Happening Today

Election Day, impaired driving bill, and more

— Today is election day in dozens of communities across Massachusetts, including Boston, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, Taunton, Westfield, Worcester and Springfield, among others.

— The University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor Search Committee meets, University of Massachusetts Club, Thirty-Second Floor, One Beacon Street, Boston, 12 p.m.

Joint Committee on the Judiciary holds a hearing on Gov. Baker’s impaired driving bill and 33 other bills related to motor vehicles, Room A-1, 1 p.m.

— SpeakeroRobert DeLeo is the honoree at the 15th annual Ripple of Hope Awards hosted by the MENTOR Network, Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston, 6:30 p.m. 

— U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton is on ‘Greater Boston’ with Jim Braude, WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 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

Election Day: All politics are local

Voters in 58 towns and cities in Massachusetts will cast ballots today in municipal elections that will choose everything from new mayors to new election systems. SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) and MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg have the big-picture stories about today’s contests. Here’s a full list, via MassLive, of where elections are being held.

Meanwhile, here are a few headlines about what’s at stake in various communities. From the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld on Boston’s council races: “This election is all about the next election for Michelle Wu.” From Universal Hub: “There’s also a referendum to change Dudley Square’s name.” From Gabrielle Emanuel at WGBH: “Lowell Residents To Vote On New Electoral System.”

Not just Fall River: Federal grand jury expands probe of municipal marijuana contracts

After what happened in Fall River, how could the feds not be investigating whether leaders in other communities are also shaking down marijuana vendors? As a result, it’s not too surprising that the feds, according to a three-reporter team at the Globe, have convened a grand jury to investigate “host agreements” between municipalities and marijuana companies. What is surprising are the towns confirming they’ve received subpoenas from U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office. They’re not on the usual-suspects list.

Boston Globe

The T’s grand (and very expensive) vision for commuter rail

An electrified rail system that would allow commuter trains to zip around like subway cars? More frequent service stops? Both are part of a long-term “transformation” vision endorsed yesterday by the T’s governing board – a vision that could end up costing tens of billions of dollars if fully implemented. No mention on how it might be funded. CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl, the Globe’s Matt Stout and the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter and Mary Markos have more on the T’s recommendations, which include some preliminary steps toward the futuristic transformation.

About those transportation costs: Baker opposes ‘big increase’ in gas tax, Spilka non-committal

As the MBTA dreams of a distant future with electrified rail cars and more frequent service stops (without saying how it will be funded), Gov. Charlie Baker and legislative leaders are trying to piece together a package on how to pay for more immediate transportation needs – and they’re not getting very far. 

SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) reports that Baker is reiterating his opposition to a “big increase” in the state’s gas tax, as the House moves to possibly take action on a transportation bill later this month. Meanwhile, Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine reports that Senate President Karen Spilka, unlike House Speaker Robert DeLeo, doesn’t sound like someone ready and willing to address new taxes this fall.

Inconvenient truth: Convenience stores to close in protest of proposed menthol ban

MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) report that furious convenience-store owners are planning a one-day strike (so to speak) tomorrow, closing their shops in protest of a potential ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes. The proposed menthol ban is now tied up in the furor over vaping products – and store owners say they’ll take a major revenue hit if a menthol ban is passed on Beacon Hill. Btw: We blatantly stole the headline above from Universal Hub (i.e. ‘Inconvenience stores’). 

Meanwhile, SJC to hear vaping-ban case

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is intervening in the controversy over Gov. Charlie Baker’s emergency four-month ban of most vaping products in Massachusetts, announcing it will hear arguments in the case in December. Tanner Stening at MassLive has the details on the high-court action.  

Regarding the vaping ban, from Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Massachusetts House plans to take up vaping bill before Thanksgiving.”


The incredibly shrinking public colleges

Think falling enrollments are a problem only at small private colleges in Massachusetts? Think again. In an excellent piece, SHNS’s Chris Liskinksi goes back a decade and finds shrinking student enrollments at 18 of the state’s 28 public colleges and universities – and the Cape Cod and Salem schools have taken huge enrollment hits in particular. It’s all about demographics. Lisinski has the stats and charts.

Separately, from Zeninjor Enwemeka at WBUR: “Study: More Women Than Men Attend Mass. Colleges. Far Fewer End Up Running Those Colleges.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

The real patriots: Remembering Boston Tea Party’s participants

They took an oath of secrecy nearly 246 years ago that they wouldn’t reveal their participation in the Boston Tea Party. But yesterday Abraham Tower and James Stoddard were publicly honored for their role in the historic act of protest in 1773, with Colonial-era re-enactors placing commemorative markers on the patriots’ graves in a ceremony at a Cohasset cemetery. Sue Scheible at the Patriot Ledger has the details.

Patriot Ledger

Conflicting polls: Can Warren beat Trump or not?

File under; ‘Tale of two polls.’ A New York Time/Sienna College poll shows President Trump running surprisingly well in key battleground states – and beating Elizabeth Warren in key state matchups. But … wait. A new Fox News poll at The Week shows Trump behind all the top-tier Dems, including Warren. So there.

Wall Street rumble

The NYT has discovered, or rediscovered, that Wall Street titans really despise Elizabeth Warren. Meanwhile, the NYT’s Paul Krugman and Steve Rattner go at it (sort of) over the Wall Street-Warren rumble, with the former chastising the money boys and the latter saying they have legitimate concerns.

Speaking of Warren and corporate executives, the Globe’s Joan Vennochi writes that you know Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ plan is in trouble when Saturday Night Live pokes fun at it. And there is a finance-industry tie in all of this, Vennochi writes.


Charlie’s PAC pals

The BBJ’s Gintautas Dumcius lists some of the bigwigs donating money to a new PAC tied to Gov. Charlie Baker. They include the previously disclosed names of Niraj Shaw and Steve Conine of Wayfair and Ray Stata of Analog Devices. But did you know car-dealer titans Herb Chambers and Daniel Quirk also ponied up money? Dumcius has more names in a slideshow presentation.


Did casinos delude themselves and/or the public about riches to come?

The Globe’s Andy Rosen starts asking questions about those lower-than-projected revenues at the state’s new casinos and gambling joints — and finds the disappointing numbers may be the result of delusional thinking from the outset of legalized gambling in Massachusetts. 

Boston Globe

Last call for Honey Fitz, Tom Menino and Kevin White memorabilia

They’re auctioning off the remnants of the now-closed Doyle’s in Jamaica Plain, including lots of vintage political photos and other knick-knacks from the legendary watering hole, reports Gintatas Dumcius at the BBJ. There’s also pizza ovens and neon beer signs up for grabs.


Melania Trump is coming to town

From Rick Sobey at the Herald: “First lady Melania Trump will visit Boston Wednesday to highlight a treatment program for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome — a tour that’s part of her “Be Best” initiative, the White House said Monday. The first lady is scheduled to visit Boston Medical Center, and tour the hospital’s Cuddling Assists in Lowering Maternal and Infant Stress program.”

Boston Herald

Cold reality: Feds reduce heating-oil assistance – again

It’s going to be a colder winter for many people in Massachusetts. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “The Trump administration has released $114 million in home heating assistance for Massachusetts families, but U.S. Sens. Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren said Monday it ‘makes no sense’ that for the second straight year the state has seen its funding levels cut.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Under review: House Ethics Committee mulling full-blown Trahan investigation

They need more time. The House Ethics Committee said Monday it will likely take until the middle of next month to determine whether to open a full-scale investigation into claims that U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan failed to properly disclose how $300,000 in personal funds wound up in her campaign account just days before the 2018 primary election, Katherine Tully-McManus reports at Roll Call. 


Pilgrim critics hit NRC over emergency planning decision

Critics are lashing out at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s decision to allow the new owners of the shuttered Pilgrim Station Nuclear Plant to reduce the emergency planning zone around the plant from a 10-mile radius to the plant’s property lines, Christine Legere reports at the Cape Cod Times. The decision saves Holtec $2 million in payments to surrounding communities but critics say the plant is just as dangerous — if not more so — now that operations have ceased. 

Cape Cod Times

Dear Republicans: We know you’re appalled

Keep the politics out of it. That’s the philosophy U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, as lawmakers move ahead with the impeachment inquiry against President Trump. Ethan Forman reports at the Gloucester Times that Moulton shared his thoughts after a constituent town hall–at which no one brought up the issue of impeachment. 

Speaking of the impeachment proceedings, from a report at WGBH: “Rep. Jim McGovern: In Private, Republican Colleagues Say They Are ‘Appalled’ By Trump’s Behavior.”

State Library Author Talk: Richard W. Judd

Was Henry a Hippie? Locating Thoreau in a Changing Modern World: An Author Talk with Dr. Richard W. Judd

State Library of Massachusetts

Top Women of Law

The Top Women of Law event celebrates outstanding achievements made by exceptional women lawyers. Each year Lawyers Weekly honors women attorneys who have made tremendous professional strides and demonstrated great accomplishments in the legal field, which includes: pro bono, social justice, advocacy and business.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

2019 Distinguished Real Estate Awards Gala

2019 NAIOP Distinguished Real Estate Awards Gala honoring MIT Investment Management Company

NAIOP Massachusetts

Suffrage 100 – Massachusetts Women at the Forefront of Change

Fredie Kay, Founder and President of Suffrage100MA, will discuss the the suffrage movement in American and Massachusetts history.


MHSA Second Annual Gala

Please join the Middlesex Human Service Agency (MHSA) on November 7, 2019, as we celebrate our second annual gala and present the G. Peter Donovan award to James J. O’Connell, MD, President of Boston Health Care for the Homeless.

Middlesex Human Service Agency (MHSA)

Race in the Public Dialogue: Understanding Criminal Justice Reform

Panelists will lead a conversation on the present state and future of criminal justice reform and mass incarceration.

Museum of African American History

EPA Region 1: Risk Assessment & Emergency Response Plan Training

The U.S. EPA will be holding a one-day training to provide drinking water utilities with detailed information on America’s Water Infrastructure Act: Section 2013 and 2018. Specifically the training will cover the new risk assessment and emergency response plan requirements.

United States Environmental Protection Agency, Water Security Division

Today’s Headlines


Milton to hold meeting on airplane noise – Patriot Ledger

Some Boston neighborhoods face severe shortage of child care — and it’s unaffordable almost everywhere – Boston Globe


Framingham State enrollment down 16.4 percent in a decade – MetroWest Daily News

Curaleaf, largest marijuana company in U.S., starts selling recreational marijuana in Massachusetts at Oxford store – MassLive

Adams sets public info session on proposed smart growth overlay district – Berkshire Eagle


Trump formally pulls out of landmark Paris climate treaty – The Hill

Roger Stone trial likely to be a spectacle – Wall Street Journal

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