Winter 2012

Winter 2012

Historical roadblock

Historical roadblock

A standoff over the development of land in Freetown casts a spotlight on a little-known agency with an outsized role over development in Massachusetts

  The proposed site of the Meditech office park development. Photo by J. Cappuccio. Peace summits are preceded by battles. And as far as Beacon Hill turf battles go, the one that necessitated the November sit-down inside Secretary of State William Galvin’s offices was a doozy. The spat featured months of political gamesmanship and strident(...)

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Smart on crime

Smart on crime

Conservatives in such states as Texas and Mississippi embrace reforms that are tough sellers in liberal Massachusetts

several of the nation’s most conservative, tough-on-crime states are spearheading a growing reform movement that’s cutting both crime and prison costs. The dramatic changes taking place in Texas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky are designed to keep people out of jail, but they weren’t launched because of pro-prisoner compassion. They are emerging from a(...)

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Holyoke hope

Holyoke hope

Alex Morse, the 22-year-old openly gay new mayor of Holyoke, sold an ambitious vision for his hometown that may be just what the city needed to hear

the biggest doubts Alex Morse, the newly-elected mayor of Holyoke, had to overcome were whether voters would think someone who was barely out of college could possibly be ready to lead this economically distressed city of 39,000 people. Having his mother gush to a reporter about her remarkable son therefore may not be the type(...)

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The Bonin story

The Bonin story

The political persecution of a chief justice and the lessons for today.

it is no small irony that history, which is the study of the past, may also be the best pathway to understanding current events and anticipating the future. It is with that perspective that I wrote The Vidal Lecture: Sex and Politics in Massachu­setts and the Persecution of Chief Justice Robert Bonin (Chilmark/Ashburton Hill, 2011).(...)

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Freeloading

Freeloading

The state’s sloppy oversight of public land leases is costly for taxpayers

  Wollaston Yacht Club in Quincy. Photo by Michael Manning. The 114-year-old Wollaston Yacht Club is a bit rundown these days, but its location has considerable appeal. Right on Wollaston Beach in Quincy, the club sits on pilings out in the water and offers a panoramic view of Boston Harbor and the Boston skyline. Though(...)

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A Gateway to unintended consequences

A Gateway to unintended consequences

Gateway City criteria and benefits unfairly cut out deserving communities in need

what’s in a name? According to the Commo­n­wealth of Massachusetts, everything. In 2007, MassINC and the Brookings Institu­tion issued a report that used the phrase “Gate­way City” to describe “the state’s once-humming mill and manufacturing towns.” The report, which highlighted the economic problems and potential of these communities, created a buzz. The Com­monwealth responded by(...)

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State checkbook

In December, state Treasurer Steven Gross­man followed through on his campaign promise to put the state’s checkbook on­line at www.mass.gov/opencheckbook. After some fits and starts, the site is up and running, with improvements expected in the future. The content is not all that different from what’s available on some other web­sites, but the information is(...)

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Rule of law triumphs in resolution to Occupy Boston

Rule of law triumphs in resolution to Occupy Boston

The end of Occupy Boston was a peaceful success because the protestors respected the law.

the rise and fall of the Occupy Boston encampment at Dewey Square has been hailed as a model of how police and city officials should respond to peaceful political dissent in the public sphere. Compared with video footage of cops pepper-spraying and clubbing protestors in Oakland, San Francisco, New York, and elsewhere, Boston looked pretty(...)

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Game on

Game on

The video game business is trying to move to the next level in Massachusetts. How much of a helping hand will state government offer?

  Baker College junior Matthew Herard, dressed in a suit festooned with sensors,moves in front of a green screen as cameras record his actions. His moves will beused to make a digital avatar that is more life-like. Herard says he’d like to go to work for Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios in Rhode Island after graduation.(...)

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Back to the trenches

Back to the trenches

Steve Tolman left the Massachusetts Senate to run the state’s biggest labor organization, bringing his political skills with him.

even in massachusetts, the bluest of blue states, labor unions are on the defensive. Union membership keeps slipping. High unemployment plagues unions in the private sector, while public-sector unions are seeing their health care and pension benefits trimmed by usually friendly Democratic lawmakers. Steve Tolman until recently was one of those lawmakers. He says he(...)

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