Fall 1998

Fall 1998

Homeownership Rates

The nation is in the midst of a home-buying boom, pushing homeownership rates across the country to record highs. After a small decline in the mid- to late-1980s, the percentage of U.S. households who own a home rose to an unprecedented 65.7 percent last year. Massachusetts has seen the same trend. Between 1990 and 1997,(...)

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Communication Breakdown

Rep. Daniel Bosley, a Democrat from North Adams who is known around the State House as a master of public policy, has a complaint: “No one covers all the serious stuff we do seriously any more.” Bosley has been at the center of such major legislative decisions as whether to legalize casino gambling and how(...)

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Slim DiNuccios Poll

No pollster on the Massachusetts scene today has the ability to get under the skin of the state’s electorate in the way Edwin “Slim” DiNuccio does. Part seer, part savant, DiNuccio brings a rare perspicacity to the field of public opinion research. DiNuccio’s company–KFC/Public Opinion Research and Communications Dynamics, Inc.–looms especially large during election seasons.(...)

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Change and Continuity

As we were finishing work on this issue of CommonWealth, the governor’s race had gone into a post-primary, pre-election lull, national politics remained stuck on the Clinton-Lewinsky-Starr sex scandal, and hopes were fading for a Cubs-Red Sox World Series. Autumn began with the stock market bouncing up and down erratically. There were distant financial rumblings(...)

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With Historian Pauline Maier

With the publication of American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence last year, MIT professor Pauline Maier established herself not just as one of the nation’s leading scholars in the field of early American history, but as the kind of professional historian with major “crossover appeal.” Rather than writing turgid treatises to a narrow audience(...)

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Counterpoint

I have been a strong supporter of certification tests for teaching candidates, and continue to be. So, many people were curious about why I rejected Governor Cellucci’s plan to test veteran teachers as a condition of recertification. If the test is valid for incoming teachers, why would it not be useful for discovering weaknesses in(...)

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Argument

Imagine the following: The Commissioner of Public Health issues a report that a substantial minority of pediatricians are deficient in their understanding of basic anatomy and childhood illnesses. While many of these pediatricians have been working for an average of two decades, the report indicates the very well-being of thousands of children was compromised by(...)

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How snobby is Massachusetts

As the high cost of housing started to squeeze families out of desirable suburbs 30 years ago, the state responded with a landmark law that became known by a pointed nickname–the “Anti-Snob-Zoning Act.” The 1969 statute made it easier for developers to win local approval for affordable housing projects and asked every city and town,(...)

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How much is enough

It’s a fundamental question, whether the subject is welfare reform, affordable housing, or the minimum wage, but it rarely gets answered to anyone’s satisfaction: How much money does a family need to support itself in Massachusetts? Usually people just guess. A recent study by the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union attempts to do away with(...)

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Housing help is on the way

The general public may not have noticed it in the rush of roll calls that marked the end of the legislative session in July, but advocates for the needy sure did. The Legislature passed–and Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci later signed–a bill to provide almost $300 million to preserve and develop affordable housing throughout the state.(...)

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