Politics

Pot decriminalization battle heats up as foes flex muscles

By 
Kyle Cheney, State House News Service
Sep. 24, 2008

Opponents of a ballot question to decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana showcased their political muscle last Wednesday on a day in which the two sides traded barbs over the effects of marijuana use and even campaign finance practices.

At a press conference outside the capitol, district attorneys, mayors, religious leaders, concerned parents and Patrick administration officials, one by one, blasted the question. Passing such a proposal would set off a flood of violent crime, medical problems, impaired driving and youth drug use, they argued.  Read more

Chang-Diaz unseats Wilkerson in Senate showdown

By 
Gintautas Dumcius and Bijoyeta Das
Sep. 17, 2008

Sonia Chang-Diaz, who prevailed in her primary challenge of incumbent State Senator Dianne Wilkerson on Tuesday, is greeted at her Jamaica Plain victory party by supporter and mentor Barbara Lee. Photo by Bijoyeta Das.

By a narrow margin, voters in the Second Suffolk district on Tuesday handed the seat of incumbent state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson to her challenger, Sonia Chang-Diaz, who is now heavily favored to win the Senate seat in November.  Read more

Allen and Gabriel face off in rare primary contest

Heading into the Sept. 16 primary, state Rep. Willie Mae Allen squared off against her challenger Faustina "Kathy" Gabriel in a forum last week, with both voicing their respective takes on violence prevention tactics and support for public transportation.

In the brief forum last Thursday at English High School in Jamaica Plain, Gabriel, a relative newcomer on the local political scene, sought to knock Allen off her perch, but failed to land any hits.  Read more

Dot's Dems see history from the front row

State Reps. Marty Walsh, Linda Dorcena Forry, Gloria Fox and Willie Mae Allen were among the delegates who traveled to Denver for last week's Democratic National Convention. The four are shown above inside Invesco Field at Mile High during the final night of the convention.  Read more

In Politics, a Return to Respectful Discourse

Senator Barack Obama has made the right decision in his choice of longtime Delaware Senator Joseph Biden as his vice presidential running mate. Now Americans have a ticket everyone can support: The 47-year-old freshman senator from Illinois with the dynamic message and the powerful oratory skills and a six-term veteran of the Senate with top credentials in foreign affairs.  Read more

Chang-Diaz releases poll showing lead over Wilkerson

Seeking to build momentum heading into the Sept. 16 Democratic primary, state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson's challenger Sonia Chang-Diaz this week released an internal poll showing the veteran lawmaker down by 17.5 percent.

In a poll taken last week of 417 likely Democratic primary voters, Chang-Diaz outpolled Wilkerson by 47.2 percent to 29.7 percent. Twenty-three percent were undecided. The margin of error is 4.8 percent.  Read more

Patrick's town meeting now an 'informal meet and greet'

When the governor's office rolled out plans for an 11-stop, town meeting tour of the state in early July, Boston residents were cheered to see that it included a stop locally. In a press release in July, the governor's office included Boston's Caribbean Day Parade on Aug. 23 as one of the 11 town meetings.  Read more

Coalition gears up "New Bostonians" for election 2008

A wide array of ethnic community organizations and lobbying groups are banding together to push for higher registration rolls heading into the September primary and the November election.

Launched last week and spearheaded by the Mayor Thomas Menino's Office of New Bostonians, the campaign has already brought the figure to 300 people, according to early estimates from officials involved in the effort.  Read more

Ballot translation bill among casualties on Beacon Hill

Backers of translating candidates' names into Chinese characters on election ballots won a partial victory last week, adding a $20,000 proposal to provide "sample" ballots for Asian-American voters to use in the September primary.

Supporters were prepared to forge ahead with plans to independently print thousands of their own "sample" ballots in case that failed, with ballots voluntarily created and printed, thanks to an anonymous donor and a group of local organizations providing translations.  Read more

Local projects get millions via overrides, borrowing bills

The handful of budget line items for Dorchester and Mattapan that Gov. Deval Patrick vetoed last month were quickly restored by lawmakers in the final hours of the legislative session last week. The overrides came as millions in additional dollars for local projects were also approved in borrowing bills.

Most, but not all, of the override votes on last Wednesday and Thursday fell along party lines, with House and Senate Republicans sticking with the Democratic governor in an attempt to let his vetoes stand amid what they called a shaky economy.  Read more