Window Into The State House

As Moulton puts out peace feelers, Pressley announces she’s backing Pelosi
U.S. Rep.-elect Ayanna Pressley hopped off the political fence yesterday, officially announcing she’s backing Nancy Pelosi for House speaker, reports the Globe’s Travis Andersen. And what timing. The New York Times and the Washington Postreport that U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, the ringleader of opposition to Pelosi, is effectively sending out peace feelers to Pelosi, now that it appears his coup attempt isn’t going to succeed. He’s not quite surrendering. More like exploring terms for a truce.

Interestingly, Pelosi, besides deciding whether Moulton should kneel next time she sees him, has a few more centrist-Dem fires to put out, as the Post reports. And Moulton has some progressive-Dem fires to put out in his home district, the Salem News reports.

Clark faces big leadership vote tomorrow
As the weakened U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton seeks peace talks with Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Rep. Karherine Clark could be elected vice chairperson of the Democratic Congressional caucus tomorrow, making her the fifth-highest ranking member of the party in Congress and an important part of the expected Pelosi leadership team when the new session begins in January, Nik DeCosta-Klipa reports at But first Clark must defeat California Rep. Pete Aguilar in a caucus vote.
Hodgson to home protesters: Go ahead, make my day
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson is almost hoping those lefty punks at FANG Collaborative show up at his house again to protest – because if they cross any legal line at all, he and his boys are ready to pounce. “We’re going to lock you up,” Hodgson tells the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter.
Amid ridership and fare revenue declines, the T’s pension costs rise to ‘unsustainable’ levels
CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl pulls double duty this morning, reporting on the T’s continuing ridership and fare-revenue declines in one story and the T’s “unsustainable” and “spiraling out of control” pension costs in another story. Unless we’re mistaken, something isn’t adding up at the T.



Boston now has two big education posts to fill
Rahn Dorsey, who became Boston’s first-ever “education chief” in 2014, has stepped down due to personal reasons “and in anticipation of the need to address family matters in 2019,” Walsh’s office said in a statement last week, reports WBUR. The Herald’s Kathleen McKiernan notes Dorsey’s departure has created an education leadership void at the top, as the city also searches for a new school superintendent.

Is it time for a statewide mass-transit board?
The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro has a piece on what comes next after the legal mandate for the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, which was created after the winter crisis of 2015, expires in mid-2020. There seems to be a consensus that some sort of oversight needs to remain. But what type of oversight? Among the ideas being floated: A statewide transit authority that would oversee both the T and regional transit authorities.

Meanwhile, CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports that mayors and city managers across eastern Massachusetts are forming a new coalition to advocate for the MBTA’s commuter rail system. We’re surprised such a coalition didn’t already exist. Btw: The Herald had a story over the weekend about the launch of a new state study to pinpoint the Boston area’s worst traffic spots.

Not sold: Walsh sure doesn’t sound gung-ho about retail pot shops
As the media descended last week on Leicester and Northampton to cover the opening of the state’s first retail pot shops, the city of Boston was quietly putting the finishing touches on a host agreement to open a pot shop in Boston, probably by early next year. But Mayor Marty Walsh, who opposed legalization of marijuana, doesn’t seem excited about hosting a weed joint in Boston, reports the Herald’s Brooks Sutherland. “I hope the taxation’s worth the human toll,” Walsh said when asked about the prospect of new revenue for the city.

The Globe’s Dan Adams reports that pot-shop rollouts, despite last week’s hype, could be rather slow moving forward in Boston and elsewhere. The Herald’s Jordan Graham, meanwhile, has a helpful list of pot shops set to open in the near future.

Not a bad haul: Pot retail sales on opening day hit $404,011
Speaking of pot shops, it was a six-figure revenue day for the state’s first two pot shops on their opening day last week, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. Keep in mind that most bars consider a five-figure revenue night a big deal.
Boston’s top cop and Holyoke councilor unite against ACLU’s ‘paper warriors’ and ‘phonies’
Boston Police Commissioner William G. Gross has gotten into a war of words with the ACLU over its lawsuit tied to a gang database, calling the civil rights group “paper warriors,” as the Herald’s Joe Dwinell reports. The ACLU’s Carol Rose is firing back, saying Gross is trying to “divert attention” from serious issues, reports the Globe’s Jeremy C. Fox and John Hilliard.

Meanwhile, a city councilor in Holyoke is ripping the ACLU for filing a lawsuit against the city’s new lawn-sign ban, asserting the “altruistic ACLU proves, once again, they’re really a bunch of phonies,” reports Dennis Hohenberger at MassLive. Can’t you just feel the love towards the ACLU?


Surprise, surprise: Pay provision slows adoption of civilian ‘flaggers’
A report from the Pioneer Institute says the state has seen slow adoption of civilian flaggers at roadside construction sites because of a provision in state law that requires their pay be tied to that of police officers who work details, Sean Phillip Cotter reports at the Herald. In other words: The law is working as intended, i.e. impeding the increased use of civilian flaggers.
They’re back: Globe columnists Kevin Cullen and Yvonne Abraham return to punditry duties
In case you didn’t notice, Globe columnist Kevin Cullen — who last June was slapped with a three-month suspension and two months on the general assignment desk after a review found he fabricated details in comments he made about the Boston Marathon bombings – was back on punditry duty last week (with his first columns here and here). Meanwhile, Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham, who suffered a severe concussion four months ago, is back with a terrific column on her head injury and long recuperation.

Btw: We never knew being a pundit could be so hazardous. The Herald’s Howie Carr reports that he broke his elbow and fractured a wrist while bicycling over the weekend. He says he’ll be OK, which we assume means he can still search and peck at the keyboard.

On the hot seat: U.S. Senate committee to grill executives over Merrimack Valley debacle
With thousands of people still without gas service due to the September pipeline disaster in the Merrimack Valley, Columbia Gas and NiSource executives will be on the hot seat today when the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation convenes a field hearing in Lawrence on the gas-line debacle. Besides corporate bigwigs, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board and a who’s who of the state’s political elite are expected to testify, according to U.S. Sen. Ed Markey’s office, as Zoe Matthews reports at the Eagle Tribune.

Among those also expected to testify: The sister of Leonel Rondon, the 18-year-old man killed in the gas explosions, reports And a lot of residents want to have a say too, reports the Herald.


‘Embedded Enemies’
Lowell’s very own Corey Lewandowski is out with another co-authored book, this one warning about “embedded enemies of President Trump” within the “deep state” corridors of government. And Corey and co-author David Bossie name names! The Washington Post has more on “Trump’s Enemies: How the Deep State is Undermining the Presidency.”
Kindergartners gone wild: They’re ‘out of control’ in Orange
Sounds like the National Guard may have to be called in to restore order in Orange, where they’re apparently overwhelmed by “out of control” kindergartners and first-graders who are stabbing each other with pencils, trashing classrooms, threatening teachers and even causing frequent “evacuations.” David McLellan at the Athol Daily New has all the Lord of the Flies details.
‘Fiscal stability cellar’
Robert L. Reynolds, chief executive of Boston’s Putnam Investments, and Chris Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Tech Council, are not impressed with the state’s recent infusion of hundreds of billions of dollars into its rainy-day fund, writing at CommonWealth magazine that long-term state spending trends and revenues are still seriously out of whack. And if a recession hits, well, how do multibillion-dollar deficits sound?