Galvin is annoyed

In heavily Democratic Massachusetts, Secretary of State William Galvin has faced only one challenger from his own party since first taking office nearly 24 years ago. That was in 2006, when newcomer-to-politics John Bonifaz ran against Galvin.

The Boston Globe captured the spirit of that campaign by writing about Galvin’s no-show at a debate in Medford. Bonifaz would show up at forums all over the state, hoping for a back-and-forth with the incumbent, but never succeeded. Galvin, according to the Globe, dealt with Bonifaz by rarely dealing with him at all.

“Galvin at times seems to view the Bonifaz challenge as an annoyance,” the Globe reported, noting the secretary lobbied Democrats at the state convention in a bid to deny Bonifaz the 15 percent of delegates’ votes he needed to get on the primary ballot. That effort failed, but it illustrated how Galvin deals with annoyances.

Now, 12 years later, Galvin is annoyed again. Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim is running against him in the Democratic primary, and Zakim is voicing many of the same arguments that Bonifaz did earlier. He said there are too many obstacles to voting, and singled out Galvin’s decision to schedule the state primary on the day after Labor Day.

“The primary hasn’t been scheduled on this day in the 124 years Labor Day has been recognized as a federal holiday for a reason,” Zakim wrote in late January. “Why should it change this year? The only plausible explanation is to keep turnout low, a cynical maneuver that generally benefits the incumbent and the status quo.”

Galvin signaled his annoyance with his primary challenger in late December, accusing Zakim of being a “sneaky” political opportunist. “The Boston City Council is sort of an incubator. When you get paid that much to do so little I guess you have a lot of time on your hands,” Galvin said.

A couple weeks ago, Galvin apparently really lost it. On the day Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera announced he was supporting Zakim in the primary, Galvin called the mayor and forcefully expressed his displeasure. According to Rivera, the conversation turned into a heated exchange where both men cursed each other and the secretary suggested the mayor owed him his political career.

“Verbatim, he said, ‘I made you mayor.’ You don’t forget words like that,” Rivera said.

Galvin declined to comment, so we only know Rivera’s version of what happened. But it seems obvious that Galvin, who is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of Massachusetts politics, is rusty at running for office. With one poorly handled phone call, he has given his little-known primary opponent tremendous exposure and demonstrated an imperious attitude that is unlikely to sit well with voters.



Administration and Finance Secretary Michael Heffernan, in his previous post of state revenue commissioner, got the administration to hire a Wellesley neighbor and donor to his 2014 campaign for treasurer for a $121,000 job in technology security, despite a state hiring freezing that was in place and despite her lack of any clear background in that area. (Boston Globe)

A Herald editorial bemoans the fact that two-thirds of state senators now earn more than $100,000, while pointing out out those who got big pay bumps in the recent leadership reshuffling will collect fatter paychecks for the balance of 2018, though the Legislature will end formal sessions at the end of July.  

The Department of Conservation and Recreation last year paid $1.6 million to a former clerk who claimed she was harassed after complaining about a supervisor who showed favoritism to another female worker. (MassLive)


Boston may consider upping the set aside for affordable housing required from large-scale development projects. (Boston Globe)

A leading developer of downtown Worcester buys another building on Main Street with plans to offer retail on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors. (Telegram & Gazette)

US Rep. Richard Neal meets with students in Pittsfield to discuss how to “turn outrage into public policy” on guns. (Berkshire Eagle)

The Fall River City Council wants access to emails and texts between Mayor Jasiel Correia and a top aide that are part of a lawsuit between the city and the private nonprofit Fall River Office of Economic Development. (Herald News)


The Florida state senate, on a 20-18 vote, passes gun control legislation. (Sun-Sentinel) A Herald editorial applauds companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods for taking the lead in adopting more restrictive policies on gun sales.

Amid criticism from his own party and hints at waffling, aides to President Trump said he “won’t back down” from his plan to levy tariffs on steel and aluminum. (New York Times) Globe op-ed contributor Richard North Patterson decries the trade war Trump has unleashed and quotes Harvard’s Greg Mankiw, who said, “I don’t know any respected economist, conservative or liberal, who thinks this is the right approach.”

There is no way to summarize the bizarre cable appearances by former Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg as he tried to talk about the subpoena he received from special counsel Robert Mueller. (New York Times)

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington signs the first state net neutrality law. (Associated Press)


Former state senator. Barry Finegold of Andover announces he is running for his old seat, which is being vacated by Sen. Barbara L’Italien, who is running for Congress. (Eagle-Tribune)


A legislative task force tasked with helping the state’s retail sector makes a stop in Salem and gets an earful. (Eagle-Tribune)

The attorney general’s office has ruled that the Southfield Redevelopment Authority, the quasi-public agency overseeing the redevelopment of the former Weymouth naval air base, violated the state’s Open Meeting Law. (Patriot Ledger)

Business owners in downtown Southborough are worried that a redevelopment project on Main Street to widen the road and sidewalks will destroy their businesses and keep customers away from an area where a recent survey showed the majority of residents “rarely”or “never” shop or eat downtown already. (MetroWest Daily News)

Somerville’s Union Square seems poised to become the next Kendall Square. (Boston Globe)


University of Massachusetts president Marty Meehan vowed to pursue ways to make public higher education more affordable. (Boston Globe)

A decision in 2013 to move Salem’s Sheltered English Immersion program to the Nathaniel Bowditch School led to that school becoming heavily Latino. Now school officials want to shut the Bowditch down and scatter the students throughout the system to end a pattern of segregation of Latino and low-income students. (Salem News)

Quincy had the highest graduation rate among urban school districts in the state. (Patriot Ledger)

There are no easy ways to fortify school buildings against a determined shooter, say experts. (Boston Globe)

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticized the states’ top education officials, claiming most fail their students by not taking advantage of the flexibility the federal laws give them and saying many lack creativity. (U.S. News & World Report)


MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez urges no fare hike in January, but two members of the Fiscal and Management Control Board say no decision can be made yet because the transit agency’s budget situation is too fluid. (CommonWealth)

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Local officials and residents of area towns around Pilgrim nuclear power plant criticized the facility for not shutting down during last Friday’s nor’easter because of concerns that conditions made evacuation impossible if there was an accident. (Cape Cod Times)


Two tribes start demolition work on a new casino in East Windsor, Connecticut, to compete against the MGM casino going up in Springfield, Mass., even though federal approval for the Connecticut project hasn’t been granted yet. (Hartford Courant)


Defense lawyers say a suspended state police trooper’s past ties to drug dealers could derail convictions in cases she was involved with as an office, yet another potential case of drug cases going south. (Boston Herald)

A Bourne selectman was ordered held without bail after a judge ruled he was a danger following his arrest in a domestic assault. (Cape Cod Times)


GateHouse Media sold the headquarters of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham to a Cambridge-based life sciences and biotech development firm for $9.3 million. (MetroWest Daily News)