Political gab hour hits Hub

Think of them as falling somewhere between Meet the Press and The Late Show.

This week saw the third installment of the Boston Globe‘s Political Happy Hour as Boston Mayor Marty Walsh pulled up a stool to gab with reporter Josh Miller. The afterwork chats, which have been held before live audiences at Suffolk University and streamed on the Globe‘s website, are a new way for the paper to get the brand out, make use of digital technology, and try to make some news in the process.

The news from Wednesday with Marty was word from the mayor that he plans to seek another term in 2017, which was then played as the top story on the front of Thursday’s Globe. Walsh hadn’t until that point publicly made such a declaration, though it would be hard to find anyone who hadn’t assumed he’d be running again.

Walsh touched on a number of issues, from the failed Olympics effort to Uber regulations. His vow that new school superintendent Tommy Chang has 100 percent latitude to pursue reforms, without political micromanaging from City Hall, was revealing, as was his pledge to play a role trying to broker a deal this year on raising the charter school cap. But the sessions seem as much about getting to know the person behind the pol as they are about policy and politics.

Getting off-script didn’t prove difficult for Walsh, whose candid heart-on-his-sleeve manner is part of what makes him a popular figure. He was willing to dive right in when Miller asked about his more than two decades of sobriety.

He talked about what an incredible experience it was to go to Rome and hear the pope.

He talked about his quest to remain a regular guy, despite the spotlight on him and power of his office.

And he talked about his mother. He demurred on sharing the worst trouble he got into during high school.  “I can’t tell you. My mother still doesn’t know,” Walsh said.

Where Walsh really put his heart on his sleeve was when he discussed his mother’s meeting with President Obama at Monday’s Labor Day breakfast in Boston. Walsh reflected on her arrival in the country at age 17 as a young immigrant from Ireland, and how improbable the thought would have been to her that she would one day be hugged by the US president. Walsh said she was overcome by emotion after meeting Obama, and he called it “one of the coolest moments” of his time in office.

Miller’s first two sessions were with Gov. Charlie Baker and Sen Elizabeth Warren. Baker seemed at ease with the fast-paced banter Miller is going for. Warren was a tougher customer, unspooling long-winded answers at several points that chewed up the clock and carried lots of echoes of past speeches on inequality and the rigged financial system.

The happy hour is a different setting than we’re used to for watching local pols. There’s more exposure, in a less predictable format, and it seems all for the good.

It also now seems like it’s becoming a thing.

Getting in on the gabfest action is Politico’s new Massachusetts operation. Lauren Dezenski, the Washington-based news organization’s first Bay State hire, will tag-team it next week with Politico’s chief political reporter Mike Allen in a Boston breakfast session with Walsh and Baker.

There will no doubt be substantive questions thrown at them. But there will undoubtedly also be lighter fare, with the pols’ bipartisan bromance sure to figure prominently.




USA Today explores how lower Manhattan has recovered from the terrorist attacks.

US Rep. Stephen Lynch continues to press for the release of classified documents from a report on the 9/11 attacks. (Boston Herald)


The state’s shrinking rainy day fund is a sign that Massachusetts is living beyond its means. Former governor Deval Patrick raided the fund and now Gov. Charlie Baker is tapping it in a bid to deal with a structural deficit. (CommonWealth)

A Herald editorial pans the idea of pursuing the North-South rail link that former governors Michael Dukakis and Bill Weld pitched to Gov. Charlie Baker this week. (The paper says the financially-strapped MBTA should skip the Green Line extension and South Coast rail, too.)

The governor is open to accepting some Syrian refugees for resettlement, but wants to know the federal government’s aims and how it plans to pay for the program. (MetroWest Daily News)

Baker named Maria Mossaides, who directs a Cambridge nonprofit, the new director of the state Office of the Child Advocate. (Boston Globe)

A Baker fundraiser this week in Quincy drew more than a few Democratic faces, including former attorney general Frank Bellotti and his son, Norfolk County Sheriff Michael Bellotti. (Boston Globe)


Boston’s chief of housing Sheila Dillon and Metropolitan Planning Council Executive Director Marc Draisen discuss the alarming shortage of affordable housing in the city. (Greater Boston)

The Springfield City Council considers tax breaks for the Chinese firm building new rail cars for the MBTA. (MassLive)

Move over Cambridge and Amherst. A Sun editorial suggests the mill city of Lowell is joining the wacky left on climate change.

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll wants to borrow $2.25 million to cap an ash landfill. (Salem News)

With 12,000 tons of Chilean salt, Boston begins preparing for winter. (WBUR)

Chicopee ponders building a new industrial park. (MassLive)


Gov. Baker says teamwork is paying off in the fight against the opioid epidemic. (Lowell Sun)


Site prep begins on Wynn’s Everett casino site. (Boston.com)


The Senate has handed President Obama a victory by preventing a vote on a Republican resolution against the Iran nuclear pact. (New York Times)

Telegram & Gazette columnist Clive McFarlane uses a sperm bank mix-up to discuss race in America.

US military officials are investigating Bristol Sheriff Thomas Hodgson swearing in 13 recruiters as auxiliary deputies, a probe the outspoken Hodgson immediately pinned on the Obama administration. (Herald News)

A caucus of 30 to 40 conservative Republicans in the House are vowing to oppose any budget bill that includes funding for Planned Parenthood, setting up a potential government shutdown. (National Review)

The Washington Post crunches the data on where refugees end up in the US.


Vice President Joe Biden expressed doubts about a run for president in an interview on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. (New York Times)

“The Mitt Romney diaspora” teams up to stop Donald Trump. (Boston Globe)

Hillary Clinton calls Scott Walker a tool of the Koch brothers. (Politico) Donald Trump faces attacks from Clinton and the GOP. (Time)

A special election for a Plymouth county-based state Senate seat that was long in Democratic hands is posing a big challenge to the state Republicans, who have made inroads in the area in the recent years. (Boston Globe)

Boston City Councilor Charles Yancey, on the ropes after getting significantly outpaced by challenger Andrea Campbell in Tuesday’s preliminary election, says his opponent is getting help from the Walsh administration. (Boston Herald)


Amazon appears to be setting up shop in an Everett warehouse to start one-hour deliveries in the Boston area. (BetaBoston)

Boston 2024 was carrying millions of dollars of debt when it folded in late July, though it’s unclear how much is still owed, with one source telling the Boston Globe outstanding obligations are now under $1 million.

Jay Ash, the state’s housing and economic development secretary, heard from lots of residents at a Roxbury “listening session” who feel their community is not sharing in the city’s economic growth. (Boston Herald)

Venture capitalist Ellen Pao gives up her gender discrimination lawsuit. (Time)


The New Bedford City Council is questioning the new school department policy that does not provide bus service to students who live within 1.5 miles of their school, forcing some children as young as kindergartners to walk. (Standard-Times)

A welcome-back letter from a top administrator at Wheelock College was rife with unattributed passages lifted from a 2007 letter penned by Harvard president Drew Faust and from writings of other college leaders. Among the duties of the Wheelock vice president, Shirley Malone-Fenner: Oversight of discipline of students caught violating the college’s rules on plagiarism.

Andre Ravenelle and Mary Walsh offer their view on dealing with stressors in urban schools. (CommonWealth)

Not only should you not park your car in Harvard Yard, you should not point cameras into windows of buildings there or engage in other intrusive behavior, according to new rules posted for tourists flocking to the famous green. (Boston Globe)

Tennessee explains its free community college approach. (Christian Science Monitor)


Carney Hospital in Dorchester, owned by for-profit Steward Health Care, is close to breaking even for the first time in five years, the Globe reports.


Uber has hired former Boston police commissioner Ed Davis as a consultant on safety measures in advance of State House hearings on legislation that would impose new regulations on the ride-sharing firm. (Boston Herald)

The MBTA makes ad revenue gains already in September. (Boston Business Journal)


Anthony Buxton says the endless debate over new natural gas pipelines sacrifices attainable “good” for unlikely “perfect.” (CommonWealth)

Gov. Baker defends his push for contracts to import hydroelectricity from Canada. (State House News)

Haverhill is planning to purchase 33 acres of land near its reservoir as a buffer zone to protect the water. (Eagle-Tribune)


The spotlight is once again shining on police tactics and their handling of minorities in the wake of the arrest and alleged mistreatment in New York City of retired black tennis star James Blake who officers said matched the description of an identity. (New York Times)

A 39-year-old Brockton man who has been arraigned more than 140 times for crimes over more than a quarter century is facing 21 more charges stemming from a string of car breaks in West Bridgewater.


Fox 25 anchor Maria Stephanos abruptly announced she’s leaving the station, with her final newscast slated for tonight at 11. (Boston Herald)

The Globe hires Tim Marken as its chief growth officer  to sell ideas, not ads. (CommonWealth)

A now-fired Hungarian camerawoman apologizes for kicking refugees. (Politico)

A white poet uses a Asian pseudonym and rocks the literary world. (Christian Science Monitor)