Happening Today

Local inaugurations, SJC hearings, and more

— Cities and towns across the state today hold mayoral and council inauguration ceremonies, including in Boston, Cambridge, Chicopee, Fall River, Haverhill, Lowell, Marlborough, Revere, Taunton and Westfield, among other communities. SHNS has details for many of the individual events (pay wall).

Supreme Judicial Court hears oral arguments for six cases including an appeal from convicted killer Daniel Tavares, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton will hold a town hall forum to hear from residents, Pentucket Regional Middle School, 20 Main St., West Newbury, 6 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Sen. Eric Lesser and faith leaders gather for a ceremonial signing of sections of the Fiscal Year 2019 supplemental budget to highlight funding for security grants to local non-profit institutions, Room 360, 1 p.m. 

— Gov. Charlie Baker ttends the inauguration ceremony for Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo, Susan B. Anthony Middle School – Auditorium, 107 Newhall Street, Revere, 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

Thanks, Harvard: Crimson duo stab Pats’ dynasty in the back

We start off this week’s newsletters with a non-political/public policy post, via an alert MassterLIst reader who connected the dots for us. From the Harvard Crimson a week ago: “Fitzpatrick ‘05 Stuns Patriots, Spoils Playoff Bye in Massachusetts Return.” Then from Boston.com yesterday, following the Pats playoff loss on Saturday: “Former Harvard tight end Anthony Firkser comes up big for Titans.”

We ask: Isn’t it time we expel Harvard from New England? Let ‘em relocate to upstate New York and see how they like it. Now on to all things politics/public policy (mostly), forgoing a separate post on Robert Kraft’s latest Orchids of Asia development (Herald) …

Kennedy outpacing Markey in fundraising

We’re actually a little surprised, considering the never-cease-to-amaze allure of the Kennedy name in these parts, that the gap isn’t bigger. From the Globe’s Victoria McGrane: “Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III raised more than $2.4 million over the last three months of 2019, outpacing incumbent Senator Edward J. Markey by about $1 million, according to preliminary numbers shared with the Globe by the Senate candidates’ campaigns.”

Boston Globe

Meanwhile, Polito is outpacing Baker in fundraising

Here’s more circumstantial evidence that Gov. Charlie Baker probably isn’t running for a third term – and, if anything, he’s making way for someone else. The Associated Press reports at the MetroWest Daily News that Baker ended 2019 with less than $1 million in his campaign account, while Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito saw her warchest grow to $1.7 million, citing Office of Campaign and Political Finance data. 

MetroWest Daily News

War drums, Part II: Suddenly foreign policy becomes an issue in presidential race

The Trump administration’s drone-strike assassination of a top Iranian general last week sparked protests in Boston and elsewhere across the state over the weekend (WCVB) and prompted local Dem lawmakers to warn that the U.S. may be on the “brink of war” with Iran (Boston Herald). And the airstrike also made clear that foreign policy has suddenly become a top issue in the Democratic presidential race, which until recently has focused almost exclusively on domestic issues (NYT). One potential beneficiary of the shift: Joe Biden, as the Globe’s Laura Krantz reports. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld thinks Elizabeth Warren initially blew it on the issue.

Better late than never: Patrick ads lean into his late entry into race

Speaking of the presidential race, maybe timing isn’t everything? The late-starting presidential campaign of former Gov. Deval Patrick has made its first TV ad and plans to hit the airwaves in the New Hampshire and South Carolina markets this week, Christopher Cadelago reports at Politico. In the ad, Patrick explains how his wife Diane’s cancer diagnosis forced him to postpone entering the race last year but urges voters to believe that “it’s not too late to save the American dream.”

Btw: John DiStaso at WMUR reports Patrick’s campaign has hired eight new staffers in the Granite State.


He’s back: RI’s Chafee makes moves to run as Libertarian

One last presidential item: Is he the new Jill Stein –or a variation of the old Bill Weld? Former Rhode Island Gov. and political chameleon Lincoln Chafee has filed paperwork suggesting he’ll launch a third-party run for the presidency — a move sure to earn him plenty of disdain from his former Democratic colleagues. Ted Nesi of WPRI reports Chafee — who started out as a Republican before becoming a Democrat — will likely seek the Libertarian party’s nomination.


On hold: Court proceedings delay Salem inaugural

A superior court judge has ordered Salem to postpone its inauguration ceremonies to allow a trial to finish  over disputed election results in one of the city council wards, Dustin Luca reports at the Salem News. After six days of testimony and rulings from the bench, the case is largely down to the handling of a single voter’s efforts to cast a ballot as polls closed. 

Salem News

Mocked no more: #SeedMABaby changes name at launch

The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that the state’s new college-savings program – the one that promises to give each child born or adopted in Massachusetts $50 toward future college or vocational school expenses – was officially launched last week, after officials changed the name from SeedMABaby to BabySteps Savings. No need to explain the name change.


Clean Energy Center: Running on financial fumes

The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that “a day of reckoning is coming for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center,” to wit: It’s running out of money – and the Baker administration is trying to come up with ways to make the center’s finances more self-sustaining moving forward. Btw: The cost of the new offshore wind facility in New Bedford could be a budget backbreaker for the center, as Chesto explains.

Hey, why not move the state capital to Pittsfield to relieve traffic congestion in Boston?

Peter Lucas at the Herald knows it’s about as likely to happen as Deval Patrick or Bill Weld becoming the next president of the United States of America. Still, he mischievously ponders the impossible dream (and its potential traffic-congestion benefits) of moving the state capital from Boston to Pittsfield.  

Boston Herald

Security alert: Au pair hosts to storm State House this week

They’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. The Globe’s Katie Johnston reports that local au pair-host families, furious over a recent court ruling that makes their child-care services more expensive, plan to storm Beacon Hill later this week demanding changes – now!

Boston Globe

Baker renews request for more MBTA funds

Gov. Charlie Baker wants that $18 million for the MBTA that lawmakers left on the budget cutting-room floor a few weeks back. SHNS’s Michael Norton has more on Baker’s new request of $74.2 million in spending for the T, school improvements and clean-water efforts.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Hi-Way Safety Systems: No state contracts for you

From Scott Croteau at MassLive: “A Rockland company can no longer bid on state contracts after a now-former employee was charged with manslaughter in an alleged drunken driving crash that killed a 13-year-old girl. MassDOT revoked Hi-Way Safety Systems’s prequalification certification ‘until further notice.’” Btw: WCVB reports on the hundreds of people who showed up over the weekend to remember 13-year-old Claire Zisserson.


Forget today’s inaugurations: Who will be Cambridge’s next mayor?

Sure, numerous cities and towns are holding inauguration ceremonies today to usher in new leaders. But it’s never too early to start thinking of the next election, such as in Cambridge, where Mayor Marc McGovern has announced he won’t seek a new term. And he appears to have a successor in mind, as Alyssa Vaughn reports at Boston Magazine.

Boston Globe

Mt. Holyoke art professor accused of trying to kill colleague with garden shears and fireplace poker

You know this story is taking off when Fox News and the New York Post jump on it, to wit: The arrest of a Mount Holyoke art professor for allegedly assaulting a colleague with a rock, garden shears and fireplace poker while the college was on winter break. The Globe’s Lucas Phillips has more on the Friday arraignment of Rie Hachiyanagi, 48.

DCF on DCF: Not good enough

This is indeed an “innovative report,” i.e. the Department of Children and Families’ first annual report that finds “neglected and abused children are lingering in Massachusetts foster care for an average of nearly two years” – and that’s just one of many problems the agency and state need to address. The Globe’s Matt Stout has more on the unique (and welcome) DCF self-report.

Bosto Globe

Four protesters arrested after throwing scaffolding on tracks to block coal train

This isn’t the first coal train protest – and it probably won’t be the last. From CBS Boston: “Four people were arrested after a group of protesters stopped a train on the tracks in Harvard, Massachusetts (late last week). The ‘No Coal No Gas’ campaign put up a 16-foot tall scaffolding on the tracks late Thursday night to stop a coal train heading to a plant in Bow, New Hampshire.”

CBS Boston

Plans for MLK Jr. plaque at the State House move forward

With the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday around the corner, MassLive reports there’s a move is afoot to install a plaque at the State House commemorating King’s address to lawmakers in the building in 1965.


Is housing construction set to slow down just as it gets going in Massachusetts?

The Globe’s Tim Logan reports that experts are worried that housing construction in Massachusetts may slow down in 2020 for a variety of reasons, not least opposition to new developments in the suburbs. Btw: We didn’t know that building permits have ticked up 6 percent across the entire area, to the highest level since 2005, though building permits are one thing, actual approvals are another.  

James Hennigan, longtime Boston political leader, RIP

From Universal Hub: “The family of James Hennigan reports the former state representative, state senator, school-committee member and register of probate died Friday at 92.”

Universal Hub

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

January 8th Executive Breakfast – What’s Ahead for 2020

“What’s Ahead for 2020 – Finance, Health Care, Non-Profits & Higher Ed”, Moderated by Patrick Sullivan, MA President, People’s United Bank featuring Panelists: Phil Cormier, President, Beverly & Addison Gilbert Hospitals at Beth Israel Lahey Health; Patricia Ahern, President & CEO, Care Dimensions; John Keenan, President, Salem State University

North Shore Chamber of Commerce

50th Anniversary Kick-Off Breakfast

In the coming year, we are celebrating our 50th Anniversary, and we want you to be the first to know what we have planned! Come to hear about our groundbreaking projects in the parks and special events for 2020. Join us, along with Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods, for breakfast and the Kick-off of our 50th Anniversary at Suffolk’s Moakley Law Library, 120 Tremont Street, on January 14 at 8:00am.

Friends of the Public Garden

Author Talk and Book Signing with Vincent Brown

Join us at the State Library for an author talk and book signing with Harvard Professor Vincent Brown, author of: Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War

State Library of Massachusetts

Open House #2: Boston Common Master Plan

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of the Public Garden invite you to the second Boston Common Master Plan Open House on Jan.15th between 5:30 & 8pm at the Josiah Quincy School Auditorium, 152 Arlington St., Boston, MA. The public will have the opportunity to provide meaningful feedback, which is incredibly important in shaping the future of the Common.

Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of the Public Garden

Corporate Citizenship Conference (C3)

The inaugural Corporate Citizenship Conference (C3) invites corporate leaders to engage in authentic dialogues to shift the paradigm in corporate social responsibility.


Today’s Headlines


Brockton reaches $4.7 million settlement over discrimination claims – Brockton Enterprise

GE’s long awaited turnaround starts to take hold – Boston Globe


Hopefuls throw hats in Lawrence mayoral race – Eagle-Tribune

Census estimates show most of Berkshires still losing population – Berkshire Eagle

Fearing a banking desert, Springfield lawmakers ask feds to save Mason Square TD Bank branch – MassLive


Iran uncertainty grips Congress as impeachment looms – New York Times

Flush with cash, Yang wrestles with where to spend it – Politico

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