Quincy groundbreaking, IBEW endorsement, and more
— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and House Speaker Robert DeLeo this morning attend a Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and MassRobotics tour and event highlighting internship program, with MassTech Executive Director Carolyn Kirk also attending, MassRobotics, 12 Channel St., Boston.
— Gov. Charlie Baker joins MassDOT Undersecretary Scott Bosworth and Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for the North Quincy MBTA Station Transit Oriented Development project, North Quincy Station, 275 Hancock Street and Hunt Street, Quincy, 9:30 a.m.
— IBEW Local 103 business manager and financial secretary Lou Antonellis hosts U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III along with union officers and members to formally endorse Kennedy’s Senate bid, Joint Apprentice Training Center, 256 Freeport St., Dorchester, 9 a.m.
— Mayor Marty Walsh offers remarks at the Charlestown Chamber of Commerce Small Business Lunch, The Anchor at the Shipyard Park in the Navy Yard, 1 Shipyard Park, Charlestown, 12:15 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.
More the merrier: Leaked audio reveals Correia plot to secure re-election
He needs help and he knows it. So Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia, twice indicted and finishing well behind an election rival in the recent preliminary vote, has a re-election plan: Getting another candidate into the race to split the opposition vote. Jo C. Goode at the Herald-News reports that a leaked audio recording of last week’s campaign meeting shows Correia acknowledging the likelihood of his defeat if he goes head-to-head with Paul Coogan and predicting at least one other candidate would launch a write-in campaign. Correia allegedly told staff and supporters: “I need your help to still win in an un-traditional way.”
ZBA update: ‘The incestuous mechanics of a permitting system’
Yes, Craig Galvin takes center stage again, this time in a story by the Globe’s Milton Valencia and Tim Logan on his (and others’) industry ties to the Zoning Board of Appeals and the “incestuous mechanics of a permitting system that is now enmeshed in an influence-peddling scandal, and highlights how the zoning board seems almost destined for potential conflicts of interest by the very way it is organized.”
Separately, the Globe’s Tim Logan reports that City Councilor Lydia Edwards plans to file legislation today that “would reshape the seven-member board, which rules on zoning changes for small and mid-size buildings, and bar people who work in real estate and development from serving on it.”
The Impeachment Drive: Can Dems ‘walk and chew gum’ at the same time?
U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is dismissing complaints that the new impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats will distract lawmakers from other pressing matters, saying Dems can “walk and chew gum” at the same time, reports the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky. But it appears Dems will be walking and chewing gum quickly. According to a report at WBUR, Democrats say the impeachment inquiry will be put on the legislative fast track, taking only ‘weeks,’ not ‘months,’ in an apparent effort to reduce longer-term potential distractions from other issues, which, according to the NYT, appear to be more important to Americans back home in congressional districts.
The Globe’s Adrian Walker writes that at least former Gov. Mitt Romney is mumbling about his concerns over President Trump’s controversial conversation with Ukraine’s president. The Herald’s Adriana Cohen thinks Democrats have actually done Republicans a favor by launching the inquiry.
DeLeo defends House campaign-finance change but …
In an opinion piece at CommonWealth magazine, House Speaker Robert DeLeo takes on all those Republican critics (including, unnamed, Gov. Charlie Baker) of the House’s recently approved legislation that would eliminate the heads of the Democratic and Republican parties having a say in who runs the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, arguing the moves gets politics out of the office.
But Paul Diego Craney, a spokesperson for the conservative Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, counters in a separate CommonWealth piece that the House proposal merely gives the majority party (read: Democrats) effective control over who runs OCPF.
Lawmakers ramp up their oversight of troubled DCF
Speaking of the Speaker: The Globe’s Kay Lazar reports that improvements have indeed been made in DCF’s handling of foster-care kids in Massachusetts. But “serious problems remain” and now House Speaker Robert DeLeo has tapped House Ways and Means committee vice chair, Denise Garlick, “a nurse who has led several health-related legislative committees, to serve as his point-person on improving the foster care system, as the Legislature ramps up its oversight of DCF.”
The new paid-leave payroll tax: Isn’t there a better way?
The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and MassLive’s Jim Kinney report on the new paid-leave payroll tax that takes effect tomorrow to fund the state’s new family-leave program and the various people and groups griping about the tax.
But Jennifer C. Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center, writes at the Globe that there might be a better way to fund paid-leave programs, pointing to federal legislation that would allow people to tap into their future Social Security funds. Hmmm. So would we then have to start referring to the Social Security Administration as the Social Security & Family Leave Administration? Just thinking aloud.
A sugar tax, anyone?
Speaking of new taxes, Yvonne Abraham at the Globe notes the aggressive action taken by the Baker administration to temporarily ban the sale of all vaping-related products in Massachusetts, but she wonders why the state isn’t taking similar aggressive action on another public-health front, i.e. sugary sodas and legislation supported by Reps. Jon Santiago and Kay Khan and Sen. Jason Lewis that would tax beverages based on their sugar levels.
Trash talk: State unveils aggressive plans to curb solid waste disposal
Geoff Spillane at the Cape Cod Times reports that the state Department of Environmental Protection has issued a draft of an “aggressive 10-year solid waste master plan” that will likely require, if the state is to meet its goals, an “increase in the diversion of food material, textiles and bulky waste items” from the normal trash cycle.
‘City in chaos’: Lawrence hit with another gas-line scare
It was déjà vu all over again for hundreds of Lawrence residents who had to be briefly evacuated late last week due a work-crew apparently puncturing a natural-gas pipeline, scaring the wits out of many only a year after last September’s pipeline disaster in the Merrimack Valley. Jill Harmacinski at the Eagle Tribune has the details.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton and other pols are furious at the latest mishap, with Moulton saying Columbia Gas should lose its license to distribute gas in the Bay State, reports Lisa Kashinsky at the Herald. Paul Singer and Emily Judem at WGBH report that Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera and Gov. Charlie Baker reassured residents that the gas leak was an isolated incident and that it’s no longer a public health threat.
Sound familiar? Becker College trims payroll, explores more changes
They’re trying to get ahead of the problem. Becker College in Worcester says it has laid off nine faculty and staff and has a campus-wide effort under way to explore additional changes as it looks to respond to the changing demographics and economics that are crushing many smaller colleges, Grant Welker reports at the Worcester Business Journal. President Nancy Crimmin said the layoffs, which came just after the start of fall classes, were needed to close a short-term budget deficit but indicates the college is open to “potentially major changes” should an ongoing study of operations suggest they’re needed.
Harvard president apologizes for comparing freed slaves to … college donors?
We liked the Washington Post’s headline better: “Harvard made it easier for alums to donate. Then its president compared them to freed slaves.” But we’ll go with Deirdre Fernandes’s lead since the Globe broke the story: “Harvard president Larry Bacow apologized Saturday for comments he made last week comparing the 13th Amendment, which freed the slaves, to the university’s relationship with wealthy donors. Bacow said he understands that his comments may have ‘unsettled’ some Harvard staff members.”
Warren’s ‘100 percent grassroots-funded’ campaign is actually 48 percent grassroots funded
The Washington Post dives into claims by U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders that their campaign donations are as pure as the driven snow, i.e. the funds come from the little guys and gals. In the case of Warren, when you throw in her earlier presidential fundraising and past transfers from her U.S. Senate campaign, the “100 percent grassroots” funding turns into 48 percent grassroots funding.
In other Warren-related news, the Globe’s Zoe Greenberg dives into the Warren selfies phenomenon in a front-page story (yes, front page).
Of data collection and distracted driving
In an editorial, the Globe is almost dumbfoundedat the inability of House and Senate lawmakers to reach a compromise on the proposed distracted-driving bill, saying there must be a way to reach an agreement on the racial data-collection issue involved. Speaking of the data-collection angle, WGBH’s Mike Deehan reviews the issues and players involved on Beacon Hill.
Report: Healey’s office probing Dracut town manager’s purchases
From the Lowell Sun: “Attorney General Maura Healey is reviewing a decision by Dracut Town Manager James Duggan to select a Hooksett, N.H., firm to construct a security fence around the police department despite receiving a quote from a local firm that would have done the job for several thousand dollars less. The fence contract is just one of several municipal jobs that have put Duggan at loggerheads with Selectman Joseph DiRocco Jr., while drawing scrutiny from the state.”
‘At the edge of a warming world’
It was hard to miss: The Globe’s huge special report on how global warming is already impacting Cape Cod. From the Globe’s Nestor Ramos: “As much as we might wish it away, as hard as we try to ignore it, the effects of climate change here are already visible, tangible, measurable, disturbing.” Here’s a summary of the report’s main findings, also courtesy of Ramos.
Btw: As if climate change isn’t enough, the Cape is also contending with the now years-long invasion of Great White Sharks, and ’60 Minutes’ last night made sure the entire nation (and the tourism industry) knows all about it. The Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss has eight takeaways from the 60 Minutes show.
Koh confirms the oh-so obvious: He’s weighing a challenge against Trahan
He’s been leaving a trail of hints all over the Third Congressional District about his intentions. And now Dan Koh, who narrowly lost to Lori Trahan in last year’s Dem congressional primary race, is openly saying that, yeah, he’s mulling a rematch. The Globe’s Matt Stout has more.
The new Saturday Night Special: Taser guns
From Christian Wade at the Newburyport Daily News: “Massachusetts residents are increasingly arming themselves with electronic weapons following a court ruling last year that legalized the non-lethal devices. More than 1,500 electronic Tasers and stun guns have been sold by gun dealers in Massachusetts since July 2018, according to the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.”
Collins et gang warn Walsh: No more condos
State Sen. Nick Collins and other Southie polls are warning that a land transfer tied to the proposed South Boston Convention Center better not include plans for more condos or, worse, a helipad. The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter and Erin Tiernan have the details.
Chang-Díaz: Ed bill represents ‘generational change’ in Massachusetts
The latest proof of the overwhelming support on Beacon Hill for the recently unveiled $1.4 billion education-reform package: Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz’s op-ed this morning in the Globe endorsing the legislation, saying that it represents “generational change in Massachusetts” and that lawmakers and the governor should approve it.
Healey sues NRC over Pilgrim license transfer
From SHNS’s Colin Young: “Attorney General Maura Healey sued another agency of the federal government (last) week, this time it was the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that Healey is taking to court over its recent approval of the transfer of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station license.”
Cap it: Should Senate race have a spending limit?
After all, there’s only so much money. Boston Foundation Senior Fellow James Devitt Rooney proposes Democrats ensure the Joe Kennedy-Ed Markey Senate showdown doesn’t drain resources from other key races by jumping into the way-back machine: He suggests the Democrats borrow a page from the 1996 Senate showdown between John Kerry and Bill Weld, when the candidates voluntarily agreed to limit how much they spent.
GOP’s Dooley latest to say ‘no thanks’ to Congressional run
Nope. Republican state Rep. Shawn Dooley is the latest pol to bow out of a potential run for the 4th District Congressional seat now held by Joe Kennedy III, Jim Hand reports at the Sun-Chronicle. Dooley says he considered a bid after hearing from supporters but has decided to run for re-election instead.
Cocktails and Public Policy: On Artificial Intelligence, Human Rights, and Ethics
This event explores the ways artificial intelligence affects human life, and the emerging ethics and human rights-related questions. Please see website for full speaker bios and info.
Author Talk and Book Signing with Edwin Hill
Mystery writer Edwin Hill will speak at the State Library about his new psychological thriller, The Missing Ones. To register: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SLM-Edwin-Hill
Starr Forum: Iran Reframed
A discussion about the evolution of the Islamic Republic and its reaction to President Trump’s Iran strategy
In Pursuit of Equity, Accountability and Success: Latinx Students in MA
In Pursuit of Equity, Accountability and Success (PEAS) seeks to unite multiple systems and sectors around community, policy, and practitioner-centered solutions to addressing the current system of unequal outcomes in educational attainment and institutional treatment. There will be 10 workshops and we will have three dynamic speakers.
Worcester State University, University of Massachusetts Boston, American Student Assistance in collaboration with DESE, EEC, and DHE, The Worcester State University Latino Education Institute (LEI) and Department of Urban Studies, UMass Boston Gaston Inst.
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.
Discussion: Building Urgency and Political Will
There are many policy solutions that could have impact, but their viability is challenged by the lack of urgency and broad political will that is needed to get municipal leaders to lead on a crisis that their constituents may not currently feel.
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