Happening Today

MBTA Board, COVID-19 and senior living, and more

— U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III addresses business leaders at the New England Council about efforts Congress is making to fight racism and reform police., 10 a.m.

MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board meets to discuss options in the T’s contract with commuter rail operator Keolis, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker and legislative leaders hold a conference-call meeting, 2 p.m.

Joint Committee on Elder Affairs will hold a virtual hearing on legislation to prevent COVID-19 deaths in senior living facilities, 2 p.m.,

— Former Gov. Deval Patrick is a guest on ‘Greater Boston,’ WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 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

The protests and vigils continue

There may not be as many and they may not be as large, but the anti-racism protests continued across the state over the weekend, including in Boston, Concord, Framingham, Medford, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Quincy, Saugus, Somerville, Sterling, Weymouth and elsewhere. The Boston Globe and NBC Boston and WBUR and Media Nation and Telegram and Patriot Ledger and the Lynn Item and the Berkshire Eagle and South Coast Today all have reports on the protests.

Walsh declares racism a ‘public health crisis,’ reallocates police funds to other city services

WBUR’s Quincy Walters reports that Mayor Marty Walsh late last week declared racism a public health crisis in Boston and has decided to reallocate $3 million from the police department to other city programs. 

But are Walsh’s declaration, reallocation and other proposals enough? Not to the Boston Globe’s skeptical editorial board: “When it comes to reinventing the Boston police, how far will Walsh really go?” Btw, from SHNS (pay wall): “Spilka: Justice Bills Will Require Sprint and Marathon.”


WBZ suspends ‘Phantom Gourmet’ after host Dave Andelman mocks protests

Dave Andelman, CEO and host of the Phantom Gourmet show (and co-owner of the Mendon Twin Drive-In Theater), was apologizing over the weekend for a series of ugly social-media posts mocking recent Black Lives Matter protests and protesters, report Universal Hub and MassLive.

But his apologies were not enough for WBZ, which has announced it’s put Andelman’s TV show on “hiatus pending further review.” Read Andelman’s remarks at UH and MassLive. They’re monumentally stupid and immature, not to mention insensitive and offensive to many.

Report: Blacks made up 70 percent of stops in Boston’s version of ‘stop and frisk’

More evidence that not everyone is treated equally when it comes to policing. From Isaiah Thompson at WGBH: “Seventy percent of people stopped by Boston Police officers through the department’s ‘Field Interrogation and Observation’ program throughout most of last year were black — even though black residents comprise less than one quarter of the city’s population.”

Such “field interrogations” are known elsewhere as “stop-and-frisk,” as Thomspon reports.


Some Dems are getting mighty nervous about all the ‘defunding’ talk

The Globe’s Jess Bidgood and a Herald wire story both report on how some Democrats are getting nervous about the general talk of “defunding” police departments heading into the fall presidential and Congressional elections. Meanwhile, state Rep. Carlos González, chair of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus on Beacon Hill, is “calling for police reform — including independent investigations of police — but says calls to defund the police go too far,” reports Derek Anderson and Sharon Brody at WBUR. “

But that’s not what Mariame Kaba is saying in an opinion piece at the NYT: “Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police.”

Is a Lincoln statue next to fall?

Thousands of people have signed a petition asking that a Park Square statue of Abraham Lincoln standing over a freed slave be removed – and Mayor Marty Walsh says he favors the removal, reports the Globe’s Meghan Irons and the AP and WBUR.

Before getting upset that protesters are now going after the “Great Emancipator,” take a look at the photo of the statue accompanying both stories. It’s more than a little cringe worthy and patronizing (for lack of other words) toward Blacks, as if Lincoln is almost blessing the slave in a god-like fashion. We have a radical solution: Remove the statue and replace it with a new statue of … Abraham Lincoln, a president who undeniably helped end slavery and save American democracy. Or is this too radical of an idea?

Btw: The Globe’s Jeff Jacoby has a column on the “rights and wrongs” of statue toppling in general. And, btw II, the Herald’s Erin Tiernanreports that a North End group says the Columbus statue that was beheaded the other day will be indeed returning to the neighborhood, based on an alleged agreement with the mayor. We’ll see.

Popovich calls Kraft and other NFL owners ‘hypocritical’ for supporting Trump during push for social change

It’s not the type of headline Bob Kraft likes to see. From CBS Boston: “San Antonio Spurs heads coach Gregg Popovich said NFL owners, including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, are ‘hypocritical’ during their push for social change because of their past support of President Donald Trump.” Popovich made the comments to the NYT’s Maureen Dowd.

CBS Boston

Warren makes it to Biden’s final VP round

The good news for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren: She’s apparently made it to the final round of Joe Biden’s vice-presidential candidate sweepstakes. The bad news: The final round now includes even more VP candidates under consideration by Biden’s campaign, report the NYT and Washington Post.

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld thinks picking Warren as his VP running mate would be a disaster for the Dem ticket this fall. 

The coronavirus numbers: 48 new deaths, 7,624 total deaths, 208 new cases

Switching to pandemic news, WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Can a governor really declare an indefinite state of emergency?

Yet another lawsuit has been filed challenging Gov. Charlie Baker’s emergency powers during the current pandemic, specifically his order that people wear protective face masks, reports Universal Hub. Writing at CommonWealth, Lawrence Friedman, who teaches law at New England Law/Boston, argues that at least one of the legal challenges to the governor’s emergency powers is likely to fail.

But the Globe’s Matt Stout raises an interesting issue: Are states of emergency really supposed to last months on end, possibly even more than a year or even 18 months? We’ve now entered the fourth month of the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency – and the governor has given no set deadline about when the emergency might end.

Restaurants vs retail shops: How outdoor dining helps one but not the other

David Beinick at WCVB reports that restaurants may be thrilled that cities and towns are partially or fulling closing streets to allow restaurants to offer outdoor dining during the pandemic. But local retail shops, at least in Belmont, are not so thrilled. Beinick explains.

Btw: Jon Hurst at the Retailers Association of Massachusetts is reiterating that as many as 30 percent of small retailers may not reopen ever again because of the recent economic downturn, reports Shira Schoenberg at CommonWealth magazine.


It’s back: Traffic

As the state economy begins to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, something else is returning to normal in Greater Boston: Traffic. And we’re talking old-fashioned Southeast Expressway logjams, etc. The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro has the details.

Boston Globe

Worse than snowmageddon? Taxpayers group says T truly on the ropes

It’s even worse than the worst winter ever. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says the MBTA is in danger of being dragged down by a budget crisis once federal bailout funds run out, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth Magazine reports. The group says things are even worse than in 2015, when a disastrous winter prompted the creation of the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board. 


Essentially insecure: UMass poll finds frontline workers stressed and fearful

  They’re on the front lines and they don’t feel protected. A survey conducted by UMass-Amherst’s Labor Center and the Center for Employment Equity found that nearly 60 percent of workers whose jobs are considered essential report feeling unsafe at work. Jacquelyn Voghel at the Daily Hampshire Gazette has more. 

Daily Gazette

Get out: State suggests outdoor town meetings to counter COVID-19 threat

Just go outside already. State officials are strongly urging communities with town meetings to take their business outside whenever possible, Jim Russell at MassLive reports. The state has also laid out a slew of protocols for holding safe meetings inside or out and tells communities to be ready to contact everyone at the meeting should a positive coronavirus case later be discovered. 


Reminder to readers: SHNS Coronavirus Tracker available for free

A reminder to our readers as the coronavirus crisis unfolds: The paywalled State House News Service, which produces MASSterList, is making its full Coronavirus Tracker available to the community for free on a daily basis each morning via ML. SHNS Coronavirus Tracker.

Does Everett power plant deserve yet another lease on life?

The Globe’s David Abel reports that environmentalists and neighbors of the mammoth Mystic Generating Station in Everett are objecting to a proposal to give the power plant yet another lease on life amid mounting health and climate-change concerns.

Boston Globe

Double dip? Gas disaster settlement fees spark blowback

State Sen. Diane DiZoglio says she has asked the office of Attorney General Maura Healey to look into reports that victims of the Merrimack Valley natural gas disaster are being asked to pay an 11 percent fee to cover legal costs when they pick up their settlement checks, Jill Harmacinski at the Eagle-Tribune reports. 

Eagle Tribune

Massachusetts 4th District Congressional Candidate Forum On Energy and the Environment

Join ELM and sponsoring partners today for Part 3 of a virtual MA 4th Congressional District Candidate Forum on Energy and the Environment. The forum will be divided into three one-hour Zoom sessions (at 12PM on June 9, 11, and 16) to allow 10 candidates to respond to crucial questions on environmental and energy policy. June 16: Jake Auchincloss, Dave Cavell, Natalia Linos

Environmental League of Massachusetts

Individual Homelessness in a COVID-19 World virtual event

Join the Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance for a panel discussion of lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis and the urgent need for Massachusetts to transform the way we address homelessness among adults as we move forward.

Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance

JALSA Schmoozefest

This week we are excited to welcome: Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, with observations on COVID-19, racial justice, and democracy; Executive Director of MassEquality, Tanya Neslusan, talking about Pride Month and GLBTQ+ rights; and Music by Rabbi Joe Black, named a “Top Ten” Jewish music artist.


ELM Wednesday Webinars | Session 10: A New Era for State Climate Action

In the final webinar of this series, “Session 10: A New Era for State Climate Action”, join ELM as we hear from MA Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides. She will discuss how the Baker Administration has been balancing the dual crises of COVID-19 and climate change and more.

Environmental League of Massachusetts

Today’s Headlines


WBUR union reaches first contract with station – Boston Globe

Brockton public schools layoffs include art, music, health, technical and academic teachers – Brockton Enterprise


Failed septic systems spike during coronavirus pandemic – MetroWest Daily News

Worcester schools to set up 3,500 internet hotspots for families during summer – Telegram & Gazette

Pittsfield leaders issue urgent appeal for school funding – Berkshire Eagle


Coronavirus cases spike across Sun Belt as economy lurches back into motion – New York Times

Fox News runs digitally altered images in coverage of Seattle protests – Seattle Times

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