Happening Today

Special primary election, student athletes pay, and more

— Three Democrats — Kate Lipper-Garabedian of Melrose, Ann McGonigle Santos of Wakefield and Mathew Helman of Malden — compete in a special primary election for the 32nd Middlesex House of Representatives seat, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Board of Higher Education meets, with an agenda that includes votes on a resolution on early college funding and review of other issues, One Ashburton Place, 21st floor, 10 a.m.

Committee on Higher Education will hear testimony on legislation that would establish a framework for student athletes to be paid for the commercial use of their name and likeness, Hearing Room A-2, 11 a.m.

— The Elder Affairs Committee holds an informational session on the challenges facing the long-term care workforce, Hearing Room A-1, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Mayor Marty Walsh, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito,and others announce funding for affordable housing grants., East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, 20 Maverick Square, East Boston, 1:30 p.m.

For the most comprehensive listing of calendar items, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available), as well as MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.

Today’s Stories

Iowa joke and choke: Results delayed due to ‘inconsistencies’ in reporting

Iowa last night joined Florida as the pathetic laughingstock of American democracy by totally screwing up its presidential caucus counts, causing a one-day delay in announcing results and, as the Globe’s Liz Goodwin reports, “upsetting the rhythm of a much-watched election night and threaten(ing) to shake faith in the results.”

Bottom line: All the Democratic candidates got to say they were winners last night, since there were no official winners or losers, and now they’re off to New Hampshire. Arguably the biggest winner after last night’s debacle? Elizabeth Warren, whose Iowa poll numbers looked bleak before yesterday’s caucus meltdown. Now it all doesn’t matter.

More on last night’s disaster, from the Washington Post: “An epic breakdown in Iowa casts a spotlight on the caucus system.” From the NYT: “App Used to Tabulate Votes Is Said to Have Been Inadequately Tested.”

And we can’t help but think of H.L. Mencken’s famous observation on American democracy: “The United States, to my eye, is incomparably the greatest show on earth.”

Now it’s off to New Hampshire …

After last night’s Iowa debacle/disgrace, all the presidential candidates and the entire media circus now head to New Hampshire, where the latest poll shows Bernie Sanders with a commanding lead, reports the Globe’s Matt Stout. The Globe/WBZ-TV/Suffolk survey generally confirms the Herald/NBC/Franklin Pierce numbers released earlier this week, as reported by the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld.

The Globe’s James Pindell has moe on the “most magical eight days in American politics” leading up to next week’s big New Hampshire primary.

Caroline Kennedy: Joe Biden for president

We’ll see if this endorsement can work some of the old Kennedy magic, i.e. Caroline Kennedy’s announcement in the Globe this morning that she’s backing Joe Biden for president.

Boston Globe

Patrick outpaces rivals in Massachusetts fundraising, hauling in $1.1 million

One last presidential item: He’s not first in polls, but he’s number one in our wallets. Former Gov. Deval Patrick, a late entry in the Dem presidential race, brought in the most money from Massachusetts donors at the end of last year, hauling in $1.1 million, Wilder Fleming reports via WBUR. He edged out U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who reported just over a million in home state donations. 


Coronavirus updates: Baker says risk is ‘extremely low,’ local companies getting nervous

Here’s your now daily update on the spread of the coronavirus around the globe and region. … SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) reports that Gov. Charlie Baker says the risk for infection in the state is “extremely low.” … From the Globe’s Larry Edelman: “Amid coronavirus outbreak, Mass. businesses face uncertainty.” … From MassLive: “What to know about the coronavirus in Massachusetts.” … From the BBJ’s Allison DeAngelis: “Here’s how two local biotechs plan to have a coronavirus vaccine within just a few months.”

And, finally, in case you think racism aimed at Chinese residents is bad here, check out this AP report about discrimination against Chinese across the globe, particularly in Asia.

House to take up bill giving regulators more say over host agreements

This is the State House’s way of telling local governments: You’ve gone too far. From SHNS’s Colin Young: “The Massachusetts House appears poised Wednesday to take up legislation giving state cannabis regulators the authority to review and regulate the agreements marijuana businesses are legally required to enter into with their host municipalities.”

And if state lawmakers don’t do something about the host-agreement shakedowns, the feds appear poised to do something (MV Times).

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Civil rights group seeks to halt Suffolk Downs redevelopment

There’s a lot of new housing at stake in this dispute. From the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock: “The Boston-based group Lawyers for Civil Rights on Monday filed an administrative complaint to federal housing authorities, alleging the city’s development-review process for the expansive Suffolk Downs proposal has not been accessible to non-English speakers.”

The Globe’s Tim Logan reports the complaint is seeking a temporary, not permanent, halt to the mega-project that envisions thousands of new housing units at the former race track in East Boston.


Report: One in 5 MBTA pensioners is younger than 50

Yet more evidence we chose the wrong career path. From the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “More than one in every five MBTA pensioners retired before age 50 as the state increasingly has to pick up the tab on the T’s troubled pension fund that’s running big deficits even in the current strong market, a Herald analysis shows.” It’s all tied to the T’s old “23-and-out” policy.

Boston Herald

Baker seeks to lower penalties for T fare evasion

Speaking of the T, Gov. Charlie Baker has filed a $52.6 million supplemental budget requesting more spending on a variety of programs, from indigent-defendant representation to more funds for the transitional-assistance program, as SHNS’s Michael Norton reports (pay wall). But also tucked in the bill is a provision that would lower penalties for evading fares on the T, as SHNS’s Chris Lisinskireports (SHNS). The current penalties ($50 to $500) do seem a little stiff.

Worcester to hire consultant in wake of firefighter deaths

Nick Kotsopoulos at the Telegram reports that the city of Worcester intends to hire a professional consultant to review fire-department procedures and operations in the wake of the latest line-of-duty death of a firefighter in Worcester. Scott Croteau at MassLive also has more on the coming fire-safety review.


Harvard’s Henry Gates spills all on Obama’s long-ago ‘Beer Summit’

In an interview with the NYT, Harvard’s Henry Lewis Gates Jr. provides intriguing behind-the-scene details of his famous “beer summit” at the White House with Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley, after the racially charged arrest of Gates at his own home in Cambridge in 2009. The tidbit that caught our attention: Cambridge police allegedly demanded that a white person accompany Crowley to the White House to avoid him being outnumbered by African Americans (i.e. Gates and President Obama). Vice President Joe Biden was ultimately that designated white guy at the beer table.

Btw: Gates says he learned to like Crowley and doesn’t think he was a racist, though he believes most other aspects of the controversy were deeply rooted in racism.  


Clarence ‘Jeep’ Jones, RIP

Clarence “Jeep” Jones, Boston’s first black deputy mayor and the longtime chair of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, has died at the age of 86. The Globe’s Bryan Marquand and Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin have more on the death of a true political trailblazer in Boston.

Shirley prison violence: Do we need more evidence that the status quo isn’t working?

Prisoner advocates continued to press their case yesterday that inmates are being routinely beaten and mistreated in other ways in the wake of last month’s assault on correctional officers at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, as Gal Tziperman Lotan at the Globe reports. Steph Solis at MassLive reports that Gov. Charlie Baker is defending prison officials, saying “we have a lot of faith” in DOC.

But the Globe’s Adrian Walker writes that tensions at Souza-Baranowski show that prison reforms are needed now more than ever in Massachusetts. Fyi: What type of reforms are needed, we can’t say. But the status quo obviously isn’t working in Shirley, that’s for sure. Right?

Vineyard Wind: Delays, delays and more delays

First it was a few-months delay. Then it was a half-year delay. Now the feds say an environmental decision on the proposed offshore Vineyard Wind project may not come until December of this year. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine has the latest setback-news for the $2.8 billion project.


Poll: Majority think Massachusetts should be at the forefront of the climate-change fight

We’re actually surprised the support isn’t stronger, i.e. a new MassINC Polling survey that finds 56 percent of respondents think Massachusetts should act ahead of other states when it comes to passing climate-change reforms. SHNS’s Katie Lannan has more on the poll.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Trahan’s legal bills hit nearly $380,000 amid campaign-spending probe

The Globe’s Matt Stout reports that U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan’s has run up a nearly $380,000 legal tab tied to the controversy over her questionable campaign spending during the 2018 election. Her legal bills from last quarter alone: $191,000, or roughly what she raised in campaign donations during the same period. Trahan’s Washington D.C. law firm, Perkins Coie LLC, thanks each and every one of her donors, we’re sure.

Boston Globe

Activists launch hunger strike for immigrant driver’s license bill

They mean business. SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) reports that supporters of legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to get Massachusetts driver’s licenses launched a hunger strike yesterday as lawmakers approach deadlines to report new bills out of committees.

SJC: Police must determine if a passenger can drive home before seizing a suspect’s car

From the Globe’s Travis Andersen: “The state’s highest court ruled Monday that police must ask arrested drivers whether they want a passenger to drive their car home before officers impound and search the vehicle.”

Face off: After veto threat, Springfield delays vote on banning facial recognition

They need more time. The Springfield City Council pushed off a vote on a proposed five-year ban on the use of facial recognition technology just hours after Mayor Domenic Sarno promised a swift veto, Peter Goonan reports at MassLive. The council will hold a special meeting to continue its debate next week. 


Mermell takes abortion rights case to pro-life clinic

She understands it’s not going to be easy to cut through all the political noise. So Jesse Mermell, one of seven candidates vying to replace U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy in Congress, separated herself from standard campaign media coverage by releasing her plan to protect abortion rights while standing in front of a pro-life clinic she wants to see de-funded, George Rhodes at the Sun Chronicle reports. 

Sun Chronicle

Circus atmosphere: Provincetown performers want answers on summer residency

They’re not clowning around. Dozens of performing artists who call Provincetown home are demanding answers from the town about whether officials are negotiating behind the scenes to bring Cirque de Soleil to the tip of the Cape this summer. Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll at the Cape Cod Times reports local theater owners and performers are especially upset about an apparent secrecy pact around the deal, which may be tied to the celebration of the pilgrim’s landing at Plymouth 400 years ago. 

Cape Cod Times

Paul Krugman at Back Bay Events Center

Paul Krugman presents Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future in conversation with Paul Solmon.

Harvard Book Store

10th Annual New England First Amendment Awards

Named after the late publisher of The Providence Journal, the Hamblett Award is given each year to an individual who has promoted, defended or advocated for the First Amendment throughout his or her career. NEFAC will honor A. G. Sulzberger at its tenth annual luncheon from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2020, at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.

New England First Amendment Coalition

Campaigns 101: Resources for Candidates and Campaign Managers

Whether you’re a first time candidate or a seasoned candidate, you’ll benefit from this workshop about how to run for office in Dedham.

Women in Democracy Dedham

Thomas Pickering: U.S.-Russia Relations: What Can We Do About It?

Please join the Russia and Eurasia Program at The Fletcher School for a conversation with Ambassador Thomas Pickering about the current state of U.S.-Russia relations. The event will be followed by a reception in the Hall of Flags.

Fletcher Russia and Eurasia Program

Our Shared Work: Lifting up Democracy from Grassroots to Grass Tops

During challenging times in the socio-economic and political landscape, how does and can the university work with communities to engage individuals in efforts to lift-up democracy through grassroots organizing, public policy and institutional reforms, and civic engagement?

UMass Boston Office of Community Partnerships

Boston Speaker Series: Peter Diamandis

Fortune named Diamandis one of the “World’s Greatest Leaders.” A space entrepreneur turned innovation pioneer, he founded the XPRIZE Foundation to fund big money competitions to inspire groundbreaking developments in science and technology, and to solve some of the planet’s most pressing challenges.

Lesley University

Being a Republican on College Campuses

Come and hear Jamie Gass of the Pioneer Institute who will present 2019 Math and English Common Core disappointing results and explain why, as well as Kaila Webb from Wellesley College present her non-profit which aims to bring diversity of thought on college campuses.

Wellesley Republican Town Committee

Boston Speaker Series: Peter Diamandis

Fortune named Diamandis one of the “World’s Greatest Leaders.” A space entrepreneur turned innovation pioneer, he founded the XPRIZE Foundation to fund big money competitions to inspire groundbreaking developments in science and technology, and to solve some of the planet’s most pressing challenges.

Lesley University

Getting to the Point with Richard Blanco

Presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco will visit the Institute to discuss the themes in his poetry collection, How to Love a Country.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

ADL’s Breaking Barriers Speaker Series Presents: An Evening with Andrea Campbell

Please join us on Thursday, March 5, 2020 to hear from City Councilor Andrea Campbell.

ADL New England

Today’s Headlines


Council asks Quincy mayor to consider buying Beachcomber – Patriot Ledger

Iowa Residents Narrowly Choose Bernie Sanders At Satellite Caucus In Harvard Square – WGBH


Over coffee, Fall River residents share concerns with Mayor Coogan – Herald-News

Worcester to open ‘mini city hall’ in Main South – Telegram & Gazette

Proposed rainbow crosswalks raise concerns in Provincetown – Cape Cod Times


Sen. Manchin calls for censuring Trump over pressuring Ukraine for investigations – Washington Post

The Susan Collins campaign is being helped by a mysterious Hawaii company – Daily Beast

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