Sorry, No Boston Olympics: The Money's On The Other Side

It is an interesting question what the public thinks of the Olympics. A referendum is certainly in order. - promoted by Bob_Neer

London 2012 altYou No Boston Olympics people think you can stop Boston 2024 just because public support is cratering and there are a hundred other things on which we could better spend those billions?

Things like “logic” and “the public good” go out the window when there’s this much money pushing to subsidize the construction and staging of Boston 2024:

Former Gov. Deval Patrick will be compensated $7,500 per day when he travels on behalf of the backers of a bid to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to Boston, according to organizers.

At that rate, Patrick could score half a million dollars by working just 67 days.

Boston 2024 also released information on staff salaries and consultants. Rich Davey, Patrick’s former transportation chief and the Olympic organization’s CEO, annually makes $300,000, while Murphy earns $215,000. Joe Rull, a former top aide to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, makes $175,000 as chief administrative officer. [...]

The Boston 2024 effort is chaired by construction magnate John Fish, and funded thus far with private donations.

We’re still nine years out and consultants have already turned Boston 2024 into a cash cow paying out well over a million dollars a year in salaries alone, along with untold fees to dozens of consulting firms. The Herald’s Chris Cassidy has the full salary list.

But hey, what’s a few million now when John Fish & friends stand to take a huge slice of those taxpayer billions?

Treason, stupidity, or both?

In which the value of BMG as a platform for fulmination is demonstrated. - promoted by Bob_Neer

I am finding it increasingly difficult to understand how any person with an IQ that exceeds room temperature can actually vote for ANY national GOP figure. Wisconsin is bad enough, but Florida is utterly mind-boggling.

The letter to Iran signed by Senate Republicans, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, is a flagrant attempt to derail the negotiations between President Obama and Iran. At the same time, we read of Florida Governor Rick Scott forbidding mention of climate change:

The state of Florida is the region most susceptible to the effects of global warming in this country, according to scientists. Sea-level rise alone threatens 30 percent of the state’s beaches over the next 85 years.

But you would not know that by talking to officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the state agency on the front lines of studying and planning for these changes.

DEP officials have been ordered not to use the term “climate change” or “global warming” in any official communications, emails, or reports, according to former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers and records obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.

The policy goes beyond semantics and has affected reports, educational efforts and public policy in a department that has about 3,200 employees and $1.4 billion budget.

“We were told not to use the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability,’ ” said Christopher Byrd, an attorney with the DEP’s Office of General Counsel in Tallahassee from 2008 to 2013. “That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”

There is no way to sugar-coat this. The first is simple and intentional treason. The other is mind-numbingly stupid. Presumably the voters in Florida like both. Mr. Rubio joins Mr. Walker in being mentioned (along with Rand Paul) as presidential candidates. Are you KIDDING? These bozos have more in common with Lyndon LaRouch or L. Ron Hubbard than any past or present president.

I don’t know anybody who lives in Florida. I don’t know who in Florida votes for these maroons, but there are apparently a LOT of them. If the taxes in Massachusetts help keep those Florida Republicans in Florida, that alone is reason enough to raise our taxes even higher. If we have voters in Massachusetts who choose to to live in Florida rather than spend a few thousand dollars a year more in MA taxes, I say “don’t let the door hit you on your way out”.

Today’s GOP has moved beyond “partisan” and “hyper-partisan” into treasonous, criminally negligent, abusive of civil rights, and most of all terminally STUPID.

House leadership says WUT

Shaking my head … Just to pile on David’s post from last week, you have to wonder what rock our House leaders have been under. Bob DeLeo and Ron Mariano act as if they have no idea how the MBTA spends its money:

“Well, giving the T more money right now is kind of crazy,” [House Majority Leader Ron] Mariano told reporters after a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast, where Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo delivered a speech. “I think they have to begin to demonstrate that they can use that money effectively. … There seems to be no one looking at long-term maintenance or any maintenance. So until we can figure out what’s going on over there … I think it might be a little crazy to be spending money.” …

Speaking to reporters after­ward, DeLeo was cool to Baker’s initial plan to boost state funding.

I think we have to try to make sure the house is in order, in terms of the T structure and whatnot, before we talk about additional funds,” he said.

Do these words inspire confidence? Or does it sound like a bunch of ad hoc word salad?

They haven’t figured out “what’s going on over there.” Um, “in terms of the T structure and whatnot.”

Isn’t it their job to know what’s going on?

Do those words inspire any confidence that they’ve been paying attention to a major public resource, one that their constituents use every day? I mean, Ron Mariano is from Quincy — the end of the Red Line. How many of his constituents have been grievously impacted by the T’s failure?

Look, I am all for considered analysis, and certainly I look forward to the Baker committee’s appraisal of the state of the T. But at some point our legislative leaders simply have to act. Every indication says that it’s going to require more money — a lot of it.  If they need to seem reluctant to raise taxes, that’s a political dosido for them to figure out.

But the rest of us have to get to work. A transit system has to work in winter. And for years DeLeo and Mariano have shown no interest in the T, when it was their job to protect and invest in it.

I honestly don’t know how our self-professed progressive caucus in the House can vote for these guys. All set with that.

Marty Walsh told USOC that there is "no real opposition" to Boston's Olympic bid

Another unfortunate development. - promoted by david

When several reporters had FOIA-ed Marty Walsh’s email communications with Boston 2024, the Mayor’s Office told them that no such emails exist. Well, a couple months later, they finally found them. Maybe they were hiding under a couch?

The released documents contain two copies of the speech that Marty Walsh delivered before the USOC back in December when presenting Boston 2024′s bid.

Here is the most striking and disturbing part of the prepared remarks:

So believe me when I tell you, we don’t have real opposition [to the Olympics] in Boston. Everyone who is engaged; everyone who has listened; everyone who has faith in our future—understands the opportunity this represents for our city…Boston’s commitment to the Olympic Movement and the Olympic Games is broad and it is deep.

On behalf of No Boston 2024, one of the groups organizing against the bid, I gave the following statement to the Bay State Examiner, who first broke the story.

CONGRESSWOMAN CLARK TO CELEBRATE SELMA MARCH TODAY...

Good job, Congresswoman! - promoted by Bob_Neer

Congresswoman Katherine Clark and her son Jarod will join the  President and First Lady Michele Obama and their daughters and other members of Congress to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Selma “Bloody Sunday” march for voting rights at the invitation of her House colleague Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia).  Mr. Lewis was beaten by Alabama state police as he and others attempted to cross the Pettit bridge to Montgomery.

I was disappointed to learn that Republican House leaders refused the invitation to march.

We should all re-dedicate ourselves to continue the fight to secure voting rights for ALL citizens.

Fred Rich LaRiccia

Campaign Chair, Clark for Congress Committee

 

 

 

 

Fully Baked Baker Budget

A critical review. - promoted by Bob_Neer

baker4With an ostensible liberal Democratic-controlled General Court, MA remains traditionally fiscally conservative. That’s fertile ground for GOP Gov. Charlie Baker to plant his no-new taxes seeds. Thus, most of his first budget proposal likely didn’t surprise BMG sorts.

And yet, let us consider what he didn’t say.

[I'll tuck my 27-minute Left Ahead ramble on the budget at the bottom...for your consideration, if you have indulgence in your heart and perhaps a pint in hand.]

Sure, it’s largely level funded. Most line items on page after page of his proposal are identical to last fiscal year’s dollar amounts. Yet unstated is that doing this is really an inflation-reduction per department and function, maybe 3% or more in reduced funds and effectively frozen human and physical resources.

Most obviously, at Baker’s press conference announcing his proposed budget, he iterated and reiterated inherited to the point of a drinking game card. There was no sympathy much less empathy for previous Gov. Deval Patrick who balanced 8 years of budgets with various shortfalls and nasty surprises. Instead it was, “Woe is me having to correct the blunders and incompetence of a profligate predecessor.” It was $700 million plus, then $1.5 or $1.8 billion deficit. “Let us thank the fiscal gods that a responsible adult is finally in charge here.”

I find that the biggest takeaway from his proposal and press conference. Charlie Baker has always been a canny self-promoter, savvy in both politics and PR. Here he is setting up first a terrible situation so that even small accomplishments seem grand.

Longer term, Baker seems setting himself up as a savior, a fixer, a turn-around manager. He has plenty of ego and vanity. He doesn’t need to do this setup for his internals. Instead, I figure he is already aiming at a VP or even Prez shot it 2020 or 2024. Like Mitt Romney trying to ride his two horses of Olympics success and Red guy winning in a Blue state, Baker seems ready to rescue us, even if that’s really just doing the balanced-budget legal mandate.

Meetings with Reps Capuano and Clark

N.B. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Recently, I posted wondering why I haven’t been hearing about Congressional and Senatorial public meetings and today I found two that are coming up. Good.

District Policy Panel with Congresswoman Katherine Clark
Tuesday, March 10
7:00 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)
Lesley University, University Hall Amphitheater, 1815 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
RSVP at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/district-policy-panel-with-congresswoman-katherine-clark-registration-15874983503

Please join us for our next district policy panel focused on domestic violence in our communities. Hosted by Lesley University and moderated by Congresswoman Katherine Clark, this panel of experts will discuss violence prevention education, intervention, funding for shelters and programs and what we can do as a community to educate and empower others.

Parking is available behind University Hall and the venue is T accessible by Porter Square Station.
For more information, please contact: lauren.pardi@mail.house.gov or (781) 396-2900.

Immigration Update with Congressman Capuano
Wednesday, March 11
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM (EDT)
Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), Havana Room Cambridge, 1 Broadway 5th Floor, Cambridge
RSVP at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/immigration-update-with-congressman-capuano-tickets-14997011465

There is NEW immigration legislation before Congress. How will it affect business and employment?
Special guest Congressman Capuano recently introduced immigration reform legislation, known as the ‘BRAIN Act’ to provide visas for certain advanced STEM graduates. In addition, a huge immigration bill known as the ‘I-Squared Act of 2015′ includes major immigration reforms, extending beyond the President’s proposals. Rep. Capuano will explain what’s happening in Washington, DC around immigration policy and how you can influence the process and help get these reforms passed!
Immigration attorney Roy Watson will explain how these changes will affect immigration options and outcomes for employers and skilled foreign nationals seeking to live and work in the United States.

Joke Revue: "Boehner Calls Netanyahu Closest Ally in Fight Against Obama"

Borowitz:

Boehner Calls Netanyahu Closest Ally in Fight Against Obama

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—On the eve of the Israeli Prime Minister’s address to Congress, House Speaker John Boehner used a joint press conference to praise Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him “our closest and most important ally in the fight against President Obama.”

“Even as the President threatens us with provocative acts, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s support for us has been unwavering,” Boehner said. “He understands what many of us have long known: that peace with this enemy can only be achieved through total victory.”

Netanyahu had equally high praise for Boehner, saying that “no one has been more steadfast and dedicated in the struggle against your President.”

“This foe is not to be trusted or appeased,” Netanyahu said. “Your resolute refusal to find any common ground with him whatsoever has earned my undying respect.” …

Boehner Invites Man Who Hated Obama in High School to Address Congress

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—House Speaker John Boehner has scheduled a joint session of Congress in April to hear an address by Kevin Laggett, a man who is on record as having hated President Obama in high school.

Boehner, who personally extended the invitation to Laggett, said that he did not consult with the President before contacting his high-school nemesis.

“This has nothing to do with the President,” Boehner said. “Many of us in Congress are very interested in what Mr. Laggett has to say.” …

Reached in Honolulu, where he works as an assistant manager at Applebee’s, Laggett said that his speech to Congress would steer clear of personal issues between him and Obama.

“I’m going to leave that stuff at the door,” he said. “I’m just going to talk about the job he’s doing as President, which he’s screwing up pretty bad, in my opinion.”

Poll: New Scandal Not Up to Clintons’ Usual Standards

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—A new poll indicates that the American people are deeply disappointed in Hillary Clinton’s State Department e-mail flap because it does not live up to the high standards of sordidness set by Clinton scandals of the past.

Davis Logsdon, who supervised the poll for the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, said that those surveyed were “receptive and even intrigued” by the idea of a new Clinton scandal, but then were deflated when they learned what the scandal actually involved.

“When people hear the words ‘Clinton scandal,’ they expect a certain amount of sex and sleaze,” Logsdon said. “But once they find out that this one is about State Department e-mail regulations which may or may not have been disobeyed, they feel very let down.”

“In a sense, the Clintons have created this problem for themselves,” Logsdon added. “They set an extremely high bar with some very memorable scandals in the past, and for a lot of people, this one just doesn’t live up to the hype.”

Onion:

Netanyahu Doubles Down Against Obama With PowerPoint On Perils Of Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON—In what is being regarded as a further provocation on top of his already controversial address before Congress, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu doubled down against President Obama Tuesday with a PowerPoint presentation on the perils of the Affordable Care Act. “As you’ll see here in this chart, Obamacare restricts freedom of choice for people who were previously insured through their employers, while simultaneously causing insurance companies to raise their premiums,” said Netanyahu, who according to witnesses had finished his original speech criticizing Obama’s opposition to further Iran sanctions and immediately announced he would be discussing the president’s “fatally flawed and unconstitutional” health care overhaul. “Now, if we click over to the next slide, we see that the individual mandate forces many Americans to purchase insurance policies they cannot afford or simply don’t want. Why should the government be making our health care decisions for us?” At press time, Netanyahu was asking if he might have a few more minutes for an abbreviated version of his PowerPoint on the troubling unanswered questions that still surrounded Benghazi.

Hillary Clinton Hints At Presidential Ambitions By Concealing Information From American People

WASHINGTON—Fueling further speculation this week that she has her sights set on the Oval Office, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is said to have hinted at her presidential ambitions by concealing a vast trove of information from the American people. “By using a personal email account to keep records out of the hands of investigators and the U.S. populace, Clinton is making it resoundingly clear that she has presidential aspirations,” said political analyst Stuart Rothenberg, adding that Clinton’s efforts to obfuscate basic facts and hide thousands of documents from taxpayers for years on end demonstrate her capacity to successfully perform the duties of the commander-in-chief. “Clinton is showing voters that she’s ready and willing to circumvent regulations in order to keep Americans in the dark on important issues and prevent anyone from uncovering potentially incriminating evidence. This is definitely her most unambiguous declaration of her intentions at a presidential run.” Rothenberg added that Clinton’s flimsy justifications for her actions and her efforts to deflect blame further prove that she will handily win the Democratic nomination in 2016.

Daniel Kurtzman:

“Nancy Pelosi said she was ‘near tears’ during the prime minister’s speech to Congress because it insulted America’s intelligence. So please, nobody tell Nancy Pelosi about ‘The Bachelor.’” –Seth Meyers

“During the CPAC conference, Rand Paul told the crowd it was time for a new president and that people need to help make the change. Of course, most people agreed with him, since that’s how term limits work.” –Jimmy Fallon

“RNC chairman Reince Priebus criticized Joe Biden, saying that he can’t control his mouth. That’s kind of like someone trying to say the name ‘Reince Priebus,’ which sounds like a drunk person trying to say ‘rented Prius.’” –Jimmy Fallon

ConservaDems getting testy

Anybody with any sense recognizes that the MBTA has to be fixed.  And yet, even the rumor that the Baker administration will not sign off on a billion bucks worth of bonds that were destined for expanding the South Boston Convention Center, because the new Governor would prefer to spend the money on fixing the T, has got House Democrats frothing at the mouth.

“I hope he’s not stupid enough to say either-or,” House Majority Leader Ron Mariano said of the possibility that Baker will fund the T instead of the convention center. “It’s crazy. One has nothing to do with the other.”

Wow, settle down, Ron.  ”Stupid” and “crazy” are a tad harsh, don’tcha think?  Guess Baker’s honeymoon is over in the House.

It’s becoming increasingly clear how cleverly Baker is playing the House conservaDems.  He is backing them into the extremely uncomfortable corner of defending the film tax credit, the Convention Center boondoggle, and a nice deal on health insurance for long-term state employees (they pay 20% of their premiums, whereas post-2002 hires and much of the private sector pay 25%; Baker has proposed that all state employees pay 25%), instead of his proposed increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit and fixing the MBTA.  He is, in other words, putting House Dems in the position of defending special interests, whereas he is speaking up for low-income residents and all the folks who depend on the T.

That’s smart politics, and it’s also smart policy.  Like I said yesterday, things could be getting pretty interesting around here.

It's on: liberal Republican governor vs. conservaDem state reps

So this is what our politics is going to look like for the foreseeable future.  Could be entertaining.

You might recall that Governor Baker is proposing, as part of his budget, to give the MBTA a 50% bump next fiscal year, up to almost $200 million, in direct state aid.  Because, you know, it’s broken, and it has to be fixed.

Stephanie Pollack, Baker’s transportation secretary, said the transit agency’s disastrous winter — marked by days of system-wide closures, shuttered rail lines and fuming commuters — made it clear some investment was necessary, even as Baker has pledged not to raise taxes or fees.

“We need to get a handle on the structural deficit, and there needs to be a sustainable long-term plan so that the T can operate in the revenue it has available to it. This fiscal year was not the year to tackle that type of challenge,” Pollack said in an interview.

And what was the reaction from our friends in the legislature?

“Well, giving the T more money right now is kind of crazy,” [House Majority Leader Ron] Mariano told reporters after a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast, where Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo delivered a speech. “I think they have to begin to demonstrate that they can use that money effectively. … There seems to be no one looking at long-term maintenance or any maintenance. So until we can figure out what’s going on over there … I think it might be a little crazy to be spending money.” …

Speaking to reporters after­ward, DeLeo was cool to Baker’s initial plan to boost state funding.

“I think we have to try to make sure the house is in order, in terms of the T structure and whatnot, before we talk about additional funds,” he said.

Oh for the love of Pete.  You know what’s “crazy”?  What’s crazy is that the T doesn’t work, and that the legislature doesn’t really seem to care.  That’s crazy.  DeLeo, Mariano and the rest of them can natter on all they want about a long-term maintenance plan and the T structure “and whatnot,” blah blah blah.  But meanwhile, maybe somebody should make sure that the trains don’t catch fire.

So let’s be clear: Charlie Baker is right about this (and about this too, for that matter), and the House Democrats are wrong.  If this keeps up, things could get pretty interesting around these parts.

Ok, I'll say it ..great idea Governor Baker - kill film tax credit to fund another tax credit for working families.

Two fascinating moves by Governor Baker: this one, and the increase in funding for the MBTA that will be included in his budget proposal. - promoted by david

Now I haven’t seen the legislation, and I’m sure there are a few bugs that need to be removed, but this, is a good idea, and will be a very difficult fight to win. Are you ready?

Governor Charlie Baker is proposing that the state kill a controversial tax credit for the film industry and expand one for thousands of low-income workers.

Baker’s proposed state budget, to be released Wednesday, will call for doubling the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, which currently adds as much as $937 to the tax returns of low-income working families with three or more children. Within three years, that figure would increase to $1,873.

To pay for it, Baker calls for phasing out the state’s film tax credit.

“I think it’s an important opportunity for us to both do something real and also send a signal that we believe in supporting people who are working real hard to get ahead,” the governor said in an interview Monday. “This is one way, in addition to increasing the minimum wage and some others, to provide them with more bang for their buck.”

Warren, Clark, McGovern skip GOP's Netanyahu exhibition: good for them

Globe:

Senator Elizabeth Warren and two other members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation plan to skip Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress Tuesday, saying they are protesting the invitation made by House Speaker John Boehner.

Representatives Katherine Clark, a Melrose Democrat, and Jim McGovern, a Democrat of Worcester, also are planning to miss the event.

The Israeli Prime Minister has decided to align Israel with the Republican Party and jab two stiff fingers in President Obama’s eye and, by extension, the 65 million Americans who voted for him, and the Democratic Party in general. That’s his decision but there is no reason Obama’s supporters should be complicit in his effort to puff up John Boehner and attack Barack Obama.

Well done Senator Warren and Representatives Clark and McGovern. Ed Markey, Richard Neal, Niki Tsongas, Joe Kennedy, Seth Moulton, Mike Capuano, Steve Lynch and Bill Keating should follow their smart politics.