Keller at Large

Keller’s grim commencement speech

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller provides, free of charge, a college commencement-speech template that graduation speakers can crib from all they want – even though college administrators won’t like what Jon would have them say.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

David Almond hearing, redistricting committee, and more

Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons and Disabilities holds an oversight hearing regarding a March report by the Office of the Child Advocate into the death of David Almond, a Fall River teenager with autism, 10 a.m.

Massachusetts Shellfish Initiative Task Force holds press call to discuss findings of its strategic plan and release recommendations around balancing competing demands for shellfish resources, 10 a.m.

— A special commission created to recommend strategies for the recovery of the state’s cultural and creative sectors plans to convene for the first time as it works toward a June 30 deadline for submitting its work, 1 p.m.

— The Special Joint Committee on Redistricting, helmed by Rep. Michael Moran and Sen. William Brownsberger, kicks off the next phase of the decennial redistricting process with the first of nine planned Congressional district-specific hearings, 5 p.m.

Salem State University hosts a virtual discussion with CNN senior political correspondent Abby Phillip to mark the opening of its new Frederick E. Berry Institute of Politics and Civic Engagement, named after the late state Sen. Frederick Berry, 6:30 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: 18 new deaths, 17,288 total deaths, 481 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Winding down: State to close four mass-vax sites, focus on local vaccine efforts as demand declines

It’s almost hard to believe. Encouraged by the high rate of vaccinations in Massachusetts, the Baker administration is now planning to close some mass-vaccination sites, starting next month, and focus more on inoculation programs at regional sites and local doctor’s offices, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy, MassLive Steph Solis and the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett. The end is in sight, folks.

New England leads the nation in vaccination rates

Remember those dark VaxFinder  days? Just a distant memory now. The Globe’s Martin Finucane reports that New England is leading the nation in vaccination rates – and Massachusetts ranks second only to New Hampshire in the rate of people who have gotten at least one shot.

Boston Globe

Next up: Youth vaccinations

The state may be winding down its mass-vaccinations efforts. But there is still one large segment of society awaiting shots in Massachusetts and elsewhere: Adolescents. And the NYT reports the FDA is set to authorize Pfizer shots, perhaps starting next week, for those 12 to 15 years old. And Massachusetts is preparing for the big teen-vaccine push, reports SHNS’s Colin Young.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Hey, how come we didn’t get cash, beer and prepaid debit cards as incentives?

Attention Massachusetts state-employee unions: Maryland is now offering $100 to state workers who are fully vaccinated, the Washington Post reports. Meanwhile, New Jersey is offering a “shot and a beer” for residents who get their first vaccine dose while Detroit is giving out $50 prepaid debit cards to those who give someone a ride to a vaccine site, the NYT reports.

Baker: ‘I’m not going to play that game’

Gov. Charlie Baker is standing firm on allowing non-vaccinated state employees to return to work – and we assume that means no cash, beer or prepaid debit card incentives. MassLive’s Steph Solis has more.


Not Somerville? Brookline and Salem opt to keep outdoor-mask mandates

We missed this one from the other day, via the Globe’s John Hilliard and Gal Tziperman Lotan: “Health officials in Brookline and Salem said Sunday they are continuing to require masks outdoors, even after the US Centers for Disease Control cleared the way last for fully vaccinated people to forgo them outside when they can socially distance.”

Boston Globe

On the menu: Restaurants can now apply for up to $10M in rescue funds

Some of them need all the help they can get. From MassLive’s Benjamin Kail: “A host of Massachusetts restaurants and service businesses can now apply for up to $10 million in COVID-19 relief to help cover losses brought on by the pandemic, Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s office announced Monday.” The Herald’s Erin Tiernan has more on the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

How many reports will it take before DCF ends child-abuse cycle?

Lawmakers today convene an oversight hearing into the tragic death of David Almond – and a subsequent scathing report that said DCF failed the Fall River youth. But the Globe’s Matt Stout takes a look at prior child-abuse cases involving DCF and the subsequent reports after those controversies. And, well, the prior reports provided “nearly verbatim findings” that were contained in the recent Almond report.

In related news, from SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “Extra Level of Review Sought in Child Death Cases.” 

Boston Globe

Millionaire tax proponents to launch counter-offensive

Opponents of the proposed millionaire tax have been beating up the idea for weeks now, issuing dire reports and penning various op-eds about its potential negative effects on the economy. Now proponents of the surtax are planning a counter-counter-offensive, starting tomorrow, to get the measure on the 2022 ballot, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Pressuring Campbell to pull out of mayoral race has accomplished one thing: She’s in the news a lot these days

The blowback continues from a developer’s email effort to get Andrea Campbell to pull out of the mayoral race to clear the way for Acting Mayor Kim Janey to win. The latest criticism comes from the Globe’s Marcela Garcia, who calls the gambit “undemocratic.”

Meanwhile, Campbell keeps swinging away in her feud with the Boston police union – and she keeps winning allies in the fight, as a three-reporter team at the Globe reports. The Globe’s Joan Vennochi has more on the Campbell-vs-union rumble. As they say, you can’t buy this type of publicity.

Black Lives Matter movement: Defund police means defund police, as in abolish, eliminate, dismantle

GBH’s Tori Bedford reports that members of the local Black Lives Matter movement are tired of waiting for Boston police reforms and now say it’s clear that “defund police” should literally mean “defund police,” as part of a total BPD “abolition” movement.


Basic math: Braintree plans teacher cuts as enrollment declines

It’s not money they’re lacking. It’s students to teach. Braintree Superintendent Frank Hackett has presented a proposed budget for the next fiscal year that includes 28 fewer teacher positions, mostly due to declining enrollment in the community’s middle and elementary schools. Fred Hanson at the Patriot Ledger has the details. This happening elsewhere across the state – and so expect more such announcements.

Patriot Ledger

Is the state hatching a plan to counter court waterfront ruling?

The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock reports that the state is considering an appeal of a recent court ruling that could have a big impact on waterfront development across the state. And it looks like the state is also putting together draft regulations that would “ratify and confirm approval of all existing municipal harbor plans,” as Carlock reports.


Money man: Atop Ways and Means, Neal could hold key to Biden tax-and-spend wishes

The tax man has his own ideas. As President Biden’s ambitious spending packages start making their way through Congress, Brian Faler at Politico reports eyes are turning to House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, who supports Biden’s approach but also has his own priorities he wants to see addressed. And that’s very good news for Massachusetts, we presume. 


Kerry got how much money from Bank of America?

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld this morning is going after climate czar John Kerry’s recent holdings in oil, gas and nuclear-energy companies, as ABC News recently reported. But what caught our attention in Battenfeld’s piece is that Kerry also “pulled down a $5 million salary in a no-show job as chairman of Bank of America’s global advisory council.” Huh? How much?

Boston Globe

Healey joins other AGs in trying to block Sackler bid for opioid Immunity

Attorney General Maura Healey has joined 23 other AGs around the country who are trying to derail a proposed bankruptcy settlement that would allow the Sackler family, of Oxycontin infamy, to win legal immunity in exchange for them forking over some of their fortune. “The bankruptcy system should not be allowed to shield non-bankrupt billionaires,” says Healey.


Truckers for Shaw’s and Star Market go on strike In New England

We’re about to find out how disruptive 70 drivers and mechanics can be to New England’s food-delivery system. CBS Boston reports that Teamsters personnel went on strike yesterday, stopping shipments to about 100 Shaw’s and Star Market grocery stores across New England.

CBS Boston

Heart of the matter: Correia trial turns to alleged pot-license bribes

Would-be pot-shop entrepreneurs took the stand in Jasiel Correia’s federal bribery and corruption trial Monday to detail their efforts to assure they received “letters of non-opposition” from the then-mayor, most of which involved directing cash payments and gifts to Correia or to third parties they thought represented him, the Herald-News reports.  

Herald News

‘Onerous:’ Amherst council says Open Meeting Law update goes too far

Too much work. The Amherst Town Council has taken a position against a proposed change to the state’s Open Meeting Law that would require that documents being discussed at remotely held meetings be made available to the public beforehand, Jim Russell at MassLive reports. Current language only requires boards to produce documents “in a timely manner.”

“America United”; Finding Common Ground

Panelists explore productive discussions across conflicts and divides with Mo Elleithee, executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Managing Mental Health at Work: A Local Perspective – Virtual Program

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, and as a follow up to a national conversation hosted by American City Business Journals, the Boston Business Journal will convene local business leaders sharing their expertise on this important topic.

Boston Business Journal

Climate Justice Partnerships: Part 3

Join us for a discussion with representatives from Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and CNT who will share about their collaboration on a water and health study in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, an environmental justice community.

Sustainable Solutions Lab at UMass Boston

UMass/New Balance Boston Sports Leaders Over Lunch

Conversations on Sports Leading the Way in 2021. UMass / New Balance Boston Sports Leadership & Administrative Program is a new and exciting public/private partnership at UMass Boston. The first and only Bachelor of Sports Leadership in Boston with a cohort of one of the most diverse student bodies in New England.

Boston Business Journal

First Friday Leadership Luncheon: MPA Senior Leadership Program Q+A

Are you ready for your MPA? Join Bob Spellane and Mary Piecewicz of Clark’s School of Professional Studies to learn about our unique MPA Senior Leadership Program! This program is designed for YOU, the leaders within the public and private sector, to be flexible, affordable, and relevant. Grab a meal and join us to learn about this sweet opportunity!

Clark University’s School of Professional Studies

Multidimensional Housing Insecurity: A New Approach to Measuring, Understanding, and Addressing Problems Among Renters

Giselle Routhier will present work that examines housing insecurity as a multidimensional phenomenon and uses multiple variables to develop a more accurate index of housing insecurity. She will discuss how a more comprehensive definition and index could be used to better understand and address inequities in maintaining secure housing, particularly among those protected by the Fair Housing Act.

Harvard Kennedy School

Wampanoag New Year Traditions

Kids and families are invited to join Kitty Hendricks-Miller, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Citizen and Educator, in a celebration of Wampanoag New Year traditions. Learn about the daily life of the Wampanoag in the 17th century, as well as their current lives and communities. This program is free and open to the public.

Cambridge Public Library

Today’s Headlines


Chaos continues at Franklin Park – Boston Herald

GE chief executive Larry Culp’s compensation faces scrutiny in shareholder vote – Boston Globe


Nurses pore over ‘complex’ offer; will meet with St. Vincent Hospital brass Wednesday – Telegram & Gazette

Markey pitches Biden’s infrastructure plan in Quincy – Patriot Ledger

As summer nears, worker shortage continues on Cape – Cape Cod Times


U.S. trustee opposes NRA bankruptcy petition in blow to gun rights group – Washington Post

FAA warns of increase in unruly airline passengers – The Hill

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