Oh, what an exciting week this is for those who enjoy the arcane rituals and traditions of the peaceful transfer of power in the world's greatest democracy!
For starters, congratulations to Stephen Murphy, who got voted in as the new president of the Boston City Council. He (and his staff!) finally get the big office, and all the trappings and attention that come with it -- and, one imagines, a fundraising boost toward his re-election later this year. Murph, in my opinion, deserved to get the gavel long ago, and probably would have if the two-year limit had been in effect earlier. Now that he's got it, let's see if he keeps up the moves toward relevance, independence, and transparency we saw under Mike Ross.
Congratulations also to the many newly-sworn-in state legislators, including quite a few from Boston. I watched some of the procedings on web feed. Can't say I was impressed with the image of the grinning former speakers, Finneran and DiMasi, on the dais receiving a mostly-standing ovation, but hey that's Massachusetts politics.
I was pretty impressed with Speaker Robert DeLeo's speech -- one of the few times I've thought a speech could have gone on longer. One odd observation, from my removed vantage point: DeLeo included a couple of lines about addressing patronage, and they seemed to receive tepid response, at best. He delivered this line: "We will make clear that all public servants must not only be qualified for their jobs; they must be the most qualified people for their jobs," and then paused as if for applause -- it seemed like it took an awfully long while for any to come. Then he continued: "And we will also ensure that state hiring authorities understand that we expect that they will serve but one master – the taxpaying public." This time, no applause at all during his pause, and he moved on to the next section of his speech.
Again, I wasn't there, so I don't know if I was getting that right. It just seemed odd.
I did not see Senate President Therese Murray's speech, but from reading it I am less impressed with hers. There was a lot of telling her own personal story (appropriate when she first became president; not so much now), and deserved but jarring, given the times, boasting about last session's accomplishments. There seemed to be very little straight talk about the very serious problems facing the state. And, there was no allusion at all, that I could find, to patronage.
Tomorrow, we get the big man himself, Governor Deval Patrick. Today, he released the contributors to his (greatly scaled down from '06) inaugural committee -- so I'm passing the list along to you:
($50,000)Arbella Insurance Group
Mutual Mass Mutual Financial GroupLaborers’ Int’l Union of MAPaul
& Joanne Egerman Peter PanScholasticState Street
CorporationSuffolk Construction CompanyZeneca
Services($15,000)Boston Red Sox Wine & Spirit
Wholesalers of Massachusetts($10,000)1199 SEIU
AT&TBe Our GuestBlue Cross Blue Shield of MABoston Bruins
and TD GardenBoston Scientific Citizens BankDLA PiperEMD Serono
Goulston & Storrs PCHarvard Pilgrim Health CareJohn E. Kavanagh
IIIMassachusetts Credit Union Share Insurance CorporationMassachusetts
Insurance FederationMichael P. Wasserman, Inc.Microsoft Nestle
Waters Corporation New England PatriotsNew England
RevolutionNSTARPort Lighting CompanyRaytheon TD BankThe
Catered AffairThe Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, LLCTufts Health
PlanUNUMVerizon($5,000)Associated Industries of
MassachusettsBarry and Candace SloaneCentury BankFirst Bristol
Corp.Greater Boston Chamber of CommerceHowell CommunicationsMagellan
Health ServicesPaul Revere Transportation, LLCSovereign BankSteward
Health Care System, LLCThe Travelers Indemnity
Co.($2,500)Property Casualty Insurers