The Codcast: Eldridge stirs things up

State Sen. Jamie Eldridge has managed to liven up a quiet August on Beacon Hill.

The Acton Democrat shared some thoughts on Democratic Party politics with an email to fellow Bernie Sanders supporters that made its way into the hands of the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan. That led to a front-page story in the Globe headlined, “Democrat tries to nudge state party left; Senator wants some lawmakers voted out.”

The first part was par for the course from one of the Legislature’s most liberal members. But the suggestion that Eldridge was looking to see some fellow Democrats ousted was viewed as close to treasonous by state party leaders.

Eldridge says in this week’s Codcast that the email was in response to the frustration many progressive activists felt with the national party as well as with “the Democratic party and Democratic legislators in Massachusetts.” He says his main message to them was, don’t break off and join a third party but redouble their efforts to push a progressive agenda joining their local town or city Democratic committee or consider actually running for elected office. There are “plenty of conservative Democrats who have been elected, unchallenged, for years if not decades, including at the local and legislative level,” he wrote.

Jason Cincotti, executive director of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, in a statement to the Globe, slammed Eldridge for using “divisive rhetoric” that was “an insult to every elected Democrat and to the hundreds of activists and volunteers who have worked to promote our shared values.”

In reality, Eldridge only pulled back the covers on a long-running dynamic: Democrats in Massachusetts, who dominate both branches of the Legislature and control every significant office except governor, have constructed such a big tent that those under it don’t always subscribe to a set of “shared values.”

“I wasn’t entirely surprised,” Eldridge says of the blowback from the party. “I will say I was surprised,” at Cincotti’s suggesting “that somehow the Democratic Party or elected officials are a uniform monolithic body that all agree on the same things.”

Eldridge pointed to an observation he said was once offered by media critic Dan Kennedy that Massachusetts has two parties — liberal Democrats and conservative Democrats.

That divide is playing out these days in sharp differences between the more liberal Senate under Senate President Stan Rosenberg and the more moderate House under Speaker Robert DeLeo.

For liberal Democratic voters, Eldridge said, it “is their right and perhaps their responsibility to really think about are they being best represented and are Democratic values being represented up on Beacon Hill.”

Eldridge also encouraged more vigorous advocacy by outside groups to push a progressive agenda on Beacon Hill.

“I think there’s a lot of advocacy groups out there that have been afraid to offend any elected official, and I think that really needs to change if we really want to hold elected officials, including myself, accountable to a progressive agenda,” he said.

Eldridge said that means pushing both the Senate and the House, but there seems little doubt that it is the liberal House members, who tend to bow to the whims of the more conservative Speaker, who seem to be holding back from pushing vocally for that progressive agenda.

–MICHAEL JONAS & BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

Attorney General Maura Healey cuts a deal with CVS requiring the chain’s pharmacists to check a prescribing database before handing over opioid prescriptions,. (State House News)

Healey and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination release guidelines for compliance with the state’s new transgender law. (Masslive)

For the first time in four years, the state’s income tax rate will not fall in January because of sluggish revenue growth. The Baker administration doesn’t seem too upset. (State House News)

A Herald editorial applauds the one-week suspension handed to the Department of Conservation and Recreation commissioner and his deputy for using state resources on a private party. Leaders of the state Republican Party’s conservative wing, however, say that’s not enough and think the duo should be fired. (Boston Herald)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Rep. Brian Dempsey tours the new Harbor Place commercial building that is poised to become the centerpiece of Haverhill. The House Ways and Means chairman secured $36 million in state funding for the $70 million project. (Eagle-Tribune)

Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch has suspended without pay a police lieutenant who has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of fraud for allegedly double-dipping. (Patriot Ledger)

Boston police commissioner Bill Evans may testify at next week’s court hearing on a police body camera program, which the patrol officers’ union is seeking an injunction to stop. (Boston Herald)

A first-year Fall River city councilor who has faced foreclosure proceedings on his rental properties several times in the past is once again three months behind on his federal rehabilitation loan, according to records from the Fall River Community Development Agency. (Herald News)

The owner of an illegal rooming house in Allston that went up in flames this week had been cited by the city four years for overcrowding but the city had not followed-up on its sanction to see if conditions there changed. (Boston Herald

Framingham Town Meeting members passed on an option to purchase a golf course to keep it as open space, clearing the way for a developer to buy the property and build condos. (MetroWest Daily News)

ELECTIONS

Sen. Patricia Jehlen is going to debate the person she says is her real campaign opponent — Liam Kerr of Democrats for Education Reform, which has funneled $98,000 to her on-the-ballot opponent, Leland Cheung. (CommonWealth)

The Wall Street Journal parachuted in with an editorial on the state’s charter school ballot question battle but made utter hash of it all, getting the basics of what has happened backwards and upside down. The paper said Gov. Charlie Baker fashioned a bipartisan compromise with the Senate but saw the effort stalled by the House, which is “bought and paid for by the teachers union.” The Baker administration decried the Senate charter bill that was passed in April, which neither he nor the House saw as a viable starting point for a reasonable compromise. The House is the chamber where charters enjoy more support, so if it’s bought and paid for by teachers unions, they should ask for a refund.

Adrian Walker suggests that conservative Democratic state Rep. Walter Timilty of Milton, the presumed front-runner in the race to succeed state Sen. Brian Joyce, who is giving up his seat, could be getting a run for his money from fellow Milton resident Nora Harrington, who is promoting a more progressive agenda in their Democratic primary face off next week. (Boston Globe)

Nicholas Torresi of Methuen, who is running for state rep against incumbent Linda Dean Campbell, has a criminal record, including two months in jail for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend who refused to have an abortion. (Eagle-Tribune)

James Pindell pronounces Donald Trump’s swerve and weave this week on immigration policy a bust. (Boston Globe) However, the conservative National Review, which has been aghast at the thought of Donald Trump as the GOP nominee, says the bones of Trump’s new immigration plan form a common sense approach even if it is clouded by his histrionics.

Even as her popularity has hit a new low and polling shows the race is tightening, Hillary Clinton’s campaign reported a record $143 million raised in August. (U.S. News & World Report)

The New York Times has obtained a script of carefully worded answers that Trump’s aides are crafting for him to questions for an interview with a minister for a black church in Detroit he plans to visit on Saturday,

There are several fine candidates running for Suffolk County Register of Deeds, and none of them is named Stephen Murphy, writes Alan Wirzbicki. (Boston Globe)

The campaign to legalize marijuana takes heat for a fundraising appeal that suggests legalizing pot could help address the opioid crisis. (State House News) A “Citizens’ Initiative Review” that set out to sort out the arguments on the marijuana ballot question has concluded that there are pros and cons to both sides. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Table Talk Pies wants to build a new headquarters in the South Worcester Industrial Park and is seeking an annual tax break of $2.2 million from the city to help make it happen. (Telegram & Gazette)

A New York developer is buying the struggling Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough for $3.5 million. (Berkshire Eagle)

Natick officials are mulling zoning changes that would allow microbreweries that could produce up to 15,000 gallons a year to be established in certain areas, including downtown. (MetroWest Daily News)

Widett Circle, touted as the city’s next great development frontier during the talk of a Boston Olympics, deserves another look, says Shirley Leung. (Boston Globe)

The nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator is revamping its advisory system to warn donors of mismanagement, scams, and fraud, and will rate concerns as low, medium, and high. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

New data from the Census Bureau shows that the vast majority of American businesses, including most of those started in the last 10 years, are run by white men. (U.S. News & World Report)

EDUCATION

Gordon College and professor Lauren Barthold, who accused the school of discriminating against gay people, reach a confidential settlement as she agrees to leave. (Salem News)

A frugal, unassuming long-time librarian at the University of New Hampshire, who died last year at age 77, left his entire $4 million estate to the school. (Boston Globe)

A new report says the elite St. George’s School in Rhode Island was the site of far more extensive sexual exploitation of students than previously known. (Boston Globe)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

What’s Gov. Charlie Baker’s Plan B for a new natural gas pipeline? (CommonWealth)

More than 70 percent of Massachusetts is labeled as being in severe drought or worse. (Masslive)

The country’s largest owner of nuclear reactors has agreed to purchase a New York plant owned by Entergy that is slated for closure in a deal that could have an impact on the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth, another Entergy-owned facility scheduled to shut down. Meanwhile, testimony has concluded and a judge is now mulling his decision in a suit by Pilgrim neighbors challenging the permit issued by the town for a waste storage facility at the plant. (Cape Cod Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

While incarcerations are on the decline in urban areas prodded by a bipartisan movement to reduce imprisonment, white, conservative rural areas are seeing a sharp hike in internment, according to an analysis by the New York Times.

MEDIA

Melania Trump filed a $150 million defamation suit against the British tabloid The Daily Mail for a story about a book which claimed, among other things, she was an escort before meeting her husband, Donald Trump. The Daily Mail pulled the story and issued a retraction and apology Thursday after the suit was filed in Maryland. (New York Times)