Happening Today

Janey’s ceremonial swearing in, Governor’s Council, and more

— Acting Mayor of Boston Kim Janey ceremonially takes the oath of office as the first woman and first Black person to serve as the city’s mayor, with the oath administered by Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly Budd and with U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley attending, among others, Boston City Hall, 11:45 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey is the virtual speaker at the New England Council’s ‘Capitol Hill Report’ to talk about recent developments in Washington and his priorities for the 117th Congress, 1 p.m.

Governor’s Council interviews Gardner District Court Clerk Magistrate Whitney Brown, the governor’s nominee for a Westborough District Court judicial vacancy, 10 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’’ WGBH 89.7 FM, 12 p.m.

Pioneer Institute and the Mass. High Tech Council host a virtual panel to discuss the graduated income tax proposal in Massachusetts and the impact of differential taxation on high earners in different states, 2 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: 20 new deaths, 16,578 total deaths, 1,476 new cases

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Janey’s first day: Is it too early to start asking if she’s running this fall?

Kim Janey spent her first full history-making day as acting mayor of Boston visiting the Charlestown school where she was bused during Boston’s turbulent desegregation days (Globe), pronouncing that fighting systemic racism and inequity are among her top priorities (WBUR) and saying the new normal is not the old normal in Boston (Herald).

But GBH’s Adam Reilly and CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas cut quickly to the topic on the minds of every political junkie in Boston: Is the city’s first female and Black chief executive running for election or not this fall? It’s only been one day, but, yes, she’s showing early signs that she’s off and running, up to and including referring herself as “mayor,” not “acting mayor.”

As for now former Mayor Marty Walsh? From CBS Boston: “‘It’s Bittersweet,’ Marty Walsh Heads To Washington To Start ‘New Challenge’ As Labor Secretary.”

Dozens of school districts seek waivers to delay April 5 in-person learning

There are two ways to look at this: an overwhelming majority of school districts are prepared to fully reopen elementary schools by the state-imposed deadline of April 5 but dozens of school districts are asking for waivers, including those in Boston and Worcester, the state’s largest and second largest school districts. The Globe’s James Vaznis and MassLive’s Melissa Hanson have more.

All in all, it looks like the state’s prodding is working – to an extent. Regarding prodding in general, from the Globe: “The state board of higher education is pushing community colleges to offer more in-person classes this fall.”

Baker on the defensive over mass-vax sites, Vaxfinder, etc., etc.

It wasn’t a confrontational hearing. But it wasn’t a kumbaya moment either. A three-reporter SHNS team, MassLive’s Steph Solis, CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg and NBC Boston report on yesterday’s second legislative oversight hearing in which lawmakers grilled Gov. Charlie Baker and other administration officials about their decisions to sidestep local vaccination sites, hire outside companies to run mass-vaccination centers, etc. etc. And, yes, Vaxfinder was mentioned now and then. 

Put it this way: The Baker team was on the defensive most of the day.

Vaccine passes to attend Red Sox games?

He’s thinking ahead. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth: “Sen. Barry Finegold of Andover urged the Baker administration on Tuesday to develop some sort of identification that could be used to prove a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to gain admission to public venues such as Fenway Park.” The Baker administration is saying there are no plans afoot for such passes – at least not now.

Suggested state slogan if it becomes a reality: “Vaccine passes. Don’t leave home without ‘em.”


The pandemic’s political toll on Baker …

It’s just a review of all of Gov. Charlie Baker’s recent political woes tied to the pandemic. But it’s a good review by the AP’s Steve LeBlanc of all of the governor’s recent political woes tied to the pandemic. And along the same lines, via Politico’s Stephanie Murray: “Blue-state Republicans slump without Trump as foil.” Also, from Tom McGrath at Boston Magazine (pay wall): “Charlie Baker: Leadership, Lessons Learned, and What Lies Ahead.”

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Howie Carr, whose verified Baker Derangement Syndrome extends to Lt. Gov. Karyn Politio, provides his version of a review of Polito’s recent purchase of a $1.8 million vacation home.


Healey’s busy, busy public schedule these days

No, we’re not obsessed with Attorney General Maura Healey’s daily schedule. Just … intrigued. The indispensable SHNS’s Daily Advances (pay wall) lists five separate public events involving Healey today, four of them dealing with COVID-19-related activities in the Worcester area and one of them tied to the St. Vincent nurses strike in Worcester. Just pointing it out for possible you-know-what implications.

Lawmakers to Baker: Now is not the time to overhaul transportation system for the disabled and low-income people

Another flashpoint between lawmakers and the administration. From SHNS’s Mat Murphy: “Dozens of state legislators want to block the Baker administration from overhauling a state-run transportation system that provides more than 9 million rides a year to low-income and disabled residents, shuttling a vulnerable population to doctor appointments and other state services in the midst of a pandemic.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

State Police union: Agency brass are cheating troopers out of OT payments

Considering all the recent OT scandals at the State Police, the word ‘chutzpah’ does spring to mind here, fairly or unfairly. From the AP at WBUR: “The union representing almost 2,000 rank-and-file Massachusetts State Police troopers has sued the agency, alleging it broke state and federal labor law by intentionally miscalculating what qualifies as regular pay, costing members $2 million per year in overtime pay.”


Worcester police union has had it with DA Early

Speaking of police, the Worcester Patrolmen’s Union is angrily saying it will never, ever endorse District Attorney Joseph Early again. His transgressions? Dropping charges against dozens of people arrested during Black Lives Matter protests last summer. Jackson Cote at MassLive has the “strongly worded” details.


Lowell mayor apologizes, says wife paid protesters’ bail

And speaking of police and protests: Apology not really accepted. The Lowell City Council has voted to launch an investigation into how city leaders handled the weekend arrests of protesters outside a police station, even after Mayor John Leahy issued an apology and said it was his wife who had paid the bail for those arrested, Alana Melason at the Lowell Sun reports. Police leaders had expressed outrage after a City Hall aide delivered the bail funds to release the protesters. 

Lowell Sun

‘Systemic failure’: Duxbury football team’s anti-Semitic play calling gets flagged

The grown-up coaches didn’t know their student players were using anti-Semitic audibles during Duxbury High School football games? The Anti-Defamation League and others aren’t buying it and are demanding an outside investigation into the team’s offensive play-calling system, according to reports at NBC Boston and WCVB.

The Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy isn’t waiting for any damn report: “Duxbury High School should dismiss its football coach after anti-Semitic play calls.”

Hired legal guns: Springfield council enlists Conservation Law Foundation in fight against biomass plant

It’s their version of Shane to the rescue. The Springfield City Council is getting some legal help from Boston’s Conservation Law Founding in the ongoing fight over Palmer Renewable Energy’s attempt to build a new $150 million biomass plant in Springfield. MassLive’s Jim Kinney has more.


Double trouble: Former tribal chair Cromwell indicted on tax charges

Cedric Cromwell, who was ousted from his position as chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe after being indicted in November on federal bribery charges, is in yet more legal trouble after a federal grand jury found he failed to report some $177,000 in bribes and other payments as income, Tanner Stening at MassLive reports. 

Fighting back: Harwich restaurants sue town over Covid enforcement

Were they targeted? The owners of two Harwich restaurants have filed a $10 million federal lawsuit against the Cape community, saying officials improperly used a local noise ordinance as a predicate for Covid-rules enforcement action, while ignoring similar violations at other eateries. Doug Fraser at the Cape Cod Times has the details. 

Cape Cod Times

‘Commuter’ rail or just rail? That is the question

Finally, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl raises an interesting question: If the T’s new rail scheduling system is focusing less on rush-hour commuter service and focusing more on all-day train service, is it right to still call it a ‘commuter rail’ system? 


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

Inequality of Economic Opportunity

Join Jeff Fuhrer, M-RCBG Senior Fellow for a discussion on the Inequality of Economic Opportunity with a particular focus on the wealth gap. He will present a summary of some ongoing research on a proper accounting for the sources of the wealth gap, emphasizing the long history of institutional racism that is at the heart.

Harvard Kennedy School

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

Defense Project Series – Should Women be in the Draft – A discussion about the future of the Selective Service in America

Please join us for an important and timely discussion on whether or not women should be required to sign up for the Selective Service and, therefore, potentially be involuntarily drafted into the military in the event of a national emergency.

Harvard Kennedy School

Energy Policy Seminar: Alice Hill on Lessons from the Pandemic on How to Prepare for Climate Change

Join us for an Energy Policy Seminar featuring Alice Hill, David M. Rubenstein Fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations. Ms. Hill will discuss “Lessons from the Pandemic on How to Prepare for Climate Change”. This event is open to the public and hosted on zoom. Please RSVP.

Harvard Kennedy School

Book Talk – The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

Join the Ash Center; Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic: Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at Harvard University; and Black Student Union at Harvard Kennedy School for a conversation with Heather McGee, a leading voice in the national conversation on systemic racism and its consequences.

Harvard Kennedy School

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


Somerville police officers to wear body cameras – Boston Herald

City tells Fenway Park street vendors they can open on April 1 – Boston Globe


Worcester police union says it will never endorse DA Joseph Early again after charges dropped against 2020 Black Lives Matter protesters – MassLive

Few vote in Andover town election as teachers protest at polls – Eagle-Tribune

Worcester police tightened call protocols after alleged sickout – Telegram & Gazette


Shootings never stopped during the pandemic: 2020 was the deadliest gun violence year in decades – Washington Post

Senate Democratic moderates push for minimum wage compromise – Politico

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