Politics

State girds for infusion of billions from fed stimulus

By 
Michael Norton and Jim O'Sullivan, State House News Service
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

Gonzalez does about face, will run for at-Large seat

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

Forry snares committee chair in State House shuffle under DeLeo

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

Parents, kids speak out loudly against school cuts; School panel hears cries at Court St.

Students protest school cuts: By Nate LescovicStudents protest school cuts: By Nate LescovicPassing 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

Sen. Chang-Diaz faces early tests on Beacon Hill

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

In 'worst of times,' Menino ponders policy

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

Yoon's entry widens race for mayor

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

DeLeo pushing set of ethics changes

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

Lynch named chair of Congressional subcommittee

LynchLynchCongressman Stephen F. Lynch, who represents parts of Dorchester in the Ninth district, has been named to chair the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  Read more

Mayor's bike plan draws support, and criticism

The first year of real bike planning in the city of Boston has come to a close, and the city's bike coordinator, Nicole Freedman presented the results to a crowd of around 175 people at the Boston Public Library last Thursday. But despite 250 new bike racks, the first bike lanes of any length now painted on Commonwealth Avenue, and even a bike lane in the works for Dorchester Avenue, not all were happy.

A few were downright angry.  Read more