Mayor Tom Menino made some of the city's performance statistics public last week with a new website, but his election-year challengers are already giving the report card a failing grade.
"It reminds me of the old Soviet Union five-year plans," said candidate Kevin McCrea, a South End businessman. "It's amazing how they always hit their target every single year until they collapsed. This isn't what an accountant would say is real financial performance data that could be evaluated in an objective manner." Read more
Those on the frontlines of the foreclosure crisis locally are saying many who struggle to make their mortgage payments in the neighborhood may not be helped by President Barack Obama's new Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, announced last week.
"There's not much to be optimistic about," said Bruce Marks of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of American (NACA). Read more
Feb. 20, 2009
While a portion of the expected federal funds infusion should be used to shore up education and health care accounts, Massachusetts, estimated to receive over $11 billion, should focus the spending on job-creating public works projects and heed lessons learned from the Big Dig, according to the House chair of a new committee formed to oversee stimulus spending. Read more
City Councillor Sam Yoon's bid for mayor is already creating change. Tomas Gonzalez, former chief of staff for Mayor Thomas Menino, was helping create candidate Andrew Kenneally's campaign strategy to capture an at-Large seat on the City Council until this week.
"Not any more," said a glib Gonzalez Monday. "With Sam Yoon out and all these other factors I can't miss my opportunity." Read more
A Dorchester lawmaker is back atop a Beacon Hill committee for the first time in four years, as newly-crowned House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced the re-shuffling of committee assignments. Read more
Passing through a tunnel of chanting students and parents at BPS's Court Street headquarters, the School Committee met last Wednesday to receive the preliminary budget. While demonstrators stayed positive with their message of "Invest in our Future" and "Save our Schools," the mood in the meeting could not hide the dismal reality of a head-on fiscal crisis. Read more
Weeks into the job, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz is already playing defense.
The freshman lawmaker, like others who are facing their first year on Beacon Hill, is up against a billion-dollar budget crisis that is causing prized programs to get pared down or eliminated entirely.
The issues facing legislators are steadily mounting, including a reorganization of the state's transportation bureaucracy, ethics reform and with the departure of House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, casinos are back on the front burner. Read more
During an hour-long interview in his Parkman House retreat on Beacon Street last week, Mayor Thomas Menino challenged state government to conceive of an "outside-the-box" solution to the state's fiscal problems, committed to spend political capital in pursuit of a long-delayed reform to the city's school transportation program, and doggedly refused to say whether he would run for reelection, even as he assembles a campaign team with the September preliminary seven months away. Read more
The cards are on the table. The challengers to Mayor Thomas Menino, namely Councillors Sam Yoon, Michael Flaherty, and activist Kevin McCrea, have played their first hands.
And almost overnight, the talk around the proverbial City Hall water cooler has turned from tones of 'They don't have a chance against an incumbent,' to a subtler 'This is going to be interesting.' Read more
House Speaker Robert DeLeo is proposing a new set of ethics changes, including allowing the removal of any member of the House leadership team who is indicted.
The package of reforms also includes mandatory ethics training for lawmakers, a stronger ethics committee with the power to introduce legislation, and a clamp down on so-called "phantom voting'' by members of the House who are absent during debate. Read more