Happening Today

Retirement board, more

— Treasurer Deb Goldberg will chair a meeting of the Massachusetts State Retirement Board. One Winter Street, 8th Floor, Boston, 10 a.m. 

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito tours the veterinary clinic at Worcester Tech High School before awarding Skills Capital Grants to 45 high schools, community colleges and other educational institutions. Education Secretary Jim Peyser, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta, and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kenneally are also expected to attend. Worcester Technical High School, One Skyline Dr., Worcester, 2 p.m. 

— The MBTA and DoT will continue the test of allowing Silver Line buses to use a ramp from MassPort’s Haul Road in South Boston’s Seaport District to I-90 eastbound. All day. 

Today’s Stories

The great winnowing: Democratic field starts to shrink ahead of next debates

They’re starting to drop. The still large field of Democratic presidential hopefuls is starting the long-awaiting winnowing process, with Minnesota Sen. Kristin Gillibrand as the latest to depart as just 10 candidates cleared the party’s hurdles to appear in the next round of debates. 

Steven Shephard of Politico reports the field has essentially been cut in half, with just 10 candidates qualifying for the September debate. That means all of the top contenders will appear together for the first time on Sept. 12. 

Reid Epstein of the New York Times has more on last-minute drama leading up to the debate cutoff and the complaints some candidates have about how the party has handled the debate lineups. 

While it remains to be seen where the voters who supported candidates no longer in race will land, the culling has to be good news for Elizabeth Warren, who will now have a chance to face off directly with pack-leader Joe Biden and fellow progressive Bernie Sanders, albeit with a total of 10 candidates still on the stage. 

Speaking of Warren, Jennifer Kline of AOL has a rundown of the Hollywood A-listers who have donated to her campaign so far. 


Kennedy visits Springfield, sheds no new light on possible Senate run

The suspense is building. U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III paid a visit to Springfield on Wednesday but anyone hoping for more clarity on his intentions regarding a Senate run was disappointed, Peter Goonan reports via MassLive. Kennedy said only that he’ll decide soon, that he is considering the impact on his family and that he will give the notion “the consideration it deserves.”

Meanwhile, Steve Pemberton, who has already said he’ll challenge Markey in the Democratic primary, says there’s little difference between Kennedy and Markey anyway, Lisa Kashinsky reports in the Lowell Sun. Pemberton said both are the type of “privileged insiders” he got into the race to oppose. 


State audit finds sex offenders at shelters

It’s hard to be too careful on this one. Scouring stats from a public database, investigators in State Auditor Suzanne Bump’s office identified two sex offenders living at the same addresses as homeless shelters. Both had been convicted of child rape, MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg reports. 

The audit contends the state Department of Housing and Community Development is not doing a good enough job of inspecting shelters and does not notify residents in shelters with a sex offender is living in the same building. The department argued it tries to place sex offenders in their own apartments, and not in common areas, when they apply for a space at a shelter. But taking a page from Bump’s investigative playbook, the department also says it will now crosscheck the public sex offender registry with shelter addresses twice a year. 


Lowell council debate over immigration turns emotional

A proposal by Lowell City Councilor Rita Mercier to put the city on record against the Safe Communities Act sparked an emotional debate Tuesday night. Juan Castaneda, a Columbian immigrant, wanted to drive home to members of the City Council at the hearing on Mercier’s proposal that immigrants, far from being criminals, have come to Lowell to work, and in the process, have transformed the old mill city over the better.

So to make his point, Castaneda “walked across the crowded City Council chamber and brought to the podium his mother,” Elizabeth Dobbins reports in the Lowell Sun. His mother saved his life, Castaneda told the councilors, working two jobs after coming to Lowell in 1972 and making it possible for him to come to the United States. Apparently, Castaneda and his mother made an impression. The Lowell City Council shot down Mercier’s proposal opposing the Safe Communities Act, which is making its way through the State House, by a vote of 5-3.

Lowell Sun

Inside state police union, turmoil to match agency’s upheaval

Trying times, to be sure. Andrea Estes and Matt Rochealeau of the Globe dig into the turmoil within the State Police Association of Mass., the union representing troopers, who have seen their former leader indicted and arrested and now want to recall their current president from office. Some 500 troopers–out of 1,900 in the union–have signed on to an effort to remove Sergeant Mark Lynch, which will be the subject of a union vote next month. 

All this, of course, against the backdrop of the still-unfolding overtime scandal and what is sure to be a tense upcoming negotiation for a new contract.

Boston Globe

After feisty debate, what now on guns?

They had their say, now it’s up to the lawmakers. Facing hundreds of gun-rights and gun-control advocates, lawmakers heard testimony on some 68 bills to change the state’s gun laws, which are already seen as among the toughest in the nation, Shira Schoenberg reports at MassLive. 

The Globe’s Matt Stout reports Boston Police Commissioner William Gross and Boston-area lawmakers were among those pushing for stricter laws to allow police to prosecute those involved in non-fatal shootings, while Second Amendment supporters asked lawmakers not to infringe on their rights. 


Rep. Neal’s primary ads on wrong Facebook page raised ethics flag

Whoops. U.S. Rep. Richard Neal may have run afoul of House ethics rules by placing re-election ads on his official, government-run Facebook page, Dusty Christensen reports in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. The ads were posted in the waning days of last fall’s primary election season, when Neal easily outpaced challenger Tahirah Amatul-Wadud. The campaign says a vendor erred in placing them on an official House page and that they were removed within a few hours. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Attleboro mayoral race gets testy over social media postings

Things are getting testy in Attleboro. A former city councilor says a current candidate for mayor has complained to police about his online postings, which he says amount to little more than political satire, Jim Hand reports in the Sun Chronicle. Jonathan Weydt says City Councilor Heather Porreca, who is challenging incumbent Mayor Paul Heroux, went to police about some of his Facebook musings, while Porreca acknowledges she had conversations with the police, saying the comments sometimes crossed the line from public satire to the deeply personal. 

Sun Chronicle

Barnstable hits pause on adult-only tobacco stores

Too much too soon? A groundbreaking plan to allow tobacco to be sold only in stores catering to adults is now on hold in Barnstable as the town reconsiders how the move would impact some retailers, Geoff Spillane reports in the Cape Cod Times. The rules would all but shut out convenience stores and others that don’t have age restrictions from selling tobacco. 

Cape Cod Times

New superintendent says she’ll visit all 125 schools before end of year

She’s going for it. New Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius says she’ll try to visit every one of the 125 schools in the district within her first 100 days on the job, James Vaznis of the Globe reports. The visits, which began Aug. 1, are part of a larger outreach effort by the new schools chief that will also include meetings with community groups and other stakeholders. 

Boston Globe

Cannabis cash boosts lobbying firms

Cannabis has been very, very good to them. The lobbying firm of Smith, Costello & Crawford overtook ML Strategies as the firm with the highest lobbying revenue for the first half of 2019 and it can thank marijuana for the surge, Bruce Mohl reports at CommonWealth. With additional help from casino gaming proponents, the firm brought in $1.98 million, enough to edge out ML Strategies, which made it rain to the tune of $1.91 million, including $50,000 via former Gov. Bill Weld before he left to wage a GOP presidential primary run. 

CommonWealth Magazine

Valley Flyer to take off Friday

It’s ready to fly. The Valley Flyer, a north-south passenger rail service in the Pioneer Valley, will launch on Friday, Melinda Bordeau reports the Daily Hampshire Gazette. The train will connect Northampton, Greenfield, Springfield and Holyoke–billed locally as the Knowledge Corridor–and allow for connections to New York City.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

In Salem, a parklet becomes an obstacle

A much-ballyhooed plan to spruce up downtown Salem with two “parklets” is heading back to the drawing board after a disabled resident said the mini parks were obstacles that don’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Julie Manganis of the Salem News reports. The city says it will tweak the design of the installations, which were designed to be a test of the concept. 

Salem News

Summer Series | Public Art Tour

Join MIT List Visual Arts Center on a public art tour showcasing highlights of east campus. This tour will begin with a short preview of the Student Lending Art Program exhibition, a unique and popular MIT tradition that allows MIT students borrow original works of art from the MIT List Visual Arts Center.

MIT List Visual Arts Center

Authors@MIT | Jay Bolter: The Digital Plenitude

Please join the MIT Press Bookstore in welcoming author Jay David Bolter to discuss his book, The Digital Plenitude: The Decline of Elite Culture and the Rise of New Media.

The MIT Press Bookstore

Model UN Professional Development Workshop @ Democracy Center

Whether you’re an experienced MUN Advisor or brand new to Model UN, you’ll walk away from this workshop with time-saving tools, tactics, and strategies to help your students succeed in Model United Nations.

Best Delegate Model United Nations

Stone Social Impact Forum

Innovative education leader Geoffrey Canada, president and founder of Harlem Children’s Zone, is the inaugural speaker for the Stone Social Impact Forum, a new signature series highlighting civic change agents who advance social change and innovatively address areas of inequality in our society.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

The Somerville Surge

Join NAIOP for a deep dive into the transformative projects underway in Somerville, including Assembly Row, Boynton Yards, Union Square and more.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Today’s Headlines


A new name for Dudley Square? Voters may get to weigh in this fall – Boston Globe

Investors buy a chunk of downtown Peabody for $17M – Lynn Item


Market Basket marks five-year anniversary since end of boycott – Eagle-Tribune

Holy Cross committee decides against probe of sex misconduct cases – Telegram & Gazette

Amherst police to resume patrols near cannabis retailer – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Democrats alarmed by Trump’s promise of pardons to build border wall – Washington Post

Surprise Georgia resignation jolts battle for the Senate – Politico

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