The Codcast: How you beat Baker

Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie grabbed some badly needed media attention this week when the two candidates for the Democratic nomination for governor issued a joint press statement attacking Gov. Charlie Baker for refusing to take a stand on the millionaire’s tax.

Gonzalez, a former health care executive and top budget official under former governor Deval Patrick, and Massie, a political activist and former UMass Boston policy program director, have been laboring along in relative obscurity. Both are liberal Democrats who agree on most everything; they find themselves ignored by a press corps busy covering other news and a public transfixed by President Trump.

So they banded together against Baker (the third Democratic candidate, Newton Mayor Setti Warren, declined to join them), and articulated a plan of attack that boils down to this: Baker is a nip-and-tuck guy at a time when the state needs someone with a broader vision.

Their vision includes support for the millionaire’s tax, which would impose a 4 percent surcharge on incomes greater than $1 million. Its backers say the constitutional amendment, which is scheduled to go before voters in November 2018, would bring in $2 billion for education and transportation.

Gonzalez said only 19,000 families would be affected by the millionaire’s tax, and he argues they would pay a little bit more so the state as a whole would have enough revenue to make badly needed investments in its future. Massie calls the millionaire’s tax a “logical, reasonable first step” to deal with the state’s revenue crunch, suggesting more tax increases may be needed later on, particularly if Trump scales back federal support for states.

Gonzalez said Baker has repeatedly shown a reluctance to take a stand on issues until he absolutely has to. He said Baker waffled on the 2024 Olympics and the state’s transgender legislation, and is doing so again on the millionaire’s tax. “People deserve to know where the governor stands on one of the most consequential public policy issues in the state,” he said of the millionaire’s tax.

Massie said Baker’s popularity stems in part from his constant hedging. “It’s really easy to be popular when you don’t do anything, when you don’t take a stand,” he said. “He has this high approval rating. Why isn’t he using it as governor?”



An Eagle-Tribune editorial denounces the legislative rewrite of the state’s marijuana law, saying the bills reads “as if it was written by opponents of voter-approved law.”  Lawmakers have pretty much made hash out of their effort to revamp the law, reports the Globe’s Josh Miller.

James Aloisi says the Rose Kennedy Greenway continues to be treated like a secondhand coat rather than the jewel new parkland in the center of the state’s thriving capital city. (CommonWealth) An agreement seems close that would have business abutters to the Greenway kick in some money for its upkeep. (Boston Globe)

Prosecutors and a legislator want DAs to be able to appeal when they think bail has been set too low. The call comes in the wake of a recent case in which Newton District Court Judge Mary Beth Heffernan granted a rape suspect who had previously been deported bail of just $2,500, which he promptly posted and then disappeared. (Boston Globe)


Hundreds of recalled Volkswagen cars, part of an agreement the automaker made to settle charges of violating emission standards through fraud, are sitting on open land in the former South Weymouth naval air base and Mayor Robert Hedlund says it shows a gap in the town’s zoning laws. (Patriot Ledger)

A new report says Boston continues to lag in bringing Latinos into leadership roles in city government. (Boston Herald)


Vice President Mike Pence has hired a private lawyer as reports surface that special counsel Robert Mueller has widened his focus of his investigation to include possible obstruction of justice by President Trump. (Washington Post)

Democrats defeated Republicans 11-2 in an annual century-old charity game that went on despite an attack by a deranged gunman who wounded five people, including GOP US Rep. Steve Scalise, during a practice the day before. (New York Times) There were some signs of a softening of the partisan rancor in the wake of the shooting, though whether it will last is unclear. (Boston Globe) Not joining in that effort at comity was Rep. Steve King, the outspoken Iowa Republican, who blamed “the left” for violence becoming part of the political landscape. (Boston Globe)

Trump in Miami Friday is expected to announce a reversal of some key elements of former President Barack Obama’s easing of sanctions against Cuba that will make trade and tourism more difficult for both nations. (New York Times)

A Herald editorial calls a 97-2 Senate vote to “essentially” strip Trump of unilateral control over Russian sanctions “as close to a vote of no-confidence as we have in this country.”

A very homespun video introduces New Zealanders and Samoans to their new US ambassador, former US senator and Cosmo centerfold Scott Brown. (Boston Globe)


Former Holyoke city councilor Jay Ferreira, who left after one term to deal with substance abuse issues, has launched a challenge to unseat three-term mayor Alex Morse. (The Republican)


Ipswich Pharmaceuticals is in negotiations with the tiny western Massachusetts town of Hinsdale to open a cultivation facility to grow both medical and recreational marijuana and is discussing plans with West Stockbridge officials to open a dispensary in that town. (Berkshire Eagle)

Uber’s woes appear to be giving Lyft a lift. (Boston Globe)

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, on track to overtake Bill Gates as the world’s richest man, tweeted out a request for followers to offer ideas on how he should give away some of his $80 billion wealth after years of relatively minimal charitable donations. (New York Times)

President Trump issued an executive order designed to promote apprenticeships in the private sector and urged businesses to offer “earn and learn” positions to teach necessary skills to fill open jobs. (U.S. News & World Report)

A proposal to cap the number of pawnshops in Worcester at its current level of six was approved by a City Council subcommittee which is also looking to draft an ordinance to level the playing field by requiring dealers in secondhand jewelry and precious metals to abide by the same regulations as pawn operators. (Telegram and Gazette)


Teachers at Catholic schools in the Worcester Diocese have authorized a strike vote after being unable to come to an agreement on a contract to include cost of living increases, which they have not received since 2009. (Telegram and Gazette)

It’s now the biggest parlor guessing game in education: Who will be the next president of Harvard? (Boston Globe)

Margaret Costello, a culinary arts instructor at Shawsheen Valley Technical High School, will get an annual civil rights award from the Massachusetts Teachers Association for her years of advocacy on behalf of students, including a transgender student who wanted to wear a shirt and tie, not a skirt, at a national competition that imposed dress requirements for male and female contestants. (Lowell Sun)

Underserved school districts without in-house nurses are increasingly experimenting with telemedicine to offer health care to students. (Governing)


The American Medical Association, following the lead of the Massachusetts doctors’ organization, has endorsed supervised injection facilities for addicts as a way to monitor drug users and reduce overdoses and the spread of infectious diseases. (WBUR)

Attorney General Maura Healey joins with other AGs in opening an investigation into pharmaceutical company practices in marketing prescription opioids.

It wasn’t a world record but a Middleboro woman deserves some kind of award after delivering a 13-pound baby. (The Enterprise)


Matt Caywood of TransitScreens says we must make available to all real-time digital information available on transportation options — from bike sharing to bus service and ride-sharing. (CommonWealth)


Eight towns on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard are appealing a state decision to allow Eversource to spray herbicide under power lines running through the communities. (Cape Cod Times)


Advocates say federal immigration authorities are stepping up their monitoring of local courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants who are showing up for even minor legal matters. (Boston Globe)

Prosecutors say a former Quincy con man who allegedly bilked investors out of $1.5 million before fleeing to Florida had $657,000 hidden in a retirement account he intended to withdraw and launder with help from his ex-wife. (Patriot Ledger)


A new Reader Center launched by The New York Times is the latest media effort to forge stronger ties to readers (i.e., paying subscribers). (Nieman Journalism Lab)