Winter 1997

The License Game

Not long ago, getting a license plate for your car was a simple matter of standing in a long line at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, and then exchanging a check for a standard, government-issue plate. With plain numbers and letters, and the Massachusetts tagline, the plates wouldn’t win any design awards–but that seemed to(...)

Read More »

Lottery Winners and Losers

You can’t buy a lottery ticket in Leverett, a tiny town about 10 miles north of Amherst, but the people there still come up winners. Leverett’s town treasury took in $115,090 in lottery-derived local aid last year. In Quincy, lottery tickets are big business–some $62 million was plunked down in the 1996 fiscal year. Quincy(...)

Read More »

Activists Gone GooGoo

Changing times: Citizens for Limited Taxation, a group that has been a factor in Massachusetts politics since the 1970s, has expanded its mission. Executive Director Barbara Anderson has merged her operations with those of long-time activist Chip Ford, yielding the new organization Citizens for Limited Taxation and Government (CLT&G). The new acronym doesn’t roll quite(...)

Read More »

A Wonks Guide to the Web

Designed especially for policy wonks, activists, and civic-minded cyberspace cruisers, the following is a special CommonWealth Guide to the World Wide Web. Not all information is created equal; herewith are a few sites that hold promise of being useful, or even high-minded, mixed in with some that achieve real depth–or depths. Feel free to raise(...)

Read More »

What Makes Gardner Go

What Makes Gardner Go

Dian Chaisson knows what it’s like to lose a job–several jobs, in fact. The Gardner native was laid off three times in two years: once from her secretarial job at Gem Industries and twice from New England Firearms. Before her final layoff, she witnessed the routine enough times from her post in the Personnel Department(...)

Read More »

Tom Finneran is in control

A GOOD POLITICIAN learns to make the most of what he has. One thing Thomas Finneran has is intensity in the eyes. His gaze can convey anger even when he is holding his anger in check. Watching Finneran, you get the sense that a major source of his power as a politician is his cold(...)

Read More »

County Government

He conducts his business in the basement of Berkshire County’s Silvio O. Conte Superior Court House: down the stairs, past the snack machine, and off to the right. Step over the boxes and stacks of papers that line his office floor, spill from half-opened filing cabinets, and encroach upon the voter lists, grocery coupons, newspaper(...)

Read More »

Keeping the Nurse in Nursing

Keeping the Nurse in Nursing

Life Support: Three Nurses on the Front LinesBy Suzanne GordonLittle, Brown and Company, Boston, 352 pages. It’s a tough time to be a nurse. My downstairs neighbor, a registered nurse, drags herself home from work most days exhausted and disgusted. As a result of nursing layoffs at her hospital, she cares for eight patients on(...)

Read More »

George Apley Lives

George Apley Lives

No equivocation, then. “The land where the gold grasshopper swings above Faneuil Hall to the bidding of a damp east wind,” in other words Boston, has never been decanted more expertly, into any other novel, than the vintage, silky pages of The Late George Apley. It won the 1938 Pulitzer for fiction. It became a(...)

Read More »

A Professors Survey

NATICK – If you want information on town meetings in Massachusetts, the logical place to turn is the Massachusetts Moderators Association, the closest thing there is to an organization that keeps tabs on the 303 town-meeting towns in the Commonwealth. But if you want to know about town meetings in Maine, or Rhode Island, or(...)

Read More »