Happening Today

Higher Ed hearing, Red Sox home opener, and more

— Former U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and current U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar participate in back-to-back ‘Fireside Chats’ at Partners HealthCare’s World Medical Innovation, Westin Copley Place, 10 Huntington Ave., Boston, 9:50 a.m.

— The Higher Education Committee holds a public hearing on sexual misconduct bills, including legislation calling for campus climate surveys, Room A-1, 10:30 a.m.

— The Education Committee meets to review fifteen school finance bills, Room A-1, 1 p.m.

— The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will hear testimony on 27 bills related to employment rights and benefits, including bills on non-competition agreements, Room A-2, 1 p.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey, chair of the Victim Witness Assistance Board, and the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance recognize individuals and organizations at their annual awards ceremony in support of Victim Rights Month, Grand Staircase, 1 p.m.

Boston Red Sox host the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2019 home opener at Fenway Park, with Mayor Marty Walsh among thousands expected to attend pre-game and game festivities, Fenway Park, 2:05 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

Rollins: ‘I admit I could have handled things differently, too’

The local media is still trying to sort out who said what and when regarding the Charlie Baker-Rachael Rollins kerfuffle over the latter’s controversial “do not prosecute” list. There’s this from the Globe’s Matt Stout and Maria Cramer: “Baker is on unfamiliar ground in flare-up with Rollins.” And then there’s this from the Herald’s Mary Markos: “Charlie Baker on defense after Rachael Rollins criticizes cabinet diversity.”

If you want to know what’s ultimately at the heart of the brawl (besides the harsh words), there’s this via the Globe’s Travis Andersen: “What’s it all about? A primer on the spat between DA Rollins and Baker administration.”

But we also highly recommend Kevin Cullen’s column this morning in the Globe. He’s not exactly impressed with the way Rollins has handled the situation – and, btw, neither is Rollins, who shows a lot of class, in addition to guts, by saying: “‘I admit I could have handled things differently, too.” Her words, as well as apologetic words of the governor, are not going to end this dispute. There are indeed legitimate public policy questions at stake. But both, in their own way, seem to be trying to get beyond this controversy. That’s encouraging, at the least.

More talk of taxes for the T

CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl and SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) report that T officials yesterday unanimously approved a new $2.1 billion budget for the transit agency, but only after a discussion on how the MBTA needs to raise new revenues. One idea floated: A 1 percent increase in the deeds excise tax, which could raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the T and regional transit authorities.

Paul Regan, executive director of the T’s Advisory Board, said officials “can’t wait” any longer to discuss new revenues. But wait they shall. House Speaker Robert DeLeo indicated yesterday that a debate over new taxes will probably come towards the end of the session, not now, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall).

Eew. What’s that smell?

Besides approving a new budget and talking taxes, MBTA officials yesterday addressed another highly sensitive topic: The odor emanating from station bathrooms, subway cars etc. And all the litter at T properties, too. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth has more on the coming offensive against smelly and messy T properties.


‘Sweet Christ, vindication!’

First, here’s your daily fix of what every parent secretly loves reading about. From the AP at WBUR: “Actress Felicity Huffman has agreed to plead guilty in the college admissions cheating scandal. Court documents made public Monday show Huffman and 12 other wealthy parents will plead guilty in the scheme.”

And, second, if you enjoy following this story, in a schadenfreude type of way, you’re going to love this lead by Caitlin Flanagan at the Atlantic: “Sweet Christ, vindication! How long has it been? Years? No, decades. If hope is the thing with feathers, I was a plucked bird. Long ago, I surrendered myself to the fact that the horrible, horrible private-school parents of Los Angeles would get away with their nastiness forever. But even before the molting, never in my wildest imaginings had I dared to dream that the arc of the moral universe could describe a 90-degree angle and smite down mine enemies with such a hammer fist of fire and fury that even I have had a moment of thinking, Could this be a bit too much?”

Read the whole story. Flanagan’a piece via an alert MassterList reader.


Baker signs conversion therapy bill, but once again vetoes ‘cap on kids’ legislation

From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday signed into law a ban on gay conversion therapy for minors, but rejected a proposal to lift a welfare benefits cap on families with children, taking action on two bills lawmakers sent him last week. The governor’s veto of the so-called “cap on kids” bill marks the third time Baker has vetoed (the) legislation.” But as Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports re ‘cap on kids’: “The Massachusetts House passed the bill 155-1, and the Massachusetts Senate passed it 37-1. That means lawmakers easily have the two-thirds majority needed to override Baker’s veto.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

In national first, Cambridge to require bike-lane installation on all roadway projects

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, bike lanes are here to stay — at least in Cambridge. Bicycle activists are hailing a move by the city to require bike-lane installation in all roadwork projects, possibly the only local ordinance of its type in the country. Marc Levy at Cambridge Day reports the measure passed the city council without anyone speaking in opposition, despite strong pushback just two years ago when bike lanes first appeared in busy Harvard Square.

Cambridge Day

On the hook: Ruling means Andover could owe millions to retired employees

An appeals court judge has found the town of Andover may have acted unlawfully when it increased the amount retired employees pay for their health care coverage, sending the town scrambling for answers as it faces repaying those retirees, Jessica Valerani reports at the Eagle-Tribune. The town’s options include appealing to the SJC, negotiating a settlement or paying up, which one official said would cost in the “low millions.” 

Eagle Tribune

No joke: Boston private equity firm acquires The Onion and ex-Gawker sites

 Boston may have lost the Atlantic Monthly, Fast Company and other publications that used to call the Hub home. But it’s picked up The Onion, Deadspin, Jezebel and former Gawker websites, via the acquisition yesterday of Gizmodo Media by Boston-based Great Hill Partners, a private equity firm. Greg Ryan at the BBJ has the details.


The top 100 highest paid state employees: UMass rules again

MassLive has the latest list of the 100 highest paid state employees in Massachusetts – and once again UMass professors, athletic coaches and, of course, administrators (deputy vice president chancellors, etc. etc.) dominate the list.


‘An illustrated guide to all 2,339 deaths in ‘Game of Thrones’

We thought you’d appreciate this quick detour from all (or most) things politics and government, i.e. the media’s shameless attempt to get us all revved up for the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ – and it’s shamelessly working! This one from the Washington Post: ‘An illustrated guide to all 2,339 deaths in ‘Game of Thrones.’ An added bonus to the package: The deadliest locations in ‘Game of Thrones.’ (Hint: It’s not King’s Landing.) … Now back to all (or most) things politics and government.

Washington Post

Housing crisis, not: Saugus halts all multi-family housing construction

Looks like someone didn’t get the memo. Amid a high-profile statewide push by the Baker administration for more workforce housing, the town of Saugus has voted to go in a different direction, with voters on Monday backing a two-year moratorium on construction of multi-family housing. The approval came over the objections of a majority of the town’s planning board, Bridgette Turcotte reports at the Lynn Item.

Lynn Item

The Wynn Resorts spy who’s out in the cold again

Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine reports that James Stern, the former FBI agent who headed up Wynn Resorts’ security operations and who recently told state regulators he spied on employees and the ex-wife of former CEO Steve Wynn, got the heave over the weekend by current Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox, who’s desperately scrambling, it appears, to tie up loose ends before the Gaming Commission rules on Wynn Resorts’ suitability to keep its Everett casino license.


And here are two more people who should get the boot from Wynn …

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi, meanwhile, thinks two more Wynn Resorts officials need to go: CEO Matt Maddox and Elaine Wynn, the former wife of disgraced ex-CEO Steve Wynn.

Boston Globe

Tufts’ OxyContin problem: ‘We owe much to the Sackler family’

Harvard has been getting grief for its embarrassing Sackler-family ties. Now it’s Tufts University’s turn, via STAT’s Andrew Joseph, who reports on the Tufts Medical School’s long and strong ties to the Sacklers and the business they built peddling OxyContin, the opioid painkiller drug.


Marshall M. Sloane, founder of Century Bank, RIP

Marshall Sloane, founder of Century Bank and an icon in the state’s banking industry, has passed away at the age of 92. Sloane, who founded Century Bank in Somerville’s Magoun Square 50 years ago, was still going to work as of only a few weeks ago. The Globe’s Bryan Marquand and the BBJ’s Greg Ryan have the details on Sloane’s remarkable life and career.

Beating up on Massport, Part II

Yesterday the Herald looked at the hundreds of employees getting six-figure salaries at Massport. Today, the Herald’s Joe Dwinell takes a look at all the former City Hall staffers and Beacon Hill types attracted to those six-figure salaries at Massport.

Boston Globe

The Alexandra Hotel renovation: Another snub against Roxbury?

The Globe’s Milton Valencia reports how it’s déjà vu all over again for Roxbury residents, who feel they’ve been snubbed before when it comes to new developments in the neighborhood and feel they’ve been snubbed again when it comes to the recently approved redevelopment of the dilapidated Alexandra Hotel, which, btw, lies in Roxbury, not the South End, damn it. Valencia explains. Residents definitely have a point. Read the article.

After unsuccessful gubernatorial bid, Gonzalez lands at Hinckley Allen

From the BBJ’s Greg Ryan Ryan: “Jay Gonzalez, a Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Gov. Charlie Baker in 2018, has joined the law firm Hinckley Allen as a partner in its public finance and health care practices. Gonzalez is re-entering the legal industry after a lengthy stretch away from the sector.” Ryan has more.


Hey, Boston: It’s your turn to try congestion pricing

In a Globe op-ed, Nick Sifuentes, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, is urging Boston to get going on a congestion pricing plan of its own, now that New York has approved a new tolling plan aimed at reducing traffic in and around the Big Apple. All of which is fine. 

But what Sifuentes doesn’t delve into too deeply are the different approaches toward congestion pricing now being mulled in Boston, such as implementing a “pilot program” only on those currently paying tolls on the Pike and Tobin Bridge (New York never conducted a similarly rigged “pilot program” on its current tollways); how proponents of congestion pricing in Boston rarely, if ever, openly talk of equally applying tolls to all motorists in the region, not just Pike and Tobin drivers (thus the push for a “pilot program”); how proponents in Boston have retreated from the idea of implementing new tolling in downtown Boston (New York’s new toll plan is focused on all entry points into a specific section of Manhattan’s downtown, thus capturing all drivers, not just current toll payers on one highway and one bridge), etc. etc. etc.

Bottom line: Boston can indeed learn from New York. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it will.

Boston Globe

Markey and Trahan unveil pipeline safety bill named after victim of Merrimack Valley disaster

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and U.s. Rep. Lori Trahan yesterday announced details of a new bill aimed at overhauling the way natural gas pipelines are regulated – and they’ve named the bill after 18-year-old Leonel Rondon, who was killed in last year’s pipeline disaster in the Merrimack Valley, according to reports at the Eagle Tribune and MassLive.

Activist bemoans Baker’s failure to allocate all approved funds to heating aid program

Action for Boston Community Development President John Drew is furious that the Baker administration is allocating only $11 million of the $30 million recently approved by lawmakers for heating aid programs. SHNS’s Michael Norton has the details.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

No more fribbles for you: Friendly’s closes another 23 restaurants

Jim Kinney at MassLive reports that Wilbraham-based Friendly’s is closing another 23 restaurants, as the struggling company tries to regroup amid tough competition.


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

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).

Fletcher Russia and Eurasia Program

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.”

Boston University School of Law

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.

Nahant Public Library

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.

Nahant Public Library

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.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

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.

NOVA Education

Today’s Headlines


Boston readies zoning change to make it easier for homeowners to turn their attics or basements into apartments – Universal Hub

Fenway’s Mr. Fixit keeps the old ballpark looking like new – WBUR


Cape refuges may open to hunters – Cape Cod Times

Springfield improperly obtained, then destroyed phone records of officers allegedly involved in 2015 Nathan Bill’s beating and never sought them again – MassLive

Group seeks special boat to skim plastic from Merrimack River – Eagle-Tribune


Biden support stays solid in early states – Politico

More top Homeland Security officials to leave in Trump purge – New York Times

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