Keller at Large

Kim Janey’s Road Map to Victory

In his latest Keller at Large, Jon Keller explores Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey’s “road map to victory” in the upcoming city election. Keller’s take: “The rest of Janey’s ad is similar to those already aired by her competitors: a quick litany of her accomplishments, and some shots of the candidate surrounded by a diverse array of Bostonians. But while it concludes with the claim that ‘we’re making sure that every neighborhood can experience safety and joy,’ Janey’s spot is the latest indication that she’s betting on black votes to carry her candidacy.”

SoundCloud

Happening Today

Federal lawsuit, Markey presser, Boston mayoral forum, and more

11:30 a.m. | Nantucket Residents Against Turbines holds press conference outside the State House to announce a federal lawsuit aimed at stopping the construction of offshore wind farms in waters south of the island.

1 p.m. | U.S. Sen. Ed Markey joins Chatham officials and leaders from the Cape Cod Fishermen’s Alliance to discuss COVID-19 relief programs for fisheries, the Massachusetts fishing industry’s ongoing needs, and further opportunities to develop sustainable fishing. Afterward, Markey travels to Sagamore for a 1:30 p.m. press conference to to highlight funding in the Senate-passed infrastructure package to replace the Cape Cod bridges.

12:30 p.m. | Boston mayoral candidates John Barros, city councilors Andrea Campbell, Annissa Essaibi George, and Michelle Wu and Acting Mayor Kim Janey participate in virtual forum about issues related to sexual health and reproductive freedom and justice. Rep. Liz Miranda moderates.

3 p.m. | Boston mayoral candidate Councilor Michelle Wu is joined by Councilor Lydia Edwards to call for “urgent pedestrian safety improvements and congestion easing” in Eagle Square.

6 p.m. | Indigenous activists and allies gather near the Jamaica Pond Boathouse “to stand in solidarity with Indigenous water protectors in Minnesota against Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline,” according to organizers. The rally will feature art, speakers, music and a brief march aiming to put pressure on the Biden administration to end the project.

For the most comprehensive list of calendar items, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available).

Today’s Stories

Spillane eyes housing supply in new policy proposal

By Katie Lannan

Before Boston’s Sept. 14 preliminary election comes the city’s traditional Sept. 1 moving day, when many of its apartments will turn over to new renters. As those dates approach, at-large City Council candidate Jon Spillane is out with a multi-pronged plan aimed at boosting Boston’s housing supply, and it includes pushing for a statewide policy modeled after one pursued in California.

Spillane, who has worked for the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development, is rolling out a plan Wednesday that calls for creating a new Office of Planning and Economic Development in City Hall — and outside of the Boston Planning and Development Agency — that would be “answerable to Boston residents and the City Council.” He then wants that new planning department to embark on a zoning reform effort involving “city-wide conversations”.

If elected, he said he’d propose allowing developers to build as-of-right on projects that are transit-accessible, do not have parking, and would deed-restrict residents in a way that prevents them from being able to apply for a city-issued street parking permit.

The council hopeful, one of 17 vying for four at-large seats, also has an eye on statewide housing policy. The state’s slow pace of housing production has been linked to ever-increasing home prices and held up as a challenge in recruiting and retaining workers.

“Right now Boston, a few surrounding communities, and the Gateway Cities are the only places adding the significant numbers of housing units that the current housing crisis in Massachusetts demands,” Spillane says in his plan. “Across the commonwealth, there are opportunities to develop more housing, but it doesn’t happen due to burdensome de facto and de jure anti-development tactics practiced by town governments and residents.”

Spillane said the Boston City Council should work with its partners to push for the state to adopt a policy similar to one put forward in California, where Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019 proposed withholding certain state funding from communities not meeting their housing goals.

Spillane’s plan also calls for mandating court-appointed attorneys for low-income tenants facing evictions, hiring new “development liaisons” dedicated to community meetings on development, zoning and planning, and using municipally-owned property — like library air rights — to build senior housing.

Masks in Massachusetts: Public School Edition

Masks for public school kids are incoming. The state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to grant Commissioner Jeff Riley the power to impose a mask mandate for students and staff in K-12 schools through Oct. 1, reports State House News Service’s Katie Lannan. The mandate isn’t in place just yet as Riley still needs to issue the order — but it’s expected to come as soon as this week.

Boston Globe’s Felicia Gans and Emma Platoff report that the board voted 9-1 in favor of giving Riley the authority, with board member Paymon Rouhanifard in opposition. After Oct. 1, middle and high schools can lift the mandate if 80 percent of students and staff in the building are vaccinated, though unvaccinated students and staff will still need to mask up.

The move is a shift in the Baker administration’s strategy to combat the virus. Just last week, Gov. Charlie Baker was defending his decision to let municipalities set their own rules. Saying on GBH’s Boston Public Radio, “I think local officials need authority and the ability to make decisions on stuff like this.” But on Friday, after Riley released his proposal, Baker said his administration “always makes adjustments when we think we need to.”

State House News Service

Senate institutes proof of vax requirement

Senators and employees of the branch will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 15 under a new rule from Senate President Karen Spilka, reports State House News Service’s Katie Lannan.

More from Lannan: “Spilka told senators and staff in a late afternoon email that the mandate is based on a recommendation of the Senate’s Reopening Working Group, and that the Senate’s human resources office will reach out to provide details on how employees can show proof of vaccination.”

State House News Service

‘Unauthorized:’ Blowback for Moulton and fellow lawmaker after surprise Afghanistan visit

Were they brave or ‘moronic’? U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton and a fellow member of Congress made an unauthorized and surprise visit to Afghanistan to see the evacuation of Americans and allies from Kabul first-hand, but some in the Biden administration are anonymously slamming the move as ‘selfish,’ The Washington Post and Joe Dwinell of the Herald report.

Nicholas Wu of Politico reports word of Moulton’s dramatic visit with U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, a fellow Iraq combat veteran and Republican from Michigan, prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to caution other lawmakers against a similar move, saying their presence would “unnecessarily divert needed resources” from the military mission being undertaken.

COVID Numbers: 1,290 new cases

Massachusetts state health officials reported 1,290 new COVID cases, 16 new deaths, and a 2.72 percent positivity. MassLive has more details.

How do today’s numbers stack up against neighboring states?

Vermont reported 106 new cases on Tuesday and a 3.1 percent positivity, according to the state’s health department.

New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services reported 290 new cases and a 6.1 percent positivity. 

Maine reported 364 new COVID cases, according to their health department.

Connecticut logged 1,071 new cases and a percent positivity of 3.83 percent, according to the state’s health department.

Rhode Island reported 172 new cases and a 3.8 percent positivity. Here’s their daily dashboard.

MassLive

The Failed ‘Ten-Percenting’ Scheme

The long arm of the law finally caught up to a father and his two sons. Federal officials charged the Watertown crew of allegedly cashing $21 million in state lottery ticket winnings on behalf of the actual lucky individuals in an attempt to avoid taxes, reports Boston Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo.

The defendants, Ali Jaafar, 62, Yousef Jaafar, 28, and Mohamed Jaafar, 30, cashed over 13,000 tickets between 2011 and 2019, reports State House News Service’s Michael P. Norton. They were each indicted on one count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and several counts related to false tax returns.

More from Szaniszlo: “The defendants are accused of conspiring with others to buy winning lottery tickets from the actual winners for cash, at a discount that was typically between 10 to 20 percent of each ticket’s value … The defendants and co-conspirators then allegedly presented the winning tickets to the Massachusetts Lottery Commission as their own and collected the full value of the tickets, prosecutors said.”

Boston Herald

Drop it: Lawyers ask judge to dismiss criminal charges in Holyoke Soldiers’ Home

Lawyers for former Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Superintendent Bennett Walsh and a top aide made their case Tuesday for criminal charges brought against the pair by Attorney General Maura Healey to be dropped, saying the state has not proven the duo caused “bodily injury” when they made decisions to merge dementia units at the facility in the earliest days of the pandemic. Boston Globe’s Emily Sweeney and Dusty Christensen of Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Dusty Christensen have the details.

Some good news for Pats fans

There’s one less thing to worry about the next time you head out to Foxborough: Mass. General Hospital researched say football games are not linked to increases in local COVID cases, reports Boston Business Journal’s Jessica Bartlett. The researchers analyzed NFL and NCAA games, comparing games that had limited attendance to those with no fans at all. The study found that games with fans did not result in COVID-19 case spikes in the area.

Boston Business Journal

Replacement nurses will keep their jobs

Replacement nurses at St. Vincent Hospital will keep their jobs after management confirmed they were standing by their decision, reports Telegram & Gazette’s Cyrus Moulton. The hospital will also resume hiring replacement nurses after taking a week off as talks continue with the Massachusetts Nurses Association over an agreement. The union called the move “a callous effort to retaliate against the nurses for standing up for their patients and their community.”

More from Moulton: “The nurses strike at St. Vincent Hospital approaches the sixth month mark Sept 8 and negotiations have moved on from a disagreement primarily over staffing levels to a disagreement over how striking nurses will return to work.”

Telegram & Gazette

Wish granted: EPA will review proposed Cape Cod machine-gun range

The Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday it would conduct a review of whether the proposed machine-gun range at Joint Base Cape Cod would put local drinking water supplies at risk, Asad Jung of the Cape Cod Times reports. The move was cheered by both federal lawmakers and local residents, who have mobilized against the project since it was first announced earlier this year.

Cape Cod Times

Springfield Councilors: Payment to union workers not coming fast enough

It’s going too slow. A trio of city councilors in Springfield are urging Mayor Domenic Sarno to speed up coronavirus merit pay for unionized city employees, reports MassLive’s Peter Goonan, with the elected arguing that it is unfair unionized employees are on a slower schedule than non-union individuals.

MassLive

Demand for COVID tests increase in Western Mass.

COVID cases are rising and so are demands for tests. Local health officials in Pittsfield says although people may wait longer to get a test, there is enough supply to go around, reports Berkshire Eagle’s Meg Britton-Mehlisch and Francesca Paris.

Berkshire Eagle

Going down: Tiny Nahant lost population in last decade

They’ve got nowhere to grow. Nahant officials say they aren’t shocked to learn that U.S. Census data showed the state’s tiniest town lost population over the last decade, but say they have limited options for boosting population given the communities diminutive dimensions. Sam Minton of the Lynn Item reports Census data show Nahant saw a 2.2 percent population decline.

Lynn Item

Today’s Headlines

Metro

Moderna is now the third largest biotech employer based in Mass. – Boston Globe

Quincy opens welcome center, launches ‘Presidents Trail’ self-guided tour – Patriot Ledger

Massachusetts

Warren pushes infrastructure bill during Newburyport visit – Eagle-Tribune

St. Vincent Hospital adding to its roster of replacement nurses at ‘a rapid pace’ – Telegram & Gazette

House Democrats break internal impasse to adopt $3.5T budget plan – The Hill

Nation

In latest bow to Trump, GOP lawmakers in Pennsylvania plan to launch hearings on 2020 vote – Washington Post

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