Happening Today

Ed board, Dem presidential debate and more

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets to discuss issues related to the 2019 school funding reform law, 75 Pleasant St., Malden, 9 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at the Light of Dawnn awards, honoring direct-service nonprofit professionals and high school seniors who show a commitment to community service, West End House Boys and Girls Club, New Balance Foundation Pavilion, 105 Allston St., Allston, 10 a.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka is a scheduled guest on Boston Public Radio, WGBH-FM, 89.7 FM, 11 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and other local leaders to make a Skills Capital Grant announcement, Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute, 417 Main Street, Gloucester, 12 p.m.

House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets reviews the latest version of the $18 billion transportation bond bill that Gov. Charlie Baker filed last summer, Hearing Room A-1, 1 p.m.

— Democratic presidential hopefuls, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, meet on a debate stage in Charleston, South Carolina ahead of the state’s Feb. 29 primary election, 8 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

The politics of coronavirus

In case you haven’t noticed, global stock markets are rattled over the spread of the coronavirus and its potential negative impact on the world economy – and there is indeed a political component to all of this if the virus spins too much out of control, a political component that could end up hurting President Trump, as the Washington Post reports.

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld agrees, saying “it would be the ultimate twist in the 2020 election — a virus from the largest communist dictatorship in the world putting a socialist in the White House.” Sure, it’s all a little far-fetched at this point. But …

Other local headlines regarding the virus – From the Herald: “Coronavirus impacts Massachusetts companies with business ties in China.” From Heidi Wyle, CEO of Venti Technologies, in an opinion piece at the Globe: “The coronavirus affected my company in China. How would it affect Boston?” But there’s some good news. From SHNS: “Coronavirus Vaccine Ships From Mass. to National Institute” (for testing). And from the Globe: “Harvard scientists to collaborate with those in China on $115 million coronavirus effort.”

Washington Post

Is Elizabeth Warren focusing on the wrong rival?

The Globe’s Jess Bidgood reports that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is still doing victory laps after her strong showing in last week’s Nevada debate, even though she didn’t do so well in the actual Nevada caucuses. No matter. Warren is still pounding away at Michael Bloomberg, as she did in the debate last week, calling him the ‘riskiest candidate’ among Democrats running for president, as Benjamin Kail reports at MassLive.

But isn’t Bernie Sanders now the Dem candidate to beat? Well, yes, here in Massachusetts and elsewhere, as the Globe’s Zoe Greenberg reports. But Warren is still refusing to take shots at fellow progressive Sanders, as the Globe’s Bidgood made clear in a campaign-trail tweet yesterday. 

The too old and too lefty Bernie storms Springfield this week

As Elizabeth Warren focuses on Michael Bloomberg, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is bringing his presidential campaign to Warren’s home state this week, specifically to Springfield, as the Vermont socialist tries to solidify his lead in the Dem primary battle for delegates. Jeanette DeForge at MassLive has the details on Bernie’s Friday rally in western Massachusetts, before next Tuesday’s state presidential primary.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Kevin Cullen has reached a momentous conclusion about the new Dem frontrunner: “Bernie Sanders isn’t too left. He’s too old.” And, in a possible foretaste of what Republicans will throw at Sanders if he’s indeed the Dem nominee for president, from the Washinton Post: “In Cold War travels, Bernie Sanders found much to admire behind enemy lines. Now that’s a problem for his campaign.”

Have you noticed how the media only lately has started to seriously vet Sanders, after two presidential runs spanning four long years?


Bump: Early voting is fine and dandy, but it still needs funding

Auditor Suzanne Bump likes the state’s new early-voting system. She just wishes legislators would “establish a permanent, reliable process to cover” the costs of early voting, as she writes in an opinion piece at MetroWest Daily News.

MetroWest Daily News

State’s highest paid employee is also a world traveler on taxpayers’ dime

Michael Collins, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is already the state’s highest paid employee, with a salary of $1.1 million. Turns out he also loves traveling the globe, along with his wife, courtesy of taxpayers, reports Colman Herman at CommonWealth magazine. We’re talking 33 airline trips last fiscal year alone.


Can the MBTA put its money where its mouth is when it comes to improvements? Nope

The T has all sort of ambitious plans and goals to improve services and operations. But the proposals are all missing one thing: The funds to pay for them. The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro has the financial details, or lack thereof.

Btw, from SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “Rider, Revenue Ripples Seen From Low-Income MBTA Fare.”

Boston Globe

‘Thanks, Massport’

Speaking of transportation issues, the Herald’s Jaclyn Cashman is ripping into Massport for “messing up the best way in and out of Logan International Airport,” as a result of its new and distant pickup zones for Uber and Lyft passengers who don’t have the luxury of having State Police and BPD vehicles picking them up at Logan (like a certain governor and mayor currently enjoy).

Boston Herald

DeLeo ‘sees no nexus’ between reforms and prison incidents

House Speaker Robert DeLeo is rejecting union arguments that criminal justice reforms caused recent violence at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, saying he “sees no nexus” between the two, reports Steph Solis at MassLive.


‘Common Ground’: Coming to the stage

This is interesting. From the NYTs Michael Paulson: “’Common Ground,’ J. Anthony Lukas’s Pulitzer-winning masterpiece about Boston’s turbulent attempt to desegregate its schools via court-ordered busing, is inspiring a stage play. The Huntington Theater Company in Boston plans to present the drama, called ‘Common Ground Revisited,’ next winter, with performances starting in January.”


Here we go: Seven Congressional candidates to debate for first time

Seven of the nine Democratic candidates hoping to succeed U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III in Congress will square off Tuesday in the first debate of what is poised to be a long battle. Julie M. Cohen at the MetroWest Daily News reports Boston College Law School is hosting the 4th District forum and that questions will focus on health care policy and other issues important to younger voters. 

MetroWest Daily News

Walsh orders ZBA reforms in wake of scandal

Does this have anything to do with today’s planned city council hearing on proposed zoning-board reforms? Just thinking aloud. From Callum Borchers at WBUR: “Boston’s Zoning Board of Appeal will crack down on potential conflicts of interest, and work with a new ombudsman under an executive order Mayor Marty Walsh signed Monday in response to a corruption scandal that resulted in a prison sentence for a former city employee.”


DeLeo: Let criminal charges play out against Nangle before House disciplinary action

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports that House Speaker Robert DeLeo is taking a wait-and-see approach towards state Rep. David Nangle, saying federal charges of bank fraud and illegal campaign spending by Nangle should play out before the House considers disciplinary action against the Lowell Democrat.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Let us pray: Odds favor a warm March in New England

We’re holding WBZ meteorologist Terry Eliasen to this, i.e. his calculations, based on historical weather trends, that we have a 60 to 70 percent chance of a warmer-than-normal March, on top of our already warmer-than-normal winter.

CBS Boston

Walsh’s proposed transfer tax: It comes down to state versus local power

Isaiah Thompson at WGBH reports how the fate of Mayor Marty Walsh’s proposed real estate transfer tax ultimately comes down to the old state versus local-control issue – an issue that’s usually settled in the state’s favor on Beacon Hill.


Yet another attempt to restrict access to state records

There’s a pattern forming here. As Gov. Charlie Baker pushes restrictions on public access to birth certificates and other vital records, it seems someone has slipped into an innocuous Senate bill an amendment that “limits the extent to which files maintained by the state’s Disabled Persons Protection Commission will be considered public records,” reports Shira Schoenberg at CommonWealth magazine.


Goldberg: Put more money into rainy day fund

The state’s stabilization fund, otherwise known as the “rainy day fund,” is at record levels. But state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg says more money needs to be deposited into the account in order to improve the state’s credit rating, SHNS’s Colin Young reports. (pay wall)

The most charming small town in America? Stockbridge, Mass.

CBS Boston reports that Big 7 Travel has determined that our very own Stockbridge, Massachusetts is the “most charming small town in America.” And Great Barrington and Nantucket also make the top 50 charming list.

CBS Boston

Check your math: Advocates say East-West Rail ridership estimates too low

They’re going to sharpen the pencil. Mass. Department of Transportation officials say they’ll take another look at their projections for ridership on a future East-West rail system after an advocacy group said the agency vastly under-estimated how many commuters and tourists would hop aboard, Jim Kinney reports at MassLive.


Shut out: Judge rules tribe can’t intervene in Long Island dispute

They waited too long. A Superior Court judge has ruled a local Nipmuc tribe cannot intervene in the dispute between Boston and Quincy over the construction of a new bridge to Long Island, saying the tribe’s entry into the case came too late, Mary Whitfill reports at the Patriot Ledger. 

Patriot Ledger

Helping hand: DiZoglio plan would aid Main Street merchants

Boosting small town business? She’s got a plan for that. State Sen. Diane DiZoglio has unveiled legislation aimed at helping mom-and-pop business owners compete against online and tax-free border states. Christian Wade at the Salem News reports the bill would bring back the dormant “Buy Massachusetts” program, among other things.

Salem News

The Future of the Republican Party

As the nation’s demographics continue to shift, hear from Republican leaders about how the party can build a broad, sustainable coalition. Panelists include George P. Bush, Texas Land Commissioner; Evan McMullin, executive director, Stand Up Republic and former Policy Director for House Republicans; and Mark Sanford, former governor and congressman from South Carolina. Moderated by Betsy Woodruff.

Northeastern University, Office of External Affairs

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

U.N. Perspective Series: Gender Equality (International Women’s Day)

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Impact Hub Boston and United Nations Association of Greater Boston.

United Nations Association Of Greater Boston

Mikhail Minakov: Post-Soviet Eastern Europe: A Comparative Analysis of the Six Eastern Neighborhood Nations

Please join the Fletcher Eurasia Club for a lunch conversation with Mikhail Minakov about the Eastern Partnership initiative and the political environment of Eastern European countries after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Fletcher Eurasia Club

Mikhail Minakov: Political Development of Post-Euromaidan Ukraine

Please join the Russia and Eurasia Program at The Fletcher School for a conversation with Mikhail Minakov about revolutionary cycles of independent Ukraine and post-Euromaidan political development of the country.

Fletcher Russia and Eurasia Program

Authors@MIT | Benjamin J. Pauli presents Flint Fights Back

MIT Press author Benjamin J. Pauli discusses his new book Flint Fights Back.

The MIT Press Bookstore

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


Boston second most expensive school bus ride after Buffalo – Boston Herald

Weymouth officials challenge appraisal for controversal 40B project in Idlewell neighborhood – Patriot Ledger


Attleboro wins six-year legal fight over proposed asphalt plant – Sun Chronicle

Early voters in Worcester beat the rush – Telegram & Gazette

A growing challenge: Springfield Police Department struggles with attrition, luring new recruits – MassLive


Trump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on ‘Trump related’ cases – The Hill

Bloomberg’s debate strategy: Nuke Bernie – Politico

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