Suffolk County holidays hit the NYT; Cahill hits the Globe and the Herald

Items that caught my eye in today’s papers.

  • Suffolk County holidays hit the NY Times.  The little dust-up over Bunker Hill Day and St. Patrick’s Evacuation Day, first noted as-it-happened right here on BMG (never mind those Johnny-come-latelies over at the Globe!), has made national news.  I’m not sure why, exactly, but I do think it’s funny that Sen. Jack Hart, who was not shy about voicing his opinion on the Senate floor and to the Herald, declined to speak to the NY Times.  Since when does Hart get tongue-tied?

    Sen. Tisei, the Republican who started this thing with a budget amendment, has now said he’ll file it as a standalone bill.  My guess?  Tisei’s bill will pass both chambers (he only needs to flip three votes in the Senate and one in the House, and I think he’ll pull it off given the attention this issue is getting), and the Gov has already said he’ll sign it.  I suspect that no one is more surprised about that than Senator Tisei.

  • Cahill’s gone wild!  Tim Cahill has been every reporter’s best friend lately, handing out juicy party-bashing quotes like candy.  For the Herald, he offered up some very peculiar equivalences:
    “When you cook the books and take kickbacks for legislative decisions on software contracts or alcohol licenses – or you create faulty resumes and job descriptions to justify an outrageous salary – those all go to the core of the public questioning if anything is on the level here,” Cahill said.

    Uh, what?  Tim, are you seriously equating the federal crimes of which Sal DiMasi and Dianne Wilkerson are accused with offering Marian Walsh a job at HEFA?  We had plenty to say about the HEFA thing, but come on now — that’s crazy talk.  Also, asked by the Herald if he “would get a fair shake by the party,” he said,

    “It doesn’t appear that way.”

    Well, what’s your evidence for that?  That you might not win the primary?  That’s not being denied a fair shake — that’s losing an election.  Or are you worried about not getting the 15% of delegates you need at the nominating convention to make the ballot?  That, too, is not being denied a fair shake — that’s being out-hustled and out-organized.  Quit yer whining and get to work.

    I do like his quote to the Globe:

    “I think back to Dianne Wilkerson and how dirty things felt for about a week, and then it kind of passed.”

    It’s unclear from the Globe exactly what he’s talking about.  He’s surely not referring to this, this, or this.  Must be Marian Walsh again.  Or something.

What’d I miss?

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45 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. I will admit...

    ...I was wondering what transpired to keep him away from the convention, as far as I could tell...

    sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • Could'a been

      a damaged ego from the smack-down he got at the DNC nomination meeting.  I have gone from neutral, to not really liking this guy to feeling bile rising in my gullet when I see and hear the Treasurer's name.

    • Supposedly,

      it was his daughter's high school graduation.  

    • Don't know if you noticed

      But Cahill was also the only statewide elected official not to have bought an ad in the Delegate guide.

      • I did notice

        Tim Cahill and the Democratic Party don't have much use for each other these days, do they?  Then again, they never did.

        sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
  2. Martha Coakley for something

    Whatever she wants to run for -

  3. Tim Cahill is a typical knucklehead, but.

    are you seriously equating the federal crimes of which Sal DiMasi and Dianne Wilkerson are accused with offering Marian Walsh a job at HEFA?

    The granting of grossly overpaid make-work jobs to supporters during a world-wide economic meltdown is the kind of institutional corruption that can only live hand-in-hand with the petty greed of DiMasi. Marian Walsh was ready to steal money from the taxpayers every day she went to work as her reward for supporting Deval's personal ambiitions. Just because you can't get an indictment for it doesn't mean it's not criminal for all intents and purposes. When you feel entitled to one, how far is it to the other?

    • Let's get the facts straight before throwing accusations around

      HEFA is fully self-funded. It receives no tax-payer dollars.

      My understanding, as well, is that Marian Walsh was not being offered a sinecure, but was expected to use the position to merge HEFA with another entity, potentially against the will if the current holdover appointee from the previous Republican administrations, who makes $225K a year.

      You may not think Walsh was the right person for the role, or that the idea the proposed merger was misguided, or the rollout and timing of the appointment ham-handed (surely true), but it simply does not belong in the same conversation as DiMasi and friend arranging kickbacks for themselves.

      • Stop with the self-funding cliche

        They've been saying that since it was formed.

        True, it receives no tax dollars directly.

        More accurately, it's a government controlled conduit that takes money from lenders, runs it through HEFA which takes a percent of the action (self-funding), and issues it as tax free financing for 501(c)(3) agencies, many or most of which have government contracts.  

        It's a heavy overhead organization that exists to take advantage of a tax loophole: debt issued by a government organization is tax free.  

        Put it this way, if Congress were to pass a law that said Municiple Bond Interest is taxable, HEFA would disappear the next day.  That tells me that HEFA is self-funding, from the tax subsidy.

        • Well Tim has not showed him self in Glory

          Did anyone catch this in Sunday's Globe

          As detailed in the Globe last week, "The Money Conference" is underwritten by corporate sponsors such as State Street Corp., Bank of America, and Barclays Bank, with contributions ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. These same financial institutions also handle the state's bond offerings or invest the state's pension fund.

          But the fund-raising is more centralized and Cahill's own political fundraisers are soliciting the donations.

          Certainly his extra cirricular activities are for a good cause but, his fundraisers, and the Big donors are the top three doing business with the State Treasurers Office. Well it may not be illegal and it may not be unethical (under the old rules) but it has an odor to it anyway.

          See what you think!

          as Usual just my Opinion

        • No matter how you slice it--the taxpayers and consumers take it in the shorts again.

          Many (not all) of these non-profits ( so called) are nothing but scams, engaging in redundant and often uneeded and unwanted make believe "do-gooder" work. Many of the people who are employed at these non profits are hacks who have lost or been deprived of their sinecure at the public trough.Another way to save tax payer dollars. Rid ourselves of these "non-profits" and spend the money, if there is any, where it will be best served.  

        • By that logic, we would need to speak of how tax payer dollars

          Are at stake in every household that has a mortgage, every investor that depreciates real estate, every telecom company with telephone poles, everyone who buys a hybrid, installs solar panels, every company that takes an R&D tax credit, every nonprofit organization or charity.  If we don't say that any other entity that doesn't pay a tax that could conceivably be levied is 'tax-payer funded' - and we surely don't, unless attempting to make an unfounded connection, as I was reacting to above - it doesn't make sense to say that HEFA is.    

        • It's just as true

          to say that if for-profit lenders stopped making profits from lending that HEFA would disappear the next day.  

          • Except

            It's just as true to say that if for-profit lenders stopped making profits from lending that HEFA would disappear the next day.

            Except that doesn't make sense.  Because, even if for-profit lenders stopped making profits,they would still be unable to issue tax-free financing.

            The point is that the State created a monopoly.  HEFA is the only organization that can magically turn taxable interest paid by 501 organizations and received by bond holders into tax free interest, because of i) an IRS statute plus ii) State statutes that created HEFA.

            HEFA can charge any fee it wants up to the point that its fees exceed the savings the non-profit can receive by using tax-exempt funding.  

            It's like the lottery commission!  Look, it's self-funding.  Well sure, that's because it's  the only "game" in the State.

            • Why is this a problem?

              First of all, both aspects are needed: money from for-profit lenders and the ability to issue tax free financing.

              And why does the fact that HEFA, or the lottery, has a monopoly make it any less self-funding? Unless you think non-profits should pay interest on bonds, what's the cost to the taxpayer?

  4. Cahill, for whatever reason, has been getting cut off at the knees by the MDC

    Obviously there is a history or simply because he is a white male---he's getting blind sided day in and day out with corruption allegations. On the other hand, Prince Deval get a pass on every screw up he makes, which are now becoming too numerous to list. The republicans are no beter with the midnight political aspiration assassinations that they have engaged in. You wonder why Massachusetts is so screwed up?

    • When will things change

      I see it a little differently, there have always been bosses who have to, on some level, serve their underlings. Think about the immigration early this century -- if the private employers couldn't soak up the extra workers, then the government did it by creating low wage jobs with tax money.

      The thing honest people never realize is that the good boss, even a corrupt politician, doesn't take the money for himself. You get so much more thanks by attaching a slightly underqualified worker with a source of money that wants some political (or even sexual) favor.

      Now we are in a situation where the government controls a larger and larger share of the economy. On some level, the corruption serves to employ people who would be out on the street, probably.

      And this is where the Republicans can come in. If the private economy was freed to pick up the slack then the government share would come down. What the Republicans have done for now is use their power only to favor a different and competing set of anti-growth business contributors.

  5. What'd You miss? Here's what I missed...

    I suspect that no one is more surprised about that than Senator Tisei.

     Reform over Revenue!  Snark over Substance!

    Sen. Tisei had the guts to propose the amendment, and is following through with a bill.  Where's the progressives, beyond lip service and speechifying?  Any reason BMG hero Eldridge didn't file this as a bill?  Did he co-sponsor the one Tisei is filing? (I do not know).

    Or will he rely, as others, on the sound bites of his protest without taking concrete action that might, you know, piss somebody off?  (Spare me his 'curageous vote'- it's a lot easier to take a vote with others than take individual action).

    Of course, we all know that as a late-filed bill, it has to make it out of Rules, and it will die there as a docket, strangled in its crib by the Democrats who control the establishment...hey!  Jamie!  Maybe you CAN co-sign withut repurcussions..

    • I like Karyn Polito's bill

      on term limits, although I have serious doubts as to whether it will have any traction whatsoever.  

    • Ouch! But was that David's point?

      Your comment is in general apt, in MHO. But I think David's point was just that Senator Tisei might be surprised by his success, that's all. Let's hope the bill makes it through.  

    • Hey, settle down, PP!

      Come on -- we've been pretty solid on this issue around here, even designating Tisei and his GOP merrie band "Roadies" (rather than "fails") on the BMG progressive ticker over this very issue.  And as for Eldridge, he told the Herald why he voted for the amendment, and why he'll vote again for Tisei's standalone bill.  Chang-Diaz has been quieter, but she has clearly pissed off Senator Hart.  (See the same article.)

      "Co-sponsor"?  Please.  Nobody in the real world cares about "co-sponsors."  You're much more likely to make headlines about something if you, well, make headlines, as Eldridge has already done.

      Plus, don't deny the truth.  Tisei is stunned that he might actually get this through -- you know it, I know it, and the American people know it.  ;-)

    • Snark over Substance!

      Catchy, but hasn't that always been your mantra?

    • Sen Tisei

      is in an "Ive got nothing to lose by trying" situation. His party has so few numbers and so little oomph that he might just as well throw this stuff out in the hope that something might succeed.

  6. How sad

    I will be most disappointed if our history is thrown into the circular file.  These days should be recognized and quite frankly, what difference does a couple of days make for time off?  If it's really a money issue, then just substract two days from the annual leave time Suffolk County employees are allowed.  It is vitally important to me that these days continue to be recognized, though preferably statewide.

    • Vitally Important?


      Evacuation Day is the least important holiday perhaps in the entire country from an historical perspective.  The "evacutation" of British troops from Boston is of little significance to historians of the Revolutionary War.  The fact that it is celebrated on the same day as Saint Patrick's Day is of course mere coincidence.

      Bunker Hill Day at least commenmorates an important and seminal battle in the Revolutionary War.  But I think everyone could wait two weeks until July 4th.  In mid-April, after all, you still get Marathon Monday Patriots' Day if you must honor your favorite Revolutionary War heroes with a day off from work.

      • Maybe

        I'm not going to get into an argument about whether this or that historical incident is more important than another.  I am just quite bothered by the general ignorance of our history among the populace and will take any excuse I can get to raise up these events in the public consciousness.  Your strikethrough of "Marathon Monday" to replace with "Patriots Day" illustrates my point.  Even that holiday has seen it's historical significance downplayed in favor of an unrelated footrace.  In fact to illustrate ignorance outside of MA where it's not celebrated, a few years ago CNN was reporting about April 19th being the anniversary of the Waco siege and the OKC bombing, the reporter commented that the date is one that "right-wing militia groups refer to as Patriot's Day".  Excuse me!  Massachusetts is now apparently collectively a rightwing militia group!  I can understand that I may not be able to convince many people that this is any more than a personal pet peeve of mine, but as they say, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

        • sacrifices

          In this era of economic hardship, your personal pet peeve might have to take a back seat to the savings that would come from this (estimates of around $5m).  Not a lot of money, yes.  But an important step to make before raising taxes and cutting more vital spending.

          If you think the budget situation here is bad,, check out this calculator --  I kinda wish someone would do that for our state... it would be a nice "yes, but" to the talk radio crowd.  Calif. is so much more FUBAR than we are though.    

          • How does taking days off cost money?

            If anything it seems like days off would save money in terms of less energy for closed buildings and pay (if it's per diem).  That's why some localities are instituting furlough days.  I've already suggested subtracting two days from employee leave if that's really the concern

            • $quot;subtracting two days from employee leave$quot;

              Oh yes, that will go over well.  ;-)

            • Valid question. I thought I heard somewhere

              That state employees not in Suffolk county receive two floating holidays to use on days off of their choice, and therefore all state employees get the same total number of days off.  The only difference for the Suffolk county employees is that two of those days are the hack holidays.  If true, it's a very valid question whether the savings are there for eliminating these holidays.  Would the employees in Suffolk county simply receive two floating days like other state employees?

              • They do get floating holidays

                to be used within 60 days of the holiday.  Not clear what happens if the holiday is no longer a holiday.

                The larger point is that these two holidays are part of the compensation package for most state employees (reminder: most state employees are not "hacks"; they are clerical workers, direct care staff, housekeepers, prison guards, nurses, social workers, etc.).  So there will be issues with state employees' unions to lose the two days.

                There ought to be some kind of negotiated fair trade  Legally, I'm not sure how it would work out.  

              • If money is the issue...

                ...I am absolutely open to ways to ease that kind of burden on the state.  I just want the holidays acknowledged and if we can make that cost less, great, but reducing them to gubernatorial proclamations which seem to be a dime a dozen won't have my desired effect of public awareness.

  7. Don't hold your breath on holidays...

    ...Tisei's bill got referred to the Judiciary committee, which is co-chaired by Rep. O'Flaherty, an ardent supporter of the Suffolk County holidays.  This bill looks to be DOA.

    • Interesting.

      Senate chair Creem voted against the amendment as well, IIRC, and Sen. Hart is also on the committee.  LOL!!

      • But don't give up hope...

        This issue is strong enough that it got at least 4 days of straight press, and while relatively minor, it is very symbolic and will be something the GOP will keep bringing to the table, especially with the growing support among Dems (78-78 in the House would have been unimaginable until recently). 2010 is knocking, and this is a nice zinger for the GOP.

        Tisei's stand-alone bill is toast, but I wouldn't be surprised if this gets passed as an amendment to some larger bill at some point in the not-so-distant future (see: Sept/Oct 2010)

  8. The Holidays

    If the legislators feel they are so important, then surely they would loudly advocate making them a statewide holiday. Why should Suffolk county have all the fun?

  9. Dont under-estimate Tim

    Devals rankings are in the toilet right now, even lefty blog DailyKos has him only at about 25%, and this close to an election year that is not a good place to be. The average voter does not know anything about Tim Cahill, and with Tim heavily outraising Deval, he can easily define himself (probably feel good ads like 'Tim for Guvanah!') and define Deval (drape gate, cadilliac gate, supporting Wilkerson, Walshgate, Turnpike gate, gas tax gate, Jamaica gate, believe me with this many gates plenty of material). Then the average voter thinks Deval is an idiot at best, a crook at worse, and see's this nice guy named Tim willing to be a better governor for them. I think if he gets on the ballot he would be a formidable opponent, and even if Deval survives a primary challenge he will still likely go down to defeat, even if most of the state's mess is not his fault. He, like many governors this cycle, will be the victim of a bad economy, and a corrupt state that was corrupt long before he got into office. Its likely Patterson and Corzine will end up just as jobless as Deval come November.

    That said, its entirely possible Cahill doesn't get on the primary ballot. In which case he is just egotistical enough to mount an independent candidacy that will surely syphon off more votes from the anti-Deval crowd that might just give Patrick a plurality come November.

    Whats more intriguing is if Gabrielli mounts a primary challenge. He has a lot more money to burn and is far more credible than Cahill, and could even get the support of liberals worried that Deval is a loser come November.

    Oh and forget those rumors about SCOTUS or a plush job in the Obama administration, he is just rehired Plouffe so it seems that Deval is ready to run.

    • $quot;those rumors about SCOTUS or a plush job$quot;

      They were always BS.  Patrick has been unequivocal from day 1 that he wasn't interested, and that he was running for reelection in 2010.  It was only breathless media types who were desperate for something to talk about who were pushing that stuff.

      • To be fair David

        I was around in IL when Obama kept insisting he'd stay that state's Senator and would finish his term, I remember Hillary Clinton saying the same thing. Come to think of it I recall Romney saying he'd definitely run for re-election, I also recall Chris Gabrielli saying he was not interested. Needless to say, even Sherman statements can sometimes be flip flopped and with all the other broken promises of this administration I wouldn't put it past him to break this one.  

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