Tag massachusetts

Senate President Stan Rosenberg Post-Election Statement on Behalf of the Massachusetts Senate

Over the last week I have heard many heart-wrenching stories about children and adults expressing their sadness and fear based on the results of the national election. It is natural to feel sad and disappointed when your candidate doesn’t win. It is not typical though, in our country, to feel fearful at the end of an election. But because of the repeated expression of bigoted views about women, racial minorities, people of both the Jewish and Muslim faiths, immigrants, members of the LGBT community, and people with disabilities, many people are fearful about the future. While bigoted words and incivility in public discourse are out of line in and of themselves, the greater threat is that they may create a false belief that now there is license to do something even worse in our communities and in our public policy: commit bigoted deeds. The election is over, and as Americans have done for centuries we must unite and move together into the future. As we do so, the members of the Massachusetts State Senate want to be clear. Our unshakable support for the civil rights and civil liberties of the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts drives our commitment to […]

We will not sit idly by and watch our country be dragged back into the past

For many of us, last week’s election loss was about more than politics and we’re still coming to terms with the fact that millions of our fellow citizens voted for a candidate who is brazenly racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic. Since then, every day I talk to people who are heartbroken, confused, and who genuinely fear for their safety in this country under a Trump presidency. I want all immigrants to our state to know that you have many allies in the Massachusetts Legislature. We know that many of you risked your lives – fleeing political oppression and economic despair, to come here so that you can enjoy equality, liberty, and opportunity – and we will stand firmly against those who want to take that away from you. Yesterday, Attorney General Maura Healey displayed strong leadership and set up a hotline for people to call and report racial harassment. Today, I wish to call on my fellow legislative leaders and Governor Baker to take a strong stance against the President-elect’s plans to deport millions of our fellow Americans. We have to act swiftly to pass legislation that ensures that we do not contribute as a state to the federal government’s attempts to break up families […]

Bright New Day

This is my first post on Blue Mass Group. I’ve been following for years as a reader. But today decided the umbrella needed to be wider. We need more women and minorities posting here. So here you go.  From a Muslim-American, child of immigrants, attorney, non-profit worker, public policy wonk woman. ___ It’s a bright new day. That’s my attitude starting today. I needed a day to cry and be angry. Folks voted for Trump, a man who “regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.” My love for my Muslim friend, my immigrants friends and children of immigrant friends and my refugee friends and friends of color and disabled friends and my friends who suffered sexual assaults and were victims of sexual violence and my LGBTQ friends and my politician friends and non-profit coworkers and friends and policy wonk friends and friends with daughters and sisters and mothers and lastly, people who just care and love and believe and hope. We all needed a day to cry. Some joke about moving […]

Here’s why Massachusetts voters should say NNYY on November 8 ballot questions

The country will decide who our next president will be on November 8th, but Massachusetts voters will also make decisions on ballot questions that will have a significant impact locally. Here’s why I will vote #NNYY next Tuesday. No On 1 As a longtime opponent of expanded gambling in Massachusetts, I am opposed to allowing yet another slot parlor to the state. Expanding gambling hurts local small businesses, and increases the number of people falling into crime, addiction, and foreclosures. Additionally, I am deeply disturbed that Question 1 was bankrolled by one wealthy developer who is using the ballot process for his own gain. That is why I am voting no on Question 1. No On 2 Question 2 is a deeply flawed charter school referendum that is being funded by Wall Street venture capitalists, and has the serious potential to drain significant education funding from public schools across Massachusetts. It’s critical to read this one passage from the summary of Question 2, and think of its consequences: “New charters and enrollment expansions approved under this law would be exempt from existing limits on the number of charter schools, the number of students enrolled in them, and the amount of […]

The Trouble With Timilty

(Note:  This is a brief summary of the author’s observations and personal opinions of his interactions as a voter and former political type, being marketed to by both Walter F Timilty and Nora Harrington, primary contenders for the state senate seat being vacated by Brian Joyce.  I have no affiliation with either candidate, no financial connections, and would decline same if offered.).   THE TROUBLE WITH TIMILTY:  How a campaign ‘s use of Gross Misrepresentation, Attack Robo-Calls, and playing loose with the facts backfired to turn off an otherwise open voter and his wife. So, a year ago I’d never heard of either of these candidates.  Sure, I know the Timilty name generally–who doesn’t–it’s as close to Kennedy, or Sullivan, as you get around where I grew up about an hour north of Boston.  Anyway, I’ve been in Easton for over 15 years now, and these two would be competing for our votes down here. Early in the summer, my wife, some out of town family and I attended a local arts/music/food festival called “The Legacy,”  Held on the Gov. Ames Estate grounds and in it’s 3rd year, it’s a growing family friendly gig with some local republican pols flipping […]

The Godzilla of opioids

Imagine an illicit drug so powerful that a dose of just three salt-sized grains is fatal.  A drug so dangerous that first responders answering a 911 call reporting an overdose should wear hazmat suits to protect themselves from exposure to it. A substance so deadly that drug-detection dogs aren’t allowed to sniff for it because it could kill them. This is not science fiction. This drug exists. It’s called fentanyl — the very painkiller that killed musical icon Prince and thousands of other Americans last year.  If left unchecked, this Godzilla of opioids threatens to lay waste to communities across the country. The evidence is that fentanyl is already on the rampage.  Between 2013 and 2015, the United States saw an increase of more than 8,000 percent in the amount of synthetic opioids like fentanyl seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Worse, according to the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory, from 2013 to 2015, the number of items seized by law enforcement that tested positive for fentanyl — either fentanyl alone or a heroin-fentanyl combination — increased by 10,000 percent.  Last year, of the 1,319 opioid-related deaths in the Commonwealth for which a blood test was available, more than […]

What About the Big T Questions?

Pardon me for riding the same MBTA hobby horse again. Several recent events and trends have me back up. The gist of it is why aren’t the big kids — Gov. Baker, Speaker DeLeo, or MassDOT Board Chair Stephanie Pollack — getting real about T problems and solutions? Instead, we just got yet another 9 to 10% system-wide fare hike. That rise hurts the middle class and poor but does absolutely nothing to solve or prevent T financial, maintenance or expansion issues. By the bye, I just did this rant for 24 minutes at Left Ahead. You can hear me whining and snorting and save your eyes by clicking to listen. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lefties/2016/03/09/fair-mass-transit-fares-boston-style.mp3

Big Oil’s Big Gift

In the final actions of the year, the House and Senate passed a spending bill with a big gift for Big Oil. By permanently lifting the longstanding crude oil export ban, Congressional Republicans made sure it will be Christmas all year round for their oil industry allies. But their gift-giving didn’t extend to renewables. Instead the wind and solar tax breaks are temporary – lasting only for a few years and phasing down beginning as early as the end of 2016. These energy provisions are a potential double whammy for consumers and the offshore wind industry in Massachusetts. For consumers, the spending bill rolls back longstanding U.S. law and will allow the oil industry to sell American crude oil overseas for the first time in more than 40 years. Allowing American crude to be sold overseas to the highest bidder could be a disaster for consumers in our region. Crude oil exports would raise U.S. oil prices and could cause the region to lose upwards of 55 percent of our refining capacity on the East Coast. This would make us more reliant on other regions of the country and foreign nations for our gasoline, heating oil and diesel fuels. The […]

MA Food Plan

Massachusetts has released its food plan, only the third in the last 40 years. You can see it at http://www.mafoodplan.org http://www.mapc.org/sites/default/files/MAFoodPlanGoals.pdf Public comment is invited, email wpitcoff@mapc.org by November 6, 2015. When Massachusetts first went In Search of a Food Plan, the title of the first attempt, a 1974 report, there were less than 20 farmers’ markets in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts now has 253 three‐season and 46 winter markets farmers’ markets, a permanent Public Market in Boston, 566 farm stands, 266 pick‐your‐own operations, and nearly 200 Community Supported Agriculture systems operated by 465 farmers and fishermen. According to some of the facts and figures I’ve been able to compile from the MA Food Plan, Massachusetts spends close to $32 billion on food each year, half of it to eat at home and half on eating out. The food system provides a tenth of the jobs in the Commonwealth, 426,000, and is 4.5% of state gross domestic product, $19.3 billion in 2012. The fishery makes up a quarter of those jobs and about half of the Commonwealth GDP from food. Massachusetts is the third largest fish producer in the USA. Food planning is happening at many different scales. There is a […]

Backfilling: The Solution to Charter School Waiting Lists

So now the charter school advocates are trying a ballot initiative to raise the charter school cap. Think of the children! Those poor children languishing on the charter school waiting lists! I know from personal experience that there’s a fair amount of cognitive dissonance involved in working at a charter school. You know for a fact that you’re better than those terrible regular public schools, and yet you have these nagging doubts because you keep sending so many students back to those schools. If we’re so great, you think to yourself, why do we lose so many students? You dare not voice these concerns publicly, but sometimes you bring them up in private conversations. Here’s what one of my co-workers told me once: “even if we’ve only had a kid for a year, we’ve done them some good.” Okay. So let’s say you are a charter school–the very one I worked at–and you have a very smart and very small and young-looking ninth grader. He carries a knife in his backpack because he doesn’t feel safe going from his house to the bus. Said knife falls out of his backpack when he’s at school one spring day. So you counsel […]