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Day April 2, 2008

Fight over police details is on — more’s at stake

UPDATE: Let's whip this up. Call or email your Reps and Senators (617) 722-2000 to get their position on police details, and report the results here in the comments. Some reps are on the record already; we'll keep track of them on the flip.

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It was an extremely encouraging sign when Gov. Patrick, Sal DiMasi, Terry Murray and Joint Committee on Transportation Chairman Steve Baddour all stood up together to propose some important reforms to how we do transportation investments in MA. Famously, this included getting rid of police details at construction sites, in favor of flagmen, which pretty much every other state does at a fraction of the cost.

Now the police unions are flooding the legislature with protests, phone calls, and emails, protecting this bizarre and expensive little institution of having cops at every road construction site.

Now, $5 million/year that the state spends on the details is not that big a deal, although it may add up to many times that when you include local roads. But this is the test case for all the other important, cost-saving reforms that Murray has proposed. If the legislature rolls over for the police unions (again), then come the MBTA unions, with their cushy pension deal. Then come the toll collectors. Then come the contractors, who don't want the stricter oversight that Murray's bill would provide.

In other words, the legislature buckles, the special interests win, and it's back to business as usual. Big Dig Culture forever. Does it have to be that way?

Patrick, DiMasi, and Murray [and Baddour] have stepped up to change that; what other legislators will stand with them? And have we got their backs?

ANOTHER UPDATE/CORRECTION:  Last night on NECN I said that the savings would be $100 million if you included local roads. That's not correct. According to the (conservative) Beacon Hill Institute, the savings could be $37-67 million. I conflated that with the $100 million/20 years figure. I apologize for the error. A million here, a million there … 

7th Congressional District Obama Delegate Caucus

” I have been honored to work with Kathleen Manning Hall on the New England Finance and Steering Committee for Barack Obama for over a year.  She has raised money, slogged through the snow in New Hampshire and has devoted every minute of her time toward electing Barack Obama President of the United States. She has not only talked the talk, but walked the walk. Please elect her as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention to vote for Barack Obama.” Rep. David Linsky (D-Natick) PLEASE CAUCUS for KATHLEEN MANNING HALL to be a PLEDGED DELEGATE FOR BARACK OBAMA at the DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION IN DENVER WHAT: Massachusetts 7th Congressional                 District Caucus WHEN: April 5, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. (Doors             open at 12:00) WHERE:MINUTEMAN REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL           758 Marrett Road, Lexington   WHO:  Registered Democrats from Arlington,             Belmont, Everett, Framingham,             Lexington, Lincoln, Malden, Medford,             Melrose, Natick, Stoneham, Waltham,             Watertown, Wayland, Weston,             […]

Salvia Bill in the House: Whats it really about

I would like to bring to people’s attention a bill that should not be passed. Its House bill 4344 introduced by Rep. DeMacedo and Webster. The bill is looking to make two natural plants, Salvia and Kratom illegal in Massachussetts. Even though the two sponsors know nothing about the plants, or the fact that most research shows no side effects, no abuse, and a small demand. I wanted to point everyones attention to some information about legislators in other states who are sponsoring similar bills: “The National Institute on Money in State Politics indicates the major sources of campaign contributions for US politicians. For example, Representative John Lim’s largest individual campaign sponsor in 2006 was the Oregon Beer & Wine Distributors Association. Lim argued for Schedule I classification of salvia in Oregon. Senator Karen Peterson’s second largest group campaign donations in 2006 came from ‘Beer, Wine & Liquor’ industries. Peterson introduced Schedule I classification of Salvia divinorum in Delaware. Senator Tim Burchett (R) sponsored salvia legislation in Tennessee. In 2006 his second largest individual campaign donation came from the Tennessee Malt Beverage Association. In the same period alcohol and tobacco related contributions amounted to the fourth largest industry contributions for […]

Governor Patrick’s agenda – official and personal

Governor Patrick has spoken at length and made a priority of casinos, as a means to raise revenue for the Commonwealth.  I believe gambling is a regressive form of taxation.  Generally, the people who are least able to afford to gamble are the ones who do so.  This is especially true of lottery tickets, but also of other forms of gambling.  Therefore, I believe a more equitable method of increasing the state’s revenues is for higher taxes, graduated to an individual’s ability to pay.  I realize taxation is never popular.  However, leaders are elected to lead.  I believe Governor Patrick should work with the legislature to advocate for raising more revenue through taxes.  –  His recent trip to NYC to push his autobiography is disappointing.  It is a rich man’s form of panhandling.  Narcissistic, self-serving, even greedy.  Some of his other mistakes – expensive reupholstering of his office and an expensive new car immediately after his election are in the same mold.  Not befitting a politician who claims to be progressive and a “man of the people.”

Democratic Women Leaders: Every Vote Counts Project

This morning dozens of female elected officials and business and community leaders from around the commonwealth held a press conference on the steps of the State House launching the Every Vote Counts Project.

The purpose of the project is to fight voter disenfranchisement and ensure that every vote cast in the 2008 Democratic nominating contests is counted.

By calling on all MA super delegates to stand united in this call for fairness — and again lead the way in transparency — the group of leaders hope to spark a nationwide call protecting the principles of the Democratic party: fairness and inclusion. They presented a letter that shall be sent to all 23 MA super delegates.

The brief speaking program, emceed by attorney Ellen Zucker, included Boston City Council President Maureen Feeney, State Representative Marie St. Fleur, Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral, and Senate President Therese Murray. Countless state representatives and senators were also present.

Full text of the letter to Super-Delegates after the jump.

Cross posted at: http://www.matt-omalley.com

Traffic and Public Transit

Dear BMGers,

I, for one, voted for Deval and supported him with full knowledge of his casino stance, and called my legislators to oppose his casino proposal — we don’t have to agree on everything in order to work together.  With the casino issue behind us, here is an issue that I think worthy of consideration and advocacy:

Traffic issues affect almost everyone’s quality of life.  Even people like me, who work at home some of the time and commute by bicycle some of the time, are affected.  Bad traffic has three impacts: economic, quality-of-life, and environmental.  Significantly, there are low cost policy options for reducing congestion and improve flow.

Dan Kennedy and EB3 Bring Dispute to BMG – With Poll

Below is my response to Dan Kennedy’s post in his blog outlining why I think the jury and Supreme Judicial Court got it right in the Judge Murphy Herald Case. It is tough to read on his blog so I put it here.

It is detailed, but it needs to be.

Sigh,  Sorry Dan, I did not mean that you did not read the SJC Opinion. However you seem to be very selective in your facts and interpretation of them. As you know facts are stubborn. They do not go away. That is why my post is rather lengthy. Sorry for that too.

Facts reported by SJC

1. Wedge’s Trial testimony – At trial Wedge testified under oath to following version of events :  

Enough! 4 reasons to stop blaming and start working

Too much negative energy is being expended on this site blaming the Governor for his occasional foolishness and picking on poor Doug for trying to remind us of the Governor’s plans to advance his agenda.

We’re in danger of looking foolish ourselves. See reason 4 below.

Let’s get back to talking about how we can work together to repair and restore the public structures that make Massachusetts a great place to live.

From Real Clout — Four reasons to stop blaming and start working.

 

Too Many Children Left Behind.

Why this story is not getting more play is difficult to understand but a report out Monday from America’s Promise Alliance, Chaired by Collin Powel released this study yesterday. Big city high school dropout rates near 50 percent “When more than 1 million students a year drop out of high school, it’s more than a problem, it’s a catastrophe,” said former Secretary of State Colin Powell, founding chairman of the alliance. Early on in the Bush administration there was the much touted No Child Left behind Act  with bi-partisan support that was going to do something about issues like this.  In practice this ended up another unfunded mandate from the Feds. When asked for comment the Bush administration said it would look into the reporting standards for this report. I am reminded (thanks to the recent PBS Documentary) of  a verse from that old sage Pete Seeger’s Lyrics from  his Vietnam era protest song ” Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” that maybe the best epitaph for the last 7 years.   Well, I’m not going to point any moral; I’ll leave that for yourself Maybe you’re still walking, you’re still talking You’d like to keep your health. But every […]

Deval’s NY trip: two weeks early

The Governor should be travelling to New York this thursday to support the state university’s basketball team as it plays for the NIT championship at Madison Square Garden. Last night, UMass beat two time NCAA defending champion Florida in the NIT semis. It was their second consecutive upset win over a national powerhouse program. They had a huge comeback win over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome last week. They will play Ohio State in the finals. This is tremendous exposure for the team and the school. ————————————— Visit noternie’s blog  Someday I Will where every click helps fight…something.