Keller at Large

Now comes the plaintiffs …

In a recent Keller at Large (exclusively on MASSterList), Jon Keller applied Charles Dickens’ aphorism “the law is an ass” to the lawsuit filed against the business restrictions imposed by Gov. Baker’s COVID-19 state of emergency. Well, now comes Michael DeGrandis, who argued that case before the Supreme Judicial Court. He’s submitted a rebuttal, in which he forgoes the delicious opportunity to declare Keller himself an ass, instead sticking to the facts as he sees them.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Ginsburg remembrance, live-events coalition, and more

ISO New England President and CEO Gordon van Welie discusses the region’s wholesale energy markets during a New England Council virtual event, 10 a.m.

Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action holds ‘Circling the ‘Virtual’ Courthouse,’ a Zoom gathering in memory of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, Treasurer Deb Goldberg and others participating, 11:30 a.m.

Massachusetts Poor People’s Campaign and Massachusetts Peace Action hold ‘Medicaid Marches,’ a car caravan starting in Roxbury to denounce failed COVID-19 response and highlight lower income people’s leadership in the fight for healthcare, 12 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Steven Lynch joins local stagehands, the union IATSE Local 11, and the Mass. Live Events Coalition for a ‘case push’ to draw attention to the displaced workers of the live events industry, 3 p.m.

— Public higher education workers in western Massachusetts hold three ‘Defend Public Higher Education’ standouts organized by more than a dozen labor unions to urge full funding of public higher education, 4:30 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: 23 new deaths, 9,265 total deaths, 708 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts – including the highest single-day count of cases in months.

October surprise: Trump says he and First Lady have tested positive for COVID-19

Technically, an “October surprise” is a deliberately timed event or leak aimed at boosting or harming a political candidate. This is clearly not a deliberate act, but it’s still an October surprise (and a shocker): President Trump, who has consistently downplayed the spread of the coronavirus and only this past Tuesday mocked Joe Biden for wearing a protective mask, announced last evening that he and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19 and will self-quarantine themselves, the Washington Post reports.

The AP at the Globe reports that the “diagnosis marks a devastating blow for a president who has been trying desperately to convince the American public that the worst of the pandemic is behind them.” We’re not so sure about the “devastating” part, seeing that virtually nothing so far has dissuaded most people from their current adamant pro- or anti-Trump positions. But it has dramatically changed the dynamics of the campaign. 

Washington Post

The campaign will go on: Massachusetts raises big bucks for presidential contenders

The presidential campaign will indeed go on despite President Trump’s announcement yesterday that he and the First Lady have tested positive for COVID-19 – and Massachusetts residents will inevitably continue to contribute big bucks to the two presidential campaign. The state’s presidential donation tally so far this election cycle: $22.9 million, reports Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune.

Eagle Tribune

‘Political ploy’: Walsh blasts Trump’s signed letters stuffed in food boxes for poor

All politics are local, including presidential races in which the federal government requires all boxes of food distributed to the poor include a signed letter from the president of the United State of America weeks before a national election. And Mayor Marty Walsh isn’t happy, WCVB reports.


Despite uptick in cases, Baker moves ahead with reopenings

He once appeared reluctant to reopen the economy. Now he appears reluctant to stop the reopening of the economy. GBH’s Mike Deehan reports Gov. Charlie Baker says the state will continue to slowly let businesses to reopen or expand capacity as long as they’re in lower-risk communities – despite an overall uptick in virus cases in recent weeks and a major spike just yesterday (see our coronavirus-count numbers above).

But one emergency-room doctor in Boston is almost pleading with the state to shut down indoor restaurants, right now, pronto, before it’s too late, as Universal Hub reports. Meanwhile, the Globe’s Felice Freyer and Kay Lazarhave a piece headlined: “Is Massachusetts ready for a second wave of COVID-19?” They report advocates don’t think the state is prepared in four key categories.

Btw, from Shira Schoenberg at CommonWealth magazine: “Baker seeks to lift ban on surge pricing during COVID emergency.”


Spilka on new budget: Well, maybe we’ll have to wait till after the election

Senate Ways and Means Chairman Sen. Michael Rodrigues has indicated he hopes/thinks lawmakers can pass a new state budget later this month. But Senate President Karen Spilka is now saying that, well, maybe, probably, lawmakers will have to wait until after the November elections to sort things out, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy.

But, wait, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Aaron Michlewitz says there’s still a chance, or maybe not, of acting before the elections, SHNS’s Colin Young reports separately (pay wall).

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

No promise, no refund: Judge says Northeastern can keep tuition after switching to remote learning

Colleges around Boston are likely sighing in relief after a federal judge ruled that a group of students who sued Northeastern University over its move to a mostly remote learning setup are not entitled to tuition and fees refunds, as Adam Gaffin of Universal Hub reports. 

Universal Hub

Even the feds have had it with Weymouth station after two gas leaks

They’re not waiting for yet a third incident to make it a trend. From the Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo: “Federal officials have ordered a temporary emergency shutdown of a controversial Weymouth gas compressor station where there has been two leaks in almost as many weeks.”

Meanwhile, SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) reports that Gov. Charlie Baker says the station shouldn’t be allowed to open until the feds “completely and thoroughly” investigate what’s happening at the site.

Boston Herald

Pigs fly, hell freezes over and … liberal Harvard Law professor vouches for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett?

In a perfect world, he’d like to see Senate Democrats block President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. But it’s not a perfect world and Senate Democrats don’t have the votes to block her appointment, so liberal Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman can now safely say at both Bloomberg and WGBH: She’s actually qualified to sit on the bench.

Mass. GOP: Sliding towards even deeper irrelevancy and triviality?

The Globe’s Matt Stout counts all the ways the Massachusetts State Republican Party, now split between the forces of Gov. Charlie Baker and President Trump, can slip this year into further irrelevancy and triviality, if that’s possible.

Boston Globe

Local elections update: Race-baiting robocall in North Andover, bureaucrat versus rising GOP star in Worcester

Can a dirty trick target two candidates at once? Stephanie Ebert at the Globe reports both Democratic incumbent state Rep. Tram Nguyen and GOP challenger Jeffrey P. DuFour say they’re being hurt by a clearly racist robocall to voters claiming to support Nguyen. In the call, a male voice mangles Nguyen’s last name and ascribes to her several radical positions she has not taken. Nguyen called the recording “very racist.”

Meanwhile, CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports that campaigns for register of probate rarely attract much attention, but the one in Worcester is attracting attention because it involves a long-time office employee taking on his incumbent boss, Stephanie Fattman, considered a rising GOP star and wife of state Sen. Ryan Fatten.

The ultimate anti-development NIMBY excuse ever?

We may have just found the ultimate NIMBY complaint against a new development in the Boston area: Sunlight bouncing off new buildings and burning the grass of a nearby golf course. The Globe’s Jon Chesto has more on a private golf course’s concerns about the proposed Riverside redevelopment project in Newton – a project that includes 600 badly needed apartment units.

Boston Globe

Miracles do happen: Developer proposes re-opening legendary Doyle’s Café

If this was the Drudge Report, we’d have a flashing red light attached to this item. From Universal Hub: “A local developer who had been going to Doyle’s since he was a kid has teamed up with Brassica Kitchen in Forest Hills on a plan to renovate and re-open Doyle’s in its original Washington Street building by using some of the profits from the sale of neighboring condos.”

The Globe’s Tim Logan has more on the possible rebirth of the legendary political watering hole, including restoration of the old walnut bar and center-room mural.

Universal Hub

House removes Cullinane from committee after he discloses new lobbying job

State Rep. Daniel Cullinane, who’s the de facto chair of the Committee on Health Care Financing and who isn’t running for re-election this year, disclosed yesterday he intends to work at lobbying firm Kearney, Donovan & McGee after his term ends in January. And that explains why he was abruptly removed from the committee yesterday by the House, as SHNS’s Colin Young reports. Some of KDM’s clients: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Partners HealthCare System.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Housing committee approves eviction-protection bill

From SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “The Joint Committee on Housing voted along party lines Wednesday to recommend a bill that would halt evictions and freeze rents until a year after Gov. Charlie Baker lifts the COVID-19 state of emergency, seeking to keep people hurt economically by the pandemic in their homes.”

CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt reports Baker, under legal pressure from a federal judge, has “indicated he plans to allow the eviction moratorium law to expire on October 17, but has not made a final commitment.”  

This is a drill: Drive-through flu clinics seen as dry-run for Covid vaccine distribution

Call it a practice run. A series of drive-through flu clinics in western Mass. is being viewed as a practice run for the possible distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine when, or if, one becomes available, Mary Byrne atf the Greenfield Recorder reports. 

Greenfield Recorder

Tough but equal: Springfield mayor fires longtime aide over Facebook post

He’s out. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has fired longtime aide and community liaison Darryl Moss over a Facebook post, a move Sarno says is proof he will enforce the city’s social media policy strictly and evenly, Stephanie Barry at MassLive reports. Moss wrote the phrase “grab the rifles” in a post about the aftermath of vigilante shootings in Wisconsin.


Halfway there: Green Line extension project now 50 percent completed

Believe it or not, the Green Line extension project – once plagued by cost overruns and delays – is now more than 50 percent completed and expected to be finished next year, WCVB reports. Gov. Charlie Baker and others yesterday toured the construction site where the new Lechmere Station will be located.


Sunday public affairs TV: Robert DeLeo, Michelle Wu, and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who talks with host Jon Keller about the state’s financial and economic crises, police reforms, and the current political scene.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. REPEAT: A look at the Greater Boston arts and culture sector and the economic impact of COVID-19 with ArtsBoston executive director Catherine Peterson; New Repertory Theatre Artistic director Michael Bobbitt on building an anti-racist theatre; and Boston Casting’s Angela Peri and Lisa Lobel on their pandemic pivots.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Boston city councilor and mayoral candidate Michelle Wu, who talks with this week’s hosts Janet Wu and Ben Simmoneau, 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 main topic: New Way of Learning, featuring Jean Rhodes, professor of psychology at UMass Boston, and Omari Jahi Aarons, a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts, among others.

Circling the “Virtual” Courthouse: A Ritual Zoom Gathering in Memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Please join this JALSA gathering to honor the life and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, symbolically marking the end of her shiva period. W urge you to take a walk around the block, as is traditional to conclude this period of mourning. This event, in partnership with the National Council for Jewish Women, is in coordination with similar events being held around the country.


2020 Annual Conference

Attendees will hear remarks by Governor Charlie Baker about issues facing the nonprofit sector, pandemic recovery, and the road ahead. The workshops will cover a variety of topics for every stage in a nonprofit career, from fundraising to strategies to address equity, diversity, and inclusion in a nonprofit organization.

Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

Envisioning Equity Part II: Housing to Build a Just Recovery

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. The state budget, passed by the Legislature every year, is a statement of our Commonwealth’s values.


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

Virtual Author Talk with David Michaelis

Virtual author talk with David Michaelis, author of the new biography Eleanor

American Ancestors/NEHGS together with the State Library of Massachusetts and Porter Square Books

Fighting for Survival – Small Businesses, Restaurants & Retail

While tactics to safely reopen stores and restaurants continue to evolve, discussions are turning to how to adapt to phased reopening orders while building consumer confidence and coming up with new ways to secure financial viability. With uncertainty abound, how are restaurants, small businesses and retail charting the future?

North Shore Chamber of Commerce

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


First-day attendance in Boston schools was high, data show – Boston Globe

Brockton nursing homes ravaged by coronavirus now virus-free – Brockton Enterprise


New Bedford remains in red zone for Covid spread for fourth week – Standard-Times

UMass sees 34 new Covid cases in last two days – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Machine-gun noise concern for Mass. National Cemetery visitors – Cape Cod Times

Worcester city manager says college students not cause of uptick in virus cases – Telegram & Gazette


Biden puts Ohio in play – Politico

New layoffs add to worry over U.S. economy – New York Times

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