Happening Today

New Year preparations

— Boston Mayor Marty Walsh hosts public safety press conference for First Night celebrations, Boston City Hall, Eagle Room, 1:30 p.m.

— Boston Mayor Marty Walsh appears live on WBUR’s Radio Boston, 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

Warren’s chicken-or-the-egg poll and money problems

Do disappointing poll numbers lead to disappointing fundraising numbers? Or do disappointing fundraising numbers lead to disappointing poll numbers? Anyway, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has slumped in recent presidential polls, late last week announced she has yet another campaign problem: Lower than expected fundraising dollars in the last quarter – and she’s appealing for help. The Globe’s Christina Prignano and Jazmine Ulloa have the details.

Boston Globe

Remember when? Warren’s senate race ranks among costliest of decade

Speaking of Warren and campaign cash, Reid Wilson at The Hill takes a look back at the most expensive congressional races from the 2010s — and Warren’s 2012 Senate victory over Scott Brown ranks as the fifth-costliest race of the decade, coming in at a cool $77 million. … File under: ‘Those were the days.’

The Hill

‘Big Middle Democrats’: There are more of them than you realize

Back to today’s presidential race: Evan Falchuk and Lou DiNatale write at CommonWealth magazine that there are actually more moderate Democrats than progressive Democrats in Massachusetts, based on their polling numbers, and if that’s true in this bluest of blue states then it’s even more true across the county – and explains why “Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg continue to poll well in spite of the ascendancy of the left.”


Back on track? MBTA says full Worcester Line service to resume today after derailment

The Herald’s Andrew Martinez and SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) report that last week’s derailment of a commuter rail car on the Worcester Line was caused by “human error,” but the line should be back in full service today after emergency repairs over the weekend.

Speaking of derailments, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports that subway ridership has been slowly rebounding on the Red Line, following yet another derailment incident last spring.

The T’s symbiotic relationship with cars: Parking (or lack thereof)

Speaking of the MBTA, it’s an “irony” all right, i.e. how de-clogging our streets of cars partly depends on providing enough parking spaces for cars at T stations – and there simply aren’t enough spaces for cars at the stations, as the Globe’s Milton Valencia reports.

Boston Globe

Should the U.S. Marshals honor a man killed while guarding a captured slave in Boston?

Boston Magazine’s Spencer Buell has an interesting piece about how the U.S. Marshal’s office has a Roll Call of Honor of those who died while serving the country, including an Irish immigrant who was killed in 1854 while guarding a captured slave from an abolitionist mob trying to free him in Boston. The service is aware of the controversy – and has tried to address the sensitive issue with sensitively. But … can sensitivity still be insensitive?

Boston Magazine

Fall River’s Newsmaker of the Year: Need we say who?

Anytime a politician facing federal corruption charges A.) Gets recalled by voters. B.) Wins re-election on the same ballot. C.) Gets hit with yet more federal corruption charges and D.) Loses yet another election in the same year, then, yes, almost by definition, that person is Newsmaker of the Year. So come on down, Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II! The Herald Review’s Jo C. Goode has an award for you.

Herald News

Hand-me-down seat: Staffer announces he’s running to succeed his boss who succeeded his boss in 1990

Ted Philips, the staff director for retiring state Rep. Lou Kafka, has announced that he’s indeed running for his boss’s seat next year in the 8th Norfolk district, “where competitive elections have been few and far between since Kafka won his own boss’ former seat in 1990,” as Ben Berke reports at the Enterprise.


Did you know involuntary addiction treatment has been around for 50 years in Massachusetts?

Joe Fazio at the Patriot Ledger takes a looks at an old state law – known as “Section 35” – that allows family members, police and others to ask judges to involuntarily commit drug and alcohol addicts to treatment programs. As the opioid crisis continues to rage, more than 6,000 people were forced into treatment last year alone in Massachusetts. The policy has its share of critics, some of whom think it goes too far while others think it doesn’t go far enough.

Patriot Ledger

The eyes of a publicly traded Texas strip-club chain are upon Boston

Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub reports that Texas-based RCI Hospitality Holdings –owner of various strip clubs, topless gentlemen’s clubs, adult entertainment websites etc. – wants to make its presence known in Boston via the acquisition of Boston’s Centerfolds. The firm hopes to convert the club into one of its Rick’s Cabarets.

Universal Hub

Rep. Kearney: Trump’s move could sink state’s maritime economy

State Rep. Patrick Kearney certainly knows a thing or two about the maritime industry, as an officer in the United States Naval Reserve, as a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and as a former charter and commercial fisherman. So he speaks with some authority at CommonWealth magazine when he accuses the Trump administration of trying to circumvent the Jones Act designed to protect “well-paying, blue-collar jobs” within the maritime industry. 


Danvers shop owner blames Rollins for attempted Canada Goose jackets theft. …

If you haven’t seen it already, definitely check out the video accompanying the Globe’s Emily Sweeney story about how employees foiled an attempt by youths to steal Canada Goose jackets at a Danvers store last week. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Stefan Geller reports the store owner is pointing a finger at Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins and others who he says have gone soft on prosecuting shoplifters.

How to tell if a recession is coming

The Globe’s Larry Edelman has a good piece this morning about how local readers can judge for themselves whether a recession is coming or not in 2020, using mostly non-traditional local measurements of potential economic trouble. At the top of his list: Office leasing. It’s probably our top economic barometer too. But we’re not so sure about sales tax revenue as a barometer. It hasn’t been too reliable in recent years.

Boston Globe

Northeastern plans changes at now notorious parking garage

After the horrific Christmas murder-suicide at a parking garage near Ruggles Station in Boston, the facility’s owner, Northeastern University, plans to make unspecified changes to discourage future suicide attempts, according to an AP report at WBUR.

The Herald’s Wendy Murphy is ripping into Northeastern for taking so long to make changes, saying the garage had become a notorious place for suicides even before the Christmas tragedy involving a mother and two children.


‘History Lost’: Fire guts Concord mansion built for kin of John Quincy Adams

The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and the Globe’s Felicia Gans report on the four-alarm fire on Friday that tore through an historic Concord home that was originally built in the late 1800s for a descendant of John Quincy Adams, America’s sixth president. The cause of the blaze was unknown as of yesterday.

And the top Beacon Hill story of 2019 is …

With the New Year around the corner, there’s no shortage of year-in-review and decade-in-review stories, but, for our purposes, the one that counts is State House New Service’s top Beacon Hill stories of 2019. After a days-long countdown, SHNS has determined that, yes, passage of the education funding bill was the top political/state government story of 2019. Check out SHNS’s full Top 10 list (pay wall). It’s a good one. Can’t disagree with any of the choices.

Then again, it’s hard for any Beacon Hill-centric story to compete with WGBH’s top overall story of the year, based on reader preference: “Baby anacondas born at New England Aquarium – without any male snakes involved.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

State government: Decade of dysfunction?

Not content with merely looking back at the past year on Beacon Hill, the Herald’s Hillary Chabot looks back on the past decade on Beacon Hill. And she finds … dysfunction. An entire decade of state-government dysfunction.

Boston Herald

Turbulence ahead: Media labor battles linger into 2020

One more look back/look forward post: Don Seiffert at the Boston Business Journal reminds us that 2020 begins with unsettled labor strife at two local media institutions. At the Globe, January will mark a year since newsroom employees have had a valid contract, while management at WBUR is still trying to hammer out its first agreement with the station’s newly formed union. 


Perennial Beacon Hill battle alert: Nurse practitioners vs doctors

This is a sort of look back/look forward item: The Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey has an update on the seemingly never-ending struggle by nurse practitioners to gain more authority to see patients on their own – without physician supervision. The debate is brewing once again at the State House.

Boston Globe

Just in case? Framingham’s Spicer is busy raising funds but won’t say if she’s running again

Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer has hit up her supporters in a year-end fundraising message touting her accomplishments as the city’s first-ever mayor, but tells the MetroWest Daily News she isn’t formally announcing she’ll run for a second term. Spicer didn’t offer many tea leaves to read on when she might declare her intentions, saying she’ll decide “sometime in the near future or distant future.” 

MetroWest Daily News

‘Legal and political purgatory’: The City Hall corruption case that won’t go away

The Globe’s Milton Valencia reports that the City Hall/Boston Calling corruption case is now trapped in “legal and political purgatory,” as a judge decides what to do about the convictions of two top Walsh administration aides who he initially believed shouldn’t have been charged in the first place. 

Joe Kennedy: Pelosi handling impeachment just fine

He’s got her back. U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s slow-roll approach to sending impeachment articles to the Senate is a winning strategy. On CNN Sunday, Kennedy said the speaker is “doing everything she can to ensure that there is as fair and open and transparent a process as there can be,” David Cohen reports at Politico. 


Medford 2020 – The Inauguration

MEDFORD 2020 is a celebration of community at the Historic Chevalier Theatre in Medford, Massachusetts.

Medford 2020 Inauguration Committee

Civic Practice Symposium: Reimagining Community Futures Through Arts & Philanthropy

How can creative people in place-based communities catalyze economic change, bridge divisions, and foster meaningful connections between people? How can philanthropic efforts be reoriented toward social weaving, toward participatory democracy, and toward the slow push in communities to integrate and reconnect—to build shared interests and shared purpose in heart and mind?

Adam Erickson

State of the City 2020

Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s annual State of the City address will review the City’s progress and lay out his agenda for his next year in office.

Mayor’s Office of the City of Boston

A Political Discussion As We Enter 2020

Author, politician, raconteur, Larry DiCara., former Congressman Michael Harrington and Government Relations Strategist Peter Mazareas will lead an interactive discussion on what is going on with our democracy. Come on January 7 and let us reason together. We’ll try to find common ground and avoid the harsh tones of current political divisiveness.

Harvard Club of the North Shore

Today’s Headlines


Construction Worker Dies Preparing Boston’s ‘First Night’ New Year’s Eve Celebration – WBUR

City Hall corruption case remains in legal, political purgatory – Boston Globe


Southbridge school board member assails receiver for missing meetings – Telegram & Gazette

Lowell police enter agreement with Ring – Lowell Sun

Bay State College pays $1.1 million settlement following allegations it misled students – MassLive


Fed study: Trump’s tariffs backfired, causing job losses and higher prices – The Hill

Behind the Ukraine aid freeze: 84 days of conflict and confusion – New York Times

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