FOR THE FIRST TIME in a long time, momentum seems to be building for making changes in the state’s Swiss-cheese Public Records Law. Attorney General Maura Healey, a newcomer on Beacon Hill, says she intends to break with the practice of her predecessors and work closely with Secretary of State William Galvin to enforce the(...)
Calls "quintessential American sport" a way of changing lives
FOR BRUCE SMITH, rowing is more than just a sport. It’s a way of life, or a way of changing lives. He admits few people view rowing the way he does, but he wants to change that. He insists rowing is built into America’s DNA, carrying with it values and skills that can be used(...)
Keep pressure on president and hope for the best
IT WAS A COLD February 5 when Ed Markey took the stage in the Radio and TV Gallery of the US Capitol. There were only a few reporters there to hear him but Markey, a long-time Malden congressman and now Massachusetts’s junior senator, was feeling jubilant. Earlier that day, Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the(...)
WHEN STAN ROSENBERG took the reins as the Massachusetts Senate President in January, he vowed to bring a new era of shared decision-making, openness, and transparency to the 40-member body. That’s hardly been the standard agenda of leaders on Beacon Hill, where closed-door dealings and a tight grip on power in the top office of(...)
Probability-based sampling no longer only game in town
THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION of Public Opinion Research is a rather staid institution. Its annual conference is four days of panel discussions on complex statistical problems in the field. (Sample conference T-shirt slogan: “The Weighting is the Hardest Part.”) Many association members are researchers and statisticians who conduct important government surveys such as the US Census,(...)
Is it really raining?
THE STATE’S RAINY DAY FUND is set aside for years when the economy is tanking, tax revenues are falling, and officials are scrambling to fill budget gaps. That’s what happened in the early 2000s and in 2008 when the state was gripped by recession; the state tapped the rainy day fund to weather the economic storm.(...)
Salem State appearance spawns speculation
IS NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS quarterback Tom Brady laying the groundwork for life after football? After four Super Bowl victories and three Super Bowl MVPs, we certainly hope not. But the 37-year-old QB is giving a talk as part of the Salem State University speaker series on May 7. Tickets are $25 to $100. It made(...)
Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim says he’s encouraged by the call for a statewide referendum on the Olympics but still wants a Boston vote this fall.
You were the first to formally move for ballot questions on the Olympics for Boston voters. The Boston 2024 organizers have now called for a statewide referendum. Does that affect your plan? I’m very encouraged by that. But I’d want to take a look at the language before making any decisions. Could there be two(...)
Can the state's new tools for struggling schools get troubled districts on track?
(Illustration by James Steinberg) DEVIN SHEEHAN, THE vice chairman of the Holyoke School Committee, welcomed Rob Curtin to the board’s monthly meeting in early March, but no one there was particularly glad to see him. Curtin, the director of district accountability for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, was there to present the(...)
Community engagement is key; disruptive protests are OK
FOR MONTHS WE’VE all watched the travesty in Ferguson, Missouri, unfold from the death of Michael Brown, to the militarized police response to public protest, to the Department of Justice report detailing the Ferguson Police Department’s racist attitudes and policies. The temptation is to treat it like someone else’s problem, as if a similar situation(...)