Happening Today

Baker on TCI, Vaping ban, and more

— Edward Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate hosts a ‘Getting to the Point’ discussion with U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, a Democratic candidate for president, 210 Morrissey Blvd., on the UMass-Boston campus, 9:15 a.m.

— The Public Health Council is expected to officially rescind the emergency regulations that banned the sale of all vaping products in Massachusetts while approving a new emergency regulation, titled ‘Minimum Standards for Retail Sale of Tobacco and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems,’ 250 Washington St., Boston, 10 a.m.

— Boston Mayor Marty Walsh signs executive order requiring all new municipal building construction to target a zero net carbon standard, Eagle Room, Boston City Hall, 10 a.m.

— The Boston City Council is expected a vote on a home rule petition to authorize a 2 percent real estate transfer tax on sales over $2 million, with revenues earmarked for affordable housing, Boston City Hall, 5th floor, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at briefing hosted by Environmental League of Massachusetts and other groups for business executives to discuss the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), Bank of America, 225 Franklin St., Boston, 3:30 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

Mission Impossible: Can T turn it around without new funds and managers?

The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro writes that the MBTA, a day after a scathing report was issued about the T’s management woes and lack focus on safety issues, has already begun to address some of the problems outlined in the aforementioned scathing report. But the question remains: Can it all be done without new funds?

Then again, can it all be done under the current management structure? CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl and the Globe’s Adrian Walker raise the thorny issue of oversight and management at the T. Walker’s view of the transit agency: “It’s fundamentally a mess. It needs better management, a clearer sense of mission, and yes, probably more cash.”

Btw, from SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “MBTA Bus System Performance Ripped as ‘Awful.’” Btw II, Andy Metzger at CommonWealth’s reports on all that smoke and sparks at one T station yesterday.

More Slippage: Poll puts Warren fourth in NH

Does she have a backyard problem? A new WBUR/MassINC poll puts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in fourth place among New Hampshire Democrats just nine weeks from the first-in-the-nation primary, with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg surging into first place in the Granite State. Anthony Brooks at WBUR reports the poll finds the top four candidates all within six points of each other, suggesting that volatility is likely to continue as the race heads into the final stretch. 

Interestingly, the same poll found former Mass. Gov. William Weld moving up to 9 percent support in the state’s GOP primary, with President Trump still favored by 74 percent.


Warren’s second-act strategy to avoid yet more slippage

The NYT is confirming that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has indeed officially abandoned her above-the-fray strategy of not attacking fellow Dem presidential candidates – and Michael Bloomberg and Pete Buttigieg are now on the top of her hit list. No mention of planned attacks against fellow progressive Bernie Sanders – not yet. She needs those votes.

In other Warren campaign news, U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark and Lori Trahan and Attorney General Maura Healey are headed to the Granite State this weekend to stump for Warren, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall). Meanwhile, Julie Wittes Schlack at WBUR objects to other progressives applying purity tests to Warren and others.

Back Bay businesses are having second thoughts about the Hynes sale

As the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports, the Back Bay Association, a business group, initially signaled it wouldn’t oppose the Baker administration’s plan to sell the Hynes Convention Center. But that was before the group’s leader got on the phone with MCCA executive director David Gibbons, who reportedly was rather adamant about not attaching meeting-space strings to the sale.


Cautionary tale for Healey? Exxon wins New York climate change fraud case

We have a feeling Attorney General Maura Healey’s office — which has filed its own suit against Exxon Mobil over alleged deceitful practices regarding carbon pollution – will be closely examining the ruling in this New York fraud case. It didn’t go so well for prosecutors in NY, according to a report at WBUR.

On another legal front involving Healey’s office, from SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall): “Purdue’s OxyContin Leaving Trail of Overdose Deaths, AGs Say.”


Vaping ban to be lifted today but …

Gov. Charlie Baker’s temporary ban on the sale of vaping products is expected to be lifted today, but it’s not as straightforward as it sounds. WBUR’s Angus Chen and the Globe’s Naomi Martin report on what is and isn’t being lifted. Christian Wade at the Newburyport Daily News reports that medical marijuana vapers, among others, will just have to wait a little while longer.

He spent 35 years in prison for a murder that prosecutors now say he didn’t commit

From Melissa Hanson at MassLive: “After spending more than 35 years in prison following a conviction in connection with the killing of his 75-year-old great-aunt, a murder charge has been dropped against Gary Cifizzari after DNA testing pointed to another man at the crime scene, officials said.”

A report at Wicked Local has more on the Worcester DA office’s decision to drop the murder charge against Cifizzari, who was released from prison earlier this year pending the results of the DNA tests.

Supplemental Budget Bill Held Hostage: Day 164

Will lawmakers finally reach a deal today on the state’s long-delayed supplemental budget bill? Millions of dollars in budgetary allowances are at stake if they don’t, reports Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine. Meanwhile, SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) takes a look at that corporate tax provision thought to be at the center of the stalemate.

Dedham parish’s Nativity scene: Sinful polluters or secular politics?

Jackson Cote at MassLive’s reports on this year’s somewhat unusual Nativity scene at Dedham’s Saint Susanna Parish: “A floating baby Jesus, a drowning camel and three wise men sifting through waist-deep water,” among other images meant to raise awareness about climate change. It’s about a moral call to arms, not about politics, says the pastor, whose past holiday crèches have focused on immigration and mass-shooting issues.


Wieland’s first big test at Massport: Uber congestion

The Globe’s Shirley Leung takes a look at recently appointed Massport CEO Lisa Wieland’s first big test at the authority: Reining in Uber and Lyft drivers at Logan Airport. It’s not quite like herding cats, but it’s close to it.

Boston Globe

Neal: Getting a revised NAFTA deal wasn’t exactly easy

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal admits negotiating with the Trump administration on a revised NAFTA agreement wasn’t exactly a pleasant task, entailing more than a few heated conversations and phone hang-ups. But Neal and others got the deal done. Jim Kinney at MassLive has the details.

Where was Michael Horowitz when Zip Connolly really needed him?

The Herald’s Howie Carr is going after Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s finding that FBI officials weren’t driven by political bias when they launched a probe of Donald Trump’s advisers, saying disgraced former FBI agent Zip Connolly must be stewing with resentment that Horowitz wasn’t around when he got tossed in the can.

Boston Herald

Commemorating the Battle of the Bulge

The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and the Globe’s Sofia Saric report on the 17 local World War II veterans, all in their mid- to late-90s, who departed Boston’s Logan Airport for France yesterday for a week-long commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the epic Battle of the Bulge. They’re being treated like heroes here and in Europe – and they are heroes.

Boston Globe

It’s official: Julia Mejia to become Boston’s first Latina city councilor

Alejandra St. Guillen has decided not to legally challenge the one-vote recount difference between her and Julia Mejia for the fourth at-large seat on Boston’s City Council. So it’s official: Julia Mejia will by joining the council, as Simón Ríos reports at WBUR.


Bill would allow physicians to ask patients about guns at home

From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “Massachusetts doctors would add questions about guns in the home to their regular screening of patients under a bill before the Legislature, part of what supporters say is a broader effort to treat firearm violence as a public health issue.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Tech job boom missing Worcester area, report says

It’s not all good news for Worcester these days. A report from the Brookings Institution finds that Worcester area saw a paltry gain in the number of jobs in newly emerging tech fields, part of what the think tank says is a systemic problem that concentrates cutting-edge jobs in a handful of large cities such as Boston. Grant Welker at the Worcester Business Journal has the details.

Worcester Business Journal

Rejected: Cambridge school board balks at report on use of ‘N-word’

Insufficient. That’s the reaction of the Cambridge School Committee to a report on what happened when a member of the board used the “N-word” during an academic talk in a classroom, Marc Levy reports at Cambridge Day. After hours of intense public debate, the board instead says it will continue its own investigation in the new year.   

Cambridge Day

Take that, Amherst: Worcester council votes to keep Columbus Day

The explorer stays. The Worcester City Council has voted unanimously — and without debate — to keep the Columbus Day holiday on the calendar, Nick Kotsopolous reports at the Telegram. The council took the action at the request of a resident who cited the city’s large Italian-American community as a reason the city should not follow the lead of a half-dozen other Bay State communities and rename the holiday ‘Indingenous Peoples Day.’  


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


Boston kindergartens have some of the lowest measles vaccination rates in the state – Boston Herald

What did Boston Google in 2019? – Boston Magazine


Ex-Rockland firefighter sues department, alleging racial discrimination – Patriot Ledger

Wheaton College in Norton probes third hate crime incident – Sun Chronicle

I-91 in Western Massachusetts anticipated starting point for MassDOT highway renumbering – MassLive


Biden signals to aides he would only serve a single term – Politico

Federal judge blocks Trump plan to spend $3.6 billion in military funds on border wall – Washington Post

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