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09/08/2017

Amazon dreamin’ | Those FBI blues | Tag Team

 
AFL-CIO
 
 
Happening Today
 
SJC hearings, Moulton pushes vets, Fallen Firefighters Memorial
 

The Supreme Judicial Court will hear first degree murder appeals from Reginald Holley, Faustino Diaz Jr., Alberto Vazquez, and Crisostomo Lopes, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, 9 a.m. … Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders speaks at the Vinfen Integrated Technologies in Community Health Care Conference, Martin Conference Center, Harvard Medical School, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, 9:10 a.m. … Sen. Eileen Donoghue joins representatives from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) to announce a new educational grant to support the STEM Academy at the Edith Nourse Rogers School, 43 Highland St., Lowell, 10 a.m. … Rep. Mary Keefe, Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus, and UMass Medical School pediatrics professor Dr. Marianne Felice celebrate the grand opening of Rainbow Child Development Center’s Outdoor Playspace and Natural Classroom, 10 Edward St., Worcester, 10 a.m. … Senate health care working group holds a teleconference with Vicky Loner, the chief operating officer of OneCare Vermont, Room 428, 10:30 a.m. … Rep. Paul Schmid and Sen. Michael Rodrigues will host a tour of the Westport area with the Environmental League Massachusetts to learn about water quality issues in the Westport River and Buzzards Bay, Westport, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., … U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton joins four congressional candidates on a panel about veterans running for office, Malkin Penthouse, Littauer Building - 4th floor, 1805 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 4 p.m. … Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Auditor Suzanne Bump, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, Attorney General Maura Healey and others plan to attend ceremonies on the tenth anniversary of the Massachusetts Fallen Firefighters Memorial outside the State House, Ashburton Park, State House, 6 p.m.

 
 
New England Clean Power Link
 
 
Today's Stories
 
Boston: Amazon’s second headquarters? Not likely but …
 

Here’s why we think Amazon, which yesterday announced it was searching for a site for a new ‘second’ headquarters, will probably opt for a city other than Boston: Whole Foods, the Washington Post and a few other factors. Not that Boston, a tech mecca that just recently attracted General Electric to the city, isn’t in the running for Amazon’s next mega-campus outside Seattle. Indeed, as Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive reports, Boston is most certainly considered a contender. And Mayor Walsh is rightly upbeat on why Amazon should choose Boston, as Kelly O’Brien reports at the BBJ.

But the Globe has an excellent package of stories showing why, despite Boston’s inherent strengths, the city faces an uphill battle attracting Amazon, including the price and scarcity of land and the general high cost of living here. Those and other factors are outlined in this Globe story. The region does have some attractive locations, as the Globe notes in a separate piece. But are they big enough to host 50,000 employees that Amazon says might come with a new headquarters? Nope – not that there really would be 50,000 jobs, an absurdly high number, btw.

All of this points to other cities, particularly Austin, Texas, home to Amazon’s recently purchased Whole Foods Market, lots of relatively cheap land and a very vibrant tech scene. Land is expensive in the Washington D.C. area, but Amazon’s Jeff Bezos now owns the Washington Post and the D.C. area itself has emerged as a tech powerhouse, too. We also have a hunch, just a hunch, that Toronto and New York (think Roosevelt Island) are particularly strong contenders too. A dark-horse candidate might be Pittsburgh. But we’ll see. Don’t discount Boston’s chances too much.

 
 
Two examples why Amazon might be interested in Boston: IBM and PTC
 

As Amazon announced yesterday that it was searching for a site for a new ‘second’ headquarters, there were two local developments yesterday showing why Boston, theoretically, would make a good high-tech fit for the company: 1.) IBM announced yesterday it will invest $240 million to create a new MIT-IBM Watson AI (Artificial Intelligence) Lab here, reports the BBJ’s Kelly O’Brien and 2.) Engineering software firm PTC has signed a 250,000-square-foot lease to occupy most of a new tower at 121 Seaport Boulevard, reports the Globe’s Jon Chesto. As Jon writes: “The PTC deal is an encouraging reminder of why employers want to invest in Boston, even without any subsidies dangled as a lure.”

 
 
Fall River mayor admits he’s under FBI investigation
 

Speaking of the Boston area’s strong high-tech roots, the Herald News’s Jo C. Goode at Wicked Local has an interesting update on Fall River’s mayor and his app firm that appears to have attracted all sorts of intrigued investors: “After months of public denial, Mayor Jasiel Correia II has confirmed he is the subject of an FBI and HUD investigation and that a federal grand jury has been convened regarding his start-up app company SnoOwl, where he remains president. But he’s not worried. ‘I know that at the end of the day I’m not going to get into any trouble because I didn’t do anything wrong,’ Correia said.”

Wicked Local
 
 
DOT’s aesthetic experiment beneath I-93
 

This is actually quite interesting: DOT has spent $8.5 million trying to make the barren areas underneath I-93 in the South End area less barren, turning loose artists and others to effectively beautify and enliven areas normally associated with vagrants, discarded needles and the urban equivalent of tumble weeds. The state has even hired National Development to manage the cavernous spots. The Globe’s Tim Logan has more.

Boston Globe
 
 
The Baker and Warren health-care tag team
 

As Shira Schoenberg at MassLive notes, Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, may have sat on opposite sides of the U.S. Senate hearing yesterday on health-care matters, but the two seemed to be in sync on issues, with Warren asking leading questions and Baker effectively nodding his head in agreement and amplifying on issues. SHNS’s Matt Murphy at WBUR noticed the same tag-team dance.

The bottom line: The two, despite their partisan differences, are in agreement that eliminating federal subsidies for health-insurance plans would be disastrous for Massachusetts and create only more instability within insurance markets. And you know what? They’re right. 

MassLive
 
 
Meanwhile, Baker administration preparing for the worst …
 

This sure looks like contingency planning by the Baker administration, via Priyanka Dayal McCluskey at the Globe: “Governor Charlie Baker, appearing before US senators Thursday, said his administration is working to establish a fund to help stabilize Massachusetts health insurance rates in case President Trump ends the federal subsidies that many insurers and consumers rely on.” Priyanka has the details.

Boston Globe
 
 
 
 
Warren pledges to co-sponsor Bernie’s single-payer bill
 

On another health-care front: Though she was against it before she was for it, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is pledging her support for Bernie Sanders’ single-payer healthcare plan, saying to supporters in an email that she will co-sponsor the Vermont senator’s forthcoming bill, reports Jamie Durcharme at Boston Magazine. In 2012, Warren refused to endorse a single-payer option, calling it politically ‘toxic,’ as the Globe has reported. But that was then and this is now – and 2020 is just around the corner.

Boston Magazine
 
 
Despite GOP prodding, Lindstrom staying put in U.S. Senate race
 

Charlie Baker’s camp must be really nervous about the Republican governor running for re-election next year with two potential lightning-rod conservatives on the ticket. To the chagrin of the Republican establishment, as the Globe’s Frank Phillips notes, moderate Beth Lindstrom is staying put in the GOP primary race for U.S. Senate, rather than running for the Third District Congressional seat to be vacated by retiring U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas. That means conservative Rick Green has a clearer shot of winning the GOP nomination in the Third – and then with Lindstrom  potentially splitting the moderate vote with businessman John Kingston in the GOP Senate primary race, conservative Geoff Diehl has a clearer shot of winning that  race too. 

Boston Globe
 
 
Despite slump in revenues, House Dems to push ahead with budget veto overrides next week
 

Even though sales tax collections were off again in August, House leaders are still planning next week to take up at least some budget overrides of Gov. Charlie Baker’s spending vetoes, according House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez, reports SHNS’s Colin Young at the Salem News.

Salem News
 
 
A Martha's Vineyard border tax?
 

Sure, they could just raise property taxes like every other community, but Edgartown resident Chuck Hodgkinson thinks he has a way better way to pay for the long-term needs of Martha’s Vineyard schools: Slap an effective border tax on every ferry passenger heading to or from the Vineyard. Ethan Genter of the Cape Cod Times reports the planned tax—initially $5 per vehicle and $1.50 per rider but diminishing over the 25-year life of the plan—could generate $132 million, just enough to cover the costs of building a new high school and paying post-employment benefits for scores of retirees. 

Cape Cod Times
 
 
http://509.seiu.org/page/speakout/trianglefour
 
 
All aboard: T spending big bucks on outside contractors
 

The T isn’t just privatizing rank-and-file jobs at the transit agency. It’s increasingly relying on outside contractors to take over major agency projects, from the Green Line extension to running the entire commuter rail system, as the Herald’s Matt Stout reports. The price tag so far: $1.2 million.

Meanwhile, incoming T general manager Luis Ramirez wants to hire a new "customer advocate" to give him constant feedback on riders' experiences on the T, reports the Globe. Not clear if the advocate would be an outside consultant.


Boston Herald
 
 
All aboard, Part II: Feds join probe of T rail car breaking free from moving train
 

As we’ve noted before, there’s got to be a bottom somewhere when it comes to the T’s performance, but the T hasn’t hit it yet. From the Herald’s Matt Stout: “Federal railroad officials have joined a probe into the “exceptionally unusual incident” on Wednesday when a train car suddenly broke free from a moving MBTA commuter rail train.”

Boston Herald
 
 
T expands its ‘ambassadors’ program to other stations after not-so-diplomatic start
 

As new incoming MBTA general manager talks about improving the riding experience on the T, the transit agency used the Labor Day weekend to expand its privatized transit ambassador program to the South Station, North Station, State, Downtown Crossing, and Park Street stations, reports CommonWealth magazine. We hope, and assume, the latest rollout will go a little better for the private contractor, Block by Block, which had to fire two customer ‘ambassadors’ last month for allegedly roughing up a disabled person (yes, the one with the cane) at the Chinatown Orange Line station.

CommonWealth
 
 
Marlborough takes a pass on being pod pioneer
 

Futuristic transportation company Transit X will have to keep looking for a mid-sized city to test its pod-based transportation system after the city council backed the mayor’s call that the system is too early in its development to earn Marlborough’s endorsement, Jeff Malachowski of the MetroWest Daily News reports. 

MetroWest Daily News
 
 
http://www.massdental.org/midlevel-providers
 
 
High court justices express skepticism over public funding for church projects
 

In a major case before the Supreme Judicial Court yesterday, attorneys argued over whether it was right for the town of Acton to issue two community preservation grants of more than $100,000 to the Acton Congregational Church to restore stained-glass windows, reports the AP’s Alanna Durkin Richer at WBUR. Both sides made excellent arguments. But what caught our attention was the skepticism expressed by justices – including recently sworn in Justice Scott Kafker – about the state’s past and current involvement with similar preservation grants to churches. "Are we getting an excessive entanglement of church and state here?" Justice Scott Kafker asked.

WBUR
 
 
Charles River Associates sues DraftKings, FanDuel for $5.2 million
 

Boston consulting firm Charles River Associates is suing DraftKings and FanDuel, claming it hasn’t been compensated for the analysis work it did on the two firms’ now abandoned mega-merger deal, reports Kelly O’Brien at the BBJ. DraftKings, based in Boston, says it’s refusing to pay up because CRA is overbilling for its work.

But DraftKings and FanDuel are no longer disputing Attorney General Maura Healey’s accounting demands, with the two fantasy sports firms agreeing to pay the state $2.6 million to settle allegations of previous unfair and deceptive practices, reports Bob McGovern at the Herald.

BBJ
 
 
Ex-Obama aide declares he’s running for lieutenant governor
 

From SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Lowell Sun: “Quentin Palfrey, a Weston Democrat who worked in the Obama White House and for former Attorney General Martha Coakley, will run for lieutenant governor, he announced Thursday. Palfrey, 43, was senior adviser in the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy and led the health care division of the attorney general's office. He grew up in Southborough and graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School.”

Lowell Sun
 
 
Sunday public affairs TV
 

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. Guest: Mayoral candidate Tito Jackson, who talks with host Jon Keller about Mayor Walsh’s performance, city policing and economic development.

This is New England, NBC Boston, Channel 10, 9:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s main topic: Rogerson Communities, provider of housing and health care for elderly people and low-income individuals.    

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Doug Banks, editor of the Boston Business Journal Editor, and Jon Chesto, Boston Globe business reporter, weigh in on the local impact of DACA, tax reform, Gov. Baker’s testimony on Obamacare, and proposed statewide ballot initiatives.  

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Zoo New England CEO John Linehan talks about the business side of life at the Franklin Park and Stone Zoos.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s focus: Tackling Homelessness & The Arts with LGBTQ People of Color.

 
 
 
 
Today's Headlines
 
Metro
 

Columbus Day taken off school calendar, matching city council action taken in 2016 - Cambridge Day

More than 30 arrested in Harvard Square during DACA protest - Boston Globe

 
SHNS Trial
 
 
Massachusetts
 

2 cybersecurity violations found at Pilgrim - Cape Cod Times

Rosenberg announces halt to proposed adult education program cuts - Hampshire Gazette

Price hiked on possible RMV site - Salem News

Dell benefits in first year after EMC merger with sales up - Boston Globe

 
Nation
 

Power shift as Trump opens door to Schumer, Pelosi - The Hill

Why Florida is so vulnerable to Irma - New York Times

 
 
 
Job Board (do not remove)
 
 
Beacon Hill Town Square

To view more events or post an event listing on Beacon Hill Town Square, please visit events.massterlist.com.

 
September 9th, 9 a.m.
The Call of Esther: Christians in the Middle East, Israel, & Islam
Hosted by: CAMERA
 
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September 9th, 9:30 a.m.
BSONE 2017 Walk For Advocacy and Awareness in Charlestown
Hosted by: Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
 
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September 9th, 11 a.m.
2017 South Shore Irish Festival
Hosted by: Marshfield Fair
 
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September 9th, 1 p.m.
Third Annual Chicken Barbecue to Support Senator Anne Gobi
Hosted by: South Barre Rod and Gun Club
 
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September 9th, 5 p.m.
Harvey Sanford 2017 Scholarship Event
Hosted by: The New England Chapter Tuskegee Airmen and The Collings Foundation
 
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  • Wide ranging summary of the latest news on Massachusetts politics, public policy, and government
  • Rich array of sources, both conventional and niche
  • Beacon Hill's most comprehensive Calendar of upcoming political, policy and advocacy events
  • Check our Job Board identifying Beacon Hill's best new positions available in government, politics and public policy