A&F Secretary Leslie Kirwan made it official today, "further revising" anticipated FY '09 revenue down another $952 million. The budget was based on an original estimate of $21.402 billion, which was reduced to $20.302b in October, which sent Patrick out whacking $1.4b out of the budget. The new number is $19.450b.
--Contrary to popular rumor and speculation, Tom Menino will not declare his re-election intentions tonight in his speech, according to a spokesperson.
--Felix G. Arroyo raised some $5000 at his fundraiser this past weekend, which I think is more than his father raised in his last campaign.
--Further evidence that Boston is not a normal city: In normal cities, the naming of a new school committee chair, especially after a 12-year run by the current chair, is a really, really big deal.
[Note: This post has been updated, following confirmation from Mark Ciommo.]
Boston City Council President Michael Ross will tap rookie district councilor Mark Ciommo of Allston-Brighton to chair the important Ways & Means committee.
Ross's office would not confirm the decision, but Ciommo confirmed that he expects to be named to the post, possibly as early as tomorrow.
A little over a year ago, the Phoenix ran this editorial about the ridiculous stand-off between Mayor Menino and the Boston firefighters' union. I didn't write it, but much of it was based on my input, from what I was hearing from people.
It was enough to make you tear your hair out. Menino was trying to ram drug- and alcohol-testing down the union's throat, after letting it slide for years until it became a big public fiasco.
On Monday, of course, all attention is on whether Jim Rice finally gets into the Hall of Fame. But beyond that....
--Tom Menino gives his State of the City address Tuesday, ten months before the mayoral election, and we don't have a single declared candidate including Menino himself. What, am I supposed to just focus on the substance of the speech, rather than the politics? BO-RING! But seriously, a question for you: what would you most like to hear hizzoner say Tuesday?
"Grateful Gratitude to our President" --Republican National Committee
"You're Investment Paid Off" --21st Century Democrats
Republican Senator Kit Bond of Missouri has joined Mel Martinez of Florida and Sam Brownback of Kansas in announcing that he will not seek re-election in 2010. Now there's talk that George Voinovich of Ohio could follow suit.
After the 2006 elections, I correctly predicted that we'd see a bunch of Republican House members retire, rather than stick around as part of the minority.
In this week's Boston Phoenix, I have a politics column with two items. First, I consider the many new state senators representing Boston and the northern suburbs at this critical moment of fiscal crisis. Then, I ponder the potential openings of two at-large seats on the Boston City Council this year, and wonder whether they will go to fresh faces, or perhaps to familiar district councilors seeking to win city-wide?
--Jeb Bush will NOT run for US Senate in Florida, to replace retiring Mel Martinez in 2010. Free-for-all will now begin. Meg Whitman, eBay honcho and inner-circle Friend-of-Mitt, WILL apparently run for Governor of California in 2010, to succeed the term-limited Terminator. Best line so far (not mine): She'd be the best at auctioning off Senate appointments.
Maine's new congresswoman, Chellie Pingree, has been assigned to the Armed Services Committee, according to the list released today by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (The Dem caucus still has to formally vote on it.) Not bad, freshman! I wouldn't have thought of her for that, but you take what you're given; I do think of her as being strongly anti-Iraq War, but my Portland colleagues might know more about her aptitude for the committee.
City councilor Mike Ross moved into the big office today, as he takes over as council president for the year. (Steve Murphy, elected vice chair, gets no new office -- where's the justice?) Ross also unveiled his new web site, which includes a scrolling "suggestion box" that could become one of the city's great online entertainments, if it was left unmonitored.
--I have only two comments about the latest Blagojevich shenanigans. First, Blago's speaking voice is an absolute dead ringer for Deval Patrick's, and ever since I noticed the resemblance it's all I pay attention to whenever I hear a clip from Blago's press conference. Second, while I admire Blagojevich's chutzpah, I have to think that a real, first-class political egotist in his position -- say, a Rudy Giuliani -- would have named himself to the Senate seat.
Four weeks ago I picked on Jeremy Jacobs of PolitickerMA for boneheading the campaign-finance reports of Tom Menino and Michael Flaherty, making it seem to readers that those two had far, far less money in hand than they really do.
In that post, I pointed out that I had previously taken Dave Wedge of the Herald to task for the same thing, so I couldn't let Jacobs off the hook.
City councilor Michael Flaherty reports payments to Hildebrand Tewes, a national Democratic political consulting firm. Steve Hildebrand was one of the first people involved with Obama's Presidential run, and has been called "the chief architect of Barack Obama's grassroots strategy."
They do opposition research, grassroots organizing, and campaign strategy.
It looks like it could be Michael Bennet, who I believe was born in 1965. He's the school superintendent in Denver, and was rumored as an Education Secretary possibility. According to widespread reports he will be named tomorrow as the replacement for Senator Ken Salazar, presuming that Salazar is confirmed as Obama's Interior Secretary, which should be a gimme.