Fall 2014

Fall 2014

Guest workers

Comprehensive immigration reform is a long-shot, but a Republican takeover of the Senate could mean more visas for Massachusetts.

most of the attention on the immigration bill that is now foundering in Congress is on the 11 million or so immigrants who live in this country without the government’s permission. The bill the Senate passed last year—the focus of the debate on so-called comprehensive immigration reform in Washington—would provide them with an arduous pathway(...)

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Tracking student migration

Massachusetts is a winner under the Regional Student Program, while New Hampshire is a loser

a program set up to provide more educational opportunity for New England college students is proving to be a brain gain for some states and a brain drain for others. Massachusetts and Maine are big winners, while New Hampshire and Connecticut are losing more students than they’re taking in. For Vermont and Rhode Island, the(...)

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Fall 2014 Editor’s note

Names and faces

a former editor of mine often used to remind me that names sell newspapers. What he meant was that people like to read about interesting people. At CommonWealth, we sometimes forget that adage, focused as we are on issues of policy. But we didn’t forget with this issue; it’s full of stories about some of(...)

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Boston’s grass roots

Jim Vrabel offers a rich history of community organizing in Boston told through the voices of the activists of the 1960s and 1970s who helped shape the city

A People’s History of the New Boston By Jim Vrabel Amherst, University of Massachusetts Press 288 pages history is replete with the stories of the mighty and powerful. Jim Vrabel’s latest book, A People’s History of the New Boston, tells another story. Vrabel, a former newspaper reporter and longtime community activist who has worked for(...)

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Fall 2014 correspondence and updates

UMass endowment story off mark CommonWealth Magazine was correct in pointing out that the University of Massachusetts endowment has grown dramatically, from $38.5 million in 1995 to today’s nearly $750 million. But the article’s premise that the university’s investment strategy has been overly conservative in today’s financial markets defies the facts and misses what is(...)

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Giant slayer

Mike Firestone, the 31-year-old campaign manager behind Maura Healey’s runaway win in the Democratic primary for attorney general, talks strategy.

You’ve guided the successful campaigns of newbie candidates such as Deval Patrick, Elizabeth Warren, Boston city councilor Michelle Wu, and now Maura Healey. What’s your secret? It’s all about doing the same direct, person-to-person voter contact that’s been done for 150 years in American campaigning, but doing it smarter. If Maura was going to be,(...)

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Updating his resume

Deval Patrick looks back as he prepares for life after Beacon Hill

DESPITE EIGHT YEARS as governor and rampant speculation that he some day will run for president, Deval Patrick still thinks of himself as a kid from the South Side of Chicago. That self-image, in many ways, is the connecting thread that runs through the core of Patrick’s being. It has shaped his personal and political(...)

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UMass system racking up patents

the university of massachusetts is emerging as a powerhouse research institution, ranking among the world’s elite in turning ideas into patents. The five-campus UMass system received 57 patents in 2013, ranking it 37th in the world. In 2012, UMass ranked even higher, but received only 54 patents. The University of California was the top patent(...)

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Tapping driver phones for traffic updates

recognizing that drivers need real-time information about the road ahead, state transportation officials are preparing to spend $10 million over the next year building out a high-tech system to provide time-and-distance traffic updates to Massachusetts drivers. A pilot program using portable electronic signs to provide the traffic updates on some of the state’s busiest highways(...)

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Boston’s PILOT program lagging

three years after the city of Boston launched a concerted effort to convince 49 of its largest nonprofit landholders to voluntarily make payments to the city in lieu of taxes, the program appears to be losing steam. The amount of money the city is collecting continues to rise, but the increase is due primarily to(...)

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