Well he at least put it on the table. The Governor earlier today said it was not the time to talk gas tax and the Senate President has not commented yet. In light of the forthcoming transportation reform that inlcudes the the dismantling of the Turnpike Authority, I beleive now is the time. The continuation of toll increases is not fair – an increase in the more broad based gas tax is necessary for the rebuilding of our roads and brdiges. The gas tax has not been raised since 1991 in Massachusetts and we are lagging behind other states like Connecticut in the rate of tax we apply to gas. Seventeen years ago the state just began the construction of the Big Dig and it has been almost that long since we structured the financing of the project. (which we saddled upon the Turnpike Authority) DiMasi’s statements give the Governor and other politicians the cover need to start a serious discussion on increasing the gas tax. I think the governor, speaker and senate president should work together on this before the filing of any transportation reform legisaltion. This is a matter that deserves meaningful consideration.
So, the election's over. Great results for us at the federal level — and even at the local level, with new State Senators Jamie Eldridge and Sonia Chang-Diaz taking up the progressive banner. Just for the sake of annoying everyone … what do we do now? Now that the economy has hit the skids, what the hell are our options? What the hell is the progressive agenda? Schools? No money. Gov's going to have to dial back to Readiness Project to unrecognizability. Health care? Go ask the feds. That's where the action is going to be. We're still dependent on the Medicare waiver anyway. Costs still going ballistic, and even Terry Murray can't fix that. Abortion/death penalty/gay marriage? Done. These issues will not be revisited in any serious way. Even the ballot questions went our way, to an almost giddy extent: Taxes? Still got an income tax. Good thing, that. Peace/Love/Dope? Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Puppies? Who doesn't love puppies? In all seriousness, our agenda clarity affects how we think about the next Speaker, should the Cognos affair cut too close to DiMasi. Neither DeLeo nor Rogers nor anyone else will touch the cultural issues, above. Not gonna [...]
Bork was questioned about his character by Ted Kennedy. Bork wrote a book about the experience and the state of our nation called, “Slouching Toward Gomorrah.” Very eye-opening read by a learned man of good character. Somehow it seems the drive home across the Chapaquiddick was something that removes any credibility from Kennedy’s judgment of other people being vetted? Why are he and his brothers held up as such heroes? And now we have BHO in line for office — what has he done that is so remarkable — tell me in four years why people have put so much hope in him and will those hopes be dashed as they were by the Kennedy clan?
Please link to my friend Bruce Wolpe’s blog at the Sydney Morning Herald on Obama’s victory. But also scan the comments to see how offshore opinion is not unanimous.
I contacted my Town officials recently about various construction projects in town being manned by Police Officers and not flagmen since they were on small streets with low speed limits. I was told that flagmen would cost too much. Huh? It seems that the regular Police in my town are paid $29/hour. Due to the prevailing wage law the town would have to pay between $32.50-$37/hr for a flagman. BTW, while checking this I found out that the prevailing wage law for “LAWN MOWING” was $43/hour. Double Huh???? Does this mean the town would be forced to pay a person $43/hour if they decided to contract out cutting grass?? YUP! With this wonderful shell game, the Gov (or whoever wrote this law) has succeeded in making us feel like we finally are spending money wisely by employing the right people and paying them the right salary, but we have been fooled yet again. I know we were fooled right to our face but maybe the optimism in us made us “want” to believe that we would actually see progress here. For those who believe in “change”… don’t bother. The fall from the excitement of what could be can hurt when [...]
At lunch today, my friend Ed, an astute observer of Massachusetts and national politics posed the following question: “Can you name a mayor of a major American city who is looked upon as a national political figure?” I confess I was stumped. I briefly thought of Michael Bloomberg, but his national prominence seems mostly due to his constant (and unsuccessful) self-promotion. And he’s now running for a third term because he has no national political options. Compare Bloomberg to John Lindsey, who was clearly seen as a national figure for all his years as Mayor of New York. Or, in a very different way, Frank Rizzo of Philadelphia, the epitome of the “law and order” mayor. Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young, who occupied the mayor’s office in Atlanta for 20 years, were major national spokesmen for civil rights issues. Young also served in Congress and as ambassador to the U.N. And the list goes on. Closer to Home, Kevin White was seriously considered for Vice President by George McGovern, who most unwisely picked Senator Tom Eagleton instead. Compare White to Tom Menino who in 15 years has not become a national figure and has no prospect of doing so. The [...]
I was going to add this as a comment to the Wilkerson resigns diary but I think it deserves to stand on it's own. Senate President Murray Statement to the Senate 11/19/08 When I stood before this distinguished body 20 months ago, I said I was honored and humbled to be chosen by my peers to lead the Massachusetts Senate. I remain honored … and I remain humbled. That same faith you showed in me, I can assure you, I still have in this great institution. This has been a trying time for the Senate, but this chamber and its members have stood too long, and served too well, to be shaken by the actions of any individual. And though one person may cast a temporary shadow, we are too strong, too determined and too righteous as a collective body to allow any doubt to linger. Today, Dianne Wilkerson has made the right decision. With her resignation, the good work of the Senate will continue as we commit ourselves to ensuring the public trust. As conscientious stewards of the Senate and the people of the Commonwealth, those of us on the floor of this chamber today are committed to the [...]
Cross posted at Newton Streets & Sidewalks.
With local legislators whipped into a frenzy to stop the toll hikes, it might pay to stop and reflect on who would benefit if the tolls went up: Metro West commuters.
A toll hike is going to take drivers off the road. I don’t think that’s a controversial claim. While some portion of the population is locked into a choice-less commute, some are not. Witness the steadily decreasing Pike usage figures as gas prices rose. Some people had a choice and chose not to drive.
It won’t take a huge decrease in peak traffic to improve congestion. That person paying nearly double to get from Newton to downtown is going to find the commute’s a whole heckuva lot easier without all those pesky drivers-with-choice around.
In the wake of Nomad943′s unfortunate anti-Semitic comment, Nomad wrote a post on RMG crowing about the ban that our wise editors imposed on him here. I wandered onto RMG, perhaps foolishly, to rebuke him. Nomad’s comments weren’t the kind of anti-Israeli comments that lead to long, usually fruitless discussion of how to distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel or even Zionism from anti-Semitism. Instead, his comments were good-old-fashioned Protocols of the Elders of Zion stuff: Jews run the media to manipulate American policy, for the benefit, of course, of the Jews, etc., etc. I won’t re-hash the RMG thread here, though I encourage folks to read it. What I found shocking was that no one from RMG took Nomad to task. What’s happened to the Right? Is the right in Massachusetts really a home for the Know-Nothings, the conspiracy theorists, and other riff-raff? Maybe this is not a surprise to those of you to my left, and our anti-bigotry brigade will no doubt point out that both the right and the left have been home to plenty of folks opposed, for example, to the right of gays and lesbians to marry. It’s also fair to point out that there are [...]
Across the state, humane advocates are still celebrating the historic passage of Question 3, which will phase out greyhound racing by 2010.
We are also prepared to roll up our sleeves and go back to work. We are fully committed to playing a constructive role during this transition period, to help ensure that track workers receive retraining assistance and that all greyhounds that are made available for adoption find loving homes. In fact, I am personally committed to adopting another greyhound.
Unfortunately, not everyone seems to share this commitment. Some community activists seem more interested in rehashing the debate over Question 3 than setting aside our differences. Further, many in the media seem to have a greater interest in perpetuating various myths about the Greyhound Protection Act than about the plan to move forward.
It is time to address a few of these myths.