Keller at Large

Will Boston want more of the same?

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller says with the transfer of power at Boston City Hall, the big question remains: who will succeed Marty Walsh after the November election? All recent polling data suggests voters really want someone like … Marty Walsh. So much for change.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

COVID-19 oversight hearing, and more

Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management holds its second oversight hearing, with proceedings starting at 11 a.m. and Gov. Charlie Baker expected to testify at 3 p.m.

— Sens. Cynthia Creem and James Eldridge host a legislative briefing to discuss Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation’s $35 million request in the fiscal 2022 budget, 12 p.m.

Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity holds a rally to protest the ‘lack of transparency and equity’ which has marked the Baker administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Boston Common, 12 p.m.

MBTA staff host the first of three virtual public meetings to discuss the Fare Transformation project and an analysis of where to place new locations where riders can acquire and load CharlieCards, 6 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: 27 new deaths, 16,558 total deaths, 1,103 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Historic evening: Janey takes over as acting mayor after Walsh wins Senate cabinet approval

The Marty Walsh era is over. The Kim Janey era has begun. And it’s a new chapter in the history of Boston, which now has its first female and Black mayor. WBUR’s Callum Borchers and GBH’s Adam Reilly have more on last evening’s historic transfer of power at City Hall.

“It’s hard to overstate the significance of inaugurating a woman of color as acting mayor of Boston,” says one observer. No kidding. This is, after all, Boston, of the still relevant Common Ground history of Boston.

In op-eds at the Globe, Walsh bids farewell while Janey introduces herself, so to speak. Residents were celebrating in Roxbury last night, reports the Globe’s Danny McDonald. The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter has more from City Hall.  

Another topic lawmakers may want to raise with Baker: The state’s multimillion-dollar vaccine call center

Switching over to the pandemic: As the Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports, Gov. Charlie Baker will be back in the virtual hot seat today as lawmakers hold their second COVID-19 oversight hearing. And, lo and behold, the Globe’s Kay Lazar and Anissa Gardizy this morning report on another topic lawmakers may want to raise with Baker: The multimillion-dollar call center the administration scrambled to launch after the initial disappointing debut of Vaxfinder.

Baker’s explanation for his falling poll numbers: COVID fatigue

It’s about COVID fatigue, not the vaccine rollout. Or so says Gov. Charlie Baker of his plunging poll numbers of late. GBH’s Mike Deehan has more.


‘No Vaccine, No Job,’ Part II: Healey says vaccines should be mandatory for State Police and prison guards

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Downing got the ball rolling by saying teachers and police should be required to get vaccinated – or else (SHNS). Now Attorney General Maura Healey is saying State Police and prison guards should be required to get vaccinations, though she doesn’t quite say ‘or else.’ SHNS’s Katie Lannan and the Globe’s Amanda Kaufman have more on Healey’s mandatory-vax pronouncement.

The wrath of Lynch: It works

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski confirms that the MBTA’s retreat on proposed transit service cuts is indeed a full retreat to pre-pandemic service levels, though some pols, like U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, are taking a trust-but-verify approach towards the T’s new promises.

Speaking of Lynch, here’s Universal Hub’s headline regarding the full-retreat news: “Angry Steve Lynch is the best Steve Lynch.” In an editorial, the Globe gives credit to the entire congressional delegation for putting pressure on the T to reverse its service cuts, but it does single out Lynch for special praise, saying his threat to cut future federal funding if the T didn’t retreat clearly worked.

At least some major school districts plan to return to in-person classes by April 5

As expected, Boston school officials announced yesterday they will seek a state waiver to delay a return to full-time in-person elementary classes on April 5, though they say they’re committed to reopening by the end of the month, reports the Globe’s James Vaznis. And Worcester has also said it plans to seek a waiver. So we have the state’s largest and second largest school districts now balking at the April 5 deadline.

But … but from the state’s third largest school district, via MassLive’s Peter Goonan: “‘We’re going to be ready to go’: Springfield schools prepare for return of students to classrooms, with COVID safeguards.” Ditto Chicopee (MassLive). And the Patriot Ledger’s Mary Whitfill reports that Quincy schools may actually beat the April 5 deadline.

Senate and House reach agreement on pandemic relief bill

Beacon Hill lawmakers have ironed out their differences on a COVID-19 relief package – and it looks like the Senate prevailed in its push for a low-income tax break in the bill, reports SHNS’s Chris Lisinski and Michael Norton. The legislation is expected to head to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk on Thursday.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

There’s a race for lieutenant governor under way? Yes, there is

They’re not exactly household names in Massachusetts. But the Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports that, yes, there are GOP candidates out there officially and unofficially running for lieutenant governor. And they’re not made from the same moderate mold of the current Baker-Polito team.

Boston Herald

Confirmed: Harvard students to return to campus this fall

Because it’s Harvard, you have to report this, even though it’s been previously reported that this would very likely happen, to wit: Harvard students will indeed be returning to campus this fall, according to The Crimson.

The Crimson

State to thousands of public-college students: No pay, no transcripts or degrees

Speaking of higher education, Kirk Carapezza and Jon Marcus at GBH report the Massachusetts public colleges and universities, including UMass, are playing academic hardball with nearly 100,000 grads and ex-students who owe them money, even if it’s not a lot of money: No pay, no transcripts or degrees. And some can’t afford to pay.


The other rollout problem: Family medical leave program

The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett confirms that all is not well with the start of the state’s new family leave program, with many users saying the process is slow and confusing. Sound familiar?


Second thoughts: After two Facebook controversies, Chicopee councilor drops re-election bid

Never mind. Chicopee City Councilor Lucjan Galecki–who has twice in recent months sparked calls for his ouster due to his social media posts–now says he won’t seek re-election to the council, saying he is satisfied with the diversity of the rest of the field. Jeanette DeForge at MassLive has details. 


Triple threat: Markey’s filibuster claims don’t match history, fact checker says

Mostly false. That’s the conclusion of the Washington Post’s Salvador Rizzo about the claim made by U.S. Sen. Ed Markey that the Senate filibuster was created to protect and enhance the political power of slaveholders. Rizzo slaps ‘three Pinnochio’s’ on Markey’s tweet on the subject, saying he extended a popular Democratic talking point well beyond facts supported by the historical record. 

Washington Post

The U.S. Supreme Court: Will it reinstate Boston Marathon bomber’s death sentence?

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday said it will consider reinstating the death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – a move that puts President Joe Biden, an opponent of capital punishment, on the political and legal spot.

AP News

Rollins: Tens of thousands of drug convictions linked to lab scandal could be vacated

There seems to be no end in sight. NBC Boston reports that Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins now says potentially thousands, and maybe tens of thousands, of additional drug convictions could get tossed as a result their ties to the drug-lab scandals involving good old Annie Dookhan and Sonja Farak.

NBC Boston

From offshore wind facility to scrap metal yard: What went wrong in Somerset?

Somerset residents had such high hopes when a St. Louis company bought the site of the now former Brayton Point power plant – with promises of turning it into a vibrant staging area for the emerging offshore wind industry. Today, it’s mostly a scrap metal staging area, as Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth reports.


Mass. pols firmly behind push for D.C. and Puerto Rico statehood

The Herald’s Meghan Ottolini reports that prominent members of the state’s congressional delegation are pushing hard to add two more stars to the American flag by making the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico the 51st and 52nd states in the Union.

Forum on Anti-Asian Racism

The three co-hosts will be joined by the current and former chiefs of civil rights prosecution for the Norfolk DA’s Office, Peter Tilley and Grace Lee, and the Chiefs of Police in Brookline, Dover, Needham, Quincy & Wellesley for brief discussion of Mass hate crime and civil rights laws, followed by a question- and-answer forum with residents of those communities.

Norfolk DA Michael Morrissey, Rep. Tackey Chan, QARI CEO Philip Chong

Be an Agent of Change: Achieve Health Justice

Join A Faith That Does Justice and Healthcare for All for a conversation about the actions you can take as an individual to work towards justice, equity, and inclusion in health care.

A Faith That Does Justice

The State of Race: Voter Suppression

GBH and The Boston Globe will present the fifth installment of the State of Race virtual event series in partnership with GBH WORLD and The NAACP Boston Branch: The State of Race: Voter Suppression. Moderated by award-winning journalist and frequent GBH contributor, Dan Lothian, a panel of experts including Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, Executive Director of MassVOTE; Myrna Pérez, Director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program; and Greg Lee, Jr., The Boston Globe Sr. Assistant Managing Editor, Talent and Community will discuss how our voting systems marginalize Black communities and other BIPOC voters.

GBH and The Boston Globe

Voices for Justice:Ta-Nehisi Coates in Conversation with Callie Crossley

The Cambridge Public Library Foundation is proud to present Voices for Justice, a free, virtual event series supporting the Cambridge Public Library’s world-class Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programming and initiative. Join us for this virtual event featuring Ta-Nehisi Coates in conversation with Callie Crossley of WGBH Boston’s Under the Radar.

Cambridge Public Library

The Future of 5G: Opportunities and a Look Ahead

The communications industry is changing rapidly and occurring quickly in all directions. Disruption in the 5-G ecosystem, lower barriers to participation, new technologies and more all require novel approaches. As you look to the future, what are the implications for your business as the communications industry opens the door to this new frontier?

Boston Business Journal

Workshop: Trapping Trash and Diverting it from our Waterways

Globally, the contamination of plastic waste in freshwater and marine ecosystems is increasing.Trash Trapping Devices = Technology and Innovations that help capture anthropogenic debris from aquatic ecosystems, while collecting data to quantitatively measure our impact. This workshop will take place over two days: Wednesday March 24 and Thursday March 25 from 1-4:30 p.m.

U of T Trash Team

Harvard Seminar in Environmental Economics and Policy: Felix Pretis, Univsersity of Victoria

Felix Prentis, University of Victoria, “Carbon Pricing and the Elasticity of CO2 Emissions”. Seminar is held over Zoom and is open to the public.

Harvard Kennedy School and Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government

FORUM: “A Conversation with Senator Chris Coons: National Service and the Biden Agenda”

Join us for a discussion with Delaware’s Senator Chris Coons, a leading voice in the national service movement; member of the Senate Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, and Small Business Committees; and chair of the Senate Ethics Committee. IOP Director and Former Director of the Peace Corps, Mark D. Gearan “78, will moderate the discussion.

Harvard Kennedy School

Race, Equity & Business – Part 1

Join the Boston Business Journal for a virtual discussion on race and business and how we can affect real change in our community and move forward together.

Boston Business Journal

Adaptive Leadership and Climate Action

Join us for “Adaptive Leadership and Climate Action”, a conversation with two HKS alums working to solve the climate crisis. In Brazil and the U.S., Natalie Unterstell is a change policy and negotiations expert working to save the Amazon. Camila Thorndike is a climate organizer and National Director of Advocacy for Climate XChange.

Harvard Kennedy School

Algorithm vs. Algorithm: A Framework for Governmental Use of Machine Learning

This seminar will be given by Cary Coglianese, Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science; Director, Penn Program on Regulation at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. It is part of the Regulatory Policy Program’s weekly webinar series. Registration is required.

Harvard Kennedy School

Author Talk: Becky Cooper and We Keep the Dead Close

In 1969, a Harvard archaeology graduate student named Jane Britton was killed in her off-campus apartment in Cambridge. Her murder remained unsolved until late in 2018, when police announced a break in the case. We Keep the Dead Close is author Becky Cooper’s ten year pursuit for answers. Join us for a conversation with Cooper as she discusses her research into a murder that gripped the nation.

Cambridge Public Library

Improving America’s Housing 2021 Release

While the US economy shrank by 3.5 percent in 2020, spending on home improvements and repairs grew last year, increasing by more than 3 percent, according to Improving America’s Housing 2021, our new report being released on March 25.

Harvard Kennedy School

The Roadmap to Net Zero: What Opportunities for Oil and Gas?

Speaker is Rob West, Founder and Lead Analyst of Thundersaid Energy.

Scottish Energy Forum

Virtual Author Talk with Carla Gardina Pestana

Virtual Author Talk with Carla Gardina Pestana, author of The World of Plymouth Plantation

State Library of Massachusetts and Plymoth Patuxet

Uncovering Hidden Stories: Women in the Archives

Join Angelina Osborne in exploring the hidden voices of women in the archives; women who campaigned to have control of their own lives and families. From the Caribbean to India, to Britain, we are afforded small glimpses into these women’s lives, including the determination to receive a university education, serving the country during wartime, to raising awareness of injustices in institutions.

The National Archives

Industry Experts and Top Speakers Participate in the A Maven’s World Virtual Discussion

A Maven’s World announces its virtual lineup and the Maven awardee of its annual Women’s Conference, “Women and Work: Let’s Talk About Equity.” The two-day, virtual conference features Saturday opening remarks delivered by Kim Janey, Boston City Council President, and Incoming Mayor of Boston.

A Maven’s World

No help. No stops. No turning back. My Vendee Globe Story

In November 2020, Pip Hare set off from Les Sables-d’Olonne to take part in the Vendee Globe, a single-handed non-stop round the world yacht race known as “Everest of the Seas”. After sailing 24,000 miles and being alone at sea for over three months, Pip will share her story first-hand in this exclusive virtual talk.

Pip Hare

Leadership During Crisis Featuring Carmen Yulín Cruz

Join UMass Women into Leadership for a conversation with Carmen Yulín Cruz, former mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, as she discusses her thoughts on leadership during crisis.

UMass Women into Leadership

The Brixton riots 40 years on: What has changed for Black Brixtons?

Deputy Opinion Editor Joseph Harker, author and lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University Alex Wheatle, 1980s Lambeth Council Leader Linda Bellos, and co-founder of All Black Lives UK Natasha Johnson will be marking the anniversary of a moment of fundamental change for Black Protest, exploring its evolution through the past 40 years to today and ask, what next in the struggle for equality?

The Guardian Live

Today’s Headlines


Lynn politicians line up at City Hall for first day of nomination papers – Lynn Item

Street vendors outside Fenway Park told they can’t open until at least June – Boston Globe


More affordable housing coming to Great Barrington – Berkshire Eagle

Former METCO director to pay restitution for thefts from student funds – Salem News

Interest ‘high:’ Springfield gets 24 marijuana business applications – MassLive


Biden Team Prepares $3 Trillion in New Spending for the Economy – New York Times

Political fireworks fuel DC statehood hearing – The Hill

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