Reporter’s Notebook: Pope’s Hill group to host debate on ballot questions

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Oct. 20, 2010

The Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association is hosting a debate next week on three ballot questions voters will decide when they head to the polls in less than two weeks.  Read more

Lower Mills branch backers sense shift of ‘tone’ on closing

Supporters of the Lower Mills library are urging fellow activists to show up in force at a meeting at the branch tonight [at 6:30 p.m. at the Richmond Street branch] with Boston Public Library President Amy Ryan as a local lawmaker said there has been a “shift in ‘tone’” coming from City Hall about whether it will be closed.

At last Tuesday night’s meeting of the Lower Mills Civic Association, a representative from the mayor’s office said “re-use” of the building isn’t the focus of the Monday meeting.

Editorial: BPL board must reverse its decision to close branches  Read more

Mattahunt center in limbo; community bypassed, say critics

Gintautas Dumcius and Bill Forry, Reporter Editors
Oct. 20, 2010

Mattahunt School and Community Center: City closed center last summer and a proposed partnership with Wheelock College has yet to begin.Mattahunt School and Community Center: City closed center last summer and a proposed partnership with Wheelock College has yet to begin.

(Editor's note: This article was updated online on Friday, Oct. 23 to reflect comments from Boys and Girls Club of Boston president Joshua Kraft.)

Eight months after the city of Boston began the process of closing some of the city’s 46 community centers, the Menino administration is still laboring to finalize a deal with Wheelock College to take over the former Mattahunt Community Center in Mattapan, which ceased operations as a city-run center last summer. The move is drawing criticism from community members and one of Mattapan’s city councillors, who are calling for more input and engagement with the broader community.

City officials and other supporters of the Wheelock deal say it will create a unique partnership that will expand programming at a time when the city is reeling from the effects of a weak economy and prepping for an even tighter budget next year. A deal can’t be brokered “overnight,” but an agreement will be announced in the coming weeks, they add.

“There’s a great opportunity with Wheelock,” said Daphne Griffin, executive director of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families, which oversees the city’s community centers. “Not only are they well-respected…but they have a very strong institutional program background around out of school time and after school time.”  Read more

Coakley, Reilly push back on McKenna's Wilkerson case claims

Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Oct. 19, 2010

Republican Jim McKenna refused to back off his claim Tuesday that Attorney General Martha Coakley granted disgraced former Sen. Dianne Wilkerson "immunity" in her campaign finance violations case as Coakley aides and her predecessor disputed McKenna's description of the settlement.  Read more

Patrick signs $420m spending bill

From the folks at State House News Service:

Services for the disabled, the state's massive MassHealth budget and the State Police received funding infusions under a $420 million budget bill that Gov. Deval Patrick signed without fanfare Friday, shortly before attending a governor's candidate forum.

The bill, paid for through federal stimulus funds that won’t be available next fiscal year, deploys accounting methods aimed at putting nearly $200 million into a state rainy day fund that lawmakers and Gov. Deval Patrick have drained more than $1.5 billion from during the recession.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Henriquez represents future of Fifth Suffolk District

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to last week’s letter to the editor from Barry Lawton about what leadership tradition Democratic Nominee Carlos Henriquez will bring to the residents of the 5th Suffolk District.  Read more

Public’s money should go to banks that invest in Boston

Felix G. Arroyo
Oct. 14, 2010

We are in the worst economic recession of our lifetime. Most economists agree that we will not get out of this recession until banks start making credit available to qualified applicants. Every taxpayer in this country bailed out the banks. We were told that as the banks got bailed out, they would then invest in our communities. Yet, while Wall Street was bailed out, we know that our Main Streets have not been bailed out.  Read more

Latest poll shows Patrick widening lead over Baker

Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Oct. 14, 2010

Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick opened up a seven-point lead over his Republican rival Charles Baker, while Indepednent Tim Cahill remained mired in a distant third place, according to, according to a new poll, that showed Patrick with more breathing room over Baker than other recent polls.  Read more

Collins introduces a fresh face in Fourth District

Mike Deehan, Special to the Reporter
Oct. 14, 2010

Nick Collins: Democratic nominee for state repNick Collins: Democratic nominee for state repIt would be easy to forget the Polish Triangle and other parts of Dorchester when considering the largely South Boston-based Fourth District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. But it would be hard to know that judging from residents’ reactions to the Democratic candidate for that seat, Nick Collins.

Upon entering a local coffee shop to sit down with the Reporter for an interview, Collins was greeted warmly by name by shop patrons and staff alike and stopped to chat with voters about the weather (sudden downpours), hockey and his race to replace the retiring Rep. Brian Wallace as state representative.

Collins defeated three other Democratic candidates in last month’s primary to earn his spot on the ballot against Republican opponent Patrick Brennan.  Read more

Patrick predicts overflow crowd for president's visit

Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Oct. 13, 2010

Gov. Deval Patrick, on the homestretch of his re-election bid, said Wednesday he’s not worried that President Barack Obama’s visit to the Hub this weekend could backfire for the incumbent Democrat by drawing attention to voter anxiety over the pace of the country’s economic recovery.

Obama plans to headline a campaign rally for Patrick on Saturday at the Hynes Convention Center as Patrick hopes to energize his party base for the final push to the Nov. 2 election.  Read more