Keller at Large

The premature obit for Baker’s vaccine rollout

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller says it’s getting kind of old to say Baker blew it on the vaccine rollout front, not when the stats point to Massachusetts now performing well compared to other states.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

19th Suffolk House race, budget hearing, and more

— Voters in the 19th Suffolk House district head to the polls to select a new state representative three months after former Speaker Robert DeLeo resigned from the legislature, with three candidates vying for the seat, Democrat Jeffrey Turco, Republican Paul Caruccio and unenrolled candidate Richard Fucillo Jr. 

— Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly Budd speaks at a virtual event celebrating Women’s History Month hosted by Chelsea District Court’s First Justice Matthew Machera and Chief Probation Officer Carmen Z. Gomez, 10 a.m.

— The Boston Foundation releases ‘Unleashing the Potential of Entrepreneurs of Color in Massachusetts: A Blueprint for Economic Growth and Equitable Recovery, with Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, Rep. Antonio Cabral, and Sen. Eric Lesser expected to speak, 10 a.m.

— Mayor Kim Janey hosts a media availability to discuss the latest updates relating to COVID-19, Boston City Hall, 11 a.m.

Joint Ways and Means Committee holds its second budget hearing focused on health and human services, the biggest cost cateogry in the state’s annual budget, 1 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: 15 new deaths, 16,790 total deaths, 1,464 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

The latest and not the last: Chang-Díaz explores run for governor in 2022

We certainly don’t want this to get lost in all the pandemic-related news, to wit: State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, a Boston Democrat, progressive and the first Latinx woman to serve in the state Senate, is “seriously considering” a run for governor in 2022, according to reports by SHNS’s Matt Murphy and Katie Lannan and MassLive’s Steph Solis.

And so the list grows longer of declared and undeclared Dem candidates eyeing the Corner Office. They all sense something out there – and it has to do with Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s third-term intentions and vulnerabilities. CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas has more.

The pandemic’s latest victim: Becker College

The Telegram’s Scott O’Connell reports that Becker College in Worcester will close at the end of this academic year, the victim (partly) of financial woes tied to the pandemic. The BBJ’s Hilary Burns has more on Becker’s demise.

Meanwhile, they’re already hovering over Becker’s academic remains in Worcester. From MassLive: “Clark University responds to closure of Becker College by launching Becker School of Design & Technology at Clark.” Some area schools are offering to help displaced Becker students, according to reports at SHNS and MassLive.

The Telegram

‘Impending doom’: CDC chief warns of virus surge as Baker stands by reopening (for now)

As the Globe’s Dasia Moore reports, CDC director (and former MGH doctor) Rochelle Walensky is warning of “impending doom” tied to increasing coronavirus cases across America, including in Massachusetts. At least for now, Gov. Charlie Baker is standing by his recent decision to reopen more sectors of the state’s economy – and the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says the governor effectively now owns any new surge and he can’t spin his way out of that fact.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Joan Vennochi notices a touch of red in Baker, as in a red Republican attitude when it comes to not forcing frontline workers to get vaccinated. And here’s more from the pandemic front, via the Martha’s Vineyard Times (“Following weeks of decline, island sees Covid spike”) and MassLive (“Springfield sees 76 percent jump in Covid cases in single week”).

Despite lack of riders and workers, MBTA commits to restoring full transit services

Acting Mayor Kim Janey was among those yesterday calling on the MBTA to restore full bus and subway services (WCVB) – and that’s exactly what the chastened T intends to do. Or at least will try to do soon. Even though there seems to be a shortage of both workers and passengers. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl have more.

Fyi, from SHNS: “New Red, Orange Line Trains Remain Out of Service.” Fyi II, from Universal Hub (and this is a great idea, we’d add): “Boston to try free CharlieCards/Bluebikes for workers in five areas.”

East-West rail anyone?

U.S. Reps. Stephen Lynch and Richard Neal say a proposed multitrillion-dollar infrastructure and climate bill could have lots of goodies in it for Massachusetts, chief among them funding for East-west passenger rail through Springfield. SHNS’s Colin Young has the Lynch angle, while MassLive’s Jim Kinney has the Neal angle.

Larry Summers: He’s back and not happy

Speaking of big-ticket spending bills in Washington, Larry Summers, the former Harvard president and former economic adviser to Presidents Obama and Clinton, is in the news again, this time as a critic of President Biden’s economic policies and this time Dems aren’t paying attention to him. The Washington Post has more.

Washington Post

Ethics Commission clears Rollins in road rage case. Next up: U.S. Attorney?

It’s not a big surprise, but it may have big consequences. Boston 25’s Ted Daniel and the Globe’s Andrea Estes report that the state Ethics Commission has dropped its investigation into an alleged road-rage incident involving Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins. And the end of the probe may remove a “potential obstacle from Rollins’ bid to become the next US attorney for the district of Massachusetts,” as Estes reports.

Curious George, Bilbo Baggins and George Orwell join Rupert Murdoch’s growing publishing empire

The BBJ’s Don Seiffert and the Globe’s Jon Chesto report on Boston-based Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s sale of its consumer book publishing unit – which includes the publishing rights to Curious George, Lord of the Rings and George Orwell books – to Rubert Murdoch’s HarperCollins Publishers. As the Globe headline aptly puts it: “A storied chapter in Boston publishing history is coming to an end.”

‘This 1783 deluxe edition of Massachusetts’

Speaking of the local loss of power and prestige, we could have been masters of huge swaths of North America. But it wasn’t meant to be for Massachusetts. Boston Magazine’s Spencer Buell reports on an old 1783 map showing that Massachusetts, technically, once had sovereign claim over parts of present-day New York, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin. It’s true! 

Boston Magazine

Royal mess: Saudis fighting it out over Back Bay luxury condos

Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports on a very tangled local lawsuit involving all sorts of Saudi citizens (including a “murderous crown prince”) legally duking it out over who spent what and where when it comes to luxury condos at Boston’s One Dalton Place, Mandarin Oriental and Millennium Place.

Universal Hub

Varsity Blues prosecutor surprised by public’s outrage at college admissions scandal

Actually, we’re surprised that he’s surprised that the Varsity Blues college-admissions scandal hit a nerve with people far and wide. Anyway, Kirk Carapezza at GBH has a good piece on how the federal probe unfolded, through the eyes of former fed prosecutor and Belmont native Eric Rosen.


Lawmakers hash out transparency rules behind closed doors

Just for the record, lawmakers negotiating new access and transparency rules on Beacon Hill won’t be deliberating on the record. Negotiations will be conducted outside of public views, as SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports.

Meanwhile, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, in a Globe opinion piece, says it’s time to end the Legislature’s exemption from the state’s Open Meetings Law. We’re sure Driscoll’s op-ed will be fully reviewed and discussed by lawmakers … behind closed doors.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

The unintended consequence of expanding child-abuse reporting laws: Inequity?

No one is questioning the good intentions behind preliminary moves to expand the state’s child-abuse reporting laws. But Shira Schoenberg at CommonWealth reports that some are concerned the rush to fix one problem could create another problem in terms of “ensnaring primarily poor families of color in investigations.”


‘Toxic:’ Harbormaster says Gloucester mayor threatened and harassed city workers

He’s not holding back. Gloucester Harbormaster T.J. Ciarametaro is making sweeping claims against Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, saying she has provided “toxic leadership” and made physical threats and inappropriate comments to and about city workers, Taylor Ann Bradford of the Gloucester Times reports.

Gloucester Times

Troubling trend: Fewer minority students returning to Worcester classrooms

The Worcester Regional Research Bureau is sounding the alarm about the makeup of the student body that is returning to city classrooms this week, saying that far more white students are opting to come back to in-person classes than non-white students, Tom Matthews at MassLive reports. 


Workforce development 101: Offshore wind classes coming to New Bedford High

Start ‘em young. The New Bedford School Committee is poised to approve a new dual degree program with Bristol Community College and UMass Dartmouth focused on jobs in the offshore wind industry. Anastasia Lennon of the Standard-Times reports officials are eager to get the program in place now that the Biden administration is signaling strong support for expanding the industry’s East Coast footprint. 

Standard Times

Thaddeus Buczko, former state auditor and judge, RIP

Thaddeus Buczko, the former long-time state auditor, state representative and judge, has passed away at the age of 95. The Globe’s Bryan Marquard has a touching piece on the life of Buczko, who began his 16-year reign as auditor after he got a call at home while watching ‘Gunsmoke.’ And the rest is state-government history. RIP, Thaddeus.

Boston Globe

How to Network Effectively

In this workshop, you will receive top tips on how to maximize recruitment opportunities at law fairs, vacation schemes and other networking events both face to face and online. The practical nature of this online workshop will give you the opportunity to develop and practice online networking techniques as well.

BPP University Law 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

U.S. Immigration: Past Policy and New Directions

Join our guest speakers as they explore the history of and contemporary issues in U.S. immigration policy with Julia Preston, contributing writer to the Marshall Project. All forums are open to the public. Registration is strongly recommended.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Defending Against Ransomware

Join the East Midlands Special Operations Unit as we discuss how to prevent ransomware in the first place and then what to do if you’ve been hit.

East Midlands Special Operations Unit for Cybercrime

Cryptocurrencies: Speculative Bubble or the Future of Money?

This webinar will be given by Timothy Massad, an M-RCBG research fellow, Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, and a consultant on financial regulatory issues. It is part of the Regulatory Policy Program’s weekly webinar series. Registration is required.

Harvard Kennedy School

Energy Policy Seminar: Andrew Light on “International Energy and Climate Policy Outlook”

Join us for an Energy Policy Seminar featuring Andrew Light, Acting Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, Department of Energy. Mr. Light will discuss “International Energy and Climate Policy Outlook”. The seminar will be hosted by HKS Professor Joe Aldi.

Harvard Kennedy School

Virtual Talk – The British Soldiers Who Fought the American Revolution

Join author Don N. Hagist for a different side of history on Patriot’s Day as he discusses the lives of British soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War. For centuries, these soldiers have remained hidden despite their major role in one of the greatest events in world history. There is more to these soldiers than their red uniforms. Who were they? Why did they join the army?

Cary Memorial Public Library

Regional Spotlight: The Northeast

As MassEcon focuses on marketing Massachusetts beyond its borders, we invite you to this Spotlight Series discussion. This free event is open to area business representatives and economic developers.


Today’s Headlines


In latest City Hall departures, head of finance, chief operating officer are leaving – Boston Globe

Markey: Brockton vaccination clinic is a national model – Brockton Enterprise


Taunton City Council says goodbye to Zoom – Taunton Gazette

Soldiers’ Home vigil to mark one year since start of Covid outbreak – MassLive

Attleboro shortchanged by $2 million on school aid, local officials say – Sun Chronicle


New U.S. coronavirus cases rise by 12 percent as nation braces for fourth pandemic wave – Washington Post

Most Capitol Hill rioters unlikely to see jail time – Politico

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