Paul LePage, a solitary man
Who does Maine Gov. Paul LePage remind you of? If you said no one, go to the head of the class.
While some have compared the bombastic LePage to the bombastic Donald Trump (whom LePage opposed before supporting him, perhaps aided by Trump’s campaign hiring LePage’s daughter), LePage is his own man. Where Trump has changed positions often, LePage’s alarming statements and stances on race, liberals, and government have been consistent from Day 1. But it appears LePage is pondering his own political mortality and doing some introspection about the effect of his pronouncements.
“It’s really one thing to have one party behind you,” LePage told a local radio station as it appeared there was a movement in the state legislature to attempt to remove him from office. “It’s another thing not to have any party behind you.”
“Regarding rumors of resignation, to paraphrase Mark Twain, ‘The reports of my political demise are greatly exaggerated,’” he tweeted, failing to acknowledge he spawned the talk himself.
As with Trump, LePage’s shockers come fast and furious, making it hard to keep track of which one is the most outrageous. Much of the recent vintage came after LePage pulled out his binder, blaming out-of-state drug dealers for Maine’s opioid crisis and claiming “90-plus percent” of those arrested for drug trafficking crimes were black and Hispanic. And that came on the heels of his statement about said dealers and the young women of Maine, a state that is 95 percent white. No need to paraphrase, let’s go to the tape.
“These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty – these types of guys – they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home,” LePage said in a speech in January. “Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.”
So, of course, he is outraged that anyone would call him a racist for such observations. Which is why he left a threatening message for a state lawmaker he thought labeled him the r-word. He later told reporters he wished duels were still legal because he’d take his vintage revolver and “point it right between his eyes.”
But, as the TV commercials used to say, wait, there’s more. At a conference of New England and Canadian governors in Massachusetts on Monday, LePage defended his proclamation about minorities and drugs and said in addition to New York and Connecticut, blacks and Hispanics from Lowell and Lawrence were invading the lily-white Pine State with their poison.
That, though, like many of LePage’s claims, bore little resemblance to reality. The Portland Press Herald found of the more than 1,200 people arrested in Maine for drug trafficking in 2014, FBI data shows just 14.1 percent were black. Not quite filling LePage’s three-ring binder.
Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera gave voice to much of the outrage, saying the issue of drug addiction knows no racial bounds.
Like Trump, LePage keeps his own counsel so he is the only one who knows what his next move is. He’s indicated he would take Republican pleas to moderate his comments under consideration but, like Trump, for how long?
The commissioner and deputy commissioner at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation were suspended without pay for a week and required to reimburse the state $800 for using state resources and employees for a private July 3 party for a small group of state officials. (WCVB-Ch. 5)
Senate President Stan Rosenberg, continuing his statewide media tour, told the editorial boards of the Fall River Herald News and Taunton Gazette that the flood of legislation at the last minute was “unprecedented” and did a disservice to lawmakers and the public.
Sen. Ken Donnelly of Arlington, who underwent brain surgery in August, is standing for reelection and said he will be ready to return to Beacon Hill in January. (State House News)
The number of homeless families living in hotels is plummeting. (Lowell Sun)
State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is experimenting with using iPads instead of printed materials for members of the various boards her office oversees to cut down on the cost and environmental impact. (State House News Service)
Mayor Marty Walsh says Boston is ready to launch its police body camera pilot program — as soon as court gives it the OK (a court hearing tomorrow will hear arguments from the patrolmen’s union for an injunction blocking the camera initiative). (Boston Herald)
A state audit cited a number of failings by the Wareham Housing Authority including nearly 2,000 unlogged rental applications sitting in piles and lack of documentation for $220,000 salary for the former director, who now oversees Carver’s housing authority. (Standard-Times)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump heads to meet the president of Mexico before making a speech on immigration. (Time)
Questions about her private email server and the Clinton Foundation are a dual whammy that threatens to hamstring Hillary Clinton’s effort to breakaway from her unpopular rival. (Boston Globe)
Former Scott Brown campaign manager Colin Reed revels a bit in the dissension he seeks in the Democratic Party ranks in the state — though mindful that Republicans are a non-entity in Massachusetts but for their recent snagging of the governor’s office. (Boston Herald)
The final regulatory hurdle has been cleared for Dell to complete its acquisition of EMC Corp. next week. (Boston Globe)
Madison Park Vocational Technical High School is probably facing its last chance this fall to get on track before the state considers a takeover of the long-troubled Boston school. (Boston Herald)
Chessy Prout, the sexual assault victim of Owen Labrie at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, speaks publicly for the first time, saying she wants to empower other victims to speak out. (Boston Globe)
Phillips Academy in Andover says an investigation by a law firm has revealed that three former teachers engaged in sexual misconduct. (Eagle-Tribune)
The Worcester school system toughens its cellphone use policy, prompting complaints from students. (Telegram & Gazette)
The Framingham acting school superintendent reinstated the coaching staff of the football team and resumed practice after an investigation found no wrongdoing in the high incidence of players who developed blisters on their hands. Officials determined the injuries were likely caused by the artificial turf. (MetroWest Daily News)
How much homework is too much homework? (Greater Boston)
Steven Rothstein, who worked closely with Joseph Kennedy II at Citizens Energy, will head the foundation that oversees the John F. Kennedy Library. (Boston Globe)
U.S. News & World Report looks into why it says Obamacare has failed, including a belief by MIT professor Jonathan Gruber that the $695 penalty for failing to buy insurance is insufficient to someone who’s young and healthy.
Massachusetts is one of 12 states receiving money as part of a federal grant to improve the tracking of opioid overdoses. (Boston Herald)
A Boston engineering firm pays $5.5 million to settle concerns about its handling of a Plum Island water and sewer contract. The water and sewer system has had numerous breakdowns. (CommonWealth)
Toxic soil with lead and arsenic levels up to 30 times higher than deemed safe for children has forced more than 1,000 residents from their homes in a predominantly low-income minority housing complex in Indiana, reminiscent of the Flint, Michigan, water crisis that was ignored for years by government officials. (New York Times)
Taunton residents who succeeded in a suit against the Interior Department in federal district court to block a casino are opposing an attempt by the Mashpee Wampanoag to join the suit as a defendant as the case moves to appeal. (Cape Cod Times)
Massachusetts has paid out $8.34 million to people wrongfully convicted of crimes since a 2004 law was passed mandating maximum payments of $500,000 per person. (Masslive)
A three-man Boston police unit in Mattapan works to make good on the department’s vow to be “guardians” not “warriors” on the city’s streets. (Boston Globe)
A Brockton woman whose home was broken into is pleading for the return of her son’s ashes that were in a jewelry box the thieves stole. (The Enterprise)
MEDIAGateHouse Media has cut newsroom staff at its New England papers by about 40 employees between buyouts and layoffs. (Boston Business Journal)
David French, a columnist for the conservative National Review, says conservatives are limiting themselves and their message by trying to become “Fox News famous” and confining their appearances to the right’s echo chamber.