Window Into The State House

Report: Deval Patrick to announce he’s not running for president
He said he would make a decision after the midterm elections – and that’s what he’s doing, apparently. From Stephanie Saul at the New York Times: “Deval Patrick, the former two-term Democratic governor of Massachusetts, plans to announce shortly that he will not run for president in 2020, according to a person close to Patrick. Patrick had been discussing a possible run with associates and had been traveling around the country to support Democratic candidates in the midterm elections. But he had also expressed some reluctance about a possible presidential run, telling David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, that he wasn’t sure there was a place for him. ” Gee, we can’t imagine who that “person close to Patrick” might be. Perhaps the first person named in the story after Patrick, the same person who was a consultant to Patrick’s first gubernatorial campaign in 2006? Just guessing. In any event, we’re disappointed by the decision. Patrick would have contributed a more optimistic, positive tone to a presidential campaign that’s already shaping up to be about as shrill as you can get. Btw: Beto O’Rourke, who’s pondering a 2020 presidential bid, recently met with former President Obama, reports the Washington Post.
Of course, early polls might have played a role in Patrick’s decision. Will they for Warren?
Recent polls have shown that Deval Patrick barely registered as a potential candidate for president. The same can, almost, be said for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who continues to lag far behind other potential Democratic candidates for president in surveys. Shannon Young at MassLive has the latest poll numbers, this time from Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies and The Harris Poll. Only four percent? Yikes.
Bennett stepping down as Baker’s public safety director
Amid ongoing scandals at State Police, Daniel Bennett, Gov. Charlie Baker’s public safety secretary, is stepping down and will be replaced by Thomas Turco, the state’s commissioner of the Department of Correction, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive and Matt Stout and Danny McDonald at the Globe. The departure of Bennett, a veteran prosecutor, marks the first major change in Baker’s cabinet since Baker won re-election last month, as the Globe notes. But it also comes amid nearly non-stop State Police scandals that became an issue in the recent gubernatorial race. So make of the move what you will.
National Grid gets pounded on Beacon Hill as DeLeo blasts ‘unconscionable’ treatment of workers
It wasn’t a good day on Beacon Hill yesterday for National Grid, as the utility took a pounding from Dem lawmakers upset by its continued lock out of more than 1,200 workers and as legislators moved on several fronts to make the utility literally pay for its actions against union members. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine has the details. But what caught our attention was House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s particularly harsh words, as reported by SHNS’s Katie Lannan, about large companies’ “reckless” and “unconscionable” behavior towards workers in general. DeLeo’s real target, obviously, was National Grid, leaving one to wonder if the utility now thinks its actions are worth the political price it’s paying.
Is it right to judge a judge accused of helping an immigrant escape ICE?
We’ve quickly reached the debate-it-into-the-ground stage of FleeGate, i.e. the controversy over the murky actions of a Newton judge who sure looks like she played some sort of role in allowing an immigrant defendant to escape an ICE agent sitting in her courtroom.In an editorial, the Globe argues Judge Shelley A. Joseph shouldn’t sit on criminal cases as a grand jury investigates her alleged actions. But in a Globe opinion piece, Nancy Gernter, a former federal judge and Harvard Law professor, says the judge and others had good cause to be concerned about the imminent deportation of the undocumented immigrant. The Globe’s Adrian Walker writes that Gov. Charlie Baker and others are wrong to conclude, without all the evidence in, that Joseph is guilty of obstructing justice. The Herald’s Howie Carr is using the incident, it appears, as an opportunity to blast all judges. Finally, Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive reports the courts have not changed Joseph’s assignment, despite Baker’s call that she be suspended.
As Herald editor expands his authority, Globe plans DC hires to counter Washington Post poaching
Two stories this morning impacting our two-newspaper town, both via UH: 1.) Herald editor Joe Sciacca is now editorial head honcho of all of Digital First Media’s newspapers in New England and upstate New York, reports the Lowell Sun. 2.) The Boston Globe is looking to hire a new bureau chief and two to three reporters in Washington, after repeated poaching of Globe talent by the Washington Post, reports Politico. “The Globe’s search signals that the paper remains committed to the Washington bureau,” according to Politico. OK, here’s a third item: Joe Sciacca’s announcement on the Herald’s new website redesign, which, after a rough first morning, actually looks pretty sharp.


Warren supports union efforts at western Massachusetts publications
In other newspaper news: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has thrown her support behind efforts by employees to form unions at the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Valley Advocate and Amherst Bulletin, reports Jim Kinney at MassLive.
Medical examiner: Former Sen. Brian Joyce died of barbiturate overdose
The state’s medical examiner has determined that former state Sen. Brian Joyce, who was facing federal corruption charges, died from an overdose of a barbiturate drug that’s typically used to treat insomnia, reports Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine and Matt Stout at the Globe.

The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter goes a few gruesome steps further: The drug is also used to “euthanize pets and execute convicts.” The medical examiner’s office made clear that the manner of Joyce’s death is officially “undetermined,” meaning it can’t say if it was the result of suicide, an accident or homicide. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has more.

Springfield council pay raises: ‘When it smells bad, sometimes it is bad’
Springfield seems to be producing its share of political news these days, the latest being the city council’s late-night vote to raise members’ pay by 51 percent. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds, since the pay increases from $19,500 to $29,500. But when a pay hike is done against the recommendations of a board, over the objections of the mayor and during late-night proceedings, all hell can break loose. MassLive’s Peter Goonan has the details.
Without capitalism, Kennedy would be tending bar in the South End
Columnist Peter Lukas at the Sentinel & Enterprise isn’t impressed with U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy’s recent call for “moral capitalism,” saying Kennedy still benefits from the wealth created by his capitalist great grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. Which is true. But even Old Joe, via his work at the Securities and Exchange Commission, sought to tame capitalism – and his efforts largely worked. The issue is not capitalism vs. non-capitalism. It’s what type of capitalism we want.
Attorney withdraws from representing Fall River mayor, who moves back in with his parents
One of the high-powered criminal lawyers representing indicted Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia has withdrawn from the case and the mayor himself has apparently moved back into his parents’ home, the Herald News reports, citing a court filing.
RIP, President Bush and Judge Tauro, both champions of disability rights
Media critic Dan Kennedy pays tribute to “two giants in fighting for the dignity of people with disabilities” – the late President George H. W. Bush and the late U.S. Judge Joseph Tauro. Most of you know about the former, but the latter was also hugely influential in championing local disability rights, as the Globe’s Bryan Marquard explained the other day.
Number of Mass. children without health insurance rises
For the first time in years, the number of children in the Bay State without health insurance rose in 2017 to 20,000, about 5,000 more than the year before, Christian Wade reports at the Newburyport Daily News. Advocates call the reversal—which knocked Massachusetts from the top spot nationally in terms of covered children—a “troubling sign” and say Trump administration-related disruptions to the health care and immigration landscapes may be to blame.