Patrick keeps ’em guessing

Gov. Deval Patrick keeps saying that he wants to finish out his term as governor, and then return to the private sector. He keeps insisting that he doesn’t have his eye on higher office. But he keeps making moves that heighten the speculation about his political future, rather than putting the speculation to rest.

On that front, Patrick’s political action committee is staying in business. He founded the TogetherPAC to fund his out of state travel in support of President Obama’s reelection effort. Alex Goldstein, a former Patrick State House aide who now runs the PAC, tells the Herald today that the committee “will continue to operate to provide resources for political staff and activities as needed.”

Patrick has repeatedly batted away speculation about his political future, even as his political star has grown. After his prominent speaking slot at this year’s Democratic National Convention, he told ABC News that he is not prepping a presidential run for 2016. He said speculation about a presidential run was “just chatter,” and repeated what he’s said many times before — that he plans on finishing his term, and then returning to the private sector. “If there is a time sometime later to come back and serve in public life, I hope I’m able to do that,” he added. “Just not going to be in 2016.”

Patrick stuck with that story last week, during his monthly radio appearance on WTKK: “I get the question and I get it all the time. We haven’t had a governor who stuck with it until he or she finished for a long time, and I’m very conscious of that. I think it’s a habit we need to break. We have some things that I am intent to complete before I leave, and I’m going to use these next couple of years to try to get that done.” Patrick added that, contrary to all current speculation about the inevitability of his receiving a White House cabinet post, he has made his intentions clear to the president.

It should follow that, if Patrick were finished politicking for Obama and was returning his attention to a series of brush fires burning back home, he shouldn’t have much need for a PAC with $500,000 in the bank. Federal political action committees are normally the domain of governors looking to travel the country, raise their profile, and build a nationwide campaign machine. They’re not normally helpful in dealing with rogue chemists and patronage scandals. All denials aside, Patrick isn’t done operating on a stage bigger than the one his current office, state police escort, and state political account provide. 

                                                                                    –PAUL MCMORROW

BEACON HILL

CommonWealth magazine gets action. After our report earlier this year on how the state Department of Conservation and Recreation was renting state properties at bargain-basement rates, the agency puts one of its parking lots out to bid and see its revenue soar.

Despite a rising deficit in the current fiscal year, top House Democrats don’t foresee cuts in local aid, State House News reports (via Eagle-Tribune).

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

In which the Globe’s Joanna Weiss has a crazy thought, and decides to write it up as a column.

Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley plans to convene a hearing to explore “best practices” for making more widely available places for consumers to fill containers with tap water to promote health and cut down on the trash generated by bottled water. CommonWealth looked at some of those best practices earlier this year.   

Quincy officials wrote off nearly $1 million in delinquent police detail payments to erase a deficit that had been having an impact on the city’s use of free cash.

A policeman working a paid detail outside a Lawrence nightclub shoots twice at a man to stop him from beating another man with a baseball bat, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

CASINOS

CommonWealth’s Paul McMorrow, in his weekly Globe column, rains on the casino parade Everett city leaders are trying to gin up along the Mystic River.

The Herald raises concerns that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is taking far longer to license and open casinos than other states have taken.

The latest sign of Boston Mayor Tom Menino’s waning influence: Fan Pier developer Joe Fallon is running around Everett with casino developer Steve Wynn.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

US Rep. Barney Frank shares (again) the story of how he broke the news about being gay to House Speaker Tip O’Neill.

The Wall Street Journal takes an inside look at the composition and editing of the Libya talking points at the center of the Susan Rice nomination battle. The paper concludes the CIA watered down the assessment before it got to the White House, or to Rice.

ELECTIONS

In the American Spectator, Aaron Goldstein posits that Sen. Scott Brown would be better off running for governor rather than senator now or in two years. Democratic state Sen. James Timilty says Brown “would be a clear-cut favorite” in a future Senate race.

Obama campaign strategists explain how the presidential race was won. A round-up of the remarks from several outlets is here. The Atlantic files a dispatch from the progressive RootsCamp conference, where big data and big volunteer efforts have the wise guys on the run.

Republican Richard Tisei sits down with NECN’s Jim Braude in his first post-election TV interview. He says Massachusetts Republicans have a hard time distinguishing themselves from the national GOP.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg reached out to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to encourage her to run for his job in 2013. Hill apparently turned him down, the New York Times reports.

CHARITY

The White House says it will not support an annual limit on charitable donations, estimating that such a cap would cost nonprofits $10 billion annually.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The third installment in a New York Times series on government tax incentives for business looks at what happened in one economically-strapped Michigan community when the state rolled out one of the most generous film tax credit programs in the country. It isn’t a pretty picture. Part 1 of the series is here, and Part 2 is here, while CommonWealth’s previous coverage of film tax credits is here, here and here.

More from WBUR’s “Generation Stuck” series.

The SEC sues Chinese affiliates of the big four accounting firms over their audits of Chinese firms listed on the stock exchange in New York.

EDUCATION

Suffolk University’s new president wants to dial up the focus on career-oriented studies.

The Peabody school superintendent wants to recruit foreign students to the city’s schools to provide international flavor and badly needed revenue, the Salem News reports.

The New Bedford City Council approved $1.9 million from state aid to be used for teachers’ raises but councilors are beginning to grate at what they say is first-term Mayor Jon Mitchell’s autocratic governing style.

Wellesley College is joining the online education consortium edX.

The Berkshire Eagle supports a longer school day.

HEALTH CARE/DEMOGRAPHICS

Last year, the birth rate in America fell to its lowest point in history, Time reports.

Brockton officials will hold off on setting up regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries until the state issues its guidelines.

TRANSPORTATION

Transportation Secretary Rich Davey’s traveling public hearings made a stop at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where the subject of the South Coast commuter rail and a bike path alongside it dominated the conversation.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The National Review uses the experience of the wind turbines in the town of Princeton in central Massachusetts as an example of green energy policy that is a burden on taxpayers and ratepayers alike.

Cape towns band together to learn about great white shark habits and educate beachgoers and swimmers.

Some high-profile political insiders are pushing the Obama administration to craft a national energy policy, the Wall Street Journal reports.

California launches a cap and trade system, Time reports.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

President Obama’s uncle, who has lived for years in Framingham, has been granted a new hearing in his challenge of a deportation order, based at least in part on a claim that he received inadequate legal representation.

A woman is suing the city of Worcester after spending three years in jail before being freed on the charge of murdering her son, WBUR reports.

California, Arizona, and Massachusetts are among many states trying to cope with homelessness among those registered as sex offenders, Governing reports.

MEDIA

Media Matters does a fact check on the way Fox & Friends portrayed Gov. Deval Patrick’s move to give in-state tuition rates to certain undocumented immigrants.

The Nieman Journalism Lab explores what went wrong at The Daily, the iPad-only newspaper. The Atlantic weighs in as well, and here’s the take of  the website’s 19th employee.

GIFT SEASON

Trojan hands out 3,000 free vibrators inside the Cyclorama in Boston. One woman tells NECN: “Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you don’t hmm-hmm.”