Reporter’s Notebook: Legislators give Patrick their Romney treatment

Gov. Deval Patrick, who traveled the country bashing former Gov. Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential election, must have felt a special kinship with his predecessor in the last few weeks. Patrick, a close friend of President Obama, frequently critiqued Romney and the one term Romney served before making a run at the White House.

Romney, a Republican, touted the fact that during his time under the Golden Dome, he wielded the veto pen grandly, striking at the budget and various initiatives hundreds of times. But the Democratic supermajority in the House and the Senate frequently overrode Romney’s moves, restoring line items and initiatives.

So there was a ring of familiarity on Beacon Hill last week and this week, particularly when the Senate voted, 35 to 5, and the House voted, 123 to 33, to overturn Patrick’s veto of a tax bill aimed at helping transportation finances. The governor had wanted more revenue packed into the bill.

The legislation, which went into effect this week, raises taxes on cigarettes ($1), gas (3 cents a gallon), along with a sales tax on some software.

No Democrats in deep blue Boston stood with the governor. “Although I have concerns that a hole may arise in this financing structure in coming years, the votes weren’t there in the Legislature to sustain a veto,” said state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, a Jamaica Plain Democrat who shares representation of Dorchester and Mattapan with Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry. “I voted in support of the bill before me, which will make meaningful investments in a 21st century transportation system.”

Added Dorchester’s state Rep. Marty Walsh, a member of House leadership and a mayoral candidate: “The bill’s not perfect but it’s a great starting point.” Walsh said lawmakers were sensitive to concerns about “overtaxing” people emerging from a weak economy. “This is the first step,” he said.

The governor, whose administration appears to be focused on switching into “legacy mode,” did not attempt to lobby them, aides and lawmakers added, though he did meet with several others.

But the governor moved quickly to veto it, leaving little time for work on improving the bill. “On the one hand, this bill, in its current form, enables us to reinvest in our transportation network, after decades of willful neglect,” Patrick said in a statement, according to the State House News Service. “It provides some short-term resources to deal with our most pressing needs.  It responds to a key priority of my Administration and will stimulate many jobs.  I thank the Legislature for that. But this good bill is not good enough.”

The House and Senate, by those overwhelming margins, disagreed.

Dorchester Board of Trade mayoral forum on Sept. 18

The Dorchester Board of Trade, a group supported by neighborhood firms, will be holding a mayoral candidate forum several days before the Sept. 24 preliminary. The session is scheduled for Wed., Sept. 18, at the Freeport Tavern on Morrissey Boulevard.

Paul Watanabe, a professor of political science at UMass Boston, will be moderating, according to organizers. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour, and the forum will begin at 7:30. Candidates will have time for a one-minute stump speech before settling in for the questions portion. The questions will focus on economic development and small business issues.

Write-in candidate in bid for 12th Suffolk House seat

Ruthella Logan-Cruz, a Democrat who lives on Hebron Street, is mounting a write-in bid in the race to replace now-state Sen. Dorcena Forry in the 12th Suffolk House District. The Aug. 13 primary will give way to a Sept. 10 general election.

Logan-Cruz had pulled nomination papers needed to gather signatures and get on the ballot, but just three Democrats made it onto the ballot: Dan Cullinane, Stephanie Everett, and Mary Tuitt. So Logan-Cruz apparently has decided on a write-in bid, dropping campaign materials on voters’ doorsteps.

The Aug. 13 primary is expected to be a low-turnout affair, with just several thousand voters showing up to the polls. The winner of the primary will face two independents, Lincoln Larmond of Mattapan and Edmond Romulus of Milton, in the September final.

The 12th Suffolk District includes parts of Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, and two precincts in Milton.

Cape Verdean political group states aims

A political organization aimed at engaging “Cape Verdeans to develop a political voice that supports local and national emerging leaders” quietly came into existence last week. The group, which calls itself “Cape Verdeans for Political Action,” singled out immigrant rights, voting rights, and education as issues it hopes to focus on in a filing with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

If the group starts raising money and ends up with a sizable sum, it can funnel the funds to its candidates of choice in Boston or elsewhere. The group has a Sumner Street address and lists Paulo DeBarros, a longtime community activist who has worked with mayoral candidate John Barros, as its chairman. DeBarros and the group’s treasurer, Denise Gonsalves, did not respond to requests for comment.

Barros, the first Cape Verdean to serve on the Boston School Committee, is one of 12 candidates running for mayor.

More changes in Walczak staff

Another staff shake-up has hit Bill Walczak’s mayoral campaign. The field director, Vince Greco, left for another job, while Molly O’Connor, the volunteer coordinator, signed up with Suzanne Lee’s bid to unseat District 2 City Councillor Bill Linehan.

Mohona Siddique, who had worked as an intern in former Congressman Barney Frank’s office and on President Obama’s campaign in Virginia, has taken over as interim field director, the Walczak campaign confirmed on Tuesday. A number of individuals have been filling in the role of volunteer coordinator.

The changes come more than a month after Walczak, who co-founded the Codman Square Health Center, switched out his campaign manager. Don Walsh, a Savin Hill resident, replaced Reuben Kantor, who had worked on the campaigns of Gov. Patrick and City Councillor At-Large Ayanna Pressley.

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