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09/13/2017

Bring in the clowns | Mayor McGee? | Doggie heaven

 
Happening Today
 
House veto overrides, DeNucci funeral, Cybersecurity forum, Matt Damon in town
 

A funeral Mass will be held for the late Joseph DeNucci, the former state auditor, Our Lady Help of Christians Church, 573 Washington St., Newton, 9:30 a.m. … Auditor Suzanne Bump briefs Cape Cod legislators on a recent audit of Barnstable County, Auditor's Office, Room 230, 10 a.m. … Boston Mayor Martin Walsh appears live on Boston Herald Radio, 10 a.m. … Joint Committee on Health Care Financing holds a hearing on 20 bills addressing primary care, behavioral and mental health, and professional practice, Room B-1, 11 a.m. … Gov. Charlie Baker offers remarks at the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum's welcome luncheon, Kendall Square, Cambridge, 11:30 a.m. … The Health Policy Commission plans to review an annual report on the performance of the Massachusetts health care system and its finances, 50 Milk Street, 12 p.m. … The House meets in a full session with plans to consider Gov. Baker's budget vetoes and amendments to the fiscal 2018 budget, House Chamber, 1 p.m. … Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee takes up a bill that would legalize sparklers and other ground-based fireworks, Room B-2, 1 p.m. … Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders will hear arguments on two motions relating to the ongoing legal battle over the expansion at Boston Children's Hospital, Suffolk Superior Court, Room 1017, 3 Pemberton Sq., Boston, 2 p.m. … Hollywood actor Matt Damon attends the Boston premiere of ‘Backpack Full of Cash,’ a documentary about the privatization of public schools and its impact on vulnerable children, 200 Riverway, Boston, 7 p.m. … Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is interviewed during his regular ‘Wednesdays with Walsh’ radio session on ‘NightSide,’ WBZ NewsRadio 1030, 8 p.m.

 
 
New England Clean Power Link
 
 
Today's Stories
 
The power of symbols …
 

To wake you up before diving into today’s news, quickly: What do Tabby, Black-capped Chikadees, Boston Terriers, Cod, Ms. G, Corn Muffins and Make Way for Ducklings have in common? If you don’t know, then you can find out by taking a pop quiz offered up by the Boston Globe, or you can head to this state flickr site, or visit a new exhibit outside of the main library in Room 341 at the State House. … Now for the news.

 
 
Another right-wing rally? Time to bring in the Clowns
 

Oh, no, please, not again. From Meghan Irons at the Globe: “The organizers of last month’s controversial free speech rally on Boston Common that set off a national media storm and prompted 40,000 counterprotesters are gearing up for another demonstration this fall. The Boston Free Speech Coalition announced on its Facebook page this week that it will host another rally in November.”

Seriously, this time the morally outraged, self-righteous and Antifa types should just stay home – and rely on the Coup Clutz Clowns, Barbie Liberation Organization and Orange Alternative types to handle the affair with devastating humor, as NYT's Tina Rosenberg has advocated.

Boston Globe
 
 
Fuller, Lennon top Newton ballot; McGee steamrolls in Lynn
 

The race to replace outgoing Newton Mayor Setti Warren, who is running for governor, is down to a head-to-head contest between two current city councilors following Tuesday’s preliminary election. Councilor Ruthanne Fuller drew the most votes, taking 37 percent of the total, while Scott Lennon finished close behind with 33 percent, outpacing the rest of the seven-candidate field, the Newton Tab reports.  Fyi: Setti Warren already has a new job lined up for after he leaves City Hall, as a visiting fellow at Mount Ida College, as he also runs for the Democratic nomination for governor, the Tab also reports. Good to see he’s landed the post. He’ll need it in 2019, more than likely.

In Lynn, meanwhile, is it time to start planning state Sen. Thomas M. McGee’s inaugural mayoral ball? McGee drew an astounding 72 percent of the vote in yesterday’s two-way preliminary race against incumbent Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy. The two face off again in November, Thomas Grillo of the Lynn Item reports. 

 
 
Report: Senior Amazon executives favor Boston for new HQ
 

Bloomberg’s Spencer Soper reports that several senior Amazon executives favor making Boston the tech giant’s second headquarters city, citing Amazon’s already strong corporate ties to the area, the presence of higher-ed powerhouses such as Harvard and MIT and other factors. The same story does make clear that other cities, including Toronto and Austin, Texas, are, or have been, strong contenders too.  

The Globe’s Shirley Leung is worried that Boston is getting a little complacent and needs to start thinking big to attract Amazon.

Bloomberg
 
 
Merrimack Valley wants state to bless its bid for Amazon HQ
 

Turns out Boston has some in-state competition for Amazon’s favor. The Merrimack Valley cities of Lawrence and Haverhill plan to partner with nearby North Andover to file a joint application asking Amazon to consider landing there, Keith Eddings of the Eagle-Tribune reports. Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini said he has already reached out to the Baker administration.

Eagle Tribune
 
 
 
 
Belchertown eyes different prize: Frisbee golfers
 

Who needs corporate headquarters, anyway? Belchertown plans an economic development and recreational move of a slightly different variety: Jim Russell of MassLive reports the town is moving forward on plans to build an 18-hole disc golf course on 20 acres of public park land. The town says the course will cost about $13,000 to design, build and equip. 

MassLive
 
 
A 50-acre, members-only dog park?
 

Might as well mention this economic-development plan too: The Northampton area will soon be home to the 50-acre Waggin' Trails Dog Park, complete with 15 acres of fenced trails, pre-screened doggie playmates, separate areas for puppies and small pooches, a dog washing station and much, much more. Michelle Williams at MassLive has the details.

MassLive
 
 
Will the Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax be included?
 

From SHNS’s Michael P. Norton and Matt Murphy: “The Baker administration plans to tackle the thorny issue of extracting additional emission reductions from the transportation sector, officials announced at a summit Tuesday where they marked the one-year anniversary of a climate change executive order. State officials are planning to hold three public listening sessions in the coming months as part of a new effort ‘to identify regional policies to reduce emissions.’”

No mention of the controversial Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax idea that many environmentalists long to implement and that the Baker administration has sent mixed signals about in the past. Just pointing it out.

SHNS (pay wall)
 
 
Reluctantly, developer proposes performing arts facilities in Seaport
 

WS Development, owner of a huge development site in Seaport, is now proposing to build three new theaters in the booming business district, reports the Globe’s Tim Logan. It’s not the result of some altruistic epiphany that the city needs more art venues. The firm is being strong-armed into the move by the city and arts groups. Don’t look for the US Attorney’s office to intervene. They’ve apparently learned their lesson, we assume. The BBJ’s Catherine Carlockhas more.

 
 
http://509.seiu.org/page/speakout/trianglefour
 
 
Gonzalez calls for probe of Baker’s ties to pro-charter group
 

Democratic gubernatorial Jay Gonzalez is demanding a probe of Gov. Charlie Baker’s ties to the pro-charter folks who hid bigwig donations, including those of two Baker administration appointees, in last year’s Question 2 charter-initiative battle, reports the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan.

Boston Globe
 
 
‘Goodbye Darkness My Old Friend’
 

Speaking of those controversial pro-charter donations: Maurice Cunningham, who deserves a lot of credit himself for digging into dark money in elections and referendums, heaps praise on the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance for cracking down on the New York group that tried to hide where all its pro-charter funds were coming during last year’s Question 2 battle. “OCPF deserves a world of credit for this – talk about Bill Belichik’s ‘do your job’ mantra – but it’s more than that,” he writes at CommonWealth magazine. “OCPF defended democracy itself. That is magnificent and humbling at the same time.”

WGBH
 
 
Is Baker planning a stealth charter-school push?
 

Still on the subject of charters: Gov. Charlie Baker supports “innovation partnership zones” for school districts, as an alternative to charter schools, but many critics fear it’s just a stealth way of pushing a new form of charter schools. The Herald’s Kathleen McKiernan has the details.

Boston Herald
 
 
Moms' plea to lawmakers: Please change victim compensation law
 

From Colin Young at SHNS: “Mothers who lost sons to violence and were denied state assistance to bury their children pleaded with the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to change the state's victim compensation statute so other families don't have to go through the pain they said they experienced. ‘Many families are re-traumatized when they are eventually denied by Victim Compensation because of a clause in the state statute that requires a family's claim be reduced or denied in the event their loved one 'contributed to' their own death,’ the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute said.”

SHNS (pay wall)
 
 
SHNS Trial
 
 
Hillary admits to being ‘wary’ of Elizabeth Warren … and Jill Stein?
 

Here’s a surprise: Hillary Clinton isn’t blaming Liz Warren for her 2016 presidential loss. Clinton does say in her new book, though, that she was ‘wary’ of meeting the Massachusetts senator for the first before the presidential election got fully under way, reports the Herald’s Chris Cassidy. But, wait, Clinton does blame, sort of, Green Party candidate Jill Stein of Lexington for tipping the electoral balance to Trump. As for libertarian VP candidate Bill Weld, Clinton wishes more people heeded his words. Cassidy explains.

Boston Herald
 
 
Meanwhile, Howie is very wary of Mitt's 1-for-4 record…
 

The Herald’s Howie Carr rips into Mitt Romney’s latest political ambition, i.e. possibly running for the U.S. Senate in Utah, though it’s not clear whether Howie thinks Mitt might raise his political win-loss record to 2 out of 5, from 1 out of 4, if he goes for it in Utah.

Boston Herald
 
 
Diehl volunteers his volunteers to gather signatures for sales-tax referendum
 

How generous of him. Republican candidate Geoff Diehl is volunteering the volunteer time of his volunteers to gather enough signatures to put the proposed sales-tax-cut initiative on the 2018 statewide ballot, SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports at Wicked Local.

Wicked Local
 
 
Back from Seattle
 

No, they weren’t on a secret mission to meet with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos on behalf of Boston. Instead, a group of private and public officials from Massachusetts – including Sen. Joseph Boncore and Rep. William Straus – have finished up a whirlwind trip to Seattle, where they met with transit officials to talk about that city’s “incredibly vibrant transit ecosystem,” as a spokesman put it. The three-day trip was organized and funded by the nonprofit Barr Foundation. Seattle Department of Transportation has more on the transit meet-up.

Seattle DOT
 
 
Confirming the obvious: Healey vows to sue Equifax’s you-know-what
 

Of all the suits she’s brought as attorney general and as overseer of the AG’s consumer protection division, Maura Healey had every right, as she outlined in a letter to Equifax yesterday, to pronounce in advance that she plans to sue the credit rating agency for the epic data breach at the firm. She has three million reasons for suing, i.e. the number of potential Bay State residents whose sensitive personal data is now probably floating somewhere out there in the Russian corner of the Darknet. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan has more.

MassLive
 
 
First things first: Cannabis Commission gears up to hire 25-person staff
 

Pull out your calculators, everyone. The new Cannabis Control Commission, which held its first formal business meeting yesterday, has made its first formal appointment: Commission chairman Steven Hoffman as the new (interim) executive director, as CommonWealth’s Jack Sullivan reports. Meanwhile, the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that’s just the first of many appointments and hires, as the commission gears up to build a staff of 25.

OK, here’s where the calculator comes in: The commission’s budget is $2 million and commissioners are being paid a combined $750,000, leaving $1.25 million for 25 staff members, or an average of $50,000 per hire. But the commission also has to pay for stamps and stationery and phone service and computers and desks and chairs and a Spaceman 6210 Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine … you get the picture. They’re going to need more money, even without our own gotta-have-it soft serve ice cream machine.

  

 
 
Oops: T’s new GM finds broken fare machines on his way to his first day of work
 

Maybe he should keep a daily diary. Day 1: Broken fare machines. … Day 2: Delay on the Green Line … Day 3: Smoke billowing from subway car … Anyway, you get the picture and, yes, Luis Ramirez, the MBTA’s new general manager, really did confront inoperable fare machines as he rode the Green Line to report for his first day of work yesterday, confirming his belief that the T desperately needs a customer-friendly approach towards operations, reports WBUR’s Meghna Chakrabarti and Kathleen McNerney.

Btw: WBUR has been pretty tough on Ramirez since being appointed, noting how his old company isn’t exactly faring well these days. But yesterday Ramirez said he’s proud of his work Global Power Equipment Group and says he didn’t know about the recently disclosed accounting problems at Global Power.

WBUR
 
 
Optometrists eye fall offensive at the State House
 

Give them credit for not giving up. The state’s optometrists, who have pushed hard to be allowed to perform more eye procedures, sense victory and plan an autumn offensive to finally pass the “overdue reform legislation,” the group is vowing in a press release. The bill was included in the Senate’s budget earlier this year and Gov. Baker included it in Medicaid reform package, but both efforts stalled.  

PR (Optometrists)
 
 
 
 
Today's Headlines
 
Metro
 

Year-long body camera pilot for Boston police comes to end - Boston Globe

 
Massachusetts
 

Worcester schools’ chronic absence rate rising - Telegram & Gazette

Berkshire Museum reaffirms support for leader, planned art sale - Berkshire Eagle

Mashpee board votes to limit public documents - Cape Cod Times

Judge hears arguments over siting rights for Lowell High - Lowell Sun

Western Mass. town plans 18-hole municipal disc golf course - MassLive

 
Nation
 

Tension and protest mark Trump voting commission meeting in NH - NPR

Middle-class incomes rise but Census report shows troubling disparities - Washington Post

Flynn backed for-profit nuclear scheme inside Trump transition - Politico

 
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September 14th, 9 a.m.
NE Loss Prevention Expo
Hosted by: Retailers Association of Massachusetts
 
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September 14th, 6 p.m.
Conversations on the Edge - A CCAE Lecture & Discussion Series
Hosted by: Cambridge Continuing Adult Education
 
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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