Charlie Baker took some heat from Democrats for announcing his run for governor in a video, but the strategy appears to have worked perfectly. The good-guy image Baker cultivated in the video carried over into the press event he hosted at his Swampscott home on Thursday, allowing him to get out his I’ll-be-different-in-this-election message far more effectively than if he had just given a speech and barnstormed around the state.
The video sought to portray Baker as warm and upbeat and the press availability at his home, where he was accompanied by his wife, reinforced that message. Lauren Baker played a supporting role during the press availability, but it’s likely she’ll have a much bigger presence in this campaign as Baker tries to mend his image among women.
While Baker focused on setting a tone for the campaign with his video and press availability, he didn’t shy away from issues. The setting allowed him to talk policy in a much more low-key way. For example, Baker says he won’t renew his push for rolling the sales, income, and corporate tax rates back to 5 percent and won’t sign a no-new-taxes pledge. Instead, he will advocate for repeal of the tech tax and a measure indexing the gas tax to inflation. He indicated he would have vetoed the casino bill but now considers the issue settled. He still opposes Cape Wind and thinks South Coast Rail is a bad idea.
The Herald’s Howie Carr urges Baker to skip the policy talk, loosen up, and stop acting like a “stiff, whiny nerd.” He says the lack of any Republican opponent and the crowded Democratic field means Baker has plenty of time to polish his image. Carr also doesn’t seem to think the Dems are going to put up much of a fight, but then he keeps calling Martha Coakley “Marsha.” Carr’s Herald colleague Joe Battenfeld, meanwhile, pines for a contest between Coakley and Baker, two scorned candidates seeking redemption.
State Sen. Dan Wolf was joined by nearly a dozen prominent former judges, prosecutors, and ethics officials in his petition to the state Ethics Commission to rewrite the conflict of interest regulations to allow him to keep his ownership of Cape Air and remain in office, CommonWealth reports. The Cape Cod Times story is here.
A Herald editorial raps what it calls the Legislature’s intentional fuzzing of legislation, saying the tech tax uproar shows that on tax bills, “fuzzy just won’t do.”
A surprisingly sharp-elbowed and now public standoff is taking place — a full half year before the event — over who will host the annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in South Boston. Newly-elected state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry says that honor is now hers, as the state senator representing Southie. City Councilor Bill Linehan disagrees. (Some might suggest settling the tiff by scrapping the event, which has become as stale as day-old corned beef.)
The police chief in Lawrence relieves the head of the volunteer auxiliary police unit from his job pending an in-house investigation into unspecified allegations, the Eagle-Tribune reports.
Boston’s fire department doesn’t fight many fires anymore, so instead of restructuring the department, Rep. Nick Collins (whose uncle runs the city firefighters union) wants to send fire trucks to EMS calls.
State officials tap a developer to build housing on a vacant parcel at the Newburyport commuter rail station.
Former Reagan aide Jeffrey Lord writes in the American Spectator that Secretary of State John Kerry has been lying since his days as a Vietnam veteran protesting the war and hasn’t stopped since.
Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post tees up Sen. Ed Markey on his “present” Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote on the use of military force in Syria. Meanwhile, President Obama has a very big domestic public relations problem on his hands if he pursues intervention.
Some observers expect that House Speaker John Boehner may resign after the 2014 election.
MItt Romney’s reputation is improving in some quarters especially after the Detroit bankruptcy.
North Las Vegas blocks a controversial plan to deal with underwater mortgages using eminent domain, the Las Vegas Sun reports.
Teen births hit an historic new low in 2012, half of 1991 levels, USA Today reports.
Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua ducks a mayoral forum with four of his rivals that focused primarily on whether the cash-strapped city should hire more police officers, the Eagle-Tribune reports.
An effort by some in Boston’s black community to push some black candidates for mayor out of the race before the September 24 preliminary continues to create an uproar, with most of those who are speaking out denouncing the move. Charlotte Golar Richie, whose struggling campaign appears to have been the intended beneficiary of such a winnowing, says she had nothing to do with a meeting this week where discussion of trying to pare back the field took place. Globe columnists Adrian Walker and Derrick Jackson both rip the move. Walker calls it an “anachronistic, smoke-filled-room exercise,” while Jackson denounces it as an effort to “racially gerrymander” the race.
The Globe profiles Boston mayoral hopeful Dan Conley, the veteran Suffolk County DA.
Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and her challenger, City Councilor Timothy Phelan, spar over the city’s sex offender law and their party differences (she’s a Republican; he’s a Democrat), the Item reports.
Suffolks Downs asks that the referendum on gambling in East Boston and Revere be held on November 5, the same day voters go to the polls to elect a new mayor in Boston, NECN reports.
Yogurt maker Chobani pulled its products off store shelves this week after reports of mold in some of its Greek yogurt cups, the latest bad news for the insanely popular $2 billion Greek yogurt industry.
Massachusetts officials say as many as five patients at Cape Cod Hospital may have been exposed to the same fatal brain disease caused by contaminated surgical equipment as eight other patients in New Hampshire.
Long-term care insurance rates are increasing sharply.
An Ayer woman who lost two legs to a flesh-eating bacteria at Emerson Hospital settles a malpractice case for $9.5 million, the Lowell Sun reports.
Surprise! A train could be shuttling passengers between the South Boston waterfront and Back Bay Station in two years.
The state’s two leading utilities are raising concerns about the cost of the Patrick administration’s new plan for subsidizing solar power, CommonWealth reports.
State Sen. Robert Hedlund is urging Attorney General Martha Coakley to block changes to the National Flood Insurance program that will levy hefty premium increases on homeowners in Marshfield and Scituate and force some who never had to buy insurance to purchase a policy.
The last scheduled barge delivery of coal arrives at Salem’s power plant, which is expected to be replaced with a natural gas plant next year, the Salem News reports.
The Ocean Club at Quincy’s Marina Bay has agreed to cancel upcoming events after a dozen overdoses over the summer and another 12 arrests from the party drug Molly. A spokesman for Mayor Thomas Koch says it’s unlikely the club will ever open its doors again. Greater Boston explores why the drug is becoming so popular among young clubgoers.