Happening Today

Spilka on affordable housing, Walsh on the air, and more

— Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools will host an ‘Invite your Legislator to School Day in Andover, with Sens. Diana DiZoglio, Jamie Eldridge, Barry Finegold and John Keenan and Rep. Chirstina Minicucci attending, Melmark New England, 461 River Road, Andover, 10 a.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka holds a roundtable on affordable housing, Hartford Street Presbyterian Church, 99 Hartford St., Natick, 9:30 a.m

— Mayor Martin Walsh is a guest on Boston Public Radio for his regular ‘Ask the Mayor’ segment, WGBH’s 89.7, 12 p.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka delivers remarks at MAPA Translations Annual International Women’s Day event, Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company, 81 Morton St., Framingham, 12:15 p.m.

— Sen. Sal DiDomenico and the DiDomenico Foundation hold their annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, with Auditor Suzanne Bump and Treasurer Deborah Goldberg attending, Charlestown Knights of Columbus, 545 Medford St., Charlestown, 6:30 p.m.

— On ‘Beat the Press,’ Adam Reilly will be joined by Dan Kennedy, Callie Crossley, Joanna Weiss and Tom Fiedler to discuss the new documentary ‘Leaving Neverland,’ Anderson Cooper’s interview of conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi on CNN, and the DNC’s decision to bar Fox News from hosting 2020 debates, WGBH, 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

Pressley and Warren stand by Omar amid House debate over anti-Semitism

First, read the lead of the NYT’s story about how a House resolution that started out condemning anti-Semitism mushroomed into a resolution condemning all forms of hatred. It’s a masterpiece of non-objective objectivity that sticks it to Democrats if they really think the resolution, which passed, is going to quell the uproar over U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s criticism of Israel. It’s not.

The Herald’s Sean Phillip Cotter and Boston.com’s Nik DeCosta-Klipa report that U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren are standing by Omar, or at least standing by her as criticism and apparent violent threats mount against her for remarks widely perceived as anti-Semitic. U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy appears to be floating somewhere in between. 

There’s a lot of good commentary and stories out there on the Omar controversy, including pieces by Bret Stephens at the NYT and Dana Milbank at the Washington Post (both think Omar has created one hell of mess for Dems). There’s also this from the Washington Post: “Progressive Jews worry that criticism of Rep. Ilhan Omar will stifle debate about Israel.” Then again, from Jeff Robbins at the Herald: “Opposing anti-Semitism shouldn’t be this hard for Democrats.”

Mob scene alert: Greater Boston’s first retail pot shop to open in Brookline

Brookline is within ‘spitting distance’ of Boston? That’s one way to describe the tony town, we suppose. Anyway, from Felicia Gans and Naomi Martin at the Globe: “The state granted a recreational marijuana license to a Brookline store Thursday, setting the stage for what town officials expect to be a mob scene when the outlet — the first within spitting distance of Boston — opens in a few weeks.”

The worst-case scenario for Brookline police: Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen strolling by as the doors open. Total. Complete. Chaos.

Meanwhile, Michelle Williams at MassLive reports that the Cannabis Control Commission has also signed off on provisional licenses for pot establishments in Northampton, Georgetown, Amherst and Pittsfield.

Boston Globe

Time for talk is over: Bakers steps up push to ban use of hand-held phones in cars

From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “After ‘optimistic conversations” with lawmakers last year about banning hand-held cellphone use while driving, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday that is time to stop talking and take action to make roads in Massachusetts safer for everyone. ‘It’s pretty clear that distracted driving and some tragedies and some near misses on construction sites are indicators that it’s probably time to simply stop debating some of these common sense initiatives and just get them done,’ Baker said.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Liss-Riordan, a prominent labor attorney, eyes challenge to Markey in 2020

She’s best known nationally for taking on Uber and other “gig economy” companies over their wage and labor practices. She’s best known locally for targeting restaurants and bars who illegally take a cut of the tips left by patrons for waiters and bartenders etc. She’s Brookline attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan – and she’s now seriously mulling a run against U.S. Sen. Ed Markey in the 2020 Democratic primary, reports the Globe’s Victoria McGrane.

Boston Globe

DPU and Healey clash over utility refunds to customers

The DPU says it would be “inappropriate.” Attorney General Maura Healey begs to differ. What’s the disagreement? Whether utilities, which reaped millions of dollars from recently passed federal tax cuts, should refund customers some of those tax-cut savings. The Globe’s Matt Stout has the details.

Baker ‘inclined to support’ ban on conversion therapy

From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday that he would ‘be inclined to support’ a ban on conversion therapy for minors if it reaches his desk. Conversion therapy tries to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. In some forms of therapy, a therapist might cause pain each time a person has a sexual reaction to someone of the same sex.”


They awarded the lone black Boy Scout counselor an ‘Evil Monkey’ award – and thought it was funny

The Globe’s Michael Levenson reports that Chris Vogel thinks it’s time to end a Boy Scout camp tradition of awarding “mock merit badges” to scout officials, after he, as the lone black scout staffer at a camp in Plymouth, was awarded an “evil monkey” badge. It’s a real knee-slapper, right? Oh, they also awarded a “Nantucket Nazi” badge to a camp disciplinarian. Get it? 

Boston Globe

A ‘quietly confident’ Moulton thinks he can beat Trump on foreign policy issues

He may not be running yet, but he’s certainly lacing up the running shoes. The Atlantic’s Edward-Isaac Doverereports that U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton sees an opportunity for himself in the 2020 presidential cycle created by President Trump’s chaotic approach to national security and what he sees as a paltry Democratic response. “I think Donald Trump is a lot harder to beat than most Democrats think. But I’m also quietly confident that I can beat him,” Moulton said.

Moulton also gave an interview to CBS News on much the same theme. “We should be leading on national security right now as Democrats in the face of such a reckless commander-in-chief,” he told the network. 

‘Winthrop restaurant cancels Trump event organized by Muslim hater’

The JW’s restaurant in Winthrop was supposed to be the location for a meeting held by a group called MA 4 Trump – until controversy erupted and the restaurant cancelled the event. From Universal Hub: “One of the group’s organizers is Dianna Ploss, who last year served as press secretary to anti-gay gubernatorial candidate Scott Lively and who organized a talk in Newton titled The U.S. Constitution and Sharia. Can they co-exist? She did that in her role as leader of the Boston of the anti-Muslim Act for America.”

Universal Hub

Hampshire College faculty: We have a survival plan

Faculty members at Hampshire College say they have their own plan for saving the beleaguered school — and the school’s leaders say they are open to considering their input, Dusty Christensen reports in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. The plan, which calls for layoffs to be halted while the school seeks ways to reinvent itself, has won the endorsement of three former Hampshire presidents.


About that T police beating: There was a real human being on the receiving end of that baton

The Globe’s Evan Allen talks with the man who was allegedly beaten by a Transit Police officer and he just wants everyone to know: He’s a real human being who didn’t want any trouble. So Anthony Watson is going public. “By me showing face and speaking about my story, if it can change somebody else’s life, then I’m all with that,” he says. 

Manhunt, Part II: Police release photos of ‘class warfare’ graffiti bandit tagging Beacon HIll

State Police have released photos of the “class warfare” guy who’s been tagging the State House and surrounding buildings on Beacon Hill with graffiti and they’re seeking the public’s help in identifying the suspect. Photos available at Universal Hub and MassLive.

Bad combination: Gun show, drunk customer, ammo purchase, talk of shooting spree

From the Globe’s Danny McDonald: “Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan plans to examine ways to bolster state law governing gun shows after a man who was allegedly drunk was arrested for illegally purchasing ammunition at a show in Wilmington. Brian Schwartztrauber, 54, of Cambridge — whose roommate told police he had spoken of going on a shooting spree — allegedly bought 150 rounds of 9 mm ammunition without a license at the Northeast Gun Show last Saturday.”

Boston Globe

Headline hunter: Baker now using Cambridge ammo case to push for ‘dangerousness’ bill

First he cited the recent Lawrence police rape case to push for keeping criminal defendants locked up as they await trial, as reported by Christian Wade at the Salem News. Now Gov. Charlie Baker is using the Cambridge ammo-sale case (see post above) to push for tougher pre-trial detention legislation, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. Notice the headline-hunting pattern? One more makes it an official trend.

Walsh distances himself (a bit) from controversial police-ICE arrest

From Shannon Dooling at WBUR: “Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is asking questions of his own police department in the wake of a U.S. Department of Labor lawsuit filed last week in Boston’s federal court. Two Boston police detectives are cited in the suit, which says the police cooperated with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the arrest of a construction worker. 


Campbell on superintendent search: Transparency and inclusiveness. It works. Really.

We missed this one from the other day, i.e. City Council president Andrea Campbell’s op-ed in the Globe calling for just a little more transparency in the search for a new Boston school superintendent and in education policy-setting in general. She makes a persuasive case that transparency and inclusion really do work. Really. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Brooks Sutherland reports that Mayor Marty Walsh admits he’d like to see more progress in education in general. Maybe he could get more input from others on how to achieve more progress?

‘For black grad students in Boston, stay or go?’

Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine has a good story on the efforts by a few to convince black graduate students in Boston to stay in Boston after they finish school. It’s a low-key, casual effort to retain the “talented tenth.” Jonas explains.


Too late: Fall River mayor and council wrangle over State of City

  You can’t blame a guy for trying. Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia tried but failed to get the city council to schedule the annual State of the City address so he could deliver the speech before voters go to the polls in an election that could see him recalled from office, Jo C. Goode reports in the Herald News. The council held its ground and now says it will invite Correia or the winner of the March 12 vote to give the address the week after the election.  

Herald News

Safety summit: City Hall convenes bar owners after kidnapping

Boston Police Commissioner William Gross is asking every liquor license holder in the city to send a representative to a meeting next week to discuss ways to enhance the safety of patrons following the two recent late-night kidnappings, Brooks Sutherland and Lisa Kashinsky report in the Herald. 

Boston Herald

RIP, John Pignatelli, Berkshires political fixture and father of state representative

Berkshire County is remembering John J. Pignatelli as the “ultimate public servant” following his death at the age of 95. The father of current state Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, he served on the Lenox select board for 32 years and was a longtime leader of the now-defunct Berkshire County Commission. 

Berkshire Eagle

Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Gus Bickford, state Democratic Party chair, who talks with host Jon Keller about Gov. Baker’s relationship with the Trump administration and what Democrats are looking for in a presidential candidate.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Shirley Leung, interim editorial page editor at the Boston Globe, and Doug Banks, Boston Business Journal editor, weigh in on the challenges to higher education, efforts to fix the state’s transportation problem, the case of Bob Kraft and the petition to get Gillette to stop its stadium sponsorship and other business issues.  

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Kevin Tabb, head of the new Beth Israel Lahey Health organization, Patrick Aquino, chair of psychiatry at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, and Phillomin Laptiste, executive director at Bowdoin Street Health Center, discuss the recent merger of Beth Israel Medical Center and Lahey Health.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Interim Boston School Superintendent Laura Perille, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu, followed by a discussion with Democratic analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican analyst Rob Gray.

This is New England, NBC Boston Channel 10, 11:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s topics: Showcasing reporter stories in the community — remembering the lives lost to gun violence, Marshfield’s eleven-year-old blind radio host, how meditating can help you recharge and other subjects.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Celebrating women entrepreneurs.

BC Chief Executives Club, NECN, 1 p.m. and repeated again at 8 p.m: A broadcast of Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred’s talk earlier this week with Boston Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy at the Boston College Chief Executives Club.

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

The Codcast LIVE: Celebrate Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, CommonWealth magazine presents a live recording of The Codcast highlighting women’s political engagement from the suffrage movement to the present, hosted by Jesse Mermell, former Communications Director for Gov. Deval Patrick, and Jennifer Nassour, CEO of ReflectUS, a non-partisan coalition of the leading women’s political organizations in the country.

CommonWealth magazine and WeWork Boston

Meet the New Boston, Same as the Old Boston

On March 13th from 7:30-9:30am, the WPG Initiative and the Boston Business Journal are presenting a powerful program highlighting the power gap in Boston business organizations. We will release data about gender and racial diversity both in the leadership and on the boards of these groups, which have major influences on business, tax, and economic development policies in our state.

WPG Initiative and the Boston Business Journal

2019 North Shore Business Expo

Connect with over 2500 potential customers in one day at the largest business expo north of Boston on March 14th. The show is held at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Grand Ballroom – 50 Ferncroft Road – Danvers, MA 01923. Call 978-774-8565 to Sponsor or Exhibit or visit www.northshorechamber.org/2019expo

North Shore Chamber of Commerce

Starr Forum: From Cold War to Hot Peace

With speaker Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to the Russian Federation.

MIT Center for International Studies (CIS), MIT Security Studies Program (SSP), MISTI MIT-Russia

Real Estate Development Fundamentals Onsite Course

This course is focused on planning and implementing real estate development projects and what it means to be a real estate developer.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Invite Your Legislature to School Day

The Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools (maaps) is hosting 6 “Invite Your Legislator to School” Days at special education schools across the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts Association for 766 Approved Private Schools (maaps)

STEM and the Massachusetts Workforce Challenge

Already, the college degree pipeline in Massachusetts is inadequate to meet demand, and workforce supply, especially in STEM fields, must be better cultivated in the Commonwealth’s own backyard. Join us as we bring together business, education and public policy leaders to discuss the critical topic of the interconnection between STEM education, public policy and the changing needs in Massachusetts’ workforce.

State House News Forum

Today’s Headlines


Lynn’s reimagined waterfront would feature parks, public access and development under new master plan – Lynn Item

Walsh: Not satisfied with progress on education – Boston Herald


Mayor announces deal to build new waste transfer station in Fall River – Herald News

Milford selectman candidate accuses board of not supporting immigrant community – MetroWest Daily News

Community benefit agreement for WooSox park rounds bases – Telegram & Gazette


Philadelphia becomes first major US city to ban cashless stores – The Hill

Democrats torn over scrutiny of Trump children – Washington Post

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