Happening Today

Rent control, carbon pricing, Democratic presidential debate

Health Policy Commission’s Market Oversight and Transparency Committee meets to discuss findings from the upcoming 2019 Cost Trends Report, followed by a meeting of the commission’s Care Delivery Transformation Committee, 50 Milk Street, Boston, 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively.

Joint Committee on Housing holds a hearing with 25 bills on the agenda, including two bills that would revive the ability for municipalities to implement rent control, Gardner Auditorium, 10:30 a.m.

— Mayor Marty Walsh joins organizers on City Hall Plaza to help announce a cultural attraction coming to Boston, City Hall Plaza, 1 City Hall Square, Boston, 11:15 a.m.

Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee meets to review 12 carbon pricing, competitive supply and consumer protection bills, Room A-2, 1 p.m.

— Democratic presidential candidates, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, take part in a televised debate in Iowa hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, 9 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

Getting testy, Part II: Warren’s retaliatory trash-talk against Bernie

A day after complaining that staffers for Bernie Sanders were trying to “trash” her, Elizabeth Warren yesterday turned around and trashed Sanders, saying the Vermont senator once told her that a woman couldn’t win the presidency. It’s all about the “electability” thing – and the Globe’s Jess Bidgood and Liz Goodwin and the NYT and the Washington Post are all over the increasingly nasty spat between the two progressive candidates for president. We’ll see if this spills over into tonight’s Dem presidential debate.

Fyi: The Globe’s Joan Vennochi attempts to sort through the trashing and counter-trashing.

Meanwhile, Biden quietly pulls ahead of squabbling Warren and Sanders in N.H.

As the two Dem progressive presidential candidates duke it out over ‘electability’ issues, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld reports that good old moderate Joe Biden has jumped to a small lead over Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in New Hampshire, according to a new Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald-NBC10Boston poll.

Boston Herald

Down but not forgotten: Patrick to blitz airwaves during tonight’s presidential debate

Former Gov. Deval Patrick isn’t exactly polling well and didn’t come close to qualifying for tonight’s presidential debate, but thanks to a recent fundraising surge, he’ll be visible to those tuning in from the Granite State, with his campaign planning to run introductory TV ads before/during/after the debate, reports CNN. Fyi: The Globe’s Laura Krantz reports on Patrick’s fight against the odds in N.H.


All the signs are there: Cora’s days as Sox manager appear numbered

Alert: We interrupt our normal politics/public policy programming to bring you this special sports news update that, almost miraculously, has shoved aside all talk of Tom Brady’s future in Boston, to wit: Talk of Alex Cora’s future with the Boston Red Sox. He’s not yet gone. But he’s gone. The Globe’s Peter Abraham and the Herald’s Tom Keegan have more on the signal-stealing scandal now engulfing Cora. … Now back to all things politics and public policy (mostly). …

Harvard professor sues NYT over ‘clickbait defamation’

Tired of Jeffrey Epstein news? Too bad. From Universal Hub: “Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor and Brookline resident, charges the New York Times committed ‘clickbait defamation’ in a headline and lead paragraph that made it sound he was condoning MIT professors and administrators taking money from convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein when, he says, he wasn’t.”

The Hill has more on the lawsuit and the ghost of Jeffrey Epstein.

Universal Hub

As Maine goes, so goes TCI?

The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that Maine Gov. Janet Mills is the latest New England governor to express caution/reservations/opposition to the controversial Transportation and Climate Initiative gas tax backed by Gov. Charlie Baker. Mills, a Democrat who’s made curbing climate change a priortity, is not saying “no” to TCI, but, significantly, she’s also not saying “yes,” as she urges caution on the proposed regional pact, Chesto writes.

Boston Globe

Reverse progress: Black firms’ share of public contracts has fallen in recent years

Chris Burrell and Paul Singer at WGBH report that the black business community’s share of state contracts and discretionary spending has actually fallen over the past two decades, as measured by inflation-adjusted dollars, despite the “high marks Massachusetts government gives itself each year for hiring a diverse mix of contractors.” And it gets worse.


The key to expanding T bus service? It starts with maintenance garages

The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro reports that if the MBTA is ever to expand its fleet of 1,000 buses, it’s first going to have to address the unglamorous task of upgrading, expanding and/or replacing its current “nine decrepit, overcrowded bus garages.” And it’s neither a simple nor inexpensive task, reports CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl, who writes how the T is $25 million behind in its contract pledge to a union to upgrade bus maintenance facilities.

Speaking of the T, the Herald’s Mary Markos reports that Gov. Charlie Baker was in Washington yesterday discussing the MBTA and the Cape Cod Canal bridges with the transportation secretary.

Could outside vendor operate and maintain new MBTA buses?

After MBTA officials find a way to fix their various bus-garage problems, they appear to have something novel in mind that we assume union members will have an opinion on, via SHNS’s Michael Norton: “The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board is weighing the possibility of working with an outside vendor to operate and maintain the new buses, versus the traditional in-house approach to bus service and maintenance.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Eyes in the sky: Study touts use of drones to detect sharks

Would they eventually need a bigger drone? A newly published study from Australia that shows camera-equipped drones can be effective in detecting sharks as they approach swimming beaches could fuel calls to use them in the Bay State when summer 2020 arrives, Doug Fraser reports at the Cape Cod Times. 

Cape Cod Times

Displaced physicians want more cash from Lowell. A lot more cash

Lowell’s new high School is already poised to be the most expensive ever built in the state and, if a group of medical doctors displaced by the project have their way, the price tag will go up even more. Elizabeth Dobbins at the Lowell Sun reports the physicians whose downtown property was taken by eminent domain for $2.6 million are suing, saying the land is worth closer to $7 million. 

Lowell Sun

Rep. Provost of Somerville won’t seek re-election

Another open legislative seat. Rep. Denise Provost, a progressive Somerville Democrat, has announced she won’t be running for re-election this year, after serving 14 years on Beacon Hill, according to reports at Wicked Local and the Patch. SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) reports Provost is the third House lawmaker to announce they are not running again, joining Sandwich Republican Randy Hunt and Stoughton Democrat Lou Kafka.

Report: Majority of asylum requests get approved in Boston

Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine reports that Boston’s immigration court is one of only a handful of states that approved a majority of asylum requests over a six-year period. Specifically, the court OK’d 58 percent of cases in Boston. Betancourt has the numbers for other states.


Group plans to appeal judge’s ruling that medically-assisted suicide isn’t a right

They’re not giving up. From the Globe’s Danny McDonald: “An advocacy group pushing to legalize medically-assisted suicide in Massachusetts said Monday that it will appeal a recent court decision, which said patients do not have a right to end their lives with the help of their doctors.” 

Boston Globe

Report: Plainridge casino in talks to buy Barstool Sports

This is interesting. SHNS’s Colin Young reports that the parent company that owns Plainridge Park Casino is reportedly in talks to buy Barstool Sports, the online sports and pop-culture site founded by Dave Portnoy in Milton and now owned by the Chernin Group. The rationale for a potential takeover: To better position the slots parlor for future legalized sports gambling.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Michelle Carter’s appeal in texting-suicide case

Michelle Williams at MassLive reports that the nation’s highest court has refused to take up Michelle Carter’s appeal of her texting-suicide conviction in Massachusetts. But Carter does have this going for her: She’s set to be released from jail later this month after serving time in the landmark manslaughter case, reports Scott Croteau at MassLive.


Cambridge and Springfield vote to give facial recognition the boot

Two very different cities, but the same outcome. The Cambridge City Council voted unanimously to ban the use of facial recognition technology in local law enforcement, joining Brookline, Somerville and Northampton among communities with bans already on the books, Tori Bedford reports at WGBH. 

Meanwhile, the Springfield City Council voted to start the process toward a similar moratorium, Jim Kinney at MassLive reports, though that ordinance could eventually face a veto by Mayor Domenic Sarno. 


Council charter coup in Boston?

From the Globe’s Milton Valencia: “At the beginning of a new council term, with progressive-minded councilors holding a super-majority, Councilor Lydia Edwards is calling for a hearing to review the city’s charter — what could ultimately become an effort to give the council more power by taking some away from the mayor.”

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.


Boston Speaker Series: Douglas Brinkley

An award-winning historian, Brinkley has written on a wide range of topics, including D-Day, Hurricane Katrina, President Kennedy, and the Great Space Race and the lives of Ronald Reagan, Bob Dylan and Walter Cronkite. Brinkley serves as a CNN Presidential Historian, and as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.

Lesley University

Boston Speaker Series: Douglas Brinkley

An award-winning historian, Brinkley has written on a wide range of topics, including D-Day, Hurricane Katrina, President Kennedy, and the Great Space Race and the lives of Ronald Reagan, Bob Dylan and Walter Cronkite. Brinkley serves as a CNN Presidential Historian, and as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.

Lesley University

The Impact of Latinos in Massachusetts

The Impact of Latinos in Massachusetts incorporates a dialogue with executive leaders around the buying power and impact of Latinos in community and business.

El Mundo Boston

Today’s Headlines


Lime bikes are leaving Boston but staying in Quincy. For now. – Patriot Ledger

New year, new Boston city charter? – Boston Globe


Swansea fuels economic development with six new liquor licenses – Herald-News

WooSox: Despite bumps and bruises, team coming in April 2021 – Worcester Business Journal

Lawrence officials hopes high for 2020 charter review – Eagle-Tribune


Russian spies hacked Ukranian gas company at heart of Trump impeachment trial – Washington Post

Why tonight’s debate could be a doozy – Politico

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