Keller at Large
Can you represent the whole city?
In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller, even before this morning’s big announcement that Kim Janey will indeed be running for mayor of Boston, was wondering if mayoral candidates will be running for mayor of all of Boston — or just parts of Boston.
State budget hearing, ‘Post-Pandemic Resiliency,’ and more
— Ahead of the next Constitutional Convention, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary holds a hearing to solicit public feedback on 10 proposals for legislative amendments to the constitution, 10 a.m.
— Mass. Fiscal Alliance holds online press conference with former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley Smith to discuss ‘negative impacts’ of federal bill HR1/S1 relating to campaign finance law, 10:30 a.m.
— Election Modernization Coalition sponsors a legislative briefing on the VOTES Act filed by Rep. John Lawn and Sen. Cynthia Creem, with guest speaker Peg Perl, director of elections in Arapahoe County, Colorado, 12 p.m.
— Joint Committee on Ways and Means holds its latest budget hearing to consider health and human services aspects of Gov. Baker’s $45.6 billion fiscal year 2022 budget plan, 1 p.m.
— The Senate’s new Special Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts: Post-Pandemic Resiliency holds its first meeting to discuss the digital divide, inequities in the workforce, housing, and regional matters specific to the southeastern part of the state, 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.
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The coronavirus numbers: 43 new deaths, 16,981 total deaths, 2,912 new cases
WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.
Janey goes for it: Acting mayor announces she’s running
Acting Mayor Kim Janey, who in recent weeks sure has looked and acted like a candidate for mayor, made it official this morning: She a candidate for mayor of Boston. The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter, the Globe’s Danny McDonald and SHNS’s Michael Norton have more.
Guess we don’t have to provide any read-between-the-lines analysis of Janey’s launch yesterday, before this morning’s big announcement, of a new $2.5 million ad campaign to promote “all inclusive” tourism in Boston, as GBH’s Saraya Wintersmith reports.
Huh? Even Ben Downing and Danielle Allen are out-fundraising Charlie Baker
Speaking of campaigns, is this a sign Gov. Charlie Baker isn’t gearing up for re-election next year? Long-shot Dem gubernatorial candidate Ben Downing and the exploring-a-candidacy Danielle Allen last month raised more campaign funds than Baker, who hasn’t announced yet whether he’ll seek a third term or not, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy.
Meanwhile, SHNS’s Michael Norton reports that Allen, a Harvard professor, sure looks like she’s finished exploring a candidacy: “Possible Guv Candidate Allen Bulks Up With Team of Advisers.”
As the state’s fully vaccinated population nears 1.5 Million …
Switching from politics to the the pandemic, here’s some good news: Nearly 1.5 million people in Massachusetts are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, reports SHNS’s Colin Young and MassLive’s Steph Solis. The bad news on the pandemic front: Spreading variants, rising case counts and … a virtual free-for-all for available vaxes. See below.
… the competition for vaccines grows more fierce
As the BBJ’s Jessica ‘Vaccination Whisperer’ Bartlett reports, it’s hell out there trying to snag a vaccination appointment in Massachusetts. And it’s only gotten worse with yesterday’s move to allow more people, including 55-plus residents, to register for vaccine shots, reports Simón Ríos at WBUR. From the Globe’s Kay Lazar: “State’s new COVID-19 eligibility rules open the flood gates for people to seek vaccinations.”
What’s this? The Herald’s Rick Sobey catches a bunch of 18-year-olds getting vaccinated in Dorchester – and it appears to be legit.
But the competition is over for Baker, who gets a shot today
At least he waited for his eligibility-list turn and didn’t butt to the front of the line like certain other pols. CBS Boston reports on Gov. Charlie Baker’s planned vaccination today at the Hynes Auditorium.
Great Unexpectations: State tax collections (and business confidence) continue to soar
The state’s tax collections last month continued to defy past dire predictions of fiscal Armageddon in Massachusetts – with tax revenues up 15.1 percent in March compared to a year ago and well above even recently revised projections, reports MassLive’s Steph Solis.
Though Tufts University’s Evan Howowitz attributes most of the unexpected windfall to massive federal relief funding, it doesn’t hurt that local employers are growing more confident by the day, as BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports.
First day of (in-person) school: Plenty of jitters, mixed emotions and some missing teachers
It felt like early fall in April yesterday with a majority of school districts across the state finally returning, as mandated by the state, to full in-person classes, as CBS Boston reports. And things apparently went well in Springfield yesterday, MassLive reports. But they didn’t go so well elsewhere, also via MassLive: “Athol Royalston Regional School District cancels classes on Monday after 100 teachers get second COVID shot, many call out sick after ‘not feeling well.”
Reopening day sure had its share of concerns and anxiety in general, such as in Medford, reports the Globe’s Jenna Russell reports.
If schools are back to in-person classes, why isn’t DCF back to in-person child inspections?
From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “Workers in Massachusetts’ child welfare agency are seeing only about half of the children under their watch in-person each month, state data show, illustrating the state’s heavy reliance on remote check-ins during the pandemic even as schools, day cares, and others have returned mostly to face-to-face interactions.”
Of course, the David Almond case is mentioned prominently. And speaking of the David Almond case, state Rep. David LeBoeuf, in a Herald opinion piece, says it’s time for the Legislature to intervene and fix DCF’s ongoing problems.
Fake masks, unmasked
As NBC Boston reports, a sharp-eyed worker at South Shore Health thought something wasn’t right about a recent shipment of N95 surgical masks – and he was right. They were counterfeit. And the feds have seized the masks and are now investigating.
Surging applications: Elite colleges aren’t seen as so elite anymore
The Globe’s Laura Krantz has a good story this morning about how the pandemic-era shift away from standardized admission tests at “selective” colleges (i.e. top-tier/elite colleges) has encouraged a more diverse and rising number of students to apply to those schools.
SJC to try its hand at blackjack
Believe it or not, the state’s highest court is in the weeds, deep down in the legal weeds, when it comes to setting payout odds for blackjack at the state’s two casinos. CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reports on tomorrow’s unusual SJC hearing on whether Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield are “allowed to offer less favorable odds than is typical in their blackjack games.”
The People’s Republic of Somerville: The Socialist takeover is nearly complete
The Globe’s Zoe Greenberg reports on the Boston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America’s endorsement of six socialists for the Somerville City Council – and how their takeover of the once gritty, now granola, Somerville is nearly complete. Their immediate post-takeover tasks to avert counter-revolution: prove they can plow the streets and collect the garbage as well as their petty bourgeois predecessors.
Trahan and Markey to Zuckerberg: Back off kids-only Instagram
Can a day pass without Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg making news for all the wrong reasons? Apparently not. The latest Facebook flap: The social-media giant’s plans for a kids-only Instagram – and U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan and Ed Markey are among those urging Zuckerberg to can the idea. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports.
Gavel ready: Warren will convene hearing on student debt cancellation
She’s staying on message. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren will use the first hearing of her tenure as chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Policy to focus on the nation’s student debt crisis and its impact on minority communities, Melanie Waddell at ThinkAdvisor reports.
Past state GOP chairs: They’ve had it with OCPF’s Michael Sullivan
Unless we’re mistaken, there seems to be a concerted GOP/conservative effort to rally around state Sen. Ryan Fattman and his wife, Worcester Country Register of Probate Stephanie Fattman, in their ongoing feud with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance’s Michael Sullivan. The latest proof: An opinion piece at CommonWealth magazine in which six past chairs of the state GOP bemoan the outgoing Sullivan’s alleged lack of transparency in his probe of the Fattmans’ campaign committees.
‘Love us:’ Businesses in Lynn urge GE to reinvest in local plant
They’re not afraid of looking desperate. Lynn businesses have joined a coalition formed by a labor union to publicly urge GE to reverse a years-long trend of dropping investment in its local aircraft engine plant, urging the corporate giant to “Love us, don’t leave us,” Guthrie Scrimgeour at the Lynn Item.
Ride-alongs: Haverhill to hire psychiatric counselors to accompany cops to calls
Hurry up. Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini is telling the city’s police department to speed the process of hiring mental health counselors who would accompany police when they’re called to domestic disputes and other high-stress situations, Mike LaBella at the Eagle-Tribune reports. Federal coronavirus relief funds will help fund the positions.
Personal appeal: Braintree mayor pressing Baker for more budget help
Braintree Mayor Charles Kokoros says he’s going to put the full press on Gov. Charlie Baker to free up more local aid for his community as it faces steep budget cuts, Fred Hanson at the Patriot Ledger reports. Kokoros says Braintree is unique because it relies heavily on meals and hotel tax receipts, which have been pummeled by the pandemic.
Guns, Safety and the Edge of Adulthood
The event highlights the report by the Center for Court Innovation which interviewed over 300 young people who have either carried a gun or have shot or been shot at, followed by a panel of youth workers reflecting on the implications that these research findings can have on Massachusetts productive approaches to youth whose lives are complicated by the intersection of guns, violence and trauma.
Your Rights in Recovery: A Toolkit
RIZE Massachusetts is launching a “Your Rights in Recovery” toolkit designed for people who may not have access to the right supports – often through no fault of their own – to manage their opioid use disorder and begin to recover on their own terms.
Biodiversity Where You Are: Boston Area City Nature Challenge
Join the City Nature Challenge, Boston Public Library and Dr. Colleen Hitchcock from Brandeis University to find out how you can get involved in citizen and community science research this spring by joining City Nature Challenge. Learn about citizen science and nature documentation in the Boston area, how science and the public can work together to document nature, and what we’ve learned so far.
Propaganda, Media Literacy, and Democracy
This talk will explore the many efforts in education and journalism to increase the media literacy skills so vital to democracy. We’ll examine the challenges of this endeavor with Amy Callahan, who has studied this issue from many angles. A former journalist, public relations professional, and media literacy education scholar, she has an extensive background in teaching and journalism.
Escaping Unfreedom: How Cuff Whittemore used his Military Service to Claim his Freedom
Cuff Whittemore of Arlington fought with his military company at Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill, then seven more years in the Continental Army. Why did this African-American man choose to join the rebellion then re-enlist over and over after it had blossomed into a war? This online program, co-presented by the National Park Service, will happen over Zoom. Registration is required.
“I am a daughter of liberty”: Women in the American Struggle for Independence
The American Revolution brought the sudden and radical entrance of women into political life. Women actively participated in, and ensured the success of the boycotts of British goods that forced the repeal of oppressive legislation. When the war began, women took over the management of farms and shops, served as spies, saboteurs, messengers, and even soldiers. Their stories are worth telling.
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