November 2011
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Month November 2011

Diamante Stenograph machine. Full transcript of the public meeting of Boston City Council.

A new Boston City Clerk with advanced knowledge of new technologies and software would make municipal government more open and information more accessible. For example: The Diamante Stenograph machine on view at this hour at records the full transcript of the public meeting of Boston City Council. The machine stores a computer file of the full transcript of the public meeting but officials haven’t made this public record readily available yet.

Still resonates today.

Enjoy the music.  The past is still with us.

Scott Brown’s fundraising letter

Last week, we received Scott Brown’s fundraising letter in the mail. It was addressed to my wife, which is odd because neither of us have ever given a penny to a Republican candidate nor have ever shown any inclination to do so. But I’m glad we got it as it is instructive as to how he’ll be framing his campaign. And it provided a few chuckles. It starts out with a date of “Monday Morning”. I guess if you are a normal, Joe Lunchpail, truck-driving guy, you don’t put real dates on your letters. Regarding that truck, that is the first big, bold, italicized quote that appears: I’m Scott Brown. I’m from Wrentham. I drive a truck. And I’m nobody’s Senator but yours. However, the truck apparently isn’t going to be the core message this time. He’s positioning himself as the maverick (yes, he uses that word) guy who has done things unheard of in Washington: I am nobody’s lackey (um, what about Mitch McConnell?) and the opposition that is lined up against him are nasty, unscrupulous bunch. From the instant my right hand came down after taking the oath of office, I have been attacked, demonized, and vilified. The […]

MASSterList: JPKIII looks to reupholster family carpetbag – Mitt’s McDuck days – Frank says district map forced retirement – Galvin in charge

I FOR ONE WELCOME OUR NEW GINGER OVERLORD: Does this scrawny Middlesex County assistant DA really think he can just carpetbag into Barney Frank’s district and beat the electoral might of a Sam Sutter? The legislative experience of a Cindy Creem? The hair and on-TV-all-the-time-ness of a Mike Ross? The… Pachecocity of a Marc Pacheco? What’s this kid’s name, anyway? Oh. Never mind then, carry on. (Globe, Herald) MITT MONITOR: WBUR continues it’s look at Mitt Romney’s glory days of corporate swashbuckling and Scrooge McDuck-like money swimming. Photo of the day: Mitt buys lots of pizza. HE SHOULD START A BLOG: Barney Frank is saying the new district map would pretty much just have been a pain in the neck to win. (Globe) PAINT IT BLACK: That special electricity in the air you feel around Beacon Hill today can mean only one thing: Secretary of State Bill Galvin is going to be Acting Governor today. Gov. Patrick’s off to Chile and the L.G.’s headed to Florida for a Lt. Governor’s conference, leaving the true Lord of the Hill in charge. Everyone look busy. Exclusive: ‘I’m Innocent,’ DiMasi Says On Eve Of Prison City Moving To Remove ‘Occupy Boston’ Protesters Former […]

Why We Still Need Regulation

It has been a constant refrain emanating from the right, that there’s too much regulation in the American economy and that its stifling growth and job creation. Well, I will be the first to say that where we find unneeded regulation, outdated regulation or poorly conceived regulation we should eliminate it. Periodic review of regulations is a necessity so as to accomplish this elimination of unwanted, unneeded regulation. But regulations of all types exist for a reason and that is that unregulated economic activity resulted in unsafe workplaces and products, environmental damage, violations of worker rights, reckless financial malfeasance, speculation, fraud, ad infinitum. Since the end of the 19th Century, civilized society has decided that unregulated economic activity is unacceptable, thus the need for some degree of regulation. As far as the role of regulation stifling the recovery or the growth of job creation, conservative economic writer David Wessel of the Wall Street Journal puts things into perspective: “Are there regulations that are screwing up American business? Absolutely. But is that the overwhelming problem, the reason we have 9 percent unemployment? No.” A great example of why we still need regulation is the rejection of a settlement between Citigroup and the Securities Exchange Commission by Judge Jed Rakoff in […]

Compare other cities’ city clerks… with Boston.

Compare other cities’ city clerks… with Boston. > Job Description > Job Title: City Clerk > Job ID: 341872 > Location: CCL City Clerk > Full-Time > Regular/Temporary: Regular > Executive/Professional (Mgmt) > The Boston City Council is accepting applications for the position of City Clerk for the City of Boston. How many applied?… Who applied?… > All applicants must have a Bachelors Degree and a minimum of ten years experience working within municipal or county government, legislative experience preferred. > Applicant must also have two years experience planning, organizing, or directing a public agency, including formulation, implementation and oversight of agency funding. > A background or ability in personnel management, demonstrated proficiency in communications and an ability to interact with the public in a customer service type environment. Advanced knowledge of new technologies and softwares. > A working knowledge of the Boston City Charter, Massachusetts Public Records, open meeting laws and a familiarity with Robert’s Rules of Procedure are also required. Experience in complying with FOI Freedom of Information public records principles, Sunshine open public meeting principles of open government. > Ability to exercise good judgment and focus on detail as required by the job. Look into revising the […]

Sonia Chang-Diaz on Redistricting and More

Very timely, considering U.S. Rep. Barney Frank’s announcement that the recent redistricting inspired him not to run again, MA Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz joined us on Left Ahead. Click the player below for her 33-minute show. She dealt in three primary areas — redistricting (she was vice-chair of the special joint committee), the transgender-rights bill (she led in the Senate), and preventing school dropouts (she chairs the joint education committee). The short is that: She says they punished or protected no pol in reducing US House districts from 10 to 9 The transgender law was eight years in the making, long before she won her first term, and she’s very thankful for it even without public-accommodation wording Her dropout bill (S.185) is part of a diverse effort to reverse the pattern of 8,000 MA high-school student each year leaving school forever Listen in as she describes the redistricting process. She makes a convincing argument that politics played virtually no part in it. She talks about the high bar they had to reach in balancing the districts down to identical voter counts and keeping communities of interest together. She admitted that the committee members had a pretty good idea looking at the map what […]

MassEquality statement on Barney Frank

BOSTON, November 28, 2011— Statement by MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini on Congressman Barney Frank’s Announcement of Retirement: “Congressman Barney Frank is a national leader and his decision to retire, while understandable, will be a tremendous loss not just for residents of the Commonwealth, but for the country. Congressman Frank’s contributions span the important issues of the day, and his leadership on LGBT causes has been particularly critical. During the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Frank was instrumental in working to ensure that the House voted to lift the ban on openly gay servicemembers. During the fight for marriage equality in Massachusetts, Frank lobbied local lawmakers to vote to protect the Goodridge decision. And he showed the same leadership on the Transgender Equal Rights Bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick just last week. His leadership and commitment to justice will be sorely missed.”    

The Next Battle for Progressives

Hi all, new to Blue Mass Group! I just wanted to use my first blog post to talk about a huge upcoming issue that has serious repercussions here in Boston. As we saw on November 8th, the face of Boston is changing in a very progressive way, and we need to ride the huge gains we made to prevent casinos and all of their social negatives from coming to Boston. Casino gaming will not be the silver bullet that brings jobs back to Massachusetts. I believe our community needs long term and sustainable jobs and not short term construction jobs. The social consequences outweigh the slight economic boost that casinos will provide.  This site clearly outlines the negative impacts casinos will have on our community: I urge everyone to check it out and get informed about how little a voice the residents of Boston have in putting casinos in our community. One part of the bill that needs to be adjusted is the provision that limits the rights of citizens in large cities, likes Boston, to vote on the bill. All signs point to a casino going into Suffolk Downs so only the residents of East Boston would be allowed to […]

Occupy Coincidence

I don’t believe in coincidence. In particular, I don’t believe it was happenstance that a growing anti- %1 movement emerged in the same year that the NFL and the NBA experienced extended lockouts and sometimes fierce negotiations between the players unions and ‘owners’. Nor do I find it coincidental that the entirely loaded term ‘owners’ is used to describe the ultra-wealthy in the NFL and NBA negotiations. Nor do I find it merely coincidental that, in that same year, non-unionized retail workers were told to suck up a 12AM “black” Friday opening, only to be faced with pepper spray and tasers in some stores. Nor do I think it coincidentel that the OWS movement, however diffuse it has become, seems to me to have been trailing close behind Gov Walkers’ (of Wisconsin) clear anti-union efforts. Interestingly enough, cops and firefighters were exempted from Walkers’ efforts to curb collective bargaining… Apparently, the Green Bay Packers were exempted from this also (Yes, I know, the GBPs aren’t public sector employees but I hope you get my point.) So, is OWS, at core, just a frustrated effort at collective bargaining writ very very large? Or is it a recognition of a complete breakdown […]