Tag governor

Governor’s Councilor Jubinville wants to decriminalize heroin — and that’s a great idea

Yesterday, Governor’s Councilor Robert Jubinville sent a letter to state leadership recommending we decriminalize heroin and establish state-run methadone clinics to combat the opiate overdose crisis. From the Taunton Daily Gazette: “Hopefully this can start the conversation and start helping some of these kids instead of running them through the courts and ruining their lives,” Jubinville said. In his letter, Jubinville says drug addiction is a disease that should be treated not punished. He applauded Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello who earlier this year announced that his department would stop arresting addicts who show up to the police station to turn in their drugs and paraphernalia and ask for help. Methadone clinics should be available in every courthouse, according to Jubinville, who described the drug as an “underrated tool” that can be administered by professionals to heroin addicts in a controlled setting, allowing people to function more normally in society. This is a fantastic idea, long supported by drug policy experts across the globe. Decriminalizing drug possession has worked incredibly well in Portugal, which implemented the policy in 2001 and has seen reductions in overdoses, HIV, addiction, and many other harms related to drug abuse. A few countries, most notably Switzerland, […]

How Broken is Boston?

Let’s get real. Let’s drop the parochialism and chauvinism. Boston is messed up — but not beyond fixing. I’ve lived here over 35 years, but I’m not a lotus eater. There are big problems, but there are fixes. Some require courage and vision. Fortunately both Mayor Marty Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker are pretty new to their jobs. This is the time for both traits…if ever. In my Left Ahead show today, I went on for 28 minutes about the major problems and some of my proposed fixes. I’ll sketch them here. If you need to hear me go on about them, click on the player below to get it on. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lefties/2015/02/17/is-boston-broken.mp3 The outrageous snowfall merely highlighted some of Boston’s troubles. Consider:   The city could not clear its streets. The T — subways, buses, trolleys, commuter rail — failed on many levels. It had days on end with no service and weeks with severely limited transit. (This coincidentally when it was trying to convince the IOC to pick it for summer Olympics games.) Following the Marathon bombings, what we like to call Boston Strong has really been Boston Weak and Cowardly. We sheltered in place, a.k.a. hiding and ceding liberty […]

Whose side are they on?

The Massachusetts governor’s race comes down to one basic question: Who can you count on to fight for Massachusetts families? When things get really tough – when you work hard, play by the rules, but something terrible happens and you’re struggling to make it – who is going to be on your side, in your corner, fighting for you?  Who is going to build a future that expands opportunities not just for those at the top, but for people all across this state? The answer to those questions has nothing to do with who smiles the most in the debates, who has the snazziest slogan, or whose TV ads you like best. It’s about who they fought for when it really mattered. Yesterday I stopped by a campaign office in Framingham to talk about whose side Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker are on. Here’s what I told the volunteers: I hope you’ll watch but, more importantly, I hope you’ll share it with your friends. Share it with people who may have gotten to the polls in 2012, but maybe haven’t made up their minds yet this year.  Share it with people who might not have focused on why it matters […]

Baker, Coakley Complete Near Sweep of Gateway Cities in Primary

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 http://www.massinc.org/INCSpot/Baker-Coakley-Complete-Near-Sweep-of-Gateway-Cities-in-Primary.aspx Mimicking much of the rest of the Commonwealth, Gateway Cities voted resoundingly to send Democrat Attorney General Martha Coakley and Republican Charlie Baker to compete in the general election for the State’s highest office. Baker, who was fending off a Tea Party challenge from businessman Mark Fisher, took all but one of the Commonwealth’s twenty-six designated Gateway Cities, losing only the City of Westfield to Fisher and a commanding 72% of the vote total from the Gateway Cities combined voting bloc. Despite the good showing against his rival, Gateway City voters only comprised just fewer than 17% of Baker’s statewide vote total. This lower overall percentage could be an indicator that Baker’s campaign may need to ramp up its presence in Massachusetts’ urban communities if they want to reverse voting trends seen in the past few campaign cycles that seem to favor Democratic candidates in Gateway Cities. On the other side of the ticket, Coakley fended off State Treasurer Steve Grossman and Don Berwick to take twenty-four of the Gateway Cities, losing only the cities of Peabody and Quincy to Grossman. Coakley also took the combined vote total with just over 46% of votes cast, followed by […]

First Gubernatorial Debate – Reactions, Analysis

Originally Posted at Only In Boston The three candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for Governor squared off in the first of five debates to be held before the primary election on September 9th. The hour-long debate, streamed online from Stonehill’s website, was largely uneventful. The candidates mostly reiterated their positions on a variety of key issues and gave their opinions on two important ongoing crises – the Market Basket fiasco and the protests in Ferguson, MO. Martha Coakley, current Attorney General and favorite to win, played it safe last night. She didn’t take any strong positions and continued to espouse moderate, dispassionate views on everything from the Economy to Universal Pre-K. Current state treasurer Steve Grossman, in his attempt to differentiate himself from Coakley, took much stronger positions and emphasized his private sector experience. Being the consummate insider and business-friendly candidate, he gave polished, well-rehearsed answers straight from the Clinton/DLC handbook. Berwick continued to distinguish himself as by-far the most progressive of the three candidates. He used the phrase ‘politics as usual’ several times to decry the policies of the establishment candidates sharing the stage with him. The doctor and former Medicare administrator made sure to mention that he was the only candidate to come […]

Governor candidates on transportation and smart growth

Transportation for Massachusetts and the MA Smart Growth Alliance asked the Democratic, Republican and Independent candidates for governor to respond to ten questions.  The questions were submitted in late May, and received in June/July.  Responses from seven candidates are available here: http://www.t4ma.org/candidate-questionnaires/ Transportation for Massachusetts does not endorse candidates.  We and many of our coalition members are involved in ballot question 1, working on a campaign to maintain gas tax indexing in order to repair and invest in our transportation network.  The three democratic candidates for governor and both independents oppose Q1, while both republican candidates support Q1.  The DSC is opposing Q1 along with a cross section of business, environmental, labor, civic and other groups.  I’ll write more about that later. For now, BMG readers may be interested in the candidates’ views on mobility, development, GHG reduction and more.

Create the Vote Meeting in Boston Tonight

Over the next eight months, the race to elect a new governor of Massachusetts will provide candidates and voters the opportunity to discuss the strengths and challenges of the Commonwealth and debate our vision to strengthen the economy, improve our schools, and make our communities healthier and safer. It’s an exciting and important time. MASSCreative and the Create the Vote coalition will work with the statewide creative community to make sure that arts, culture, and creativity are an integral part of this important discussion. The Arts Matter in the Commonwealth, so they should matter in this election. We will be meeting tonight from 6-7:30 at Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley St., Boston to plan the campaign. Please join us!

Let’s end child poverty

We are a wealthy state in a wealthy nation, and yet one out of every seven people in Massachusetts lives in poverty.  And even that doesn’t tell the true story.  The number is 29% among African Americans here; 40% among Latinos.  Regionally, it’s 21% in New Bedford; in Springfield, it’s 28%; and in Holyoke, 41% of kids under 18 live in poverty. There have been times in America when the public sentiment has been awoken to what it means to be poor, and when strong, progressive leaders rallied the political will to fight that enemy.  Jacob Riis, an immigrant Dutchman, gave Americans a crystal clear window on sweathouses and abuses in his 1890 book, How the Other Half Lives, leading to child labor and worker rights laws that we now take for granted.  We shouldn’t.  These were hard-fought battles, relying on leaders who cared. We took big steps, too, in the wake of the Great Depression, which birthed Social Security, and in the contentious 1960s, when Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society created Medicare, Medicaid, and the War on Poverty. And then… what?  Somehow we lost the focus.  Hunger, homelessness, and poverty, itself, left the front pages and abandoned the front seats […]

Tea Party’s Fisher Would Be MA Gov.

Small business owner, erstwhile unemployed guy, and self-identified MA Tea Party Republican Mark Fisher wants to be governor here. He spoke with me today about his vision of what government should and should not be about. On his campaign site, he details his planks. There and personally, he makes no bones about being a full-platform MA Republican. That is, you can hold him personally accountable for the planks in the recent MA GOP version. (You can see it courtesy of RedMassGroup here; the party does not openly publicize it.) Click below to listen in to Fisher’s positions. He starts, like the famous the-rents-too-damned-high guy, with the call on the front of his own site, “NO TOLLS.” That is one of his political and moral certainties. He says the MA Pike has been paid for since over 30 years ago, the ads and service area fees pay for road maintenance, so the tolls should go away. Moreover, both the sales-tax and income-tax hikes, billed as temporary, need to each return to 5% as the voters chose. He sees all three as moral issues — “If we can’t trust our government,” he said, “there’s no use talking about anything else.” I had […]

It’s Time to Forgive Martha Coakley

Yes, yes I know. The opinion I hold is a rather rare and controversial one among many Democrats, especially those who attend the caucuses. Four years after a stunning loss to Scott Brown, many in the party seemingly still hold the loss against her. Martha however, is not lacking in intelligence or political know-how. She’d be the first one to tell you that she didn’t run the campaign she wanted to, or should’ve run. The story of the 2010 Special Senate Election is the story of a “perfect storm” of sorts- a culmination of dissatisfaction, even in liberal Massachusetts, with Washington, with the powers that be. Coakley doesn’t shy away from her past mistakes, but it’s unfair to place blame for the loss solely on her. In recent years, it’s been commonplace for any mention of the Attorney General to mention her failed Senate bid. But Martha Coakley, unlike many of the voters in Massachusetts, hasn’t let that election define her. She’s tough. She’s resilient. Getting back on her feet, Martha Coakley buckled down, re-won the AG’s office and got to work. She continued to fight for LGBT rights, protected thousands who were at risk of losing their homes, and […]