Happening Today

Prevailing wage push, MassDOT-MBTA and more

Building trades unions, including Sheet Metal Workers Local 17 and Pipefitters Local 537, visit the State House to push for passage of legislation that would include offsite fabrication work for qualified projects under the state’s prevailing wage laws, Nurses Hall, 10 a.m.

— The Department of Transportation’s Board of Directors and the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board meet in a joint session, with a slew of high-profile topics on the agenda: an update on the record-keeping scandal, review of test results that could reveal the cause of the June 11 Red Line derailment, and discussions on Boston Harbor dredging, the proposed Red Line-Blue Line Connector, and a Foxborough commuter rail pilot, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 11 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders and advocates from Massachusetts Senior Action Council and Healthcare for All to participate in a ceremonial signing of sections of the Fiscal Year 2020 budget to highlight Medicare savings and pharmacy initiatives, Room 360, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker 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, Senate President’s Office, 2 p.m.

— The Pioneer Institute, one of Charlie Baker’s earliest employers, will host the governor and others for its 29th annual awards gala, Hyatt Regency Boston, One Avenue de Lafayette, Boston, 6 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

The MIT-Epstein fallout: Protests, more controversial comments, dumping donations, etc. etc.

The MIT-Jeffrey Epstein affair is showing no signs of going away. Max Larkin at WBUR reports that students, alumni and staff gathered at MIT on Friday to “express their fury at the Institute’s financial ties” to the now dead sex offender.

Meanwhile, we’ll just let the headlines do the talking on this item. From Universal Hub: “Prominent computer scientist at MIT argues definition of rape in defending money from dead sex offender.” And this from Vice: “Famed Computer Scientist Richard Stallman Described Epstein Victims As ‘Entirely Willing.”

The Epstein vortex is now sucking in Harvard, which is taking another look at its own past Epstein gifts, reports the Harvard Crimson. U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton is donating his past campaign contributions from Epstein to charity, reports the Globe. And, finally, the NYT talks with Harvard’s Lawrence Lessig, who has defended MIT’s handling of the Epstein donations to the school.

Walsh’s new pot-firm order leads to another ZBA resignation

To avoid any new city hall scandals, Mayor Marty Walsh has issued a new order barring city employees from participating in marijuana companies – and the order immediately resulted in yet another resignation at the ZBA, itself the center of controversy amid a fed probe into bribery related to zoning and development matters. The Globe’s Felecia Gans and Dan Adams and Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin have more.

Walsh on scandals: ‘This is not who I am’

With his administration reeling from the recent Boston Calling and ZBA bribery scandals, Mayor Marty Walsh knows he’s facing an optics problem and declared on WGBH late last week: “This is not who I am, and this is not who my administration is.” WGBH’s Arjun Singh has the details.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Yvonne Abraham agrees the political optics look “awful” for Walsh as he eyes his political future, whether it’s running for re-election or for another office, including the U.S. Senate, believe it or not.


‘Defending Democracy in the Wake of Boston Calling’

Speaking of scandal outcomes, it’s not just city council members bemoaning the Boston Calling verdict’s potential impact on public advocacy. In two-page full ads in both the Globe and Herald over the weekend, a who’s-who of largely progressive groups have attached their names to an open letter stating: “We, the undersigned, will not stay silent in the wake of the recent verdict in the Boston Calling case that we believe will have a chilling effect on our democracy.”

As part of the ad, Tanisha M. Sullivan, president of the Boston Branch of the NAACP, and Cindy Luppi, New England director of Clean Water Action, lead off with their own statement lamenting the verdict, with their letter headlined “Defending Democracy in the Wake of Boston Calling.”

‘Curiouser and curiouser’: Baker’s clerk magistrate choices

And speaking of political optics: In an editorial, the Globe is connecting the dots when it comes to Gov. Charlie Baker’s recent nominations of Joseph McCarthy, who once coached Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito’s son in youth football, and Jennie L. Caissie, a Governor’s Council member who has her own certain central Massachusetts connections, to clerk magistrate posts. Combined with the Globe’s recent investigation into the ‘secret courts’ run by clerk magistrates, the editorial concludes: “Everything about this system — from the secret power of clerk magistrates, to the process of selecting them — is flawed. Baker should be reforming the system, not aiding and abetting it.”

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Howie Carr is connecting even more political dots and profusely thanking Polito for the nomination of Caissie, long wired into the Worcester-area court system.

Out of Town News is finally out of luck, plans to close next month

The digital-age has finally caught up to the famed Out of Town News, as its owner says he will not renew the lease of the prominent newsstand kiosk in the heart of Harvard Square, reports Marc Levy at Cambridge Day.

Cambridge Day

The shadow convention: Kennedy vs. Markey

It was supposed to be a convention about ideas and revving up the troops. But the weekend State Democratic Party Convention in Springfield had an obvious sideshow: U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III’s potential challenge of U.S. Sen. Ed Markey in next year’s Dem primary. Among others, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was put in awkward position of standing by Markey while saying all sorts of nice things about Kennedy, as Victoria McGrane reports at the Globe.

Meanwhile, the big pre-convention news was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement of Markey, as Spencer Buell reports at Boston Magazine. But was the endorsement really that big? The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld doesn’t think so – and says Markey is still in trouble if Kennedy decides to run against him. Then again, Peter Lucas at the Herald has a suggestion for Kennedy: Run for governor. Why not?

Target letter: State GOP lays out plans to gain 24 legislative seats

They’ve got big plans — again. The head of the Mass. Republican Party is laying out the party’s plan to pick up enough seats in the state legislature to be able to sustain a Gov. Baker veto, saying Democrats have “gone off the deep end” and intend to take the Bay State toward socialism, Bruce Mohl reports in CommonWealth Magazine. Lyons listed 25 districts where Republicans hope to win next November, including nine seats currently held by Democrats.

Of course, GOP leaders have launched similar legislative offensives in the past – only to fail. And so …


Going there: Daily Hampshire Gazette expands into Holyoke

That’s right, it’s a newspaper expanding its footprint. The Daily Hampshire Gazette says it will start covering the city of Holyoke, which lost its last daily paper more than 25 years ago. Publisher Michael Moses and editor Brooke Hauser write that while the city isn’t quite a news desert, it does call out for more attention. And the timing is right — at least for political junkies — with Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse mounting a primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Richard Neal. 


Solitary confinement: Still a fact of life in state prisons

From Maria Cramer: “About one in five inmates was placed in solitary confinement during 2018, alarming prisoner rights advocates and legislators who have criticized the practice as Draconian and called on corrections officials to reduce its prevalence.”

Boston Globe

Rev. Michael Haynes, the ‘conscience of Boston,’ RIP

The Rev. Michael Haynes, the long-time pastor of the historic Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury and well-known friend and colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, has passed away. He was 92. Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine has more on the extraordinary life of Haynes.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Adrian Walker has a column on the “spiritual leader of Roxbury.”


Ruth Abrams, the first woman on the state’s Supreme Judicial Court, RIP

Yet another sad local death. From the Globe’s Jonathan Saltzman: “Ruth I. Abrams, who was appointed by Governor Michael Dukakis as the first woman on the state’s highest court in 1977 and remained the only female jurist there for more than two decades, died Thursday at age 88.”

Boston Globe

Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the Cars, RIP

And then there’s this local loss. From the New York Post: “Ric Ocasek, the lead singer of iconic new wave rock band The Cars, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday, law enforcement sources told The Post. He was 75 years old.” The cause of the death is unknown. The Herald’s Todd Prussman and the Boston Globe have more on the life and death of Ocasek, who formed the Cars in Boston with Benjamin Orr in the 1970s.

Pressure builds on lawmakers to pass distracted-driving bill

Beacon Hill lawmakers are coming under increasing pressure, from both Republicans (SHNS – pay wall) and the public (Boston Herald), to pass a bill banning use of hand-held cellphones while driving. The legislation reportedly is being held up in closed-door negotiating sessions over how to collect racial data tied to potential cell-phone police stops, reports the Herald.

Educational success: It’s not where you’re from, but where you go

The Globe Malcolm Gay and Jenna Russell had a big story over the weekend looking into the different educational fates of two students, both children of immigrants who attended high schools only miles apart. One went to Newton South. The other went to Brighton High School. Care to guess who’s fared better?

Meanwhile, if you have time, check out George Packer’s long piece at the Atlantic on the insane, guilt-ridden and fanatical parental pursuit of educational excellence for children in New York – including, of course, his own child.

Boston Globe

A year before NH crash, RMV employee warned of computer problems

From the Herald’s Mary Markos: “About a year before the tragic crash in New Hampshire killed seven motorcyclists and revealed stunning deficiencies within the Registry of Motor Vehicles, an RMV hearings officer sounded the alarm on out-of-state license infractions, with an apparent reference to the tragic case of Lacey Packer.”

Boston Herald

Report: Inspector general dropped ball in Sonja Farak state-lab case

Fyi, the chemist in question is you-know-who and the inspector general in question is Glenn Cunha. From the Globe’s Maggie Mulvhill and Beverly Ford: “In a revelation raising new questions about the scope and thoroughness of the state’s response to the Hinton drug lab scandal, the inspector general’s office has acknowledged it never investigated the work of a drug-abusing chemist who processed even more lab tests than her prolific disgraced co-worker, Annie Dookhan.”

No City Hall showdown: Correia keeps the keys to mayor’s office, for now

To no one’s surprise, Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia refused to comply with a city council vote demanding he turn over the keys to the mayor’s office by 5 p.m. on Friday. Jo C. Goode at the Herald News reports.

Still, City Council President Cliff Ponte suggested he was now in charge of the city, but said he wouldn’t force a confrontation with the mayor. Instead, the city council plans to huddle with its lawyers on Wednesday to plot its next move. That meeting will come just a day after Correia appears on the preliminary election ballot and amid the court appearances of four of Correia’s alleged co-conspirators in what the feds say was a shakedown of businesses seeking pot shop licenses.

Herald News

Boston Idealist Grad Fair 2019

Learn about admissions requirements and application deadlines for graduate programs in social work, public policy, nonprofit management, international affairs, public interest law, social entrepreneurship, and many more. Speak with graduate admissions advisors from local, national and international universities.


2019 Better Government Competition

Please join Pioneer Institute at an awards gala recognizing the winner and finalists of the 2019 Better Government Competition, which sought proposals to transform our transportation system from a constraint on economic growth to a driver of prosperity.

Pioneer Institute

Old North Speaker Series: Kellie Carter Jackson – Forcing Freedom

Her book Force & Freedom examines one of the perennial questions in political thought: is violence a valid means of producing social change? In her lecture, Kellie Carter Jackson address how black abolitionists answered this question.

Old North Church & Historic Site

Boston Trade Compliance & Policy Seminar 2019

International trade regulations change constantly—old rules are updated and new regulations are added every day. Attend one of the full-day seminars in a location close to you to stay up to date on the latest information. Learn about changing international trade regulations with industry experts—C.H. Robinson’s Kevin Doucette and Jeff Simpson—who are passionate about the subject.

C. H. Robinson

Boston Speakers Series: John Kerry

Kerry served as United States Secretary of State during President Barack Obama’s second term. He represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate for nearly thirty years, and was the Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 2004.

Lesley University

12th Annual Public Performance Conference

This year’s National Center for Public Performance (NCPP) Public Performance Conference marks the 12th year the nation’s top government and nonprofit performance professionals and academics will convene to emphasize the use of data to improve efficiency and efficacy of public services.

Suffolk University

ADL’s Breaking Barriers Speaker Series Presents: Survivor’s Club with Michael & Debbie Bornstein

ADL’s Breaking Barriers Speaker Series presents: Survivors Club with Michael and Debbie Bornstein. Please join us on Thursday, September 26, 2019 to hear from Michael Bornstein, one of the youngest survivors of the Auschwitz death camp, and his daughter Debbie Bornstein, co-author of Survivors Club. Register by Wednesday, September 25: www.adl.org/breakingbarriers2019

ADL New England

Starr Forum: Iran Reframed

A discussion about the evolution of the Islamic Republic and its reaction to President Trump’s Iran strategy

MIT Center for International Studies (CIS)

Boston Speakers Series: John Kerry

Kerry served as United States Secretary of State during President Barack Obama’s second term. He represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate for nearly thirty years, and was the Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 2004.

Lesley University

Today’s Headlines


Oh rats! A Lynn woman’s good deed leads to infestation – Lynn Item

State Street lays off 250 IT workers in latest job cuts – Boston Business Journal


Investigation continues into misappropriated Littleton funds – Lowell Sun

New Bedford city council to look into ransomware attack – Standard-Times

Charlton legal expenses go up 300 percent – Telegram & Gazette


Gas plants will get crushed by wind, solar by 2035, study says – Bloomberg News

The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun control legislation – The Hill

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