Gov. Charlie Baker is in Washington today for the National Governors Association’s winter meeting. He starts with a breakfast and business session at 8:30 a.m., joins other governors in meeting with President Trump at 10 a.m., attends a luncheon to meet with former governors now in Congress at 12:30 p.m., participates with other governors in a meeting with Congressional Democrats on health reform at 3 p.m., and attends a NGA briefing on cybersecurity at 4 p.m.
Homeless Action Day
Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless hosts its annual legislative lobby day, Great Hall, 9 a.m.
Tour of fire-damaged State Police Museum
State Police Colonel Richard McKeon, State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey, and Grafton Fire Chief Michael Gauthier tour the fire-damaged Massachusetts State Police Museum and Learning Center, 44 Worcester St., Grafton, 10 a.m.
Massachusetts Lottery Commission meets with an update on January sales, votes on a custodial services contract and contract extension for the company that supplies the Lottery's terminals, One Ashburton Place, 12th floor, Boston, 10:30 a.m.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flakes in Boston
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, is due in Boston as the guest of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, Orinoco a Latin Kitchen, 477 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 10:30 a.m.
MBTA control board
MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board meets to discuss the state of the Mattapan Trolley line, possible action on the proposed Foxborough commuter rail pilot program and a possible vote on a revised fiscal 2017 budget, Transportation Board Room, 10 Park Plaza, 11:00 a.m.
Elder Lobby Day
More than 300 elder activists, representing 16 groups, gather to call on officials to address the needs of the growing elderly population in Massachusetts, Nurses Hall, 11 a.m.
Polito to tour tornado-struck area
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins Kurt Schwartz, director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, and other officials to thank emergency first responders and inspect damage in Conway following a Saturday evening storm and tornado, Conway Town Hall, 5 Academy Hill Road, Conway, 1 p.m.
Wu on the air
Game developer Brianna Wu, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, talks about her campaign on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.
Black Panther co-founder
Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, discusses the movement at Lesley University, Washburn Auditorium, 10 Phillips Place, Cambridge, 5 p.m.
Board of Education charter votes
Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets with votes planned on charter and virtual schools, 75 Pleasant St., Malden, 5:00 p.m.
Reggie Lewis Center meeting
State Rep. Chynah Tyler holds a community meeting to discuss ‘the future of the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center’ at Roxbury Community College, Reggie Lewis Center, 1350 Tremont St., Roxbury, 6 p.m.
Health care talk
Boston Bar Association hosts a talk moderated by Barbara Anthony of the Pioneer Institute and Ed DeAngelo of the Health Connector, with panelists Lois Johnson of the Health Policy Commission, Erin Liang of the Healthcare Financing Committee, Nancy Maroney of the Center for Information and Analysis, Audrey Gasteier of the Health Connector, Brian Rosman of Healthcare for All, 16 Beacon St., Boston, 7 p.m.
Just what Charlie wanted: Lots of photos linking him to the Trumps
The Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss mischievously reports that Gov. Charlie Baker “apparently got quite a nice seat at the Governors’ Ball Sunday night: right beside first daughter Ivanka Trump.” The Republican governor, who is currently attending the National Governors Association’s winter meeting in Washington D.C., will also later this morning join other governors in meeting with President Trump at the White House, where there’ll be plenty more opportunities for photos. How low can a 6-foot-6-inch tall governor duck? We’re about to find out.
This is an odd one: As Democratic governors woo Republican Gov. Charlie Baker as a potential ally in the upcoming battle over health care (and as Baker prepares to meet with Congressional Democrats today on health care reforms), the incoming head of the Democratic Governors Association is saying “you bet” Dems are gunning to oust Baker in 2018, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the New Boston Post.
Attorney General Martha Healey isn't ducking Trump. She's embracing him, in her own way, as her vociferous opposition to Trump is proving to be a solid fundraising tactic, Christian Wade reports in the Salem News. A fundraising email sent out hours after Healey said she would join with other AGs challenging Trump’s immigration order generated $15,000 in contributions from 42 donors in a single day and have helped boost her campaign coffers by $400,000 since last Election Day.
Boston protesters demand probe of Trump campaign ties to Russia
More than 200 people rallied on Boston Common yesterday demanding an independent probe into allegations that members of President Trump’s campaign was in contact with Russian officials before the November election, reports the Associated Press at US News and World Report.
The great and glorious self-described inventor of email says he’s running against Elizabeth Warren
For legal reasons, we’ll let Adam describe this one and refrain from further comment. From Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub: “V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai of Cambridge, who sues Web sites for disputing his claim that he invented e-mail as a 14-year-old, announced at a right-wing gathering in Washington yesterday that he will run against Elizabeth Warren for US Senate in 2018. Ayyadurai opened his campaign with an announcement at by a group called MAGA3X outside the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.” More on the Conservative Political Action Conference below.
Massachusetts ranks second only to Mississippi in elderly economic hardship
From Kathleen McKiernan at the Herald: “More than half of Bay State seniors are struggling to pay for housing, food and health care as the cost of living in Massachusetts continues to surge, a troubling trend that has elder advocates calling for legislation aimed at ensuring that older residents who worked their whole lives aren’t falling through the cracks.” Here’s an embarrassing and alarming fact: “The Bay State has the second-largest population of elderly residents who are scraping to get by, second only to Mississippi.”
One of the things elderly activists want from Beacon Hill: An increase in the asset limit for seniors to qualify for MassHealth.
From the Globe’s Nicole Dungca: “Eight Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority vehicles derailed in 2016, the nation’s highest overall figure and the second consecutive year the transit agency has had among the most light-rail derailments in the country, according to federal statistics. Last year, six Green Line trolleys and two subway maintenance vehicles derailed, according to data from the National Transit Database, which tracks safety data for transportation systems.”
Craig Hughes, the business representative of the International Association of Machinists Local 264, draws attention to efforts to renegotiate a contract with the Maine Military Authority to overhaul 32 Silver Line buses, an outsourcing move that he says is now costing the state an additional $2 million. The outsourcing started in 2014, before Gov. Baker took office and before the 2015 winter collapse of T services. Still, Hughes paints a picture of complete dysfunction at the Maine authority that has sucked in Gov. Paul LePage and Maine lawmakers.
Trump’s brazen grab for working-class voters who Warren et Sanders are desperately trying to keep
At the the Conservative Political Action Conference late last week, President Trump made it clear he’s going all out to redefine the GOP as the party of the working class, reports the Globe’s Tyler Pager: “At times, he promoted positions that could have been ripped from the playbook of liberals Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. ‘The GOP will be from now on the party also of the American worker,’ Trump declared.”
Nature abhors a vacuum, and many Democrats, excluding Warren and Sanders, don’t seem to get it when it comes to working-class voters.
Two Dems, two bloggers, two views on how to proceed forward
JConway at BlueMassGroup definitely gets it: “What the hell happened to our party? We used to believe fighting for civil rights and the New Deal were our greatest achievements.” In other words, he wants to fight and he’s not conceding anything to Trump.
But on the same day at BlueMassGroup -- two posts below JConway’s piece, under the headline ‘So ... at what point should sane states secede?’ --MannyGoldstein effectively advocates Dems quit and take a lose-an-election page from slave-holding, secessionist Confederates. Maybe someone should give her a copy of Lincoln’s first inaugural address, in which he explains that losing elections is not a form of ‘tyranny’ that justifies breaking up democracy – otherwise democracies are inherently tyrannical because there’s always a losing side in elections.
Massachusetts manufacturing decline at odds with national trend
Perhaps there’s a connection here between local political attitudes and economic performance. Perhaps not. Anyway, Craig Douglas at the BBJ notes how Massachusetts has continued to lose manufacturing jobs over the past five years, even as the rest of the nation has seen a post-recession increase in manufacturing jobs.
From conservative principals to ‘cult of personality’
The Boston Herald, which has been reliably tough on President Trump, said the Conservative Political Action Committee has now officially transformed from its “once rock-ribbed conservative principles to a cult of personality,” based on its “adoring” reception of President Trump at its convention late last week. The Herald editorial isn’t objecting to Trump’s embrace of working-class voters, but rather his abandonment of spreading American values of freedom and liberty around the world, welcoming immigrants to America and other principles .
Baby Boomers blamed for everything short of starting WWII
Bruce Cannon Gibney’s blistering attack on Baby Boomers was the most viewed story at the Globe this weekend, until last night’s Moonlight-La La Land mix-up at the Academy Awards bumped it from the top spot. How bad have the Baby Boomers screwed up? Gibney, a venture capitalist and author, says one needs look no further than the current occupant of the White House.
Overruns happen in the private sector too: Wynn Resorts’ costs up $300M
From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Wynn Resorts disclosed on Friday that the estimated cost of building its Everett casino has risen to approximately $2.4 billion, a $300 million increase from estimates as recently as August. ‘The total project budget, including gaming license fees, construction costs, capitalized interest, pre-opening expenses and land costs, is estimated to be approximately $2.4 billion,’ Wynn said in a with the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
City presses state for more neighborhood liquor licenses
Boston officials are pressing state lawmakers to free up more liquor licenses and say they will set some aside to boost neighborhoods that have traditionally been shut out, Meghan E. Irons of the Globe reports. Fifteen new licenses would be designated for the Mattapan neighborhood alone, for instance.
Suicides in Massachusetts exceed auto-crash and homicide deaths combined
Though the state has one of the lowest suicide rates in the nation, officials are becoming increasingly alarmed at the steady increase in suicides here, particularly among men, from 433 in 2004 to 603 in 2014, a 40 percent spike, as reported by Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune.
New Dem national chair worked for Ted K and attended Harvard Law
Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who was elected chair of the Democratic National Party over the weekend, is a Buffalo native, son of Dominican Republic immigrants, a Brown University and Harvard Law School grad, and a former aide to the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kenney, reports the Herald. It should be noted that he wasn’t the candidate of choice of Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
The Globe’s Adrian Walker talks to three defenders of Felix Arroyo, who they say was unfairly suspended as Suffolk County Register of Probate, an office they say is “so rife with racial tension, backbiting, and unprofessional behavior that dysfunction was practically inevitable.” Walker isn’t so much confirming their opinions as he is, rightly, demanding more explanations about “why a duly elected official cannot even set foot in his office.”
From the Herald’s Dan Atkinson: “A local veterans’ advocacy group is blasting Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other state Democrats for their support of illegal immigrants, calling it ‘selfish political theater’ and demanding they put veterans’ services at the top of their list — or feel the heat.” A Warren spokeswoman said the well being of veterans is of “utmost importance” to the senator. We’ve previously never heard of the Dracut-based Veterans Assisting Veterans, but it has been active in the Lowell area (YouTube) since before the election.
Brookfield selectmen target of ethics complaint
A complaint has been filed with the state Ethics Commission after the chairman of the Board of Selectmen in Brookfield purchased a parcel of land that the owner was trying to get the town to take off her hands, Craig Semon of the Telegram reports. A former water commissioner and relative of the property owner filed the complaint against Stephen Comtois, who bought the half-acre parcel of land for just $200, well below the assessed value of $43,900, after the town paid for title research.
Steve Urbon of the Standard-Times examines the struggles facing SouthCoast golf courses, many of which are seeking to develop at least part of their properties into housing as demand for links wanes nationally, a trend that has some communities scrambling to find solutions.
Residential neighbors of the Great Barrington Airport are expressing concern about a proposed expansion of the airfield, saying they worry about expanded military use of the facility, which has been the home of large-scale Blackhawk helicopter training exercises in the past. The town is considering issuing a special permit to the airport to allow it to continue and expand operations in a residential area, Eoin Higgins of the Berkshire Eagle reports.
Gloucester Mayor: City doesn’t need ‘status’ to be sanctuary
Gloucester Mayor Romeo Theken says her city does not need to make an official ‘sanctuary’ community designation to continue being welcoming to immigrants, Ray Lamont of the Gloucester Times reports. “We have always been welcoming to all, and we are and will be, but I don’t need a document to say that,” said Theken, who frequently worked with newly arrived families in her former role as a community liaison at the city’s hospital. “We live that here in Gloucester, we all do.”