Happening Today

UMass Dartmouth grant, beer-and-wine initiative, Housatonic River agreement

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board and MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board hold their monthly joint meeting to review the Baker administration’s congestion study, the Allston multimodal project, the T’s new accelerated maintenance plan and other issues, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.

UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert Johnson and U.S. Rep. Bill Keating announce the largest grant in the university’s history, Charlton College of Business, Room 149, 285 Old Westport Rd., Dartmouth, 12:30 p.m.

— The Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure reviews a proposed ballot initiative that allow food stores like Cumberland Farms to sell beer and wine, Gardner Auditorium, 1 p.m.

— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announces ‘significant recent developments” regarding an agreement to clean up the Housatonic River, Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, 10 Willow Creek Road, Lenox, 1 p.m.

Department of Public Utilities holds a public hearing regarding its investigation into Columbia Gas of Massachusetts’ handling of the Merrimack Valley gas disaster, J. Everett Collins Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Shawsheen Road, North Andover, 6 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

New Hampshire: Warren and Biden fighting for fourth place?

We almost hope Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden wins tomorrow’s primary election in New Hampshire, if only to shut up all the horse-race pollsters projecting a possibly close race between Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg – and potentially disappointing showings by the once mighty Warren and Biden campaigns. But since we’re horse-race hypocrites, let’s get to the horse-race numbers, via the Globe’s Jeremy Fox (Globe/WBZ-TV/Suffolk University poll) and Herald’s Joe Battenfeld (Franklin Pierce/Herald/NBC10Boston poll).

At the Herald, Lisa Kashinsky reports that pundits believe tomorrow is a make-or-break day for Warren. At the Globe, Jess Bidgood reports Warren is undeterred by all the recent negative vibes surrounding her campaign. Also at the Globe, Yvonne Abraham explains why she’s for Elizabeth Warren, sinking ship or not. At WBUR, Sam Gringlas and Benjamin Swasey report on the decidedly negative turn of the Dem race in general. 

Hey, where’s Joe? Warren surrogate steers clear of NH campaign trail

U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy, who once introduced Elizabeth Warren at her presidential campaign kickoff many months ago, has been largely missing in action on the campaign trail and some Warren allies are none too happy about it, Alex Thomspon and Stephanie Murray report via Politico. On Sunday, Kennedy was apparently rallying the troops behind his own Senate bid rather than joining the legion of Bay State pols blitzing Granite State voters. 


About Friday’s now nearly forgotten debate …

It already seems like ages ago, but there really was a Dem presidential debate on Friday night in New Hampshire – and even Elizabeth Warren is acknowledging she didn’t exactly shine on the debate stage, as the NYT reports.

Meanwhile, WGBH’s Peter Kadzis and Adam Reilly have their five takeaways from the debate, which include: “If Amy Klobuchar had been this sharp from the outset, she could be the frontrunner.”


Walsh agrees with Carville: Dems are losing their damn minds

Mayor Marty Walsh didn’t exactly embrace political analyst James Carville’s contention that Democrats are in the process of “losing our damn minds” in the presidential election, a view Carville made abundantly clear in recent epic rants on MSNBC and at Vox. But Walsh did tell WBZ’s Jon Keller over the weekend that he shares Carville’s ‘feeling of concern’ about the crazy course of the current Democratic race for president. Robert Mills at Herald has more on Carville’s scorched-earth comments.


Patrick on primary-election reforms: ‘If I had my druthers …’

Former Gov. Deval Patrick, the state’s other Dem candidate for president, isn’t going near James Carville’s comments. But he does believe that, after the current election cycle is over, it may be time to “rethink” the way Democrats nominate their party’s presidential candidate – and ideally the primaries would be held on one day, he says. Hannah Uebele at WGBH has more on Patrick’s now lonely, in more ways than one, candidacy.


The Allston-Pike megaproject: ‘Second thoughts’

The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro reports that, after a year of thinking about it, many previous supporters of the compromise Allston-Pike configuration plan are starting to have second thoughts about the megaproject. Among the concerns: The decade-long disruptions that the compromise plan would entail.

Boston Globe

Lawmakers seek to blunt impact of au pair ruling

Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune reports on the efforts by some lawmakers to soften the financial blow on families who have employed au pairs, following a recent court ruling that requires au pairs to be paid the state’s minimum wage and receive back-pay as well. One bill would give families six months to comply with the recent court ruling, while another would allow higher deductions for expenses tied to employing au pairs, Wade reports.

Eagle Tribune

MBTA employee killed when struck by bus in Quincy

This is terrible. The Patriot Ledger’s Wheeler Cowperthwaite reports on the death of Sanyi Harris, a 45-year-old MBTA employee, who died after being run over by an unmanned bus Saturday afternoon at the Quincy Center station. The Globe’s Jeremy Fox has more on the tragic accident.

Patriot Ledger

Marijuana giant admits it’s gotten a little too big

The Globe’s Dad Adams reports that national cannabis conglomerate Acreage Holdings – whose board, curiously, includes former US House speaker John Boehner and former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld – is acknowledging that, well, maybe the state’s Cannabis Control Commission has a point about how it’s grown too big in Massachusetts, via contracts with smaller pot firms that critics say violate state laws on how many pot shops a firm can control.

Boston Globe

Robert DeLeo is now the longest serving speaker. Long live the king!

The Herald’s Mary Markos and the Globe’s Matt Stout report that House Speaker Robert DeLeo made a little history over the weekend, officially becoming the longest-serving head of the Massachusetts House. And whether that’s good or bad all depends on one’s perspective about democracy in the commonwealth.

Vocational-schools’ admission policies: A victim of their own success?

CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas reports on the ongoing debate over admission policies at the state’s suddenly popular vocational-technical schools – and whether the schools have become too elitist or not. Also at CommonWealth magazine, Tom Birmingham, the former Senate president, and Tim Murray, the former lieutenant governor, write that basing future voc-tech admissions on lotteries is a “dubious idea” and a clear departure from the state’s landmark education reforms of the early 1990s.


‘The 34 best political movies ever made’

Here’s a post-Oscars item for all you movie buffs, i.e. Washington Post movie critic Ann Hornaday’s recent list of the ‘Best 34 Political Movies Ever Made,’ prominently posted over the weekend by the paper in anticipation of last night’s Academy Awards. Our quickie review of her list: If Hornaday is going to stretch the definition of political movies to include The Incredibles, then she should have found a way to sneak in Spotlight, not to mention the omitted Lincoln, Primary Colors, The Third Man and The Death of Stalin. A MassterList reader would also have added Charlie Wilson’s War and The Candidate.

Washington Post

CRRC MA’s annus horribilis

Sure, there were triumphs. But there were also a lot of setbacks this past year for Springfield’s CRRC MA, the Chinese-owned maker of the T’s new subway cars. From mechanical problems on finished cars to Washington hysteria over espionage fears, Jim Kinney at MassLive has the details.


Fifty years ago: Remembering Frank Sargent’s stand against car-centric transportation policies

Speaking of transportation issue, James Aloisi, the former state secretary of transportation, writes that tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of Gov. Frank Sargent’s famous statewide televised address calling for an end to the state’s auto-centric transportation policies – and how over the years the state has failed to heed Sargent’s warnings.

Meanwhile, Mike Vartabedian, also writing at CommonWealth magazine, is blasting the T’s possible move to privatize future bus operations, saying such a move would “negatively impact an otherwise safe and reliable bus system.”


USS Constitution’s forgotten heroes are forgotten no more

The Globe’s Brian MacQuarrie has a good story about how officials are learning so much more about the USS Constitution’s famous clash against two British warships in 1815 – and how 8-year-old David Debias and dozens of other free African-American sailors were among those who manned the cannons and fought ferociously for their young country during the famed battle.

Boston Globe

DOC: For safety’s sake, we had to confiscate inmates’ legal documents

From the Globe’s John Hilliard: “Officials at the state’s maximum-security prison in Shirley were responding to “credible threats” of planned violence when they temporarily restricted inmates’ access to lawyers and confiscated personal legal documents following an attack on guards last month, the Department of Correction said in response to a recent lawsuit alleging abuse at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center.”

West Springfield’s White Hut flips its last burger

Western Massachusetts is still reeling this morning following the surprise closure late last week of the legendary White Hut burger joint in West Springfield, a move apparently forced upon owners due to “powers beyond their control,” reports Katrinia Kincade at WWLP. Eighty years of serving burgers, gone, just like that.


‘Greater Boston’s People Problem’

No, it’s not about our Masshole ways and other related behavioral traits. It’s about the annual loss of people – many of them highly skilled workers – moving out of the state each year. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan has more on ‘Greater Boston’s people problem.’

BBJ (pay wall)

Standing firm: DPH not budging on release of EEE data

What’s the big secret? Despite two orders from the Supervisor of Records to do so, the Department of Public Health is refusing to release details on where the four Bay State residents who died of EEE last year lived. At least one expert thinks the state’s stance is an outright violation of the state’s public records statute, Cody Shephard reports at the Enterprise. 


In Methuen, email release leads to yet more finger pointing over contract

Some elected officials in Methuen say a cache of emails shows Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon was helping himself when he helped his officers get sweetheart raises as part of a 2017 contract negotiation that led to eye-popping salaries and a fiscal hole that the community is still digging out of, Bill Kirk reports at the Eagle-Tribune. For his part, the chief says no one has shown him the email in question and that he’s growing weary of what he sees as attacks on his department. 

Eagle Tribune

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


MBTA worker killed in Quincy bus accident – WBUR

Developer signals intent to build hotel, condos above Mass Pike – Boston Business Journal


Now that it’s legal, Pioneer Valley farmers find hemp comes with highs and low – MassLive

Staples sells Framingham HQ for $165 million – Worcester Business Journal

Founding partners overwhelm WooSox with corporate sponsorships – Telegram & Gazette


Trump’s new budget proposal expected to show how far he has moved away from some 2016 campaign promises – Washington Post

Sanders glides towards primary as moderates brawl – Politico

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