The Codcast: Rosenberg’s fall

THE NATIONAL RECKONING over sexual harassment has taken down former Senate president Stan Rosenberg — but there are no allegations of misconduct by the veteran Amherst Democrat. Instead, in what may be only case of its kind among the many examples in recent weeks of high-profile individuals experiencing a fast fall, Rosenberg is out of power because of allegations against his spouse — reported in a Boston Globe story late last month.

Bryon Hefner, whom Rosenberg married last year, allegedly groped three different men and forceably kissed a fourth. What prompted Rosenberg to step down from his powerful post were allegations by the men — all of whom have business on Beacon Hill on behalf of various issues — that Hefner bragged to them of his ability to pull strings with Rosenberg. “Hefner left the man in no doubt that he was asking for sexual favors in return for help on Beacon Hill,” is how Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham described the encounter one of the men had with Hefner.

Should that be enough to topple Rosenberg from a position that marked the culmination of decades of hard work to rise through the ranks on Beacon Hill?

Bill Everhart, editorial page editor of the Berkshire Eagle, doesn’t think so.  “As of now, he’s not been accused of any wrongdoing,” Everhart says on the Codcast.

In an editorial last week, Everhart wrote that “should it be determined that Mr. Rosenberg was unaware of Mr. Hefner’s actions and did not allow his position of leadership to be compromised, he should be allowed to return as president with no punishment.”

Globe op-ed columnist Joan Vennochi, who joined Everhart on the Codcast, said it may not matter whether Hefner actually wielded any influence on Senate matters. “If the accuser thought that Hefner had political influence, and they were afraid they couldn’t do their business before the state because of it, that perception then becomes reality,” she said.

“It’s complicated and it’s different from other sexual harassment cases that we’re hearing about,” said Vennochi. “I take to heart what Bill is saying, but I think it’s going to be really difficult for Stan Rosenberg to come back. I also agree he’s been a good Senate president, so it makes me sad to say that.”

Everhart lamented the possibility that Western Massachusetts might lose a rare voice of influence in the upper reaches of the Beacon Hill power structure. “Out here in the hills we have a special interest in Stan Rosenberg’s future because he’s from Amherst,” said Everhart. “It’s been great to have someone from way out west who comes out and visits here. The previous state Senate president never showed up here for an ed board meeting or for anything.” Rosenberg “knows about Western Mass. issues, so we really would feel his loss if he goes.”

The sole basis at this point for the allegations is the Globe story in which all four alleged victims shared their accounts but insisted on remaining anonymous. A Senate Ethics Committee investigation will now try to determine whether Rosenberg broke any Senate rules. But where to start?

“What is there to investigate unless these anonymous accusers are willing to come forward and be interviewed and have their credibility tested?” asked Vennochi. “And I have no idea if any of them are willing to do that.”



Gov. Charlie Baker hasn’t issued any pardons since taking office, even though more than 200 requests have been filed with him. (Salem News)

ICYMI: The US Attorney’s office indicts former state senator Brian Joyce, saying he ran his office like a “criminal enterprise.” (CommonWealth)

The state’s Cannabis Control Commission has a full plate of decisions before it this week. (Boston Globe)


The Globe launched a seven-part Spotlight Team series on racism in the Boston area with a Sunday installment on the city’s image when it comes to race issues. Today’s second installment looks at all the ways the build-out of the city’s Seaport has reinforced Boston’s white-dominated culture and business world. The Herald talks to two black leaders who question the timing of the series release, saying it should have been published before November’s mayoral election, a race in which challenger Tito Jackson was vying to become the city’s first black mayor and was raising some of the very points being made so far in the series.

A Salem News editorial urges city officials to offer tax breaks to spur the development of a section of the waterfront on Water Street in Beverly.

A New Bedford couple is suing city officials over a 2014 land taking of their commercial property in Fall River. The couple said the city never paid them for the land, on which a developer is now building a controversial road. (Herald News)


New York City police evacuated the city’s busiest transit line early this morning and one person who had a bomb strapped to him is under arrest after an explosion went off in a pedestrian tunnel between the Times Square and Port Authority subway stations. (New York Times)

Chef Mario Batali steps away from his restaurant business empire amid reports of sexual harassment. (Eater)

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, has broken ranks with the administration and said all those who have accused President Trump of sexual harassment “should be heard.” (New York Times)


City Councilor Andrea Campbell says she has secured enough votes among her colleagues to become the next Boston City Council president, a feat that would make her the first black woman to hold the post. (Dorchester Reporter)

Sensing a chance to secure a Senate seat, liberals from outside Alabama, including former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, poured into the southern state to pump the get-out-the-vote efforts for Democrat Doug Jones in a neck-and-neck battle with embattled Roy Moore. (New York Times)


The Target store in Framingham experimented with a quiet holiday shopping period Sunday morning, turning off music, dimming lights, and shutting down video displays for those with sensory disorders. (MetroWest Daily News)

Demonstrators took the streets last week in Boston and other cities in a last-gasp effort against the Federal Communications Commission’s expected move later this to reverse regulatory protections for “Net neutrality” put in place by the Obama administration. (Boston Globe)


An Eagle-Tribune editorial suggests the departure of Jeff Riley as the city’s state-appointed education czar creates a lot of uncertainty that needs to be addressed by the entire community.

Boston city councilors are weighing in against the proposed revamping of Boston school start and dismissal times, with particular criticism of plans to have some early elementary grade schools start as early as 7:15 a.m. with dismissal at 1:15 p.m. (Boston Herald)

Lisa Guisbond of Fair Test says we cannot test and punish our way to better schools. (CommonWealth)

Kelly Garcia, a member of the Chelsea School Committee and Boston high school teacher, said communities must stand up for undocumented students. (CommonWealth)

Lincoln-Sudbury school district officials have reached an agreement on a contract with the teachers’ union for a 6.5 percent pay increase over the next three years with teachers agreeing to a potential later school starting time without further negotiation should administrators decide to implement it. (MetroWest Daily News)


The CEO of Fenway Community Health Center resigns under pressure two days after the Globe reported on his questionable handling of allegations of sexual harassment and bullying against a longtime physician at the center. (Boston Globe)

A series of anti-opioid ads running on the MBTA stir a strong reaction, particularly from Attorney General Maura Healey. (Eagle-Tribune)


Former state transportation secretary Frederick Salvucci, now at MIT, scours the history of the Green Line Extension for lessons for the future. One conclusion: value capture needs to be broadened to include businesses that benefit from transit improvements even if the firms are not located adjacent to transit work. (CommonWealth)


Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless said he expects his office will have to abandon 615 cases because of theft and evidence tampering at a now-defunct crime lab. (Berkshire Eagle)

Seven Romanian nationals pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from an ATM skimming operation where they installed devices in machines in 29 Massachusetts cities and towns, as well as 15 in other states, to collect credit and debit card information and steal money from those accounts. (Patriot Ledger)


In case you missed it, longtime Boston Herald publisher Pat Purcell announced on Friday that the paper will be sold to GateHouse Media — pending bankruptcy court approval. (Boston Herald)

WBUR reports today on details of the allegations against Tom Ashbrook, host of the station’s nationally aired show “On Point,” who was suspended by the station on Friday pending the outcome of an investigation. The charges center on “tirades” against young women staffers, in which Ashbrook allegedly would engage in “[n]ame calling and belittling critiques of show ideas during meetings,” reports Martha Bebinger. Current and former staffers also charged he engaged in “‘[c]reepy’ sex talk, hugs and back or neck rubs after a dressing down.” (WBUR)

The Boston Globe turned its focus inward with a look at how the paper has dealt with sexual harassment issues among its employees, but the decision not to name a reporter recently forced out over sexual harassment allegations has set off a debate on whether the Globe is living up to the transparency standard being shown elsewhere.