Keller at Large

How to burst the political bubble

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller says that’s it more important than ever during these turbulent times for politicians to avoid succumbing to the dreaded bubble-itis. He explains.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Senate police reform, House DCF transparency vote, and more

Massachusetts Health Connector Board of Directors meets, 9 a.m. 

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh will join the New England Council for a virtual event to update regional business leaders on the city’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, 10 a.m.

— The Cannabis Control Commission holds a regular business meeting virtually, 10 a.m.

— The Massachusetts Senate meets in formal session to consider police reform legislation unveiled earlier this week, 11 a.m.

— The Massachusetts House meets in formal session, with members expected to take up a new bill dealing with transparency at the Department of Children and Families, 11 a.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

Rollins and other DAs rumble – again

The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham reports/opines this morning on the latest political and legal rumble pitting Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins against the legal/law-enforcement establishment. This time it includes four other DAs who have taken the apparently unprecedented step of intervening in a Suffolk no-parole mandate case involving a teen killer – and Rollins isn’t happy at all. “The suggestion that their assistance is required is as misogynistic and paternalistic as it is racist,” Rollins recently wrote in a court filing.

Boston Globe

‘After years of promises …’

Speaking of law enforcement and racial matters, the Globe’s Milton Valencia reports that a Boston civilian police review board four years ago was supposed to explore ways to keep tabs on the city’s police force, following a police killing of a black man in Ferguson, Mo. What’s happened since? Not much. No report. Few meetings. Etc., etc.

Maybe such (in)actions partially prompted this, via WGBH’s Isaiah Thompson: “‘People Are Done With Talk’: Activists Confront Walsh About Racism In Boston During Online Forum.” Btw: Roughly the same phenomenon may be happening at the state level on a different issue. From Steph Solis at MassLive: “Massachusetts COVID-19 health equity task force, which is examining disparities exposed by pandemic, off to slow start.”

Disturbing ‘pattern:’ DOJ report slams Springfield police bureau’s excessive use of excessive force

And speaking of police, officers assigned to the city of Springfield’s Narcotics Bureau regularly use punches to the head and other forms of violence against members of the public, violating their Constitutional rights in the process, a new report from the Department of Justice has found, reports Jeanette DeForge at MassLive. 

Unlike other officers, those assigned to the narcotics bureau were not required to report when they used force in the field, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in announcing the details of the report, reports the Globe’s Jeremy Fox. Western Mass. Politics & Insight’s Matt Szafranski has more on the report.

Meanwhile, critics slam Springfield for firing of detective over BLM post

The city of Springfield continues to take flack for the pre-July Fourth firing of a police detective over a post in support of Black Lives Matter, with Holyoke Mayor and congressional candidate Alex Morse calling for the reinstatement of Detective Florissa Fuentes, Jim Kinney at MassLive reports. 


Councilors may unleash ‘secret shopper’ to expose housing discrimination

Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports that the Boston City Council has agreed to look at possibly setting up a “secret shopper” program, similar what Suffolk University researchers did, to expose housing discrimination in Boston. Gaffin has the details.

Universal Hub

The coronavirus numbers: 30 new deaths, 8,028 total deaths, 162 new cases

Switching to pandemic-related news, CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Harvard and MIT sue to block Trump’s ban on foreign students

Two days after the Trump administration announced it plans to kick foreign students out of the country if they attend colleges that only offer online courses, Harvard University and MIT yesterday filed a lawsuit to block the move. The NYT and the Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes have more on the escalating battle between elite universities and Trump.

Here’s some related headlines from around the state, starting with MassLive: “Hampshire College offering ‘sanctuary’ to international students.” … From the Sun Chronicle: “Bridgewater State reworking student schedules to allow foreign students to stay following ICE rule against online courses.” … From the Worcester Business Journal: “UMass, Framingham State, QCC presidents condemn ICE order as Harvard, MIT sue.”

Ivy League cancels fall sports, including, yes, The Game

No Harvard-Yale football game this fall. And no fall sports in general at Ivy League schools as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Globe’s Julian Benbow and MassLive’s Matt Vautour have more, including how the decision may influence the fate of college sports across the country.

‘Stop the spread’: State targets eight hotspot cities for extra testing

The blitz is on. Steph Solis at MassLive reports that state officials plan to step up virus testing in eight Massachusetts communities with persistently high coronavirus cases, even though the overall number of cases statewide has dramatically plunged in recent weeks. The tests will be provided for free.

In related pandemic news, the Globe’s Kay Lazar has an update on the state’s decision to scale back its contact-tracing program now that virus cases across the state are down.

Baker to Maine governor: ‘I’ll put my data in Massachusetts up against your data any day’

We still think he should threaten invasion. Nevertheless, Gov. Charlie Baker is committed to soft diplomacy, saying yesterday he’s cordially spoken with Maine Gov. Janet Mills about her state’s plan not to lift pandemic travel restrictions on Massachusetts residents, reports CBS Boston. Baker said he even issued a coronavirus-case challenge to Mills. See headline above.

Meanwhile, Baker is dealing with another New England border problem. From CBS Boston: ‘Wear a mask’: Baker asks anyone attending NH Trump rally to use caution.”  

CBS Boston

The maestro of biting-his-tongue language

Speaking of Charlie Baker, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl, after listening to the governor speak about President Trump and Maine Gov. Janet Mills (see post immediately above), marvels at Baker’s ability to bite his tongue when talking about controversial issues and people – while still getting his point across. 


SJC to hear case challenging Baker’s pandemic emergency powers

The Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports that a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court will hear now hear a lawsuit, originally filed last month in Worcester Superior Court, that’s challenging Gov. Charlie sweeping emergency powers during the ongoing pandemic. The hearing is expected in Septemeber.

Boston Herald

Boston Sports Clubs in spat again with members

Attention Maura Healey. Boston Sports Clubs, which angered more than a few members (and Healey) in the early weeks of the pandemic, is angering its members once again over membership fees and cancelation issues, reports Tessa Yannone at Boston Magazine.

Boston Magazine

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.

Reversing course: Pittsfield schools to rehire some staff

They’re feeling more confident. Pittsfield officials say they are poised to call back as many as 60 of the 140 teachers and other school workers who were notified of pending layoffs, following a meeting with state education officials gave them more confidence that state aid will not drop off a cliff when lawmakers finally manage to pull together a budget. Amanda Burke at the Berkshire Eagle has the details. 

Berkshire Eagle

Kennedy proposes large-scale coronavirus recovery plan

It’s one of many plans out there at this point. From MassLive’s Benjamin Kail: “U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III on Wednesday proposed a coronavirus economic recovery plan including an expansive public works and federal hiring program focused on combating longstanding systemic inequality and discrimination. … The initiative would provide federal funding to states, municipalities and tribal communities in need of jobs.”


Ever so cautiously, Warren wades into Markey-Kennedy battle

Speaking of Joseph Kennedy, the Globe’s Victoria McGrane reports that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who endorsed U.S. Sen. Ed Markey before Kennedy decided to challenge Markey in the Dem primary, is ever so quietly starting to campaign for Markey, authoring a recent fund-raising email for Markey and committing to a Zoom event with the incumbent. Her support could make a difference with progressive voters, as McGrane notes. Or at least Markey dearly hopes so.

Boston Globe

Parole doesn’t really mean parole when it comes to those with mental illnesses

WGBH’s Jenifer B. McKim has a good report this morning on the almost surreal treatment of state inmates who have mental illnesses and who are granted parole – and yet they’re really not paroled in the traditional sense of the word. Critics say there’s been a longstanding problem with the way the state parole board’s handles such cases.


Ex. Lt. Gov. O’Neill merges his communications unit with D.C. firm

The BBJ’s Gintautas Dumcius reports that O’Neill and Associates, headed by former Lt. Gov. Thomas P. O’Neill, is splitting off its public relations practice and merging it with Washington, D.C.-based Seven Letter, which also has Massachusetts ties. O’Neill and Associates plans to retain its lobbying business.

BBJ (pay wall)

Try, try again: Salem tees up another vote on inclusionary zoning

No pressure, but everybody’s watching. The Salem City Council is expected once again to consider approving an inclusionary zoning bylaw that would require some affordable housing be included in virtually all building projects, Dustin Luca at the Salem News reports. Gov. Baker recently slammed the council’s inability to get the measure passed and held it up as evidence of the need for lawmakers to pass his housing bill that would drop the two-thirds supermajority requirement. 

Salem News

House pushes for more DCF transparency

CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reports on the House’s planned vote today on legislation aimed at bringing more transparency – though not independent oversight – of the state’s troubled Department of Children and Families. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) covered the same story earlier this week.

Auto repair question opponents challenge signatures

The pandemic strikes again. From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “Opponents of a proposed ballot question that would increase access to automobile data formally objected to its eligibility Wednesday, echoing an argument that has so far blocked a congressional candidate from making the ballot in a separate case.” The debate is over the third-party company used by backers of the referendum to gather electronic signatures during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Team Sharing Overdose Awareness Protest

A Massachusetts-based organization made up of parents who have lost a child to an opioid overdose plans to protest outside the State House after Gov. Baker’s office reportedly told the group that the governor is “unable to lower the flag” to half-staff in memory of the thousands who have died of drug overdoses.

Team Sharing

How creative thinking can help you re-imagine your small business

Yancey Strickler, co-founder of Kickstarter and author of “This Could Be Our Future”, joins us in this webinar to share how the power of creativity can transform your business.

Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

CX Summer Nights

This month we’re welcoming Oompa and Cliff Notez to the big screen. More details to come! This event is free, virtual, and all are welcome.

Cambridge Crossing

Virtual Amplify Conference – Nuestro Impacto: Be Counted, Be Heard (Day 1)

Join us for our Virtual Amplify Conference – Nuestro Impacto: Be Counted, Be Heard hosted by Amplify Latinx, the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy and the Gastón Institute, in collaboration with our partner organizations.

Amplify Latinx

Virtual 2020 Race Ahead: Moving Forward Together

Join the Boston Business Journal for a virtual discussion on how we can affect real change in our community and move forward together.

Boston Business Journal

For Real Estate: Why Constant Contact is the Smarter Choice for Online Marketing

In this free, one-hour webinar, you’ll get an overview of the tools that Constant Contact offers.

Constant Contact

Virtual Amplify Conference – Nuestro Impacto: Be Counted, Be Heard (Day 2)

Join us for our Virtual Amplify Conference – Nuestro Impacto: Be Counted, Be Heard hosted by Amplify Latinx, the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy and the Gastón Institute, in collaboration with our partner organizations.

Amplify Latinx

Today’s Headlines


Worker Covid-19 infection closes Cambridge City Hall – Cambridge Day

Boston city council continues to push for change in first meeting after budget vote – Boston Herald


Swampscott begins recall-petition effort – Lynn Item

Nguyen faces backlash over Black Lives Matter video – Eagle-Tribune

Go Fund Me effort seeks to get North Attleboro VFW out of debt – Sun Chronicle


Biden to unveil $700B jobs plan in Pennsylvania – The Hill

What will Trump’s rally in New Hampshire be like? It’s anybody’s guess – New York Times

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