Happening Today

‘Save the Spinners,’ State of City address, and more

Supreme Judicial Court hears oral arguments for eight cases, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.

— Secretary of State William Galvin’s office hosts a public hearing to accept input on proposed amended regulations to impose a fiduciary standard of conduct on financial professionals, Room 222, 9:30 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan, Lowell City Manager Eileen Donoghue and Lowell Spinners owner Dave Heller host the first meeting of the ‘Save the Spinners’ community group, LeLacheur Park, Home Clubhouse, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker meets with Treasurer Deborah Goldberg for their semi-regular one-on-one meeting, Room 227, 4 p.m.

— Boston Mayor Marty Walsh plans to deliver his State of the City address, with Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, Attorney General Maura Healey and House Speaker Robert DeLeo among those expected to attend, Boston Symphony Hall, 6 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

New England Law dean to leave with $5.3M retirement package

UMass officials must be breathing a small sigh of relief this morning, considering a Herald report that the UMass Medical Center’s chancellor and deputy chancellor are now paid more than $1 million each is being overshadowed by the Globe’s report that New England Law’s long-time dean is leaving with a retirement package worth at least $5.3 million, described by the Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes as “one of the most lucrative retirements in academia.”

We did the math: That’s about $7,570 in student loans for each student at New England Law. Or, looking at it a different way, that’s roughly the equivalent of 53 students each taking out $100K in student loans to pay for John F. O’Brien good-bye kiss.

The school is declining to say how much former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown will receive when he takes over as dean and president later this year, Fernandes reports.

Cambridge elects state’s first Muslim mayor

The Cambridge City Council yesterday elected Sumbul Siddiqui as the city’s new mayor – and the first Muslim mayor in the state’s history. Another first: Both the mayor and vice mayor are females. Cambridge Day’s Marc Levy has the details.

In other firsts, from the Globe’s Milton Valencia: “Boston ushers in historic diversity with new City Council, leadership.”

Cambridge Day

Meanwhile, Fall River’s long city nightmare is over: Coogan in, Correia out

He’s finally gone. Really. Jasiel Correia’s run as Fall River mayor — the last part of it under twin federal indictments — is officially over after Monday’s swearing-in of Mayor Paul Coogan. Jo C. Goode at the Herald-News reports Coogan pledged to serve with “honesty and openness” and called on city residents to put aside differences and work toward common goals. 

Herald News

Record-setters: Mayors set longevity marks

In contrast to the mood in Fall River, voters in Springfield and Haverhill seem pretty damn content with their mayors. Domenic Sarno became the longest-serving mayor in Springfield history on Monday, taking the oath of office for the fifth time and leaving no doubt that at least as of now, he’ll run again in 2023, reports Elizabeth Roman at MassLive.

Meanwhile, in Haverhill, Mayor James Fiorentini took the oath for a record ninth time and vowed to attract a new crop of residents to the city, reports Allison Corneau at the Eagle-Tribune. 

The bishop of Springfield: Not exactly singing tolerance these days

The Globe’s Kevin Cullen, reacting to a recent New England Public Radio report, has a few questions for Roman Catholic Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of Springfield after his apparent disinvite to the Pioneer Valley Gay Men’s Chorus, whose members were scheduled to sing at a holiday concert.

Another one: Ex-Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s wife running for Congress in N.J.

The New York Times is reporting that Amy Kennedy, the wife of former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, has entered the race to oust party turncoat U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey.


Librarians versus publishers: ‘The E-Book War’

Gabrielle Emanuel at WGBH has a good story on the ongoing ‘e-book war’ between librarians and book publishers over the lending of digital books to library patrons. The latter believe they’re losing money on the practice and are slapping restrictions on libraries. The former say the restrictions are unfair and perhaps even illegal.


Let the debate begin: Advocates call for T control board extension

Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports on the early-stage debate over whether to extend the mandate of the current MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board, an issue lawmakers will have to grapple with this spring. Advocates seem to agree that some sort of extension is needed.

Speaking of transit matters, the folks at TransitMatters (CommonWealth) are rebutting Sen. William Brownsberger’s recent proposal for the T to focus more on improving ridership during rush hours along certain lines, rather than across-the-board improvements.


Wild no more: Free MBTA bus rides is no longer as crazy as it sounds

In other transit-related news, the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro reports that the idea of free T transit rides, once thought to be ‘wild idea,’ is catching on these days, or at least the idea of free T bus service seems to be gaining momentum. Interestingly, Kansas City, Missouri is about to make all its city buses free, something we didn’t know.

Boston Globe

And what comes after Julián Castro’s endorsement of Elizabeth Warren? Hmm?

Julian Castro, the former federal housing secretary who just recently dropped out of the Democratic presidential race, has endorsed fellow progressive Elizabeth Warren, the NYT reports. And Boston Magazine’s Spencer Buell wonders if Castro might end up as Warren’s running mate, if she wins the nomination. Our view: Doubtful. Very doubtful. She’d need a moderate on the ticket – and she knows it.

In Attleboro, students’ good deed for a janitor gets the boot

Good deed, punished. An Attleboro High School custodian who was gifted a new pair of work boots by a group of students has decided to donate the gift after questions about the ethics of accepting it were raised, reports George Rhodes at the Sun-Chronicle. And what about the ethics of a student giving an apple to a teacher? Sigh.

Sun Chronicle

Right-to-repair opponents launch $500,000 ad campaign

It’s begun. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “The coalition organized to fight against a 2020 ballot question that would increase access to a vehicle’s digital data said Monday that it planned to spend half a million dollars over the next few months on billboards and digital ads.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Overall state workforce: Literally up and down

Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports on the slight uptick in the size of the state’s workforce last fiscal year, “up less than 1 percent over the previous fiscal year but still nearly 2 percent below the level it was at when Baker came into office.” Executive-branch employment, specifically, is down even more over the past five years. Mohl has all the numbers.


Civil rights group: Boston schools sharing student incident reports with ICE

From Shannon Dooling at WBUR: “More than 100 student incident reports containing students’ personal information and produced by Boston Public Schools (BPS) officials have been made available to federal immigration authorities since 2014, according to education and civil rights advocates.” The Lawyers for Civil Rights is leading the charge against the practice. 


Cue the voter confusion: Ranked choice advocates have 11 months to explain how it works

Simon Rios of WBUR maps the road ahead as supporters ramp up their efforts to convince voters to support ranked-choice voting when they go to the polls in November. Citing examples of recent elections — recall the recent 3rd District Congressional free-for-all race –Rios casts light on the voter-education challenge that lies ahead for ranked-choice backers.


Facing closure, state’s third busiest abortion clinic launches GoFundMe campaign

The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert reports that Women’s Health Services in Brookline, the state’s third busiest abortion clinic, is warning it may close within three months due to lack of funds – and it’s launched a GoFundMe page aimed at raising money ASAP.

Boston Globe

Amid spate of anti-Semitic attacks, state allocates $1.5M for nonprofit security measurers

It’s a sad sign of the times. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports on Gov. Charlie Baker’s ceremonial bill signing yesterday of a state budget measure that allocates $1.5 million toward extra security at nonprofit institutions, particularly at Jewish facilities, amid an increase in anti-Semitic incidents here and elsewhere across the country. “We have the backs of those who are here to practice their faith,” said Baker.


Auchincloss flexes fundraising muscles in bid for Kennedy’s seat

SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) and George Rhodes at the Sun Chronicle report that Newton City Councilor Jake Auchincloss says his campaign for U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III’s seat raised more than $609,000 in the last quarter. The only other candidate who has announced so far, Jesse Mermell, announced $351,000 in campaign donations. 

Special election to fill ex-Rep. O’Connell’s seat set for March 31

Republican Rep. Shaunna O’Connell seems to have timed her departure well, officially resigning yesterday eight hours before she was sworn in as the new mayor of Taunton and, it would appear, forcing the House to set a special general election on March 31, rather than March 3, the day of the state’s presidential primary that’s expected to generate heavy Democratic turnout. Or maybe the timing was just coincidence. SHNS’s Chris Liskinsky (pay wall) has more.

And the town with the highest property tax rate in 2020 is …

The BBJ’s Don Seiffert, via slideshows, reports on the highest property tax rates across Massachusetts in 2020, and the residential-rate winner is, well, we’d spoil the suspense if we revealed the name. So let’s just say it begins with ‘L’ and they’re good at a sport that can trace its roots back to Native Americans.


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


Suffolk Downs developers reach labor agreement – Boston Business Journal

Boston’s most diverse city council sworn in – Boston Herald


Moulton addresses public concerns at Pentucket town hall meeting – Salem News

Health care tax on business brought in far more money than anticipated – Boston Globe

Leahy elected Lowell mayor in unanimous vote – Lowell Sun


Chafee slams Biden over Iraq vote ahead of campaign kickoff – WPRI

Pompeo tells MCConnell he’s not running for senate – The Hill

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