Fare hikes, Online Lottery, Detention facilities tour
— MBTA fare increases will go into effect today, averaging close to 6 percent across the system.
— Gov. Charlie Baker, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and leadership from the New England Farm Workers Council participate in the Paramount Theater revitalization groundbreaking, 1676 Main Street, Springfield, 10 a.m.
— Lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure hear testimony on 31 bills related to lottery, racing, and alcohol regulations, including legislation filed by Treasurer Deborah Goldberg to allow the state lottery to extend its presence online and onto mobile apps, Room A-2, 1 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker, back from a trip to London, meets privately with Senate President Karen Spilka, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and House Minority Leader Brad Jones, House Speaker’s Office, 2 p.m.
— U.S. Reps. Lori Trahan, Joe Kennedy III and Ayanna Pressley join a delegation led by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to El Paso and Clint, Texas, where they will tour facilities used to detain immigrants, Clint CBP parking lot, Alameda Ave., Clint, Texas, 4 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.
It’s Fare Day, aka Wu Day
WGBH’s Mark Herz reports on yesterday’s rally, led by City Councilor Michelle Wu, against the T’s new fare hikes, scheduled to start today, and Sean Philip Cotter at the Herald reports that more protests are planned for today, led again by Michelle Wu. And, of course, this all leads to the question: Does Wu have an ulterior political motive behind all these protests? See post below.
Is Michelle Wu too lefty for even Boston?
As Michelle Wu dominates the anti-fare-hike headlines today, the Globe’s Milton Valencia has an interesting story about whether Boston is progressive enough to elect a mayor as progressive as Wu, who many assume has her on eye on a mayoral run. Our hunch: Perhaps not now, especially if Mayor Walsh decides to run for a third term. But, eventually, yes, the city is indeed moving in a more progressive direction, based on trends in San Francisco and, locally, Cambridge and Somerville.
The Herald’s Hillary Chabot thinks Wu is indeed poised for a possible challenge to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and an “unprecedented progressive, minority takeover of City Hall.”
‘Danger zone’: MBTA’s pension liabilities grow more ominous
Briefly back to the T, we have a feeling this won’t be discussed too much at today’s fare protests. From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “The MBTA’s pension system is less than 50 percent funded for the first time in at least three decades, deepening concerns over the long-troubled fund as it mulls handing some financial control to the state.
Nationally, are Dem candidates too lefty for America?
Now back to those leftward political trends: The Washington Post and the New York Times have pieces on how far left Democratic presidential candidates have recently drifted, raising the question of whether Democrats can win enough centrists voters to prevail in the general 2020 election. Put it this way: The Post and Times stories both mention that Donald Trump couldn’t be happier with the Democratic trend.
Meanwhile, the Gobe’s Jess Bidgood and Liz Goodwin have a piece on how Joe Biden is out of step with today’s Democratic party. But from the Globe’s Jeff Jacoby: “Democrats are having a socialist moment, but it won’t last.”
She goes there: Liss-Riordan criticizes Markey’s long-ago anti-busing stand
As Sarah Betancourt writes at CommonWealth magazine, U.S. Senate candidate Shannon Liss-Riordan — a day after Joe Biden was scorched by Kamala Harris over his past anti-busing views — is now taking shots at U.S. Sen. Ed Markey’s anti-busing position in the 1970s, before he changed his stand on the issue in the early 1980s.
Yes, we’re talking ancient local political history here, but it was almost inevitable that it would be raised, considering the Biden-Harris showdown the other night and considering this is Boston. But we have a suggestion: If Liss-Riordan is going to raise the busing issue in the campaign, shouldn’t she also have to explain whether she thinks busing actually worked in Boston? It would be interesting to hear her response.
Btw: The NYT has a piece about Berkeley’s voluntary busing program that Kamala Harris took part in nearly a half century ago. Boston gets a mention, of course. Btw II, via Politico: “Warren restates support for busing amid Biden-Harris duel.”
Ex-probation officials sue retired judge over his remarks in 2010 Globe Spotlight series
As one observer notes in the story, this is a pretty “extraordinary” lawsuit, ultimately aimed a judge for his comments in a Globe Spotlight series exposing rampant court-system patronage. From the Globe’s Jeremy Scott: “Two former top state Probation Department officials who resigned more than eight years ago amid a political patronage hiring scandal have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the former chief of the state Trial Court system, seeking damages of $2.85 million. Former probation commissioner John J. ‘Jack’ O’Brien and Elizabeth V. Tavares, who was O’Brien’s top deputy, filed suit Friday against retired judge Robert A. Mulligan, who they say targeted them for termination partly out of a personal dislike for O’Brien.”
Batting cleanup? Kennedy becomes fourth member of delegation to call for impeachment
In case you missed it, U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III on Friday became the fourth member of the Bay State delegation to openly call for the launch of an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, Kimberly Atkins at WBUR report. Kennedy said his call to action comes after reading the entire Mueller report.
Top secret: Rockland says latest report on sex scandal can’t be made public
What happens in Town Hall stays in Town Hall. That’s basically the stance the town of Rockland is taking when it comes to the latest report detailing the circumstances of last year’s sex scandal involving two select board members and the now-former town manager. The town’s attorney says the latest report — the result of a second look at the scandal — contains “intimate details of a highly personal nature” and that privacy concern “outweighs the public interest in disclosure,” Mary Whitfil reports at the Patriot Ledger.
Holyoke marijuana company’s long trail of unhappy investors
Shira Schoenberg reports that Positronic Farms, a Holyoke marijuana firm now charged with securities fraud by Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s office, has left in its apparent wake more than a few investors, some of whom invested tens of thousands of dollars in Positronic’s plan to turn an old Holyoke paper mill into a pot production facility.
Lawmaker’s bill would legalize hemp-derived CBD products, cancelling state guidelines
State Rep. Mark Cusack has proposed legalizing hemp-derived CBD products, after the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources recently issued guidelines effectively banning many CBD products and causing widespread confusion within the hemp industry, reports the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett. Needless to say, the emerging hemp-growing industry is applauding the move.
But here’s another hurdle that local growers may or may not confront: CBD-infused food and beverages are still illegal under U.S. law, even though they’re now regularly sold across the country, as the Washington Post recently reported.
Suffolk Downs, RIP
They ran the final lap yesterday at Suffolk Down, officially bringing to an end to more than 80 years of horse racing at the East Boston track. The Globe’s Nick Kelly and the AP’s Philp Marceloat WBUR recall the glory days at Suffolk – and today’s less-than-glorious disinterest in thoroughbred racing.
The Polaroid walkout: They were Wayfair workers before there were Wayfair workers
The Globe’s Janelle Nano reports that last week’s job walkout by Wayfair employees signals how tech-firm workers increasingly are “stepping up and pushing their employers” to take stands on political issues.
But Aaron Schacter at WGBH has an interesting piece about a largely forgotten workers’ protest in the Boston area nearly a half century ago involving yet another tech company: Polaroid and its production of pass book photos for South African’s apartheid regime.
Day 1 of state’s new fiscal year: No budget, of course
While Gov. Charlie Baker was away last week in London, Acting Gov. Karyn Polito quietly signed a temporary state budget for the fiscal year that starts today, preventing a state government shutdown and giving budget negotiators time to work out a permanent budget deal, as SHNS’s Colin Young reports. Will there be a repeat of last year’s drawn-out budget process? SHNS has that covered in a separate pay-wall story.
Boston’s new superintendent settles in today – with some non-settling-in perks at her disposal
Besides being the first day of the state’s new fiscal year, this is also the first day of Brenda Cassellius’ term as commissioner of Boston Public Schools, as the Globe’s James Vaznis reports. Cassellius has some rather curious perks written into her contract, including reimbursements for up to one move per year (yes, per year), as part of her apparent goal of familiarizing herself with as many city neighborhoods as possible, as CommonWealth magazine’s Colman Herman reports.
Oh, it’s only a 1 percent on-time graduation rate. What’s the big deal?
As the reform-minded Brenda Cassellius takes command of the Boston Public Schools today, Juma Crawford and Marisa Meldonian of the Lewis Family Foundation wish that someone would also take command at Boston’s community colleges, which don’t exactly have a great on-time graduation rates. The criticism is a little unfair, since community colleges aren’t really designed to graduate students per se. But check out their other stats on college graduation rates of students in general. Yikes.
Lawmakers: They love the arts money, the arts council not so much
Andy Metzger reports that lawmakers appear poised to rein in some of the in-house spending practices of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the target of relentless attacks from the Boston Herald. But lawmakers also seem poised to increase the council’s overall budget this year. What gives? “State funding for arts and cultural projects at the municipal level has become a sought-after prize for Beacon Hill lawmakers,” Metzger writes.
Another shareholder opposes merger of Raytheon and United Technologies
We doubt they can stop the proposed merger, but you never know. The BBJ’s Lucia Maffei reports on how yet another shareholder, Third Point LLC, is expressing opposition to the planned merger between Waltham’s Raytheon Co. and Connecticut’s United Technologies Corp., saying they’re not buying into the argument it will create shareholder value.
‘Evolving demands’: Berkshire Innovation Center has new leader after just six months
Interesting. The Berkshire Innovation Center, which is just months from opening after more than 10 years of planning, recently changed executive directors after just six months, a move the project’s leaders says reflects the “evolving demands” of the role, Tony Doborowski reports at the Berkshire Eagle. Scott Longley, who took the helm of the center in October, was replaced late last month with local attorney Ben Sosne. Board members declined to say if anything specific prompted the change, but say the $14 million business development center remains on track to open in the fall.
New fiscal year, new fees: Parking meter bump takes effect today
It’s not just T fares going up today. July 1st also brings higher fees at some of Boston’s parking meters, with the per-hour cost doubling in some places but holding steady in others, Steve Annear reports at the Globe.
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