Happening Today

MBTA-DOT meeting, Gants remembrances, and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker is scheduled to deliver remarks at a Boston Globe and Biogen virtual event on “’Accelerating the Next Generation of Climate Policy and Protecting Human Health,’ 10 a.m.

— Prior to a joint meeting of the MBTA and DOT governing boards, transportation officials are expected to make announcements in connection with the fourth annual National Rail Safety Week and unveil one of two train coaches wrapped with a safety message, 10 a.m. for announcement and 12 p.m. for meeting.

— Gov. Charlie Baker speaks with legislative leaders via private conference call, 2 p.m.

Supreme Judicial Court Full Committee hosts a private remembrance for Chief Justice Ralph Gants, who died following a heart attack earlier this month, 3 p.m.

— Massachusetts Democratic Party hosts a virtual reception to grant Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Awards to U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and former Gov. Deval Patrick, 7:30 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: 15 new deaths, 9,100 total deaths, 340 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

The Ginsburg aftermath: ‘American politics is about to get a lot uglier’

It didn’t take long for the political battle lines to form following Friday’s sad death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A sampling of some of the local headlines, starting with CBS Boston: “Sen. Warren On Filling Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court Seat: ‘This Fight Has Just Begun.’” … From the Globe’s James Pindell: “It is hard to overstate the political implications of Ginsburg’s death.” …  From WCVB: “Gov. Baker says Supreme Court is ‘too important to rush’ in wake of Justice Ginsburg’s death.” … From Universal Hub: “Markey: If Trump gets to appoint RBG replacement, Democrats must expand Supreme Court and end filibuster if they take the Senate.” And, yes, Markey really said it via Twitter. … From the Globe’s Michael Cohen: “American politics is about to get a lot uglier.”

But it should be noted that there was indeed genuine sadness over Ginsburg’s death, not just political jousting. From WBUR: “Massachusetts Congressional Members Mourn Ginsburg’s Passing.” … From the Globe’s Joan Vennochi: “Ordinary people of all ages — especially women — understand what Ginsburg meant to their lives.”

Report: Nearly 4,700 students in Boston and Springfield have switched to Catholic schools for in-person learning

These are pretty amazing numbers – and point to the divide between parents and public-school teachers when it comes to school reopening protocols, to wit: Heather Adams at MassLive reports that thousands of new students have now enrolled in Catholic schools in the Boston and Springfield areas, boosting enrollment at parochial institutions at a time when most thought the enrollment trend was in irreversible decline. And it’s mostly about in-person learning, Adams reports.


Tale of two states: How did Rhode Island end up with mostly in-person classes — and not Massachusetts?

Speaking of in-person classes, the Globe’s Bianca Vázquez Toness and Dan McGowan compare and contrast how Rhode Island and Massachusetts ended up with different approaches to reopening schools. And the differences may come down to the different priorities and styles of the states’ two respective governors, Gina Raimondo and Charlie Baker.

In other school reopening news, from the Globe’s James Vaznis: “Air quality and ventilation issues trip up school reopenings across Massachusetts.”

Boston Globe

Police consider charges against teen – and parents – over L-S student bash

They’re probably just trying to make them sweat a bit before slapping them with fines. Still, CBS Boston confirms that Sudbury police over the weekend were indeed considering charging both a teen and the parents whose home was used for a student bash that later forced school officials to go all-remote learning at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High.

Speaking of pandemic family affairs, the story about the Attleboro parents who sent their COVID-19 positive child to school has gone national, via the Washington Post. And officials aren’t just going after teens and parents these days. From Christian Wade at the Salem News: “Reopening violations nearing 1,000/Health officials cracking down on businesses ignoring mandates.”

CBS Boston

Massachusetts researchers to the pandemic testing and plasma treatment rescue

Two stories this morning highlight the role of the state’s juggernaut life-science sector in combating the coronavirus. From WBUR’s Deborah Becker: “MIT, Harvard Researchers Say They’re Close To A New Rapid COVID Test.” 

Meanwhile, from Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune: “Trials begin for COVID-19 plasma treatment/Studies in Mass. hospitals seek to determine effectiveness.”

The state’s jobless rate plunges, finally

The state of Massachusetts no longer has the nation’s highest unemployment rate. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that the commonwealth’s jobless rate fell by nearly five percentage points in August, to 11.3 percent, as employers added back tens of thousands of jobs. The state’s unemployment rate, though, remains well above the national average.


To Susan Collins’s aid: ‘Oh, right, Charlie Baker is still a Republican’

The Globe’s Matt Stout reports that Gov. Charlie Baker, who usually doesn’t get too involved in elections outside Massachusetts, is riding to the defense of a fellow moderate New England Republican, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who’s facing a very tough re-election battle in Maine. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin wins the story’s best-headline award: ‘Oh, right, Charlie Baker is still a Republican.’

It may well happen: The Cape’s first African-American legislator

If every voter on the Cape read this piece at the Barnstable Patriot by Kipp Diggs, he’d probably win by near unanimous acclamation. The former Barnstable High School hockey player and former professional boxer (and world welterweight champion) says he wants to become the 2nd Barnstable District’s state representative so he can serve a Cape community that rallied around his family when he lost a brother and later a son to alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers, respectively.

“And, yes, I will work for racial justice and equality, but not simply because I am a Black man. but rather because I am a person of faith who believes that my community will judge the content of my character.”

Barnstable Patriot

Andrea Campbell is ‘seriously considering’ running for mayor

Less than a week after Michelle Wu announced her mayoral bid, Zoe Mathews at GBH reports that City Councilor Andrea Campbell is also “seriously considering” jumping into the 2021 race. In other words, Wu’s early-announcement attempt to scare away/discourage potential council competition may not be working.


‘How a transsexual, satanist, anarchist trolled New Hampshire voters’

With the headline above, how could Billy Baker’s Globe story not be one of the most-read pieces at the paper? And, btw, she really is a transsexual, satanist, anarchist. Fox News got it right.

Boston Globe

Ranked-choice voting: Let the battle begin

In a Globe op-ed, Elizabeth Warren and Jamie Raskin throw their support behind the Question 2 ranked-choice-voting ballot initiative, saying it’s a better way to vote and citing crowded primary races in which no one comes close to getting 50 percent of the vote and yet one candidate wins.

But the Globe’s Jeff Jacoby presents the counter-arguments against Question 2, saying ranked-choice actually distorts who and what voters want and effectively gives some voters two votes to get one of their political soulmates into office. Jacoby’s column was one of the most-read pieces at the Globe over much of the weekend.

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) has more on the debate over ranked-choice voting.

So why didn’t ranked-choice backers give us ranked-choice options on ranked-choice voting?

Speaking of ranked-choice voting, a MassterList reader sent us this “half-kidding” analysis of Question 2 that we just can’t resist passing along: “Not to get too ‘meta’ but with respect to Question 2, doesn’t it seem a little weird for this to be a Yes/No response instead of… ranked? As in:

– I’d like this for Federal Elections but not State Elections

– I’d like this for State Elections but not Federal Elections

– I’d like this for both State and Federal Elections

– I don’t want this in either State or Federal Elections.”

We can already hear the retort of initiative backers: Aha! Question 2 has nothing to do with federal elections! Well, okay, how about this instead:

– I’d like this for state Primary but not General Elections

– I’d like this for state General but not Primary Elections

– I’d like this for both state Primary and General Elections

– I don’t want this in either state Primary or General Elections

It may be confusing. But no more confusing than the computerized “run off” system Question 2 backers advocate.

Later and smaller: Private development near Polar Park pushed back and downsized

No shock this news was released on a Friday afternoon. Worcester CIty Manager Edward Augustus says a planned $125-million mixed-use development meant to complement the publicly funded Polar Park baseball stadium has been pushed back two years and downsized, Grant Welker at the Worcester Business Journal and Nick Kotsopolous of the Telegram report. The city says the development will still generate enough tax revenue to cover the costs of building the park and related infrastructure. 

Costly delays: Dispensary sues Cannabis commission for inaction on project

Pick up the pace, already. Northeast Alternatives has sued the Cannabis Control Commission, hoping a judge will spur action on its application for a Lakeville dispensary where the company says it is spending $200,000 every month for rent on a vacant, idle facility, Jessica Bartlett at the Boston Business Journal reports. The tab so far: $1.2 million and counting. 

BBJ (pay wall)

As correction officers air ads supporting police, union boss slams Markey for calling to disarm officers

More from the police-reform front. SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) reports that a union representing correctional officers is now running ads urging people to call their legislators to “demand they do all they can to support these heroes who keep us safe,” i.e. police. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports that Massachusetts Police Association President James R. Guido is blasting U.S. Sen. Ed Markey for calling to disarm police of “weapons of war.”

Don’t tell anyone, but the Franklin and Wentworth institutes are in hush-hush merger talks

Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker has an intriguing scoop this morning, reporting that officials from the Franklin Institute of Technology and Wentworth Institute of Technology are engaged in secret talks to merge – and some are worried about the deal being cut behind closed doors, a perceived conflict of interest and the future of an institute that was founded from a long-ago donation by Ben Franklin and that today mostly serves young people of color.

Boston Globe

Close ties: Walsh aide is Biden’s man in the Bay State

He just has to land the plane. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has tapped Cameron Charbonnier to serve as director of his campaign in the Bay State, Matt Stout at the Globe reports. Charbonnier, who oversaw Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s 2013 campaign before taking a role in his administration, briefly ran for state representative earlier this year.  He is the second close Walsh aide to take a role in the Biden campaign this cycle.

Rep. Ehrlich ‘very hopeful’ about passage of campus assault bill

We accidently left this story on the cutting-room floor late last week, i.e. how Rep. Lori Ehrlich is ‘very hopeful’ about passage of long-sought legislation aimed preventing sexual violence on college campuses, now that House Speaker Robert DeLeo has made the bill a priority, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Massachusetts man charged with killing 7 in NH crash wants out of jail before trial

Considering his lengthy driving and criminal record, we suspect his attorney will have a hard time proving Volodymyr Zhukovskyy is not a menace to society. Anyway, Scott Croteau at MassLive has the details on efforts to free Zhukovskyy while he awaits trial in NH on seven counts of negligent homicide.


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


Coronavirus pandemic leaves Boston’s Newbury Street with empty stores – Boston Herald

Boston schools reopen remotely with many bugs to work through – Boston Globe


UMass Memorial stockpiling PPE for coming flu season and possible coronavirus second wave – Telegram & Gazette

Former Quincy mayor Joseph Laraia has died – Patriot Ledger

Unclear if Thin Blue Line citizens petition is enforceable – Salem News


‘Nothing is off the table:’ Supreme Court replacement fight could reshape the Senate : – Politico

Federal prosecutors have Steve Bannon’s murky nonprofit in their sights – ProPublica

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