Friday, May 29, 2009

Misconduct at the T, Court House closings, Newton-Wellesley expansion

The Globe reports that the FBI is investigating reports of coerced sexual misconduct among the superior officers at the MBTA run police academy. Some of these allegations go back to 2002. I wonder how the FBI got involved with this in the first place, but hopefully they will get to the bottom of this in the next few months. If proven true, the T will hear again another public outcry for heads to roll.

A move to close under utilized court houses has met it's usual fate here in Mass, with the legislator vowing to fight any attempts at fiscal responsibility and efficiencies with the criminal justice system. Our neighbors in Natick have a courthouse that should be closed along with a few in and around the State. Great patronage jobs come from these court houses and so does the abuse. Just last month a court officer was charged with having sex with a defendant, in the unused court room.

Newton-Wellesley hospital has the approval of our Planning Board to set up a small surgical clinic on Rte 30 just of the Pike. After watching the adversarial rants by two members of our Board of Dysfunctional Health on TV this week, it's a wonder there wasn't any shootings. The CEO from NW was blasted with name calling and fear mongering. In today's ever competitive race for health care dollars and paying patients Hospitals have been at the mercy of law makers who have taken billions from the health care industry, including drug companies, who have helped drive health care costs beyond what most of us can afford.

In comes the need to expand, just like Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, Hair salons and yes, Health Care clinics. Now comes the part of territory, like franchise agreements and dealer regions and in Heath Care, certain provisions are put into place to have health care expansion looked at from the State, but only at certain levels of financial expansion, 25 million is the threshold and NW's clinic falls under that.

Our PB approved the use of the building, which they are mandated to review. The MWMC now contends that the PB should have called the NW expansion into this one story building a hospital and not a clinic and questions if there's enough parking and the medical waste issue.

MWMC seems to be taking on an offensive to stop NW from coming to Town, in fear that they will lose income on high paying procedures. They also state that they will not be on a level playing field and will be forced out of business if NW comes to Town.

A few years ago, I drove 32 miles bleeding to get ER treatment for a 3" gash in my arm. Given the choice between Brockton, Milton, Quincy, I opted for my home Town Hospital, where everyone knows my name type feeling. My third daughter was born in NW and before Lenard Morse closed it's obstetrics, my second daughter was born there.

It's wonderful for those who are unhealthy to know Hospitals are there and they do provide jobs for the locals. It is also a reality that there are hundreds of thousands of unwarranted surgeries every year and half that amount of patients dying from mistakes made, infections and misdiagnosis. Two times in my life, I've been told that if I did not have surgery on my shoulder and my arm, I would not be using either the rest of my life. Needless to say, I sought out alternative treatments and today, I can use them both.

What would MWMC do if the majority of people served by them, got healthy by stopping the bad life style choices that are causing our health care system to implode? Would healthy living be a competitor, will acupuncturists, massage therapists and holistic healers be not allowed to set up shop to close to a hospital? The answer my friends is it's about money and the almighty reimbursement that the big three insurers in the State give to their managed groups.

I'm unclear on how the process will play out in terms of legal fees that the Town my have to put up, but I do hope that we don't end up with another reason to ask TMM's to vote for more money to fight another organization that wants to come to Framingham.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fox, speeding tickets, Dandelions and Deval

From the Herald.....State Rep. Gloria L. Fox is under state scrutiny for allegedly sneaking a murderer’s girlfriend - previously bagged for engaging in “sexual acts” with the killer con - into a state prison in Bridgewater, the Herald has learned.

Using her State House-issued, all-access prison privileges, Fox, 67, visited convicted murderer Darrell Jones in the high-security segregation unit of the Old Colony Correctional Center with a woman the Roxbury Democrat claimed was her “best aide,” two prison sources told the Herald.

In deference to Fox’s status as a legislator, she and Joanna Marinova, 26, were ushered unsearched into an area Marinova would normally have been barred from - a clear security breach - according to two sources.

Another one bites the dust I think here. If she's not fired I'll eat my grass. To bring in the girlfriend of a monster to a high security prison, then lie about who she is, must be a felony at the prison. I beleiev you are subject to arrest by giving wrong information at the front desk. Lets see how this plays out. Will Deleo come to her defense? will Deval?

For those of you who drive on the pike... anbd just about any higway at this point... you should know, they (our tax payer funded pirates that cruise the Pike with weapons of mass destruction) are giving out record numbers of speeding tickets. Be aware of your speeds out there, even in Town. Paying for tickets at this point in time is useless and can effect your insurance. Be ever vigilant for killer drivers out there... that SOB that caused that accident on 128 should face seriuos jail time for sure and never allowed to drive again.

The WSJ reports that sales in grocery stores have reached over 2 million last year for dandelion leaves... so.. here's a thought, we start a service to homeowners and business to pick their dandelion leaves from their property free. At 8.00 dollars a pound, in my neighbors yard alone, we'd be rich.

Our Deval is circling the State in campaign mode. Listening to his one partly loyalist, he's making his exposure time increase among the sheep. A herdsmen with blind and deaf sheep. While we all wonder which tax will be increased this week, gas approaches 3.00 dollars, the budget has to be resolved in 30 days or so, casinos have big names and money now in the State, look for lots of fund raiser participation on behalf of Deval, who is taking advantage of the 71st Governor Fund, even as we speak. And Coakley hovers over Hyannis with two un maned drones, one to monitor Ted's heart beat and the other to fly to Devals office with her acceptance speech.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Article 25, Wind Turbine By-Law goes back to?

Ok all you renewable energy fans... the By-Law was sent back.. not to the authors.. but the Planning Board.

If anyone gets a chance to watch the meeting from tonight, a new high in propaganda was reached when one TMM actually stood up and said wind turbines will stop salamanders from mating and will, because of vibration, kill off any of those beloved little critters at the base of a tower. This statement ties with Yankoff's babble about the women's chest expanding with the rotation of the blades of a wind turbine. Reefer madness has hit the wind industry. And what would the night be without Yankoff sharing with us, that if we wanted to sleep in the big bed tonight, he would have to keep his talk under tens minutes.

Now I see why he's so angry all the time and feels left out......

It's painfully clear, some of the ill informed have much to learn about wind energy with the remarks and questions I heard last night. Was it this hard to convince people the automobile was a good idea?

I'm glad to hear the the Planning Board will have to take this up. Besides one comatose board member, the rest have brains, think logically and deal in facts. I will make my first hand knowledge of the small wind turbine industry available to them directly. Perhaps then the likes of Yankoff and some of the more ill informed TMM's will have no rational argument to run with.

And by the way.... there is no one in Town, expect the building commish, who could legally stop any of us from having a wind energy conversion device on our property. Please note, there are hardly any manufactured and tested yet that will make sense to own here in Framingham at this point. The small wind and micro wind market is still in it's infancy but is growing up before our eyes. As stated before, stringent internationally recognized standards will have to be adopted by the manufactures to design, manufacture, test and maintain small wind turbines. All sorts of regulations are already in place before you hook up to the grid.

In the next wind turbine by-law, there will be homeowner provisions, similar to Hopkinton, that will allow us to capture wind on our property at reasonable heights. Utility grade wind turbines that sit 300 feet in the air are never going to materialize here in Framingham. We're not high enough and to far from the coast.

Beacon Hill Roll Call

As reported before the Senate 33 6 approved the budget of 27.5Billion, based on the sales tax increase to 6.25. 900 million was mysteriously added in before the vote was taken. SO.. the 6.25 will affect alcohol sales and with options for Towns to add a 2% meals tax option, approved by Town Meeting.

The Senate rejected an amendment to raise the income tax form 5.3 to 5.95% and also rejected a gas tax increase of.19 and .11 cents a gallon. They also rejected an amendment to allow Town Meeting to vote on whether to increase the meals tax. They rejected slot machines at each of the States race tracks.

They also rejected two major amendments, one was to prohibit pay increases for State workers for two years and a hiring freeze, unless deemed critical to public safety. And lastly, the rejected an amendment to work on Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day... two holidays that only State workers in Suffolk county get off.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hang on.... the Pike Toll increases are now back in the news

Late today we get word from our friends at toll equity trust.

Please go to their web site for more details...
it's a lot easier to get to their e mail addresses from their web site if you choose to write them.

This was inevitable in most minds. The Big Hole dept and toll increases have taken a back seat to the sales tax increase. But as we all know, the amount of money needed to pay for the Big Hole will not be coming from a Sales Tax increase. More shell games to be played here in the coming weeks. July is right around the corner and the budget is supposed to be balanced. If you can and have time, write a note to those listed below and just state you want to keep the Toll Equity guarantee in the Transportation bill.

From the Salem News Report: "[Gov. Deval] Patrick shared the head table with state Rep. Lori Ehrlich, D-Marblehead. He praised her work on issues like the proposed toll hike. Nevertheless, commenting on a recent vote by the Legislature to increase the sales tax, Patrick hinted that it might not get toll payers completely off the hook.

"With sales tax revenues, he indicated, the tolls might not have to be raised "as steeply as we otherwise would have to."

The Governor's suggestion that there may still have to be toll hikes even with a proposed sales tax increase is more reason why the Toll Equity guarantee passed by the House must be in the final Transportation Bill. Toll Equity guarantees that the toll being charged is for the service being provided. Toll Equity eliminates the 138% "Big Dig" tax that is added to the real cost of providing turnpike service. This is our best opportunity, since the legislature created the Turnpike Authority in 1952, to ensure toll fairness and honesty. The time to act is now!
Please call or email the Transportation Conference Committee members and urge them to keep the Toll Equity guarantee in the Transportation bill.
Please email or call the offices of the Transportation Conference Committee Members:

* Sen. Steven Baddour, Methuen
* Sen. Stephen Brewer, Barre
* Sen. Robert Hedlund, Weymouth
* Rep. Joseph Wagner, Chicopee
* Rep. Charles Murphy, Burlington
* Rep. George Peterson, Grafton

Make sure that you also call or write the Governor's Office and cc the Governor regarding any of your emails or letters to others. And don't be shy about writing or calling your local newspaper, TV or radio station. Get the word out.

To learn more, please visit our website, and follow us on Twitter. Email your Turnpike stories to, and we will post them on our new blog!

Murray calls Deval Irrelevant, Ok's Powerball but not slots

So the differences in ethics reform has reached a new level of uncooperative name calling by the Senate President saying that Deval is irrelevant. This move is probably not going to help any of us and it will be very interesting to see if Deval vetoes the budget on principal. Not that he can do anything with it.

They approved a plan to join the Powerball lottery but removed slots on tracks.

They did vote to reject an amendment to delay the ending of greyhound racing by two years. This was a ballot question that passed to end greyhound racing by Jan 2010.

The House will take up a gambling bill this fall, but I wonder if the Mashpee Indians can still go ahead with their own casino on the Cape.

A new Harvard School of Public Health study out today confirms what most health officials already knew... Hard plastic drinking bottles that are made with bisphenol A are leaching the chemical into our bodies. One major concern is baby bottles when heated. The Chemical lobby has done well in the dissemination of propaganda to the State House. I would certainly warn any parent who is using these bottles to stop and replace with glass. It may take many more years before someone can correlate childrens diseases with bisphenol A, but the evidence is clear now and should not be ignored by any of us, regardless of whether the State passes the ban or not.

The Town passed a budget last night. While watching the slow and tedious procedure, I had to shake my head when supporters of the Cops in Town, voted to increase cruisers by two, when the Chief didn't ask for any. One full time position will be taken away in Town to pay for the cruisers, that I thought were paid form a grant. And it looks like the Concerts on the Common may not happen without Town support (20K) or some very big contributors and Town Meeting did not approve any help at all.

Rizoli rants, Willy's and Ms. McCarthey love for the cops, Mr. O Neil insulted by someone and more hatred towards SMOC seemed to dominate this year. The Wind Turbine by-law will come up next week and will be referred back to sponsor, so I'm told.

Gas is still going up, Mass Pike may do a wave through at tolls this weekend, NH said no to collecting any tax from Mass residents who shop in their State, and unemployment is this State has hit 8%. New credit car rules may slow down the companies from racking up unfair service fees, and Dick Chenney is back with more phyco babel about how fruitful it is torturing prisoners. And the market is up... go figure.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So I get this from Pam today.. please note the date


BOSTON-State Representative Pam Richardson (D-Framingham) voiced opposition to a section of the Municipal Relief Bill which would remove School Committee approval when consolidating school committee and municipal functions.

Section 101 of the Municipal Relief Bill (H. 1971) concerns the consolidation of various administrative functions including financial, personnel and maintenance functions of the school committee with those of the municipalities. If this section is enacted into law, at a minimum, the office of the business manager, the office of the personnel director, and the maintenance office and related personnel would be subject to consolidation with the appropriate municipal department without school committee agreement.

Richardson sits on the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government, the committee before which this bill is currently pending. She has been working closely with House Chairman Paul Donato (D-Medford) and Senate Chairman Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) on extricating this section form the Municipal Relief Bill.

"I view this as a breach of the responsibility vested in our School Committee to manage our schools in the best interests of children," said Richardson. "To strip the School Committee of these essential functions and put them under Municipal control threatens the quality and integrity of our public schools."

and there's a few more paragraphs about how bad the idea is...

The Municipal Relief Bill is a package of reforms and cost saving measures which will save money and provide relief for struggling cities and towns. It was filed in the House Friday May 8 and is currently being considered by the Joint Committee on Municipalities. There were two public hearings on the bill last week, one in the State House last Tuesday (5/12) and the other in Hudson last Friday (5/15).

So.. look at when she sends this... and even if any of us wanted to attend... we couldn't have.. because she didn't let us know in time.

Ok.. I agree... she's a puppet of education, unions and the same old way... but, why won't she want everyone to know before this was happening.... why? In many ways, this would save us real money...

After hearing about the school budget here in Framingham at Town Meeting last night.. it's clear, the unions made out very well, even though they will ax 20 something positions... NOTE.. no one has thought about taking a pay cut to save jobs.. not here in Framingham.

Talk about insult to us all..... a veil of secrecy?

From The Herald

More than three-quarters of Beacon Hill lawmakers - including the House speaker and Senate president - threw up “a veil of secrecy” when pressed for the size and salaries of their taxpayer-paid staff, even as they are muscling through wallet-crippling tax hikes.

For nearly two months, some 155 of 200 House and Senate lawmakers have stonewalled a Herald request for a list of their staff and salaries - public information that should be readily available upon request.

“They have an obligation to the people who elected them to be forthright with their actions, how they’re spending money, and be accountable,” said Edwin Bender, executive director of the Montana-based National Institute for Money and State Politics. “If lawmakers are not willing to tell you something as simple as their employees and their salaries, what else are they hiding?”

While lawmakers last night inched closer to hiking the sales tax to 6.25 percent, records show the House is projected to shell out $31.3 million to 160 members and 561 staffers this year. In the Senate, $16.4 million will be paid to 40 members and 342 aides.

So.. we pay 47 million dollars for people who hide in plain sight. Only listen to those who donate to their campaigns, take advantage of what ever they can, when they want. Made dam sure we couldn't force this information out through public records laws.

A volunteer legislator is the only option left.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A new venture.. the "Wicked Green" TV show is born

On a brighter note that won't cost any of you a dime, I started shooting a new show on cable. The show is about living green and doing my part to educate the viewing public on gardening, recycling, renewable energy and just being "Wicked Green".

We shoot this from the Pegasus Studio in Natick and will air a new show each week. The show will air in Framingham, on Verizon, ComCast and RCN three times a week and in other Towns. The schedule will be on the web address below. Anyone from other area's of the State who want our show on their public access station please e mail me at and I will get the ball rolling.

The Mass. Medical Marijuana Bill ... again

Some of you old timers who have seen or heard me over the past 20 years fight tooth and nail for the medicinal uses of cannabis here in Mass. In 1992 then Bill Weld signed the first medical marijuana bill, named for the Senator Bertonzzi from Milford. In 1997 the Joe Hutchins medical defense bill was signed by Bill Weld. I along with some very dedicated fellow reformers made these things happen with signature gathering and public debates, including two drug policy events at Harvard back in the early 90's.

Since then, 14 States have enacted some form of medical marijuana and every election cycle since, the legislature has ignored medical marijuana and the sick are still being prosecuted, doctors are being put into difficult positions referring patients to a known relief agent and would be patients are afraid to even ask. Public Policy Questions all over the State asking if medical marijuana should be allowed, have been approved, overwhelmingly and still ignored by the House and Senate.

Tomorrow, Tuesday May 19, the Joint Committee on Public Health will again take up the House Bill 2160, (S 1739) An Act to regulate the medical use of marijuana by patients approved by physicians and certified by the department of public health.

While most of us can't take time off to go to the hearings, written statements should be sent to both:

Senator Susan C. Fargo
Joint Committee on Public Health
Room 504
State House
Boston, MA 02133

Representative Jeffrey Sánchez
Joint Committee on Public Health
Room 130
State House
Boston, MA 02133

The Bill is below.

Beacon Hill Roll light at the end of the tunnel

None of you or me should be surprised at what happened last week on the Hill. As you've read here and elsewhere, the changes to the ethics laws have been watered down in many critical areas like accepting gifts, etc. All of this moves to the compromise committee at which time some of Deval's, the House and Senates proposals will be either dropped or combined. One thing that was a surprise to me was that the Senate rejected and amendment to increase the time a former state employee, including legislators could become lobbyists. It is now one year, the proposal was to make it two years and even three years. The role call vote was 6 to 33 in favor of rejecting the amendment.

Bad for us.. good for them

The revenue committee heard testimony of a proposal (H2773) to impose a $5.00 dollar a pack tax on rolling papers if you can believe that. In 2002 the House rejected a $10.00 per pack tax.

Bad for us... good for them

And the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture held a hearing on a few interesting bills. Senate Bill S 384 would establish a 5.00 per motor vehicle tire deposit and a return system. And H 770, a bill to prohibit anyone from releasing 10 or more helium balloons in a 24 hour period and imposing a fine of 250.00. The interesting rub on this bill is that many candidates who run for office at outdoor events, have a tank of Helium and distribute balloons with their names on it. If you have been at the Common Concerts over the years, you will see balloons floating of in the air. I personally think it's good idea to stop the balloons from being dropped in waterways and hurting wildlife. There are though, environmentally safe balloons made of biodegradable materials, which I have used in the past. The idea may be sound, but who is going to monitor this? If you find ten balloons with someones name on it.. will you bring them to the local police? Will cops be monitoring events across the State for the amount of balloons released? Will there be a niche business here, where by gun totting residents are paid to shot down balloons? Might be cheaper than paying fines.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Don't be shocked... The Drug War may be coming to an end.

Before you hit the delete button....let me report what is happening at the highest level of Federal Government. From the WSJ, the new Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske calls for an end to the war on drugs... yes it is true. After decades of Nancy Reagan with just say no, billions spent every year on eradicating marijuana, the highest incarceration rates of any civilized country and turf wars between low level drug dealers that have reeked devastation across our country, FINALLY, some common sense has reached the office of drug control.

Our jails and prisons are filled with drug offenders, costing this State 47k a year to house. Overcrowding in our courts and jails has created more troubles for fair and swift justice for more seriuos crimes.

HIV is on the upswing again so is the rate of tuberculous in our prisons. The money spent on the drug war to this point is more criminal than the crimes themselves. The system has created the prison state employing and spending more than we do on education and a few small wars. We have sprayed entire regions of other countries with agent orange and have created corruption among law enforcement.

While I do admit that some of the home made drugs like meth are very bad of society, it all boils down to a health care issue and not a law enforcement problem. While the Feds and the States have spent billions on the supply side of the drug war and then the demand side, prices for most all drugs have dropped over the years, except marijuana. We have invaded countries, killed and or imprisoned leaders of States, helped fuel huge multi national drug cartels and created whole wasteful agencies battling the drug war.

The drug war has been as futile as most of the wars in my lifetime. And it is so refreshing to see the administration look for ways to end such wasteful programs. IF, the administration were to lift the ban on marijuana and hemp, billions in tax revenue could be used for health care, education, veterans and a host of other worthy programs that would enhance our society.

Look for this to happen late this year or the beginning of next. Obama realizes we can't continue to spend precious tax dollars on trying to arrest, incarcerate and deny employment to the 30 to 60 million of us who enjoy our plants flowers.

Quninn, Pacheco and the Senate... will they ever get it?

Ok tax fans... the Senate overwhelming supported a ethics overhaul and of coarse it weakens the State Ethics Commission's ability to investigate violations of the states conflict of interest laws. The bill tightens rules for lobbyists and reduce the amount that donors can give to a polictical party. The bill does NOT include the ban on gifts to public officials. It would also transfer to a state administration law agency the Ethics Commission's authority to hold hearings into alleged wrong doings. It now goes to conference to iron out the differences.

Bad for us.. good for them.

Last night WBZ reported that 100 police chiefs will resign or retire if the Quinn Bill is not funded. The Globe has reported that a Beacon Hill cop has retaliated by giving Legislators and their aids, parking tickets when they have already a permit to park on Beacon Hill.

Lets see if the Senate holds the line and stops funding another wasteful perk for law enforcement. It does account for perhaps 25% of their pay and also effects their retirement.

The Pacheco Law passed in 1993, stopped any attempt by then Gov Weld at contracting with private firms for services that can deliver savings through efficiencies. It is estimated that the savings by repealing this law would be around 150 to 300 million a year.

Bad for us.. good for State workers

Other reforms that could save big bucks, that the Senate has ignored to this point. Hiring and salary freeze for state workers, 140 million, allowing cities and town's to join the States Group Insurance and design their own health care benefits with local unions, millions here to be saved. A large cut in the salaries of the legislator or even making the positions part time would save millions.

While I do agree with blogger who say, are you surprised? or, did you not know this was happening? In in defense of us all, we have known, but have never been in such bleak finical shape in the States history.

My intent is to inform and to make public to the readers what I know and have learned and read about, our crises and the solutions that are brought forward and ignored.

We all have to ride out this situation together, hold our collective breath until 2010 when hopefully, common sense will prevail and these memories which are documented will be thought of before voting.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Now it's getting Testy... The House, Senate and Deval

Battle lines are now being drawn... the Senate wants to take out a provision for Devals slush fund under the "ethics reform package". Devals ethics reform did not include campaign finance. Any wonder why... he's raised millions and continues to do so... under his 71st Governor Fund where by individuals can donate 5,500 dollars in one check, 500 to Deval and 5,000 for the State Democratic party. The Party can then pay Deval's political expenses, around 700,000. The Senate wants to limit the total amount donated to 500.00. Deval must be pissed at this move.

The Senate is now proposing slashing everything, except their own salaries and perks. Senate President Murray still refuses to take up ethics reform and the House still is avoiding pension reforms that allow termination allowances for pols who quit or fail to be re elected. To continue the practices of yesterday, could cost us millions in coming years. Judges can decide whether changing a contract is legal or not but it will be wild to see who among the legislature will try to keep the practices of pension abuse alive and well.

The Senate is making everyone nervous with their budget proposals, slashing everything. The House has not slashed much, but has proposed hefty sales tax increase to pay for some of their promises. Deval has positioned himself in the middle of this school yard game. None of these groups want to give an inch, none want to do the right thing by us, none can see past the next election and have raised and spent more money last year than since 1990.

Huge outcries will soon be heard from everyone in the State that gets funds, like education, local aid, health care, ect etc. This will make it easier for the elected elite to raise more revenues from taxes. It's a shell game they play, spinning webs of mis information and back door deals. By July, gas will be 3.00 a gallon or more, a budget like no other budget in recent times, will come out and it will rely heavily on tax increases of all kinds. Times will be tough for local Towns and overrides will not happen in an election year. All that's left to know, is what the elected elite are going to tell us and when.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tolls on the Pike, an illegal tax? A famous lawyer has an idea.

Here's something all of you who have paid tolls (in the last 5 years) at 128 or in the City should be aware of. This action seems to be timely and if won, would force the transportation agencies to get tolls booths up on the North and South of the city.

Go to and see what they have to say about this class action law suit.

A trial lawyer made famous by Hollywood is looking to win some change for Bay State toll-payers in a newly filed class-action suit that takes on the embattled Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.

Jan R. Schlichtmann - whose local battle against a chemical company was the basis of the book and film “A Civil Action” - is looking for Pike drivers to join his legal quest for a massive refund.

Schlictmann filed a complaint in Middlesex Superior Court Friday in the name of three Pike-weary drivers who maintain the tolls are an “illegal tax.” because the proceeds from the roadway’s tolls are diverted to other projects. The lawsuit contends 58 percent of Pike tolls are used to finance Big Dig roads.

“It is a Big Dig tax,” Schlichtmann said. “This amounts to an unconstitutional expropriation of money. The argument isn’t that it’s not being used for a good purpose. It’s that you can’t lawfully do that.”

State Pensions... the debate begins in the Senate

According to the Globe, the Senate will take up the task of the pension abuses and reforms. This may sound great, but they (the legislature) are the same people who will benefit from leaving everything alone. Under the existing laws, 93 out of 200 members are on track to be eligible for early enhanced pensions. And guess who else weighs in on this?... the Judges. Now here's a fight worth watching. They have come out against anything that would affect them and their pensions, calling it unfair. It shirley is unfair, when elected officials get an enhanced pension when they are terminated or lost an election. And if these guys live to 80, they give over a half a million in retirement. This boils down to whether the reforms should be retroactive and include everyone in the system now as well as the future.

Also this week... the dreaded Senate budget debate begins. What we all should be concerned with is the raiding of the "rainy day fund" and more importantly, the use of stimulus money to shore up next years revenue losses. Deval has pledged to veto anything that does not have the meaningful reforms he's asked for... but as we know from the past few months, he seems to be exempt from the idea.

The House rejected an amendment last week to make it easier for privatization of State Services. 17 to 141. In essence, they are protecting the State employees from reasonable competition. Bad for us.. good for them... and they are the people who vote.

During the week of May 4 to 8, the House met for 27 minutes and the Senate met for 2 hours.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wind Turbine By-Law update

This long and winding road is perhaps coming to an end. The intelligent people on the Planning Board have cleaned up and defined zoning issues for wind turbines. I must congratulate Sue, Andrea and Tom for revising this by-law in making it more wind friendly. As it stands now, the revised by-law which I would support, is not making Tom O'Neil, and a few of the other anti-wind turbine zealots happy. As of the last meeting I attended, ( a member of the board actually said, "we have to ban all wind turbines from Framingham") there was talk about pulling Article 25 from the warrant and bringing it back in the fall. They all thought the article would not be heard this week at Town Meeting, and had scheduled a meeting for May 11th.... so if it were to come up tonight, in it's revised state, I would ask for your support on this. It's not perfect, but it's miles ahead and less restrictive to the home owner than the original.

If the Zoning people don't like or accept the revised Article 25, I'm not sure if it will come to the floor tonight. Keep an eye out for Town Meeting tonight on local access to see how this unfolds.

The Good, Bad and Ugly

The Good news.... sort of. Our property taxes will go down by a few bucks in 2010, the bad news, our property values will decrease in value by 11 to 14% according to the Towns CFO.

The good news, Pike Chief LeBovidge resigns, the bad news, next in command will fair not much better in getting the needed reforms enacted and tolls will probably go up to those outrageous numbers we heard about months ago in a month or so.

The bad news, Tax revenues fell even more in April, 35% less than last year, 456 million less. This means the legislature may raid the entire rainy day fund just to get us even this year by July 1. The good news, Senator Spilka said there will be layoffs and all agencies will have to tighten their belts. She may now be getting it,or does she. One Senator has proposed transportation and other reforms could help bridge the gap, but Senator Spilka has said, "the gap is far to big to close through that route alone". The Ugly.... Towns will not be getting the local aid they thought they were getting.

More bad news comes from a 14 member State House panel put together to look for new sources of revenue. Which may be bad news for those who buy satellite TV, which will be taxed at the new proposed sales tax oc 6.25%. They also suggest allowing cities to double the lodging tax to a max of 8%, raising the meals tax to an additional 2 to 5% and lifting the property tax exemption on telecommunication poles. And the hits keep coming, they propose increasing the inspection fee, now at $29, by $6, to pay for police recruit training and state police training.

The good news, Senate President Murray left for Ireland for a week last night. The bad news is the fiscal and moral crises we are in will have to wait for her to get back. The ugly truth is, we are in deep trouble and the State House is scrambling to come up with answers. And while we all wonder what the Deval is doing, we learn today, Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei (R-Wakefield) said an amendment targeting Patrick’s Seventy-First Fund as part of the Senate’s ethics reforms is gaining support.

“The governor said he was going to change the way business was being done on Beacon Hill, but he’s been masterful at taking advantage of loopholes and circumventing the law to make a mockery of our campaign finance system,” said Tisei.

The fund, named because Patrick is the 71st governor, raises money for the governor and the state Democratic party, allowing contributors to give a maximum $5,500 - 11 times the limit for typical campaign accounts per year.

Much of the money sent to the state party is then used to pay off Patrick’s campaign bills. Tisei’s amendment would limit donations to $3,500 annually.

Tisei plans to file other amendments aimed at highlighting Patrick’s ethical missteps, including:

Banning former state employees who have begun collecting their pensions from being re-hired, such as Transportation Secretary James Aloisi.

Reversing a 2007 law written by Patrick allowing Governor’s Council members to appear as attorneys in front of judges they might have confirmed.

And as we all know, all of the Republican Party amendments have gotten no where and I'll bet, this one goes down in flames. And while no one from either party has suggested this, unless the salaries are cut deeply for our elected officials, none of us will ever buy into more tax increases.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Web Poles, Gardening and Rock and Roll

Just a reminder, we have a new question on Grade Ma State House.

Should the legislators take a cut in salary? if so, how much?

If any of our readers who are unemployed, veterans or seniors citizens who have a patch of land they want tilled up for a garden, I will do that for free. Just e mail me at and we will make arrangements. For a small amount of money invested in seeds and plants you can get a great return on your investment, save a few bucks and eat vegetables out of your garden which are healthier than most stuff you get from the grocers. A very good activity for the kids in the house also.

This Saturday (May 9TH) my neighbors are doing a rummage sale to benefit "The Relay for Life Team", a group that helps cancer survivors. The Victory Band will be dusted off and be playing around 1PM, two sets of old rock&roll music. Donations to the rummage sale can be dropped off at 12 Yorks Road, Jim and Amy Swallow. This will be weather permitting.

The Globe, Metro West Daily and all the rest.

Warren Buffet today in the WSJ said newspapers are in trouble and may not survive. The Globe is trying to keep afloat with employee concessions and if it's true, the Globe is losing 85 million, I can't see how employee concessions would ever make up that difference.

The MWDN has been shrinking in size for a while now and you know things are bad when a company that buys old gold jewelry takes out two full page adds in the front section. Their monopoly on the news in this Town and surrounding towns is infamous and while their attitudes towards anyone who is different than them is still the same, the editors are clearly worried as are the bean counters. I wonder why the Tab is still being printed. I wonder why the papers don't slash advertising rates for businesses to increase revenues. Why not offer free employment adds to companies who are hiring, to compete with Craig's List. I also wonder if employee concessions are being asked of MWDN group and why they continue to run stories about grading beers around town is a mystery? Useless and pointless information should be done away with and honest, factual timely reporting should be the priority.

For all the incomplete and biased reporting done at the papers, for all the politically correct slanted reporting done, and for a host of many other deficiencies the papers have, we need them. Because without them, what little information we do get would go away and that will lead to a more dumping of our communities, even lower voter turnouts in more uncontested elections. Newspaper web sites are great, but someone has to pay or we will loose them also.

I'm not sure at all what will happen with these papers in the coming months when readership falls and the economy idles under intense pressure, but I'm very sure nothing good will come of the papers demise.

The Reformer is back.. Deval wants to take pension perks back from 10 law makers, is that all?

SO most of you have read about the pension perks for 10 former lawmakers that are being questioned by Deval. A law passed in 1950 allowed enhanced early pensions for lawmakers who lost the election or failed to qualify for the ballot. Cahill is involved with this also but is pleading ignorance and will not take questions from the Globe regarding whether Cahill should rescind these outrageous and unwarranted benefits.

The reforms that Deval has asked for include the elimination of past pension abuse. The House as you know passed their watered down version that allows many of these abuses to continue.

Now comes the Senate and Ms. Murray. They have to compromise the differences in the Budget along with the pension and transportation reforms asked for by Deval... the once thought of reformer. But he seems to be immune to his own mantra and still is hiring friends of friends in the Democratic party, at hefty salaries.

The senate is looking at a more realistic figure in the budget shortfall, which is a good thing. As we tread water the State House continues to be flooded with lobbyists calling in favors to those who have been endorsed or taken money. Entitlements like the Quinn Bill funding have been pared down, but are still in there.

This all will be played out in the coming weeks and you can bet, DeLeo, Deval and Murray will be under fire the entire time. Power struggles will ensue, partisan politics will play a bigger than usual role and unless there are serious cuts in the spending this year, 2010 and beyond will look even worse for us.