Happening Today

Baker to sign hands-free driving bill, Healey on the air, and more

— Presidential candidate and former Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick speaks at a ‘Politics & Eggs’ event in New Hampshire this morning, New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Saint Anselm College, Manchester, N.H.

Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority holds a public hearing on regulations on minimum creditable health insurance coverage and rules governing eligibility and enrollment in ConnectorCare, McCormack Building, 21st floor, One Ashburton Place, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey participates in her regular ‘Ask the AG’ segment on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 1 p.m.

— First Lady Lauren Baker talks with Joe Mathieu for a ‘Lunch Hour Live’ conversation about charity work and giving Christmas presents to children in the Department of Children and Families, WGBH’s Copley Square studio, Boston Public Library, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka, Safe Roads Alliance President Emily Stein, road safety advocates and legislators to sign the Act Requiring the Hands-Free Use of Mobile Telephones While Driving, also known as the distracted driving bill, State House Library, 3 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

Still a mess: Fall River assessor resigns in wake of property-tax probe

The house cleaning continues in Fall River. The city’s assessor, Benjamin Mello, has resigned days after city officials received the results of an inquiry into how former city administrator and mayoral candidate Cathy Ann Viveiros saw assessed values drop on properties she owned, Jo C. Goode reports at the Herald-News. Viveiros, a mayoral write-in candidate who many viewed as a mere ticket-splitting plant by indicted Mayor Mayor Jasiel Coreia, had previously resigned from her city post. Meanwhile, from Nadine Sebai at WBUR: “Fall River revising policies following unexplained charges on mayor’s credit card.”  

Herald News

Report: Ex-Medford police chief knew of pay padding well before suspensions – and didn’t act

Remember the recent suspension of 20 Medford police officers over their construction-site detail work (or lack thereof)? Turns out the the now-former police chief actually conducted his own investigation and knew of alleged pay padding by officers well before an outside probe finally led to action against the officers, as the Globe’s Matt Roucheleau reports.

Boston Globe

Fair or unfair? NBC Boston fires reporter over relationship with Auburn police chief

Speaking of police chiefs, the Globe’s Shirley Leung has a good piece looking at NBC Boston’s apparent firing of reporter Karen Hensel for dating Auburn Police Chief Andrew Sluckis Jr. An unfair double-standard applied to a female journalist in this #MeToo age of media guys behaving badly? Or maybe the issue is actually about when she disclosed the relationship to her bosses, as Leung notes.

Warren practices anti-billionaire lines as Bloomberg enters race

Medford’s very own Michael Bloomberg made it official yesterday: The former NYC mayor and multibillionaire is running for president – and he’s expected to spend more than $30 million of his own money on an ad dump to let everyone know he’s arrived, as the Washington Post reports. The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, anticipating a Bloomberg announcement, was already jabbing away on Saturday, declaring “elections should not be for sale, not to billionaires, not to corporate executives.” 

Btw: Kashinsky also reports that Warren has tapped U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley as one of her campaign co-chairs, in a move “pundits say could help the Massachusetts senator win over more women and people of color.”

Deval Patrick’s traction problem

Speaking of the multiple Massachusetts connections to the presidential race, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says Deval Patrick has nobody to blame but himself for his early-stage traction problem on the presidential campaign trail, considering how late he jumped into the fray. But Battenfeld says Patrick has nevertheless earned the right to be taken seriously. Speaking of Patrick, the Herald’s Rick Sobey reports on the former governor’s “spirited speech” at a Mattapan church yesterday.

Boston Herald

Ethics officials: Galvin improperly attached his name to voter information materials

From Christian Wade at the Salem News: “The state Ethics Commission has faulted Secretary of State Bill Galvin for benefiting politically from early voting signs bearing his name and a taxpayer-funded voter guide ahead of last year’s election. On Friday, the commission said a nearly yearlong review found “reasonable cause” that Galvin violated the state’s conflict of interest laws by prominently using his name in the voter education guide and on early voting signs his office displayed at polling stations.”

But the commission isn’t taking further action, effectively deciding that shaming Galvin is sufficient punishment. 

Salem News

‘Deepfakes’: You mean those moon shot videos were real?

The folks at MIT have unveiled a video of President Richard Nixon’s famous disaster speech to the nation following the failure of the Apollo 11 moon-shot mission in 1969. Except Nixon never delivered the speech because the Apollo 11 moon-shot mission was a success – and the MIT folks say they made the video to show how easy it is to use artificial intelligence technologies to create “deepfake” news. Bob Shaffer at WBUR has the details on how they produced the elaborate deepfake video.


Dozens of protesters charged with disrupting Harvard-Yale game

It wasn’t a prank. It was a real-deal protest by hundreds of people who stormed the field in New Haven at halftime of the Harvard-Yale game on Saturday, delaying resumption of the gridiron classic due to their concerns about climate change, Puerto Rican debt and, apparently, China’s treatment of Uighurs. Michelle Kurilla at the Crimson has the details.

Btw: Yale won in double OT, 50-43 (Crimson). Btw, II: MIT students and environmentalist are angry on another climate-change front: The naming of a campus auditorium after Shell Oil (Globe) .

The Crimson

Watchdog group wants more info on State Police’s robo-dog tests

The Massachusetts State Police recently completed a three-month test of the robo-dogs created by Boston Dynamics — and the ACLU is pressing the agency to reveal more about how it plans to use the technology going forward. The group also wants lawmakers to consider limitations to prevent the robotic hounds from being weaponized, Ally Jarmaning reports at WBUR. 


So why is Stanford Health Care taking out a full-page ad in a Boston newspaper?

Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin is scratching his head over why California’s Stanford Health Care took out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe. He asks: “So, aside from the opportunity to run up overall health-care costs for no good reason (‘Martha, cancel my gallstone surgery at the Faulkner, we’re heading to California!’ said nobody, ever), why is some seemingly generic hospital 3,000 miles away wasting money on advertising in a city that has some of the most advanced medical care in the world?” He has a theory: It might actually be a sly employee recruiting move by Stanford.

Universal Hub

The Herald News and the MetroWest Daily News: Sinking fast

Speaking of the media, the BBJ’s Don Seiffert digs through circulation numbers and other filings tied to the merger of Gannett and the parent company of Gatehouse Media, forming the largest newspaper chain in America, and finds 80 percent of the new company’s daily newspapers are losing circulation at a faster rate than the national average – and that the Fall River Herald News and the MetroWest Daily News are among those seeing the steepest declines.


‘In Hoffa’s Shadow’

A couple of MassterList readers have drawn our attention to the new book ‘In Hoffa’s Shadow,’ by Harvard law professor and former assistant U.S. Attorney General Jack Goldsmith, and Goldsmith’s interview on WGBH’s ‘Greater Boston’ earlier this month. With Martin Scorsese’s new film ‘The Irishman’ in the news and with solid reviews of Goldsmith’s book, we couldn’t resist ordering the tome. Needless to say, Goldsmith’s family connection to a high-up Hoffa associate (and suspect in Hoffa’s disappearance) was the purchase-it-now clincher.

Some additional quibbles about the Globe’s traffic-congestion series

CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl reviews the pros and cons of the Globe Spotlight Team’s recently completed three-part series on traffic congestion in Greater Boston. In general, Mohl concludes: “While the series did a great job of explaining why congestion exists in Boston, it seemed a little thin when it came to examining possible solutions to the problem.” And, as a MassterList reader recently told us, Mohl also thinks the series spent a little too much time finger pointing.

Speaking of finger pointing, the Globe’s Yvonne Abraham points one at Gov. Charlie Baker for his “I’m not a virtue signaler” quip the other day regarding his non-ridership of the T. “Isn’t it kind of a governor’s job to send virtuous signals from time to time?” she asks.


The group politics at play in today’s impeachment proceedings

State Sen. Adam Hinds, a Democrat from western Massachusetts, has an opinion piece at MassLive in which he acknowledges his support for the impeachment proceedings against President Trump, but he warns of group-think grievances and divisions, both left and right, that Congress needs to address to avoid further dividing the country.


Passing grade: Hampshire College keeps accreditation

Ray Kelly at MassLive reports that the New England Commission of Higher Education has decided not to yank the accreditation of struggling Hampshire College, noting the steps the school has taken to shore up its finances and hiring a new president, etc.


Baker’s vape ban has users and shop owners fuming

The Herald’s Alexi Cohan and CommonWealth magazine’s Sarah Betancourt report on last Friday’s public hearing on Gov. Charlie Baker’s vaping-products ban – and some vape shop owners say the ban is destroying, if it hasn’t already, their businesses. Vape users were none too happy either.

East Boston moms mobilize against Logan’s ‘ultrafine particles’ pollution

As if the noise from Logan Airport isn’t bad enough, a groups of activist mothers in East Boston are sounding the alarm over “ultrafine particles from jet engine exhaust” descending on their neighborhood. The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky has the ultrafine details. more.

Boston Herald

They’re lining up again to challenge Moulton

Eric Convey at the Gloucester Times profiles the nascent campaign of Rockport environmental activist Nathaniel Mulcahy, one of the Democrats hoping to unseat U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton in the state’s 6th congressional district. Mulcahy — who pledges to serve just a single term if elected — calls Moulton a “good guy” but says he’s not done enough on climate change. 

Meanwhile, via Cassaid Burns at the Tewksbury Town Crier: “Mixon seeks to run against Moulton in sixth district.”

Gloucester Times

Consortium pools together $50M to build cell manufacturing facility

All they need now is a place to build. A consortium of some of the Boston area’s top universities, hospitals and private companies say they’ll combine forces to build a $50 million cell manufacturing facility somewhere in Greater Boston that will help nascent treatments move through the approval process faster, Catherine Carlock reports at the Boston Business Journal. 


Blacks In Government Future Leaders in America’s Government Youth Summit

The theme of the FLAG Youth Summit is: “Your Benchmark for Achieving Excellence” Topics covered will include: Establishing and benchmarking goals for achieving Personal, Academic, and Professional Success.

Blacks In Government and Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center

New England Energy Summit

New England Power Generators Association (NEPGA) in collaboration with The Dupont Group will host the New England Energy Summit, a half-day event that will bring together industry leaders, end users and policymakers to address emerging issues and engage in impactful discussion.

NEPGA and The Dupont Group

A Conversation with Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams, New York Times bestselling author, nonprofit CEO, former Georgia House Democratic Leader and 2018 Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia, discusses her distinguished career and continuing work on voting rights and social issues.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

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. How do we sound the alarm and build the support needed to meet our housing challenges head-on?

Next Level Housing Solutions

Can We Bridge the Political Divide? Better Angels Red/Blue Workshop

Please join us for an intensive workshop that will bring together Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning citizens for a day of structured conversations, with a focus on listening and reflecting rather than debating and persuading.

Better Angels Red/Blue Workshop

The Constitution: Changes and Challenges in US History

Akhil Amar, professor of law and political science at Yale University, and Eric Foner, professor emeritus of history at Columbia University and author of The Second Founding: How Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution, discuss constitutional changes and challenges throughout our nation’s history.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Today’s Headlines


Hundreds of climate protesters disrupt Harvard-Yale game – Boston Globe

MassINC names leadership award for late Brockton mayor – Brockton Enterprise


Worcester property values jump 8.26 percent – Telegram & Gazette

A tale of two Pittsfields: What defines its political divide? – Berkshire Eagle

Ballot committees rush against deadline – Eagle-Tribune


Inside Gordon Sondland’s pay-to-play power grab – Axios

Race becomes focal point of 2020 campaign – Politico

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