Happening Today

Public health comitttee, WWII veterans sendoff and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, Rep. Aaron Vega and other local leaders to make an announcement relative to MassWorks funding for the City of Holyoke, El Mercado Holyoke, 413 Main Street, Holyoke, 9:30 a.m.

— The Public Health Committee holds hearing on dozens of bills, including legislation on HIV-related and adoption-related issues, Hearing Room A-2, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant, Sen. Paul Feeney, Public Safety and Safety Undersecretary Jeanne Benincasa Thorpe, Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey and Marlborough Fire Chief Kevin Breen make an announcement relative to gear and equipment grants for local fire departments across Massachusetts, Marlborough Fire Headquarters, 215 Maple Street, Marlborough, 1:30 p.m.


— Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy delivers remarks at an advanced manufacturing grant announcement, Greater Lawrence Technical School, 57 River Road, Andover, 3:30 p.m.

Boston Logan International Airport hosts a sendoff for 17 World War II veterans who are traveling to France, Luxembourg and Belgium to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, Logan Airport, Terminal E, 4:30 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

Every vote truly counts: Mejia wins council recount by only one vote

They’re pulling out the ‘every vote counts’ cliché – and well they should. Boston City Council At-Large Candidate Julia Mejia was declared the winner – by one vote – after a three-day recount of nearly 45,000 votes. WGBH’s Isaiah Thompson, the Globe’s Milton Valancia and Universal Hub have the details on the recount – which may yet be challenged in court.

The latest scathing T report: Will anyone be held responsible?

It wasn’t just a scathing report on safety ‘deficiencies’ at the MBTA. It was a scathing and damning indictment on the overall mismanagement of the MBTA in recent years. Think we’re exaggerating? Here’s a small sampling of the headlines following yesterday’s release of an outside panel’s report on the T – From Boston Magazine: “The MBTA’s Leadership Is ‘Defeated, Helpless and in Some Cases Hopeless.’” From MassLive: “MBTA safety report finds deficiencies ‘in almost every area’ of system.” From CommonWealth magazine: “Panel offers scathing assessment of transit operations.” From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “Experts: MBTA Safety Woes Underscored by Trust, Fear Issues.” From the Globe: “Safety ‘is not the priority’ at the MBTA, panel finds.”

Of course, some people, like House Speaker Robert DeLeo, are now suggesting that more money is the answer to the T’s problems (SHNS). Which is probably true. But do people really want to sink more money into a system that’s clearly mismanaged? The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld gets closest to the management matter by pointing a finger straight at Gov. Charlie Baker and Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack. 

We do know this: The current management team – including the MBTA’s fiscal control board – is simply failing. Do we really need more proof of this after this report?

Meanwhile, T’s new fare system will be years late – and cost hundreds of millions more

We assume the “hundreds of millions” part is not a typo. From the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro: “An ambitious project to modernize the MBTA’s systemwide fare collection technology will go years over schedule and cost hundreds of millions more than budgeted, T officials said Monday, in a revelation that brought more criticism of the beleaguered agency.”

The T’s announcement comes only a few days after WGBH’s Robin Washington was asking where oh where was the T’s new automated fare system. Now we have an answer.

Boston Globe

Scholarly digs: BPL eyes building apartments over library branches

This is an interesting story by WGBH’s Saraya Wintersmith, who reports that the Boston Public Library is “considering adding apartments to share space with four neighborhood branches slated for renovation, a rare combination that exists in New York and Chicago but would be the first in the city.”


Memo from 1990s: Warren’s helpful advice to firm trying to avoid toxic-waste cleanup

The latest from the Democrats’ disclose-it-all frenzy that’s doing more harm to themselves than to a certain orange-haired occupant of the White House, i.e. a Washington Post piece about how Elizabeth Warren once wrote an eight-page memo on Harvard Law School letterhead advising a firm on how to avoid cleaning up a toxic-waste site.

Meanwhile, Pete Buttigieg has finally agreed to open his fundraising events to the media and says McKinsey has given him permission to disclose his former consulting-firm clients, the NYT reports. We’re sure Republican opposition-research teams are happy with the decision.

Washington Post

Kerry: ‘Don’t Let China Win the Green Race’

John Kerry, the former U.S. senator and secretary of state, and U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna warn in a NYT op-ed that America is falling dangerously behind China in development of clean-energy technology, putting China in the position to “become the OPEC of the 21st-century energy industry.” They add: “It’s folly to replace a world order too dependent on Middle East oil with one that’s too dependent on Chinese technology.”


Report: Boston among cities cornering the market on innovation jobs

A new Brookings Institute report says that Boston is among just a handful of cities across the country that have effectively cornered the market on cutting-edge “innovation” jobs, concentrating prosperity in just a few geographic areas and contributing to overall inequality in America. The NYT and WBUR’s Adrian Ma have more on how other regions want a cut of our economic pie.

Pete Frates, promoter of ‘Ice Bucket Challenge,’ RIP

Beverly’s Pete Frates, the former Boston College star athlete who started the viral Ice Bucket Challenge while battling ASL, has passed away. CBS Boston and MassLive’s Jackson Kote have more on the sad death of Frates, whose efforts helped raise more than $100 million toward fighting ALS. The Telegram has photos of Frates over the years. Even the NYT is marking the death of an extraordinary man whose actions touched millions of Americans. 

Massachusetts’ weed shortage is Maine’s weed boon

New England Public Radio’s Nancy Even Cohen reports on the shortage of legally grown marijuana at new pot shops across Massachusetts – and how the black market for pot remains alive and well as a result. Meanwhile, Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that the high price of medical marijuana here is forcing people to shop for more affordable pot in Maine.

Meanwhile, Springfield council clears way for cannabis cultivation at abandoned mall

This could help with the shortage of legally-grown pot. The Springfield City Council has tweaked the city’s zoning ordinances to clear the way for a plan to grow and sell cannabis inside a former Macy’s store at the all-but-abandoned Eastfield Mall, Jim Kinney reports at MassLive. Cannaworld has said it may employ as many as 200 people in the facility, which still needs state approvals. 


Boston poised to approve transfer tax on big real estate deals

The mayor’s support is no longer theoretical. From the Globe’s Tim Logan: “Big-dollar real estate sales in Boston could face a tax that would raise hundreds of millions of dollars for city housing programs, under a plan set to get its first vote this week. The City Council on Wednesday will consider a measure to allow a tax of up to 2 percent on real estate transactions of $2 million or more — including homes and apartment and office buildings. It has the suppor of Maayor Martin J. Walsh.”

Boston Globe

Build, baby, build: Warren and Markey back Cape Cod Canal bridge project

They’re on board. U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey have both signaled their support for the Army Corps of Engineers’ billion-dollar plan to replace the two aging bridges spanning the Cape Cod Canal, Ethan Genter reports at the Cape Cod Times.  

Cape Cod Times

Hundreds protest Harvard’s denial of tenure to Latinx professor

Ultimately, this isn’t just about one professor. From Roberto Scalese at WBUR: “More than 200 scholars from across the country have signed a letter protesting Harvard University’s decision to deny tenure to a Latinx studies professor. The professors were rallying to the defense of Lorgia Garcia Peña.” The Harvard Crimson has previously reported on the campus controversy caused by the tenure denial – and on the battle over ethnic studies in general.


Revolutionary War soldier re-interred in Marlborough

The city of Marlborough held a solemn ceremony over the weekend to re-inter the remains of Robert Eames, who fought in both the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. MetroWest Daily News has photos of the ceremony following a major repair of Eames’ tomb at Wilson Cemetery.

MetroWest Daily News

Lawmakers want to toughen first-responder HIV testing rules

From Christian Wade at the Salem News: “Lawmakers want to mandate HIV tests in cases where first responders might have been infected, but the effort faces pushback from those who say the changes are based on fear and misinformation about how the disease is spread.” The issue is expected to be debated at a Joint Committee on Public Health today.

Salem News

Time to go: Kennedy calls for resignation of Medicare chief

He’s seen enough. U.S. Rep. and senate candidate Joe Kennedy III is calling for Seema Verma, who runs the Medicare program for the Trump administration, to resign her position after a report emerged that she sought to have taxpayers foot the bill for $47,000 worth of jewelry and other items stolen while she traveled for work. Dan Diamond of Politico reports Kennedy is the first lawmaker to ask for Verma to lose her job in the wake of the report. 


Frank DePaola, former T general manager, RIP

From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan and Mary Markos: “Former MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola has died after lengthy battle with cancer, state officials confirmed on Monday. Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack told employees of DePaola’s death in a Monday-morning email, noting she was “deeply saddened” to share the news. DePaola — who also once served as acting state transportation secretary — died on Saturday.”

Boston Herald

Boston will join test of curbside-congestion fixes

This is only a test. Boston will join other cities in a test of tighter restrictions on curbside and double-parking to see if they can help reduce traffic congestion tied to ride-hailing services and delivery vehicles, Adam Vaccaro reports in the Globe. 

Boston Globe

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

Getting to the Point: The Next Frontier of Public Health in Massachusetts

State and local leaders will discuss public health issues facing communities across Massachusetts, including gun safety, substance abuse, mental health, and the social determinants of health. The panel will highlight how the Commonwealth addresses each of these issues and will reflect on opportunities for the state to continue to lead and expand on support for strong public health policy.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

JP Progressives 10 Year Anniversary & Holiday Celebration

JP Progressives is 10 years old!! Come celebrate with the founders of JP Progressives and with our many amazing partners. We are proud to be increasingly working in collaboration with other organizations around the city to build progressive political power together.

JP Progressives

Think/Write/Speak: Activism in Action

Join the Bostonian Society and nomadic arts incubator Brown Art Ink for a workshop on raising your voice for local issues.

Brown Art Ink

Swampscott, Marblehead & Nahant RTC Holiday Party

Please join us for our annual Swampscott, Marblehead & Nahant Republican Town Committees holiday party with special guest Governor Charlie Baker.

Swampscott Republican Town Committee

Today’s Headlines


Walsh, Zakim submit changes to Immigrant Trust Act – CommonWealth Magazine

NSCC program would match homeless students with housing in Lynn – Lynn Item


53 from Mass. who were prescribed Oxycontin died of overdose this year – Boston Globe

State wants to move prisoners out of MCI-Framingham – MetroWest Daily News

Cape Cod towns struggle to calculate short-term rental tax revenue – Cape Cod Times


Democrats to unveil two articles of impeachment Tuesday – Politico

Report sharply criticizes FBI but finds no partisan bias in Russia probe – Los Angeles Times

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