Happening Today

The Markey-Kennedy debate and more

— Mayor Marty Walsh makes an announcement relative to the expansion of the tuition-free community college program, The Base, 150 Shirley St., Roxbury, 9:45 a.m.

— Offshore wind experts, including developers, U.S. Department of the Interior staff, and state officials discuss how wind, solar and storage can contribute to a cleaner, more efficient power grid as part of the Solar & Storage Northeast conference, Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel, 425 Summer St., Boston, 10 a.m.

— Mayor Marty Walsh visits Chinatown for lunch to show his support for businesses suffering from coronavirus fears, and hosts a Chinatown business walk, Jade Garden, 20 Tyler St., Boston, 12:15 p.m.

— TransitMatters technical advocacy director Ari Ofsevit, former Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi and MassINC transit-oriented development fellow Tracy Corley discuss the state of transportation in Massachusetts, Boston University Kilachand Honors College, 91 Bay State Rd., #115, Boston, 6 p.m.

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and his primary challenger U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy square off before a studio audience in their first debate of the 2020 U.S. Senate primary contest, with Boston Public Radio hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan moderating, 1 Guest St., Brighton, 7 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

In case you missed it …

MassterList indeed published yesterday over the holiday. In case you missed it, check out our web site, where we covered such issues as ICE’s new SWAT team, Bloomberg’s billions, ‘Councilor No,’ Nubian Station and today’s U.S. Senate debate between Ed Markey and Joseph Kennedy.


As debate looms, caucus-goers already weighing in on Kennedy v. Markey

Ahead of tonight’s first televised debate, things are starting to heat up in the U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts. Party officials say Joseph Kennedy III’s primary challenge of U.S. Sen. Edward Markey is ramping up interest in normally low-turnout party caucuses across the state, with Markey enjoying a slight lead among delegates elected after the first round of events, Jim Hand reports at the Sun-Chronicle. Ted Nesi at WPRI has more on the weekend caucuses. 

Meanwhile, Arjun Singh at WGBH sets the table for this evening’s debate, hosted by ‘GBH, between Markey and Kennedy, marking the start of what is poised to be a costly primary battle between now and September.   

Sun Chronicle

Taxing Uber and Lyft: Is the goal to raise more money or to change behavior?

The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro has a good piece this morning on all the talk on Beacon Hill these days of taxing Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing firms to help pay for public transit and local roads. But shouldn’t a new tax/fee also be high enough to actually change behavior, i.e. getting millions and millions of ride-sharing cars off our congested roads? Critics think so.

Speaking of transit behavior, NBC News takes a look at the increasing calls in Boston, Kansas City and elsewhere to make public transit free. Boston’s Michelle Wu makes a cameo appearance. Meanwhile, John Pourbaix, executive director of the Construction Industries of Massachusetts, writes at CommonWealth magazine that Gov. Baker’s transportation bond bill is a good first step towards fixing our roads and bridges, but it doesn’t go financially far enough.

Boston Globe

After Tokyo decision, Boston Marathon officials ‘carefully monitoring’ coronavirus

Just fyi. From the Herald’s Rick Sobey: “The Boston Athletic Association is ‘carefully monitoring’ the spread of coronavirus ahead of April’s Boston Marathon after another major race, Japan’s Tokyo Marathon, announced Monday it will only let elite athletes run — shutting out tens of thousands of runners to reduce the risk of mass contagion.”

Boston Herald

Pressley to the local rescue?

Amid talk of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren possibly losing the Dem presidential primary in her home state of Massachusetts, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, co-chair of Warren’s campaign, spent Presidents Day rallying the local troops – and they were enthusiastic troops, reports the Globe’s Jeremy Fox.

Mitt Romney is proving it’s possible to stand up to Trump

The Washington Post reports that Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who cast the lone GOP vote to convict President Trump on an impeachment charge, has “pulled off — for now, at least — what no other Republican has: openly challenging the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency and living to tell the tale.”

Washington Post

Child labor violations: Et tu, Wendy’s?

Attorney General Maura Healey’s recent crackdown on Chipotle for child-labor violations, part of the largest child-labor investigation in the state’s history, may be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes restaurant chains illegally employing teens in Massachusetts. Next up for Healey’s office: “A $400,000 settlement for an estimated 2,100 violations at 46 Wendy’s restaurants around the state,” as the Globe’s Katie Johnston reports.

Quincy’s tab for opposing Long Island Bridge: $400,000 (and counting)

Mary Whitfill at the Patriot Ledger reports that the city of Quincy has so far spent $400,000 opposing Boston’s attempt to rebuild the controversial Long Island Bridge – and Quincy’s city council next month will be asked to fork over yet more money in what looks like a long financial war of attrition. 

Patriot Ledger

Fall River flipping: Correia co-conspirator looks to sell property with ties to criminal case

You could say he’s looking to flip — again. A Fall River businessman who is set to testify against former Mayor Jasiel Correia in his upcoming federal trial is putting up for sale a building with ties to the extortion and bribery case.  Jo C. Goode at the Herald News has the details, including the asking price, which would represent a 500 percent increase over what the building was sold for in 2012.  

Herald News

Vandals target Plymouth Rock: ‘Why? Why?’

Rich Harbert at Wicked Local reports that Plymouth Rock and other nearby historic monuments were hit the other night by “vandals wielding cans of spray paint,” prompting one monument onlooker to later exclaim “Why? Why? Why would someone do this?” Police are now hunting for suspects. WCVB has more (with video) on the vandalism.

Wicked Local

No escape: High rents are spreading outward from Boston and Cambridge

Trying to escape high rents in Boston and Cambridge? You may have to trek farther north, south and west than you thought. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports that absurdly high rents are starting to hit communities like Everett, Malden, Revere and beyond.

Two other items from the housing-crisis front. From the Herald: “Officials, advocates call on developers to create more affordable housing in Boston.” And from the Globe’s editorial board: “Letting towns solve the Mass. housing shortage,” which urges lawmakers to pass Gov. Charlie Baker’s housing bill.

Boston Herald

Did you know John Wilkes Booth was a real estate speculator in Boston?

Attention history buffs: In a Presidents Day post, Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin writes of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth’s professional and family ties to Boston, which include Booth having actually purchased a parcel on Commonwealth Avenue to build a home in the then “newly emerging Back Bay.” File under: ‘Didn’t know that.’

Universal Hub

Feeling burned in the Berkshires: Anger flares over GE settlement

They just want a say. A hundred angry residents turned out for a meeting hosted by the Housatonic River Initiative, as the grassroots group seeks to organize opposition to the river cleanup agreement announced by GE and the EPA last week. Amanda Drane at the Berkshire Eagle reports some residents say they feel betrayed by elected officials who signed off on the deal, while others wonder why they don’t get a chance to vote on whether the Berkshires should host a low-level PCB soil dump.  

Berkshire Eagle

T-minus six days and counting: Hands-free driving law takes effect Monday

MassLive’s Scott Croteau and WCVB report on the state’s new hands-free driving law that takes effect on Feb. 23 in Massachusetts – and all the do’s and don’ts of using cell phones in cars while driving. There are indeed hefty fines involved, though they won’t start till spring.

Support has its rewards: Union chief lands plum job after helping Walsh

The Globe’s Milton Valencia reports that Richard Paris, former head of a firefighters union, has landed a $171,082 gig as the Boston Fire Department’s OSHA-compliance director after he “nurtured Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s close relationship with the politically powerful firefighters’ union.”

Boston Globe

‘Amazon Empire’

The Washington Post’s Hank Stuever gives a thumbs up for tonight’s ‘Amazon Empire,’ a two-hour look by Frontline (produced by WGBH) at Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s ever-growing digital presence and prowess. The favorable review of a not-so-favorable look at Amazon is curious precisely because Bezos owns the Washington Post, an Orwellian twist to an increasingly Orwellian subject matter. 

Washington Post

Bunker Hill tour guide’s Benjamin Franklin-like lament about our republic

Another history-buffs item: Don Ryan, a volunteer for the U.S. National Park Service, recently saw a woman during one of his Bunker Hill tours quietly shedding a tear as he spoke about the sacrifices of American patriots in 1775. The reason for her tears? “We need to save the country,” she said. And Ryan thought of Benjamin Franklin’s long-ago warning that establishing a republic is one thing, maintaining a republic is another.


Having their day: Remembering Bay State’s presidential visits

And, finally, several Bay State newspapers dug into their archives to recall past presidential visits on the occasion of Presidents Day. Highlights include FDR’s 1936 visit to New Bedford, which drew a Trump-rally-like crowd of 25,000, according to a report at South Coast Today. The Telegram and Herald News have more.

South Coast Today

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

Author Talk and Book Signing with Christian Di Spigna

Author Talk and Book Signing with Christian Di Spigna, author of: Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero.

State Library of Massachusetts

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


Union chief who supported Walsh gets new post, and hefty raise – Boston Globe

Northeastern buys Horticultural Hall – Boston Business Journal


Worcester schools see uptick in dropout rate – Telegram & Gazette

At Town Meeting, Hanover voters to consider liquor license for Market Basket – Patriot Ledger


Bloomberg surges in poll and qualifies for next debate – New York Times

Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy – NPR

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