Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Paid Signature Gatherers

KnowThyNeighbor.org is reporting their encounter with paid signature gatherers. So if there are so many people are in support of the anti-equality amendment to the Commonwealth's constitution, why do the religious extremist hire a business with a Michigan telephone number? And why do they have to bus people in from California and pay them a dollar a signature?

Tom Reilly Breaks Wind

BOSTON--Attorney General Thomas Reilly is asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to suspend its review of a controversial plan to build an energy-producing wind farm in Nantucket Sound.

Reilly said a new federal energy law sets up a new process to authorize the use of lands under the control of the federal government, including the continental shelf on which Cape Wind Associates wants to build 130 wind turbines.


So is Tom Reilly the new Mike Dukakis -- Mr. Process? If we waited everytime something changes we would never get anything done.

I am all in favor of the $800 million project to install 417-foot-tall wind turbines in Natucket Sound. It is clean, renewable energy. In Denmark, their most recent offshore wind farm produces enough energy to supply 145,000 households.

I would like to also like to see any candidate for governor express a plan to Massachusetts the most energy efficient state in the country. Maiking us energy efficient is not only good for the environment but also good for the business climate..reducing energy cost.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Disgusting O'Malley

Brian McGrory says it all:

So what does Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley do? Here's exactly what he does:
He fires the popular pastor at one of the most successful parishes in the entire
state, a rare church constantly filled with communicants, bustling with
weddings, brimming with christenings, welcoming to people of all types. A priest
who should be held up as an example is cut down in shame.

But that's not all. Rather than be up front with parishioners, rather
than explain that the Rev. Walter Cuenin is being relieved of his Newton post
because his views on hot-button topics such as homosexuality and women differ
markedly with those of Catholic leaders, rather than just admit that Cuenin was
never a favorite among higher-ups because he was so critical of the church
during the sex scandal, O'Malley chose a markedly different path. He chose to
smear Cuenin for driving a parish-funded, parish-approved lease car.

That's right: After silently shuffling pedophiles from one town to
another to prey on fresh batches of children, the archdiocese is finally
cracking down on wayward priests -- for driving Hondas
.

(...)

Still, it comes to my attention that the archdiocese was able to find
$687,000 recently to buy a house in West Roxbury on behalf of Richard
Bradford, a former Episcopal priest who left his church in a dispute and was
ordained as a Catholic priest under Cardinal Law in 1998, despite being
married.


So, when they read the letters from the Bishops in church this Sunday
encouraging you to sign the petition to not only stop equal marriage but
also outlaw civil unions, stop and think the impact this will have on
families down the street from you. And think about the type of
people who are encouraging you to sign this. And also think about this.


Quietly, archdiocesan leaders have warned Catholic Charities not to expect any
church contribution to the upcoming budget. That amounts to a million dollars
that now goes toward food pantries, homeless shelters, immigrant programs, and
the like. Gone.


Your bishops are people just like us. They can be wrong. They can also not act as Christ would.

Tax Breaks For Hybrid Cars

This is the kind of action I like to see coming out of government. And I like the fact that it is being proposed by State Senate Democrats. We need to beat Mittwit to the punch on these good ideas so when he runs for President he cannot claim credit.

The only thing I would change on this is I would add a surcharge onto the tax sales tax for vehicles whose gas mileage is less than some number, say 20 miles per gallon. That would pay for the tax breaks.

BOSTON --As fuel prices soar and drivers search for ways to save
money, lawmakers are pushing a bill they say would make Massachusetts a national
leader in the drive to ease dependence on gasoline.

The bill, which could come up for a vote in the Senate as soon as Thursday,
would reward drivers who buy hybrid or alternative fuel cars with tax breaks,
free Fast Lane transponders and open access to HOV lanes.

The bill would also require that at least half of the state's fleet of vehicles
run on alternative fuels by 2010 -- and establish an "Alternative Fuels
Institute" at the University of Massachusetts.


(...)
Besides requiring the state to steadily increase its number of alternative
fuel cars, the bill would also authorize $10 million in state borrowing for a
grant program to help local cities and towns and school districts add more
alternative fuel vehicles to their fleets. The money would help build refueling
stations for alternative fuels.

The bill's backers hopes to reward businesses by offering tax
incentives both for the purchase of new alternative fuel cars, and the creation
of alternative fuels and refueling facilities.
The proposed Alternative Fuel
Institute at UMass would be charged with helping develop those new technologies
by working with private businesses, state agencies and the university.


(...)

Besides the $10 million in borrowing, the state would lose from $3 to $5
million in taxes each year, and spend $100,000 on the proposed institute. The
Turnpike Authority would be required to foot the cost of the free transponders,
which cost $27.50 each.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Comedy Connection Mittwit

Washington Post:

Massachusetts Governor Makes His State the Butt of His Jokes
Republican's Out-of-Town Act May Alienate Majority Democrats

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Good Catholics

Marry in Massachsetts points out that a group of Roman Catholics have announced a petition of their own for in support equal marriage. You can find it online here.

Shine Some Light

BOSTON -- Residents could soon be mailing their electric bill to an address
a little closer to home -- their own municipal light company.

Legislators this week heard arguments for a bill that would require
major utility companies to sell their poles, wires and other electrical
equipment to cities and towns interested in taking on the job of supplying
electricity themselves.

Supporters say passage of the bill will give residents more options, as
well as a chance at lower
prices, when it comes to purchasing
electricity.


(...)

Forty communities across the state currently operate their own municipal light companies, said Kevin Goddard, public-relations manager for Littleton Electric Light. Littleton established its own autonomous electric company in 1912. A general manager and an elected board of commissioners run the company,
whose rates are consistently 30 percent below those of major utility companies,
he added.

And This Is Called Irresponsible Government

The Boston Globe:

GLOUCESTER -- First, the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent them to
the Gulf Coast, a rumbling, rolling convoy of tractor-trailers hauling 170
million pounds of ice bound for victims of Hurricane Katrina, whose food and
medicine supplies were rapidly spoiling in the relentless sun.

No sooner had they arrived, when FEMA handed down another order: Never
mind. It turns out that most of the victims had already been brought to shelters
in Texas and other states with working refrigerators and freezers.

Now, 114 of the big rigs have ended up here, 1,000 miles north of the
hurricane zone, on the briny, ocean-cooled shores of Cape Ann in
Gloucester.

In a town proud of its 157-year-old plant capable of churning out 350
tons of ice in a day, the arrival of mountains more of the stuff has caused some
head scratching and frowning Yankee disapproval of Washington's freespending
ways.

(...)

A FEMA spokesman acknowledged yesterday that the agency does not know how
much it may cost taxpayers to keep the ice frozen or when the government might
need it next. But the agency decided it was better to save the stuff, which is
now being offloaded to cold storage facilities in Portland, Maine, Salem, Ore.;
and here in Gloucester, home to Cape Pond Ice.

(...)

Some truck drivers in Gloucester said they were making $900 a day and had
been on the road for nearly two weeks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

It's Called Responsible Government

BOSTON (AP) -- House lawmakers want to save a little for a rainy day -- about $691 million to be exact.

A new spending plan set for a vote today would stash the money -- surplus from the fiscal year that ended June 30th -- in the state's savings account.

Democratic House leaders say the move is fiscally sound. They say the state was spared from more drastic cuts during the recent economic slump because it had saved more then $2 billion in the rainy day account during the 1990s.

But Republicans, including Governor Romney, say some of the money should be used to lower the state income tax rate from five-point-three percent down to five percent.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Another Romney Flip Flop

From The Standard Times:

BOSTON -- Gov. Mitt Romney yesterday indicated he would veto any attempt to
expand gambling in Massachusetts, throwing a major hurdle before legislators who
want a casino or slots parlors in Southeastern Massachusetts.

It was also a significant change in the governor's position.

After he was elected in 2002, Romney proposed allowing video slots parlors
on a trial basis to help close a $3 billion state budget deficit. He also
suggested seeking $75 million in blocking payments from neighboring states with
casinos in exchange for not legalizing gambling in Massachusetts.
Romney said yesterday that the Legislature had little interest in video
slots in 2002, and the state's economic climate had changed since then.

"Today we're generating hundreds of millions of dollars in surplus," Romney
told reporters. "In my view, there is no reason to risk the social costs
associated with expanding gaming, and therefore, I wouldn't support casinos or
slot machines being added to the gaming that currently exists in the
commonwealth."

Democrats accused Romney of flip-flopping to gain the support of
conservative, out-of-state Republican groups as he explores a bid for the
presidency. Anti-gambling activists had vowed to boycott an Iowa fund-raiser
where Romney is scheduled to speak next month unless he rejected gambling.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ted Kennedy Has Republican Opponent

The Boston Phoenix:

Who is this Kevin Scott? Well, he’s 41-year-old graduate of UMass-Boston
and Newbury College. He speaks Russian, enjoys reading about politics and
history, and has lived in Wakefield his entire life. More to the point, he seems
to be heavily influenced by conservative talking head Howie Carr, whose
drive-time show on WRKO-AM is infused with the same combative populism that
marks Scott’s web site, MassForScott.com. "I am not a Harvard trust fund baby,"
Scott assures visitors. "Kevin is one of you," the site adds. "Just like you, he
has gone through the trials and tribulations that life tends to throw at a
person and he has overcome them."

Up in Wakefield, meanwhile, early reactions to Scott’s run were mix. Mary
K. Galvin, Wakefield’s town clerk, described Scott as a "wonderful young man."
But a woman who answered the phone in the selectmen’s office--and who asked not
to be identified--seemed hesitant when asked if Scott should be taken seriously.
"Hmm..." she replied. "I’m not going to answer that."


This should be worth some laughs if it is as good as when Jack E. Robinson ran against Ted in 2000.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

MA Conservative Family Opens Home To Lesbian Couple

PageoneQ highlights an article in the Time magazine, Sept 26th issue. The article discuss Katrina evacees and their hosts.

And so, for the past week, King, a self-described "dyed-in-the-wool
conservative," has been sharing his home with the Meehan-Hoo family, a lesbian
couple with three children, ages 5, 7 and 9.

. . . . . Forrest and Marie have offered their home to the Meehan-Hoos
[family] indefinitely. Jan, who had a job at a nursing home in Louisiana, and
Yolanda, a paramedic, hope to find new jobs nearby. Until they get settled,
communal living provides learning experiences for everyone, even Forrest. "The
other day I heard them arguing with each other in the stairway. It proves to me
that same-sex couples are just as miserable as the rest of us," says King,
laughing, as his wife and the Meehan-Hoos shake their heads in exasperation,
like family.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Worst And Stupidist

On the drive home from work I'll tune into Jay Severin's "Best and Brightest" talk show on the radio. I usually can only take lisening to the bombastic jerk for a few minutes. Last Friday I was tuned in when Jay (or is it Jimmy) said:

''But since journalism began, and up until the time at least that I took my master's degree at Boston University -- and may I add without being obnoxious, up till and including the time that I received a Pulitzer Prize for my columns for excellence in online journalism from the Columbia School of Journalism, the highest possible award for writing on the Web -- right up to and including that in 1998, you still had to practice journalism to be a journalist."

But as Scot Lehigh points out:

That struck several listeners as unlikely. Once I'd heard the claim, I
asked the Pulitzer folks to check it out. ''We looked at the records and there
is no record of him winning a Pulitzer Prize," says Sig Gissler, administrator
of the Pulitzers. Nor is there a Pulitzer for excellence in online
journalism.

How does Jay explain his assertion?

''What I said was, there is a prize that my editor told me is the
equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize for Web journalism," Severin said in an
interview. ''That is a hell of a caveat."

Certainly it would have been if Severin had made it. The problem is, he
didn't. I read him his on-air comment.

''I certainly could have been more precise," he conceded. Or more, say,
truthful.

Now to the matter of online awards. From 2000 to 2002, Columbia
University was the cosponsor for the Online Journalism Awards, awards in no way
related to the Pulitzers. According to Tom Regan, executive director of the
Online News Association, there is only one annual Online Journalism Award that
goes to an individual. It's for commentary. Severin hasn't won that, he
said.

It is true that in 2000, the first year for which those awards were
given, MSNBC.com won an Online Journalism Award for general excellence ''in
collaboration," and Severin was writing columns for the site at the time. But
that award ''is for the site as a whole," says Regan.

Severin, however, said that he had been told by Joan Connell, then
executive producer for opinions at the site, that the prize he alluded to was
for a small group of writers that included him. Connell, who is now with The
Nation, says she's not even sure what award Severin has in mind. Asked about
Severin's account, she says: ''I don't recall that. The awards we did win tended
to be for sitewide excellence and not for the opinion sections."


And then there is this:

Now, where would anyone introducing Jay have gotten the notion that he was
a Harvard Law School graduate?

''I have no idea," said Severin. But one quickly occurred to him. As
part of an arrangement made by his BU professors, he said, he had sat in on some
classes at Harvard Law School, though not as an enrolled student. Perhaps, he
said, whoever introduced him had heard him mention those classes on the air and
arrived at that conclusion.

That's inventive, anyway. But then, there's long been an aura of
self-invention about Severin.

The young man known at Vassar as Jimmy Severino is now Jay Severin III.
The former B-grade political consultant would have his listeners believe he was
once a top-level national strategist.

MA Republicans At The Trough

What a cast of characters..Mittwit, Kerry Healey, Weld. For those not from Massachusetts, Beverly is up on the North Shore. It is horse country. I don't think any compnay would need $1 million in tax credits to develop the estate of the late William Loeb, publisher of the Union Leadre of Manchester.

And in a different article the company Mittwit is leasing is new office from also got a tax break.

From The Boston Globe:


Governor Mitt Romney's tax agency last year shelved a sharply critical
report on an economic development program for ''blighted" properties that had
awarded a $1 million tax credit to a wealthy company headed by Lieutenant
Governor Kerry Healey's husband.

(...)


Since May, Healey's husband, Sean M. Healey, has netted $13 million by
cashing in stock options in his firm, Affiliated Managers Group Inc. The money
is widely expected to help finance his wife's potential campaign.

The Department of Revenue report confirmed many of the criticisms
outlined last year by Inspector General Gregory Sullivan, who said the tax
credits, including those to Affiliated Managers Group, had been ''handed out as
favors" to companies and should be returned to the state.

(...)


Affiliated Managers Group, an asset management firm that manages billions
of dollars, received a $1-million tax credit for developing a single, 88-acre
estate in Beverly's Prides Crossing neighborhood as its headquarters. The tax
credit was awarded two years before Kerry Healey became lieutenant
governor.

Sean Healey is president and chief executive officer of the firm. The
chief financial officer and executive vice president is Darrell W. Crate, whom
Romney picked as chairman of the state Republican Party in 2003. Governor
William F. Weld, who created the tax incentive program in 1993, sat on the
Affiliated Managers Group board from 1998 to 2004.

(...)


Through an aide, Kerry Healey declined last week to respond to Sullivan's
demands that the state seek a return of the $1 million tax credit. The aide
indicated that Healey was waiting for the final Department of Revenue report.

(...)


Nonetheless, Sullivan renewed his call for the Department of Revenue to
revoke $10.5 million in ''questionable" credits.

(...)


Based on the company's application and the city of Beverly's support, the state's Economic Assistance Coordinating Council had declared the estate a
decadent area, although it is in one of the state's wealthiest neighborhoods. It
had been owned by the late William Loeb, the publisher of the Union Leader of
Manchester. His mansion burned down in 1987; the land has been vacant
since.

The recently discovered Department of Revenue report agreed with
Sullivan's very sharp criticism that certain tax credit projects do not meet the
legal criteria for the program, designed to attract firms to locate in an ''open
blighted area" or a ''distressed area" that cannot be developed without tax
incentives.



And then there is Mittwit and is new digs with the view of New Hampshire and the $7 million tax break his landlord received:

Governor Mitt Romney is paying $58,350 annually from his personal funds to rent
space in one of Boston's most prestigious office settings from a firm that two
years ago received a $7 million tax break from his administration.


(...)

The Globe reported yesterday that Romney signed a sublease agreement with
Manulife on Sept. 1 for the office, where aides say he will conduct personal
family and political business. The rent for an office in one of Boston's premier
buildings normally runs over $50 a square foot, real estate specialists say. The
office suite offers a spectacular view of the region.


(...)

The disclosure of the rental price for space on the 59th floor of the John
Hancock Tower was made after the Democratic Party called on the governor to
release the information and Inspector General Gregory W. Sullivan reiterated his
strong criticism of the tax break that the Romney administration approved for
Manulife in 2003
.

(...)

The governor's Executive Office of Economic Affairs approved the Manulife
tax deal as part of the Economic Development Incentive Program.

''The Manulife tax break was one of the egregious abuses of this program in its history," said Sullivan. ''I have called for the money to be returned."

A spokesman for Manulife did not return a call from the Globe seeking
comment.


Romney's economic aides approved the tax credit to Manulife for relocating its office from the Hancock Tower to the Seaport district in South Boston. The economic incentive program is designed to encourage companies to locate in designated ''blighted" or ''distressed" areas.

But Sullivan, who first raised the issue of the tax break in a report last year, has noted that the Seaport district, often described as prime waterfront property, was not a distressed area. He also said that the company had already opened its headquarters there two months before receiving the credit.

Why do I find this report on KTVO in Missouri? But I am all in favor of the idea.

BOSTON (AP) - It's cold, it's snowing, and there's ice and snow on the car.
So you hop in and go without clearing off all the winter. That might soon be
against the law in Massachusetts. The state legislature is considering a bill
that would mean fines of up to 500 dollars, and even a six-month stay in jail.
The bill is designed to reduce the danger from chunks of snow and ice flying off
car roofs or hoods. If it passes, Massachusetts could become the first state to
require snow and ice-free cars.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Maybe Rep Wagner From Chicopee Should be First To Go

Other local legislators who switched their yes votes from last year and voted no on the amendment yesterday included Reps. Joseph F. Wagner, D-Chicopee, Anne M. Gobi, D-Spencer, and Sens. Stephen J. Buoniconti, D-West Springfield, Michael R. Knapik, R-Westfield and Stephen M. Brewer, D-Barre.

Wagner said he changed his vote because the attorney general has certified a new proposed ballot question on marriage for 2008, diminishing the need for the "less than perfect compromise amendment."

Brewer said his position evolved and he now supports the constitutional right for same-sex marriage.

Brewer, whose district includes Palmer, questioned the move to ban gay marriages when thousands have already taken place. "What do we do? Reject all that now? I'm troubled by that constitutionally and morally."

Run Opposition

Many of these Legislators face no opposition each year. I would hope that as part of the equal marriage forces strategy that they decide to target some of these Legislators, maybe 10, in the next elcection. Not just the general election but also in the primary. If the Legisalator is a Democrat, find a equality Democrat to run against them in the primary. Simultaneous, team with the Log Cabin Republicans to find an equality Republican to run. Make these folks pay the price. Make them work to get elected. Start the ground work now.

Critics of same-sex marriage said yesterday's vote was a necessary step to
ready for their 2008 ballot effort. They said that they can now count on
at least 60 legislative supporters of that ballot question, which is 10 more than needed
to put it before the voters. ''This is fantastic; we're pumped,"
said Kristian Mineau, head of the Massachusetts Family Institute, which is
spearheading the ballot initiative campaign. ''This was a flawed amendment. The
citizens wanted a vote on marriage with no add-ons, and this opens the gate.
There are no more barriers."

Romney's View Towards New Hampshire

In today's Boston Globe, Joan Vennochi asked a good question about Mittwit's new office space on the 59th floor of the John Hancock Tower:

And now comes word of Romney's room with a view in the Hancock Tower. Would
a governor who planned on spending a great deal of time in his State House
office need such high-rent work space ?

(...)

Mitt Romney, the Hamlet of Massachusetts politics, can now mull his future
from the 59th floor of the John Hancock Tower, where he is leasing CEO-worthy
office space. The top of the tower comes with a sweeping view: On a clear
day, you can see New Hampshire, the first presidential primary state.

''The governor has rented office space in the Hancock Tower for
personal and family use, and from this office he manages family financial
affairs and the activities of his charitable foundation," explained Romney
spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, via e-mail. ''He also from time to time may conduct
political fundraising that he is prohibited by law from conducting on state
property."

Toronto-based Manulife Financial, which owns John Hancock Financial
Services, has been moving top executives to its new Congress Street
headquarters. Vacated space in the tower, now owned by Beacon Capital, is
available for lease; top floors lease for about $52.50 a square foot, putting it
at the top of the Boston real estate market, according to the Greater Boston
Real Estate Board. Fehrnstrom said that Romney signed the lease and is using his
own money to pay for his new workspace. His campaign staff continues to work out
of Romney Committee headquarters at 88 Merrimac.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Victory For Equality...For Now

From Mass Equality:
Just moments ago, Massachusetts legislators rejected by a vote of 157 to 39
a proposed constitutional amendment that would have revoked equal marriage
rights for same-sex couples. Marriage equality is now secure in the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts until at least November 2008.

Over the past year and a half, we have seen the number of pro-equality
legislators grow from a small handful to a solid majority. While our opponents
will try to claim this victory as their own, at least 115 legislators voted
against this amendment because they agree with us and oppose writing anti-gay
discrimination into the constitution. Thanks to all those legislators who have
been with us from the beginning and all those who came out today for the first
time as supporters of equality.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Improving The Initiative And Referendum Process

We have all seen what has happened in California with the initiative and referendum process. Ans we have seen in Massachuetts where groups such as Focus on the Family and their surrogate Massachusetts Family Institute carperbaggers come into the state to mess with our government.

Massachusetts Senate Bill No. 2158 would provide increased visibility into the process and the groups. From The Boston Phoenix:

Senate No. 2158 would make several key changes to the I&R process —
which, for better or worse, allows the electorate to take government into its
own hands. For example, all signature gatherers would be forced to attest, under
penalty of perjury, that every signature they obtained was gathered in their
presence, something known as the "jurat" requirement. The secretary of state’s
office would provide electronic lists of every single signature obtained for
every single I&R petition. And anyone seeking to change the law through
I&R, whatever their cause (banning greyhound racing, creating publicly
financed elections, stopping gay marriage), would be barred from paying
signature gatherers on a per-signature basis.

The bill would also mandate public identification of major financial
contributors to any I&R campaign. And it would explicitly ban the kind of
bait-and-switch that occurred a few years ago, when gay-marriage opponents
pretended they were circulating petitions against horse slaughtering to help get
extra signatures.

Most good-government advocates would agree that the last two
restrictions make good sense. The others are more dubious, however — and in
retrospect, they may have been deal-breakers. Implement the first, and it would
basically become illegal to leave petitions out in public spaces like cafés and
bookstores. This, in turn, would make it much harder to get the requisite number
of signatures — especially for genuine grassroots groups relying on volunteers,
rather than on paid professionals. The second would have invited aggressive
lobbying by opponents of any I&R measure, and could have made potential
supporters of certain I&R proposals change their minds. Provision number
three, meanwhile, might well have been an unconstitutional abridgement of
political speech.

As a result, even some individuals who sympathized with the bill’s
intent concluded that it amounted to legislative overreach. "What is the greater
good?" asks Common Cause-Massachusetts executive director Pam Wilmot, whose
organization backs some parts of the bill but opposes others. "Is the greater
good getting more people involved in democracy, or is the greater good
preventing a few more bad apples from breaking the law? If the sole goal is to
stop fraud, all sorts of bad things can happen. You have to keep your eyes on
the larger prize." These concerns gave rise to a classic strange-bedfellows
coalition, with Common Cause joining Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin
and conservative groups such as the Massachusetts Family Institute and Citizens
for Limited Taxation, in opposing the legislation.
(...)
It’s still possible that Senate No. 2158 will make a comeback when the
Senate begins formal deliberations after Labor Day. If it does, and if the
Senate and House act quickly, it could become law sometime this fall. Earlier
this week, Augustus told the Phoenix he’d be open to compromising on the more
controversial parts of the bill — for example, by eliminating the jurat
requirement for volunteers, or by creating a database that prevents fraud while
keeping the identities of petition-signers private.

The goal, Augustus insists, is to limit the ability of wealthy
individuals and out-of-state advocacy groups to mess with Massachusetts law, not
to cripple genuine grassroots civic activism. "We know there’s going to be a
major ballot initiative coming up [on gay marriage], and groups from around the
country will be here, financially and otherwise, to push their agenda," he says.
"And our procedures here are going to receive national scrutiny. It seemed
important to me to tighten them up in a way that makes sure the voters of
Massachusetts are protected."

Reilly's Vulnerability

I think it does no good contacting Tom Reilly to voice dissapointment with his ruling on the anti-gay marriage. But I do think it helps to let people like Steve Grossman know what you think. If the big money people pull out Reilly is sunk. And it looks like maybe some people have already let Steve know how they feel.

It also prompted Barbara Grossman, the wife of Steve Grossman, Reilly's campaign treasurer, to withdraw her support. She not only endorsed Patrick, but donated $500 to his campaign.

"In the core of my being, I believe it is a civil rights issue," she said Friday. "I certainly don't want to inflate my importance in any way, but I could not continue my support for Tom Reilly in light of this."

And I wonder if Steve still feels the same as in this interview from January, 2005.

But despite acknowledging that he and Reilly "might not agree on every issue,"
Grossman is standing by Reilly, who many see as the best hope Democrats have of
defeating Governor Mitt Romney in 2006. Notwithstanding Reilly's past defense of
the state against Goodridge, Grossman said Reilly's refusal to follow Romney's
request to petition the SJC for a further stay on the implementation of the
ruling until the current attempt to amend the constitution was complete - a
process that could potentially stretch until November 2006 - indicates that the
attorney general is committed to preserving equal marriage rights. Additionally,
Grossman noted Reilly's record of opposing attempts to amend the constitution to
ban same-sex marriage.

Friday, September 09, 2005

I think Mass Equality Is Wrong On This One

Talk about strange bedfellows:``If they really wanted to be helpful in protecting equal marriage rights, they can show their support by talking to people and sharing stories, not by putting up this silly, mean-spirited Web site,'' said Marty Rouse, campaign director for MassEquality, a coalition of gay rights groups.

I think Marty is wrong on this for a few reason.
  • As Secretary of State Tom Galvin said the posting of names on of the signatories on the Web is legal. "That is fine. That is the American way if they want to do it", he said. The anti-gay marriage petition is a public document.
  • The last time the extreme right circulated an anti-gay petition there were widespread allegations of signature fraud and that people who thought they were signing a petition to "save horses" were dubed into signing the anti-gay petition. Isn't the information know thy neighbor is posting a way to combat this fraud? Plus, the web site as a link to notify the Secretary of State's office should you see your name on the list and want it remioved from the petition.
  • I guess posting these names is effective. Otherwise, I don't think the initial reaction of the extremist would have been so reactive.
  • And rememeber when Mittwit's wife and son signed the petition last time. If this web site had been in place Mittwit would not have been caught offguard:

BOSTON

- Although Republican Mitt Romney announced his candidacy for the Massachusetts
governorship only a week ago, news that family members support an
anti-gay constitutional amendment has already given ammunition to his detractors. Romney's wife, son, and daughter-in-law reportedly signed an anti-gay marriage petition
that seeks to amend the state constitution in order to prevent same-sex couples from ever being legally recognized in Massachusetts.


The proposed amendment would also strip domestic partnership benefits
from gay and lesbian public employees. This news motivated Romney's campaign
to clarify his position on the issue. Eric Fehrnstrom, a Romney campaign
spokesman, told The Boston Globe, "Romney opposes gay marriage but also
opposes the amendment, since he sees no reason to change the current laws,
which allow for domestic partner benefits to public employees" and suggested that his family members signed the petition ''without reading the fine print.''


''Mitt did not know they signed it, and Mitt does not support it,'' said Fehrnstrom. ''As far as Mitt is concerned, it goes farther than current law, and therefore it's unnecessary.'' But some Massachusetts activists are not placated and suggest that a public admittance of error is necessary if the petitions were in fact signed in error.

You know, lets say, if there was an amendment in Kansas to allow gays to civil marriage that the radical right would be posting the names.

  • Finally, the intent of this web site is not like the Christain extremeist web site that post the names of abortion providers. The intent is:

not advocating that gay marriage backers use the Web site as a method of intimidating the signers, but rather as a way to ``open up communication'' on both sides of the debate. ``We are not telling people what to do. We are letting people become their own armchair activists,'' he said.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

When Protest Flop

I don't yet know how things turned out at the Focus on the Family pre-event. But Bay Windows has some good summaries of other extremist events.

Boston homophobic At-Large City Council Candidate Roy Owens's planned youth prayer march and praise rally Sept. 3 turned out to be a bust. Owens had planned to stage a rally and march from Franklin Park through Roxbury to protest what he saw as major social ills facing the community's young people.

In addition to gang violence, teen pregnancy, and broken families, Owens's flyer promoting the event also mentioned the evil of homosexuality, prompting out local resident Erika McLaughlin and two friends to attend the event as a counter-protest. They need not have bothered. The entire march,
including Owens, consisted of eight people
.

And up in Lexington:

David Parker the Lexington parent arrested at his son's school April 28 for refusing to leave after an argument with school officials over gay issues in the
curriculum, held a rally with about 50 of his supporters at the
Lexington Town Green Sept. 6, but his rally backfired
. About 300 people, predominantly Lexington residents, held a counter-protest across the street, spreading out in a long line that dwarfed Parker and his supporters, including members of the anti-gay Article 8 Alliance. The counter-protestors, which included parents, children, grandparents, school officials and Lexington State Sen. Susan Fargo, held signs with messages like "Support All Children, Families, and Schools." The counter-protest was organized by a group called Lexington Community Action for Responsible Education and Safety (CARES), a group that formed in response to Parker's arrest and subsequent protests. Lexington CARES organizer and local parent Meg Soens explained, "We wanted to send a message that Lexington and the Lexington Public Schools care deeply about all the children in the classrooms and that we value making every child feel safe and welcome."

And the anti-gay Article 8 Alliance thinks teaching children to "Support ALL Children, Families, and Schools" is "Raising kids to hate others". That's their warped sense of family values.

Boston Most Expensive City

Anyone running for Governor listening? THIS is an issue.

The cost-of-living ranking comes from the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan Washington think tank. Story in The Globe:

Propelled largely by high housing costs, Boston is now the most expensive
metropolitan area in the country, outpacing Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and
even New York City, according to a report that will be released today.

The report found that last year, a family of four living in the Boston area
needed $64,656 to cover its basic needs. This was $6,000 more than in New York
City, and about $7,000 more than in San Francisco. Living expenses, which
include healthcare, child care, and other basic needs, were $44,000 or less in
Austin, Texas; Chicago; Miami; and Raleigh, N.C.

The third annual ''Housing Report Card," produced by the Boston
Foundation and the Citizens' Housing and Planning Association, concludes that
even an uptick in housing production could not halt the relentless climb of
Greater Boston's housing prices, which are increasing far more rapidly than are
wages.

(...)

Even though Massachusetts was the only state to lose population last year,
prices continued to rise because demand is still higher than the supply of many
types of housing.

The price increases in the Boston region slowed in 2004 relative to
other parts of the country; the national rate was 12.5 percent. But home prices
in Massachusetts have increased more over the past 25 years than in any other
state; they remain among the highest in the country.

The high cost of living is prompting many residents, especially younger
ones who can't afford to buy into the housing market, to decamp for other states
, the report said. It is the latest to warn that such an exodus could have dire consequences for Massachusetts, which was the only state to lose population
last year.

''Continued out-migration may solve the housing problem by reducing
demand," the report concludes. ''But, the cost to the Commonwealth's long-term prosperity of losing its workforce is practically incalculable. Much more housing, appropriate for young working families, must be produced if this is to
be avoided."

(...)

Jennifer Norris, a 34-year-old Medford resident, said the struggle to buy a
house is a wrenching topic of conversation.

Norris, who works for an environmental group, and her husband, employed at
Harvard Law School, make a combined salary that exceeds $100,000. But that isn't
enough to buy a house near their jobs, they say, and for five years they have
rented a two-bedroom apartment.

''At every gathering of people our age, this is the topic of conversation we inevitably end up on, and we all get depressed," Norris added. ''It's something we're all angry about and obsessed over."

Boston-area renters are also under strain. The report notes that even
though there were 34,000 fewer rental households in 2003 than in 2000, 19,000
more rental households were paying more than 50 percent of their incomes for
rent in 2003 than in 2000.

(...)

The report does note that in 2004, there were 13,556 building permits issued in Greater Boston, the highest figure since 1987.

And for the first time since before 1998, both single-family and multifamily production were up. The authors also praise state lawmakers for approving a measure last year that rewards communities for relaxing their zoning to make way for mixed-income housing near transit stops and in town centers. Many people contend that overly restrictive zoning, rather than a scarcity of land, is the cause of the state's high housing prices.

But Finley Perry, president of the Home Builders Association of Massachusetts, said there are still barriers to producing single-family homes. ''There is no incentive for the home-building industry to do anything at the starter-home level," Perry said. ''Land is so expensive, you can't really afford to put an inexpensive house on it."

Know Thy Neighbor

From The Herald:

A pair of gay activists are raising the stakes in the fight over same-sex
marriage, vowing to post on the Internet the name and address of anyone who
signs a petition to ban gay marriage and civil unions in Massachusetts.

``I have the fight in me now, and if people I know, or that I support, or that I do business with are on that list, I might not support them or their philanthropies or their businesses,'' said Tom Lang, who launched knowthyneighbor.org with his spouse, Alex Westerhoff.

(...)

``We think that it is intimidation by no other name,'' said Kristian
Mineau, whose name was listed as one of the first 30 signers of the petition.
Mineau said he will explore the rights of people who have signed or plan to sign
the petition.

Why is it the religious extremist don't have any problem when their groups post the names of abortion providers on the internet but they have problems now.

Mineau and his wife are listed on the site, along with their address. Also
listed: former Mayor Raymond L. Flynn; Dover Selectwoman Kathleen W. Weld and
her husband, Walter Weld; and Richard W. Richardson, spokesman for the Black
Ministerial Alliance.

(...)

[Massachusetts Secretary of State] Galvin said posting the names of the
signatories on the Web is legal. ``That is fine. That is the American way if
they want to do it,'' he said.

Unfit For His Party's Nomination

From Boston Phoenix:

Reilly, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, has in the past flip-flopped on important issues such as the death penalty and gay marriage. If he allows the provision limiting marriage only to men and women, he will have made himself unfit for his party’s nomination.

Reilly's Decision

You can find the complete text of Reilly decison certifing the anti-gay marriage amendment here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Who Are The Anti-Equality Organizations?

From the Massachusetts Family Institute Blog. These are the organizations wanting to create a second class of citizens in Massachusetts.

The Coalition for Marriage & Family is an alliance of 13 state and 6 national organizations:
  • Alliance Defense Fund
  • Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston
  • Catholic Action League on Massachusetts
  • Catholic Citizenship
  • Center for Reclaiming America
  • COPAHNI Fellowship of Hispanic Pastors of New England
  • Family Research Council
  • Focus on the Family
  • Institute for Family Development
  • Jews Against Anti-Christian definition
  • Massachusetts Catholic Conference
  • Massachusetts Citizens for Life
  • Massachusetts Family Institute
  • Massachusetts State Council - Knights of Columbus
  • Morality in Media Massachusetts
  • Natural Rights and Laws Compact
  • Toward Tradition
  • United Families International - Defend Marriage Massachusetts
  • Vision America

Reilly Caves

Tom Reilly had a choice. He could have ruled the anti-gay marriage amendment as former Massachuestts Attorney Generals Shannon and Harshbarger recommended.

As for the 2008 initiative, a letter to Reilly signed by former attorneys
general James M. Shannon and Scott Harshbarger and nearly 80 lawyers from
Boston's top law firms echoes an argument that gay-rights groups have already
made: that the state Constitution disallows any ballot question that would
reverse a judicial decision. (The Supreme Judicial Court legalized same-sex
marriage in a November 2003 ruling.)


And here and here are the arguments that Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders presented.

Instead Reilly chose another path:

BOSTON --Attorney General Tom Reilly has certified a proposed ballot initiative that would ban gay marriage, allowing conservative groups to begin the long process of gathering signatures and lobbying lawmakers in hopes of putting the matter before voters in 2008.

Supporters now must go out and gather the signatures of at least 65,825
Massachusetts voters. If they are successful, the question then must by approved
by 25 percent of two successive sittings of the 200-member state Legislature.
The question would then be placed before voters again as a constitutional
amendment in 2008.

My initial reaction was one of disappointment. But it has now changed to one of resolve. One to see this defeated.

Religious Coalition Rally For Justice

The Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry is a group of more than 600 rabbis, ministers, and faith leaders, as well as congregations, and faith-based organizations from 21 faith traditions. They advocate for equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples and families. For them, this is a matter of justice and civil rights.

On Thursday, September 8, from 12 to1, in front of Tremont Street Baptist Church, 88 Tremont Street, Boston, Mass they will hold a peaceful alternative to the American Taliban Focus on the Family "pre-event".

The Focus on the Family “pre-event” is for their Love Won Out conference that will be held on Oct. 29. Love Won Out is their “ex-gay” movement whose mission is to convert gays and lesbians into heterosexual conservative Christians. In addition, they are a driving force behind the amendment that would take away civil marriage rights.

Clergy, please wear your religious garments

Colorado based Focus on the Family doesn’t speak for the citizens of Massachusetts.

A majority of our people of faith support GLBT rights and marriage equality.

Reilly's Time To Stand Up

You can't say it any better about Tom Reilly the politican than Eileen McNamara does in today's Globe:

Reilly should have put a stop to this foolishness weeks ago. As his
predecessors, former attorneys general James M. Shannon and Scott Harshbarger,
have said, and as dozens of the state's most respected lawyers have told him,
the state constitution prohibits ballot questions designed to rescind a judicial
decision. That role belongs to the Legislature.

By waiting until the last minute to rule on this misguided ballot
initiative, the putative Democratic gubernatorial candidate has only reinforced
suspicion that he is preoccupied with questions of politics, not of law. It is a
suspicion Reilly cannot afford in the face of a credible challenge for the
nomination from Deval L. Patrick, a former assistant US attorney who has been
unequivocal in his support for equal civil rights for gay people.

Reilly has spent a fair chunk of his career in public life battling the
perception that he is less motivated by legal conviction than by political
self-interest. That view first took hold a decade ago when, as district attorney
of Middlesex County, he chose to personally prosecute a Somerville teenager
accused of killing the mother of his best friend.

Reilly rarely tried cases but he was weighing a campaign for attorney
general when the homicide occurred. The publicity generated by the trial and the
conviction -- the defendant was a grandson of a former Somerville police chief
-- certainly raised Reilly's name-recognition.
Suspicions of grandstanding
accompanied Reilly's investigation in the aftermath of the clergy sexual abuse
scandal in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. The 16-month probe produced
a chilling 76-page report but no indictments.

Similarly, Reilly's fraud investigation of the Big Dig's project
managers, Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, was launched earlier this year only
after others had exposed the shoddy workmanship and lax oversight of the $14.6
billion public works project.

The issue of gay marriage is especially problematic for Reilly. A
longtime opponent of same-sex marriage, he changed his mind as he geared up to
run for governor. Even so, he continues to defend a 1913 state statute that
prohibits out-of-state couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their union
would be illegal in their home state. That the genesis of the law was a racist
accommodation to states that outlawed interracial marriages seems to bother him
as little as the fact that the obscure statute was resurrected only to limit the
reach of the SJC's ruling.

"There Were No Earthquakes"

The two top lieutenants of state Senate President Robert E. Travaglini
yesterday said they will vote against
their boss's proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage
and
establish civil unions when the Legislature takes up the issue next week.

The announcements from Senate majority leader Frederick E. Berry of Peabody
and Senate majority whip Joan M. Menard of Somerset, in separate interviews with
the Globe, came just one day before state Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly was
to decide if a separate measure calling for an outright ban of same-sex marriage
passes constitutional muster.

Berry and Menard, both Democrats, said they were abandoning their
previous support for the Travaglini amendment because they believe the negative
consequences predicted by opponents of gay marriage never came to pass.

''There were no earthquakes," Berry said.


Today, AG Reilly is suppose to rule if the extremist 2008 amendment to ban equal marriage and civil unions can proceed.

Not The Legislature, The Courts...No, I Mean...

Don't ya love the right wingnuts. When the courts rule that equal marriage is ok, the right shouts to allow the legislature to decide. When the legislature decides to permit equal marriage, the right screams allow the courts to decide.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Gay rights supporters cheered loudly from the gallery as
California lawmakers became the first in the country to approve
a bill allowing same-sex marriages
. But their celebration may be
short-lived.

The legislation could be vetoed by Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger, who has expressed an acceptance of gay marriages but said it's an issue that should be decided by voters or the
courts.


"He will uphold whatever the court decides,"
spokeswoman Margita Thompson said Tuesday after the state Assembly approved the
same-sex marriage measure, 41-35. The Senate had approved it last week.

A state appellate court is considering appeals of a lower court ruling
that overturned California laws banning recognition of gay marriages. And
opponents of same-sex marriage are trying to qualify initiatives for the 2006
ballot that would amend the state Constitution to ban gay marriages.

The
bill's supporters compared the legislation to earlier civil rights campaigns,
including efforts to eradicate slavery and give women the right to vote.

"Do what we know is in our hearts," said the bill's sponsor, San
Francisco Democrat Mark Leno. "Make sure all California families will have the
same protection under the law."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Deval Patrick Campaign Evolves..Has 1,700 Volunteers

From The Boston Globe:

In July, Patrick's campaign reported $98,000 in donations, and spent
$106,000, the candidate's spokesman, Kahlil Byrd, said. In August, the former
assistant US attorney general raised $20,000 and spent $46,000, mostly on rent
for his downtown Boston headquarters, new computers, and salaries, Byrd said.
Since raising $1 million after he launched his campaign in March, Patrick now
has about $287,000 in his account, Byrd said. The campaign has made some
cuts, as well, Byrd said.

Campaign manager John Walsh, a Democratic operative and former Abington
selectman, who was making $9,200 a month in the early phase of the campaign --
April, May, and June -- had his salary trimmed to $8,000 a month in July and
August, Byrd said. A campaign media consultant, Dan Payne, who was initially
paid $10,000 a month, had his salary slashed to $5,000 in July and then
eliminated in August, Byrd said. Larry Carpman, another media consultant, earned
$5,000 a month in April, May, and June, but was cut from the payroll in July and
August, Byrd said.

Both consultants were hired to help launch the campaign, and have agreed to
continue offering advice as needed, Byrd said.

''It's a deliberate strategy," he said. ''We had an exploration phase. Then
we moved into a campaign phase, and each one of the consultants was told this
from the beginning."

(...)
Reilly, who has tapped a base of donors cultivated during years in office, has
$3 million in his campaign account, said Reilly's spokeswoman, Kendra Medville.
Operating with just three paid staffers, Reilly's campaign spent $63,000 in July
and raised $77,000, she said. In August, the campaign expects to have spent
about $50,000 and raised slightly more than that, she said.

(...)
But Byrd said that Reilly's fund-raising advantage does not concern Patrick's
campaign.
''They have years on us in terms of raising money and we will never
catch them," Byrd said. ''But they will never catch us in terms of reaching out
to people and running a real campaign." Patrick has enlisted support
from 1,700 volunteers
, he said.


While Reilly packs his Attorney General payroll, Patrick is building a real campaign.

Extremist Know Why New Orleans Destroyed

From AMERICAblog:

Here's what this darling of the religious right had to say about New
Orleans
:
An evangelical Christian group that regularly demonstrates at
LGBT events is blaming gays for hurricane Katrina.Repent America says that God
"destroyed" New Orleans because of Southern Decadence, the gay festival that was
to have taken place in the city over the Labor Day weekend.