Complaint: BPS closings hit black, Latino students

Michael Norton, State House News Service, and Staff
Feb. 28, 2011

The U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into complaints that the City of Boston's school closing plans discriminate against black and Latino students and parents.

In a Feb. 15 letter, Donna Russell, an attorney in the department's Office of Civil Rights, confirmed that an investigation has been opened while cautioning that the investigation itself should not imply that the department agrees with the merits of the case. Russell said the office would act as a neutral fact-finder during the investigation, collecting and analyzing evidence from the complainants and the school district.  Read more

Congressmen stir up union rally on Beacon Hill

Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Feb. 22, 2011

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, FEB. 22, 2011…..As throngs of union members and their supporters crushed onto Beacon Street for a late afternoon rally in support of Wisconsin workers, the three members of the state’s Congressional delegation seen as most likely to challenge U.S. Sen. Scott Brown next year were front and center.

With a captive audience of core Democratic voters at their feet, U.S. Reps. Edward Markey, Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch took turns rallying a pro-labor crowd, defending the collective bargaining rights of teachers, nurses, postal workers and other unionized workers.  Read more

RFK grandson slated to speak at St. Patrick's brunch March 19 in Dorchester

The grandson of Robert F. Kennedy is slated to speak at Dorchester's fifth annual St. Patrick's Day brunch.

Joseph P. Kennedy III is an assistant district attorney on Cape Cod whose speech on the Massachusetts State House floor a week after the shootings in Arizona and 50 years after his great-uncle John F. Kennedy gave the "City on a Hill" speech raised eyebrows.  Read more

Letter to the Editor: Give Feeney some privacy

To the Editor:

The other evening I had the privilege to participate in a meeting of the Ward 17 committee where I began to have concerns about how Councillor Maureen Feeney’s privacy is being treated.  Read more

'Feast of Love' planned for Wilkerson

Supporters of former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson are planning an "appreciation" of the Roxbury Democrat this week.

In a flyer circulated to media outlets and among supporters of Wilkerson, the event is billed as a "Feast of Love." Supporters are urged to drop by and "share and listen to other stories of what Dianne has done for the community at large."

The event is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 24, at Prince Hall in Grove Hall, starting at 6 p.m.  Read more

Editorial: Pressley's right about sex-ed, condoms

A hearing held Tuesday at Boston City Hall shined a light on a problem that makes many people uncomfortable to talk about, let alone take concrete steps to address it. Many of our teenagers are engaged in risky sexual behaviors and it has become a national public health crisis.  Read more

Withdrawal from Iraq on good track, says Lynch

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Feb. 17, 2011

A correction has been appended to this article.

Iraq-Afghanistan visit: Congressman Steve Lynch observes training of Afghan National Army recruits. Iraq-Afghanistan visit: Congressman Steve Lynch observes training of Afghan National Army recruits. Congressman Stephen Lynch said this week that he remains optimistic about the pace of the draw-down of U.S. troops in Iraq.

Speaking to the Reporter by phone this week after stepping off the floor of the House, Lynch said the U.S. has 48,000 troops left in Iraq, down from 165,000 two years ago. He added that the cost of the war to the U.S. will be $6 billion a year by December, down from a bill of $10 billion a month at the war’s peak.

“That’s a considerable improvement,” he said. Lynch voted in favor of the invasion of Iraq in 2002.

A South Boston Democrat whose House district includes part of Dorchester, Lynch quietly made his thirteenth visit to Iraq earlier this month as part of a Congressional delegation that visited Afghanistan and Pakistan as well. Darrell Issa, a California Republican who chairs the Oversight Committee that Lynch sits on, went along on the trip.  Read more

District 7’s voters like Jackson in light turnout; Mills vows push to finish

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Feb. 17, 2011

Seven percent of District 7’s registered voters turned out on Tuesday to narrow the field of candidates vying to succeed former City Councillor Chuck Turner to two: Tito Jackson, former aide to Gov. Deval Patrick, and Cornell Mills, a onetime civilian homicide investigator and son of former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson.

Jackson easily slid into first place with 67 percent of the tally, or 1,943 votes, according to unofficial results released by the city’s elections department. Mills squeaked into second place with 271 votes, just ahead of the 258 received by former City Hall aide Danielle Renee Williams.  Read more

Imperiled block grants called key factor in local economy

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Feb. 17, 2011

Dave McDonald, a Mattapan-based contractor, gets 75 percent of his business from the city of Boston and has worked on more than 60 housing projects with the help of a block grant program.

But his business is now in danger, he says, with President Obama’s budget axe poised to come down on the federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which also support programs for the homeless, economic development, and human services.  Read more

REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK: Young people of color urged to try political consulting

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Feb. 17, 2011

Political activists of color are urging the next generation to get more involved in politics and the looming debate over redrawing Congressional districts. “You need to be in that room,” Mukiya Baker-Gomez advised several dozen members of the Young Professionals Network at a network meeting last week as part of a panel on race and politics.

Legislative leaders on Beacon Hill have started work on redrawing the Bay State’s ten Congressional districts after U.S. Census numbers showed the state’s population was not growing as fast as the rest of the nation.  Read more