Happening Today

Mail-in vote applications, MBTA meeting, and more

— Secretary of State William Galvin must send applications for mail-in general election ballots by today to registered voters who have not already received them.

— The Registry of Motor Vehicles draws winners in the 2020 low plate lottery, 9:30 a.m.

— U.S. Senate candidate Kevin O’Connor holds a news conference ‘calling out Senator Markey on his own turf for denying voters access to debates,’ Malden Public Library, 11 a.m.

— The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board meets virtually, with plans to discuss the fiscal year 2021 and fiscal year 2022 budgets, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker speaks with legislative leaders via private conference call, 2 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: 14 new deaths, 9,001 total deaths, 267 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts as total pandemic deaths in the state topped the 9,000 mark over the weekend.

NBC Boston

The MBTA prepares for service cuts

Today’s meeting of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board should be interesting. The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro reports that T officials are now resigned to the fact that no one is riding to the agency’s fiscal rescue – and that potentially deep service cuts at the T are now all but inevitable. The board is expected to discuss the pandemic-era budget woes at today’s meeting.

Speaking of government finances, from Meg McIntyre at SHNS (pay wall): “Muni Matters: Financial Outlook Unclear for Cities, Towns/ Unknown Length of Crisis Influencing Decisions.”

Boston Globe

Newton and Boston mayors to BC: Get your pandemic act together

In an email to Newton residents, Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller says she’s “gravely concerned” about the outbreak of coronavirus cases at Boston College – and she and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh are none too thrilled with the way the school is handling testing and other pandemic safety precautions at the Heights, reports Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin, the Globe’s Laura Krantz and the Herald’s Rick Sobey.

SJC seems wary of overturning governor’s emergency pandemic powers

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski and CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl report that the Supreme Judicial Court on Friday did indeed hear arguments in a case challenging Gov. Charlie Baker’s emergency powers during the pandemic – and Mohl writes that several members of the high court seemed wary of “upending the fight against COVID-19.”

Lincoln-Sudbury High School shifts to all remote after huge student bash

We’re shocked – shocked – by this behavior. From CBS Boston: “The Sudbury Board of Health announced on Saturday that Lincoln-Sudbury High School must start with remote learning for at least 14 days after police broke up a student party the night before.”

As Universal Hub points out, students scattered in all directions when the cops arrived at the party. Some of those nabbed proceeded to give police fake names. Fyi: We assume ‘caveats’ in the following Globe headline might also include incidents like the one at L-S.: “Should you send your child back to school? The expert consensus leans toward ‘yes,’ with caveats.” Fyi II, via the Lynn Item: “Voke school going all remote. Saugus, Revere students affected.”

CBS Boston

So why does Massachusetts have the highest jobless rate in the nation?

The Herald’s Howie Carr is convinced it’s all the fault of one man, i.e. “Tall Deval.” But the Globe’s Shirley Leung and Larry Edelman come closer to the mark (and reality) by reporting that a number of factors have led to Massachusetts having the highest unemployment rate in the nation. It has to do with our allegedly recession-resilient industries not being as recession resilient as thought. And, yes, Charlie Baker’s handling of the pandemic has contributed an incalculable bit to the state’s woes. Leung and Edelman explain.

Boston Globe

Contact complications: Nantucket officials say tracing thwarted amid surge in cases

Mum’s the word. Health officials on Nantucket say their efforts to trace the source of a mini-surge in Covid-19 cases late last week are running into obstacles as the newly infected refuse to identify where they’ve traveled or even where they work, Joshua Balling at the Inquirer & Mirror reports. Nantucket–which lacks an acute care hospital–saw 25 confirmed cases over four days and officials worry about community spread as many of the cases trace to workers in construction and other trades. 

Inquirer & Mirror

College presidents: Keep collegiate athletics out of sports betting bill

In a letter to House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Karen Spilka and other Beacon Hill leaders, a group of college presidents with Division 1 sports programs are strongly urging legislators to leave college athletics out any future sports-gambling bill, reports SHNS’s Colin Young.

The don’t say so explicitly, but they fear scandals like this doozy from the late 1970s. (Hint: The infamous case is briefly referenced in the movie ‘Goodfellas.’)

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Cambridge police looking into yet another offensive cop tweeter

Here we go again. A few months after the Cambridge Police Department vowed to take action against a superintendent who blasted Ed Markey and Joe Kennedy via social media, the CPD is now looking into Twitter posts “seemingly” by a city police lieutenant who’s apparently no fan of Ayanna Pressley and Black Lives Matter and who appears to support violence against lefty agitators, as Marc Levy reports at Cambridge Day. The CD piece via UH.

Cambridge Day

Franklin town clerk resigns after mail-in ballots debacle

She’s out by her own accord. From Michelle Williams at MassLive: “A town clerk in Massachusetts has submitted her resignation after thousands of mail-in ballots received for the Sept. 1 primary went uncounted. ‘I am resigning to re-establish confidence with the voters of this community in their elections,’ Franklin Town Clerk Teresa M. Burr wrote in her resignation letter.”


Busy, busy, busy: Markey says he has time for only one debate against O’Connor

Incumbent Ed Markey says he’s too busy with the people’s business to debate GOP rival Kevin O’Connor more than once in the U.S. Senate race. Besides, early-voting has cut into everyone’s precious time, Markey’s campaign says. O’Connor isn’t buying it. The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert has more on the classic debate-over-debates stage of the election.

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports O’Connor is trying to make the Green New Deal a major issue in the contest.

Question of the day: Is ranked-choice voting even constitutional?

If Maine is any indication, Massachusetts can expect a lot of constitutional and other legal challenges to ranked-choice voting should voters approve the new statewide voting system in November, reports the Globe’s Matt Stout. Attorney General Maura Healey may have allowed the measure on the November ballot, but the Supreme Judicial Court has yet to render a constitutional decision on the matter, as Stout notes.

Last week, CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reported that, with only about two months left before the November referendum, “an organization is finally forming to oppose ranked-choice voting, with the earliest supporters coming from the conservative wing of Massachusetts politics.”

Boston Globe

Caught in the crossfire: Mayor Tyer’s husband sues election rival over vote-tampering allegation

The husband of Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer has filed a defamation suit against her challenger in the most recent election, claiming Melissa Mazzeo damaged his reputation by alleging he tampered with ballots in city hall, Larry Parnass at the Berkshire Eagle reports. 

Berkshire Eagle

Spreading the wealth: Business groups urge shifting more aid from rich to poor school districts

Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine reports that the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education and Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, in a new report, are supporting the shifting of additional state funds from wealthier school districts to poorer school districts in Massachusetts. It’s not quite a third-rail type of issue, but it’s close to it.


Sadly, Massachusetts is not the only state guilty of mishandling trucker-citation records

The Globe’s Matt Rocheleau and Vernal Coleman report that Massachusetts is not alone in its slow – and sometimes tragic – handling of motor-vehicle records of bad truck drivers out there. A lot of other states are guilty too. Which is not exactly reassuring for those who regularly drive the nation’s highways and byways.

‘Remnants of War’: World War I ordnance detonated in Wellfleet

World War I? Yes. World War I. From Wicked Local: “A U.S. Navy explosives team and a state police bomb squad helped the fire department destroy several pieces of unspent ammunition dating from World War I on Saturday, after the department received a report at 3:38 p.m. that day of the explosives, according to the fire department.”

As the mini-classic “Aftermath: The Remnants of War” makes clear, there’s a lot of unspent ammunition strewn around long-ago battlefields, from the old WWI trenches in northern France to the grim dugouts surrounding Volgograd (i.e. Stalingrad).

Wicked Local

Weymouth compressor station has emergency shutdown just days after starting testing

Critics of the project are, to no one’s surprise, in full I-told-you-so mode. From Anastasia E. Lennon at the Patriot Ledger, via Wicked Local: “Just days after the Weymouth natural gas compressor station started testing, it had an emergency shutdown Friday morning after a gasket failure caused an unplanned gas release.” Enbridge, the company that built the controversial station, reported that gas was venting at ground level at the site.

Wicked Local

Martin Dunn, former Holyoke mayor and state senator, RIP

The Holyoke-area community is remembering former mayor and onetime state senator Martin “Marty” Dunn as a generous and selfless public servant after he died Friday at the age of 64. Jacquelyn Voghel at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports Dunn will also be remembered locally as much for his behind-the-scenes pro bono legal and charity work. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Medford’s very own still a player: Bloomberg pledges $100M to Florida fight

Aha! Turns out the Bay State isnt locked out of the presidential race after all. Former New York Mayor, presidential candidate and Medford native Mike Bloomberg has decided to drop at least $100 million of his vast fortune to boost Joe Biden’s candidacy in the state of Florida, which is again poised to be a key swing state in the Electoral College, Michael Sherer reports at the Washington Post. 

Washington Post

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.

Priorities for Progress

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.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Virtual Open House #3: Boston Common Master Plan

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department, in partnership with the Friends of the Public Garden, announced a series of virtual public events to gather feedback on the proposed improvements to the Boston Common, as part of the Boston Common Master Planning Initiative.

Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of the Public Garden

Envisioning Equity Part I: Equitable Education through the Crisis

This fall, MassBudget is hosting Envisioning Equity, a series of community conversations examining how our state budget can help build economic and racial justice in Massachusetts.


Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy

Award-winning journalist Larry Tye discusses his new book Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Boston Globe columnist Eileen McNamara.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Virtual 2020 Best Places to Work

The BBJ hopes you can join us as we celebrate the Best Place To Work!

Boston Business Journal

Faith and the National Elections: A discussion of how faith informs our voting

Join us for a discussion with faith leaders and the media to discuss: How faith shapes the issues that matter most to us; Balancing issues, political party and personal attributes when deciding how to vote; Accurate and reliable reporting in the age of social media; and The impact of a candidate’s own faith.

A Faith That Does Justice

100th Anniversary Virtual Awards Gala

We will stand together, virtually, to celebrate our 2020 Health Care Stars who, while deserving the utmost praise and recognition pre-COVID-19, have maintained their commitment to improving and protecting the lives of MA residents since the outbreak began. We are planning a showcase of celebration and resilience and ask for your sponsorship support of our 2020 honorees and of MHC’s work.

Massachusetts Health Council

Today’s Headlines


Developers are already zeroing in on West Station – Boston Globe

Biopharma trade group MassBio lays off staff – Boston Business Journal


Brewster voters reject push to delay, pass plastic bottle ban – Cape Cod Times

Springfield to allow drive-by trick-or-treating this year, but no door-to-door – MassLive


Bloomberg to spend at least $100 million to back Biden in Florida – Washington Post

Minnesota seemed ripe for a Trump breakout; it has not arrived – New York Times

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