Pipeline safety legislation, MBTA meeting, and more
— U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan will hold a press conference in Lawrence to unveil new federal pipeline safety legislation in the wake of last year’s Merrimack Valley disaster, Ladder 4 Fire Station, 79 S. Broadway, Lawrence, 11 a.m.
— Activists plan to rally outside the State House demanding Gov. Charlie Baker act to support a safe consumption site pilot program, State House, Boston, 11:30 a.m.
— The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board hosts its weekly meeting with an agenda calling for discussion of bus shelters, cleaning contracts and the fiscal year 2020 budget, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.
— Joint Committee on Elder Affairs holds a hearing to discuss long-term supports, patient services and housing, Room A-1, 1 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker is scheduled to deliver remarks at Partners HealthCare’s World Medical Innovation Forum, Westin Copley Place, 10 Huntington Ave., Boston, 2:30 p.m.
— Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steve Hoffman is a guest on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 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.
‘Reset’: Baker and Rollins try to calm things down after Turco-memo fray
It was a wild war of words over the past four days between Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins and the Baker administration, after state secretary of public safety Thomas A. Turco III sent a somewhat scathing memo to Rollins about her “do not prosecute” list. Baker said he and Rollins have talked and agreed to hit the “reset” button at a meeting later today, reports the Herald’s Jonathan Ng. But Rollins was still firing salvos yesterday, “lambasting what she described as an atmosphere of misogyny,” reports the Globe’s Maddie Kilgannon. Hundreds of people attended a rally in support of Rollins, reports the Herald’s Taylor Pettaway.
Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin has a roundup of Dem pols rushing to support of Rollins, including Ayanna Pressley, Michelle Wu, Liz Miranda, Andrea Campbell and Nika Elugardo. Meanwhile, Steph Solis at MassLive reports that the ACLU and other groups are also riding to Rollins’s defense.
The Globe’s Adrian Walker thinks Rollins is fighting the good fight. But the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says that Rollins has “leveled a below-the-belt shot at Gov. Charlie Baker’s son and it’s now clear that she bristles at any criticism.”
Warren now losing even in Massachusetts?
From the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren ranks just third among presidential hopefuls in a new poll of Massachusetts Democratic primary voters. An Emerson College poll released Sunday has Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders leading with 26 percent, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 23 percent. Warren is next at 14 percent, followed by South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 11 percent, and no one else drawing double digits.”
Meanwhile, the Globe’s Liz Goodwin reports how Warren is trying to outflank Sanders by calling for the end of the Senate filibuster. The Washington Post reports how Warren’s recent wonkish emphasis on policies isn’t playing out so well. TheAP at the Herald is reporting that Warren believes Dems need to focus less on Trump and more on policies – just as she’s doing.
State’s illicit pot market is booming, despite (limited) availability of legal weed
File under ‘unintended consequences.’ From Rick Robey at the Herald: “Massachusetts police say they are seeing a thriving underground marijuana market, which is booming four months after the launch of legal pot sales — as dealers take advantage of the heightened demand and short supply — and compete with cheaper weed, while using the legalization laws as cover.”
In other pot news, Cannabis Control Commission chairman Steve Hoffman is reiterating that regulators will not allow “big weed” companies to take over the state’s legalized pot market, despite what the Boston Globe may say, reports Tori Bedford at WGBH. Meanwhile, the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that a Salem pot dispensary has resumed recreational marijuana sales, after getting into trouble over its seed-to-sale tracking system. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports regulators have approved the first two provisional licenses for companies that plan to grow marijuana outdoors in the Berkshires, rather than indoors. And Eli Sherman at Wicked Local reports how cash is still king within the pot industry, due to nervous bankers not wanting to get involved in the sector.
Thanks, Manhattan: Western Mass. becomes New Yorkers’ go-to for legal weed
At least some residents of New York are respecting our laws. It seems Big Apple types are regularly making the two-and-a-half-hour trip to Berkshire County communities where adult-use cannabis shops have opened, Reuven Fenton and Bruce Golding report at the New York Post. One dispensary says more than 15,000 of its customers in just a few weeks of operation have been residents of the Empire State, where legislation to legalize weed has bogged down recently.
Cape push for shark-detection tech raises liability issues
Sharks and lawyers, together at last. A push to crowdsource funding for a shark detection system on the outer Cape has run into an unexpected hurdle in the form of liability concerns, Doug Fraser reports at the Cape Cod TImes. Towns are worried that installing the systems could lead swimmers to expect a higher level of safety and security than the technology can actually provide. Just a thought: Maybe a second system to detect the approach of lawyers?
‘A broken foster system’
The Globe’s Kay Lazar has an excellent, and heartbreaking, story about how the state’s foster care system is under great strain these days, unable to quickly find homes for kids, and things are only getting worse “as the opioid epidemic continues to splinter families and overwhelm the state’s child protection system.”
End of era: Herald starts charging for digital content
It appears the days of freebie digital content at the Boston Herald are over. We tried to access a few Herald articles over the weekend and regularly got the following story-blocker message instead: “Get 4 weeks of digital access for 99 (cents)/Continue reading this article with a digital subscription.” Sometimes they let us read the stories. Sometimes they didn’t. Anyway, can you blame them for tring? Lord knows Digital First Media, the Herald’s owner, is no charity. We’re surprised it’s taken them this long.
Lawmakers: Help us save local journalism
Speaking of local journalism in the digital age, state Rep. Lori Ehrlich and Sen. Brendan Crighton, put in a plug for their bill that would create a commission to explore ways to save local journalism in underserved areas. “Everyone seems to agree that local journalism is in trouble, and it will take broad-based involvement to find a sustainable path forward for local media outlets of all shapes and sizes,” they write at CommonWealth magazine.
Hampshire College president resigns as school shelves merger options
Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine reports that Hampshire College president Miriam Nelson has resigned, the latest to quit a major post at the financially struggling school, and that remaining leaders at Hampshire are now determined to save the school through aggressive fundraising, not via any strategic merger. Separately, Dusty Christensen at the Gazette talks with UMass President Marty Meehan about the brief talks about a possible merger between Hampshire and UMass. The talks obviously didn’t go anywhere.
Feds: Chinese targeting Boston tech firms
From Lucia Maffei at the BBJ: “Boston is a target-rich environment for anyone who’s interested in stealing intellectual property, according to John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security at the U.S. Department of Justice. ‘At the Justice Department, 90 percent of our cases involving espionage, economic espionage, involve China, and 65 percent of our trade secrets cases involve Chinese companies or Chinese nationals,’ Demers told reporters at the Moakley Courthouse in South Boston.”
ALERT: ‘Boston wrestler Kofi Kingston wins WWE championship at WrestleMania 35’
Now this is true local news at its finest: “Kofi Kingston, who was raised in Greater Boston, won the WWE Championship after he defeated Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35 on Sunday. With his victory at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Kingston, 37, is now the second black WWE champion in the organization’s history following Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — and the first-ever African-born WWE champion.” Seriously, is this real news? Or is it real news about fake wrestling?
Thirty-seven years later, RMV bills car restorer $11,232, for back sales taxes
He bought a non-operable junk heap – granted, a non-operable Triumph sports car junk heap – for $1,100 in 1982, when Ronald Reagan was still president. Now that he’s finally getting ready to put the restored car on the road, the RMV has socked Michael Coomey with a sales tax bill of $11,232 dating back 37 years. The Globe’s Sean Murphy has the sorry details.
Legal sword rattling: ‘Do the right thing, Beacon Hill’ … or else
Matthew Malone, superintendent of the Fall River Public Schools and former state secretary of education, is urging lawmakers to “do the right thing” when it comes to re-writing the state’s school aid formula. And he adds at CommonWealth magazine: “Our coalition is ready to go to court, and will do so if our state’s elected leaders do not act to fulfill the Commonwealth’s obligation before yet another class of students enters schools that are being underfunded and perpetuate the status quo.”
In other words: A lawsuit this summer?
Big Brother: He even knows when you’re bolting early to the Cape
This is indeed “Big Brother-creepy,” as state Sen. Vinny deMaced puts it. From the Globe’s Matt Rocheleau: “For more than three years, the Massachusetts State Police have been using cameras to record the license plate number of every vehicle that enters and leaves Cape Cod, building a vast and growing database that now counts more than 100 million trips. Authorities say they use the technology to track or locate suspects in cases involving violent crime or drug trafficking, for example, or to find missing and abducted people.”
There are apparently other cameras across the state collecting similar traffic data for local and state law enforcement agencies, Rocheleau writes.
Nancy Pelosi named 2019 Profile in Courage award winner
Not Seth Moulton? From the Washington Post: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award at a ceremony next month, the Kennedy Library Foundation announced Sunday. The California Democrat is being recognized for leading “with strength, integrity and grace under pressure — using her power to protect the most vulnerable of our citizens,” former ambassador Caroline Kennedy, the foundation’s honorary president, said in a statement.”
Island town’s bottle ban could be nation’s toughest
Why stop at water bottles? West Tisbury could apparently become the first community in the nation to ban plastic soda bottles if voters back a town meeting article that was put forward after a sustainability push by local fifth grade students, Rich Salzberg reports at the Martha’s Vineyard Times.
More than 350 Massport workers make $100K and up
After beating up on the state arts council and a few other semi-independent state agencies for their spendthrift ways, the Herald has now set its sights on Massport, where it found 350-plus employees making $100,000 or more, with acting Massport CEO John Pranckevicius recently getting a merit-based boost in salary to $297,000, reports the paper’s Joe Dwinell.
‘Too young to get married — but not to end a pregnancy?’
The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert takes a look at the seeming inconsistency of those, mostly Democrats, pushing to raise the marriage age in Massachusetts in order to protect young girls – and yet lowering the age at which girls can get abortions. The contradiction is “probably due to our abiding discomfort with young women’s sexuality,” Ebbert writes.
Then again, there are other contradictory age-related issues on Beacon Hill that have nothing to do with gender per se, such as some Dems pushing to raise the juvenile age for criminal offenses from 18 to 21 – and yet pushing for 16 year olds to vote in local elections. Talk about muddled age matters.
Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley opposes abortion measures pending on Beacon Hill
Speaking of the abortion, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley is speaking out against legislation that would expand access to abortion in Massachusetts, saying the proposals “go far beyond” the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v Wade decision of 1973, according to a report at WBUR.
He knows how the ‘Veep’ ends – but he’s not talking
File under ‘you learn something new every day.’ It seems State Sen. Eric Lesser is a consultant to the hit HBO ‘Veep’ series starring Julie Louis-Dreyfus and he even knows how the current season ends. But he ain’t talking, reports Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine.
‘No, this is not parody …’
In a Globe op-ed, Randall Kennedy, a professor at Harvard Law School, is urging the Cambridge School Committee to drop its investigation/review/whatever of a committee member who dared to mutter the “full version of the n-word” at a forum earlier this year that focused on issues tied to a city teacher’s research project titled “RECLAIMING: Nigger v. Cracker: Educating Racial Context In/for Cambridge.”
“No, this is not parody. This is, alas, farce,” writes Kennedy of a controversy with more than a few double standards and lots of selective indignation at play.
In Brockton, fondly recalling a nine-time mayoral hopeful
Brockton is mourning the death of Arnold Greenblatt, a local travel agency operator who ran unsuccessfully for mayor nine times over the course of several decades and who died last week at 86. Ben Berke at the Enterprise reports that despite never coming close to winning election, past opponents remember Greenblatt as a positive force for openness in local government.
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.
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.
“Permanency 101” Legislative Briefing
Permanency is the concept that all children placed in foster care should have a specific goal, whether family reunification or adoption, to ensure they have a loving, supportive adult to guide them through childhood.
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.
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.
Angela Stent: Putin’s World: Russia Against the West and with the Rest
The Russia and Eurasia Program at The Fletcher School is pleased to award its first annual U.S.-Russia Relations Book Prize to Professor Angela Stent of Georgetown University for her new book Putin’s World: Russia Against the West and with the Rest (2019).
The Annual Distinguished Lecture presented by David Cole, National Legal Director of the ACLU
BU Law’s Annual Distinguished Lecture Thursday, April 11th, 2019 will feature David Cole, the National Legal Director of the ACLU as he presents on the topic of “Preserving Liberty in the Trump Era: Lessons from the Legal Resistance.”
Talk by Greg O’Brien, author of On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s
Everyone knows someone who is experiencing serious cognitive decline. Greg O’Brien, journalist and author of the memoir On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s, will speak about his experience as a person with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Additional information will be available. 60 minutes, FREE, as part of Nahant Public Library’s Dementia Friendly Nahant project.
Finding Good Health Info on the Internet
Catherine Martin, M.Ed. CHIS from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine/NIH will speak to us on finding good health information on the Internet, including how people can contribute to research through the “All of Us” research program through the NIH. Additional information will be available. 60 minutes, FREE, as part of Nahant Public Library’s Dementia Friendly Nahant project.
A Conversation with His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos Calderón
His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, former President of Colombia, Nobel laureate, and Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, discusses key global issues and reflects on his distinguished career with Professor Ricardo Hausmann, director of Harvard’s Center for International Development and former Chief Economist of the Inter-American Development Bank.
Africa & the World
Join us for an evening with Zoe Marks to discuss “Africa and the World!”
“NOVA Wonders” Cambridge Science Festival Exhibition
From the mysteries of astrophysics to the secrets of the human biome, explore exhibits, presentations, and activities from local STEM organizations based on the NOVA Wonders miniseries.
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