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Jim Braude and ... Tupac?

Jim Braude, public TV host and former Tupac baby sitter

If you ever see a car roll up to the WGBH studios with the windows down, bass cranked, and speakers blaring “All Eyez on Me,” you’ll need only one guess about who’s behind the wheel: Jim Braude.

The 65-year-old former union head, tax activist, and city councilor — he took over as host of “Greater Boston” this week — might not strike viewers as the hip-hop type. But long before he got into public broadcasting, Braude used to baby-sit the late rapper Tupac Shakur.

This was in the mid-1970s, when Braude, fresh out of New York University Law School, was a young attorney working as a housing and prisoners-rights advocate at a legal services office in the South Bronx. One of the paralegals in the office was Afeni Shakur , an active member of the Black Panther Party and, it turned out, the mother of a preschooler who grew up to sell 75 million records.

“When Afeni and some of her Black Panthers who worked in the office — who were fabulous advocates and paralegals, by the way — said they were going out to do some community organizing, on more than one occasion she said, ‘Take care of the kid,’ ” Braude recalled.


“And the kid was the cutest little boy. So I was Tupac’s de facto baby sitter.”

Braude said he had no idea at the time that the toddler in his care was a future star, but he followed Tupac’s career, which was cut short by a fatal shooting in 1996.

Braude doesn’t mention his Tupac connection often, but it makes for a good comeback when people call him a public broadcasting nerd. “It’s the only street cred I have,” he said.


Natixis employees fired after Beverly Hills excursion

It was a luxurious destination for a winter business conference: the Beverly Wilshire Hotel , steps from Rodeo Drive in sunny Beverly Hills, Calif., with its Hollywood stars and red-carpet amenities.


More than 200 executives from the Boston investment firm Natixis Global Asset Management descended there in early January for business meetings, meals cooked in the kitchen of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, and a recreational bike tour.

But for at least a few of the guests, late-night celebrating went over the top on one occassion. Five employees wound up fired, allegedly for entering another guest’s room and raiding the bar.

Natixis took the unusual step of not only firing the employees days later, including one senior sales executive, but spelling out the reason in public records monitored by regulators, employers, and investors.

“Long after the formal activities had concluded for the day at an off-site business meeting,’’ the reports said, five employees were alleged to have “entered an area where they did not belong” and “taken alcohol and food that were the property of another hotel guest.”

Carrie Mitchell , a spokeswoman for the Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel, declined to comment. The Beverly Hills police had no incident reports about the hotel that night.

Natixis, through two spokesmen, declined to comment. In fact, it would not discuss even benign details of the trip. When the Globe contacted Natixis about the “Hikes and Bikes” cycling tour detailed in a Web posting by the excursion company, along with a Facebook page, the Web links were taken down within minutes.


No foreign travel plans yet, but Israel may be at the top of governor’s list

The trade mission bug has bitten Governor Charlie Baker, and one of his first foreign trips could be to Israel.


That’s according to Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, who was on a panel at the Seaport Hotel this week about business opportunities for Israel and Massachusetts.

Pollack said Baker told her, “I may not be going anywhere for a while, given what I said during the campaign, but when it’s time to go, I’m really curious about Israel.”

Another panelist, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CEO Kevin Tabb, piped in: “‘He said the same thing to me. He will certainly make Israel one of his first.’”

If Baker does go, he can catch a nonstop flight to Tel Aviv on El Al Airlines, which begins service out of Logan Airport in June. El Al sponsored the panel, along with the Massachusetts Port Authority.

Other panelists included Akamai Technologies co-founder Jonathan Seelig and Communispace chairman and Startup Institute CEO Diane Hessan.

Baker’s predecessor, Deval Patrick, loved to globe trot and went on more than a half-dozen trade missions, including two visits to Israel.

Yehuda Yaakov , the consul general of Israel in New England, encouraged the Republican governor to make plans. “The sooner, the better,” Yaakov said.


Despite Cape Wind’s flop, others are lobbying for help for the industry

Cape Wind may be on its last legs. But offshore wind will still be a hot issue at the State House this year. Just witness how rival wind farm developers are joining forces to make their voices heard on Beacon Hill.

Deepwater Wind, RES, and Offshore MW LLC have won rights to develop different sections of the ocean south of Massachusetts. So they are pooling their resources to launch Offshore Wind Massachusetts LLC, a Boston-based advocacy group. The goal, in part, is to persuade Massachusetts lawmakers to pass legislation that would set the stage for utilities to sign long-term contracts with offshore wind farms.


Representative Pat Haddad of Somerset, one of House Speaker Bob DeLeo’s top lieutenants, is pushing such a bill, one she hopes will bring jobs to the South Coast. New Bedford has a new waterfront terminal tailor-made for wind farm development. But it’s sitting empty now that Cape Wind has bailed on its lease there.

Matthew Morrissey, a former economic development official in New Bedford, has been hired to direct the new group. He said he registered as a lobbyist a few weeks ago, but plans to do most of his work outside the State House.

Meanwhile, James Smith of the Boston governmental affairs firm Smith, Costello & Crawford, has been engaged to lobby lawmakers on behalf of the group.

Morrissey knows the debate will play out in the shadow of Cape Wind and its oft-discussed financial issues. But he hopes to make it clear to policy makers that the state’s offshore wind industry has the potential to go well beyond the ill-fated project.


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