Spring 2015

Spring 2015

Push on for changes in Public Records Law

Push on for changes in Public Records Law

Some call for Legislature, judiciary to be covered

FOR THE FIRST TIME in a long time, momentum seems to be building for making changes in the state’s Swiss-cheese Public Records Law. Attorney General Maura Healey, a newcomer on Beacon Hill, says she intends to break with the practice of her predecessors and work closely with Secretary of State William Galvin to enforce the(...)

Read More »

Markey’s strategy in Washington

Markey’s strategy in Washington

Keep pressure on president and hope for the best

IT WAS A COLD February 5 when Ed Markey took the stage in the Radio and TV Gallery of the US Capitol. There were only a few reporters there to hear him but Markey, a long-time Malden congressman and now Massachusetts’s junior senator, was feeling jubilant. Earlier that day, Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the(...)

Read More »

Rosenberg opens things up

Rosenberg opens things up

WHEN STAN ROSENBERG took the reins as the Massachusetts Senate President in January, he vowed to bring a new era of shared decision-making, openness, and transparency to the 40-member body. That’s hardly been the standard agenda of leaders on Beacon Hill, where closed-door dealings and a tight grip on power in the top office of(...)

Read More »

Polling standards changing rapidly

Polling standards changing rapidly

Probability-based sampling no longer only game in town

THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION of Public Opinion Research is a rather staid institution. Its annual conference is four days of panel discussions on complex statistical problems in the field. (Sample conference T-shirt slogan: “The Weighting is the Hardest Part.”)  Many association members are researchers and statisticians who conduct important government surveys such as the US Census,(...)

Read More »

Rainy day fund taking hits

Rainy day fund taking hits

Is it really raining?

THE STATE’S RAINY DAY FUND is set aside for years when the economy is tanking, tax revenues are falling, and officials are scrambling to fill budget gaps. That’s what happened in the early 2000s and in 2008 when the state was gripped by recession; the state tapped the rainy day fund to weather the economic storm.(...)

Read More »

First out of the blocks

First out of the blocks

Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim says he’s encouraged by the call for a statewide referendum on the Olympics but still wants a Boston vote this fall.

You were the first to formally move for ballot questions on the Olympics for Boston voters. The Boston 2024 organizers have now called for a statewide referendum. Does that affect your plan? I’m very encouraged by that. But I’d want to take a look at the language before making any decisions. Could there be two(...)

Read More »

Fixing failing schools

Fixing failing schools

Can the state's new tools for struggling schools get troubled districts on track?

(Illustration by James Steinberg) DEVIN SHEEHAN, THE vice chairman of the Holyoke School Committee, welcomed Rob Curtin to the board’s monthly meeting in early March, but no one there was particularly glad to see him. Curtin, the director of district accountability for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, was there to present the(...)

Read More »

Lessons from Ferguson

Lessons from Ferguson

Community engagement is key; disruptive protests are OK

FOR MONTHS WE’VE all watched the travesty in Ferguson, Missouri, unfold from the death of Michael Brown, to the militarized police response to public protest, to the Department of Justice report detailing the Ferguson Police Department’s racist attitudes and policies. The temptation is to treat it like someone else’s problem, as if a similar situation(...)

Read More »