Keller at Large
Keller at Large: Boston’s Moment of Truth
In his latest Keller at Large, Jon Keller takes a look at where the candidates stand in the Boston mayoral election as residents head out to the polls to winnow the field down to two. Keller’s take: “For all of the trees and gigabytes sacrificed in service to the narrative that this “historic” race has the city rapt, evidence of that is in short supply.”
Preliminary day, committee hearings, and more
Today | Tuesday is preliminary municipal election day in 15 communities. In Boston, the mayoral field includes Acting Mayor Kim Janey, John Barros, and City Councilors Andrea Campbell, Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu.
9 a.m. | Lawmakers, labor leaders, and rideshare drivers host a press conference outside the State House in support of legislation allowing drivers to collectively bargain with transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft. The bills are on the agenda for a Labor Committee hearing later Tuesday morning.
10:30 a.m. | Eight bills concerning the rights and benefits of independent contractors are on the agenda at a virtual Committee on Labor and Workforce Development hearing.
11 a.m. | Health Care Financing Committee holds a virtual hearing on 25 bills related to primary and behavioral health care and patient care coordination.
11 a.m. | Municipalities and Regional Government Committee holds a hearing on a slew of home rule petitions, along with bills dealing with municipal infrastructure and the powers, authority and finances of municipal governments.
Boston gets ready for mayoral game day
It’s game day. After a year of listening to campaign speeches and suffering through television ads, Boston residents finally find out which two candidates will face off in the November election.
It’s been a long time coming, and as Jon Keller says in his audio column for today, it’s the moment of truth for the five candidates — City Councilors Michelle Wu, Annissa Essaibi George, Andrea Campbell, Acting Mayor Kim Janey, and John Barros — and for the residents.
The candidates stormed across the city this weekend in one final blitz before the preliminary, reports WBUR’s Anthony Brooks. Wu held a rally with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Saturday, Campbell made her way through every one of the city’s neighborhoods, Janey held a get out the vote rally Sunday in Grove Hall, and Essaibi George was in South Boston and Hyde park, among other spots.
The most recent poll from Emerson College and 7News shows Wu leading the field with 30 percent of the vote, Essaibi George at 18 percent, Campbell at 17 percent, Janey at 16 percent, and “all other candidates at 2 percent or lower.”
That pretty much backs up results from the Suffolk University and Boston Globe poll that also showed Wu in the lead with 31 percent and the three other women in the race in a tight battle for second.
Turnout in Boston’s election could upset — or decidedly confirm — what the polls are showing. Secretary of State William Galvin predicted a turnout somewhere in the range of 100,000-110,000 people, reports State House News Service’s Chris Lisinski.
“My conclusion is it’s going to be a slightly less of a turnout than what we saw eight years ago in 2013, the last time there was no incumbent mayor on the ballot in Boston,” Galvin said. “I wish it were higher but that’s my best guess of what’s going to occur.”
The Boston Globe’s Danny McDonald reports that more than 21,000 people have already voted and as of Friday, the city had received 16,000 mail-in ballots and over 5,000 people had cast a ballot early in person.
Not to get ahead of ourselves, but McDonald also reports that whoever wins the race in November will be sworn into office sometime in mid-November instead of the usual January inauguration.
Special election set for seat formerly held by Boncore
With Joe Boncore officially resigned from the Senate, the branch scheduled a special election to fill his seat for Jan. 11, 2022, reports State House News Service’s Colin A. Young.
The district covers Revere and Winthrop and parts of Cambridge and Boston. Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards said she plans to run for the seat as well as Revere School Committee member Anthony D’Ambrosio. A preliminary election is scheduled for Dec. 14.
Universal Hub reports that Rep. Adrian Madaro said he won’t be running for the seat. He said he wanted to balance his work life with time with his new son and wife.
With all the election talk going on, MassterList checked in with Secretary of State William Galvin after his press conference to ask once again whether he plans to run for re-election. His answer this time wasn’t a direct yes or no but it did leave us with a crumble of a clue. “Let’s get through tomorrow,” he said, referencing the slate of municipal elections scheduled for Tuesday. “Obviously, I’m working hard on the job, which I enjoy, if that answers your question.”
No, Mr. Secretary, it does not answer our question but we’ll be sure to ask you several more times in the next few months.
What’s the holdup? Baker administration again pitches relief cash plan to lawmakers
They’re on different time frames. Members of the Baker administration pressed lawmakers to back previously revealed plans to spend $2.9 billion worth of federal relief funds, but legislators appear content to spend more time mulling over how to allocate the entire enchilada of $5.3 billion. Christian Wade of the Eagle-Tribune has the latest details.
Another lawsuit against Vineyard Wind is on the way
A second one is on the way. A group concerned with U.S. fishing interests is suing to stop the federal government’s approval of the Vineyard Wind project, reports CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl.
The coalition, Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, is made up of fishing industry association and companies and made its plans to sue the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management clear Monday after it filed a petition with the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals asking which court is best to hear their challenge.
Taking aim: Neal, Democrats target 1 percent with tax bill to fund Biden agenda
Now comes the tricky part. U.S. Rep. Richard Neal unveiled a revenue package aimed at raising $2 trillion over the next decade with new taxes on the wealthiest Americans and rollbacks of Trump-era tax cuts, Jeff Stein of the Washington Post reports. The House Ways and Means Committee, which Neal chairs, could vote on the plan this week, though even diehard supporters say it faces a treacherous road ahead.
BU professor dies after falling through stairs
A Boston University professor who went out for a run on Saturday died after falling through a gap in a set of stairs, reports Boston Herald’s Rick Sobey. David Jones, 40, was a father of three children and an associate professor in the Boston University Department of Health Law, Policy, and Management.
The undecideds in Boston’s mayoral election
More on the Boston preliminary election today: GBH News’ Saraya Wintersmith spoke with undecided voters to see what they think of the candidates. More from Wintersmith: “Pollsters say if the conflicted electors nail down choices and cast ballots, they’ll play a big role in determining the two competitors for the Nov. 2 general election. The latest poll showed 14% of likely voters were still undecided ahead of the preliminary on Tuesday.”
National Guard members pitch in to help drive students to school
Bring in the Guard. Citing staffing shortages in certain districts, the Baker administration activated up to 250 National Guard members to help drive kids to school in Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell, and Lynn after local officials requested assistance, reports State House News Service’s Katie Lannan. Starting with training on Tuesday, 90 guard members will prepare for service in the four communities.
“As with any school transportation worker, all activated Guard personnel will complete vehicle training to ensure the safety of children and families,” the statement said. “Drivers will meet all statutory requirements for 7D drivers. Throughout the mission, the Guard will comply with all health and safety measures.”
First trial in Varsity Blues college admissions scandal underway
The first trial in the college admissions bribery scandal got underway yesterday, reports Associated Press’ Alanna Durkin Richer via WBUR, who notes that defense attorneys sought to cast two parents as victims of a con man.
Those parents: former casino executive Gamal Abdelaziz and former Staples and Gap Inc. executive John Wilson. They are accused of making payments to secure their kids’ admission into schools.
As the trial of the curiously named “Operation Varsity Blues” case opens up in Boston federal court, Boston Globe’s Shelley Murphy reports that Rick Singer, the man at the heart of the college entrance exam scandal, will not be called as a prosecution witness during the trial of the two parents.
‘Demolished:’ Correia legal team seeks leniency for convicted former mayor
Saying life as he knew it has already been ‘demolished’ by his conviction on federal corruption and extortion charges, lawyers for former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia are asking a judge to sentence him to as little as three years in prison, Dan Medeirso of the Herald-News and the Globe’s Nick Stoico report. Prosecutors want Correia to serve 11 years, a punishment his defense team says is too harsh given the good he did for the city as a councilor and mayor and the fact that he is still a relatively young man.
Layoffs, newscasts canceled at Boston 25
More than a dozen news staffers were laid off at WFXT Boston 25, several weekly newscasts canceled, and the general manager replaced in early September, reports Boston Business Journal’s Don Seiffert, who cites “multiple insiders at the Dedham-headquartered television station.”
More from Seiffert: “Private equity firm Apollo Global management in February 2019 bought a majority stake in several television stations operated by Cox Media Group, including WFXT Boston 25. People familiar with recent events at the station said that Apollo has been unwilling to invest in the station in recent years. One source who asked not to be named estimated that about 50% of the station’s staff has turned over in the past two years.”
Longer head start: Cambridge extends exclusive period for pot shop applications
Two is good, so three must be better, right? In an emergency action, the Cambridge City Council has added another year to what is already a two-year head start for economic empowerment applicants to get recreational cannabis licenses in the city. Marc Levy of Cambridge Day reports that while the city has issued several licenses to minority and economically disadvantaged applicants, the pandemic and other factors have delayed openings.
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