Keller at Large

Memo from a diehard mask denier

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller channels mask deniers, aka Maskholes, and … he suddenly realizes Rush Limbaugh is right and Charlie Baker is wrong and it’s time to live free or die, baby.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Lottery Commission, Interior Secretary Bernhardt, and more

Mass. Lottery Commission meets to get a sales update from executive director Michael Sweeney on Lottery IT issues and to vote on accepting the findings of a hearing officer in the case of a denied prize, 10:30 a.m.

— U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt joins representatives of New England’s commercial fishing and lobster industry in Boston to discuss the conflict between commercial fishing and offshore wind development, 11 a.m.

— Democratic candidates in the Eighth Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch and challenger Robbie Goldstein, participate in a virtual town hall on the environment, hosted by the Environmental League of Massachusetts, with Lynch appearing at 11:30 a.m. and Goldstein at 12 p.m.

— Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts president Dr. J. Keith Motley hosts a virtual conversation on the pandemic’s impact on Black and Brown communities with guest Shelley Stewart III of McKinsey & Company, 12 p.m.

Commonwealth Resilience and Recovery Special Committee meets with plans to focus on ‘workforce training and development initiatives that can help displaced workers, reduce the unemployment rate, and spur economic growth,’ 1 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

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.

The coronavirus numbers: 1 new death, 8,214 total deaths, 174 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Police reforms: So much to do, so little time

As the Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports, there are now three police-reform bills before lawmakers on Beacon Hill. And the question is: Can lawmakers come up with a compromise plan in the waning weeks of the legislative session? The bills have a lot in common, but there are still major differences to resolve, from the thorny issue of qualified immunity for police to the AG’s role in future deadly-force inquiries.

The Globe’s John Ellement and Matt Stout tackle the AG angle. CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt reviews the five major issues confronting lawmakers. SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) reports on efforts to change criminal-record expungement measures. The Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Dusty Christensen reports on western Massachusetts police unions’ opposition to some of the reform proposals.

Everything else on Beacon Hill: So much to do, so little time

Beacon Hill lawmakers not only have the thorny issue of police reforms to sort out in the waning weeks of the legislative session. They still have to deal with the revenue-hemorrhaging state budget, economic development legislation, transportation issues and climate change bills, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy.

As for climate-change action, from SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall): “Lawmakers warn it’s last call for climate legislation.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

As lawmakers press for Vineyard Wind action, Interior secretary blows into town with his own ideas

CHNS’s Colin A. Young (pay wall) reports that 40 state lawmakers have written a letter to the foot-dragging feds in support of the Vineyard Wind project planned for waters south of Martha’s Vineyard.

And today U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt may well deliver a response, though it may not be the response lawmakers want, with Bernhardt planning to meet with commercial fishing officials who have concerns about the mammoth offshore wind farm, as SHNS’s Young reports separately (pay wall).

Do they come with straws? Baker signs cocktails-to-go bill

The Globe’s Janelle Nanos reports that Gov. Charlie Baker has indeed signed legislation allowing pandemic-battered restaurants to sell cocktails-to-go, within certain limits, including having to put drinks in car trunks, not center consoles.  

This caught our attention: Drinks can be as large as 64 ounces. That’s bigger than two 7-11 Big Gulps combined, if you’re keeping track, and we are keeping track.

Boston Globe

From UMass to Emerson College, the higher-ed budget axes are out

MassLive’s Ron Chimelis reports on UMass’s ongoing budget woes that are leading to major budget cuts across the university system.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Laura Krantz and Deirdre Fernandes report on what other colleges and universities are doing to stem the pandemic-era red ink, including steps being taken at Emerson College and Boston University.

The new Boston, the old Lowell

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi takes a look at the city of Boston’s latest transformation, largely through the eyes of Fletcher H. “Flash” Wiley, who has played a pioneering role in pushing Boston to move beyond its racist past.

Meanwhile, as Boston slowly changes, Lowell’s changes seem to be slower than slow, as evidenced by the mostly white city council’s reluctance to declare racism as a public health crisis. The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert has more.

Driving it home: Push to defund police gets personal in Amherst

Activists pushing for Amherst to cut the town’s police budget took their case directly to the homes of city councilors Monday, with a 20-car parade targeting the homes of councilors who they feel aren’t doing enough, Scott Merzbach at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

In Swampscott, a complicated tale of ‘privilege’ and politics

Adam Reilly at WGBH takes a deep dive into the state of play in Swampscott, where Selectman Don Hause faces a recall petition push after making comments about Black Lives Matter and white privilege – comments he says have been misconstrued. Hause also says he’s learned plenty since making the remarks.


‘Strike for Black Lives’

From a report at WBUR: ‘Labor union groups rallied Monday in front of the Massachusetts State House as part of a national day of action meant to protest systemic racism and economic inequality that they say has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic.”


Meanwhile, Whole Foods employees sue over Black Lives Matter mask ban

From Strike for Black Lives to Black Lives Matter, from Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin: “Workers at the Whole Foods stores on River Street and Alewife Parkway – including one who says she was fired from the River Street store on Friday – have filed what they hope will be a class-action discrimination suit against the chain over the issue of being sent home if they show up for work with masks reading ‘Black Lives Matter.’”

Universal Hub

School committee members flunk state’s reopening guidelines

Massachusetts teachers’ unions have weighed in on the state’s school reopening guidelines. Why not school committee members? In a Globe op-ed, five members of the Woburn, Watertown, Burlington and Dracut school committees outline their problems with the state guidelines, from the lack of funding to not following the ‘strictest science.’

Meanwhile, from the Telegram: “Worcester schools outline plans for in-person school one-half or one-third of the time.”

Opponents plan multimillion-dollar ad blitz against right-to-repair ballot initiative

SHNS’s Chris Lisinki reports that opponents of the latest auto right-to-repair referendum are planning to spend “millions of dollars” to defeat the Question One initiative. News of the ad blitz comes a week after opponents, i.e. mostly auto manufacturers, dropped a legal challenge to block the initiative from the Nov. 3 ballot.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Can regulators also be activists? At the CCC, yes

CommonWealth magazine’s Shira Schoenberg takes a look at the unusual public activism by members of the state’s Cannabis Control Commission, regulating the pot industry while openly advocating for particular industry causes at the same time. There’s obviously some sort of line that can’t be crossed, but so far they don’t seem to have crossed that line yet.

Cape Cod Times

The Cantab Lounge closes, put up for sale

Another Boston-area institution has apparently fallen victim to the pandemic: Central Square’s Cantab Lounge, known for its poetry slams and as the former home of Little Joe Cook and the Thrillers. Boston Restaurant News and Universal Hub have the details on the reported demise of the Cantab.

Garden party canceled: Brockton Rox fans will have to find another way to sip beers and watch games

Points for creativity, but still a no. City health officials have shut down the Brockton Beerworx beer garden, from where customers could watch the Brockton Rox play college summer baseball games without actually being inside the park. Marc Larocque at the Enterprise reports the team’s owner says there’s no hard feelings but thinks the reopening rules are ambiguous and enforcement uneven.  


Taking the fall: Non social-distancing hordes force closure of Bash Bish Falls

It’s not just beaches. Police from both sides of the Massachusetts-New York border were activated Sunday to help disperse a crowd of 1,000 people who converged on Bash Bish Falls in the town of Mount Washington to seek relief from the heat, Heather Bellow at the Berkshire Eagle reports.

Berkshire Eagle

Drivers end 8-day RIDE strike

From Kaitlin McKinley Becker at NBC Boston: “A total of 350 essential workers, who have provided paratransit for some of the most-at risk and vulnerable Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority customers amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be back on the job after an agreement was reached Sunday on a new contract.”

NBC Boston

Healey and AGs open another legal front against Trump, this time over ACA rule

From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “A new federal rule will allow health care providers and insurers to discriminate against certain vulnerable and protected populations, Attorney General Maura Healey and 22 of her counterparts allege in a lawsuit they filed against the Trump administration Monday.” Lannan has all the details.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Deval Patrick on John Lewis: ‘It’s hard to think of another American who did more to challenge America’

Finally, former Gov. Deval Patrick recalls his own memories of the late John Lewis, the civic rights icon who passed away over the weekend. From Patrick at WBUR: “It’s hard to think of another American who did more to challenge America to face down her demons, to be her best self, and to respect the dignity in every living soul.”


Individual Homelessness in a COVID-19 World Part II: Local Public Perspectives on Addressing Homelessness

Join the Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance for a panel discussion about local responses to individual homelessness in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis and the need for housing solutions to address this public health crisis.

Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance

Smart ways small business can manage and spend money

Ramon Ray hosts Rhonda Abrams to help your small business navigate tough times and plan a money management strategy for the long term.

Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

JALSA Schmoozefest

This week we are excited to welcome our special guests: Beth Huang, Director of the Mass Voter Table, and Grassroots Co-Chair for the Raise Up MA Coalition, talking about potential budget cuts and raising progressive revenues; Music from Todd Herzog, featuring his soulful, spiritual acoustic melodies; Humor from “Humor for Humanity” founder, Jimmy Tingle


Impact of COVID-19: What Area Colleges are Planning for the Fall

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique set of challenges for each of us. But one enormous challenge we’re all adjusting to is the complete shift in the way we interact with one another. The North Shore Chamber takes social-distancing very seriously and will be abiding by the Governor’s instructions for Massachusetts to remain safe while reopening at this Special Breakfast.

North Shore Chamber of Commerce

Newton and Brookline in Support of Senator Ed Markey

Please Join Senator Ed Markey for a Virtual Event with Event Chairs Rep. Ruth Balser, Hannah Banks, Senator Cindy Creem, Martina Jackson and Rep. Kay Khan.

Ed Markey for Senate

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

Report to celebrate Metro Boston communities for clean transportation leadership

Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center is releasing the 2020 edition of Renewable Communities, a report highlighting cities and towns that are leading the way to 100% renewable energy. The report will include case studies of projects to increase mass transit ridership, reduce reliance on private vehicles, and promote electric cars in Somerville, Belmont, and Chelsea.

Environment Massachusetts

Report to celebrate movement for fossil-fuel-free buildings

Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center is releasing the 2020 edition of Renewable Communities, a report highlighting cities and towns that are leading the way to 100% renewable energy. The report will include case studies of policies to encourage the construction of highly efficient and fossil-fuel-free buildings in Boston and Brookline.

Environment Massachusetts

Hard-Hit Industries: Rebuilding Restaurants, Retail, and Travel & Hospitality

Pioneer Institute invites you to our Virtual Policy Briefing, “Hardest Hit Industries,” on Wednesday, July 29th at 3:00 PM featuring Mary Connaughton, the Institute’s Director of Government Transparency and Director of Finance and Administration.

Pioneer Institute

Greater Milford Democratic Congressional Debate

The first debate between the Democratic candidates vying to replace Congressman Kennedy, featuring questions from you, the voters and broadcast live on Milford TV! (To protect the health and safety of the candidates and organizers, the event will be held remotely.)

Democratic Town Committees of Bellingham, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Medway, Milford and Norfolk

Today’s Headlines


Crime on the rise in Lynn – Lynn Item

East Boston marijuana store, city’s second, now open – Boston Globe


Pence to attend Nantucket fundraiser Saturday – Cape Cod Times

Ashland select board requests AG’s aid in Eversource pipeline fight – MetroWest Daily News

Worcester police say body cameras had drawbacks, would cost millions – Telegram & Gazette


Millions of kids may lose out on free meals as they return to school – Politico

Michael Cohen’s book to allege Trump made racist comments about Obama and Nelson Mandela, lawsuit says – Washington Post

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