Baker under fire from all sides

The race for governor is taking shape. On the Democratic side, you have three like-minded liberals who detest President Trump. On the Republican side, you have a popular, middle-of-the-road incumbent who frequently disagrees (politely) with the president.

Newton Mayor Setti Warren is the latest entrant on the Democratic side. At an event in front of his home on Saturday, he called for addressing income inequality by launching a single-payer health care system and providing free tuition at all public colleges and universities.

“Our economy is leaving people and communities behind,” he said. “Our political rhetoric is turning neighbors into enemies. And as I’ve been listening to the people of the Commonwealth, what I’ve heard is that they don’t think Beacon Hill hears them.”

Robert Massie, a longtime environmentalist and entrepreneur, officially jumped into the race last week, pledging single-payer health care, lower student debt burdens, a higher minimum wage, and a push for renewable energy sources. “I don’t believe that Charlie Baker has any sense of where we should go,” he said.

Jay Gonzalez, a former health care executive and secretary of administration and finance under Deval Patrick, was the first Democrat to enter the race back in January. He has tried to tie Baker to Trump and made clear where he stands by calling for the president’s impeachment. He has also tried to draw a sharp contrast with Baker on the state’s Public Records Law and accused the governor of bungling state finances.

All three of the Democrats support passage of the so-called millionaire’s tax, which is expected to go before voters next year. Baker, by contrast, has tried to steer clear of the issue.  “At this point in time it’s not before the Legislature or the administration, but as I’ve said before we shouldn’t be raising taxes on hardworking people in Massachusetts,” he said. “We should be focusing on finding ways to do our jobs more effectively and efficiently.”

Baker has the strong advantages of incumbency and a fat campaign war chest, but he is also playing a middle-of-the-road game at a time when the country’s politics, particularly around Trump, are shifting toward extremes.

Baker is likely to be attacked from the left by his Democratic opponents and from the right by conservatives who think he is too wishy-washy. Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr, a big Trump supporter, outlined the potential right-flank attacks over the weekend in a column that referred to Baker as “Tall Deval” and labeled him a major disappointment.

“When it comes to standing up for the taxpayers, Tall Deval is a sheep in sheep’s clothing,” Carr wrote. “The Democrats’ problem is, you can’t beat somebody with nobody, even if that somebody is an empty suit, 48 extra large.”

–BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

In a wide-ranging interview, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said he was concerned about diminishing revenues for the state but said he is opposed to any “broad-based tax increases.” (Keller@Large)

A Herald editorial pans budget proposals to use $15 million in the state’s Horse Race Development Fund to build out a $150 million racing center or to fund efforts to combat sex trafficking, calling Senate Ways and Means chair Karen Spilka’s idea to use the money for parks and open space “the least bad option.”

Paul F. Levy outlines the cost and benefits of thinking outside the infrastructure box. (CommonWealth)

A federal judge has ended the home-confinement restrictions attached to the early released from prison of former House speaker Sal DiMasi. (Boston Globe)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Norwell, which had openly courted medical marijuana facilities, has become the latest town to block retail sales of recreational marijuana after voters approved a ban by a nearly 2-1 margin in Saturday’s town election. (Patriot Ledger) Boston pols say the rejection of medical marijuana shops by a series of suburbs means Boston will carry more than its fair share of the stores. (Boston Herald)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President Trump lands in Israel on the second leg of his first overseas trip in the wake of his speech in Saudi Arabia that is being praised for not inciting any uproar. (New York Times)

Trump’s Saudi Arabia speech was a real snoozer as far as his commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, was concerned. (Boston Globe)

US Rep. Seth Moulton says his primary job is “standing up to our president,” but quickly adds he will embrace bipartisanship when he can. (Eagle-Tribune)  A Salem News editorial applauds Moulton for doing his job and not getting swept away by talk of running for the presidency.

ELECTIONS

A Globe editorial urges Lowell to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed last week and revamp its city elections to include district seats, not the all at-large system now in use.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

With declining sales and a 40 percent drop in share value, Ford Motor Company is expected to replace CEO Mark Fields with the head of its self-driving car division. (New York Times)

Young men continue to fall further behind young women in income, according to new Census figures. (Boston Globe)

Cumberland Farms is suing Wellfleet officials over the denial of a permit to install gasoline storage tanks, part of an ongoing battle that has landed in court twice including a ruling by state Land Court that invalidated a town business bylaw. (Cape Cod Times)

The Department of Labor’s new “fiduciary rule” built around transparency mandates is set to be implemented at the beginning of June, resulting in savings for retirement investments and creation of new share classes that have reduced or no-fee investment management. (U.S. News & World Report)

EDUCATION

The recent auction of Treasury bonds is expected to trigger an increase in the interest rate for student loans of a little less than 1 percent, potentially adding thousands in debt over the life of a loan. (GateHouse News Service)

Boston Latin School continues to predominantly enroll white and Asian students, despite efforts to get more black and Latino students to sign up for free programs that help students prepare for the entrance exam for the school. (Boston Globe)

Mystic Valley Charter School in Malden suspends its controversial dress code policy that banned hair extensions. (Boston Globe)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

UMass Memorial Medical Center, seeking to replace its own psychiatric beds, proposes offering beds through another health care provider. (MassLive)

The annual report from the World Health Organization found, among other things, cancer deaths have surpassed cardiovascular deaths, especially in high-income countries, and the United States has fallen behind Zimbabwe, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic in access to family planning services. (U.S. News & World Report)

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA faces a $1 billion pension shortfall over the next 18 years, according to a report that the T’s top administrator will present today. (Boston Globe)

Moped rental businesses in Oak Bluffs have filed suit against the Martha’s Vineyard town for refusing to issue operating permits until the companies comply with a previously unenforced town bylaw requiring them to have a testing track rather than training customers on the streets. (Cape Cod Times)

Auto insurers want Uber and Lyft drivers to take out added coverage. (Boston Globe)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The New York Times’s multimedia “The Daily 360” takes a look at the nation’s first operating offshore wind project, the five-turbine farm off Rhode Island’s Block Island.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Boston police caught four juveniles carrying guns last week, a troubling sign of the potential for a bloody summer in the city. (Boston Herald)

Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson explains why she hates the Michael Motyka case. Motyka is the Worcester cop accused of assaulting an inmate named Gerald Jones, who Williamson describes as a “professional provocateur.”