Keller at Large
Our ridiculous Potomac fever
In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller is practically begging: Please make it stop! Stop what? All the annoying, arrogant assumptions that we’re a major political breeding ground for national leaders, from presidents to cabinet members. We produce out share of leaders, but not as many as we think. … Note: Text of Jon’s commentary accompanies his podcast. Click below. Check it out!
Board of Education, hotel layoffs, and more
— Cape Cod Reopening Task Force holds a media call to discuss the ‘causes, scale and dangers of the 138 new COVID-19 cases announced Monday in Barnstable County, 9 a.m.
— Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets with plans to discuss the status of school reopenings, enrollment trends and ‘possible next steps’ around school district learning models and enrollments, 10 a.m.
— Massachusetts State Lottery Commission meets to hear a sales and marketing update from its executive director as well as vote on a potential five-year contract to procure an new internal control system, with Treasurer Deb Goldberg chairing, 10:30 a.m.
— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey joins UNITE HERE Local 26 President Carlos Aramayo and Marriott Copley hotel workers for a virtual town hall discussion over recent hotel layoffs, 3 p.m.
— MBTA holds a public hearing for North Shore residents on proposed service reductions, 6 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.
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: 18 new deaths, 10,531 total deaths, 1,785 new cases
CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.
Biden’s early picks: Kerry in, Warren out (apparently)
President-elect Joe Biden yesterday announced a number of top-level appointments to serve in his incoming administration, most notably for locals: John Kerry, who has been tapped as Biden’s new climate-change czar, as Lisa Creamer and Callum Borchers report at WBUR. Meanwhile, the NYT reports that Biden is expected to appoint former Federal Reserve chair Janet L. Yellen as his new treasury secretary. Meaning: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren isn’t getting the job. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld has more on the Kerry and Yellen moves.
Meanwhile, the speculation continues over other potential picks, including this via WBUR: “MIT’s Ernie Moniz Is On Biden’s Short List For Energy Secretary.”
Under pressure, Trump administration grudgingly starts transition
President Trump isn’t conceding anything, but his administration is finally bending to pressure and starting the presidential transition process with President-elect Joe Biden’s staff, reports the Washington Post. The pressure has come from Republican pols, former national security advisers and others, including top business officials, some of them from Massachusetts, as the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports.
Among local business leaders calling for the start of a transition: Suffolk Construction’s John Fish and Boston Properties’ Owen Thomas.
Despite pleas to stay home, Thanksgiving travelers take to the air and hit the roads
As state officials practically beg people to stay home over the Thanksgiving holiday (SHNS – pay wall), it seems a lot of people are already hopping on planes and making other plans to travel this week for T-Day family gatherings, pandemic or no pandemic. A three-reporter team at the Globe has the airlines angle.
Meanwhile, from GBH’s Mike Deehan: “Baker Fears Record Number Of Tests Means People Are Planning Risky Holiday Travel.” From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan: “Charlie Baker criticizes Trump, warns against Thanksgiving gatherings.”
As state launches Covid-safety ad campaign, tech group urges: More tests, please
WCVB reports that the state has launched a new “Get Back Mass” ad campaign asking people to follow pandemic safety precautions and encouraging them to “think about what they want to ‘get back’ to” after the coronavirus crisis is over.
Meanwhile, the Mass. High Tech Council is warning that virus testing is “far short” of what’s needed and it’s encouraging federal, state and local officials to develop a strategy to get more testing done, reports the Globe’s Jon Chesto.
Coronavirus updates: Cambridge dining restrictions, child-care woes, rapid-testing, Worcester complaints
There’s a lot happenning on the coronavirus front this morning, so we’ll just go with some quick summaries and headlines in this post, starting with the Globe’s Charlie Wolfson: “Cambridge City Council calls for restrictions on indoor dining, other activities.” … From MassLive’s Steph Solis: “Massachusetts to use rapid COVID testing for visitors of long-term care facilities.” … From CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg: “Amid COVID-19, staffing woes plague childcare centers.” … Universal Hub reports a judge has dismissed a Weymouth man’s suit challenging Gov. Charlie Baker and AG’s Maura Healey’s spring orders tied to the pandemic. … From MassLive: “Smith College set to welcome 1,700-plus students to campus for spring semester.” … From MassLive: “More than 200 complaints lodged against Wprcester businesses for violating Covid protocols.”
‘Bot-based fraud’: State sees huge surge in unemployment-benefits scams
That worrisome spike in unemployment claims last week? It’s more worrisome than thought – and not for economic reasons. Christian M. Wade at the Gloucester Times reports that, according to Gov. Charlie Baker, 30,000 out of 31,000 recent unemployment-insurance claims were flagged as potentially fraudulent or flagged for investigation. “There is a tremendous amount of sort of bot-based fraud going on, and this is true across the country,” Baker said yesterday.
Tsunami alert: Eviction filings on the rise in Massachusetts
They’re not quite at the predicted ‘tsunami’ level of filings that some feared would slam the market after the state’s eviction moratorium expired last month. But WBUR’s Beth Healy and Saurabh Datar and the Herald’s Erin Tiernan report that eviction filings have indeed started rising in recent weeks – and many are alarmed.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse for the T
It’s only one month’s ridership and revenue numbers. Still, SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports on a somewhat alarming decline in MBTA riders and revenues in October, further exacerbating the T’s already grim financial outlook.
Is Baker beating a partial or full retreat on a carbon tax? We’ll soon know
We know he’s “re-evaluating” the pandemic-era viability of the controversial Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) proposal that would slap a new carbon tax on motorists. But is Gov. Charlie Baker’s re-evaluation of TCI the sign of a partial retreat or a full-fledged retreat, if not outright surrender, on the idea? We’ll soon see. CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports the governor will make a decision by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, the Herald and the conservative Fiscal Alliance Foundation seem to be nudging the governor towards surrendering with honor, with a new poll purportedly showing people favor tapping the brakes on a TCI carbon tax.
Meanwhile, is a new toll coming to a road near you?
Speaking of transportation issues, MassDOT says it’s merely part of a feasibility study to see if Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed “managed lanes” idea might work in reducing roadway congestion in the Boston area, to wit: Identifying 10 different stretches of highways – along I-93, 95 and 495 and routes 2, 27 and 139 — where high-occupancy tolled lanes might work, as SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports. We can’t help but wonder if this idea is somehow tied to the TCI re-evaluation idea above. Just thinking aloud.
Btw, also from SHNS (pay wall): “HOV Lane Returning, Bus Lane Pilot Launching North of Boston.”
Crossing the ‘White Will Run’ Rubicon, Globe’s Kevin Cullen doubles down on prediction: ‘Walsh Will Run’
The Globe’s Kevin Cullen acknowledges the ‘White Will Run’ danger of making political predictions in Boston, but he presents his anonymous and not-so-anonymous evidence anyway on why Marty Walsh is expected to go for a third term, concluding (with potential bad karma aside): “Walsh Will Run.”
Lyons roars: State GOP chair defends party’s election strategy, mocks critics as ‘losers’
Massachusetts State Republican Party chair Jim Lyons is hitting back against critics who say his “nationalization” of the November elections (i.e. going full pro-Trump) harmed GOP candidates in state and local elections. Lyons is even taking shots at his party’s own vice chairman. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) has more on the GOP’s non-kumbaya moment.
On second count: Recount changes results on Mashpee ballot questions
Reminder: Recounts do occasionally change election results. Mashpee election officials say a hand recount has shown that two local ballot questions relating to wastewater treatment passed in the Nov. 3 election, despite initial results showing one of the questions was defeated by just three votes. Jessica Hill at the Cape Cod Times reports officials cite poorly filled-out ballots for the swing of nearly 50 votes in the recount.
Never mind: Williams professor backs away from claims of mishandled ballots
Williams College professor Steven Miller is disavowing his own research that was used to claim as many as 90,000 Republican ballots were never counted in Pennsylvania. Francesa Paris at the Berkshire Eagle reports Miller, whose research was cited by those trying to reverse election results on behalf of President Trump, now says he failed to follow basic data analysis practices.
‘SHNS Conference Committee Scorecard’
With both chambers having passed their own versions of a new state budget, it’s now conference-committee time on Beacon Hill. And it’s also conference-committee time for bills having to do with police reforms, climate change, health care reforms and transportation bonding. SHNS’s Matt Murphy and Sam Doran (pay wall) have a handy “lineup” card of who’s who and what’s what regarding the committees now trying to hammer out compromise bills on the issues.
The people or the police unions? It’s Beacon Hill’s choice
Speaking of conference committees, the Globe’s Joan Vennochi is blasting lawmakers on Beacon Hill for conducting police-reform negotiations behind closed conference-committee doors, in an all-too-familiar move by the increasingly secretive Legislature.
On the subject of Beacon Hill secrecy, from Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth: “Retiring rep, rep-elect share insights on State House opacity.”
Lottery players will soon be able to claim prizes via app
They can’t play online, but they can claim online. From SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall): “Beginning sometime next spring, Massachusetts Lottery players will be able to claim large prizes from their phones and have their winnings deposited directly into a bank account through an app that Lottery officials said will eliminate millions of miles of car travel and associated greenhouse gas emissions.”
Too cozy? Healey asks regulator to toss National Grid audit firm
The office of Attorney General Maura Healey is urging the state’s top energy regulator to force utility National Grid to hire a new auditor, citing conflicts of interest and other issues, Saurabh Datar and Beth Healy at WBUR report. The audit firm currently reviewing management practices at the utility is operated by former National Grid executives.
Too tempting: Fall River businesses want pot shop kept away from their workers
How can they resist? A coalition of businesses that calls the Fall River Industrial Park home is opposing a plan to convert a vacant bar into a recreational pot shop, saying the dispensary could lead to even more cannabis consumption by their workers. Charles Winokoor at the Herald-News reports those businesses want assurances the shop won’t market to workers in the park.
The First 100 Days: A Conversation with Jacqui Patterson on Climate and Environmental Policy in the Biden Administration
Please join the Center for Public Leadership for a discussion on climate policy with Jacqui Patterson, Senior Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. The program will be hosted by Rand Wentworth, the Louis and Gabrielle Bacon Senior Fellow in Environmental Leadership, and moderated by Rani Murali, MPP 2021 and Salina Abraham, MPP 2022. RSVP by 9;00 a.m., Tuesday, 12/1.
Inno on Fire
The Inno on Fire Awards is our annual celebration of innovators, big and small, people, and organizations in Boston. What makes a company or individual on fire? We are looking at startups that have had a banner year, people and companies with hew funding, recent product launches, hot hires, innovative approaches to solving problems, and creative leaders who think out of the box.
Author Adam Davidson with The Passion Economy The New Rules for Thriving in the Twenty-First Century
Boston Public Library and the GBH Forum Network present this virtual program in “The Arc of History: Contested Perspectives” series featuring BPL President David Leonard, who will moderate the program.
WBJ Central MA Health Care Forum
Healthcare Post Pandemic: The Covid-19 pandemic has not only claimed over 200,000 lives in our country, but has been a disruptive force to many industries, including healthcare. Join us for this timely and informative webcast where our panel of experts will discuss what has changed since the beginning of the pandemic and what lies ahead.
Beyond 2D: The Rise of Immersive Commerce
Now more than ever, consumers miss shopping beyond the 2D limitations of technology. Cue, immersive commerce. Brands are exploring new ways of bringing consumers closer to the in-store experience, blending physical and virtual experiences. Join us as we explore how immersive commerce could change consumerism for years to come.
The State of Innovation: Electrification presented by Analog Devices
Across the network, Innos State of Innovations meetups focus on a specific industry, category, theme or individual and will feature a keynote, fireside chat, panel, pitch, demo or a combination of the five. Join us for a conversation with local innovators and experts.
Author Neal Gabler with Catching the wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour, 1932-1975
Join the Boston Public Library and the GBH Forum Network for an online talk with Neal Gabler, author of Catching the Wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour, 1932-1975. BPL President David Leonard will moderate this program, which is part of the Arc of History: Contested Perspectives series.
2020 Women Who Mean Business
Join us as we celebrate outstanding women at our fourth Women Who Mean Business awards program. These women represent the scale of business in Greater Boston and have demonstrated significant growth in their companies.
Kay Ulanday Barrett Performing and Answering Questions at the Intersections of Disability, Trans and Racial Justice
LexPride is thrilled to welcome the one-and-only Kay Ulanday Barrett (they/them) to Lexington. Kay is a poet, performer, and educator, navigating life as a disabled pilipinx-amerikan transgender queer in the U.S. with struggle, resistance, and laughter. They are the author of When the Chant Comes and More Than Organs. Kay will perform and answer questions from the audience.
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