Window Into The State House

Finished attacking our waitress? Stay for another drink   The headline at Universal Hub says it all: “Manager at waterfront club loses job after he let guy who’d just sexually attacked a server stay for more drinks with his pals.” Pretty amazing. The bar in question is the Grand on Northern Avenue.     You don’t say: ‘Adult entertainment industry is a very powerful lobby in R.I.’   We’re not picking on Rhode Island. We like Rhode Island. We vacation in Rhode Island. But … The Providence Journal stirred up things in Rhode Island over the weekend by revealing that strip-club owners have allegedly been funneling campaign contributions to top Democrats via a law firm with its own ties to the adult-entertainment industry. It appears Dems didn’t know where the money ultimately came from, but Republicans are still having a field day. “This sounds like another sad episode of Rhode Island Vice,” state Republican Party chairman Brandon S. Bell says.     GOP’s Lyons slams ‘socialist’ and ‘corrupt’ Dems at national and state levels   Maybe Gov. Charlie Baker, a moderate Republican who stresses bi-partisanship at the State House, has an opinion on this. From Joe Battenfeld: “Taking a cue from President Trump, Massachusetts Republican Party chief Jim Lyons slammed Democrats for ‘pushing a socialist agenda’ and called the Democratic-controlled Legislature ‘corrupt’ in a blistering attack on the opposition party.” Actually, his assessment of House Speaker Robert DeLeo is not that much different from the views of progressives.     High rents, high eviction rates, high tensions   There are two good stories this morning about the terrible housing crunch in Massachusetts. The first, by Jennifer McKim and Alejandro Serrano at the New England Center for Investigative Report (the story is available at both WGBH and at the Boston Globe), looks at how high rents have led to high eviction rates in Massachusetts. How high is the eviction rate? It averages out to about 43 evictions per day in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, Qainat Khan at WBUR looks at how the changing demographics in Boston’s Egleston Square are leading to housing displacement pressures. Again, it’s all about higher rents.   The ‘win or die’ state: Warren and Sanders to duke it out in NH   U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders made it official yesterday: He’s running for president again. And that means he’ll be taking on U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a fellow progressive and New Englander, in the “win or die” New Hampshire primary battle for both candidates next year, reports the Globe’s James Pindell. But does Bernie still have his 2016 mojo? This time around he won’t be going head-to-head with only one Democratic candidate in a primary. He’ll be going up against a number of progressive Dems, reports the Globe’s Michael Levenson. The Globe’s Adrian Walker wonders if Sanders appreciates “just how hotly disputed” the Democratic primary will be this time around.  Btw, from the Daily Hampshire Gazette: “Valley residents ready to ‘feel the Bern?’ Yes, no and meh.”  Btw, II: The Herald’s Adriana Cohen says it all probably doesn’t matter: “Hold the presidential election today — Trump wins in a landslide.”  
  But is the real Dem battle between Warren and Harris?   The Globe’s Liz Goodwin and Jess Bidgood report that U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris may share a lot of progressive views as candidates in the Dem race for president. But one thing they don’t share is the way they approach politics, i.e. Warren as revolutionary, Harris as restorer of decency in politics. For the Globe’s Renée Graham, she wants to make one thing clear: Harris is “black enough.” Period. Now on to more pressing political matters, please.  
  Bill Weld: True NeverTrumper or mere stalking horse for Charlie Baker? You decide   Speaking of local presidential candidates: Liz Mair writes at the NYT that former Gov. Bill Weld’s preliminary move to run for president as a Republican offers a “glimmer” of hope that the NeverTrump movement may still be alive. But she admits GOP opponents of President Trump are “now the political equivalent of a doomed exotic species.” Meanwhile, columnist Peter Lucas at the Lowell Sun wonders aloud whether Weld, consciously or unconsciously, might be acting as a stalking horse for moderate Republican Gov. Charlie Baker to run for president. Then he all but dismisses the notion but asserts Weld may yet “spur anti-Trump Republicans to look for a more viable candidate to dump Trump.” Btw: Baker isn’t saying whether he might support Weld for president, the Globe’s Matt Stout reports. Btw, II: Weld was on “Morning Joe” yesterday pounding away at Trump’s foreign policy, reports the Globe’s Jeremy Fox.  
  Spilka hints she dumped Chang-Diaz to get education-reform results   She didn’t quite say it, but Senate President Karen Spilka acknowledged yesterday that the decision to replace the progressive Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz with the more moderate Sen. Jason Lewis as the new chair of the Senate education committee was all about finally getting education-reform results, not more rhetoric and deadlock. The way Rep. Angelo Scaccia sees it: “They want to put a pragmatist there to get something done.” CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl and Andy Metzger have the details.
Sheathe the sword? Hadley poised to add voice to calls for change to state seal, motto   Should the sword stay in the seal? The town of Hadley could become the fifth community — all clustered in the Pioneer Valley — to call for changes to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ seal and state motto ahead of the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival. Voters at Town Meeting will be asked to support a resolution backing legislation filed by two Northampton lawmakers to study changes to the seal and motto, which many say are disrespectful to Native American Indians, Scott Merzbach reports at the Daily Hampshire Gazette.  The sword dangling over a Native American is a bit much, you gotta admit.  
  Another video, another Springfield cop controversy   Check out the video that accompanies Dan Glaun’s piece at MassLive. You decide if a police officer merely “escorted” a person out of the Springfield police station after he showed up to file a complaint. Btw: Police are involved in other news in Springfield, via Dan Glaun at MassLive. It involves off-duty cops in a brawl outside a city tavern.  
  State Street sues ‘Fearless Girl’ sculptor over replica statues   From the BBJ’s Greg Ryan: “The feel-good arrangement between State Street Corp. and the sculptor it commissioned to make the famous ‘Fearless Girl’ statue has taken a bad turn. The Boston-based company (NYSE: STT) has filed a lawsuit against the sculptor, Delaware artist Kristen Visbal, claiming that she’s made and sold replicas of the statue in violation of her contract with State Street.”  
  Running out of gas in Massachusetts towns   First Holyoke. Now Middleborough. SHNS’s Colin Young at the BBJ looks at the growing number of towns where homeowners can’t natural-gas hookups due to pipeline constraints in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, SHNS Michael Norton(pay wall) reports that opponents of a natural-gas compressor station in Weymouth finally got a meeting with Baker administration officials.