Keller at Large

A Gross political blunder?

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller thinks Boston Police Commissioner Bill Gross may be making a gross political blunder if he gets into the mayoral race – at a time when policing and police have never been more controversial in Boston and across the country. … Note: See below for additional coverage of a potential Gross candidacy. 

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Economic outlook, Walsh’s State of City address, and more

— The Municipal Finance Oversight Board, chaired by Auditor Suzanne Bump, hold in a conference call meeting to review bonding requests from Fitchburg and Pittsfield, 11 a.m.

— Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren will offer introductory remarks during the third virtual event of the Federal Reserve’s Racism and the Economy series, this one focusing on education, 11 a.m.

Board of Early Education and Care holds a webcast meeting, with plans to discuss parent fees and supporting remote instruction for young learners, 1 p.m.

— Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren will give an economic outlook talk at a virtual event hosted by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, 2 p.m.

— As Mayor Marty Walsh prepares to head to Washington to serve as U.S. labor secretary, he will give what is shaping up to be his last State of the City address, 7:30 p.m.

For the most comprehensive list 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: 54 new deaths, 12,929 total deaths, 4,239 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.  

‘Incitement of Insurrection’

NPR has the full text of the U.S. House impeachment resolution that Speaker Nancy Pelosi says will be voted on tomorrow if Vice President Michael Pence doesn’t act to remove President Trump from office via the 25th Amendment. Since Pence isn’t going to invoke the 25th amendment, an impeachment vote seems all but inevitable.

The Globe’s Liz Goodwin has more on the impeachment resolution and the reluctance of some Republicans to directly tie Trump to last week’s storming of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump fanatics. 


Hitting them where it hurts: Blue Cross, Raytheon, GE and other local firms rethinking donations to GOP Trump supporters

The Globe’s Shirley Leung reports that many local firms are now “rethinking” their donations to Republican lawmakers who objected to the Electoral College results – and some are putting a pause to all donations in the wake of last week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump goons.

It’s not just a local phenomenon. From the AP at the Herald: “Wall Street bails on Trump, GOP after riots.”  

Boston Globe

Belichick punts on Medal of Freedom from Trump

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick announced last evening he won’t accept a Medal of Freedom from President Trump later this week, saying “remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award,” reports the Associated Press.

From the Globe’s Tara Sullivan: “Ultimately, he put his team, his players, his franchise, his league, and his country first.” 

AP News

FBI warns of potential armed protests at all 50 state capitols, but State Police say there are no specific threats here

Massachusetts State Police say they’re closely monitoring security matters at the State House in the wake of last week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump supporters, reports WCVB. But they emphasize they have no specific intelligence of potential threats, even though the FBI yesterday issued an alert of possible “armed protests” at all 50 capitols around the country, as ABC News reports.

Fyi: Late last week, Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ron Mariano issued a joint statement saying that they’re aware of safety concerns and that officials are continually assessing security needs, as SHNS reported.

BPS and teachers reach deal to re-open schools via ‘hybrid’ approach

Miracles do happen. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin and the Herald’s Rick Sobey report an agreement has been reached to finally get more Boston students into in-person classroom settings during the pandemic.

First responder vaccinations: The prelude to mass vaccinations statewide

The vaccination of first-responders officially began yesterday in Massachusetts – and WBUR’s Martha Bebinger rightly notes it’s going to give us an idea on how the mass vaccination of the general public might unfold in coming weeks and months. She explains.


Question of the day: Is it a ‘sin’ for hospitals to throw away extra vaccine doses?

This is a hot topic right now in medical circles. From the Herald’s Rick Sobey: “Hospitals are tossing out precious coronavirus vaccine doses at the end of the day instead of giving the extra shots to community members, a ‘maddening’ issue that has happened several times at Boston area teaching hospitals, a leading public health expert told the Herald on Monday.”

As a medical expert recently told MassterList, the issue comes down to the “shelf life” of vaccines once dosage bottles are opened – and what to do with leftover doses after priority patients in lines have been given shots. Give shots to whoever’s around or throw the extra doses away in the name of priority-list fairness? Our medical expert had no doubt about what should be done: “Give the damn shots.”

Boston Herald

Can’t stop this train: Federal cash infusion won’t avert T service cuts

Not even $250 million in new federal relief funding will stop most planned service cuts at the MBTA, the transit agency’s GM said yesterday, according to a report by SHNS’s Chris Lisinksi. We have a hunch many lawmakers think otherwise. Just a hunch.

Speaking of yesterday’s joint MBTA/DOT meeting, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohlreports things got a little testy over the Baker administration’s rhetorical move toward a possible barebones approach towards the Allston I-90 interchange project.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

After scathing audit report, Methuen police chief resigns to potentially luxurious $240K a year pension

Embattled Methuen Police Chief Joe Solomon, the target of a recent scathing state audit and one of the highest paid police chiefs in the nation, has announced he’s stepping down for good. And awaiting him? A potential $240,000 a year pension for life. The Globe’s John Ellement and Andrea Estes and the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky have more.

We can’t wait to see how much he claims in unused vacation and sick time. We’re fairly sure it won’t hit the seven-figure mark, but you never know.

Gross’ biggest plus and minus as a candidate: He’s a cop

CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas and MassterList/WBZ opinion meister Jon Keller (see Jon’s commentary above) agree: If he indeed decides to run for mayor, Boston Police Commissioner Bill Gross will likely be both helped and hindered by the fact he’s a cop at a time when law enforcement has been under the public spotlight like no other time in modern political history.

They both make excellent points, but we still think Gross is going to be an instant favorite, if not the favorite, to win the race. But it all depends on how well the political neophyte does on the campaign trail. He could end up soaring – or falling flat on his face.

Galvin agrees: One mayoral election is enough

Secretary of State Bill Galvin is embracing City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo’s call to hold only one election this year to replace outgoing Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, skipping a planned special election before a second general election. The reason: the “confusion and challenges voters would face with multiple elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” as the Globe’s Milton Valencia puts it.

On third thought, Walsh won’t run

Ah, yes, Kevin Cullen and his “Walsh will run” prediction. We hadn’t forgotten. And neither did Kevin, who we think is being a little too hard on himself this morning for previously predicting not once, but twice, that, yes, Walsh would run for another term. He deserves a bye because Walsh would have run … if he hadn’t gotten a job elsewhere.

Boston Globe

Choices, choices: Mariano’s coming leadership appointments

SHNS’s Colin Young reports that new House Speaker Ron Mariano has his share of top-level leadership posts to fill in coming days, weeks and months, choices that will tell if he’s serious about creating a team that reflects the “growing diversity of the body.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Beacon Hill in 2021: ‘Business leaders expect to play a lot of defense’

The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reviews what business owners and leaders can look forward to on Beacon Hill in 2021 – and some believe they can “expect to play a lot of defense at the State House” compared to what they saw last year.


Safe bet? Lawmakers vow to press for sports gambling in new session

Speaking of the coming legislative session, this year for sure. Lawmakers are pledging to make this the year the state adopts legalized sports betting, after several failed efforts and nearly three years after the Supreme Court cleared the way for all states to offer the gambling option, Christian Wade reports at the Salem News. 

Salem News

The state seal’s days are officially numbered

Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday signed a resolved that calls for creation of a new commission to come up with a new state seal and motto to replace the existing ones. You know, the seal (and flag) of a Native American “standing beneath a disembodied arm wielding a sword and the Latin motto, ‘By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty,’” as SHNS’s Michael Norton reports (pay wall).

For a mere $2 million, you can own the home where Lizzie Borden’s family was butchered

This is pure Boston Magazine fodder. But the Globe’s Steve Annear got it first: The three-story Fall River home where Lizzie Borden’s father and stepmother were hacked to death with an axe is up for sale for a mere $2 million. 

Going it alone: Globe columnist Michael Cohen leaves paper to start opinion newsletter

Media critic Dan Kennedy reports that Globe political columnist Michael Cohen is saying farewell to the old media and hello to the new Substack phenomenon of charging digital subscribers for newsletter/blog-like content. Dan wishes Cohen good luck. He suggests he’ll need it.

Dan Kennedy

Parting gift: Pawtucket sues PawSox on way out of town

Didn’t they get a security deposit? The city of Pawtucket is suing the now-Worcester Red Sox, saying the team failed to maintain McCoy field as required by its lease and has left the city with a decrepit asset that will need repairs or razing, Grant Welker at the Worcester Business Journal reports. 

Worcester Business Journal

“The 1964-65 NY World’s Fair and the Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” Webinar

Join the New York Adventure Club as we travel back in time to explore the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair held at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in the borough of Queens. Led by licensed NYC guide Lloyd Trufelman, out digital showcase of the fair will be presented in all of its retro-glory as well as the past, present and future of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

New York Adventure Club

Virtual Author Talk with Eric Jay Dolin

Virtual Author Talk with Bestselling Author Eric Jay Dolin

American Ancestors/NEHGS and the State Library of Massachusetts

The New Administration: Opportunities and Challenges

Panelists including Lisa Lerer, reporter at the New York Times, and Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and CNN Political Analyst, discuss opportunities and challenges for the incoming administration as well as reflections on the significance of the Biden-Harris victory in 2020 elections. NBC News Correspondent Harry Smith moderates.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

It Came From Space: Why We Think an Asteroid Killed the Dinosaurs with Jesse Mason

In 1980, a team of scientists discovered something astonishing in Earth’s crust: evidence of a cataclysmic impact that coincided with the extinction of three of Earth’s plant and animal species.

Northville District Library and Plymouth District Library

Enhancing Resilience: 2021 Climate Change Symposium

Kingston Climate Change in partnership with the City of Kingston will bring together climate champions and inspire action while we showcase the latest developments on community-based climate initiatives.

Sustainable Kingston

Recover Boston: The Road Ahead – Economic Issues in 2021

As the country looks ahead at the days when a vaccine will be available to wider parts of the community and as a new administration gains its foothold in Washington, D.C., a distinguished panel of business leaders will discuss the issues they’re expecting in 2021. What will economic recovery look like in Greater Boston? How will businesses move forward safely?

Boston Business Journal

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.


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

Alicia Garza- The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart-Lowell Lecture

The Boston Public Library welcomes Alicia Garza, co-founder of Supermajority and co-creator of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, for an online conversation moderated by BPL President David Leonard. This program, presented in partnership with the GBH Forum Network, is part of the Lowell Lecture Series sponsored by the Lowell Institute and the BPL’s Repairing America Series.

Boston Public Library

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

EmpowHERment Conference

A conference inspiring women of all backgrounds to be proactive leaders through workshops, scholarships and more! Opening Keynote Speaker is Nita Singh Kaushal, Founder of Miss CEO, Stanford University Lecturer.


Harriet Tubman & Maryland’s Underground Railroad Sites-Livestream History Tour

Join us for an online/virtual tour of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad sites in Maryland/ Learn how Harriet successfully escaped from slavery and how she then heroically led others to freedom. The program is hosted by Robert Kelleman, the founder/director of the non-profit community organization Washington, DC History & Culture.

Washington D.C. History & Culture

Lost Wonderland: The Brief and Brilliant Life of Boston’s Million Dollar Amusement Park

Stephen R. Wilk, author of Lost Wonderland, will discuss the story of Wonderland’s creation and wild, but brief success which is full of larger-than-life characters who hoped to thrill attendees and rake in profits.

Boston Public Library

2021 Economic Outlook

Join the Boston Business Journal and CIBC for an expert look at the latest information concerning global, national and regional trends impacting the economy. The 2021 Economic Outlook will offer unique access to economic insights from world-class experts and professionals to help translate economic trends into competitive intelligence to grow your business and find opportunity in the coming year.

Boston Business Journal and CIBC Commercial Banking

Live Chat with Google Product Manager

Join in and get all your product questions answered during our online event with Neil Joglekar, Product Manager at Google. He is a product manager at Google where he leads teams to improve consumer experience. He is also a YC founder.

Product School

Alex Zamalin – Against Civility: The Hidden Racism in Our Obsession with Civility

Join the Boston Public Library in partnership with the Museum of American History for an online conversation with author Alex Zamalin moderated by MAAH Direcror of Education and Interpretation L’Merchie Frazier. This program is part of the BPL’s Repairing America Series.

Boston Public Library

Light, Land, and Water; Native and non-Native Visions of New England

This lecture will attempt to honor diverse definitions of :landscape” by examining Wabanaki baskets and beadwork alongside canvases by New England painters such as Fitz Henry Lane and Martin Johnson Heade, It will raise questions about depictions (or embodiments) of natural resources, relationships between humans, and the environment and entanglements of Native non-Native histories.

The Courtauld Research Forum

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

Malcolm Gladwell and the New Normal after COVID-19

Join Arent Fox for a one hour virtual event with Malcolm Gladwell, the celebrated journalist and best-selling author of Tipping Point, Outliers, and Talking to Strangers, who will talk about life after COVID-19. There will also be a Q&A with Arent Fox Partner Anthony V. Lupo.Malcolm Gladwell and the New Normal after COVID-19 JAN 27 2021 12:00 PM Hosted by: Arent Fox LLP Online Event Join Arent Fox for a one hour virtual event with Malcolm Gladwell, the celebrated journalist and best-selling author of Tipping Point, Outliers, and Talking to Strangers, who will talk about life after COVID-19. There will also be a Q&A with Arent Fox Partner Anthony V. Lupo.

Arent Fox LLP

lo T in Sports: Changing the Game

Join us as we hear from industry experts about the integration of lo T in the world of live sports, how major leagues like the NFL are utilizing wearable technology and connected devices, what features fans can expect from stadiums as they become more connected, and how 5G & MEC are changing the game for years to come.


Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings & James Dale – “We’re Better Than This”

Join the Boston Public Library for an online talk with distinguished political expert, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and longtime non-fiction writer James Dale, co-authors of We’re Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of our Democracy, primarily authored by the late Elijah Cummings.

Boston Public Library

Community Read Book Group: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

Let’s read together! Join your friends, family and fellow Yearlong Reading Challenge participants at the Boston Public Library as we discuss the January Community Read for adults: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. The discussion will be moderated by a librarian and will take place on Zoom.

Boston Public Library

Global Mobility and the Threat of Pandemics: Evidence from Three Centuries

Researchers at the Center for Global Development test predictions across four global pandemics in three different centuries: the influenza pandemics that began in 1889, 1918, 1957, and 2009. They find that in all cases, even a draconian 50 percent reduction in pre-pandemic international mobility is associated with 1-2 weeks later arrival and no detectable reduction in final mortality.

Harvard Kennedy School

Human Rights and the Future World Order

Speakers include Hina Jilanni, former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders; Samuel Moyn, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence, Yale Law School and Professor of History, Yale University; Zeid Ra’ad, Perry World House Professor of the Practice of Law and Human Rights, University of Pennsylvania.

Harvard Kennedy School and Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Social Media for Government Agencies and the Public Sector: Everything You Need to Know but are Afraid to Ask, a Digital CP

Come learn the basics of the Social Media platforms and how you can use them effectively to achieve your goals. Whether you’re a Tik Tok influencer or just learned that the symbol # isn’t a “pound sign”. This workshop is open to all levels.

Harvard Kennedy School

Today’s Headlines


Boston councilors think digital billboards getting out of hand – Universal Hub

Quincy City Councilor Brad Croall to step down next week – Patriot Ledger


Demonstrators take to streets of Northampton, Greenfield to demand Gitmo be shut down – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Worcester councilor calls for new look at City Hall security – Telegram & Gazette

With twin announcements, Salem election season starts early – Salem News


House sets up impeachment vote to charge Trump with incitement – New York Times

Business titans pull back from GOP after Capitol insurrection – Politico

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