Presented by the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work
READING THE ROOM ON RENT CONTROL — Michelle Wu wants rent control. Fifty-nine percent of likely Boston mayoral voters u">>support the concept. Yet reversing the ban on Beacon Hill faces a steep uphill climb, even with the Boston mayoral hopeful’s bevy of State House endorsers.
Voters ended rent control through a 1994 ballot question. Nearly three decades later, there doesn't appear to be much appetite in the Legislature to bring it back.
Two of Wu’s endorsers are trying. State Reps. Mike Connolly of Cambridge and Nika Elugardo of Boston are restarting conversations around their u">>bill to lift the ban and bolster tenant protections.
“It’s not your grandmother’s rent control,” Elugardo said of their bill, which would allow municipalities to limit how some landlords could raise rents but would exempt landlords of smaller, owner-occupied dwellings, like traditional double- or triple-deckers.
A version of the bill advanced favorably out of the Housing committee last session, but went down badly in a u">>roll call vote, 22-136, when attached to economic development legislation in summer 2020.
Elugardo believes there was more support , saying the conversations she’s had on the topic range from “warm to skeptical — but everybody was willing to keep talking about it.”
She and Connolly have since streamlined their bill , and Elugardo believes they can get to a majority in the House. But they’d need a supermajority to override a possible veto from Gov. Charlie Baker, who’s u">>against restoring rent control.
As they watch rent control get “battle-tested” in the Boston mayor’s race, Connolly said the lawmakers are working on ways to build momentum for and combat any misinformation about their bill on Beacon Hill.
Wu hasn’t been involved. She said Wednesday she hasn’t talked to the lawmakers about their bill recently, even as she champions the concept on the campaign trail and defends her support of it in the face of attacks from rival City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George.
“Certainly with all of my supporters, I think there’s a clear understanding of the vision that I hope to take the city in, and the type of partnership and conversation that it will involve to get us there,” Wu said during a media availability. But when POLITICO asked if she’d talked to her lawmaker endorsers about their bills recently, she said “no.”
Connolly said he wouldn’t expect Wu to be much involved at this stage, because she’s “completely focused on getting out the vote.” He noted her past support for the legislation, including her testimony in support of the bill last session.
GOOD THURSDAY MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS . We'll just have to win it in Houston.
TODAY — Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and other officials attend a Mass State Police recruit graduation at 10 a.m. at the DCU Center in Worcester.
Polito continues with STEM week events in Westborough, Chicopee and Westfield. The Legislature hosts a hearing on Covid-19 vaccinations and testing for children at 10 a.m.; the House plans to vote on new districts after 1 p.m.
State Attorney General Maura Healey visits Living in Freedom Together Inc. at 11:30 a.m., tours the nonprofit’s new facility in Worcester for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and hosts a roundtable.
Essaibi George details her agenda to close the racial wealth gap at 1:15 p.m. in Dorchester and participates in a WBUR candidate forum at 7 p.m. Boston
Acting Mayor Kim Janey gives virtual remarks at the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s meeting at 5 p.m.
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– “Massachusetts coronavirus cases up 1,355, hospitalizations tick down,” by Rick Sobey, Boston Herald: “The single-day average of COVID-19 cases is now 995, compared to u">>1,896 cases a month ago.”
– “Add paper to the list of things in short supply,” by Shira Schoenberg, CommonWealth Magazine: “Before Boston’s preliminary mayoral election, the city sent information about mail-in voting to every voter. For a time, the city considered doing a second mailing, but Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin, whose office coordinated the mailings, said a second mailing simply wasn’t possible. ‘When we went shopping for cardstock, they didn’t have enough,’ Galvin said. … [Galvin] delayed joining a national voter information database, which the Legislature required Massachusetts to join, because the company requires a mailing that would involve sending u">>millions of pieces of mail out at one time.”
– “Proposed election bills could make voting mandatory, put ballot boxes in prisons,” by Amy Sokolow, Boston Herald: “Legislators proposed a bevy of bills that could change the Bay State’s election system, including placing ballot boxes in some correctional facilities, making voting mandatory and moving the primary date from September to late spring. … [a] bill proposed by state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, would make voting mandatory in November general elections, imposing a $15 fine for those who fail to mail their ballots in, u">>and blank ballots would be accepted.”
– “Mental Health Treatment Is A Key Component To Mass. Pandemic Recovery, Baker Says,” by Mike Deehan, GBH News: “Gov. Baker said Wednesday that the biggest challenge the state faces as the pandemic winds down is how to spend billions of dollars in federal funding to assure the state gets back on its feet, with an emphasis on housing and jumpstarting the behavioral health sector."
– “Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate and UMass Chan Medical School launching state center on child wellbeing and trauma,” by Melissa Hanson, MassLive: “With an urgent need to address childhood trauma in Massachusetts, an issue exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new center is launching to offer support. The Office of the Child Advocate and Commonwealth Medicine, the public service consulting and operations division of UMass Chan Medical School, announced Wednesday the launch of the u">>Center on Child Wellbeing and Trauma.”
– “Licensing Boom Aims To Mitigate School Bus Driver Shortage,” by Chris Lisinski, State House News Service (paywall): “The state licensed more than 300 additional school bus drivers to help navigate a statewide shortage, including nearly 200 National Guard personnel, across a trio of one-day events this fall, u">>officials said Wednesday.”
– “Mass General Brigham employees lose bid to halt unpaid leave over vaccine mandate,” by Tonya Alanez, Boston Globe: “On the day that 229 Mass General Brigham employees were placed on unpaid leave for failing to get a COVID-19 vaccine, a federal judge in Boston on Wednesday denied their motion to prevent the company from enforcing its vaccine mandate."
– “A few Massachusetts State Police officers quit as 168 new recruits join the force,” by Joe Dwinell, Boston Herald: “Three State Police officers have resigned rather than buck the governor’s vaccine mandate as the agency reports a new class of recruit graduates u">>today just in time.”
– “COVID vaccine religious exemption: Who qualifies under Massachusetts’ state worker mandate?” by Benjamin Kail, MassLive.
– “FDA approves Moderna COVID booster shots, authorizes mixing and matching with Johnson & Johnson,” by Douglas Hook, MassLive .
– “3rd tent catches fire in Boston’s Methadone Mile; councilors urge action,” by Sean Philip Cotter, Boston Herald: “Another tent caught fire in the Mass and Cass area, marking at least the third such instance in the past month — and city councilors are urging further steps to fix conditions in the troubled area, u">>including abatements for property owners.”
Boston City Council votes to relax parking rules for affordable housing,” by Tim Logan, Boston Globe: “Following two lawsuits challenging affordable housing developments in Jamaica Plain for having too little parking, the Boston City Council on Wednesday approved a measure that would keep many affordable housing developments u">>from needing to have any parking.”
– “U.S. Attorney continues investigation involving Violence In Boston, a group tied to many politicians,” by Sean Philip Cotter and Rick Sobey, Boston Herald: “The husband of Violence In Boston’s founder Monica Cannon-Grant, Clark Grant, on Tuesday was pinched by the feds on pandemic unemployment and mortgage fraud charges. … Violence In Boston — and specifically Cannon-Grant, once declared ‘Bostonian of the Year’ by The Boston Globe — is deeply enmeshed in the city’s politics, including having u">>ties to both mayoral candidates.”
– FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: The Working Families Party has endorsed City Councilor
Michelle Wu for mayor of Boston.
Georgia Hollister Isman , New England regional director of the Working Families Party, praised Wu's "bold vision" on "leading the charge for paid family leave, affordable housing and climate solutions that meet the moment."
– FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Sen. Ed Markey has endorsed incumbent Boston City Councilor
Julia Mejia and newcomer
Ruthzee Louijeune in the city’s at-large council race. Markey has also endorsed
Kendra Hicks for Boston City Council District 6. “These three young leaders represent the future of Boston,” Markey said in a statement.
– Mejia has also been endorsed by state Sen.
Sal DiDomenico , per her campaign.
– FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Boston City Council at-large candidate
Carla Monteiro has been endorsed by state Rep.
Tami Gouveia, who’s running for lieutenant governor, and Everett City Councilor
Gerly Adrien , per Monteiro’s campaign.
– A three-reporter team from the Boston Globe fact checked what City Councilors Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George said in Tuesday’s debate, from their incomes, to the Boston Public Schools, to funding the MBTA.
– From the opinion pages: “Michelle Wu name-dropped Tom Menino. Here’s why,” by Joan Vennochi, Boston Globe: “How smart is Boston city councilor and mayoral front-runner Michelle Wu? Smart enough to counter charges of elitism and pie-in-the-sky notions with a timely embrace of that renowned ‘urban mechanic’ and humble man of the people — u">>the late Mayor Tom Menino.”
– "Annissa Essaibi George's journey — the mother, the teacher and the would-be-mayor of Boston," by Anthony Brooks, WBUR: "With just a week and a half to go before Boston's Mayoral election, polls show City Councilor Michelle Wu is the front runner. But [City Councilor Annissa] Essaibi George is still campaigning hard and not giving up."
– "Ex-BPD chief’s super PAC returns with TV ad, anti-Wu radio spot," by Gintautas Dumcius, Dorchester Reporter: "The super PAC chaired by former Boston police commissioner William Gross is ramping up its efforts to support mayoral contender Annissa Essaibi George while blasting her rival for the job, Michelle Wu."
– “Boston mayoral candidate Annissa Essaibi George inspired as a teacher and businesswoman,” by Meghan E. Irons, Boston Globe: “In her 13 years at East Boston High School, Annissa Essaibi George served as a mother figure to a host of teenagers, an advocate for her students, including those in crisis … But her time as a teacher and operation of her small business also fit into a broader pattern of administrative lapses that runs throughout Essaibi George’s professional career. State records show she did not have a valid teaching license for most of the time she taught at East Boston High School. She also did not register her popular and successful small business, Stitch House, for the past four years, u">>as required by the city.”
– “Gomez, Higgins Among Those Lining Up Behind Chang-Diaz Campaign,” by Katie Lannan, State House News Service (paywall): “Two more state lawmakers and 11 municipal officials are backing Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz in her bid for governor, the Jamaica Plain Democrat's campaign announced Wednesday. Springfield Sen. Adam Gomez and Leominster Rep. Natalie Higgins threw their support behind Chang-Díaz … Former state Sen. Ben Downing and Harvard Professor Danielle Allen are the other Democratic candidates in the race. Allen earlier this month received the endorsement of The Collective PAC, a national political action committee focused on boosting Black political engagement and representation, and Downing has been backed by the u">>Amherst hub of the Sunrise Movement.”
– "Former Attleboro city councilor Julie Hall announces another bid for Congress," by George W. Rhodes, Sun Chronicle: "Former candidate for the 4th Congressional District seat Julie Hall announced Wednesday she’s running again. Jake Auchincloss, a Democrat, defeated Hall in November of 2020, winning the seat with 61 percent of the vote."
A message from the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work:
– “Mitch McConnell takes to Senate floor to criticize Rachael Rollins as her US attorney confirmation vote stalls,” by Amanda Kaufman, Boston Globe: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday took to the Senate floor to criticize Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, characterizing her as ‘soft on crime’ in an escalation of the Republican campaign against her nomination to be the next US attorney for Massachusetts that u">>drew rebuttals from Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey.”
– “Bill Keating responds to Ted Cruz’s proposal to send immigrants from Texas border to Cambridge, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket,” by Nik DeCosta-Klipa, Boston.com: “Sen. Ted Cruz’s stunt proposal Tuesday to send all undocumented immigrants to newly created ports of entry in Democrat-led communities like Cambridge, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket has gone largely ignored by the elected officials it seemed intended to irk. However, the Texas Republican did get a response from one Massachusetts congressman. ‘Why is it that whenever Ted Cruz is facing a crisis in Texas his mind seems to wander to vacation destinations? First it was Cancun, now it’s Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard,’ Rep. Bill Keating, u">>who represents the Cape and Islands, tweeted…”
– “'End this crisis': Lawmakers urge Tenet CEO to come to Worcester; say company is prolonging strike,” by Cyrus Moulton, Worcester Telegram & Gazette: “Echoing a call by Mayor Joseph M. Petty, the state’s congressional delegation is urging Tenet Healthcare CEO Dr. Saum Sutaria to come to Worcester to settle the u">>St. Vincent Hospital nurses’ strike.”
– LISTEN: “Rep. Clark talks negotiations over Biden's spending package,” by Rupa Shenoy, WBUR.
– “Wu says local-option tax could help fund fare-free MBTA service,” by Michael Jonas, CommonWealth Magazine: “[Michelle] Wu said on Wednesday that she would be open to proposals that have Boston residents help pay at least some of the cost of free fares. Wu said she supports legislation on Beacon Hill to authorize ‘regional ballot initiatives,’ a method of raising revenue for local transportation projects by asking voters to approve new taxes – u">>usually sales or property levies.”
– “New work week: Tuesday through Thursday,” by Bruce Mohl, CommonWealth Magazine: “A new dashboard showing average travel times on roadways coming into and out of Boston indicates more people working hybrid schedules are driving in the middle part of the weeku">> rather than at the beginning or the end.”
– “Some I-93 commuters may begin noticing buses passing them in the breakdown lane. Here’s why,” by Nik DeCosta-Klipa, Boston.com: “Bus-on-shoulder is coming to the Boston area. Massachusetts officials began running empty buses Wednesday in the breakdown lanes on Interstate-93 north of Boston — between the I-95 interchange and Somerville — to test the feasibility of a longer-term pilot allowing buses with passengers to scoot past traffic [on] one of the area’s u">>most congested stretches of roadway.”
– “Worcester Candidates React To Anti-Gay Comments In Schools Race,” by Neal McNamara, Patch: “...several candidates in the Worcester School Committee race are responding to anti-gay comments attributed to one candidate running for a seat. Last week, School Committee candidate Shanel Soucy said screenshots that purportedly show her negatively commenting on gay people were ‘falsified’ and were being circulated by a ‘hate group’ that dislikes her opposition to u">>Worcester's new sex education curriculum.”
– “Amherst College ends legacy admissions practice, expands financial aid,” by Scott Merzbach, Daily Hampshire Gazette: “A preference for admission to Amherst College that has historically been given to children of alumni is being eliminated. The college announced Wednesday that, as it also enhances financial aid for future students, so-called legacy admission preference will no longer be a factor in how u">>students are selected for enrollment.”
– “North Brookfield School Committee reverses previous action, votes to keep Indian mascot,” by Kim Ring, Worcester Telegram & Gazette: “Less than a year after School Committee members voted to dump the controversial Native American mascot that has been the high school's symbol since 1960, it appears the Indian isn't going anywhere. Following a change in the makeup of the committee, a new vote was taken before the start of the school year, rescinding the u">>action of the previous board.”
– “Town Of Bourne Threatened With Lawsuit Over School Committee Member Controversy,” by Sam Drysdale, Bourne Enterprise: “Bourne resident Michael Fraser told the Bourne Board of Selectmen during public comment Tuesday evening, October 19, that he is filing a class action lawsuit on the state and federal levels against the towns of Bourne and Hanover on behalf of Bourne School Committee member Kari MacRae. Ms. MacRae has been at the center of controversy in Bourne after the teachers' union, district administrators and some community members called for her resignation last month over videos Ms. MacRae posted to social media in which she said ‘critical race theory’ and issues of gender identity u">>should not be taught in public schools.”
– “MIT professor sues after he was forced to resign from institute following sexual harassment allegations,” by Jeremy C. Fox, Boston Globe: “A prominent Massachusetts Institute of Technology biology professor who was forced two months ago to resign from the biomed institute where he worked following sexual harassment allegations has filed a lawsuit claiming he is the victim of false claims made to ‘exact revenge against a former lover,’ u">>according to court records.”
SPOTTED – Former Boston Police Commissioner
William Gross at Fenway Park, per WCVB.
TRANSITIONS – Steve Kerrigan has been appointed to the Health & Wellness Advisory Council for America250, the nationwide commemoration of America’s 250th anniversary in 2026.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY – to
Daniel Sheehan, Erik Bruun, Sam Hiersteiner, Brian Rosman, Megan Murray, Edith Gregson and
Shaye J. D. Cohen.
THIS WEEK ON THE HORSE RACE — Hosts
Steve Koczela, Jennifer Smith and
Lisa Kashinsky break down the Boston mayor’s race and what a new poll means for Gov. Charlie Baker.
Deanna Moran, director of environmental planning at the Conservation Law Foundation, joins to talk about climate resiliency. Subscribe and u">>listen on iTunes and u">>Sound Cloud.
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- Lisa Kashinsky @lisakashinsky