April 2006
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Month April 2006

Travaglini on the Family Leave Proposal

On Tuesday, State Senate President Robert Travaglini addressed the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and described a proposal for paid family leave that we’ve been discussing here on Blue Mass Group ever since.  I just listened to a broadcast of Travaglini’s speech, and want to report his take on the proposal.

Travaglini stressed that this is still a proposal, not a bill about to be voted on.  He expects that it will go through some changes during the drafting and committee process.  He also stressed that it is not an impulse announcement, but rather the result of years of study and work by previous legislative and executive elected officials, and consultation with the MIT Workplace Center.  It’s modeled on a successful family leave law in California, but goes further.

  • Paid leave would be available for up to 12 weeks a year, for  parents of newborn children, people with medical emergencies, and families of people with medical emergencies.
  • The program would be funded by a contribution from employees, not employers.
  • Paid leave would only be available to employees who had been with their employer for at least 9 months or put in at least 900 hours (equivalent to about 5-6 months of full time work)
  • People seeking paid leave for medical reasons would need a letter from a doctor.
  • There would be penalties for fraudulent claims for paid leave.
  • Paid leave would begin after five days during which the employee uses either vacation time or sick time.

Poor Steve Winslow

I hope Jarrett and Dorie don’t decide to keep him in the Senate race to do Jarrett’s dirty work and attack Galluccio for the next six months. Steve is a nice guy and I hope he doesn’t let these two exploit him any further for political gain.

Galluccio Will Face OJ-Like Civil Suit (w/Poll)

Peter Manderino, a victim of convicted drunk driving offender Cambridge City Councilor Anthony Galluccio, has announced he will file an OJ-like civil suit after Clerk Magistrate Daniel Hogan decided last week not to pursue the most recent OUI charge against the politician. Galluccio caused a four-car accident in December when he plowed into the back of a car stopped at a red light. The BPD evidently attempted to brush the issue under the rug but was forced to reopen the investigation after Channel 5 broadcast a hard-hitting investigative report. Now Clerk Magistrate Daniel Hogan, a politically well-connected scion of an old-time government family, is apparently trying to do the same. Despite testimony from multiple unrelated parties to the accident that Galluccio was drunk — “legless,” in the words of one — Hogan found insufficient evidence even to warrant a proper hearing on the subject. The outrage has been palpable in local media coverage — not to mention scathing on this blog. “Galluccio arrived with his two high-powered, politically-connected attorneys leading the way,” reported Channel 5. “The police officer who interviewed state Senate candidate Anthony Galluccio after a December car accident said hospital workers had to put the “irate” and “combative” […]

Healey promises “Four More Years of Neglect, Decay” for Commonwealth

LOWELL – Lt. Governor Kerry Healey accepted the Republican convention’s nomination for governor yesterday, promising “four more years of head-in-the-sand, neglectful and callous leadership.” Under a long banner which read, “The Rich Shall Inherit the Earth”, Healey promised a long list of future accomplishments: “Cutting our population down to a manageable size“: by encouraging folks to move out of the state. “That’ll make more room for the rest of us!” she exclaimed. “Health Care for Those Rich Enough to Deserve It”: Healey stated that employers “don’t owe their workers a plugged nickel for health benefits. They’ll get nothing and like it.” Healey called on the uninsured to lay off the fries and brush their damn teeth once in a while, huh? “Cities and Towns: The Bootstraps Plan”: Healey called on cities and towns to cut police, fire, schools, and libraries “until it hurts. Work to the burn.” “Big Ticket Projects: The Oversight Plan”: Healey promised that oversight big construction projects would continue to be an oversight. She promised contractors could have “all the money they want; our wallets are open.” “Abolish Arithmetic”: Healey promised an income tax cut to 5.0% would not result in service cuts; also promised that 2-2 […]

Why Kerry Healey Fears Tom Reilly’s Candidacy

Two clear messages emerged from the GOP convention yesterday.  Message #1: Kerry Healey will be calling her shots from the same Republican playbook that has been so successful since 1990 – only a Republican Governor can keep taxes from going up, serve as a check on the Democratic legislature, and reform state government.  As Yogi Berra once said, “It’s deja vu all over again.”  Message #2: Tom Reilly is the candidate that Kerry Healey fears the most in November.  The attacks were direct, vociferous, and, most of all, telling: Republicans know that Tom Reilly stands the best chance of counteracting their formula for success.

Who can blame Healey for the overall message?  It works and she has nothing else to run on.  I do not agree with it, but I deeply respect its influence with voters.  In fact, I believe our Democratic candidates for governor ignore its undisputed influence at their own peril.  Call me a pragmatist, but I believe the results from the last four gubernatorial elections are still the single, greatest indicator of where the electorate is going to be in November.  Those results are far more telling than what a narrow subset of voters are saying at campaign headquarters or on political blogs.  (I’m certsainly not exempt from that last point.)  Which leads us to Message #2. . .

Keeping tabs on the Gee Oh Pee

If you want a sneak peak at what Kerry Healey and Reed Hillman are going to be lobbing at the Dems for the next few months, head on over to Hub Politics, which has been doggedly live-blogging the state Republican non-evention this weekend. A couple of highlights: From Kerry Healey: “Then there was the time the other party decided it wold be a food idea to use taxpayer money to subsidize in-state tuition for illegal immigrants at our public colleges and the University of Massachusetts. And here we have to give credit where it is due. Though many in the other party favored this bill, it was the Attorney General of Massachusetts who led the charge.” “Attorney General Tom Reilly, in particular, seems to think that his own nomination is a sure thing and the governor’s office an inevitable promotion.” “Deval Patrick, at least, is up front about his big spending plans for this station and his intention to oppose tax cuts.” “But, I guess you could say that candor from a committed liberal like Deval Patrick is better than the flop-flopping of a political chameleon like Tom Reilly…. maybe you’ve heard the late-breaking news that Tom Reilly claims he […]

Holliston Candidate/Delegate Breakfast

This morning I attended the third quadrennial Candidate Delegate Breakfast, sponsored by the Holliston Democratic Town Committee and the Middlesex and Norfolk Democratic Alliance.

Candidates present: Deval Patrick, Chris Gabrieli, Andrea Silbert, Tim Murray, Sam Kelley, John Bonifaz, William Galvin, Martha Coakley and Gerry Leone.

Quick disclaimer: I ran for delegate (and won) as a Patrick supporter, and as of this morning am also a Silbert supporter.

Cape Wind Kibosh: It’s Ted Kennedy’s doing

So, we learned this week that the so-called “Young Amendment”, named after Rep. Don Young (R-AK), that would allow a MA governor to kill Cape Wind, should actually be called the Kennedy-Stevens amendment: The efforts to move the wind farm forward occur amid growing attention to Kennedy’s role in the secret, behind-the-scenes maneuvering to stop it. Republican Ted Stevens of Alaska, the senator who inserted the wind-farm provision into the Coast Guard bill, has acknowledged discussing the matter privately with the Massachusetts Democrat. … Stevens said he ”conferred” with Kennedy about adding a provision to the bill that would allow the state to veto the Cape Cod project. He said Kennedy agreed with that idea, an account that Kennedy confirmed. But the project’s supporters don’t like the manner in which the provision was included in the bill, an argument that appears to be catching on with some lawmakers. The final language was hashed out in secret by a small handful of lawmakers — a group that included Young and Stevens. Sen. Kennedy is known and rightly lauded for his effectiveness as a legislator. But this is a devious way to address the issue: Out of the way, privately, and inserted […]

Municipal Budgets are the Real Problem, in the State…….. but not in Cambridge

The Romney Administration, with high hopes of running the state like a corporate enterprise, appointed a number of distinguished business people from both the private and non profit sectors. Bob Pozen, Secretary of Economic Development from Fidelity left in a very short time out of pure frustration with the legislature, Doug Foy, Secretary of Development, came from the Conservation Law Foundation, and was instrumental in initiating “Smart Growth” which is now the new buzz term for a type of affordable housing, and Eric Kriss, who came from the venture capital business to head Administration and Finance. Kriss served as Secretary of A & F for three years. .He understood state finance probably more than most people in Massachusetts and is an expert of fiscal problems facing the cities and towns. His departing remarks are very telling. Anyone , especially candidates who pay any interest in municipal fiscal management and cry for state subsidies should pay close attention. Ironically, Cambridge is ahead of the curve.

Municipal Budgets which have been uncontrolled over the years are the culprit. Kriss says local officials who blame the state are ”completely missing the picture.”It’s like a chronic disease,” Kriss said. ”It just keeps getting worse and worse. There is no day, no week, no moment where somebody says, ‘Look what happened to us. It’s a calamity!’In fact, it’s insidious because it’s so gradual,” he said of the situation facing cities and towns. ”Only when you look back over a generation do you recognize what’s been lost.”

New Orleans Voter Turnout

On Monday, two days after the New Orleans mayoral election, I sat down to begin writing this post for johnbonifaz.com (where I am paid to blog).  Bonifaz had called for secretaries of state to do more help displaced Katrina victims vote, and I wanted to comment on that now that the first round election had happened.  I finally posted today.

Why did it take me so long?  Well, I thought it would be useful to refer to the voter turnout, and particularly, what the voter turnout was among displaced Katrina victims who had not yet been able to move back home.  So I looked for the number… and it wasn’t there.

The press was happy to report that “voter turnout was 36%”, but what did that mean?  How many voters were in New Orleans, how many still away?  How many of each group voted?  I called New Orleans City Hall, I called the Orleans Parish board of elections supervisors, I called the Lousiana Elections division, I searched Google News… nobody had the answers.

But some of them had data, so I kept on digging.  Finally, four days later (that’s today, for those of you keeping score), I finished writing up what I had found, and posted it on MyDD.  And what I found surprised me: Most of the press got key facts wrong, such as the widely-reported “fact” that about 20,000 people voted by absentee ballot; and voter turnout among those still displaced, was probably below 10%!