Labor Day weekend rush commences
Only two event announcements today as residents prepare for the long Labor Day weekend:
— Mass. Action Against Police Brutality holds press conference with family members of individuals killed by police to announce the aims of a protest march planned for Wednesday, Outside the State House, 9 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker recently signed a proclamation marking Sept. 4 as ‘Home Care Day’ to raise awareness for home care workers and the issues they face during the pandemic.
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.
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: 17 new deaths, 8,870 total deaths, 393 cases
WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.
Jake Auchincloss declared winner by AP in Fourth District primary
You know the situation is still a little fluid when the region’s largest newspaper cites a wire service for its report. Nevertheless, from the Globe’s Matt Stout: “Jake Auchincloss, a Newton city councilor and Marine veteran who pitched himself as a centrist choice in a crowded progressive field, won the Fourth Congressional District’s Democratic primary, the Associated Press said early Friday morning, more than two days after polls closed.”
Auchincloss was also declaring victory early this morning. A spokesman for Jesse Mermell, who was running a close second in the primary race, “did not immediately say if Mermell had plans to concede,” the Globe reports. Before the AP called the race in favor of Auchincloss, the Herald’s Rick Sobey was reporting that a “recount could be looming.”
And a recount could be looming partly due to the vote-counting confusion yesterday, largely caused by mail-in-voting snafus. See next item.
Ok, maybe there were more than a few mail-in glitches on Tuesday
After a number of people, groups and a certain morning newsletter (cough, cough) praised the relatively smooth way expanded mail-in voting was handled on Tuesday, it turns out it may not have gone as smoothly as originally thought. From Mary Whitfill at Wicked Local yesterday: “Election chaos in Norfolk County leaves 1,450 ballots still uncounted.” (Note: As far as we can tell, they were eventually counted, albeit late.). From the MetroWest Daily News: “More than 3,000 ballots have not been counted in Franklin after more boxes of ballots are found.” (Ditto previous note.) And from CommonWealth magazine’s Shira Schoenberg: “Glitches mar Tuesday’s election/Reports of uncounted ballots and delayed ballots.” And the troubles weren’t confined to the 4th Congressional District.
Bottom line: Tuesday’s mail-in-voting process went only somewhat smoothly, though smoothly enough for the NYT to praise how it went. Still, a lot of revisions will be needed before the November general election, when voter turnout will be heavier and when Secretary of State Bill Galvin breaks out his extra stash of Tums.
Baker on Trump’s pre-election vaccine rollout plan: Don’t rush it
Once again showing he’s mastered the art of biting his tongue when the Trump administration says or does something most normal human beings would consider outrageous and/or ridiculous, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, without criticizing anyone directly, yesterday basically said the Trump administration shouldn’t rush to rollout a new COVID-19 vaccine conveniently just days before the November general election, as CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt reports.
“This shouldn’t be based on a date,” Baker said. “It should be based on a process and a set of protocols.” I.e. Based on science, not the political calendar.
Pandemic and BLM priorities clash: Baker defends restrained police response to huge Dorchester gathering
The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter and Erin Tiernan report that Black activist groups are furious over the city and state’s response, or lack of response, to a huge multi-day bash in Dorchester, saying Mayor Walsh and Gov. Baker didn’t do enough to protect minorities amid the pandemic.
But WGBH’s Mike Deehan reports Baker yesterday defended the police’s restrained action in Dorchester, with the governor noting it came at a time of widespread protests over police shootings and other actions against Black men. “With all of the tension that’s out there these days that exists between law enforcement and people generally, they handled it exactly the way you would want them to,” Baker said.
State launches tried-and-true tactic to combat virus in hotspot cities: Education
SHNS’s Colin Young and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl report that the Baker administration is launch a “new, fairly basic” education campaign in a number of communities with stubbornly high COVID-19 infection rates, using social media, billboards and multiple-language messaging to promote social distancing and the wearing of masks.
Here’s some good news on the pandemic front, via SHNS (pay wall): “Brockton, Sutton Fall Off State’s Highest Risk List.”
Baker on pandemic restaurant closures: ‘It stinks. It stinks’
This is one way to look at the problem. From CBS Boston: “Gov. Charlie Baker said on Thursday it’s been ‘heartbreaking’ to see restaurants and bars go out of business during the coronavirus pandemic. …. ‘It stinks. It stinks. A lot of this stinks,’ Baker said of the closures. ‘But it’s part of what comes with COVID.’” The governor’s comments came after the recent high-profile closures of Boston’s Pour House, The Fours and Cheers at Faneuil Hall.
‘Help’: After Biogen event, emails show Baker administration grappling with pandemic in early days
The BBJ’s Gintautas Dumcius and Allison DeAngelis, via a public-records request, have obtained emails showing the tense and confusing early days of the pandemic, soon after Biogen officials first told officials about confirmed COVID-19 cases among attendees at an event sponsored by the company. “Help!” read the header on one state official’s email.
Bottom line: You’ll have a new appreciation of the phrase “the fog of war” when you read the emails and story.
Suite life: Encore party featured a DJ, strippers and 112 very happy attendees
We presume this has to do with a previously reported hotel-suite bash, but with extra details provided by Seth Daniel at the Chelsea Record, i.e. reports State Police broke up a party in an Encore casino hotel suite that video shows drew at least 112 people and featured a live DJ and adult dancers. Encore was cited for the incident and has put new rules in place since that party.
Coronavirus updates: Testing raw sewage, Somerville starts Phase 3, BAA postpones marathon registration
Now that the primary election is over, all of a sudden the floodgates have opened on coronavirus news. So we’re going with just headlines in this post, starting with Max Larkin’s piece at WBUR: “Somerville, Northeastern Partner To Look For Coronavirus In City Sewage.” … From the Globe’s Jeremy Fox: “Somerville to enter Phase 3, Step 1, after Labor Day.” … From Douglas Hook at MassLive: “Massachusetts gaming arcade, Bit Bar, sues Gov. Charlie Baker over coronavirus reopening plan.” … From Universal Hub: “BAA postpones registration for 2021 Boston Marathon.” … From SHNS (pay wall): “Cape Eyes ‘Second Summer’ to Prolong Rebound.”
Feds: Man faked death to avoid charges he ripped off CARES Act
His initial legal strategy obviously didn’t work. From WCVB: “A Massachusetts man is accused of faking his own death to avoid federal charges of fraud and conspiracy for his alleged participation in a conspiracy to defraud the CARES Act, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
Republican legislators have had it with Massachusetts Bail Fund
The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that a group of Republican lawmakers at the State House are calling for a hearing and review of the tax-exempt status of the Massachusetts Bail Fund, the controversial left-wing group that’s paid the bail of a number of people charged with serious crimes.
Jackie O’s sprawling estate on Martha’s Vineyard sold to conservations groups for $27M
From the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock: “Two Martha’s Vineyard nonprofits have agreed to buy the Aquinnah estate of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for $27 million, with plans to convert the 304-acre property into public conservation land known as the Squibnocket Pond Reservation.”
Less is more? The Berkshire Eagle latest to reduce print schedule
They’ll need fewer barrels of ink. The Berkshire Eagle says it will reduce its print newspaper schedule, eliminating its Monday edition and producing a new weekend paper instead of separate issues on Saturday and Sunday as it emphasizes its digital products. Eagle President and Publisher Fredric Rurtberg writes that the moves are both a reaction to pandemic-induced economic realities–ad revenue is down 30 percent–and a way to prepare for a brighter future, hopefully
Healey joins multi-state action to block recent Postal Service changes
MassLive’s Michael Bonner reports Attorney General Maura Healey is joining a coalition of attorney generals from California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, North Carolina and Pennsylvania who seeking to halt changes to the United States Postal Service that could prevent employees from delivering the mail. The case is obviously tied to this year’s expansion of mail-in voting across the country.
Disbanded: Lynn racial-justice conversations shelved over disagreements
Lynn City Council President Darren Cyr has canceled a series of racial-justice conversations among community groups and councilors, saying conversations that were supposed to be confidential have been made public by some participants, Thor Jourgensen at the Lynn Item reports.
Still protesting after 10 years: Activists worry about ‘zombie’ biomass project
Ten years and counting. Protesters gathered Thursday in Springfield to protest the revival of a nearly decade-old wood-to-energy biomass project in the city that has been given new life by a pending climate change bill in the state legislature. Peter Goonan at MassLive has details on the protest, the project and the legislative lifeline activists want to sever.
Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend – and see you Tuesday
We’d like to wish our MassterList readers a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend. We’ll be taking the Monday holiday off, so we’ll see you next Tuesday morning.
Sunday public affairs TV: Kevin O’Connor, Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, Lynn Perry Wooten
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Kevin O’Connor, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, who talks with host Jon Keller about police reform, budget deficits and his critique of U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, his Democratic opponent in the November general election
This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. New UMass Boston Chancellor Marcelo Suarez-Orozco shares his plans and priorities for the semester; Polar Beverages CEO Ralph Crowley on the company’s new deal that’s taking its products nationwide; and Boston Business Journal editor Doug Banks reviews the top local business stories.
On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kevin O’Connor, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a political roundtable discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.
CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Women in academia, featuring Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten, the new president at Simmons University, the first African American to head the school, and Roxbury Community College president Dr. Valerie Roberson.
JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956
Fredrik Logevall, Harvard University professor of history and international relations and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, discusses his forthcoming book JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 with George Packer, staff writer at The Atlantic.
Virtual 2020 Corporate Citizenship Awards
Join the Boston Business Journal for our annual Corporate Citizenship Awards.
Virtual Author Talk with Pam Fessler
Virtual Author Talk with NPR Correspondent Pam Fessler
Priorities Primary Debrief: 2022 & The Future for Massachusetts Democrats
Please join us at 12pm on September 15 for a Priorities Primary Debrief: 2022 & The Future for Massachusetts Democrats. This event will feature a legislative primary overview, a look at some polling we’ve conducted on the 2022 gubernatorial election (campaigns are likely to start as early as November!), and a discussion of voter attitudes.
Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America
Senator Sherrod Brown discusses his new book, Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America, which explores the careers of senators who have also sat at Desk 88 on the Senate floor, including Hugo Black, George McGovern, and Robert F. Kennedy. Senator Jeanne Shaheen moderates.
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