Walsh shifting to Patrick’s PAC

John Walsh is stepping down this fall as the head of the Massachusetts Democratic Party and taking the reins of Gov. Deval Patrick’s political action committee, Together PAC.

The story in the Globe, offered up by a “close political associate” of Walsh, is one of those political plants that raises almost as many questions as it answers. On one hand, it  makes sense that Walsh would transition to a new job as his political pal Patrick prepares to leave the governor’s office. But why is Walsh taking over the reins of Patrick’s political PAC at a time when the gov says he has no plans to run for office again any time soon?

Last year at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Patrick told ABC News that he would finish out his term and return to the private sector, where he wants to make some serious money. The governor said he might run for political office sometime down the road, but he ruled out a run for president in 2016.

The Globe story offers no explanation for Walsh’s move, other than the sketchy theory that Walsh’s position atop a well-funded PAC “could help inoculate Patrick from the dangers of an enervated, late-stage administration.” (It may be too late for that: see recent dispute with the Legislature over transportation funding.)

Walsh isn’t quoted in the Globe story, which traces his success in Massachusetts politics (the only loss under his watch was Scott Brown’s US Senate victory over Martha Coakley) to his insistence on grassroots organizing. Patrick is quoted in the article, but it’s one of those fawning quotes that seems to have been dictated by an aide.

                                                                                                                                                                                  BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

Gov. Deval Patrick met with House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray but there seemed to be little progress in negotiations on a transportation funding bill, NECN reports. Patrick is now suggesting that, without a gas tax contingency plan in place in case tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike come down, communities in western Massachusetts will get shortchanged.

The budget that Patrick signed late last week contains a provision requiring the private MBTA Retirement Fund to release retirement payments in response to public records requests, the Herald reports.

Legislation filed by Rep. Linda Dean Campbell of Methuen would require mental health professionals to report people who are a danger to themselves or others into a state database to prevent them from  obtaining a firearm,  the Eagle-Tribune reports.

The MetroWest Daily News argues that Massachusetts has its own issues with privacy and due process that the Legislature needs to correct: Prosecutors can obtain cellphone and Internet data records without a warrant.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Restaurant owners in Boston say a lack of liquor licenses is stunting neighborhood growth.

CASINOS

A federal judge indicated yesterday he could rule by the end of the month on a motion to dismiss a suit challenging the state’s tribal set aside for a casino license in the Southeast region of the state.

The Globe’s Mark Arsenault profiles Richard Fields, the colorful, wealthy businessman behind the Suffolk Downs casino proposal.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

The US Senate moves closer to a showdown on filibusters, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Denver is trying to make public housing desirable, Governing reports.

Why a civil suit may not be the best course of action for Trayvon Martin’s parents. Meanwhile, the Justice Department revisits its own investigation. Vigils are planned for cities around the country on Saturday. One juror gives her account of the deliberations which found George Zimmerman not guilty.

ELECTIONS

Dan Conley, the best-funded of 12 candidates vying for mayor of Boston, will become the first to take the airwaves when TV ads for veteran Suffolk DA begin running today. Felix Arroyo will be close behind. The choice of a new schools superintendent is likely to be the biggest immediate issue facing the next mayor, the Herald reports.

In the race for Sen. Ed Markey’s old House seat, the primary is set for October 15 and the final is scheduled for December 10, the Lowell Sun reports.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

CommonWealth’s Alyssa Martino interviews Shannon Liss-Riordan, the lawyer who has represented cab drivers, baristas, waiters, and exotic dancers in lawsuits challenging attempts by corporations to shift more of their costs onto workers.

Rush Gaming unveils a mockup of its proposed slots parlor in Milford, the Telegram & Gazette reports.

Gas prices are spiking with the price of a gallon of gas up 15 cents over this time last year and expected to continue to rise in part because of Middle East tensions.

EDUCATION

The Salem School Committee votes 4-3 to end the extended school year experiment at the Saltonstall K-8 school, a decision Mayor Kim Driscoll calls a “colossal mistake,” the Salem News reports.

HEALTH CARE

U.S. News & World Report issued its annual hospital rankings with Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital reclaiming the top spot from Massachusetts General Hospital, which dropped to number 2. Brigham & Women’s Hospital, at number 9, was the only other Massachusetts facility making the honor roll of the 18 best hospitals. Boston Children’s Hospital ranked second for pediatric hospitals.

TRANSPORTATION

A mandate study of the impact of last year’s MBTA fare increases on seniors and handicapped riders is more than six months overdue.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Flocks of Canada geese have descended on recreation fields and golf courses in the South Coast area leaving behind their signature mess.

They’re back: A State Police helicopter patrol photographs a great white shark off Chatham.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

The state’s highest court ruled in a case involving a doctor charged with running a kickback scheme involving Medicaid payments that investigators can comb through a suspect’s emails as long as they don’t violate attorney-client privilege.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Yesterday’s testimony in the Whitey Bulger trial featured talk of a 1982 meeting among FBI brass in Washington to discuss what to do about concerns that their high-level informant was implicated in the murder of an Oklahoma businessman.

The Globe’s Stan Grossfeld gets a tour of the Bristol County House of Correction where Aaron Hernandez is being held. Here’s betting he did not have to twist Sheriff Thomas Hodgson’s arm too far to get him to pose for a photo in one of the jail’s tiny, spartan cells.