Tobin Stays Put, and Other Notes

--John Tobin tells me that he will not run for the state senate seat being vacated by Marian Walsh. He also ruled out a stab at an at-large seat. "I am running for re-election in my district," he says emphatically. So far, it looks like rep. Michael Rush has the way cleared to graduate to the upper chamber, but there are still potential candidates in the suburban parts of the district making up their minds. An intriguing rumor making the rounds is that former Allston-Brighton district councilorJerry McDermot, who now lives in Westwood, might be giving it a look.

--Interesting gender gap in that Suffolk U/Ch.7 poll released yesterday. Women give Gov. Patrick a favorable/unfavorable of 50/38, men a 38/48. The gap is still there but smaller for approve/disapprove of his performance as governor. And the gap is gone completely for "deserves re-election." Other items from the survey: only 14 percent of residents have an opinion of Charlie Baker, the GOP's most talked-about potential gubernatorial candidate, while 59% say they've never heard of him; Treasurer Tim Cahill's favorables are strong across partisan lines; more people say they trust the legislature than the governor to solve the state's economic problems; and pretty much nobody believes that serious reform will happen on Beacon Hill.

--Good piece by Donovan Slack today, showing yet another instance of how Mayor McChicken (still running scared!) bent the rules for a developer who then failed to follow through. Can this please be a campaign issue this year?

--Speaking of the Globe, this isn't a politics thing but do you think they feel at all silly doing a front-page article about how the city seems uninformed about something that the Globe itself has written nothing about?

--Kudos to st. sen. Jack Hart for keeping a close watch on how the auto-insurance reform is affecting urban customers at the one-year anniversary. Apparently a lot of drivers are finding themselves unable to find an insurer to cover them when their current policy expires. Dianne Wilkerson had been a strong watchdog on this issue (among others, including Marc Pacheco), and with her gone it's good to see Hart stepping up.

--Critics of the Gov are ready to have a field day over his selection of Stephen Crosby to review compensation at the state authorities. Among other criticisms, the easiest pot-shot is that two years ago Crosby led the Patrick advisory board that recommended big raises for judges. I happen to think Crosby was right about that: the state's judges are woefully underpaid and it's creating a long-term problem. Unfortunately, salaries for court clerks are pegged to a percentage of judge's salaries, so you'd have to raise all of their salaries. The obvious answer is to de-couple those salaries -- but it turns out that court clerks are just about the most politically protected class of residents in Massachusetts, perhaps (a cynic might suggest) because such a large percentage of them got their jobs through their close connections to state legislators and other powerful pols. So de-coupling went nowhere, just as Patrick's attempts at reforming the court system -- in large part to reduce the legislature's influence over the courts that leads to these patronage hires -- has died on the vine.

--Speaking of Deval Patrick's newfound zealotry regarding high-paid authority employees... former Maureen Feeney chief-of-staff Justin Holmes probably thought he was leaving the political hive when he split from City Hall for a job as spokesperson for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. As soon as he lands there, authorities like his new employer land right in the spotlight. I don't know how much James Rooney et al are making over there, but I have a feeling we're going to find out soon -- along with Holmes's new salary.

--Mitt Romney, who has been going around calling pro-union "card-check" legislation the worst thing that could happen to the economy in our lifetimes -- I'm not even exaggerating here -- had an op-ed in the Washington Times yesterday holding up Massachusetts as a "cautionary tale." As Romney explains, he vetoed a card-check bill (of relatively limited scope) in 2006, but Deval Patrick signed it in 2007. Well, you won't believe how the state has gone in the crapper since that happened, Romney tells the world (or at least that part of the world that reads the Washington Times). This might surprise you, either because A) you haven't noticed a whole lot of tales of unionizing since the law passed, or B) you thought Romney believed that the state went into the crapper because of all the gay marrying. So what is the basis of Romney's cautionary tale? The unionization last year by the teachers at the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Brighton. That's it; that's Romney's only example of the detrimental effect of the law. Just so you know, that's a whole 20 people who unionized. (All of whom signed the cards, BTW.) The horror!

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