Happening Today

SJC hearings, Hoffman on the air, Healey at Harvard

— The Supreme Judicial Court will hear the cases pf Commonwealth vs. Jonathan Niemic, Commonwealth vs. Darryene Ware and Commonwealth vs. Jeremy Amaral, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, 2nd Floor, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.

— Cannabis Control Commission chairman Steve Hoffman is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12:30 p.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, state Sen. Michael Moore and Becker College Board of Trustees Chair Christine Cassidy to participate in the Inauguration of Becker College President Nancy Crimmin, Gymnasium, Becker College, 963 Main Street, Leicester, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco Ureña, Massachusetts National Guard Adjutant General Gary Keefe and members of the National Guard Honor Guard to escort Gold Star Wives to the State House Front Steps to raise the Gold Star Wives Flag, State House steps, 1:30 p.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey delivers the keynote address at an event commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, Harvard Law School, 1563 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 5 p.m.

— ‘Basic Black’ focuses on the 2020 presidential campaign outlook, with host Callie Crossley joined by Republican State Committeewoman Rachel Kemp, Democratic National Committee national press secretary Brandon Gassaway, Boston Globe columnist Renee Graham and WGBH reporter Phillip Martin, WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7:30 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

Baker administration and Rollins go at it over the ‘memo’

We’ll go with the Herald’s version of this story, since the Herald has been all over the “memo” controversy in typical tabloid fashion. From Joe Dwinell: “The Baker administration and Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins traded barbs Thursday in a bitter exchange over the DA’s controversial no-prosecute list and lenient policies. Secretary of Public Safety Thomas A. Turco III started the legal battle with a scathing missive that says Rollins’ unconventional practices could put children at risk, make the opioid crisis worse, and help gang members and ex-cons while also undermining drunken driving and pot laws.

The Globe’s Danny McDonald and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) have more.

Boston Herald

On guard: ‘He bought the fencing coach’s house. Then his son got into Harvard’

What more can we say? The Globe headline on Joshua Miller’s great story this morning says it all. We’ll only add that: A.) Harvard is now investigating and B.) Harvard is now, it would appear, tied to the national admissions-bribery scandal.

Fyi: The Washington Post is all over the story, giving full credit to the Globe.

‘High stakes’: Elected officials take aim at Wynn’s license

A group of lawmakers and city officials – including Reps. Christine Barber, Denise Provost and Kay Khan and city councilors Andrea Campbell, Michelle Wu and Lydia Edwards, among others – have written to the Gaming Commission to express their “deep concern over the suitability of Wynn Resorts” to keep its Everett casino license in the wake of all that’s been learned about how the company handled sexual misconduct allegations against its former CEO, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall). Meanwhile, Senate President Karen Spilka is tossing out ideas on what to do with Wynn Resorts, going as far as to suggest that the firm might be forced to sell off its license, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy and Colin Young (pay wall).

CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl takes a look at all the “high stakes” disciplinary options confronting the Gaming Commission. We have no idea what regulators will decide, but we suspect it’s going to be something along the lines proposed earlier this week by the Globe’s Larry Edelman, i.e. a very hefty fine and tough new conditions slapped on the license. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, Wynn attorneys donated thousands to Baker’s inaugural committee ahead of hearings

It’s standard operating procedure at this point. From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “Nearly three months into his second term, Governor Charlie Baker is still taking in tens of thousands of dollars for his inaugural celebration, including donations from the firm representing Wynn Resorts in a highly anticipated hearing this week before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.”

Just words or actual opposition? Romney dings Trump’s Fed pick

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney all but ridiculed President Trump’s intentions to nominate Herman Cain to serve on the Federal Reserve Board, but (of course) the former Massachusetts governor stopped short of saying he’d oppose Cain if he came before the Senate for confirmation, Burgess Everett reports at Politico. Romney said he would rather see the president put forward Fed nominees who are “economists first and not partisans.”


After pilot program, Boston seeks to boost parking meter fees by $2 an hour

Ah, the seamless pilot-program-to-permanent-program approach towards raising fees and taxes. From the Globe’s Milton Valencia and Tim Logan: “Mayor Martin J. Walsh has proposed a rate hike to at least $2 an hour for all of the city’s 8,000 parking meters, the first such increase in a decade as his administration seeks new ways to raise revenue while controlling a parking demand that has cluttered many of Boston’s streets.” As the Herald’s Brooks Sutherland notes, the proposals come after an “adjusted rate pilot program, which officials said revealed decreases in congestion and illegal parking in Back Bay.”

New state ad campaign: ‘Don’t be that guy’

For a moment there, we thought this was another Gillette-like ad. Wrong. From SHNS’s Michael Nortion: “A TV spot urging people not to be ‘that guy’ is anchoring a new public awareness campaign designed to reduce distracted driving. The Baker administration announced the campaign Thursday, saying research shows that changing attitudes about distracted driving is an effective way to change driver behavior.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Are Warren’s problems the result of her being too policy wonkish?

Count Senate President Karen Spilka among those who think U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s faltering presidential bid might be the result of her being more of a policy wonk than a soundbite-driven candidate. “It’s unfortunate, but people are used to soundbites,” Spilka said yesterday during a WGBH interview, as reported by SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall).

Far be it for us to disagree, but we’ll proceed to disagree anyway. Re soundbites: There are actually few better than Warren in dishing out pithy barbs (think: tweet battles with the orange-hair man) and coming up with clever names for her policy proposals (think: “ultra millionaire tax”). Re policies: She’s rightly credited with being way ahead of the pack by proposing progressive ideas appealing to the Dem base. Things simply aren’t clicking for her right now for other reasons – and it’s probably a mixture of her combative style (note how many Dem voters are yearning for feel-good candidates of the week like Mayor Pete and Beto the Great), the DNA debacle, the fact she’s not a new face etc. etc. And, btw, like WGBH’s David Bernstein, we suspect it’s only a matter of time before voters circle back to Warren and give her another look.

Speaking of Warren’s policies. the Washington Post’s Renae Merle gently takes apart most of Warren’s recent WaPo arguments for jailing CEOs. And, speaking of Mayor Pete, the Globe’s Scot Lehigh likes the way he talks. Literally.

Suffolk Construction cozies up to De Blasio as it seeks NYC contracts

As the NYT notes, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, who’s eyeing a presidential run, initially wouldn’t say who was hosting his mysterious fundraiser in Boston. But the truth came out: Suffolk Construction, which is trying to win more business in the Big Apple. 


In Worcester, heat is on superintendent over discipline disparity

Two groups, including one representing students, are calling for the resignation of Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda over what they say are persistent issues of racial disparity in the system, Scott O’Connell reports at the Telegram. Mayor Joseph Petty pledged the district would do more to address the issues — which include higher rates of discipline for minority students — and suggested the hiring of a diversity officer.


Commissioner: There will be no ‘rubber stamp’ investigation of big pot firms

The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlettand the Globe’s Naomi Martin report that members of Cannabis Control Commission are vowing a thorough investigation into news reports that large marijuana companies appear to be getting around, or at least pushing the limits of, state laws restricting how many pot licenses a firm can hold. “This is not going to be a rubber stamp” investigation, one commissioner says.

Meanwhile, the Globe, in an editorial headlined “Time to halt Big Weed’s advance,” is urging Attorney General Maura Healey to get involved in the matter.

Pot dispensary: Sorry, you can stay, but not your wife

Here’s something else the Cannabis Control Commission might want to look into: Its own rule that doesn’t allow spouses, among others, to accompany someone seeking pot at a medical marijuana dispensary in Massachusetts. The Globe’s Sean Murphy reports on one couple that was effectively turned away at a dispensary when told the terminally ill husband could come in for consultation, but not his wife.

Boston Globe

Weed payments pouring into Northampton

One last pot-related item: Northampton is starting to enjoy the financial benefits of being one of the first communities to host an adult recreational marijuana shop, with the community receiving fee checks totaling more than $737,000 over the past two weeks, Bera Dunau reports at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Mayor David Narkrewicz warns that the checks will likely shrink as the base of pot stores grows statewide.


‘United’ proposal has Brockton divided

A sanctuary city proposal dubbed ‘Brockton United’ appears to be having the opposite effect in the City of Champions. Marc Laroque at the Enterprise reports that the city council’s ordinance subcommittee held its third lengthy hearing on the proposal but fell short of the votes needed to advance it. Meanwhile, signs opposing the move have begun to appear around the city — and several were promptly vandalized with pro-immigrant messages. 

Herald News

The MBTA’s war against fare scofflaws: An update

From Sean Philip Cotter: “Paying riders are crying no fair at the T and its Commuter Rail as the organizations continue to grapple with the issue of uncollected fares, vowing to fix the multimillion-dollar problem.” They’re crying no fair because, it appears, the fare crackdown is being applied in some places but not others.

In other T-related news, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohlthinks Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack may be hedging a bit on whether the MBTA will have a new commuter rail contract in place by 2022, as she previously suggested.

Boston Herald

All in one: Conversion therapy, Gender ‘X’ and LGBTQ study

It was a busy news day for the LGBTQ community, so we’re rolling these items together into one post: Gov. Charlie Baker now has the gay conversion therapy bill on his desk, as well as the welfare child cap legislation (SHNS – pay wall); Senate President Karen Spilka is confident that her gender ‘X’ bill will be passed and signed into law by the governor (WGBH); and a new study shows that more 15 percent of Massachusetts high school students identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or are questioning their sexual orientation, stats that require the attention of policymakers, advocates say (SHNS –pay wall).

Brockton’s ‘welfare’ cemetery marker comes down after outcry

A sign designating part of Melrose Cemetery in Brockton as the “welfare” area, where effectively some of the poor are buried, has been taken down after at least one complaint from residents who say it was insensitive and degrading, Marc Larocque reports at the Enterprise. The city says the marker was meant to make it easier to locate graves in the city-owned cemetery and that no disrespect was intended. 


MIT cuts research ties with China’s Huawei and ZTE

After saying there was “no compelling” reason to sever ties with Saudi Arabia, MIT is now saying it plans to more closely scrutinize its funding and research connections with the country, as well as with China and Russia, and has already decided to cut ties with two Chinese technology firms, Huawei and ZTE, reports Callum Borchers at WBUR. MIT is attributing the decision to “federal investigations regarding violations of sanction restrictions.”


Oops: ‘Glitch’ blamed for missing financial reports of high-ranking state officials

From Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times: Nearly 200 high-ranking state employees could be forced to file financial disclosures dating back years because of a computer system ‘glitch.’ The employees — who include state college presidents, department heads and commissioners, judges, probation officers, chiefs of staff and budget directors — must file annual statements listing their income, investments and any potential sources of financial conflicts because of their work in policy making positions within state government.”

Gloucester Times

Sunday public affairs TV

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. DraftKings COO Paul Liberman on the company’s growth and the state of legalized sports betting as it evolves; Copyright Clearance Center CEO Tracey Armstrong; and Boston Business Journal editor Doug Banks on the Wynn hearings, Brookline scooters and other local business stories.  

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Greentown Labs CEO Emily Reichert on what’s happening at the largest clean tech startup incubator in the United States.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, 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:  National Autism Awareness month: NBC10’S Jackie Bruno and her family will be honored at the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundations ‘Night to Shine’ gala, and celebrating the Red Sox home opener.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m.  With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Inclusion in Arts & Politics, with Andrea Campbell, president of the Boston City Council, and NYT best-selling author Kwame Alexander.  

Conversation with the Candidate, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12:30 p.m. This week’s guest: John Hickenlooper, former governor of Colorado and a Democratic candidate for president.

Conversation with the Candidate, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 2 p.m. Special edition: ‘One in a Hundred Years – The Life and Legacy of Marian Anderson.’ 

Movie, “Alive Inside”

Everyone knows someone who is experiencing serious cognitive decline. This poignant movie, “Alive Inside,” explores how music can be therapeutic for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Additional information will be available. 80 minutes, FREE, as part of Nahant Public Library’s Dementia Friendly Nahant project.

Nahant Public Library

Health and Life Sciences Conference 2019

The Health and Life Sciences Conference (HLSC) aims to provide people of color with a window into the life sciences industry. HLSC convenes and connects communities of color and industry experts to raise awareness of breakthrough medical advances, explore business and career opportunities, as well as enable new networks.

COLOR Magazine & Bridgetower Media

8th Annual Transportation Innovation Conference

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is pleased to announce that its 8th Annual Transportation Innovation Conference will include presentations and exhibits on a wide-range of topics.


What’s New in the Woo

When thinking of Worcester, Bostonians may see visions of abandoned mill buildings, but New England’s second largest city is long overdue for a revision of that reputation. Join NAIOP to hear from Worcester’s movers and shakers, as they discuss the development of housing, mixed-use, recreation and business/cultural happenings in the heart of the Commonwealth.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Religion, Science and Ecology

This conference supports the goal of the coalition to bring religious leaders and scientists into dialogue to amplify the urgent call for ecological responsibility. Keynote speaker: Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, now professor at Chan School of Public Health.

Merrimack College

Today’s Headlines


UMass Boston chancellor works to link school with business community – Boston Globe

Contentious Dorchester sober home put on hold – Boston Herald


Consultant’s report says Springfield police should act more quickly in ‘egregious’ misconduct cases – MassLive

Local insurance group considering dropping Hampshire College – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Nonprofit blasts Framingham Health Department’s move to senior center – MetroWest Daily News

Coyote hearing spurs calls to end hunting contests – Cape Cod Times


Barr invited to meet DOJ officials on day he submitted memo critical of Mueller – The Guardian

Teen asks O’Rourke to prom, he asks her to caucus – The Hill

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