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Talking Points

Mayor Walsh takes on Trump, a rivalry brews in Georgia, and more

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh delivered his third State of the City address.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh delivered his third State of the City address. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Atlanta takes on a different Patriot and much more in today’s Talking Points. Here’s Jon Chesto, plus a recap of the top stories for Thursday, Jan. 26.

Chesto Means Business

Bracing for a fight: Marty Walsh knows there’s safety in numbers.

Walsh has made a point of working with nearby cities on a regional economic strategy. But Boston’s mayor came to the New England Council this morning to talk to the business group about a new level of cooperation, one necessitated by the sea change in Washington.

He’s seeking support for the Affordable Care Act and to shield immigrants who make up an important part of Greater Boston’s workforce. “The new reality,” he said, “[means] we have to double down on our values.”


Walsh pledged to work with other big-city mayors toward these goals, including Republicans whose constituents could be hurt by President Donald Trump’s policies.

The speech took place a day after Walsh and other mayors expressed outrage over Trump’s declaration that federal funds should be stripped from cities that don’t help the feds deport immigrants. Walsh wants to keep more talented immigrants here, not chase them away.

Walsh said he’s in constant communication with officials in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and other cities, and he vowed Boston would play a lead role in any legal action over the issue. Boston, he said, gets about $500 million a year in federal funds, though it’s not clear how much of that could be blocked.

The mayor said he would prefer to work cooperatively with Trump. But he also realizes a fight could be brewing, and he knows that there’s not just safety in numbers, there’s power.

Jon Chesto is a Globe reporter. Reach him at jon.chesto@globe.com and follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.


Market Wrap

Executive Summary

Border tax: So, this is how Mexico is going to pay for the wall. President Donald Trump announced Thursday that a 20 percent border tax would be imposed on imports to pay for the wall he promised voters between the US and Mexico in an attempt to stop the flow of illegal immigrants.

Trump has talked about the idea with congressional leaders and plans to included it in a comprehensive tax reform package, spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters.

The tax would generate $10 billion per year and “easily pay for the wall,” Spicer said.

A brewing rivalry: The Patriots are used to generating haters, but this time it’s a writer who has stirred the pot. The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro has some peachy news out of Georgia where a gas station owner is refusing to sell Sam Adams Boston Lager until after the Super Bowl.

Hadji Chhadua, owner of Brown Bridge Exxon, is a little miffed with a column by Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy, who wrote earlier this week about how disappointing it is that the Patriots are facing the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl rather than more storied franchises like the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, or the New York Giants.

So what does Atlanta manufacture that a Boston store owner could take off the shelves in retaliation? Chhadua suggests Coke, no doubt with a smile.

Take that Harvard: That’s what they might be saying on the other side of Cambridge today at MIT. That’s because one day after Harvard University announced major layoffs from the staff of its endowment fund, MIT’s was recognized as one of the nation’s top performers.


The Globe’s Beth Healy writes MIT ranked fourth out of the top 25 endowments, according to the Skorina Letter, a publication produced by a consulting firm in San Francisco. MIT’s 10-year return of 10.8 percent puts it near the top of the pack.

Harvard’s return of 5.7 percent over that same period puts it near the bottom of the Ivy League endowments, just slightly better than Cornell’s. Skorina, however, predicts a rebound for Harvard under N.P. “Narv” Narvekar, who had a successful run at Columbia University.

Fast acting drug deal: Delinia, a Cambridge-based drug developer, has been snatched up by Celegne just four months after its first round of raising capital, Xconomy Boston reports.

Celegne purchased Delinia for $300 million and its shareholders could see another $475 million if the drugs that are under development reach key milestones. Delinia is working on several drugs for autoimmune diseases, though none has reached clinical trials yet.

The company had raised $35.2 million since its inception and has six full-time employees. Celegne is best known for its blood cancer drugs and last month the New Jersey company acquired Boston-based Acetylon Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Slow start: Biogen, the Cambridge biotech, is not faring so well as new CEO Michel Vounatsos takes over.

Bloomberg reports the company is seeing earnings of $20.45 to $21.25 a share, excluding some items, compared with the $21.03 average it projected.


The new CEO is pledging to boost sales and is focused on a newly approved therapy called Spinraza, which treats a rare and deadly muscle disease. Treatment is priced at $750,000 in the first 12 months and $375,000 each year thereafter. At least one insurance company has already restricted its use to patients with the “most severe” spinal muscular atrophy.

Can you hear them now?: Verizon Communiciations Inc. is reportedly exploring a merger with another giant in the telecommunications business, Charter Communications. If it were to move forward, the merger would put home broadband, cable TV, and mobile services into the hands of one massive company.

Line Items

Climbing the tower of success:

Altiostar Networks adds $27 million -- Boston Business Journal

Johnson Johnson makes splash:

$30 billion purchase of Swiss biotech -- Financial Times

Fiat-Chrysler bullish on Trump:

Border policies would benefit automaker -- Business Insider

No longer in driver’s seat:

VW executive is leaving -- New York Times


Make it in America again: It has the makings of a catchy slogan, but how realistic is it to begin manufacturing products like stereo speakers, iPhones, and computers in the United States again?

Hiawatha Bray writes in today’s Globe about Tom DeVesto, who would like to open a factory for his Boston-based audio company but faces obstacles of expensive real estate and an untrained workforce that he would need the government’s help to overcome.


And that assumes there are workers willing to do the type of assembly-line work he would need. The evidence in places like Fort Worth, Texas, where Google struggled to hire and retain workers for its Moto X smartphone, is that it’s an uphill battle.

The struggle is greater for companies like Apple, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard, which rely on companies in China, South Korea, and other Asian countries to make the components they need.

”You can’t just all of a sudden flip a switch, and make everything here,” DeVesto said.

The Talking Points newsletter is compiled by George Brennan. Follow George on Twitter at @gpb227. If you liked what you’ve read, please tell your friends tosign up.