Happening Today

Fall River recall election, tuition hike vote, Flake at Tufts

— An election is scheduled seeking the recall of Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia, with the ballot asking voters two questions: 1.) If Correia should be recalled 2.) If he’s recalled, who should replace him, with Correia running in that follow-up election and theoretically in line to still keep his seat (see post below).

— The Board of Higher Education meets at Bridgewater State University with plans to vote on tuition rates for community colleges and state universities, Bridgewater State University – East Campus, Crimson Hall, Dunn Conference Suite, Bridgewater, 10 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Connector Louis Gutierrez visits the Massachusetts Health Connector to highlight the recently concluded 2019 Open Enrollment for individuals and families, 100 City Hall Plaza, 5th Floor, Boston, 10:45 a.m.

— As the Cannabis Control Commission prepares to review and possibly revise the regulations that govern the adult-use and medical marijuana programs, the regulatory agency will hold a public listening session to solicit input on possible regulatory changes, Western New England University School of Law, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, 11 a.m.

— Former U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, a harsh critic of President Trump, will speak at Tufts University about presidential politics and the current state of the Republican Party, ASEAN Auditorium, Cabot Center, Tufts University Somerville/Medford Campus, 170 Packard Ave., Medford, 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

But can it make a Vodka Martini, shaken not stirred?

First things first: Dan Glaun at MassLive reports how MGM Springfield, since its recent opening, has been quietly using machines, not human bartenders, to make cocktails for patrons at its casino betting tables – and how it’s now eagerly planning to install similar robotic wonders in its Las Vegas casinos. … Now on to all things politics and public policy.


The Fall River recall election: Could Correia lose and still win?

The Herald News has a good voter’s guide, for lack of better words, about today’s recall election of Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II. And both the Herald News and WBUR’s Simón Ríos explain how Correia could indeed get recalled today – and then immediately recalled from the recall and allowed to stay in office. And, yes, file under ‘only in Fall River.’

Herald News

The tangled web they weave: Kraft, Trump, spa owner and a Super Bowl party at Mar-a-Lago

In case you didn’t see it, the Miami Herald reported over the weekend about a Super Bowl party hosted by President Trump at his Mar-a-Lago country club in West Palm Beach, Florida – a party attended by none other than the founder of the Florida spa where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was allegedly caught soliciting prostitution. The NYT’s Michelle Goldberg writes that the Mar-a-Lago bash and its assorted connections would normally be a major scandal, but these aren’t normal times.

After reluctantly approving fare hikes, T members suggest it’s time to talk about other revenue sources

From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “The MBTA oversight board approved a slightly trimmed-down fare increase on Monday at a meeting where it became clear that a majority of the five members are dissatisfied with the transit authority’s progress in a number of areas and at odds with Gov. Charlie Baker on the need for new, broader transportation revenue initiatives.”

Separately, Bruck Mohl and Andy Metzger also report that the board is suggesting it’s time for the Legislature to explore new transportation funding initiatives. The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro and SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) have more on the fare hikes.  


The sheer joy: Raffle offers chance to press the plunger that brings down towers

Oh, the thrill! For a mere $20, you can buy a chance to push the ceremonial plunger as demolition teams bring down the cooling towers at the Brayton Point coal-fueled power plant, the Standard-Times reports. Two local lawmakers, Rep. Patricia Haddad and Sen. Michael J. Rodrigues, are selling 1,000 tickets to the raffle to benefit a local veterans’ group. Brayton–for years the largest coal-fired power station in New England before it was shuttered last May–will be repurposed for several uses, including as a staging area for offshore wind projects. 

South Coast Today

Proving her point: Facebook deletes, then restores, Warren’s anti-Facebook ads

These days, one can almost count on Facebook to do the wrong thing at the wrong time, in this case getting caught deleting, then restoring, ads by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren that were critical of the monopolistic ways of tech companies. Did we mention Warren recently called for breaking up the tech giants? Politico and the Washington Post have the non-deleted details.

Btw: File this one under ‘she was for them before she was against them,’ i.e. how Warren accepted $90,000 from employees at Amazon, Google and Facebook last year, before her recent call to break up the tech giants, as Politico reports.

Warren’s dream running mate? Teddy Roosevelt

Yes, Elizabeth Warren, without hesitation, says Teddy Roosevelt would be her “dream running mate” (of the dead or alive variety). Nik DeCosta-Klipa at Boston.com explains.


Gertner: ‘I was a federal judge. I was taken aback by Manafort’s sentencing’

Nancy Gertner, a retired federal judge in Massachusetts and lecturer at Harvard Law School, writes at the Washington Post that she’s “loath to challenge any judge for being lenient,” but that doesn’t stop her from diplomatically challenging what she and others see as a lenient sentence recently handed down to Trump operative Paul Manafort. Gartner says she was “taken aback” by a judge’s sentence of Manafort to only 47 months of prison for bank fraud and cheating on his taxes.

Washington Post

Perhaps Nancy Pelosi is against impeachment. But other Dems? They can’t resist

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has surprised some by pronouncing she’s not in favor of impeaching President Trump, saying “he’s just not worth it,” reports the Washington Post. But the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says calls by other Dems for impeachment are not going away: “Pelosi is like a grandma telling sullen school kids they can’t touch the candy. Eventually grandma gives in and the kids win out.”

Most of those impressive job gains last year in Massachusetts? Poof! Gone

The Globe’s Jon Chesto dug into recent labor stats released by the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and noticed a major downward revision in the estimated number of jobs created last year in Massachusetts. Revision of the numbers is common – but not to last year’s extent. “Did some Marvel Universe villain just acquire all the Infinity Stones, snap his fingers, and cause 45,000-plus jobs to disintegrate in a flash?” Chesto asks.

Boston Globe

Summers: The left’s ‘modern monetary theory’ is as bogus as supply-side economics

At the Lowell Sun, Lawrence Summers, an economics professor and former president of Harvard University, is blasting the left’s embrace of so-called “modern monetary theory” to justify future huge government spending based on future huge government deficits, saying the theory is merely a mirror image of the right’s discredited supply-side economics. “These new ideas are being oversimplified and exaggerated by fringe economists who hold them out as offering the proverbial free lunch: the ability of the government to spend more without imposing any burden on anyone,” writes Summers, whose column first appeared at the Washington Post.

Lowell Sun

American Airlines cutting some flights to Philadelphia from Worcester Regional Airport

Don’t panic. Worcester Regional Airport isn’t returning to ghost-town status. Still, Lisa Eckelbecker at the Telegram and Melissa Hanson at MassLive are reporting that American Airlines is cutting back on some of its flights between Philadelphia and Worcester, a setback to an airport that can’t afford many more such setbacks.

Worcester to homeowners: Stop paving your front yards

Speaking of Worcester, city leaders are pushing for a new ordinance aimed at making it harder for homeowners to turn their front lawns into paved parking areas, saying the trend is hurting the aesthetic appeal of neighborhoods and impacting storm water flow, Nick Kotsopolous reports at the Telegram. Expect some pushback on this one because on-street parking is rare in some parts of the city.


Sudders: There will be more nursing home closures

Keep in mind the state, for years, has effectively pursued a policy of reducing the use and number of expensive nursing homes in Massachusetts, so this isn’t much of a surprise. From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “In increasing numbers, senior citizens in Massachusetts are turning to assisted living or living at home with assistance, and those choices are exacerbating problems in the nursing home industry. ‘There will be additional closures,’ Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders told lawmakers at a fiscal 2020 budget hearing.”

At the Milford Daily News, Eli Sherman reports on the decline of the nursing home industry in general. CommonWealth magazine recently hosted a podcast discussion on the topic as well.


Elizabeth Warren’s sorry defense of Ilhan Omar

Jeff Robbins at the Herald takes direct aim at U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren for riding to the defense of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, who’s been accused of crossing the line between criticizing Israel and engaging in old-fashioned anti-Semitism. At the Globe, Michael Cohen doesn’t mention Warren by name, but he does criticize progressives for defending Omar rather than demanding she be more respectful. He’s not holding out hope that Omar, or progressives, have learned any lessons from recent controversies.

Boston to host NAACP convention in 2020

As the Globe’s Milton Valencia reports, the NAACP’s announcement yesterday that it will hold its 2020 convention in Boston is a “remarkable public relations victory for a city still reconciling its racist past.” The BBJ’s Gintautas Dumcius at the BBJ has more on big convention news.

WBUR general manager Charlie Kravetz is stepping down

There’s the diplomatic way of reporting that WBUR general manager Charlie Kavetz is stepping down, after an eight-year run in which the station saw both growth and controversy, as the Globe’s Janelle Nanos and WBUR’s Martha Bebinger report. Then there’s the Universal Hub way of describing the departure: “The station reports the decision was one of those mutual time-to-go-separate-ways things and that while his formal resignation becomes effective June 30, he is no longer involved in day-to-day operations – and he did not attend the staff meeting at which the news was announced.”

Draw your own conclusions.

Universal Hub

Meanwhile, Wentworth Institute has a new president

From Gintautas Dumcius at the BBJ: “Mark A. Thompson, who has spent the last 20 years at Quinnipiac University, is the new president at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. The Quinnipiac executive vice president and provost starts at Wentworth on June 1.  Zorica Pantic, the current president and the Wentworth’s first female leader, is stepping down in May after 14 years at the helm.”


Smith & Wesson closing Springfield distribution center in favor of new Missouri facility

It’s not a lot of jobs (20 to 30 people), but it’s still a cutback in a region nervous about the company’s long-term plans for staying in a less-than-gun-friendly state. From Jim Kinney at MassLive: “American Outdoor Brands Corp., parent company of Springfield stalwart Smith & Wesson, will close its distribution operations here and elsewhere around the country as it opens a new $75-million warehouse near Columbia, Missouri, this year.”


Promise kept: DA Rollins forms ‘discharge integrity team’ to probe police shooting

Keeping her campaign promise to bring a fresh approach to her new job, Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins has named a four-person “discharge integrity team” to investigate the circumstances surrounding the fatal police-involved shooting of a suspect last month, Taylor Pettaway reports at the Herald. The team includes a retired judge, a member of the State Police, a private attorney who once ran the DA’s homicide unit, and a community activist.

Boston Herald

‘Glamping’ resort pitch has North Adams seeking more details

Here come the “glampers.” Neighbors and community planners in North Adams are asking for more details on a property owner’s plan to create a “glamping” resort aimed at bringing together those interested in camping with all the amenities they miss while camping, Adam Shanks reports at the Berkshire Eagle.

Berkshire Eagle

Making Tough Decisions: A Conversation with Gina Raimondo

Governor Gina Raimondo (D-RI) discusses public leadership, state governance, and American politics with Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf.

Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School

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


Man charged with videoing boys in Boston Latin restrooms – Universal Hub

Among crimes in Utahn’s apparent drug bust: Using hotel services as non-guest – Cambridge Day


Ware town meeting approves 14-month solar moratorium – MassLive

Rausch leading charge on legislation to help homeless – Sun Chronicle

Recreational pot shop gets green light to open in Lowell – Lowell Sun


Trump calls for cutting National Science Foundation budget by $1 billion – The Hill

Pelosi comes out against impeaching Trump – Washington Post

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