Fall 2009

Fall 2009

Reining in regulation?

the obama administration has dedicated 2009 to the most ambitious legislative agenda of any president in recent memory, from the economic stimulus package of the winter to this fall’s landmark bills overhauling the health care system and attacking global warming. But 2010 may well turn out to be quite the opposite — one marked by(...)

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Ed reform erosion

in 1993, the state passed an education reform law with a funding formula that closely followed proposals I developed with the late Jack Rennie and the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education. The formula’s foundation budget established spending goals for each district; based on those spending goals and local property wealth and personal income, the formula(...)

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Public spaces, private rules

many government agencies are quietly redefining themselves as private, nonprofit businesses. Citizens are learning that, at some agencies, public accountability laws no longer apply, or never existed. Our proven tools for ensuring good government include the rights to observe and record government meetings, purchase copies of government records, monitor conflicts of interest, and demand fiscal(...)

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Lawmakers cagy on how they use expense stipends

Lawmakers cagy on how they use expense stipends

massachusetts lawmakers receive a $600 monthly stipend for expenses, even though nearly all of their needs, including office supplies, stationery, postage, and telephone service, are paid out of other legislative accounts and most use campaign funds for district expenses. The stipend adds up to $7,200 over the course of a year for each legislator, or(...)

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Greenway gets Bloomberg boost

One of the biggest financial supporters of Boston’s newest park, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, is a New Yorker. In its recently released annual report, the Greenway Conservancy, the park’s private operator, lists New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as one of eight donors who have contributed $1 million or more. Bloomberg showed up at(...)

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Foreclosure limbo continues for retiree in Dorchester

Foreclosure limbo continues for retiree in Dorchester

the good news for Helen Williams is that two years after receiving an initial foreclosure notice, she hasn’t lost her house. The bad news is that she still doesn’t know whether she will be able to keep it. The 71-year-old retiree, whose case was spotlighted earlier this year in CommonWealth (“Broken Homes,” Winter ’09), is(...)

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Carpentry apprentices help nonprofits get real-world training

Carpentry apprentices help nonprofits get real-world training

for david leonhardi, a union’s effort to increase its community service offerings has helped enhance his teaching. Leonhardi is an instructor at the New England Regional Council of Carpenters’ training center in Millbury, where apprentice carpenters spend 16 weeks — one week per quarter for four years — learning the trade. In the past, his(...)

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Towns offer space to keep popular RMV branches open

Towns offer space to keep popular RMV branches open

cities and towns across the Commonwealth are making the state an offer it can’t refuse: Free or low-cost public space for Registry of Motor Vehicles branches. To save $1.7 million annually in the midst of the worst budget crunch in recent years, the Registry announced plans this summer to close 11 of its 34 branch(...)

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