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10/11/2017

Reform concerns | Soviet-style elections | Radio waves

 
New England Clean Power Link
 
 
Happening Today
 
House in session, MilliporeSigma opening, committee hearings and more …
 

-- Public Health Council holds its monthly meeting, with presentations scheduled from the Office of Problem Gambling Services and on the Alzheimer's and Related Dementias Acute Care Advisory Committee's report, 250 Washington St., Boston, 9 a.m.

-- Officials from Boston, Wayland and New York City will convene to talk about reducing carbon emissions at the local level, hosted by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, District Hall, 75 Northern Avenue, Boston, 9 a.m.

-- Financial and education professionals join students to call for passage of legislation making financial literacy programs mandatory in the state's public school, Grand Staircase, 9:30 a.m.

-- Mayor Marty Walsh is expected to attend the groundbreaking for the $2.5 million reconstruction of North Square, featuring the Paul Revere House and Freedom Trail, in Boston’s North End, One North Sq., 10:30 a.m.

-- Governor's Council holds three hearings today on judicial nominations: Thomas Daniels as an administrative judge on the Industrial Accident Board, Thomas Barbar as an associate justice of the Middlesex Probate and Family Court, and Shelley Richmond Joseph as an associate justice of the Framingham District Court, Council Chamber, at 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

-- Gov. Charlie Baker takes part in a series of scientific events as MilliporeSigma opens the doors to its new North American Life Science Center in Burlington, 400 Summit Dr., Burlington, 10 a.m.

-- Senate Democrats plan to caucus today ahead of Thursday's full formal session, Senate President's office, 11 a.m.

-- The House meets in a full formal session and is expected to consider a budget bill to close the books on fiscal 2017, House Chamber, session begins at 11 a.m. and roll call votes at 1 p.m.

-- Gov. Charlie Baker, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta, Secretary of Education Jim Peyser and Sen. Eileen Donoghue participate in a ribbon cutting at Nashoba Valley Tech’s Engineering Academy for equipment funded by a state grant, Nashoba Valley Technical High School, 100 Littleton Rd, Westford, 1:30 p.m.

-- Joint Committee on Elder Affairs holds a hearing on legislation dealing with health, safety and training, including bills regarding prevention, reporting and investigation of abuse, Room A-1, 2 p.m.

-- Attorney General Maura Healey will discuss health care at the Brigham and Women's Health Leadership Summit Dinner, Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge, 5:45 p.m.

-- Harvard’s Kennedy School Institute of Politics polling director John Della Volpe and MSNBC ‘Morning Joe’ co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski hold a town-hall style gathering to discuss the state of America and public service, with Harvard President Drew Faust expected to participate, JFK Jr. Forum, Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK St., Cambridge, 6 p.m.

-- Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is scheduled to make a regular appearance on ‘NightSide with Dan Rea,’ WBZ NewsRadio 1030, 8 p.m.

 
 
 
 
Today's Stories
 
Baker expresses ‘concerns’ about Brownsberger’s criminal-justice bill
 

They’re not quite drawing lines in the sand, but they’re getting to that point regarding the sweeping criminal-justice reform bill proposed by Sen. William Brownsberger. The latest to express reservations: Gov. Charlie Baker, who yesterday said there are “a lot of elements” of the bill he has concerns about, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) and Evan Lips at New Boston Post. Among Baker’s reservations: Changing the ages for teen consensual sex, or “close age exceptions,” as the bill puts it. “But I have some concerns about a lot of elements of that legislation and I have a very positive sense about other parts of it,” said Baker, without elaborating much. Stating the obvious on criminal-justice reform on Beacon Hill: “We're a long way to go here between where we are now and the end of this process." 

 
 
With Donoghue out of Tsongas-seat race, what will L'Italien do?
 

This definitely changes the dynamics of the race to replace U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, as reported by Chris Lisinski at the Lowell Sun: “State Sen. Eileen Donoghue, eyed as one of the top candidates to replace Rep. Niki Tsongas in 2018, will not run for the 3rd Congressional District seat and will instead seek re-election next year.” 

The big question now: What will state Sen. Barbara L'Italien, who is exploring a run, do? If she goes for it, she’ll be facing tough competition, including Daniel Koh, the former chief of staff to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, state Rep. Juana Matias of Lawrence, and Nadeem Mazen, an Andover native and Cambridge city councilor. Big decision.

Speaking of Mazen: He says he’ll be a “Trump’s worst nightmare” candidate too, in addition to Matias. The Herald’s Zuri Berry explains.

Lowell Sun
 
 
Vargas victorious in Valley …
 

Haverhill City Councilor Andy Vargas won the Democratic primary in the 3rd Essex District house special election, collecting 1,749 votes to outpace school committee member Paul Magliocchetti who finished with 1,077, Peter Francis of the Eagle-Tribune reports. The win sets up a November showdown between the 24-year-old Vargas and another school board member, Republican Shaun Toohey, who ran in Tuesday’s election. 

Eagle Tribune
 
 
… while Barrett beats the field in Berkshires
 

Longtime North Adams Mayor John Barrett III easily topped the four-candidate field in the Democratic primary in the 1st Berkshire District race to fill the House seat vacated by the death of Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, Adam Shanks of the Berkshire Eagle reports. Barrett, who served 13 terms as North Adams Mayor, beat his closest rival by a three-to-one margin and moves on to face Republican Christine Canning on Nov. 7. 

Berkshire Eagle
 
 
The Bay State’s increasingly ‘Soviet-style’ election system and outcomes
 

Legislative incumbents who rarely face primary or even general election opponents. Legislators who effectively get elected to office with barely 20 percent of the vote.  Primary and special elections held at times almost guaranteed to produce low voter turnout. “It all adds up to a dispiriting reality: We have a system for electing members of the Massachusetts Legislature that has strayed far from democratic principles,” writes Paul Schimek, a data scientist and researcher and a member of Voter Choice for Massachusetts, at CommonWealth magazine.

From a competitive standpoint, yesterday's somewhat spirited elections in Haverhill and the Berkshires seem to contradict Schimek's point. But they were indeed both special elections in off years and consider this about how the eventual winners in November will fare in future contests: “When incumbent state representatives run for reelection, they win 96 percent of the time. Incumbent state senators have an even better track record, with a 99 percent reelection rate.”

CommonWealth
 
 
http://DontGiveAwayTheMBTA.org
 
 
‘If you can pay for aspirin, you can pay for birth control’
 

The headline alone probably accounts for Jeff Jacoby’s column being the Globe’s most read story this morning. Jeff is taking on all those Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who are upset with the Trump administration’s recent announcement on contraceptive insurance coverage.

Boston Globe
 
 
WBZ, WRKO and WZLX up for grabs?
 

All you Millennials who don’t listen to AM and FM radio, you can skip this post. Everyone else, this is a big deal: Entercom Communications Corp. and CBS Corp. are reportedly about to unload some high-profile Boston radio stations as part of their mega-merger. The divested assets include WBZ-AM, WRKO-AM, The Sports Hub, WZLX and other major stations. The Globe’s Danny McDonald and the Herald’s Tom Shattuck have the details on the huge radio market shake-up in Boston.

 
 
‘We're going to get hammered if we put this bill out’
 

Rep. Harold Naughton, co-chair of the Committee on Public Saftey and Homeland Security, sure sounded like he favored a bill that would allow police to stop drivers for not wearing seat belts. But Naughton, at a hearing yesterday on Beacon Hill, said he expects to get criticism from "the talk radio people" and others about Massachusetts being a "nanny state" and "forcing laws down people's throats,” reports SHNS’s Colin Young at the Lowell Sun. "We're going to get hammered if we put this bill out," he said.

As if on cue, the Herald starts hammering away.

Lowell Sun
 
 
Final score: Menino 10.1, Walsh 7.8
 

Could Mayor Marty Walsh ever hope to keep the daily pace set by former Mayor Tom Menino, known for his almost super-human stamina and determination to be seen everywhere, every day, by everyone and anyone, in Boston? As it turns out, the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan crunched the scheduling numbers and found the answer is: No. During the three-month periods analyzed, Menino’s schedule consisted of 10.1 events per day, while Walsh averaged 7.8.

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld suggests Walsh may be cheating, so to speak, on his scheduling count: “Walsh is doing very little actual campaigning, with almost all of the events and announcements coming out of the mayor’s taxpayer-funded office. Since the beginning of this month, Walsh has held 21 ‘official’ events, ranging from a soapbox derby in West Roxbury to a ‘cornhole’ tournament in Charlestown.”

 
 
 
 
It’s official: Right-wing group holding another Boston Common rally
 

Ignoring them, or mocking them, would be the best response this time around. From O’Ryan Johnson at the Herald: “The right-wing group that staged a ‘free speech’ rally for Boston Common in August said it is co-sponsoring another one in November. Boston Free Speech announced on its website that it, along with a group called Resist Marxism, is hosting a ‘Rally for the Republic’ on Nov. 18 at the Parkman Bandstand.”

Boston Herald
 
 
Baker is going with Obama over Trump on climate emissions rules
 

Another day, another disagreement between the Baker and Trump administrations. From the Associated Press at WCVB: “Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says his administration is committed to an Obama-era effort to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. The Republican's comments come a day after Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said he'll issue new rules overriding the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's drive to curb global climate change.” 

WCVB
 
 
‘The shadow transit agency’
 

CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl has a cool story on how a trio of data-crunching guys are using the MBTA’s own statistics to challenge many of the transit agency’s assumptions about various projects and policies – and they’re getting impressive results. They’re sort of the Bill James of T statistics, acting independently, in their spare time, along with a handful of others as part of a group called TransitMatters.

CommonWealth
 
 
With $10M gift from Chinese businessman, UMass to launch new rare-disease center
 

With China emerging as an economic powerhouse, we have a hunch we’ll be seeing more of this in the future. From Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ: “The University of Massachusetts Medical School is forming a new institute to study rare diseases, thanks to a $10 million gift from the Li Weibo Charitable Foundation in China. Li Weibo, who established the Li Weibo Charitable Foundation in 2013 to support biomedical research and education, plans to donate half his wealth to the foundation.”

BBJ
 
 
St. Anthony
 
 
One last time: House poised to pass $123M bill to close out last year’s budget
 

House action is expected today on this. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “House Democratic leaders have prepared a $123.2 million spending bill that would close the books on the tumultuous budget year that ended July 1, enabling the state to pay some of its outstanding bills, including $49.8 million for snow and ice removal and more than $20 million for state sheriffs. … The bottom line, according to House officials, is just shy of the $127.7 million that Gov. Charlie Baker had requested in supplemental funding for fiscal 2017.”

SHNS (pay wall)
 
 
Knives out in Brookline town-gown property battle
 

Pine Manor College says selectmen and other boards in the town of Brookline violated the state’s’ open meeting law and conspired in secret to set in motion a plan to seize 7 acres of land from the school, Laura Krantz of the Globe reports. The town wants the land to build an elementary school but the college has vowed to fight the move and says a lack of public process and notice violated state law. 

Boston Globe
 
 
Check it out: Video of future Orange Line trains being tested in China
 

The MBTA has released a video of a future Orange Line train being tested in China. WGBH has the details -- and the video. 

WGBH
 
 
Getting social workers, colleges and hospitals on the same page about opioid addictions
 

  A lot of interesting stories this morning on the subject of how to deal with opioid abuse and addiction. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports on Gov. Charlie Baker and college officials’ announcement that, as of this fall, social worker students will start learning about drug addiction as part of their core curriculum. Meanwhile, Janie L. Kritzman, a clinical psychologist, writes at CommonWealth magazine about her own tragic experience dealing with a college after her son’s overdose death – and she says higher-education needs to do much more to avoid similar tragedies on campuses. And, finally, Martha Bebinger at WBUR has a terrific story on how one local woman had to effectively self-diagnose her own prescription opioid addiction and treatment -- with little or no help from the hospital that gave her the prescription.

 
 
MJ Event
 
 
Baker on Amazon HQ2: ‘I think picking one site would be a huge mistake’
 

Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday defended his administration’s decision not to endorse any one local plan for the new Amazon HQ2, telling reporters yesterday, ‘‘I think picking one site would be a huge mistake,” reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. Notice the governor’s reference to “one site.” No one, as far as we know, is talking about how the state should back “one site.” Instead, the question is whether the state should be backing “one bid” with potentially multiple sites offered up to Amazon. But no matter. The governor ain’t going to budge on his non-endorsement strategy, not with the 2018 elections around the corner.

Btw: We still like Senate President Stan Rosenberg’s idea: Offering up Boston as a headquarters and other cities and towns as “satellite” options. The Herald’s Jacklyn Cashman liked Rosenberg’s common-sense idea too. 

MassIve
 
 
Baker is wowing the state’s Congressional delegation too …
 

He’s popular among voters. He’s big pals with Mayor Marty Walsh. He’s getting along fine with most Democrats on Beacon Hill. And, in case you’re wondering, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is also wowing the state’s all-Democratic Congressional delegation, reports Shawn Zeller at CommonWealth magazine. Stories like this must be driving the three Democratic gubernatorial candidates up a wall.

Btw: In case you’re wondering why we have so many CommonWealth stories today (and yesterday), the answer is: They just came out with the fall issue of the magazine. A lot of great stories. Check ‘em out.


CommonWealth
 
 
Boston hires National Geographic exec as chief digital officer
 

From Kelly O’Brien at the BBJ: “The city of Boston has named a new chief digital officer, Jeanethe Falvey, who's tasked with overseeing the city's online presence. … Falvey, who received a graduate degree from Tufts University, was previously the director of digital strategy for the National Geographic Society. She previously worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where she helped digitize 15,000 photos related to the EPA's work since the 1970s.

BBJ
 
 
Saluting DiMasi’s role in passing landmark health-care law
 

There’s no need to wipe Sal DiMasi from the history books, folks. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “A North End community organization honored convicted former House Speaker Sal DiMasi with a public service award last week and Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday saluted DiMasi's role in passing landmark state health care reform in 2006. … ‘I would say, first of all, that the Massachusetts health care law, which has been a big success here in the commonwealth, is something that the former speaker had a lot to do with,’ Baker said.”

SHNS (pay wall)
 
 
Resnek
 
 
Today's Headlines
 
Metro
 

Proposed Seaport theaters raise hopes, and questions - Boston Globe

Landlords eyed to house homeless - Boston Herald

 
Job Board
 
 
Massachusetts
 

Sapelli and Cichelli advance to November ballot in Agawam mayor’s race - MassLive

Dudley loses final bid to sanction lawyer for Islamic Society - Telegram & Gazette

Lawrence firefighters endorse Lantigua - Eagle-Tribune

Despite high rank, violent crime trending down in Brockton - Brockton Enterprise

 
Nation
 

Senate Dems worry Russia could jeopardize re-election bids - Politico

Kansas tried a tax plan similar to Trump’s. It failed - New York Times

 
Beacon Hill Town Square

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Oct. 12, 5:30 p.m.
4th Annual Education Party
Hosted by: Education Reform Now
 
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Oct. 13, 7:30 a.m.
Coffee with Colleagues
Hosted by: NAIOP Massachusetts
 
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October 16, 8 a.m.
Big Data Bootcamp
Hosted by: Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
 
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Nov. 15, 7:30 a.m.
Mass. Marijuana Summit: Understanding the challenges and opportunities in the new age of legalization
Hosted by: State House News Forum
 
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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