Baker and the RGA

Gov.-elect Charlie Baker, who ran for office in Massachusetts as a bipartisan policy wonk, is taking a break from his post-election vacation to attend a Republican Governors Association conference in Florida where presidential politics is on the agenda.

The Boston Globe suggests Baker wasn’t eager to publicize his attendance at the conference, but Baker spokesman Tim Buckley says that’s not true. Buckley said Baker planned to talk with other governors about jobs, public education, and “his successful strategy to build coalitions around a positive campaign message and moderate ideals.”

 

It’s unclear whether the other governors had any interest in Baker’s moderate message. They were pretty busy bashing President Obama and his executive action on immigration policy. Some said they might sue the federal government.

Most of the attention on Wednesday was focused on a panel discussion featuring five Republican governors who are all considering a run for the presidency. The panel included Govs. John Kasich of Ohio, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Mike Pence of Indiana.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, another possible presidential contender, made the rounds in Boca Raton thanking donors who helped him raise $100 million during his stint as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. The RGA, of course, funneled $11 million to a PAC that supported Baker’s run for governor in Massachusetts.

Christie also praised his long-time confidante Robert Grady, the chairman of the New Jersey State Pension Council, who announced on Wednesday that he was stepping down. It was the pension council that invested $15 million with Baker’s firm, General Catalyst, after Baker donated $10,000 to the New Jersey State Republican Committee. An investigation into whether the arrangement violated New Jersey pay-to-play rules has still not been released. The pension council investment was sold earlier this year, reportedly at a hefty profit.

BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

Gov. Deval Patrick outlines $329 million in spending cuts to close a budget gap, CommonWealth reports. The governor’s proposal pares back local aid to cities and towns as well as proposed funding in the Legislature’s economic development law. Meanwhile, pay raises could be in the offing for top Beacon Hill officials.

Gov.-elect Charlie Baker adds African Americans to his transition team but fails to recruit any Latinos to serve as co-chairs.

The Department of Public Safety disputes state auditor’s findings regarding lapsed inspection certificates

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera dismisses a top aide after a state audit uncovered all sorts of problems with a program he ran for at-risk men, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Boston city councilors aren’t happy with Mayor Marty Walsh after he put the kibosh on their plans for a commission to focus on issues affecting black and Latino males. Walsh says the plan duplicates efforts already underway.

Westminster drops the idea of banning tobacco sales in the central Massachusetts town.

A 25-year veteran of the Hull police department has filed suit against the police chief and top officers in the department claiming he has been discriminated against and harassed because he’s gay.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, says he expects violence and acts of civil disobedience once President Obama announces his immigration plan. New York magazine’s  Jonathan Chait calls the prospect of an immigration-policy-driven government shutdown “the dumbest idea the Republican Party has ever had.”

Nearly 1,600 police departments arrest African Americans at rates that are even more lopsided than those in Ferguson, Missouri.

The Secret Service plans higher fences at the White House to deter fence-jumpers.

ELECTIONS

Karl Rove rounds up two dozen Republican presidential hopefuls

Nate Cohn argues that critics overstate the potential reach of voter ID laws on turnout.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The stalled redevelopment of downtown Quincy, which has left the city with gaping holes in its center after the project manager was fired, got a boost with the announcement of plans to build two six-story luxury apartment buildings with 12,000-square feet of retail space and restaurants.

The top two executives at Sage Bank in Lowell resign after an apparent dispute over the direction of the company, the Sun reports.

The United States broke into the top 10 on the World Giving index, rising from 13th last year to 9th this year in charitable donations, but still trailing poorer countries such as Thailand and Myanmar.

A Billerica marketing company and the staffing company it uses will pay $430,000 to workers to settle a suit charging that it failed to pay overtime.

The Gloucester Times profiles another fisherman, Al Cottone, in its Fish Tales series.

African Americans need to exercise their right to vote, notes the Bay State Banner.

EDUCATION

Lakeville Town Meeting voters rejected the Common Core standards for schools and the accompanying PARCC assessment exams.

A suit by two former Weymouth High School students who said they were suspended after a Breathalyzer wrongfully showed they had been drinking while at a school dance in 2012 has been dismissed after the women failed to show up for a deposition.

HEALTH CARE

In an email to employees, Steward Health Care System says reports that it has pushed back the closing of Quincy Medical Center to February are “misleading and inaccurate” and officials still plan to shutter the 140-year-old facility by year’s end. Paul Levy says the outcome was predictable and as proof, he reruns his blog post from 2011 predicting it.

Joan Vennochi floats — and promotes — the idea of Kate Walsh, currently the head of Boston Medical Center, as the next CEO of Partners HealthCare.

TRANSPORTATION

Keolis, the French firm running the state’s commuter rail operations, is slapped with $804,000 in fines after just four months on the job, CommonWealth reports.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Westford discovers the joy of solar subsidies, cutting its electric bill by $60,000, the Lowell Sun reports. Governing reports the so-called net metering program Westford is exploiting to lower its electric bills is causing difficulties for utilities across the country.

A group of Harvard students explain in a Globe op-ed why they are suing the university to try to force it to divest its holdings in fossil fuel companies.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

If you want to get up to speed on rape allegations against Bill Cosby, Time has a helpful timeline.

MEDIA

Cardinal Sean O’Malley pens an op-ed about his much-discussed interview on 60 Minutes over the weekend.

Media critic Jack Shafer has been dismissed as part of a Reuters shakeup, Poynter reports.