Happening Today

Baker in western Mass., Sanders rally in Springfield, and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker makes a day-long swing through western Massachusetts today, starting with two economic and housing-related events in Pittsfield, then a stop in Holyoke for the opening of a new campus center at Holyoke Community College and ending at Springfield ‘s city hall to tout his housing legislation; see SHNS’s Daily Advances for details.

Office of Campaign and Political Finance holds a hearing for the public to provide input on regulations relating to public employees’ appropriate use of websites and social media for campaign purposes, One Ashburton PLace, Room 411, Boston, 10 a.m.

Joint Ways and Means Committee meets for public hearing on health and human services aspects of Gov. Charlie Baker’s $44.6 billion fiscal 2021 budget, Duxbury Senior Center, 10 Mayflower St., Duxbury, 10:30 a.m.

— Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius is guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 11 a.m.

— Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders hosts a rally in Springfield, a day before another Sanders rally in Boston on Saturday, ahead of Tuesday’s presidential primary in Massachusetts, MassMutual Center Exhibition A/B, 1277 Main Street, Springfield, 7:30 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

Bernie’s Bay State Blitz

Bad news for Elizabeth Warren just days before next Tuesday’s presidential primary in Massachusetts: Bernie Sanders leads Warren in her home state by eight points among Democrats, according to a new WBUR/MassInc poll, as reported by WBUR’s Anthony Brooks reports.

Sanders is definitely going in for the political kill this weekend, starting after work this evening with a Sanders rally in Springfield and then another rally on Boston Common tomorrow. WMPI’s Matt Szafranski is amazed at the last-minute inroads Bernie’s campaign has made in the state’s 413 area – at Elizabeth Warren’s expense. But Michael Bloomberg could also be a factor in next Tuesday’s primary battle in Massachusetts, with his strong support among local business leaders, as the Globe’s Shirley Leung reports. Then again, the NYT reports that there are more than a few college-educated, professional women staunchly backing Warren – and they’re upset about all the “electability” talk surrounding her candidacy.


PAC to Warren’s rescue?

Alex Thompson of Politico reports a SuperPAC has committed to spending $9 million on TV ads here and in Texas and California in support of Elizabeth Warren’s presidential bid. While Warren has sworn off taking PAC money directly, Thompson notes the spending by the Persist PAC makes her the biggest beneficiary of third-party spending heading into Super Tuesday.  


Bernie Sanders actually has an opinion on Suffolk Downs development controversy

Not even a candidate for president of the United States of America can avoid getting sucked into the powerful vortex of a full-scale housing development debate in Massachusetts. In this case, it’s Bernie Sanders actually chiming in with his oppositional thoughts on the proposed re-development of Suffolk Downs in East Boston, as the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin report. Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo thinks Bernie doesn’t know what he’s talking about: “OK Boomer.”

Btw: City Councilor Lydia Edwards is also getting pulled into the mysterious and all-powerful black hole of Massachusetts politics. 

Coronavirus update: Senate approves $2M for testing, Baker vows ‘fully formulated’ response plan by next week

As public health officials continue to say there’s nothing to worry about yet, there’s a lot of preparations going on regarding a probable/likely/inevitable outbreak of the coronavirus in Massachusetts. From Steph Solis at MassLive: “Mass. Senate approves nearly $2 million for coronavirus testing, Triple E awareness.” … From WCVB: “Baker: State is preparing for possible virus outbreak,” which includes his administration releasing a plan next week on steps the state is taking. … From the MetroWest Daily News: “Hospitals, schools, businesses brace for potential virus arrival.”

And there’s more. From the Herald: “Massachusetts local and state officials bracing for coronavirus, plan for the worst.” … From the Globe: “Hospital leaders prepare for possible surge in coronavirus patients.”  … And, finally, since this is a political newsletter (mostly), via the Globe: “Coronavirus could be the most important issue of the 2020 election.”

Rattling the veto sword: Baker says he’s ‘disappointed’ with House’s tax proposals

It’s going to be a long spring. From Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine: “One day after House leaders unveiled a $600 million transportation revenue bill, Gov. Charlie Baker poured cold water on the tax increases and fees the bill calls for to fund improvements, setting up a showdown with the Legislature on one of the most pressing issues facing state leaders.”

According to SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall), Baker thinks his transportation proposal would actually accomplish more – with no new tax hikes. Then again, Baker’s plans include fee (whatever) revenues from the proposed Transportation Climate Initiative and House Speaker Robert DeLeo considers those funds “iffy,” at best.

Cyberthieves nab $1.75 million from Westfield State University

This cyber theft/blackmail stuff is getting ridiculous, not to mention scary. Westfield State University President Ramon Torrecilha says a $1.75 million payment that was supposed to go to an undisclosed stage agency was actually poached by cyberthieves, Ron Chimelis reports at MassLive. The school says no student data was lost or compromised and that the incident remains under investigation by a host of authorities. 


The MBTA Control Board: Beacon Hill’s new political football

CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl notices that the recently unveiled House transportation funding bill contains a provision that would extend the term of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, which isn’t exactly what Gov. Charlie Baker wants and which likely means the T board has just become the official political football of the 2020 legislative session.


Dimming light: Tribe loses appeal over Taunton casino land

Things are getting darker for First Light. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe suffered another setback in court in their bid to build a casino in Taunton, with a federal appeals court upholding a lower court ruling that the U.S. Department of Interior improperly allowed the tribe to place the land in trust. The Cape Cod TImes reports the decision is not the last word: A lawsuit brought by the tribe remains active in D.C. 

Cape Cod Times

‘Groundbreaking’: Healey settles with insurers over mental health parity

Coming so soon after the Senate passed a mental-health parity bill, this is interesting. From the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett: “Five large Massachusetts health insurance companies and two behavioral health care companies have signed an agreement with Attorney General Maura Healey over allegations that they violated the state’s mental health parity laws.”

The Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo calls the settlements “groundbreaking,” while MassLive’s Steph Solisreports advocates are hailing Healey’s action.


Stop right there: Traffic camera bill gets pulled over in the Senate

CommonWealth magazine’s Shira Schoenberg reports that a Senate bill that would allow use of traffic cameras at intersections in Massachusetts failed to get the green light yesterday, after a “spirited debate” and after a successful Republican move to table the controversial legislation.

But the Senate did pass legislation yesterday that would make it easier for homeless people to get official state IDs, reports Steph Solis at MassLive.

About those marijuana host community agreements: Charity starts at home

WGBH’s Tori Bedford and Amanda Beland decided to take a look under the rocks, so to speak, of more than 500 marijuana “host community agreements” in Massachusetts – and found that 314 of them had goodies attached to them that exceed the standard fees for opening pot shops in towns. Some call the financial requirements a form of “charity.” Others are less charitable in their descriptions of the “donations.” Look for Part 2 of the series later today at WGBH.


Another one: Rep. Stephen Hay won’t seek re-election

Two more makes a dozen. SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports that Rep. Stephen Hay of Fitchburg is the latest House member to say he won’t seek re-election this fall, citing family considerations. As Murphy notes: “That makes him the tenth incumbent and ninth House Democrat to announce they’ll retire at the end of the year.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

The mysterious case of a cop’s son getting bumped to the top of the police-candidates list

A MassterList reader has alerted us to a brewing political controversy in Quincy over a former cop, his son, top city leaders, lawmakers on Beacon Hill – and how the son suddenly managed to jump to the top of the list of police candidates in Quincy. And it involves a long ago car crash, the details of which apparently keep changing, as reported at WCVB and the Patriot Ledger.

WGBH gets results: Baker files bill to expand minority and women contracting

Six weeks after an investigation by WGBH’s New England Center for Investigative Reporting found a decline in the value of state minority-owned business contracts, Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday announced he’s filing a bill to expand business opportunities for minorities and women. Phillip Martin and Paul Singer at WGBH have the details.


Teenager accused of vandalizing Plymouth Rock and other landmarks

Police believe they’ve caught the person who recently vandalized Plymouth Rock and other historical monuments with red-paint graffiti: A 17-year-old male resident of Plymouth. The young suspect has been arrested and charged with 11 counts of vandalism, according to a report at WCVB. We actually feel sorry for the kid, for his young life has just been irrevocably changed – and not for the better.


The Kennedy-Markey matchup: It’s Digital War

The Herald’s Hillary Chabot reports that the Kennedy-Markey battle for the U.S. Senate is “fast becoming the first major Massachusetts race to feature big spending on social media advertising.” Kennedy currently holds a narrow edge in the digital war.

Boston Herald

Ten years on: Berkshire Innovation Center opens after years of delays

Good things come to those who wait. A full decade after it was first envisioned, the Berkshire Innovation Center will open its doors Friday, ending a saga that saw the project stalled for three years after construction funding ran out, Tony Dobrowolski reports in the Berkshire Eagle. Gov. Baker is among the dignitaries expected to help cut the ribbon on the $14 million lab and incubator space.

Berkshire Eagle

Sunday public affairs TV: Bill Galvin, Cheryl Crawford and more

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Jim Lowell, CIO of Adviser Investments, discusses the economic impact of the coronavirus; NOOM Chief Psychology Officer Andreas Michaelides discusses an app aimed at helping people live healthier lives; and Boston Business Journal editor Doug Banks reviews some the top business stories of the week, including the House transporation bill.

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. A look at this weekend’s PAX East gamer convention, with two games developers, Chump Squad’s Gwen Fry and Proletariat’s Seth Sivak.

On the Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a political roundtable discussion with political analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: Voting Matters, with Cheryl Crawford from MassVote and Tanisha Sullivan, president of Boston NAACP.

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

Boston Massacre 250th Anniversary Commemoration

Revolutionary Spaces invites you to a Commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Massacre to honor those who lost their lives that night and to reflect on how our most difficult national memories can inspire us to reach for our highest American ideals.

Revolutionary Spaces

Babson Latin American Forum

The Babson Latin American Club is proud to invite you to join their 12th annual forum at Babson College. The forum is a full day event where speakers, students, and faculty members from our Boston community come together to have meaningful discussions about Latin American business, culture, economics, and politics in an entrepreneurial way. This year’s topic is “Success Stories in Latin America”.

Babson Latin American Club

Africa Day 2020: Challenges to Pan Africanism: Afrophobia and Migration Across African Borders

The Africa Scholars Forum, The Pan African Graduate Student Association, African Student Union, and Ghanaian Student Associations at UMass Boston presents: AFRICA DAY 2020 “Challenges to Pan Africanism: Afrophobia and Migration Across Borders” The African Continent ‘s attempts to achieve integration and unity across its deeply plural and diverse borders are fraught with challenges such as Afrophobia, which refers to a form of Xenophobia directed by Africans toward other Africans. Evidenced by the surge of violent xenophobic attacks against African migrants to South Africa in 2019, Afrophobia has led to severe discrimination against fellow African migrants and it challenges Africa’s Pan Africanism.

The Africa Scholars Forum at University of Massachusetts Boston

2020 Social Enterprise Conference at Harvard

The 21st annual Social Enterprise Conference (SECON) at Harvard will bring together leaders, practitioners and students on March 7-8, 2020 to engage in rigorous dialogue and debate around social enterprise.2020 Social Enterprise Conference at Harvard.

HKS + HBS Students’ 2020 Social Enterprise Conference

2020 Boston Massacre Reenactment

Join us as tensions between the citizens of the Town of Boston and the British soldiers stationed in town build and eventually boil over resulting in the “Boston Massacre.” This day long event allows visitors to meet with reenactors portraying a variety of citizens of 1770 Boston who are eager to share their perspective on the events in Boston since the landing of the troops in Oct. of 1768.

Revolutionary Spaces

ADL’s “A Nation of Immigrants” Community Seder

ADL New England welcomes you as we continue our tradition of bringing diverse communities together to build bridges of understanding.

ADL New England

Reflecting Democracy: Reclaiming Equity in the Political Process

A reflective democracy will bring equity to our schools, communities & commonwealth. Learn about our strategy for civic engagement in 2020.

Massachusetts Voter Table & MassVOTE

Starr Forum: Russia’s Putin: From Silent Coup to Legal Dictatorship

With speaker Yevgenia M Albats, a Russian investigative journalist, political scientist, author and radio host. A session of the Focus on Russia Lecture Series co-chaired by Carol Saivetz and Elizabeth Wood.

MIT Center for International Studies (CIS)

A Conversation on Female Agency

Writers Marjan Kamali and Katrin Schumann present “A Conversation on Agency: Displacement and Power During Political Turmoil.”

Boston Athenaeum

Sanguinary Theatre: Evening with Dr. Joseph Warren & his Massacre Oration

With an exciting blend of modern context and costumed interpretation, join us to relive Joseph Warren’s fiery oration 245 years later.

Revolutionary Spaces

Boston Speaker Series: Susan Rice

Rice served as National Security Advisor from 2013 to 2017. She also served as the United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013. Under President Clinton, Rice worked for the National Security Council and was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

Lesley University

Predicting the Democratic Nominee

Welcome to the Democracy Studio! Join us as we combine politically-inspired images and words to provoke a deeper understanding of the state of our democracy.

Tom Manning, Harvard ALI Senior Fellow 2020

Boston Speaker Series: Susan Rice

Rice served as National Security Advisor from 2013 to 2017. She also served as the United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013. Under President Clinton, Rice worked for the National Security Council and was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

Lesley University

Jane Swift: The History of Women in Politics

Jane Swift was the youngest woman ever elected to the Massachusetts State Senate and the First Woman Governor of Massachusetts.

Aliali Belkus, Dean of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity

The Centenary of the 19th Amendment: New Reflections

Join legal and political science scholars to discuss lessons learned from the centenary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

Boston University School of Law

Election 2020: The Crucial Questions – Conversations on the Edge

A discussion on the crucial questions of the 2020 Election with seasoned political pros.

Cambridge Center for Adult Education

Today’s Headlines


Aquarium slams Boston Harbor garage skyscraper over environmental concerns – Boston Herald

In Boston, ‘yesterday’s paper route could become tomorrow’s neighborhood compost collection route’ – Boston Herald


Report: Downtown Worcester office space in demand – Telegram & Gazette

Cannabis from Theory’s Sheffield farm–state’s first outdoor grow–to hit stores Saturday – Berkshire Eagle

Coogan questions Fall River police chief’s vacation buybacks – Herald-News


Pelosi, Trying to Save House Majority, Fends Off Angst Over Sanders – New York Times

Coming to a podcast near you: Hillary Clinton – Politico

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