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  • March 16, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    It would be easy to jab at Bob DeLeo for his blatantly political 180 on patronage, but I'm with Lehigh on this one -- the Speaker deserves credit for taking the lead on the issue.

    I have previously compared this to people who take hazing for granted, suddenly realizing that it's no longer publicly acceptable. It may be too much to expect those types to actually see that what they've been doing is wrong, but regardless, they need to step up and stop it from happening anymore.

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  • January 26, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    Massachusetts Senate leadership, announced late last week, included a number of changes by necessity -- top people had gone, leaving vacancies at assistant majority leader (which went to Steven Tolman of Boston), majority whip (Jack Hart, Boston), assistant majority whip (Harriett Chandler, Worcester), and Ways & Means chair (Stephen Brewer, Barre).

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  • January 05, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    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.

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  • December 22, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix -- in print tomorrow, online now -- I look at what may have been, surprisingly, the biggest political story of the year in Massachusetts: the probation patronage scandal.

    I suggest that the ramifications of that scandal, while still very much unknown, could very easily turn out to be bigger than most folks on Beacon Hill realize.

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  • November 24, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    I've been struck by something in the news recently: hazing. There have been a couple of incidents, in Needham and now Agawam, making the news. Hazing is one of those things that for many years was considered perfectly normal and acceptable -- people doing it might have been concerned with how it could look to some people, but didn't think they were actually doing anything wrong, or anything they could, or should, get in trouble for.

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  • November 04, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    You can't blame state Republican officials for touting their party's gains in the state house of representatives, where their numbers will rise from 15 to between 30 and 32, depending on final tallies. That's their job -- they're supposed to draw attention to anything resembling a good nugget of information among the enormous pile of failure.

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  • November 04, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    The Massachusetts House of Representatives came within a hair's-breadth of losing its pro-choice majority as a result of Tuesday's elections, but will squeak through with a bare edge of 81 of 160 members.

    Choice advocates, who count 95 supporters in the House now, briefly believed Tuesday night that the tally would fall below 80.

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  • September 16, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix -- in print and online now -- I look at House speaker Robert DeLeo's striking $400,000 fundraising haul so far this year, primarily from lobbyists and special interests. As I discuss in the article, the contributions are only available for public view now, after the end of the formal legislative session, rather than while the legislation and budget decisions are being decided -- and potentially influenced.

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  • September 03, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    "North Shore Politico" asks:

    Any predictions on the 9th Essex House and Middlesex and Essex Senate primaries?

    Also, for fun, what do you think Bill Hudak's percentage will be in the 6th GOP House primary? Will Charlie Baker and Richard Tisei vote for him on September 14th?

    Boy oh boy, my crystal ball is getting a workout today.

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  • September 03, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    "David Banner" asks:

    Who are the new Democratic State reps filling the 4th, 5th, 6th and 10th after September 14th?

    Well, I just answered about the 10th, but let's just go ahead and do them all, shall we? With the caveat that these are all very good races, and that these are just my best guesses based on what I'm hearing and seeing.

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  • September 03, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    Are you all excited for Ask Me Anything Day? Our first question is on one of our local battles; "Ward 20" asks:

    Curious to see what your thoughts are in the West Roxbury State Rep Race?

    Well, I think it's a terrific field first of all. Second, I don't like Pam Julian's round yard signs. Other than that, my sense from people I've talked to is that Ed Coppinger is most likely to win (although one has to wonder about a campaign that manages to miss out on the GateHouse candidate profiles).

  • July 31, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    In the final hours, as often happens, the deals were made to reconcile the differences between the two chambers, and a whole bunch of legislation is pouring through the Massachusetts state legislature.

    I haven't had a chance to find out how all those differences have been resolved in those bills, but my initial indicators are that an awful lot of them went in favor of the state senate.

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  • June 01, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    I frequently write about the decline of women Republicans in elected office, and with the certification of candidates for the 2010 ballot, it's time to turn that gaze to our own state of Massachusetts.

    The obvious news to note is that Karyn Polito and Mary Connaughton have legitimate chances to win statewide office, as treasurer and auditor respectively.

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  • April 27, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    "Battle for Boston" asks:

    3 open seats in Boston for state rep. 4th, 5th and 6th suffolk. who do you see as front runners and eventual winners ?

    Actually, there are four open state representative seats in Boston -- you left out the 10th Suffolk, where Michael Rush is running for state senate.

    As to frontrunners and likely winners, I really would have a tough time saying right now.

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  • April 27, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    "Frank" asks via email:

    If Peter Smulowitz fails to pick up the Scott Brown's state senate seat on May 11th, how much blame will go to state rep. Lida Harkins, who has all but endorsed the Republican in the race? Will there be any consequences for Harkins -- like losing her chair of the Needham Town Committee? Or will the Party just allow these local bosses to do what they like?

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