Keller at Large

Answering the call of readers re Baker 2022, ex-President Trump and more

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller answers readers’ questions about whether Charlie Baker will run for re-eletion and whether Donald Trump will go peacefully, among other things. … Note: Text of Jon’s commentary accompanies his podcast. Check it out!

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Snow closures, Gaming Commission, and more

— Due to the snow blizzard hitting the region, many state and local government agencies are closed or have curtailed business today, with some communities declaring snow emergencies. Check with authorities about the status of any meetings or operations.

Cape Cod Reopening Task Force holds a media call to discuss the first week of operations at new COVID-19 test sites in Hyannis and Falmouth, 9 a.m.

Mass. Gaming Commission holds a public hearing to gather comments about new regulation dealing with the way the commission administers the Community Mitigation Fund, followed by a regularly scheduled commission meeting, with the hearing at 9:30 a.m. and meeting at 10 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey holds a virtual press conference with Massachusetts Municipal Association CEO Geoff Beckwith and mayors Sumbul Siddiqui of Cambridge, Jon Mitchell of New Bedford and Linda Tyer of Pittsfield to discuss the need for additional relief to cities and states in the proposed federal stimulus-relief package, 10 a.m. 

— Treasurer Deb Goldberg chairs the quarterly meeting of the Connecting Organizations to Retirement plan, a statewide multiple employer 401(k) retirement plan available to Massachusetts nonprofit organizations with twenty or fewer employees, 1 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: 71 new deaths, 11,261 total deaths, 5,450 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

The perfect storm? Pandemic meets snow blizzard

Massachusetts is getting hammered this morning by winter’s first major snowstorm – and MassLive’s Steph Solis reports that snow plowing may be hampered due to many drivers coming down with the coronavirus. But the state’s pandemic response in turn is being hampered by the snowstorm, with many testing sites closing for the day, as the Globe’s Hanna Krueger and Travis Anderson report.

It’s not quite a perfect storm of a pandemic meeting a blizzard, but it’s close. GBH’s Mike Deehan reports on Gov. Charlie Baker’s warning of a “difficult day” ahead and his plea for people to stay at home today. 

Is DeLeo’s reign as speaker coming to an end? State House abuzz with reports, rumors and jockeying

Alison King at NBC Boston/NECN created quite a stir at the State House yesterday by reporting that House Speaker Robert DeLeo will be stepping down after 12 years leading the chamber to take a position at Northeastern University. DeLeo’s office later flatly denied that DeLeo has been in talks with Northeastern, but there was more than enough wiggle room in various statements to suggest DeLeo’s days may indeed be numbered at the State House, as a three-reporter team at the Boston Globe, Matt Murphy at SHNS (pay wall) and Steph Solis at MassLive report.

Rumors or not, the jockeying to replace DeLeo has already begun on Beacon Hill, with House Majority Leader Ron Mariano of Quincy and Rep. Pat Haddad of Somerset mentioned as possible successors. WMPI’s Matt Szafranski is having a grand old time with all the speculation. And why not?

Stimulus deal update: Personal checks, but no money for states and cities?

As it stands now, it looks like Gov. Charlie Baker won’t be getting his Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa presents all rolled into one this holiday season. The Washington Post reports that the latest federal stimulus relief proposal includes funds for hospitals, vaccine programs, unemployment insurance, business loans and even personal stimulus checks for individual Americans. But it doesn’t include much-needed money for states and cities, meaning state and local governments may have to count on the incoming Biden administration to somehow get them the funds.

The Washington Post

Holyoke Soldiers’ Home trustees rebuff state, approve their own pick to lead veterans center

MassLive’s Stephanie Barry reports that the trustees of the embattled Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, where scores of veterans have died during the pandemic, have “beat back an effort by state officials to name a new acting superintendent for the facility, instead voting unanimously to appoint their own pick,” National Guard Col. Michael Lazo.


More pressure: State sets pandemic learning times for schools

We missed this from the other day, i.e. Christian Wade’s report at the Salem News on the state’s latest pandemic pressure on local schools: “The state Board of Education on Tuesday narrowly approved emergency rules that require public schools to provide a minimum 35 hours of live instruction over a 10-day period under hybrid learning models which blend in-person and online learning.”

Salem News

Round 1: House rejects Baker’s abortion amendments

As expected, the House yesterday rejected Gov. Charlie Baker’s suggested changes to abortion-access provisions tucked into the 2021 state budget bill. But the House barely secured a veto-proof two-thirds majority in the vote – and so the battle may not be over yet over the controversial provisions. MassLive’s Steph Solis and SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) explain.

Hodgson on Healey’s jail-disturbance report: ‘It’s about halfway down the sewer pipe’

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson doesn’t think much about Attorney General Maura Healey’s recent scathing report on a violent disturbance last May at his county jail, saying the report was “politically motivated” and he has no intention of following her recommendations, which he said are already “halfway down the sewer pipe,” reports CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt.


Personal foul: Celtics players say Baker’s objections to facial recognition provision is ‘deeply troubling’

This is unusual: Seventeen Boston Celtics players are calling a foul on Gov. Charlie Baker, writing in a Globe op-ed piece this morning that they’re “deeply troubled” by the governor’s objections to the ban on facial-recognition technology contained in the recently passed police-reforms bill. They say the technology “supercharges racial profiling.”

Boston Globe

Georges takes oath as latest SJC justice: ‘I won’t let you down’

With Judge Serge Georges’ swearing in yesterday to the Supreme Judicial Court, all seven members of the high court are now Baker administration appointees, with Georges underscoring that fact by telling the governor yesterday: “I won’t let you down.” SHNS’s Chris Lisinski has more.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Boston city council approves new police accountability office

From Ally Jarmanning at WBUR: “Boston city councilors approved a new independent office that will investigate and provide oversight of the Boston police department. The Office of Police Accountability and Transparency was recommended by the police reform task force convened by Mayor Marty Walsh this summer.”


Marblehead cop resigns after carving a swastika on another officer’s car

Speaking of police, from Julie Manganis at the Salem News: “A Marblehead police officer has resigned after officials learned of allegations he had carved a swastika into a car belonging to a fellow officer last year. The officer was Timothly Tufts, who has been an officer in the town since 2016.”

Salem News

Chicopee councilor stands by his ‘it’s completely their fault’ post on sexual assault victims

Heather Morrison at MassLive reports that Chicopee City Councilor Lucjan Galecki is defiantly standing his ground and refusing to resign after he created a furor over a recent Facebook post in which he said of sexual assault victims: ‘It’s completely their fault.’


Mysterious message in 126-year-old bottle: ‘Tom Ford’ and ‘6 on Shea’

The City of Boston Archaeology Program is asking for the public’s help in solving the meaning of a mysterious message in a bottle (literally) that was recently found hidden in an inside wall in the Back Bay, the Globe Emily Sweeney reports. We’re going with the betting-slip theory.

Boston Globe

‘Red Sox. White Sox. Blue Sox? Manny Is Still Manny’

The NYT’s Gary Phillips reports on 48-year-old Manny Ramirez’s latest comeback bid, this time with the Sydney Blue Sox in the Australian Baseball League. It’s causing a mini-sensation in the small Down Under baseball world.


Elizabeth Warren is coming out with a new book in April: ‘Persist’

Take that, Mitch McConnell. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is coming out with a new book this spring titled ‘Persist,’ described as a “deeply personal book and a powerful call to action” with six key experiences and perspectives from the senator, reports the AP’s Hillel Italie.

AP News

Republican candidates’ election-objections update: They’re not giving up

Two developments on the local GOP election-objections-and-denial front. First, a federal judge is basically giving Shiva Ayyadurai one last chance to explain in an amended complaint how the diabolical Secretary of State Bill Galvin made him lose the September GOP primary for Senate, Universal Hub reports. Second, the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that a handful of failed Republican candidates are forging ahead with their separate lawsuit challenging the state’s recent election results, even as they scale back their challenge and lose one of the plaintiffs.

Pushed back: Weymouth compressor station startup delayed

Enbridge says it will not start full operation of its Weymouth natural gas compressor station this week as planned. The startup may be pushed until early 2021 pending additional federal safety reviews, Mike Stanton at the Globe reports. Word of the delay comes just days after a lengthy Globe story that questioned whether residents fighting the facility ever had a chance to block its opening.

Boston Globe

‘Transformative:’ Worcester United Way revels in MacKenzie Scott donation

MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, has donated $5 million to the United Way of Central Mass, a gift the organization’s CEO called ‘transformative,’ Grant Welker at the Worcester Business Journal reports. The United Way and Easterseals Massachusetts were the only two Bay State beneficiaries of Scott’s recent $4.2 billion philanthropy spree.


Wicked smart: High-density zoning finds no pushback in North Adams

So far, so good. Planning officials in North Adams debuted plans to adopt the state’s 40R smart-growth zoning ordinance to allow higher-density housing development in the city’s downtown and saw none of the pushback that has greeted the approach in other communities, Francesca Paris at the Berkshire Eagle reports. 

Berkshire Eagle

Better than scooters? Low-cost ride program launches in Witch City

It’s like Uber – only just for Salem. Mayor Kim Driscoll has unveiled the Salem Skipper, a ride-sharing service offering trips within the city for as little as $1 — a program that Dustiin Luca at the Salem News reports will be funded with a state grant as well as revenue from local cannabis sales.  

Salem News

The Best of ProductCon 2020: The Product Management Conference

ProductCon is the largest product management conference series in the world. It is organized by Product School and takes place six times a year in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, London, and online. The speaker lineup features product leaders from Google, Slack, Amazon, Airbnb, Netflix, Facebook and more. This year, you will be able to join live from every corner of the earth.

Product School

Healthcare in Retirement

Healthcare concerns increase as we reach retirement age, and ensuring you have the right healthcare coverage can make a huge impact on your financial health. In this session, we will learn about Medicare and how you can put it to use to help cover rising healthcare costs during retirement. Join Dabney Baum, Baum Wealth Advisors with Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC., for this important presentation.

Boston Business Journal

A History of the Electoral College

The original concept for the electoral college; how it has gotten to be the way it is today and what possible reforms would make it seem more fair in the future.

Cary Memorial Public Library

Lexvets: Wartime Lessons that have Informed Medicine

Learn of the many lifesaving medical advances commonly used today which came about from treating battlefield casualties.

Cary Memorial Public Library

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet

Join Arit Anderson and guests for a free festive screening of David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet. This is a crucial time for our natural world. As the first generation with a clear and understanding of our undeniable impact on nature, we must work now to restore nature: to protect our planet and our future.

Landscape Institute

An Overview Experience with Astronaut Ron Garan

Join us for an Overview Experience – an experiential journey into the wonders and possibilities of the Overview Effect. Astronaut Ron Garan will talk about his own experience in space and his work with the Orbital Perspective, and how this perspective can influence and astronaut’s earthly values and actions.

Space for Humanity

Resistance: Voices of Exiled Writers Book Launch

We are thrilled to invite you to the launch of Resistance: Voices of Exiled Writers, published by Palewell Pres in honor of the 20th anniversary of Exiled Writers Ink. Writers and editors featured in the collection will present their work in celebration of the theme of Resistance and 20 years of Exiled Writers Ink advocating for human rights through literature and literary activism.

Exiled Writers Ink and Palewell press

Home with History: Stepping Stones Virtual Exploration

Explore the New York home, archives, and lives of Bill & Lois Wilson through an illustrated, live presentation with Stepping Stones historians. Get to know the memorabilia-filled residence of the Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson and Al-Anon Family Groups Cofounder Lois Wilson.

Stepping Stones-Historic Home, Bill & Lois Wilson

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal 10-Year Anniversary Celebration

Join service members, veterans, their families, and special guests from around the world to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the repeal of Don’ t Ask, Don’t Tell and to support the fight for transgender service members. Celebrate this virtual event with the White House and Congressional leaders who led the fight for repeal in 2010.

Modern Military Association of America

A League of Their Own: The Future of Network Partnerships

Verizon is unveiling the 5G network’s potential for venues with features like real-time access to video highlights, screening of multiple angles, instant updated stats and fantasy scores on players, and immersive fan experiences. Having just been named the official technology partner of the NHL, Verizon is paving the way for the future of network partnerships.


How to Pivot Your Small Business During Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for small businesses in the Boston area and all over the country. Consumer habits have changed and small businesses have to be able to adapt to the new dynamic. Join Beth Ann Dahan, Project Manager for COVID Business Recovery as she shares ways that you can pivot your small business and survive during difficult times.

Virtual Minority Small Business Conference and Expo

How to Pivot Your Small Business During Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for small businesses in the Boston area and all over the country. Consumer habits have changed and small businesses have to be able to adapt to the new dynamic. Join Beth Ann Dahan, Project Manager for COVID Business Recovery at CWE as she shares ways that you can pivot your small business and survive during difficult times.

Virtual Minority Small Business Conference and Expo

Making a Ruckus: Volunteer Managers as Activists for Change

Explore strategies to create a new path forward for volunteer engagement in your organization in these changing times. VolunteerNow is collaborating with TVMC to offer free professional development webinars to provide guidance, networking and practical ideas to help you move forward during these challenging times. Upon registration you will receive instructions to join the webinar via WebinarJAM.


Human Trafficking 101

The Key2Free is committed to education and increased awareness with the goal of preventing trafficking before it starts. Across all states, victims of sex trafficking are enslaved every day through force, fraud, or coercion. Together, we can call attention to and fight the shocking realities of the injustice happening right here in our communities.

The Key2Free

Today’s Headlines


Boston city council approves civilian review board, restrictions on tear gas, rubber bullets – Boston Herald

Brookline extends outdoor dining through winter – Universal Hub


Four Leaf Clover to close after 71 years serving family-style food in Bernardston – Greenfield Recorder

South Shore residents split on vaccinations – Patriot Ledger

Lee greenlights marijuana-growing facility at former Greylock Mill – Berkshire Eagle

Attleboro area nears capacity for ICU beds – Sun Chronicle


FDA says Pfizer coronavirus vaccine contains extra doses, expanding nation’s supply – Washington Post

Biden’s inaugural will be mostly virtual but the money will be real – New York Times

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