Winter 1997

Running the Legislature

Rank State Total (in millions) Per Capita Rank Per Capita Year Round 1. New York $178.1 $9.80 5 Yes 2. California $176.2 $5.61 31 Yes 3. Pennsylvania $142.8 $11.85 4 Yes 4. Florida $112.1 $8.04 15 No 5. Michigan $86.7 $9.13 9 Yes 6. Texas $71.0 $3.86 44 No 7. Illinois $59.8 $5.09 33 Yes(...)

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Behind the Revolving Door

In the fourth-floor press room at the State House, there’s no more popular sport than flack-bashing. If reporters harbor a natural mistrust of politicians, it’s nothing compared to their contempt for the press functionaries who run political interference for pols. “Goddamn flack” is a ritual refrain that reverberates around the room, usually following the slam(...)

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With Senate President Tom Birmingham

Thomas Birmingham, in the regal office of the Senate President, says he feels like the proverbial kid who shows up for dessert. He gets to enjoy the delicacies–in this case his tasteful surroundings–without having labored through the main course. Sen. Birmingham has risen quickly in the Senate. He became chairman of the education committee shortly(...)

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Gun Control That Works

Gun Control That Works

About two years ago, David M. Kennedy, a researcher at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, had an idea about the youth violence that was plaguing Boston. He reasoned that the simplest way to stop kids from shooting each other was to get guns out of their hands. That meant figuring out how and why young(...)

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The Trouble with Term Limits

Term limits are a solution that cannot work, to a problem we do not have. Enacted by the voters in 1994, under prodding from the anti-government crowd, the law has yet to make much of a difference in Massachusetts politics. Indeed it will be several years into the next century before the term-limits law will(...)

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Fools on the Hill

Fools on the Hill

“The natural tendency of representative government, as of modern civilisation, is towards collective mediocrity.” – John Stuart Mill, Considerations on Representative Government Or, as a lawmaker down in Texas used to say: If there wasn’t a bunch of dadgummed fools in the Legislature, it wouldn’t be representative government, would it? It’s part of our American(...)

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Counterpoint

Congressman Barney Frank is one of our most able and progressive legislators. I usually agree with him, but this time he has it wrong–a New Bedford casino will not bring the benefits he expects. -First, extensive experience elsewhere shows us that casinos haven’t delivered on their economic promises. -Second, the issue here is not prohibiting(...)

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New Ways in Weymouth

WEYMOUTH – It is the nature of government to respond to the crisis of the moment, and last fall the crisis on the minds of town officials had to do with voting machines. W hile many other towns and cities had updated their voting systems with modern, reliable tabulators, Weymouth was still using punch-card equipment(...)

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Argument

The case in favor of a gambling casino in New Bedford run by the Wampanoag Indians is straightforward. This is a proposal to let adults do what they wish to do with the money they legally possess. And it is a proposal to do something in a part of the state–Southeastern Massachusetts–that has been hurt(...)

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Demise of the punch card

At least 30 towns in Massachusetts are making a decision similar to Weymouth’s on replacing their punch-card systems. Secretary of State William Galvin is urging towns to update their voting technology, which has intensified competition between the two leading companies in the field, Texas-based Business Records and LHS Associates, Inc., of Methuen. Weymouth clerk Franklin(...)

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