Happening Today

Fort Hood findings, Governor’s Council, and more

— The Boston Foundation holds the third installment of the Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2020 webinar series to discuss September employment data, the state’s economy and the pandemic’s impact on housing stability, 10 a.m.

— U.S. Reps. Stephen Lynch, Katherine Clark and Ayanna Pressley hold a virtual press conference to discuss their recent trip to Fort Hood, Texas, where a Brockton servicemember was recently found dead, 10:30 a.m.

Governor’s Council holds two meetings, the first to review the nomination of Michelle Fentress for a circuit judgeship in the District Court system, and the second to possibly vote on confirmation of Patrick Haggan as a Superior Court judge, 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. respectively.

ACLU of Massachusetts launches its #PoliceViolenceHappensHere initiative to highlight Massachusetts cases of police misconduct, 12 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: 11 new deaths, 9,118 total deaths, 143 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

With Romney’s support, GOP likely has votes to ram through Ginsburg’s replacement

It’s not over until it’s over. But it’s numerically now possible for U.S. Senate Republicans to hold a pre-election vote on a Supreme Court nominee to replace late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, after former Massachusetts Gov. and current Utah Sen. Mitt Romney announced yesterday he supports proceeding with a vote on a Ginsburg replacement, the AP reports at GBH.

From the Globe’s Adrian Walker: “Romney’s high-mindedness is no match for his desire to win.” But remember that this is still a two-newspaper town. From a Herald editorial: “Trump must fill Supreme Court seat before election.”


UMass’s Meehan on budget cuts: Painfully unavoidable

SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports that UMass president Marty Meehan is warning of a $335 million revenue shortfall due to the pandemic – and remote-learning has only exacerbated the university system’s financial woes that have already led to painful spending cuts.

University employees are not happy. From Ron Chimelis at MassLive: “Union lashes out at UMass administration during trustees meeting.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

National Guard members to receive to a $500 bonus for COVID-19 duty

They earned it. MassLive’s Douglas Hook reports that the state has decided to give Massachusetts National Guard members a $500 bonus each for their service during the COVID-19 crisis. “Massachusetts veterans and service members always put our safety ahead of their own and we wanted to find a way to thank them for their bravery,” said State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg.

Separately, it’s sort of a different story for other workers. From SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall): “Lawmakers Dump COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Bills Into Study.” I.e. good-bye.


MassHealth enrollment spikes during pandemic

We’re surprised the number isn’t higher. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) reports that enrollment in MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program, has spiked by about 63,000 people, or by 5 percent, since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dems and Hodgson square off over sheriff polling-place monitors

Attorney General Maura Healey got the ball rolling on this last week by filing an advisory about intimidation at polling places, following remarks by President Trump. Now it’s turned into a full-scale debate between Dem lawmakers, who have filed a bill banning sheriffs and deputies from polling places in Massachusetts, and Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, a Republican who’s blasting the Dem move. Christian Wade at CNHI News and Joe Dwinell at the Herald have the details.

Voter up: Fenway Park expected to be approved as early-voting site

Speaking of voting, it may soon be voter-up time at Fenway Park, which is in line to become an early-voting center, reports the Globe’s Peter Abraham.

The perfect housing-market storm: Surging evictions amid 14 percent home-price spikes

The Globe’s Tim Logan reports that single-family home prices spiked by 14 percent last month – that’s right: 14 percent – in Massachusetts, according to the latest data from the Warren Group. And what timing: The Boston Foundation is expected to release a new report today warning of a coming housing system “collapse” tied to a lousy economy, loss of unemployment benefits and likely mass housing displacement caused by a surge in evictions, as the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock reports (pay wall).

Restaurant owners take their anti-food-delivery-fee crusade to the State House

Grubhub et gang may have their high-priced lobbyists on Beacon Hill, as the Globe’s Jon Chesto recently reported. But yesterday it was the little-guy restaurant owners’ turn to make their case at the State House regarding proposed caps on food- delivery fees charged by companies like Grubhub, DoorDash etc., as the Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports.

Boston Herald

The Second Cold War: Boston to resume use of dry ice against invading hordes of rats

They’ve received the necessary regulatory approvals and now it’s payback time. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports the city of Boston is about to resume the use of dry ice to combat the hordes of rats scurrying around the city now that restaurant dumpsters aren’t overflowing with food scraps. Gaffin explains how dry ice works – and it’s not for the war-weary squeamish.

Universal Hub

Go West–and East: Lawmakers urge state purchase of Pan Am Railways assets

Just buy it. A group of Western Mass. lawmakers is urging state transportation officials to exercise the state’s right to buy the assets of the Pan Am Railways to lay the groundwork for future East-West rail service along the Route 2 corridor, Douglas Hook at MassLive reports. 


Why rob banks when you can just fraudulently apply for COVID relief funds?

Our modern version of Willie Sutton. From WCVB: “A convicted bank robber from Rhode Island is facing federal charges after applying for millions of dollars worth of COVID-19 stimulus loans for businesses in Massachusetts that did not exist, according to the Department of Justice.”

Note: Banks paid out nearly $600,000 before he was caught.


Globe takes a stab at explaining ‘critical race theory,’ Trump’s latest political target

Entire books could be written – and have been written – on exactly what is “critical race theory.” So the Globe’s Deanna Pan faced a daunting task when she tackled a daily-story assignment trying to explain the theory in 700 words amid President Trump’s criticism of the movement. It’s an OK story. But if you really want to know more, we refer you to that scholarly of all scholarly sources, Wikipedia, specifically its entries on Critical Race Theory, Critical Theory and Neo-Marxism. The three are loosely linked philosophies – and it’s that distant “M”-word that’s ultimately the source of Trump’s ire. 

Fyi: The NYT tackled the whole Marxist class/race angle, sort of, in a piece last month. Bottom line: Not everyone agrees with Critical Race Theory – from old-school Marxists/socialists to right-wing Trumpeters and a lot of people in between.

Boston Globe

Going it alone: Northampton advances ranked-choice and non-citizen voting

They’re not waiting for the Question 2 outcome. The Northampton City Council has advanced measures that would put ranked-choice voting in place for local elections and allow non-citizens to cast municipal ballots, Greta Jochem at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. The measures still require full City Council approval and the blessing of the state legislature. The latter isn’t a slam dunk, we assume. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Money traps: Seaport’s private streets hidden in public

Beware: Some seemingly public streets in Boston’s Seaport District may actually be private streets – and your car may end up with what looks like an official parking ticket that’s really a private parking ticket made to look like an official parking ticket. The Globe’s Sean Murphy explains.

Boston Globe

Despite state order, Hingham withholds contracts on private investigation into ‘thin blue line’ controversy

Oh, it’s just public officials launching an investigation into people exercising their rights. What’s the big deal? From Wheeler Cowperthwaite at Wicked Local: “Hingham officials are withholding contracts, invoices and other financial documents related to private investigations they commissioned in the wake of the ‘thin blue line’ flag controversy and a firefighter union vote of no confidence in the fire chief.”

Wicked Local

Highway signs with new exit numbers start going up next month

CBS Boston reports that the state next month will start installing new highway signs that use a new federally required exit-numbering system. Don’t worry: The old signs – and the old exit numbers – will stay in place for two years as motorists get used to the new numbering system.

CBS Boston

The Juston Root shooting: Murkier than murky

The Globe’s Dugan Arnett sifted through a “vast trove of documents” regarding the wild Brigham & Women’s chase-and-shoot incident earlier this year and finds a lot of murkiness and “sometimes contradictory evidence” on the police shooting of Juston Root.

Grounded: UMass Dartmouth bids farewell to wonky windmill

When it comes to windmills, always buy new. Tim Dunn at the Standard-Times has the sad tale of the wonky windmill removed from the campus of UMass Dartmouth this week after eight years of uneven performance. By the end of its life, the turbine–acquired second-hand in 2012–wasn’t generating enough electricity to cover the cost of operating it. 

Standard Times

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


Revere turns to coronavirus survivors for new awareness campaign as city remains in pandemic’s grip – Boston Herald

Tufts renames Floating Hospital for Children, sparking mixed reactions – Boston Globe


Framingham: Call for all residents to get tested for Covid-19 – MetroWest Daily News

Lynn zoning changes shelved – Lynn Item


FDA poised to announce tougher standards for a covid-19 vaccine that make it unlikely one will be cleared by Election Day – Washington Post

Cindy McCain endorses Joe Biden – Politico

How to Contact MASSterList

Send tips to Matt Murphy: Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: Publisher@MASSterList.com or (857) 370-1156. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.