Politics

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

Walsh, Wallace lead renewed charge for casinos

The resignation of House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, an avowed opponent of casino gambling, was barely official last week before eyes on Beacon Hill turned to the renewed potential of bringing three casinos to the Bay State.

DiMasi's successor, Rep. Robert DeLeo, is a supporter of slots at the state's racetracks and is open to discussing casinos. Last year, under DiMasi's watch and direction, House lawmakers overwhelmingly defeated Gov. Deval Patrick's proposal to expand gambling.  Read more

Menino, Yoon staying mum on what they plan for 2009

City Councillor Michael Flaherty is quickly positioning himself as a mayoral candidate of change with a campaign launch on YouTube and now an online invitation to 18,000 city employees and all city residents to share ideas with him. But his expected opponents in the race, outside of the South End's candidate Kevin McCrea, have kept it fairly quiet.

Incumbent Thomas Menino, caught in an off moment at a Columbia Savin Hill Civic Association meeting Monday, said he is focused on balancing the city's budget and putting off his decision on a possible fifth term.  Read more

Budget woes clear way for debate on busing

With massive cuts looming overhead, everything is on the table in next year's Boston Public Schools budget, including the city's controversial busing plan.

Superintendent Carol Johnson presented her proposed budget to the School Committee Wednesday, just after the Reporter's press time. The plan is expected to include major cuts to administration and programs as the city faces an overall $140 million shortfall by some estimates. Schools will likely suffer numerous layoffs, with many teaching slots in jeopardy.  Read more