10 a.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Education Secretary Jim Peyser and Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun celebrate the beginning of the 5th Annual Massachusetts STEM Week at NU's ISEC Atrium.
10:30 a.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu attends a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the reopening of the Edwards McCarthy Playground in Charlestown.
12 p.m. | Massachusetts Gaming Commission holds a public hearing on the application to host live racing in 2023 at Plainridge Park in Plainville.
12:30 p.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker, Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka meet privately in the governor's office. It's the first in-person sit down between the three leaders in months.
2 p.m. | Sen. Becca Rausch, of Needham, debates Republican challenger Rep. Shawn Dooley, of Norfolk, in a virtual event moderated by Charles River Regional Chamber President Greg Reibman.
6 p.m. | U.S. Rep. Moulton hosts a public town hall at Newburyport City Hall.
6:30.....U.S. Rep. Jake Auchincloss and U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan, both of whom served in the Middle East, sit down with Kayla Williams, a former assistant secretary of the V.A., to discuss their military and public service.
How are you getting to work today? Maybe you’re driving, riding the T, or taking a bus. The weather’s still pleasant enough for a bike ride. Or maybe it’s just easier to plod down to the kitchen, pour that cup of coffee and get going.
Whatever option fits your mood and schedule, chances are good that where you live and the cost-benefit analysis of sitting in traffic versus fighting through the hassles of public transportation weighed on the decision.
Less than half of Boston-area professionals ( 46 percent) who responded to a recent Seven Letter/BBJ survey said they consider public transit in the region to be reliable, and nearly eight of every 10 respondents said they believe the public transit options in Boston are worse than in other major metropolitan areas. Fifty-seven percent said reliability has gotten worse over the last six months.
Public bikes (B+) and the commuter rail (B-) got the best average grades, while buses (C) and the T (C-) graded out as rather pedestrian.
The survey comes as the MBTA tries to rebound from a series of safety failures that drew the attention of federal authorities and the disruptive month-long shutdown of the Orange Line that had a direct impact on 44 percent of the professionals and their businesses. Ironically, 86 percent said they consider public transit to be safe, which was the focus of a Congressional hearing in Boston Friday where U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren grilled officials about the state of the T.
Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed said that their company’s have changed their work-from-home policies based on the reliability of public transit, while 34 percent said transit reliability has impacted their ability to recruit and retain employees and 17 percent said it has cut into their customer base.
All of this serves to show how getting the MBTA right will be key for the next governor who will inherit a system under duress and a fragile economy still fighting to rebound from COVID-19 and avoid falling into recession.
While the risks to the economy in Massachusetts are not unique, the Globe’s Jon Chesto reported last week that many of the state’s most prominent business leaders are worried about the state’s economic competitiveness.
— DiZoglio and Amore don’t hold back
Maybe it was BECAUSE it’s the only debate on the calendar in the race for state auditor, but the Herald’s Matthew Medsger writes that Democrat Diana DiZoglio and Republican Anthony Amore skipped the pleasantries in a short-but-fiery debate that aired on WBZ Sunday morning. Described by Medsger as a “slobberknocker,” Amore questioned DiZoglio’s experience and credentials for the the job, while the Methuen Democrat did more than suggest she thought the the security expert was being sexist and tried to compare the Baker-endorsed Republican to Trump.
Later in the morning on another channel, DiZoglio had a more policy-centered discussion with the hosts of WCVB’s On the Record where she talked about how she would help avoid another situation like this year’s when lawmakers were caught off-guard by the triggering a 1986 tax cap law that requires $3 billion in refunds to taxpayers. Medsger has all the details.
— Can Healey’s approach to opioids as AG translate to guv’s office?
A good portion of Attorney General Maura Healey’s campaign messaging can be boiled down to this: You already know me, and my record. Yes, that record includes suing Donald Trump over, and over and over again. But it also includes suing the Sackler family over the role Purdue Pharma played in the opioid crisis. But in a new piece for the Globe, Felice J. Freyer raises the questions about something less well understood about Healey. When responding to something like substance abuse requires more than just using the law to fight the bad guys, where does she stand and what will she do?
— Taking stock of Rausch vs. Dooley
If the auditor’s race is the most interesting statewide contest on the ballot, then the general election fight brewing in the MetroWest area between incumbent Sen. Becca Rausch and Rep. Shawn Dooley is among the most watched down-ballot races this November. Rausch is among the more progressive voices in the Senate, and yet her Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex is among the purplest in the state, with Republicans Richard Ross and Scott Brown holding it before Rausch. Dooley also views the outcome of redistricting as favorable to his bid to oust an incumbent, which is never an easy feat. CommonWealth Magazine’s Bruce Mohl breaks down the race ahead of an online debate later this afternoon.
— Is the “wealth tax” really a tax on the wealthy?
Effectively branded early on as the “millionaires tax,” the proposed 4 percent income surtax at the heart of Question 1 is premised on the idea that the wealthy can afford to chip in more to pay for education and transportation. But what if those hit by the new tax aren’t “wealthy” at all, but more middle-class and retirees who own small businesses or are cashing in on their nest eggs for retirement. The Globe’s Matt Stout writes how the questions about who will actually pay the higher tax is at the center of the fight over Question 1, which was the subject of a debate Friday between representatives for both sides of the question.
— Age is just a number for Buena Aires transit system
Can Boston learn something from Buenos Aires? The Globe’s Taylor Dolven travelled to the Argentinian capital to see what the South Americans are doing right with a public transit system that opened just 16 years after Boston’s but still manages to run trains every three minutes.
— One-fifth of voters have asked to vote by mail
The latest tally on mail-in voting has more than 1 million applications for ballots submitted to Secretary of State William Galvin and two-thirds already sent out to voters. Translation: Voting is underway. MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz has the latest update.
— Neal an optimistic as Democrats brace for midterms
Polling and midterm history has Democrats feeling sour about their chances this November. But U.S. Rep. Richard Neal told The Berkshire Eagle editorial board Friday he believes Democrats can hang on to control of the House despite the headwinds of inflation and other concerns. Neal, and several others in the Massachusetts delegation, have a lot on the line with their powerful committee chairmanships and leadership positions hanging in the balance.
— Woburn cop under investigation for role in 2017 Charlottesville rally
A Woburn police officer is on leave as authorities investigate the role he may have played in helping to organize the so-called “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. In addition to the possibility that he could lose his job, WBUR’s Deborah Becker reports that Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan is reviewing every criminal case in which John Donnelly was involved out of concern for racial bias that may have influenced those cases. Several national outlets have reported that Donnelly was a key figure in organizing the rally that turned deadly five years ago, and may have used pseudonyms to post racist and anti-Semitic material on social media.
— As votes loom, some in SouthCoast wary of joining MBTA
With voters in New Bedford and Fall River poised to decide at the ballot box whether their cities join the MBTA service area and clear the way for SouthCoast Rail stations to open, Dan Medeiros of the Herald News reports some residents are still not on board. Because the cities already pay significant sums to their regional transit authorities, the bill to become an MBTA community is zero. But other concerns exist. A grassroots opposition group has formed focusing on the high-density housing requirements that the cities would have to meet once they are officially in the T’s service area.
— Is Barnstable ready for Nov. 8 election after faulty vault fiasco?
The town hall vault in Barnstable that caused a stir by delaying voting during last month’s primary election when it could not be unlocked to access ballots locked inside remains out of order. But Town Clerk Ann Quirk says the town is ready for Nov. 8 with a backup vault and other contingency plans to handle both a flood of mail-in ballots and those cast on election day. Heather McCarron of the Cape Cod Times has the details.
— Deerfield urges Legislature to act as town hall work piles up
Local leaders in Deerfield are expressing frustration with state lawmakers who have yet to act on a bill that would allow it to split its town clerk, tax collector and treasurer positions. The Legislature combined the roles in the town in 1972. And the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Chris Larabee reports that legislation to decouple the positions still requires Senate approval. In the meantime, a stack of deferred work is piling up in town hall even as the next election cycle looms.
— Worcester lays out action steps after harsh racial equity audit
Worcester Acting City Manager Eric Batista is laying out actions the city is taking in response to an audit released in September that found deep dissatisfaction among employees of color. The Telegram’s Marco Cartolano reports steps will include changes to the hiring process and working with a consulting firm to find ways to lower barriers to diversifying the city workforce. These changes come in additional to previously discussed plans to make parking free for employees and eliminate pre-hiring drug tests for some roles.
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