Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Snow, climate change, green jobs and Governor Baker

By Gordon T. Davis

On February 9, 2015, the trains in Boston shut down at 7 p.m., and Governor Charles Baker was surprised and embarrassed. After all,  he ran for office on the platform of making government work, pointing out the weaknesses in his predecessor’s administration.

If nothing else,  government should be able to remove snow and make the trains run on time.

In response, Governor Baker shut down Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk counties.

Governor Baker also ran on the platform of reducing the budgets of certain agencies and commissions, such as the MBTA.  During his press conference yesterday he implied that heads would roll because of the snow and train problems. I was hoping that Jon Keller of Channel 4 news would ask him whether he was rethinking the reduction in the State budget as the right way to get the trains to run better.

Was the gas tax referendum a mistake?

Ron Bouchard, a weatherman on Channel 7, said on air the historic amount of snow is due to climate change. He said that no one alive can remember these amounts of snow.

I wonder how much trouble he is in now because of his comments!

In many ways Bouchard has opened the door to a conversation that Governor Baker touched on. Boston being a city in which global companies are headquartered and operate is being shut down again by historic snow and cold that the State government cannot handle. Maybe it’s time to rethink priorities – or at least hire some consultants from Moscow or Oslo. These cities have trains that run in massive amounts of snow and the freezing cold.

Although I do not think that City Manager Augustus has any backbone when it comes to dealing with the Worcester Police Department’s record of lack of transparency, I do think he has some good ideas regarding green energy and jobs. Let us hope that this course of action is not too little too late and can be used as an example to State government. He has proposed solar power arrays at the Greenwood landfill and at Beaver Brook Park.  He has proposed LED lamps for street lighting. I think that solar arrays on the tops of the underutilized public garages would also help.

I once thought that the Winter of 2011 was a once in a life time event. I can see now that it was a new normal New England winter: relatively mild autumns but FEET of snow in the winter – snow accumulation that does not melt until April. This may be our climate for the rest of our lives. It will be common for the State to ban travel and people will not be able to get to work.  Students will be kept out of school for days. Although not on the minds of many politicians, these conditions are now the new normal and governments will have to adjust themselves.

Ron Bouchard let the cat out of the bag! Climate change or global warming will mean extreme winter weather. Extreme winter weather is upon us now and will likely get worse.

Governor Baker looked clueless at his press conference and his budget is a reflection of his cluelessness.

With each snow event this year, green energy, green jobs, extreme weather infrastructure and transportation will beat their way into our political consciousness.

Governor Charlie Baker’s e-mail to state employees (full text)

Public information! I kinda like the guy! – R. T.

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Good afternoon –

It’s been just about 30 days since the Baker / Polito team went to work with you on behalf of the people of this great state. Suffice it to say it’s been an eventful few weeks. Let me start by thanking the folks who’ve been involved in managing the Commonwealth’s recent record-breaking snowfall. While it hasn’t been perfect – and at times, it’s been deeply frustrating for many of us (including me) – Karyn and I have been immensely impressed by the creativity, teamwork, and sense of mission many of you brought to the public safety, snow removal and disposal, local communications, debris removal, transportation and power restoration issues laid on us all by the past couple of weeks of weather. While a weather event like this may stress our resources, it also provides an opportunity to demonstrate to our constituents the critical importance of the difficult work their state government does every day. And in this instance, we mostly put our best foot forward.

I’m also assuming we’ll have plenty of opportunities to get together around these issues again in the coming months. Thank-you Mother Nature.

We’ve also filed a proposal with the state legislature to deal with the $768 MM Fiscal Year 2015 deficit we inherited. Some of our proposals can be implemented on our own, and others require legislative approval. That said, we believe they represent the right combination of revenue moves and spending reductions, and will put the Commonwealth on much better financial footing as we begin to plan for FY 2016. If the legislature enacts our proposals, FY 2015 state spending will be 7.7% higher than it was in FY 2014. That kind of year over year increase in spending will be impossible to sustain going forward, even in a relatively healthy economy. To reduce the impact on the people we serve, many of these spending reductions focus on administrative expenses. With that in mind, we’ve chosen to lead by example and have reduced the Governor’s office budget by 10 percent.

We’ve also sworn in a new Cabinet, and will continue to build out our leadership team in the coming months. While our team represents a variety of points of view, to a person, they bring solid subject matter expertise, management experience, and a big dose of professional experiences in both the public and private sectors to their chosen tasks. I want to thank all of them for saying “yes” when Karyn and I asked them to join the team.

We will have many challenges in the weeks, months and years ahead. I know this because I’ve been here before. For those of you who are too young to remember, I spent 8 years serving the Cabinets of Governors Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci in the 1990s, and learned, among other things, that every day presented its own unique set of challenges. But I also learned that with those challenges came enormous opportunity – to think differently about how to get something done, or to pursue a better, smarter, more cost effective way to provide a service. I also learned that getting something right – really right – could make a big difference to a ton of people, which in many respects, drives my interest in and commitment to public service.

We have a lot of work to do. Some of it won’t be pretty – at least in the short term. But know this, with this team, you have a leadership group that is open to change, wants to do better, and believes that success is never final. There is always a better way.

We all look forward to working with you all to find that better way.

Charlie Baker

Remembering Edward William Brooke III, first – and only – Black US Senator from Massachusetts

By Bill Coleman, Worcester Community Activist

US Senator Edward William Brooke III – 1919 – 2015

I had prayed the day would never come that I would announce the passing of United States Senator Edward W. Brooke III. In 1976 and forever after I have been a loyal aide to the Senator.

Our country has lost a political giant. A family has lost a father, a wife has lost a husband and we have lost a friend.
Edward William Brooke III, was a United States Senator serving the Commonwealth Massachusetts from his historic election on Tuesday, November 8, 1966 and taking office on January 3, 1967.

Prior to winning his Senate seat Senator Brooke was the Attorney General of Massachusetts from January 3, 1963 to January 3, 1967. He was the first Black American elected Attorney General in our country’s history. As Attorney General he was noted for training many top lawyers who were part of his office who would fight white collar crimes, political corruption along with ending the ravage of the Boston Strangler. The lawyers of Attorney General Brooke’s office became the most powerful and prominent in the nation.

Senator Brooke was a true trail blazer. He grew up in our Nation’s Capital of Washington the District of Columbia. A district reflective of our segregated nation and its segregated times.

The Senator would often say he was insulated from the harsh reality of racism because of the affluent black community he grew up in. He served his Episcopal Church as an altar boy and was a mischievous and very smart student at Paul Laurence Dunbar Public High School.

Senator Brooke was born on Sunday October 26, 1919 to his father, Edward W. Brooke Jr. a government lawyer and his Mother Helen (Seldon) Brooke a school teacher. Senator Brooke’s family was middle class which afforded them the opportunity to send him to the best schools available in the black community.

After graduation from High School Senator Brooke enrolled into Howard University and studied social and political science upon graduating in 1941 and after the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor he like many patriotic American’s enrolled into the United States Army.

Senator Brooke was assigned to the US 366th, a segregated infantry regiment. Senator Brooke served for five years in World War II as an American officer in Italy earning a Bronze star. The Senator told me he was wounded in a fight with German soldiers while fighting, a family took him in and nursed him back to health while hiding him from German Troops searching for American soldiers. This chance encounter let to the soldier meet his first wife, Remigia Ferrari-Sacco with whom he had two daughters: Remi Cynthia and Edwina Helen. When I worked for the Senator and Mrs. Brooke would call he would only speak to her in Italian.

After the service Senator Brooke went on to graduate from Boston University School of Law where he was editor of the Law Review. After starting a law practice in the black communities of Boston, Senator Brooke was encouraged to run for State Representative. The Senator growing up in Washington D. C where no one have the right to vote for any elective office welcomed the challenge. He took out papers for the Democratic and Republican parties.

Back in 1950 you could run in both primaries. Senator Brooke lost the Democratic primary and won the Republican but lost the general election. He would repeat his efforts in 1952 and not win. He won the Republican nomination for statewide office in 1960 for Massachusetts Secretary of State. He lost this election to future Boston Mayor and Democrat Kevin White who’s gave out bumper stickers saying, “Vote White”.

In spite of the blunt racists overtones of that election, the Senator caught the eye and respect of Republican Governor John Volpe who offered the Senator many judicial positions in his administration. Senator Brooke accepted the Chairmanship of the Boston Finance Commission and stopped the illegal disposal of public properties a common practice of its day.

In 1963 Senator Brooke won the Republican nomination for Attorney General defeating Elliot Richardson and Democrat Francis E. Kelly who was rumored to hire blacks to drive through white neighborhoods yelling they were moving in once Brooke was elected. The Senator would overcome many attacks that were racially motivated against him before he was elected to the United States Senate.

In 1964 Senator Brooke refused to endorse Republican Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater or have his picture taken with him for his lack of support of any civil rights legislation. As Attorney General Senator Brooke had one of the highest political approval ratings of any politician in Massachusetts history. Senator Brooke won reelection in 1964 as Attorney General with the highest vote plurality in the country for any Republican running for public office.

In 1966 Senator Brooke won the Republican nomination for United States Senate and went on to defeat a former Governor Democrat Endicott Peabody by with more than 400,000 votes.

There were times Senator Brooke would face criticism from many sides of the civil rights struggle. His election to public office in a state with a less than five present black population was unprecedented. Looking back to those times there were very few elected officials of color and we had yet to pass the voting rights act of 1964.
In 1976 as a student at Worcester State University I was awarded an appointment in the Washington office of Senator Edward W. Brooke.

I had gone to Washington in October of 1975 to interview with then Republican Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Hugh Scott. The meeting went well and Senator Scott asked if I had met Senator Brooke while attending college in Massachusetts. I had not I said but knew about his political star was on the rise. Then he recommended I seek an appointment in his office also.

After leaving the interview and while walking through the Capitol Rotunda before my eyes walking toward me was Senator Brooke. I froze in place and said to him Hello Senator Brooke I go to Worcester State College my name is William Coleman and I want to work for you here is my resume which I pulled out from my suit jacket. His smile put me at ease and off he went to cast a senate vote.

It would be months before I heard from the Senators Office. Then one day I was called to the President’s Office of Worcester State College. President Joseph Orze said, Bill you must call Senator Edward Brooke’s office. He sat me at his desk and gave me his phone and the number to call. The phone rang and I heard Senator’s Brooke’s Office staff state, how can I help you. I introduced myself and was transferred to the Senator’s private line and heard his deep booming voice as he said congratulations you have an appointment here in Washington. The phone call went on I was in a state of shock and joyful. I told President Orze and jumped for joy as he said Bill make us proud.

1976 was the country’s bicentennial year and Washington was abuzz with activity. We had a Queen’s visit, Gerald Ford was President and life was grand to work with Senator Edward W. Brooke III.

I am still in touch with many former staff members notably former State Representative Albert Gammal and Senator’s Brooke’s Chief Legislative Aide Ralph Neas.

Senator Brooke encouraged all of us to make our country better and get involved in our community. He believed in me which I will treasure for the rest of my life. For his Wife Anne his son Edward IV his daughters and grandchildren and our country, I say thank you for your service.

Mass minimum wage goes up to $9 an hour January 1, 2015. Then increases to $10, $11 … KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

Nice but NOT a living wage for Massachusetts workers … – R.T.

IMPORTANT [INCREASES] TO THE MASSACHUSETTS MINIMUM WAGE

In accordance with An Act Restoring the Minimum Wage and Providing Unemployment Insurance Reforms Chapter 144 of the Acts of 2014

Effective January 1, 2015

MINIMUM WAGE in Massachusetts will be $9.00 PER HOUR

The minimum wage law applies to all employees except those being rehabilitated or trained in charitable, educational, or religious institutions; members of religious orders; agricultural, floricultural, and …

… horticultural workers; those in professional service; and outside salespersons not reporting to or visiting their office daily.

See M.G.L. chapter 151, §§1 and 2. For further information regarding the Massachusetts state minimum wage

If you have questions, please contact the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards at (617) 626-6952 …

… or visit www.mass.gov/dols.

In no case shall the Massachusetts minimum wage rate be less than $0.50 higher than the effective federal minimum rate.

SERVICE RATE: $3.00 PER HOUR

Wait staff, service employees and service bartenders may be paid the service rate if they regularly receive tips of more than $20 a month, and if their average hourly tips, when added to the service rate, are equal to or exceed the basic minimum wage. See M.G.L. chapter 151, §7.

AGRICULTURAL RATE: $8.00 PER HOUR

Work on a farm and the growing and harvesting of agricultural, floricultural and horticultural commodities requires payment of no less than the above-listed rate per hour, except when such wage is paid to a child seventeen years of age or under, or to a parent, spouse, child or other member of the employer’s immediate family. See M.G.L. chapter 151, §2A.

Effective January 1, 2016:

• Minimum Wage shall be $10.00 per hour

• Service Rate shall be $3.35 per hour (provided service employee receives tips of more than $20 per month and if his/her average hourly tips, when added to the service rate, equals $10.00 per hour).

Effective January 1, 2017:

• Minimum Wage shall be $11.00 per hour

• Service Rate shall be $3.75 per hour (provided service employee receives tips of more than $20 per month and if his/her average hourly tips, when added to the service rate, equals $11.00 per hour).

Vote! Today! MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

Get jazzed up today!!! Do the American thing and VOTE! The good ol’ USA is still the greatest country on earth! And Massachusetts is STILL a great state, on the cutting-edge of education, research, social justice,  equality for all …

InCity Times is for: higher education for all, eradicating hunger, a living wage, healthy kids, job training for all, strong families, great cities and awesome inner-city neighborhoods where no one is left behind!      – R. Tirella

So, with all of the above in mind, we’re asking you to vote for the following folks TODAY.

PLEASE VOTE FOR:

Martha Coakley – Governor

 Steve Kerrigan – Lieutenant Governor

 Maura Healey – Attorney General

MK Merelice – State Auditor

Danny Factor – Secretary of State

 Ian Jackson-  State Treasurer

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BALLOT QUESTIONS 

PLEASE! When you get to the ballot questions, remember our precious environment and vote to expand the bottle bill! Vote YES on Question 2! Remember our workers who are working so hard but making the least $$, are under the most stress, head the most fragile families (like my late mom  – she never got sick days! ) and vote YES for earned sick time! And remember our unskilled or semi-skilled workers who may not be able to go back to school for retraining when you decide on casinos. Please vote no on the casino question – we need the jobs for are semi-skilled workers! Remember that the gas tax is regressive in that poor people who own cars take a huge hit every time the price of gas goes up, up, up! So vote yes on Question 1.

BALLOT QUESTIONS:.

Question 1 – YES

Repeals 2013 law that automatically increases gas taxes according to inflation.

Question 2 – YES

Expands the state’s  beverage container recycling law to include all water and juice bottles

Question 3 – NO

Repeals a 2011 law allowing resort casinos

Question 4 – YES

Enables employees to earn and utilize four sick days per year. For companies with 10 or so employees, the company’s owner DOES NOT HAVE TO PAY THE DAY’S WAGES. They just have to give the person the day to tend to his or her health or help with the caring of a sick or dying family member.

Next Tuesday, election day, remember: the Green Rainbow Party is the future

By Gordon Davis

The Green Rainbow Party came into existence in the last decade from a merger of the Green Party and the Rainbow Coalition Party, a coming together of racial justice, social justice, peace, and green environmental issues. It is the part of the nation Green Party in the USA.

The Green Rainbow Party is different from any of the other political parties in that it does not accept any contributions from  incorporated entities and therefore is not influenced by corporations. All of the funding for the Green Rainbows is  donations from individuals. The Green Rainbows have self imposed public campaign financing without government help.

It is common knowledge that the very rich and corporations have influenced the policies of both the Democrats and the Republican parties. Many of the policies of the Democrats and the Republicans are disguised as helping middle class and poor people, but are in reality hurting us.  The regressive tax is an example. High tuitions at state colleges are another. The future of this Commonwealth should be a government which has policies with no corporate strings attached.

The Green Rainbow party has developed several goals for Massachusetts which we call the Community Uplift Initiative. These policies are not influenced by corporations, but only by the desire of good public policy. The three candidates of the Green Rainbow Party have dedicated themselves to effectuation of the goals. Please look for and consider them on your ballot:

MK Merelice, who is running for State Auditor

Danny Factor, who is running for Secretary of the Commonwealth

Ian Jackson, who is running for Treasurer of the Commonwealth

The community uplift initiative of the Green Rainbow party includes the following:

1.     An Economic Bill of Rights that says that every human being deserves to live a life of dignity and respect, and an end to discrimination

2.    A Community Uplift Initiative to end poverty and unemployment – breaking from the current Beacon Hill approach of spending on corporate welfare, enriching the wealthy, and leaving the poor and middle class struggling with rising cost of living and stagnating wages. An emphasis is on green jobs.

3.    A minimum wage of $15 per hour and ultimately a living wage for every worker.

4.    Ending the patronage system on Beacon Hill

5.     Tuition-free higher education to end the student debt crisis – with government takeover of existing student debts.

6.    Universal single-payer health care that includes everyone and excludes no one.

7.    Getting big money out of politics through public campaign financing.

8.    A progressive income tax to fund government rather than gambling casinos that exploit the unwary.

9.    Establishing a public bank of the Commonwealth that will honestly serve the banking needs of the people and help us downsize Wall Street.

1.  An action plan to lead Massachusetts to 100% renewable energy by 2035.  This would make it unnecessary to spend billions on more fossil fuel infrastructure – like gas pipelines – which will make it impossible for us to address climate change.

New report detailing Massachusetts’ return on investment in parks and open space conservation

WHAT: Join us to hear the results of a ground-breaking study prepared by the Trust for Public Land that details and quantifies the connection of land conservation to the Massachusetts economy and jobs, including: natural goods and services, recreation, fishing, hunting, farming, timber, tourism and more. Speakers will include statewide leaders from business, environmental agencies, municipalities and land conservation organizations, including:

* Representative Anne Gobi, Chairwoman, Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture
* Secretary Rick Sullivan, Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs
* Will Manzer, Board Member, Outdoor Industry Association
* Bob Perschel, Executive Director, New England Forestry Foundation

WHEN: 10 -11 am, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013

WHERE: Grand Staircase, State House, Boston

No slots parlor! It’s a five minute drive from …

By Rosalie Tirella

… my beloved neighborhood! My quiet, pretty, old timey Worcester neighborhood, Quinsigamond Village. Cars going to the slots parlor, which Rush Street Gaming is proposing to build next next door to the Blackstone Valley Shoppes on MCCRACKEN Road, are gonna zip by my three decker and the cute little single family homes. Yesterday, I laid out in my big backyard, with trees all around me, Greenwood Park across the street looking lush with its own trees heavy with dark, green leaves. I was reading Hemingway and thought to myself, Wonderful. I found myself lost in the nature Hemingway was describing, while ensconced in my own urban Paradise.

Why bring in noise pollution, traffic, air pollution, the lowest form of gambling to fuck up Hemingway? Why trash up a sweet little hood like my Quinsig Village just because Rush Street gaming wants to degrade our region? Why have them hurt my neighborhood’s mom and pop businesses? Heck, why even damage the businesses at the Blackstone shops? What will happen to the Apple Bees and other fast food type pubs that are part of this open air mall? The slots parlor will offer the same third tier grub. And if local gamblers (slots only pull in folks from the region) spend their money on slots will they have enough expendable income leftover to buy clothes and gadgets at the Blackstone Shoppes?

Shame on Senator Mike Moore for duping good, basic folks in a cute little Central Massachusetts town, Millbury. A town that used to be a mill town but is now attracting young yuppie couples with kids from the Boston area. People who did not move to Central Massachusetts for slots! They are folks who came here for the great homes at a relatively low price tag. They even came for the nature, for our many trees …. They too want to read Hemingway on their lawns in peace.

The traffic ob McCracken Road, already a nightmare when I make my way to the Shoppes, especially during the Christmas shopping season, will be BRUTAL. People will be driving through Quinsig Village, by my three decker in Greenwood Street. The gamblers will then zip through the cute little residential neighborhoods of Millbury.

Can you imagine former Senator Ed Augustus going for this garbage and noise and pollution and traffic , not to mention the gambling addictions that will hurt iindividuals and families. FAMILIES. CHILDREN.

This is all so heartbreaking.

NO SLOTS IN MILLBURY!

Kudos, Harlee!

Sen. Harriette Chandler, 1st Worcester District, at the gun law hearing at Assumption college this morning:

I Commend you for acknowledging that it is critical that although Massachusetts  has strictest laws in country, we must determine how we can improve and update these laws. I question whether there’s a one-size fits all solution. I agree with Governor Patrick’s bill to tighten access to high-powered rounds of ammunition and background checks before purchasing weapons at gun shows.

Our problem is seldom the lawful sportsman, but rather the unlawful individual who is hunting humans, not animals.

BINGO!

Chandler has nailed it on the head. Sportsmen can always hunt. We don’t want people hunting for people! Let’s ban guns with large magazines, guns that hold and shoot rounds and rounds of ammunition without the shooter needing to STOP to reload. Killing machines that are designed to blow people to smithereens – shatter them into hundreds of pieces of flesh – just like what happened in Newtown, CT, where beautiful, innocent school children died horrific deaths. Their families/their community lived though – are still living – through hell! The massacre of all those school children might have been prevented (or at the very least cut down) if the madman did not have access to a high-powered gun that did not need to be reloaded, a killing machine that allowed him to keep shooting and shooting and shooting. He created hell in 12 minutes because he used a killing machine. A gun made for war. What place do guns like these have in our homes, our society?

TIGHTEN OUR GUN LAWS! NOW!

– R. Tirella

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From a great paper, The Hartford Courant:

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STOP THE ABUSE! Exotic animal abusers come to Douglas! Complaint filed with USDA against Kelly Miller Circus

Zebras need to be in the wild! Not whipped in a circus heading to DOUGLAS this weekend!  … We have made some sections bold. – R. Tirella

EYEWITNESSES REPORT WHIPPING OF ZEBRAS, TIGERS AT DOUGLAS-BOUND CIRCUS

PETA Files Formal Complaint Calling On USDA to Investigate Reported Violations of Animal Welfare Act

Douglas  — Based on sworn affidavits from numerous people who report witnessing shocking animal abuse by handlers with the notoriously cruel Kelly Miller Circus which is scheduled to perform in Douglas this weekend — PETA has submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for multiple and repeated apparent violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

According to the affidavits, handlers with Kelly Miller Circus were witnessed whipping zebras, including a baby zebra; whipping several tigers; forcefully striking a dog, tiger, and a baby goat on the face; and tethering animals so tightly that they could barely take a step. The reported abuse took place during the circus’s recent tour of New Jersey and one town in eastern Pennsylvania. Kelly Miller Circus has been repeatedly cited for denying veterinary care to animals, public endangerment, and numerous other serious AWA violations.

“Circuses use violence, fear, and pain to keep animals under control—and to punish them for not obeying,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “PETA urges families to stay far away from Kelly Miller Circus and all other circuses that use animals.”

The following is just a small sample of the abuse reported by the eyewitnesses:

·         June 14, Carteret, N.J.: A handler whipped a baby zebra twice on the back of the leg, causing the animal to limp in pain.

·         June 17, Lakehurst, N.J.: A camel and several zebras were whipped, and a handler forcefully struck a small dog on the face.

·         June 19, Old Bridge, N.J.: The zebras were repeatedly whipped, and a man forcefully struck a tiger on the face.

·         June 21, Weatherly, Pa.: A camel and several zebras were tethered on ropes so tightly that they could barely move. The zebras were whipped throughout an entire performance—one with such force that the animal stumbled.

·         June 23, Township of Washington, (Bergen County), N.J.: A trainer apparently whipped tigers on the face, and the zebras were whipped throughout the show.

PETA’s complaint to the USDA is available upon request. A few of the incidents described above were caught on tape, and the videos are also available upon request. For more information, please see PETA’s factsheet.