Keller at Large

Keller at Large: Hey National Media — Stop Infantilizing Boston

On this week’s Keller at Large, Jon Keller takes aim at national media portrayals of Boston. Keller’s take: “We’re fed up to here with the national media’s relentless stereotyping of Boston as an eccentric little theme park of throwback politics and cultural traits, as if the EPCOT Center at Disney World had shoehorned an animatronic white-Irish-Catholic pavilion in between ‘Impressions de France’ and the Mexico Folk Art Gallery.”


Happening Today

10 a.m. | Criminal procedure matters are the focus at a virtual Judiciary Committee hearing. Fifty-eight bills are on the agenda, ranging across topics from juveniles in the justice system to law enforcement exposure to fentanyl.

11 a.m. | House holds informal session and Senate meets without calendar.

11 a.m. | The impact of the “new economy” on economic security will be the focus at the Future of Work Commission’s fourth meeting.

11 a.m. | Housing Committee convenes a virtual hearing on 35 bills concerning manufactured housing, the Department of Housing and Community Development and other miscellaneous topics.

Today’s Stories

Congratulations to all those who ran the Boston Marathon yesterday! Reach out to us on Twitter or at with any finish line pictures or thoughts on the event.

ARPA: ‘We Will Get It Done’

The return of the Boston Marathon, a victorious Red Sox advance to the ALCS, and a little over five weeks until the Legislature breaks for mid-session recess. That’s where we find ourselves after a long weekend that also saw some of the first signs of changing leaves.

Happy Tuesday and welcome back to work. Before we go any further, a quick thank you to our colleague Matt Murphy, who took over MASSterList last week on short notice so Chris Van Buskirk could travel home. Now, back to regularly scheduled programming.

There’s something looming over Beacon Hill in the form of billions of dollars — the question of how lawmakers will spend the state’s $4.8 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funding. That money has been framed as a way to help states recover from a devastating pandemic.

As we noted on Friday, House and Senate legislators wrapped up their hearings on ARPA early last week while the Senate’s Committee on Reimaging Massachusetts: Post Pandemic Resiliency released their first report suggesting how some of the money should be spent.

After a months-long hearing process, Senate President Karen Spilka promised that “we will get it done” during an appearance on WCVB’s “On The Record.” Boston Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports that Spilka said “history will not be judged on how fast we spend the money but on how wise and efficiently we spend it.”

Legislative leaders have said they hope to have a spending bill to the governor before Thanksgiving — now only 44 days away — and after receiving a broad swath of public input attention will now turn to what they write into the draft bill.

Get ready to buckle down for the next five weeks if you’re a legislative onlooker (or if you work in politics) as it’s sure to go by fast as lawmakers contend with other issues like voting reforms and redistricting. The Special Committee on Redistricting will make it’s first move today when it releases draft House and Senate districts.

(And just in case you’re keeping a running clock, the Boston mayoral election is only 22 days away.)

Fans and runners pack downtown for Boston Marathon’s return

While the season was different and onlookers were wearing masks, Boston Marathon finally got underway 30 months after it was first canceled due to the pandemic. Onlookers crowded Copley Square to cheer on those crossing the finish line. Boston Globe’s Tara Sullivan reports that the return of the historic event prompted feelings of hope for some.

Missed the results? Here’s a rundown of the winners from yesterday from Associated Press’ Jimmy Golen reports.

Elite Women: Diana Kipyokei

Elite Men: Benson Kipruto

Women’s Wheelchair: Manuela Schär

Men’s Wheelchair: Marcel Hug

City employees in Boston face suspensions over vax mandate

Boston City Hall is looking at a fair number of suspensions this week. Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter and Alexi Cohan report over 1,000 city workers could be suspended at the start of this week for not being in compliance with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. There are roughly 18,000 employees working for the city which works out to about 6 percent not following the mandate.

Feds push for death sentence for Tsarnaev

Officials in the Biden Administration will attempt to convince the Supreme Court this week to reinstate the death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Associated Press’ Mark Sherman and Alanna Durkin Richer report that the administration will argue a jury did not need to examine evidence that the government relied on during an earlier phase in the case.

More from the AP duo: “The main focus will be on evidence that Tsarnaev’s lawyers wanted the jury to hear that supported their argument that his older brother, Tamerlan, was the mastermind of the attack and that the impressionable younger brother was somehow less responsible. The evidence implicated Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a triple killing in the Boston suburb of Waltham on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”

Red Sox are ALCS Bound

A victorious Red Sox are heading to the ALCS after beating the Tampa Bay Rays last night 6-5 in Game 4 of the AL Division Series. Boston Globe’s Alex Speier has the full rundown from last night’s game. Oh, and a shoutout goes to Boston Herald’s Steve Hewitt, who ran the Boston Marathon earlier in the day and then covered the game.

‘Unfortunate trend:’ Report finds employers still hurting for workers

It’s not getting better. A report from the National Federation of Independent Businesses found that more than half of all Bay State businesses say they had trouble finding enough workers in September, while more than 90 percent say they can’t find enough qualified applicants for vacant positions — the highest mark ever in the survey’s 48-year-history, Christian Wade of the Salem News reports.

Big bet: Developer buys 27 Becker College properties for $10M

Cue the makeover. Developer Russ Haims says he’ll buy 24 buildings and 3 parking lots in Worcester from the shuttered Becker College, with plans to flip some of the single family homes and remake other properties into affordable, student, and market-rate housing. Cyrus Moulton of the Telegram has the details.

Potential division of Dorchester Ward prompts threat of legal challenge

Legal action could be coming if this Dorchester ward is broken up during the redistricting process. Dorchester Reporter’s Gintautas Dumcius reports that Senate lawmakers are considering splitting off several Ward 16 precincts from their current Senate district and moving them into Sen. Walter Timilty’s district. That prompted Rep. Dan Hunt, who represents a good portion of Ward 16 in the House, to say if it is split, “the Ward 16 committee will explore all legal options.”

Renaming Columbus Day at issue in Senate special election

Two candidates running for an open Senate seat representing the North End, East Boston, Revere, and surrounding towns say more input was needed from community members before renaming Columbus Day in Boston. 

GBH News’ Mike Deehan reports that Acting Mayor Kim Janey signed an order last week establishing the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day, a move that prompted backlash from Italian Americans. City Councilor Lydia Edwards and Revere’s Anthony D’Ambrosio, the two candidates running for the seat, said more conversations should have occurred before a decision was made.

In Boston over the weekend, Native American groups rallied on Boston Common to observe Indigenous Peoples Day and call on state leaders like Gov. Charlie Baker to make it a statewide holiday. Associated Press’ Boston Bureau has more.

Returning the favor: Rosenberg endorses former adviser in Amherst town council race

Former state Senate President Stanley Rosenberg waded into the race for Town Council in Amherst, issuing a formal endorsement for District 4 candidate Anika Lopes. Scott Merzbach of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports Lopes is a former adviser to Rosenberg’s own campaigns.

Springfield councilor charged more than $5K in personal expenses to campaign account

Liquor, car repairs, home improvements, and seafood. Those were personal expenses charged to the campaign account of Springfield City Councilor Justin Hurst. MassLive’s Stephanie Barry reports that Hurst went against state law by spending more than $5,000 for personal purposes in August and September. Hurst said he didn’t realize he was using his campaign debit card rather than his own.

Keep it: Seeing no impacts, Lee waives $1 million fee for dispensary

No impacts, no fee. The town of Lee told Canna Provisions that the pot shop will not have to pay a community impact fee of more than $1 million because the community has seen no negative impacts it can tie back to the dispensary, Dick Lindsay of the Berkshire Eagle reports.

Today’s Headlines


In Boston at-large council race, state GOP backed boxer who pushed anti-Asian posts – Dorchester Reporter


Berkshire school cafeterias feel brunt of US supply chain bottlenecks, delivery delays – Berkshire Eagle

UMass hires private firm to investigate sexual misconduct – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott orders a ban on all COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the state – NPR

Asian pols near breakthrough moment in mayor’s races – Politico

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