Keller at Large
If you trusted Mitt Romney, you f—-d up
In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller has more than a few moderate friends disappointed in Mitt Romney for supporting the Senate GOP’s push to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the general election. To which Jon responds: What did you expect?
Gaming Commission, Cannabis Control Commission, and more
— Cape Cod Reopening Task Force holds its weekly media availability via conference call, 9 a.m.
— Black leaders from across Massachusetts hold a virtual press conference to call on the Legislature to pass police reform, 9 a.m.
— Mass. Gaming Commission meets to review the status of the state’s three gaming facilities, 10 a.m.
— Massachusetts State Retirement Board convenes virtually with Treasurer Deb Goldberg chairing, 10 a.m.
— The Cannabis Control Commission meets as members approach the end of significant regulatory rewrites, followed later by a virtual press conference with chairman Steven Hoffman, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz and others regarding the fifth anniversary of the New England Treatment Acces program, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.
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, 9,135 total deaths, 542 new cases
MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.
Double the fun: Campbell says she’s running for mayor
We interrupt coverage of the pandemic and ongoing presidential race to bring you this breaking story: There are now two candidates running for mayor in 2021. Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell says she’ll seek the mayor’s office in next year’s election, Callum Borchers at WBUR reports. Campbell, who plans to officially kick off her campaign today with an event in Roxbury, joins fellow councilor Michelle Wu in the race even as the city waits for word on whether Mayor Marty Walsh will seek a third term.
Now to other pandemic and November election news. …
Baker keeps up the pressure for more in-person classes
Last week, it was Education Commissioner Jeff Riley putting the pressure on school districts with low COVID-19 rates to restart in-person classes. Yesterday, Gov. Charlie Baker ramped up the pressure, saying small outbreaks now and then shouldn’t deter some districts from holding in-person classes, reports the Globe’s Felicia Gans and Meghan Irons.
Some districts apparently aren’t getting the message. From MetroWest Daily News: “Marlborough High swtiches to remote learning after students test positive for COVID-19.” And some districts have gotten the message and don’t like it. From GBH’s Meg Woolhouse: “State’s Demands For In-Person Classes Rankle Some Local School Officials.”
Belly up: State relaxes bar and restaurant rules
It’s not a complete “we win” moment for those who like downing a casual pint of beer or glass of wine after work. But it’s close. GBH’s Michael Deehan and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) report on the state’s decision yesterday to relax tavern and restaurant rules during the pandemic, including allowing people to actually belly up to bars, though they’ll still have to order food along with their chosen drinks.
Nantucket now has highest virus rate in state as Boston struggles to stay off red-zone list
Move over, Chelsea, Lawrence and Revere. Nantucket now has the highest number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in Massachusetts, as CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports. The income-disparity ironies abound.
Meanwhile, from WCVB: “Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is warning residents to continue taking COVID-19 “as seriously as ever,” saying the city is on the cusp of moving into the “red” category on the state’s COVID-19 risk map.”
Maine deigns it’s time
It took long enough. From CBS Boston: “Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced on Wednesday that Massachusetts residents are no longer required to test negative for coronavirus or quarantine when they travel to the state.”
Fed up: Baker rips into Washington, says pandemic must come first, not SCOTUS appointment
Gov. Charlie Baker, the usually watch-every-word and mild-mannered moderate of Massachusetts, came as close as he could to actually snapping yesterday, as he unleashed on Washington for its never-ending partisan feuding and the current fighting over a Supreme Court nomination amid a pandemic and an economy that shows signs of further tanking, as SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) and MassLive’s Michael Bonner report.
A sample excerpt from the SHNS piece: “’One hundred percent ends justify the means, classic Washington behavior and it’s a big part of why most people in this country think Washington is a problem. Period,’ said Baker, his voice rising in anger.”
Baker: Next year’s state budget is the one to watch, not the current one
One of the reasons for Gov. Charlie Baker’s frustrations with Washington: The state budget and lack of federal help. Not necessarily the current non-budget budget, which is facing a projected revenue shortfall of $4 billion to $6 billion and which technically hasn’t been passed yet by the legislature. Instead, Baker is talking about next fiscal year’s state budget, after officials likely drain much of the state’s rainy day fund to plug gaps in the current budget. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine has more.
Btw: Baker also indicated he plans to let the state’s eviction moratorium expire next month, which isn’t too much of a surprise considering mounting legal pressures to end it.
Just fire him
OK, one more Charlie Baker item, via the Herald’s Erin Tiernan, who reports the governor basically told the board of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home to just go ahead and fire the center’s embattled not-so-former superintendent who got a favorable (if brief) legal reprieve from a judge the other day.
Fed chief Rosengren’s economic outlook: Grim
Over the years, we’ve learned to pay close attention to the economic forecasts of Eric Rosengren, president of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, particularly during moments of crises. And he’s not optimistic about the economy. Not at all. SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and the Globe’s Larry Edelman have more.
State Public Safety Secretary Turco to retire at end of year
This is a big cabinet position that the governor will need to fill soon. SHNS’s Colin Young reports that Secretary of Public Safety Tom Turco plans to retire at the end of the year, after heading the office for two years and previously serving as Department of Correction commissioner. “It was just time,” Turco tells SHNS, referring to his long career in government. MassLive’s Jackson Cote has more.
SHNs (pay wall — free trial subscription available)
Ranked-choice’s rich – very rich – out-of-state backers
The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld digs into the financial filings of the group backing the Question 2 ranked-choice-voting initiative in Massachusetts and finds names like “Soros” and “Murdoch” and a Texas hedge-fund honcho who used to work at this company called “Enron,” and we have an owner of the Celtics and a Harvard professor and author also donating six-figure sums to the campaign, with the latter dumping $250K into the Q2 coffers.
Kind of puts an interesting spin on the ranked-choice question, doesn’t it?
Does early voting benefit mostly wealthier and whiter communities?
Speaking of election reforms, early voting is a popular reform intended to make it more convenient for people to cast votes. But Steven Koczela and Rich Parr at WBUR write that early-voting data in Massachusetts show “disparities (that) raise questions about whether early voting, which has the potential to make voting easier for more citizens, could actually end up giving further advantage to wealthier and whiter communities, where turnout is already typically higher.”
Voting groups push for more ballot drop boxes
OK, this voting-procedure suggestion is just common sense. From Christian Wade at CNHI: “Voting rights advocates are urging cities and towns to install more drop boxes to collect vote-by-mail ballots sent ahead of the November election, and the state’s top election official is pledging to pick up the tab.”
The pandemic’s latest media victim: The Jewish Advocate
Another media outlet has fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports that the Jewish Advocate, one of Boston’s oldest newspapers, is ceasing publication. The collapse of the ad market “just proved too much” for the paper.
Privacy rights – as well as privilege — win in Robert Kraft case
The Globe’s Joan Vennochi has a good column this morning on what appears to be a major legal triumph for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who looks like he’ll get off in the Florida sex-solicitation case. From Vennochi regarding a recent court ruling: “The court came down on the right side — privacy. The only question is whether the three-judge panel would have reached it if the case didn’t involve the privacy rights of a rich, white man who owns a football team.”
Mass. lawmakers blast Fort Hood’s ‘toxic culture of fear, intimidation, harassment and indifference’
The Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo and the Globe’s Gal Tziperman Lotan report on the visit by U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark, Stephen Lynch and Ayanna Pressley to Fort Hood in Texas, in the wake of the death of a Brockton servicemen there, and what they found is disturbing reading. If even half of what they say is true, there’s indeed something very wrong at the giant Army base.
Mayor Koch: You’re on the wrong side of history
The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham is going after Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch this morning, effectively saying he’s on the wrong side of history when it comes to Black Lives Matter protests. When you get right down to it, she’s trying to shame him.
Boston’s latest mega-development proposal: ‘Dorchester Bay City’
The Globe’s Andy Rosen and Universal Hub report that Accordia Partners has filed plans for a massive redevelopment of the old Bayside Expo site in Dorchester. We’re talking 5.9 million square feet of space for housing, retail shops, labs and offices. You have to wonder about the retail and office components of the plan, considering what the pandemic has done to those two sectors. Also, see Rosengren post above about the state of the economy.
Fitchburg: The future Florence of Massachusetts?
We’re only kidding about the Florence reference. Still, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports on Fitchburg’s bet that its future lies with the arts and culture, a redevelopment idea pursued in the past by other distressed cities searching for a “creative economy” jolt. We happen to think it’s a good bet, with ridiculously high housing prices in Greater Boston pushing people ever farther west, hopefully into Fitchburg’s lap.
Hackers halted: Methuen says meeting secrecy needed to beat back cyberattack
Mystery solved. Methuen officials say they managed to stop a cyberattack on the community’s computer network over the summer, a revelation that helps explain a secret meeting that had sparked Open Meeting Law complaints. Bill Kirk at the Eagle-Tribune reports the City Council made an emergency appropriation of $272,000 to harden the network before the apparent eastern European hackers could gain access.
Kicking the tires: Fall River hires Davis’ firm to audit police department
Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan says the city will pay a consulting firm, helmed by former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, $10,000 a month to conduct an audit of the police department and recommend operational changes, Jo C. Goode at the Herald-News reports.
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!
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.
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.
Massive Suffolk Downs project poised to get green light from BPDA – Boston Globe
State says Quincy’s ER is ‘necessary’ for access to healthcare – Patriot Ledger
Springfield police officer guilty of assault, falsifying report in arrest of 15-year-old at Commerce High School – MassLive
Leicester town meeting slated for Saturday inside Millbrook Distributors building – Telegram & Gazette
Four eBay workers who sent spiders to Natick couple to plead guilty – MetroWest Daily News
Trump won’t commit to ‘peaceful transfer of power’ if he loses – Washington Post
Police reforms stall around country, despite new wave of activism – Politico
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