FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: ROLLINS RACKS UP SUPPORT FOR U.S. ATTORNEY — Some of the biggest names in Massachusetts law enforcement and politics are throwing their weight behind Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ nomination for U.S. attorney for Massachusetts as the process begins to move forward in the Senate.
Dozens of current and former elected leaders, law enforcement officials, advocacy groups and members of the legal community are sending letters to Senate Judiciary Committee leaders urging them to move quickly on Rollins’ nomination, citing her extensive law enforcement credentials and her work reforming the criminal justice system.
Among the most notable — a group of several current and former major-city police chiefs including Acting Boston Police Commissioner Gregory Long and former BPD commissioner William Gross; Brian Kyes, president of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police; Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins and Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason.
“We do not always get along. In fact, we have disagreed strongly on issues. What we can say is that she respects us and the work we do to keep our communities safe. She can admit when she is wrong. She can also be incredibly persuasive when she is right. The constant throughout every encounter we have is a mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other,” the top cops wrote in a joint letter.
“This was best displayed last year, after the murder of George Floyd. As we all watched millions take to the streets and protest, some of which turned into unrest and violence, DA Rollins called us together to engage in a series of open, honest, and uncut dialogues about race, policing, and the Black community,” they continued.
The list of Rollins’ supporters is extensive: State Attorney General Maura Healey; former governors Deval Patrick, a Democrat, and Bill Weld, a Republican who previously held the U.S. attorney job here; other former USAMAs including Carmen Ortiz, Donald Stern, Michael Sullivan and Wayne Budd; former Suffolk DA Ralph Martin, Berkshire DA Andrea Harrington and Middlesex DA Marian Ryan; and groups including the NAACP. Rollins also has the strong backing of Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, who recommended her to President Joe Biden for the job.
The deep well of support will likely bolster Rollins’ standing among Democrats and could make it more difficult for Republicans to throw up roadblocks. Democrats are already working with a razor-thin margin, and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who sits on the Judiciary Committee, vowed to block Rollins’ confirmation over her progressive politics and her decision not to prosecute low-level, nonviolent crimes.
But Weld said in his letter that “preventing crime is a lot less expensive than using law enforcement resources to prosecute relatively minor and nonviolent offenses” and that it “positively influences” quality of life. “I have spent many hours with Rachael Rollins discussing these issues, and from the beginning I have been impressed by her passion for justice and, frankly, the clarity of her thinking,” he added. “She will be a great U.S. Attorney.”
Patrick said the “historic nature” of Rollins appointment — she would be the first Black woman to serve as the state’s top federal prosecutor — is just the “icing on the cake.”
Some notable names not among the letter-writers: two Republicans, Gov. Charlie Baker and Andrew Lelling, the most recent U.S. attorney in the Bay State. Baker will pick Rollins’ replacement should she be confirmed.
Rollins is one of several U.S. attorney nominees before the Judiciary Committee for an “executive business meeting” at 9 a.m. Thursday.
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TODAY — Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and EEA Secretary Kathleen Theoharides visit an offshore wind workforce training site in New Bedford at 11:45 a.m. Healey tours New Bedford Harbor at noon and visits Learn to Cope in Taunton at 2:30 p.m. Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius appears on GBH News’ “Boston Public Radio” at 11 a.m. Boston City Council President Pro Tempore Matt O’Malley and Councilors Lydia Edwards, Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu host a BERDO 2.0 climate policy press conference at 11:30 a.m. at City Hall. Wu hosts a press availability at 10:30 a.m. at City Hall and rolls out a mystery endorsement at 3 p.m. in Uphams Corner. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and colleagues call to halt Haitian deportations at a 2:30 p.m. event. The Black Ministerial Alliance hosts a Boston mayoral candidates forum at 6 p.m.
– “Massachusetts coronavirus cases increase by 1,283, highest daily death count in months,” by Rick Sobey, Boston Herald: “Massachusetts health officials on Tuesday reported 1,283 new coronavirus cases and 25 COVID deaths, which was the highest daily death count in more than five months.”
– “Breakthrough COVID cases remain at about 36% of new cases as hospitalizations see slight dip for second day,” by Noah R. Bombard, MassLive.com: “The state reported 4,568 breakthrough COVID cases in the last seven-day reporting period ending Sept. 11. That’s an increase from the previous week’s 3,919 reported breakthrough cases but corresponds with a total increase in newly reported cases.”
– “Ferguson: House Reopening Plan is ‘Too Vague’,” by Chris Lisinski, State House News Service (paywall): “Rep. Kimberly Ferguson, a Holden Republican, joined other representatives in discussions over the summer about how the House should proceed after more than a year and a half of mostly remote operations. The working group’s seven Democrats published their recommendations Monday, but Ferguson did not sign onto the document.”
– “Nursing home industry sounds alarm – again,” by Bruce Mohl, CommonWealth Magazine: “The state’s nursing home industry is again sounding the alarm, saying a package of nearly $560 million in state and federal aid is needed to address chronic staff shortages and financial instability that has shuttered 11 facilities and left 100 more at risk of closing in the next 12 months. … at a State House hearing focused on what to do with the billions of dollars in federal aid the state has received … scores of officials from the human services sector said they were facing similar staff shortages and urged lawmakers to provide funding.”
– “Massachusetts House lawmakers preparing bill to revise offshore wind policy,” by Mary C. Serreze, Boston Business Journal: “On board a high-speed ferry filled with lawmakers and clean energy advocates, House Speaker Ron Mariano said Tuesday that he has tasked Jeff Roy, chairman of the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee, with producing a bill ‘that will help us restore our place in this whole competitive market.’”
– “MCAS scores plummet during the pandemic,” by James Vaznis, Boston Globe: “MCAS scores tumbled by hefty margins across Massachusetts, according to results released Tuesday morning that offer the first statewide measurements on how much students have struggled with learning during the pandemic. … Massachusetts education leaders have emphasized they won’t use the drop in test scores this year to punish schools for low performance and it will not issue new school accountability ratings this year. Rather, the intent is to gauge the extent of material students didn’t learn or how much they have regressed…”
– More: “MTA says MCAS scores ‘measure the impact of structural racism’ as state releases spring test results,” by Melissa Hanson, MassLive.com.
– “Revere mayor blasts Boston officials over Mass. & Cass plans,” by Danny McDonald, Boston Globe: “In a letter that showcases the thorny complexities of battling the region’s opioid crisis, Revere Mayor Brian M. Arrigo is pushing back against a proposal that would see a hotel in his community converted to a transitional homeless center — an attempt to alleviate the thicket of quality-of-life and public safety problems in the area of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard in Boston.”
– “Department of Education board member floats receivership for Boston Public Schools,” by Alexi Cohan, Boston Herald: “A Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member has called on Commissioner Jeff Riley to consider state receivership for Boston Public Schools, citing a number of significant concerns in the district.“
– “As acting Boston mayor, Kim Janey appeared to have a leg up in the race. So how did she lose?” by Danny McDonald, Boston Globe: “David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said [Acting Mayor Kim] Janey spent a lot of time trying to do the job of mayor. ‘It showed with a 61 percent job approval, but she fell short of converting that job approval to her electability and her actual votes,’ he said. It’s a point that Doug Rubin, a political consultant who helped steer Janey’s campaign, conceded. ‘Bottom line, Kim did an amazing job as mayor. She was a great candidate. I wish the campaign was able to convey more of that, more effectively. I take responsibility for that,’ said Rubin.”
– “Essaibi George to super PACs: Get out of this race,” by Gintautas Dumcius, Dorchester Reporter: “City Councillor At-Large Annissa Essaibi George is asking super PACs — outside entities funded by unions and deep-pocketed donors who spent millions of dollars in the mayoral preliminary — to stay out of the final election between her and City Councillor At-Large Michelle Wu. … Essaibi George, like Wu, has two super PACs supporting her campaign. One is led by former Boston police commissioner William Gross and has taken in $495,000 from New Balance chairman Jim Davis, who has also donated to former President Donald Trump and former mayor Marty Walsh. … ‘As someone who has been a lifelong Democrat, unwavering and firm in my Democratic principles, I am not fond of the relationship they have with Donald Trump,’ said Essaibi George…”
– “Boston’s Two Mayoral Candidates Support Change In Harbor Development Plan,” by Saraya Wintersmith, GBH News: “A day after Gov. Charlie Baker said he would not accept Boston’s withdrawal of its downtown waterfront development plan, the two candidates running for mayor signaled varying degrees of support for Acting Mayor Kim Janey’s move to change the proposal.”
– “Essaibi George, Wu Court Black Voters In Race For Boston Mayor,” by Steve Brown, WBUR: “A spokeswoman for [City Councilor Annissa] Essaibi George says good government includes listening to people from across the city. [City Councilor Michelle] Wu’s campaign says it hopes to work with community leaders in predominantly Black neighborhoods.“
– FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: State Rep. Russell Holmes has endorsed David Halbert for Boston City Council at-large, saying he would be a “reliable partner” in City Hall, per Halbert’s campaign.
– Acting Mayor Kendrys Vasquez and former city councilor Brian DePena advanced from Lawrence’s five-way preliminary mayoral election, the Eagle-Tribune’s Jill Harmacinski reports. Former mayor and state representative William Lantigua finished fourth.
– Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria says he’s on to the November ballot, where he’ll face City Councilor Fred Capone. Gerly Adrien, the first Black woman elected to the Everett City Council in 2019, finished third per unofficial results.
– “Sullivan, Garcia top crowded mayoral preliminary election in Holyoke,” by Dusty Christensen, Daily Hampshire Gazette: “At-large City Councilor Michael Sullivan and Blandford Town Administrator Joshua Garcia will be competing in November for the chance to become Holyoke’s next mayor.“
– More from the Springfield Republican’s Jeannette DeForge: “The race was close, with candidates jockeying back and forth as different precincts reported results Tuesday night. At one time Garcia and opponent Rebecca Lisi, another city councilor, were just 1 vote apart. In the end, Garcia prevailed over Lisi by 111 votes.”
– “Jennifer Macksey, Lynette Bond advance in North Adams mayoral race,” by Greta Jochem, Berkshire Eagle: “Jennifer Macksey and Lynette Bond will be facing off in the mayor’s race in November.“
– Newburyport: “Mayoral race narrowed to Tontar, Reardon in November,” by Heather Alterisio, Newburyport Daily News: “City Councilor at large Charlie Tontar and School Committee member Sean Reardon will face off in the city’s mayoral race in November following the preliminary election Tuesday.”
– Fall River: “Coogan, Ponte top preliminary election for mayoral seat,” by Audrey Cooney, Herald News: “Mayor Paul Coogan cruised to an easy first place victory in Tuesday’s mayoral preliminary, with City Council President Cliff Ponte safely securing the second spot on November’s ballot.”
– “Attleboro’s Heroux will face McGhee in mayoral election this fall,” by WPRI: “Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux will face retired state trooper Todd McGhee in the November election after the pair won the most votes in Tuesday’s preliminary election.”
– “Deadline crystallizes four-way Worcester mayor’s race heading into November,” by Steven H. Foskett Jr., Worcester Telegram & Gazette: “[Incumbent Mayor Joseph M. Petty] will face incumbent at-large Councilor Donna M. Colorio, along with at-large candidates William Coleman and Peter Stefan. Under Worcester’s form of government, the mayor comes out of the at-large City Council race. All at-large candidates for City Council are automatically entered into the mayor’s race, and had until Tuesday afternoon to withdraw their names from contention.”
– “Prominent business leaders urge Baker to run for a third term,” by Emma Platoff, Boston Globe: “Many of the state’s power brokers and business elites would like four more years, thanks — and they’re making their pitch both to the public and to [Gov. Charlie] Baker himself. … Those high-profile supporters do not speak for everyone in the state’s business community, nor every wealthy resident of Massachusetts. But it’s an influential hype squad nonetheless, an informal coalition of powerful individuals who have the profile to sway some segment of public opinion and, in many cases, the bank accounts to fund a successful campaign.”
– “AG Maura Healey Hits Gov. Baker On Same-Day Voter Registration, Won’t Say Whether She’ll Run For His Job,” by Zoe Mathews, GBH News: “Baker told Boston Public Radio last week he does not support same-day registration due to how complex it would be to establish, saying he would prefer municipalities and the state to only have to focus on counting votes on election day, not registering people to vote, too. … ‘Of course we should have same-day [registration],’ Healey said. ‘This is an area I absolutely disagree with [Baker] on.’”
– Baker was among the 26 Republican governors who signed a letter requesting a meeting with President Joe Biden within 15 days “to bring an end to the national security crisis created by eight months of unenforced borders” that’s “instigated an international humanitarian crisis.” New Hampshire GOP Gov. Chris Sununu also signed the letter. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott was the only Republican governor who did not.
– Massachusetts was well represented at the press-conference unveiling of the Keep Renters Safe Act, which would direct the federal Department of Health and Human Services to implement a nationwide residential eviction moratorium and give HHS the authority to issue such moratoriums in response to future public health crises.
Warren and Markey joined Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush (D-Mo.), who slept outside the U.S. Capitol to protest the expiration of the federal eviction moratorium over the summer.
“We chose to sleep on the steps of the Capitol,” Pressley said. “But millions more are running out of options … this is 100% preventable, because eviction is a policy choice.”
The Biden administration re-upped the moratorium, only for it to be struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Thanks to an extremist Supreme Court, evictions are now on the rise,” Warren said. “We can avoid further exacerbating this crisis if Congress can step up now and pass legislation that keeps families in their homes through the duration of this emergency.”
Rep. Jim McGovern is also cosponsoring the bill.
– “MBTA Green Line operator accelerated at full-power prior to July crash, NTSB finds,” by WCVB: “MBTA officials said the agency is ‘taking the steps necessary to end the employment’ of the Green Line operator involved in a July crash on the B Branch in Boston. The announcement follows the publication of a preliminary report in which federal crash investigators found the operator set his train to accelerate at full power prior to the crash.”
– “Jasiel Correia sentenced to 6 years in prison for corruption,” by Linda Murphy, Dan Medeiros, Jo C. Goode and Lynne Sullivan, Herald News: “Calling his crimes ‘reprehensible corruption,’ Judge Douglas P. Woodlock sentenced former Fall River mayor Jasiel Correia to six years in prison, putting an end to one of the most controversial chapters in the city’s history. … Correia declined to offer a statement, citing the advice of counsel. After his trial, he insisted that he’s innocent and that the “real truth” will eventually come out. He has filed an appeal.”
– “Healey Joins Antitrust Lawsuit Against Two Airlines,” by Colin A. Young, State House News Service (paywall): “Attorney General Maura Healey is suing American Airlines and JetBlue, joining the federal government and five other states in a complaint that alleges the airlines are harming travelers by consolidating operations in Boston and New York City.”
– “After trial court employees come forward citing discrimination, Rep. Bud Williams says ‘game plan’ is needed,” by Douglas Hook, MassLive.com: “Stories of inequities among trial court employees are nothing new, says Rep. Bud Williams. The big difference this time is people are coming forward.”
TRANSITIONS – Faisa Sharif will lead community outreach operations for Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George’s mayoral campaign. She was previously deputy director for the city’s office of neighborhood services.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY – to Massachusetts Playbook alum Stephanie Murray, who now authors POLITICO’s Morning Score; Abigail DesVergnes, Mike Knittle, Sean Moynihan of the The Moynihan Group; TT Sitterly and Helena Zay. Happy belated to Boston.com’s Christopher Gavin.
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