WALSH vs GROSS — TRAFFIC is BACK — BAKER: ‘I stand with Israel’ – Politico

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WALSH WATCH — Former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is getting sucked back into the controversy surrounding embattled Police Commissioner Dennis White — and it could become a distraction for the Labor secretary in the otherwise relatively drama-free Biden administration.

The latest turn of events comes on the eve of today’s Suffolk Superior Court hearing over White’s attempted ouster by Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey; the hearing follows a report that detailed decades-old allegations of domestic abuse by the cop.

Former police commissioner William Gross who just last week defended White to reporters — said in an affidavit that Walsh knew about the allegations against White when he picked him to run the department.

“There is no way anyone is brought into the Command Staff without such a briefing to the mayor and approval by the mayor,” the affidavit says.

But Walsh, who quickly appointed White after Gross's abrupt departure, maintained that he was unaware.

“Neither the allegations nor the internal affairs files were shared with me in 2014, or during any other consideration of Dennis White," Walsh said in a statement released through the Labor Department. "Had I known, I would not have chosen him for police commissioner or any other role.”

The growing controversy is now pitting Walsh and Gross, who up until a few months ago were two of the city’s biggest political heavyweights, against each other.

So far, the shockwaves haven’t really reverberated in D.C., according to a Boston Globe report Tuesday and sources I spoke to Wednesday night.

Washington has largely ignored the tribulations of Walsh’s mayoral administration. Walsh placed White on leave the night before his Senate confirmation hearing in February — but no one raised the issue the next day. Nor was Walsh asked about the two high-profile labor-relations scandals involving the Boston Calling music festival and the “Top Chef” TV show. The biggest blowback from outside the Hub so far actually came from the New York-based Wall Street Journal's editorial board.

GOOD MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS.

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TODAY — The Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts holds a virtual Equal Opportunity and Diversity Breakfast at 8 a.m. with Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Gov. Charlie Baker, Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey and state Rep. Chynah Tyler. Baker is a guest on GBH News' "Boston Public Radio" at noon. State representative and Boston mayoral candidate Jon Santiago details his “Mass and Cass” policy at 1 p.m. in Franklin Square. Greater Boston Labor Council hosts a mayoral candidate forum on jobs and workers at 6 p.m.

– “72,302 more coronavirus vaccine shots given in Massachusetts, almost 3.3 million people fully vaxxed,” by Rick Sobey, Boston Herald: “More than 72,000 coronavirus vaccine doses were administered in Massachusetts during the most recent day of vax data on Wednesday, as almost 3.3 million people in the state are fully vaxxed.

– “‘I stand with Israel’: Charlie Baker wades into conflict as calls for cease-fire intensify,” by Matt Stout, Boston Globe: “Governor Charlie Baker on Wednesday said he 'stands with Israel' in its ongoing conflict with Hamas, putting the two-term Republican at odds with leading Massachusetts Democrats who have increasingly rebuked the Jewish state amid the deadly fighting and demanded a cease-fire.

– “Advocates push for tuition-free state colleges,” by Christian M. Wade, CNHI/Eagle-Tribune: “With college costs spiraling, advocates are pushing for free tuition at public universities and colleges in Massachusetts, a move they say would help many low-income students now struggling to afford a degree. On Tuesday, the Legislature's Joint Committee on Higher Education considered several plans to require the state to partially or fully subsidize 29 public universities or community colleges. In most cases, the plans are funded by taxing endowments of wealthy, private universities.

– “Massachusetts weighs massive expansion of voting rights,” by Erin Tiernan, Boston Herald: “Opponents of a push to make permanent major voter expansions — including early voting and mail-in voting — clashed with Democrats leading the charge.”

– “Black Economic Council of Mass. makes forming a public bank a top legislative priority,” by Jon Chesto, Boston Globe: “The Black Economic Council of Massachusetts is throwing its newfound political muscle behind an unusual cause this year on Beacon Hill: persuading lawmakers to start a public bank.

– “Employees concerned about back-to-work safety,” by Robert Goulston, Boston 25 News: “The restrictions being lifted have many employers starting to transition employees back to in-person work. … But some people do have concern about going back with others not vaccinated yet.

– “Stop & Shop says fully vaccinated customers will be able to enter store without masks starting May 29,” by Travis Andersen, Boston Globe: “Customers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to walk into Stop & Shop locations without donning a mask starting May 29, bringing the chain in line with federal guidance and Governor Charlie Baker’s announcement Monday that all pandemic restrictions will be lifted in Massachusetts on that date.

– “Walsh knew about Police Commissioner Dennis White’s internal affairs history, Gross says in affidavit,” by Danny McDonald, Andrew Ryan and Elizabeth Koh, Boston Globe: “Former police commissioner William Gross said in an explosive court filing released Wednesday that former Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh knew about domestic violence allegations against Dennis White when Walsh appointed him to lead the force, an allegation that dragged Walsh, now the US secretary of labor, deeper into a controversy that has engulfed the Police Department.” The Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter and WBUR’s Ally Jarmanning have more details.

– “Janey decried ‘blue wall of silence’ — while accepting it,” by Michael Jonas, CommonWealth Magazine: “The mess that is the leadership of the Boston Police Department was not of Kim Janey’s making. But it now falls squarely in her lap — right as the mayoral race she’s competing in starts to heat up — and it’s not clear that there is a neat and simple resolution in sight that will let the city’s acting mayor claim to be leading Boston decisively into a bright new public safety future that moves past the troubles left by Marty Walsh.

– “An ‘Army of 16-Year-Olds’ Takes On the Democrats,” by Ellen Barry, New York Times: “Dana Depelteau, a hotel manager, had just gone public with a long-shot candidacy for mayor in Boston when he noticed that someone in city politics was going after him online. The effect of this attack, he said, was lightning-fast and pervasive. … That is how he became aware of Calla Walsh, a leader in the group of activists known here as the Markeyverse. … She is also representative of an influential new force in Democratic politics, activists who cut their teeth on the presidential campaigns of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The full strength of these activists — many of whom are not old enough to vote — did not become clear until last fall, when they were key to one of the year’s most surprising upsets, helping Senator Edward J. Markey defeat a primary challenge from Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, who had been heavily favored to win.

– “Boston City Council passes ballot question to change budget process,” by Danny McDonald, Boston Globe: “For the second time in recent months, the Boston City Council on Wednesday approved a ballot measure that would ask voters to change the city’s charter and alter its budget process to give the council more control over spending.

– “Change boosts exam schools’ diversity, but some feel angry about not getting in,” by James Vaznis, Boston Globe: “In West Roxbury, a powerhouse in the exam-school admission race, the overall number of seventh-grade applicants receiving admission offers dramatically declined from 133 last year to 69 this year under a temporary policy that capped admission by ZIP code. The tougher competition meant students needed an A minus to get in. By contrast in Mattapan, a neighborhood where families typically have less means to hire admission consultants, the total number of seventh-grade applicants getting in more than doubled to 51 this year, with some candidates who had a B-minus average securing a coveted acceptance letter from one of the exam schools. The divergent outcomes are part of a slew of data released by the Boston Public Schools in recent days that provides the clearest picture yet on the results of a temporary admission policy, which suspended a mandatory entrance exam and instead allocated seats by grades and — for the first time — by ZIP codes.

– “Andrea Campbell proposes ’30-day challenge’ around Methadone Mile,” by Sean Philip Cotter, Boston Herald: “Mayoral candidate Andrea Campbell issued a ‘30-day challenge’ to Acting Mayor Kim Janey to set a course to better improve conditions on Boston’s Methadone Mile as Campbell declared the conditions there to be a top issue in the city.

– In: “Retired state trooper to challenge Attleboro mayor,” by Ted Nesi, WPRI: “A first-time candidate has jumped into the race for Attleboro mayor as campaigns for this year’s Massachusetts municipal elections begin to take shape. Todd McGhee, a 56-year-old retired state trooper who has lived in the city for two decades, pulled papers last week to run against two-term incumbent Paul Heroux. He is the second challenger to file against Heroux, along with former City Council candidate Jim Poore.”

– And out: “Holyoke acting Mayor Terence Murphy ends speculation; will not run,” by Dennis Hohenberger, Springfield Republican: “Acting Mayor Terence Murphy said Wednesday he would not run for the office in the fall. Murphy also said he would not pursue another two-term as Ward 2 city councilor. He plans to end his public service career once successors for both seats are elected in November.

– Say it ain’t so: “Traffic is back: Congested highways, long travel times expected this Memorial Day weekend,” by Joe Difazio, Patriot Ledger: “If it feels like you've been sitting in more traffic lately, it's because you have. Traffic hit an all-time low last spring as the state shut down for the COVID-19 crisis and people stayed home from work, stopped traveling and generally kept off the roads. As the state enters the final phases of reopening, traffic is back. And Memorial Day weekend is expected to be a doozy.

– “‘There is no other choice,’ DA Anthony Gulluni says of decision to sue Justice Department for records on alleged Springfield police misconduct,” by Patrick Johnson, Springfield Republican: “Faced with what he describes as a lack of cooperation from federal officials, Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking records from the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston that could identify police officers who used excessive force and then lied about it. The suit stems from last summer’s U.S. Department of Justice report on the Springfield Police Department’s narcotics unit. Based on a two-year investigation, the report outlined numerous allegations of city police officers physically abusing suspects and filing false reports, and supervisors looking the other way. The report was met with considerable public outcry, as well as pledges from city officials to change how the department operates.

– “Rep. Jake Auchincloss On The Fight Over Nancy Pelosi’s ‘Pet Project’,” by Hunter Walker, The Uprising: “Multiple Democratic sources have described the prescription drug pricing bill H.R. 3 to The Uprising as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ‘baby’ and ‘pet project.’ The Hill has dubbed it Pelosi’s “signature” legislation. But the bill has met opposition from Pelosi’s fellow Democrats who have suggested it is not ‘bipartisan’ and lacks needed support in the Senate and from a majority of Americans and stakeholders in the public and private sectors. One of those H.R. 3 opponents, Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) sat down with The Uprising last week.

– “Jan. 6 commission’s fate uncertain as Republicans seek to rewrite history,” by Jess Bidgood, Boston Globe: “In the shell-shocked days following the failed insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, the idea drew support from everyone from Nancy Pelosi to Kevin McCarthy: an inquiry by Democrats and Republicans, modeled on the 9/11 Commission, to lay out what had happened and how to prevent another assault. But 4½ months later, the push for a bipartisan, bicameral commission to investigate the deadly breach of the Capitol — charged with producing a historical document that will shape Americans’ understanding of Jan. 6 for generations — has collided with the objectives of a Republican Party that is increasingly seeking to rewrite the history of the 2020 election and the months that followed.

– “Could Charlie Baker Survive A Republican Primary?” by Adam Reilly, GBH News: “As life in Massachusetts finally returns to a semblance of normalcy, Gov. Charlie Baker continues to get high marks from Massachusetts voters. In March, a Suffolk University / Boston Globe poll put his overall approval rating at 67 percent, with 71 percent backing his handling of COVID-19. You might think the Mass GOP would be celebrating those numbers, which suggest Baker will be tough to beat if he seeks a third term in 2022. Instead, if Baker does run for re-election, his own party might become his biggest hurdle.

– “Crews continue patrolling Clarksburg State Forest fire,” by Francesca Paris, Berkshire Eagle: “The record-breaking fire in Clarksburg State Forest has held steady over the last few days, according to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services. The 950-acre fire has not grown since Monday and has remained 90 percent contained since Tuesday.

– “Mikayla Miller's Mother Dismisses Ruling That Hopkinton Teen Died By Suicide, Suspects Murder,” by Ally Jarmanning, WBUR: “The family of Mikayla Miller, the 16-year-old found dead in Hopkinton last week, is disputing the state medical examiner's ruling that she died by suicide.

– “Email: Ex-Girlfriend Expressed Concern About Mikayla Miller's Mental Health Prior to Death,” by Ryan Kath and Jim Haddadin, NBC10 Boston: “The NBC10 Boston Investigators have obtained an email which indicates Mikayla Miller’s ex-girlfriend reached out to a school guidance counselor several days before her death, expressing concern about her mental health.

– “Hopkinton police release records in Mikayla Miller's death,” by Norman Miller, MetroWest Daily News: “It started with a 911 call on April 18 at 7: 04 a.m. ‘I have a caller on the line that believes that there is a deceased male hanging from a tree there,’ a Massachusetts 911 dispatcher told the Hopkinton Police Department dispatcher. The call was in regards to Mikayla Miller, 16, of Hopkinton.

– “City manager says he's not recommending civilian review board to City Council,” by Steven H. Foskett Jr., Worcester Telegram & Gazette: “Amid renewed calls for a civilian review board with subpoena powers to oversee police in the city, City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. Tuesday said he would prefer to see through established efforts at the city and state level that are already underway.

– “Median Home Price In Massachusetts Hits Record High Of $529,000,” by Jenifer B. McKim, GBH News: “The median sales price of a single-family home in Massachusetts rose to a record high of $529,000 in April, more than 20% higher than in 2020, according to new data from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

– “Aquinnah official hit with ethics violation,” by Rich Saltzberg, MV Times: “The state’s ethics commission has found reasonable cause Aquinnah select board member Gary Haley violated state ethics law by choosing himself ‘to perform electrical infrastructure work for Aquinnah,’ overcharging the town, and approving payment to himself, according to a press release.

– “Matt Siegel tells KISS 108 listeners, ‘Matty Out’ on ‘Matty in the Morning’ Show,” by Meghan Ottolini, Boston Herald: “Longtime radio host Matt Siegel signaled he may have left the airwaves for good after an on-air rant lambasting his KISS 108 ‘Matty in the Morning’ bosses.

IN MEMORIAM – “Jane Flavell Collins, courtroom sketch artist of Bulger, Lori Loughlin, and more, dies at 84,” by Bryan Marquard, Boston Globe: “Arriving at court with soft black charcoal, pastels, and sheets of art paper, Jane Flavell Collins became the eyes for those who would never sit close to some of her era’s most notorious criminals.

TRANSITIONS – Harvard Business School’s Jim Matheson joins FirstLight Power’s board of directors. The Boston Globe’s venerable Adam Vaccaro is joining the communications team at sustainability nonprofit Ceres. Thread.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY – to UMass Journalism's Kathy Roberts Forde, CTP Boston's Corey Welford, former state Rep. Juana Matias, Allison Goldberg, Kathy Giles, Matt Solberg, Charlotte Zanecchia and Bill Broadway. Happy belated to State House News Service scribe Katie Lannan.

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