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.
Yesterday I told you what I was looking for; so, what did I see?
--Is he our Guy? Um, no. Guy will not reign, or rein, or rain, over anything in state government next year. Suzanne Bump, with little funding, beat him here, there, and everywhere. Now we'll see whether state Dems rush to support her for the battle with Mary Connaughton for state auditor.
Hearing about very low turnout this morning, although I haven't heard from spots like Quincy, the Cape, or Worcester, where hot races might drive a little action. In any event, here are some thoughts on what I'm watching for in today's primaries across the Bay State, in specific races and for larger trends.
--Is he our Guy? The marquee statewide primary -- if one can say such a thing about an auditor's race -- is Suzanne Bump vs.
With the end of the 2009-'10 formal legislative session fast approaching, Beacon Hill is jammed up over the question of how to shove money into the state's four existing race tracks -- including its two dog tracks, which are in particular financial trouble. Speaker Bob DeLeo wants the state to give the tracks licenses to install slot machines; Governor Deval Patrick wants instead to dedicate a portion of casino revenues to the tracks, a position that Senate President Therese Murray agrees with, if I'm not mistaken.
As you know, I love everybody.
And I usually don't like to complain about anything that causes a good political scuffle. But for cripes sakes, when you get handed a policy difference please understand that you can either have a policy debate, or you can accuse someone of corruption. When you do the latter -- when you ask the Attorney General to investigate, for example -- you kinda toss the policy debate out the window.
In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix -- in print tomorrow, online now -- I write about the level of intraparty dissent under the current Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Robert DeLeo.
Two years ago, I wrote that "voting off" -- that is, casting roll-call votes contrary to then-Speaker Sal DiMasi -- had virtually ceased in the House.
Somerville's seven Ward Democratic Party Committees held their caucuses last night, to elect delegates to the state convention. All other committees aren't allowed to start holding caucuses until Wednesday, but apparently Somerville is special. (I'm told that it was the only time they could get home-town boy Congressman Michael Capuano to speak, so the state party gave them a waiver.
In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix -- in print tomorrow, online now -- I have a small item about lobbying expenditures on Beacon Hill in 2009 (to which I referred earlier this week).
The article is here: Bay State's Top Lobbyists.
Also, you should check out my colleague Chris Faraone's story on efforts to curb violence in Boston: The War Over Peace
Later this week you'll see an item I have in the new issue of the Phoenix about Massachusetts lobbying in 2009. Overall, there seems to have been a slight drop in spending from 2008, when big issues like the energy bill and auto-insurance reform were on the table -- but there were also increases around issues that got hot on Beacon Hill last year.
According to reports, Scott Brown has $4 million left over in his Senate campaign account. That would give him the second-biggest war chest in the Bay State -- behind only former congressman Marty Meehan, who just may be Brown's opponent when he faces re-election in 2012.
Brown's flood of donations came after the new year, and is not represented in the 2009 campaign-finance reports that I have been poring through.
I have a habit of picking on Joe Tecce's Restaurant as the emblematic site of political fundraisers and dinner meetings. But is it really number one among pols? With the new campaign-finance reports in, we can find out -- or at least, we can see where the campaign committees and PACs spent the most money in 2009.
A quick search shows a whopping $95,968 paid to Joe Tecce's last year from committees that file with OCPF.
In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix -- in print tomorrow, online now -- I use our annual "look ahead" issue to consider the likelihood of a major political shake-up in Massachusetts politics.
Political insiders in this state are always speculating about potential domino-effect shake-ups, but, as I discuss in the article, it never seems to actually happen.
I've got little or nothing useful to tell you at this stage of the game (so, if you're hoping to be the next AG, just keep your britches cool for a while). Boston looks like it's going to have lower turnout than the Mayoral primary, probably a little under 20%. Somerville -- Capuano's home base -- looks a little higher. The rest of the state is low, low, low, from what I'm hearing.
A mere week after this reporter socked him with a B- grade, the Patrick administration has announced that Dan O'Connell is out; he has been Secretary of Housing and Economic Development for two years.
He is being replaced by the current undersecretary of business development, Gregory Bialecki, who I singled out for brief praise in that same article.
My Phoenix colleague Chris Faraone reports from the State House that representative John Rogers has just delivered a "the speech of his life" on the floor of the House, in which he endorsed his rival Robert DeLeo for Speaker.
Faraone is calling it Rogers's "Three Houses Speech."
First, Rogers apologized for the ethics scandal concerning his house on the Cape.