one campaign finance expert suspects it came from her home-builder husband, an apparent campaign finance no-no. The Trahan campaign denies any wrongdoing.

Boston Globe

Baker’s Super PAC friends

We’re pretty sure we know where Lori Trahan didn’t get her last-minute infusion of cash. From the AP at Boston.com: “Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s re-election campaign got a big boost from independent expenditure political action committees — also known as super PACs. A report by the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance released this week found that super PACs spent about $6.8 million to support or oppose candidates in last year’s state election. Nearly all of that — about 97 percent — went to support Baker.”


Lelling: Death penalty possible for killing of Jassy Correia

From Laurel Sweet at the Herald: “Louis D. Coleman III could face the death penalty if convicted of kidnapping, beating and strangling Jassy Correia before driving her corpse to Delaware four days later stuffed in a suitcase, U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said Sunday. Lelling said his Boston office will prosecute the multi-jurisdictional case as he announced a federal charge of interstate kidnapping resulting in death, which he said is death penalty eligible. He said no decision has been made on whether to seek a death sentence.”

Boston Herald

Massachusetts to Maine: Thank you

In an editorial, the Boston Globe is praising Maine Gov. Janet Mills for rising above NIMBYism by agreeing to a compromise plan that would allow a power-transmission line to run through Maine to bring hydropower to Massachusetts and the rest of New England.

Rodrigues: He’s indeed a ‘boring middle’ Dem standing up to loony left progressives

Reacting to Jonathan Cohn’s recent column warning progressives that Sen. Michael Rodrigues is no progressive, Lloyd Mendes at CommonWealth magazine agrees that Rodrigues is no progressive by today’s standards of progressiveness – and thank goodness.


Bernie Sanders: Time to declare victory and go home?

David Bernstein at WGBH reports that many Dems are shaking their heads over U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ second bid for the presidency. Bernstein lays out two possible scenarios that could unfold, including his candidacy splitting the progressive vote and harming candidates like Elizabeth Warren. “To an awful lot of Democrats, it seems obvious that Sanders should simply declare victory in the battle of ideas, and go home.”

The Herald’s Michael Graham writes that there’s yet another scenario that Republicans would dearly love to see: The “dream candidate” Sanders actually winning the Dem nomination – and getting croaked in the general election by Trump.


Moulton has entered ‘seriously-looking-at’ stage of mulling run for president

Speaking of presidential politics: We feel duty bound to provide this update, via Lisa Weidenfeld at Boston Magazine, that U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s has apparently shifted from merely acknowledging he’s mulling a run for president to “seriously looking” at a run for president. 

Boston Magazine

UMass Boston faculty members sound alarm about mission creep at Mount Ida campus

Did they expect anything else? From Brooks Sutherland at the Herald: “Faculty members at UMass Boston are voicing concerns about development and program additions to the university’s Mt. Ida campus in Newton, telling the Herald that UMass Amherst is moving ‘closer to us’ and that they’re being asked to compete with themselves.”

Boston Herald

Tribe’s gaming partner turns off money spigot

This sounds dire. The Malaysian casino developer that partnered with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to build its stalled First Light casino project in Taunton has stopped loaning the tribe cash it has been using to keep its governmental operations going, Tanner Stening reports at the Cape Cod Times. The last tranche of funding from Genting Malaysia is slated to run out on March 31, though tribal officials say cuts in some programs have already been made in anticipation of less cash coming in from the partnership. 

Cape Cod Times

Feds may be looking at Methuen police contract process

Federal investigators may now be among those examining how Methuen officials approved a contract that pays police superior officers north of $400,000 annually–a deal that has put the community in a financial pinch, Zoe Matthews reports at the Eagle-Tribune. Local officials have mostly clammed up as word circulates that subpoenas have been issued to gather information about the contract’s approval by councilors and the then mayor. There were a lot of apparent ties between elected officials and the police department, that’s all we’ll say.

Eagle Tribune

‘Beantown Greentown’: Barney Frank joins local pot business

Why not? He supported legalization of marijuana as far back as the early 1970s when he was a state representative. The Globe’s Dan Adams reports on how former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank is teaming up with Beantown Greentown, described as a “local group of underground growers, marketers, and event organizers” of all things marijuana.

Boston Globe

Meanwhile, Michael Capuano lands gig at D.C. law firm office

In other ex-congressmen career news, from the Globe’s Matt Stout: “Two months after leaving Congress, former Representative Michael E. Capuano isn’t roaming far from Washington, D.C. The Somerville Democrat is joining the firm Foley & Lardner LLP, where he plans to shuttle between its Boston and Washington offices as a new public affairs director, the company announced Friday.”

‘Embrace’ sculpture chosen as King monument on Boston Common

Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine reports that a nonprofit group has selected the “Embrace” sculpture featuring two pairs of arms in an embrace as the winning design for a monument to Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King on Boston Common. The official announcement is expected to be made later today.

Here’s a look at all the finalist designs (WBUR). You decide if it was the right call. We think they made the right choice. 


Route 24: ‘One of the most dangerous and deadliest stretches of road in Massachusetts’

So it’s not just us getting white knuckles whenever we drive on Route 24. Others dread it too – and the number of crashes in the Brockton area of 24 recently hit its highest level since 2002, reports Cody Shepard at the Enterprise.

It’s the location of on-ramps near bridges that make it so dangerous, as cars hurtling onto the roadway are immediately funneled into the nearest lane in order to avoid collisions with the base of overpass bridges. It’s horribly designed.


Wanted: Politically savvy local insider for Massport CEO, technical skills desired but not required

Ah, the hell with a nationwide search. The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that the search for the “most talked-about job in Boston’s circles of power,” i.e. the open chief executive post at Massaport, appears to be focusing on “candidates with experience in ‘political astuteness’ and a record of working effectively with other civic leaders here in Massachusetts.”

Measles alert: Health officials warn of exposure due to NY-to-Boston bus passenger

From Jackson Cote at WBUR: “City health officials issued a measles warning Friday after a person diagnosed with the virus took a bus on Tuesday from New York City to Boston and then to New Hampshire. The diagnosed person took Greyhound Bus #2520 from New York City to South Station in Boston. The passenger then traveled to Manchester, N.H. on Boston Express Bus #5178, which stopped in Tyngsborough and Nashua, N.H.”


Fidelity stands to make an awful lot of money from Lyft’s IPO

We’d do the math for you, but we’d screw it up. So here are the numbers: Boston’s Fidelity Investments and its affiliates own about 7.7 percent of Lyft, which registered on Friday for an IPO that some think could be worth $20 billion to $25 billion. That’s a lot of money, as the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports.


Galvin forms group to work with fin-tech industry

Speaking of the financial sector, from SHNS’s Michael Norton: “Calling it a ‘rapidly growing space,’ the top securities regulators in Massachusetts on Friday announced the formation of a working group to engage with the financial technlogy, or fintech, sector. Secretary of State William Galvin, who runs the state securities division, said the Fintech Working Group features experts in the area and division members and would both support businesses and receive advice from the industry.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Arizona man admits he threatened to kill black Harvard students at commencement

From Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub: “The US Attorney’s office in Boston reports an Arizona man who was offended by the idea of black Harvard students celebrating their impending graduation admitted yesterday he posted threats on Instagram to travel to Harvard and kill blacks and bomb the school.”

Universal Hub

NY’s de Blasio refuses to succumb to Stockholm Syndrome, defiantly remains Sox fan

Think about it: The last two mayors of New York have been closet or open Red Sox fans, one of whom ultimately succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome, the other openly defying the pressure to renounce his allegiance, i.e. Bill de Blasio, who was spotted over the weekend at JetBlue Park in Florida watching the Sox play the Baltimore Orioles, reports the Globe’s Peter Abraham. 

He’s certainly showing presidential timbre in our book.

Boston Globe

Reconfirming the confirmed: Lelling says Lawrence is indeed a regional hub for fentanyl

The governors of New Hampshire and Maine and the former U.S. attorney general all got grief for saying this – and now U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling is saying it too, though no one is really arguing the point anymore, to wit: That Lawrence has indeed become a “pipeline for heroin and fentanyl distribution” in New England, reports Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune.

Eagle Tribune

Battle brewing: Brockton mulls barring police from sharing info with ICE

Sure sounds like a “sanctuary city” or “safe community” measure. The names keep changing. Anyway, the Brockton City Council is girding for battle over a “Brockton United Ordinance” that would bar local police from sharing arrest information with federal immigration enforcement authorities, Marc Larocque reports at the Enterprise. The proposal is Brockton’s second run at passing the measure.


Remember all that Trump administration saber rattling over sanctuary cities? Never mind

Speaking of sanctuary/safe/united communities, remember all the financial threats in the early days of the Trump administration about shutting off funding to cities that adopted sanctuary policies? The Associated Press reports that 28 out of the 29 jurisdictions it targeted for adopting such policies have received their full grant funding. 

AP News

Councilor renews push for Grade 13 in Boston

Nearly half of Boston’s high school graduates who enter college do not graduate within six years, according to data, so City Councilor Michael Flaherty is renewing his push for an optional Year 13 for students, which he says would help them better prepare for college and make them more competitive. The Globe’s Meghan Irons has the details.

Boston Globe

Those pesky kids: MGM says it’s cracking down on minors sneaking into casino

MGM Springfield says the intentionally open design of its casino — meant to encourage interaction with the city outside the doors — makes it harder to keep minors away from the slot machines and gaming tables, Peter Goonan reports at MassLive. MGM says it found nearly 80 minors on the gaming floor in December, including 15 who were already gambling when security personnel tracked them down.


‘Massachusetts needs a student loan bill of rights’

State Sen. Eric Lesser sounds the alarm at the Boston Globe over student-loan debts and other financial woes that college grads confront these days.

Venezuela: Sanctions, Elections and Attempted Coup

Will the crisis lead to a major new war? The US is trying to overthrow the Maduro government with military threats, economic warfare and diplomatic isolation. But the solutions for the problems in Venezuela are for the Venezuelans to decide. The peace movement must oppose US intervention and support a resolution through peaceful dialogue!

Massachusetts Peace Action

NOVA “Addiction” Film Screening & Panel Discussion

The WGBH science series NOVA on PBS and Wayside Youth & Family Support Network’s Multi-Service Center invite you to a screening of the documentary “Addiction” followed by a panel discussion about the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history and potential solutions. To register, visit bit.ly/waysidescreening

Wayside Youth & Family Support Network

The Breakfast Club

Please join us for this event which features a speaking program, salutes to area businesses and a networking breakfast. More than 300 area professionals attend.

Worcester Chamber of Commerce

Author Talk and Book Signing with Dina Vargo

Author Talk and Book Signing with Historian Dina Vargo, Author of Hidden History of Boston

State Library of Massachusetts

Today’s Headlines


Housing boom is a bust for Quincy’s homeless – Patriot Ledger

Boston city councilor renews push for 13th optional school year – Boston Globe


Brockton’s ‘Champion Plan’ helped 700 find drug treatment last year – Brockton Enterprise

U.S. Attorney: Lawrence a regional hub for fentanyl – Eagle-Tribune

Mass. union membership increased in 2018 – Worcester Business Journal


White House ambitions cloud Democrats’ hope of winning Senate in 2020 – New York Times

Rand Paul says he’ll vote against Trump’s border emergency, likely forcing a veto – NPR

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