Thursday, April 30, 2009

This is why the Reps passed the sales tax increase

From the MWDN:

This year, the state of Massachusetts is facing one of the most challenging budget years in history. The Legislature faces unprecedented and tremendously difficult choices in crafting its Fiscal Year 2010 budget. Steeply declining revenues resulting from the national recession have created a statewide deficit of nearly $2 billion, which will force reductions to nearly every state agency and program, and will lead to the elimination of many state programs. These cuts will affect every single family in the commonwealth, regardless of where they live.

The House of Representatives recently released its budget which is approximately $1.8 billion less than last year. This budget, if enacted as is, will slash local aid to cities and towns by nearly 30 percent, decimate health and human services, and allow commuters to be faced with steep toll hikes, fare increases, and service cuts which would have a devastating impact on the economy of the commonwealth. In addition, fees would increase for college students at our state and community colleges and the University of Massachusetts system, and those colleges and universities would be unable to provide the education that our students deserve. In addition, the local aid cuts would clearly affect the education that would be provided to our public school children in MetroWest, as well as such basic services as fire and police protection and local trash pickup.

Despite some reports to the contrary, the Massachusetts House of Representatives has already voted to reform our transportation system (which will include the elimination of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority), has already voted to reform our state pension system, and has already voted to tighten our ethics laws. Real reform is on the way. We expect these reform bills to be on the governor's desk for approval before the budget and the accompanying sales tax increase will be on his desk for approval. Every member of the MetroWest delegation was proud to vote for these necessary and long overdue changes in the way we conduct business in state government. However, these reforms are simply not enough to prevent the drastic cuts in the state budget with which we are currently faced.

Recently, we were forced to make the difficult decision whether or not to vote in favor of increasing the state sales tax by 1.25 cents. We are acutely aware and sensitive to the fact that families in the commonwealth are already struggling to make ends meet. Our families are no exception, and we face the same difficult circumstances that your families face. We expect that we will be taking an unpaid furlough in the next few weeks and will be contributing more to pay for our families' health insurance. Rightfully, no one wants to pay more and no one in the Legislature was happy about taking this vote at this time.

While we acknowledge that raising the sales tax is a dismal option among many dismal options, we cannot sit idly by while our cities and towns are struggling, our transportation infrastructure is crumbling, and while the Commonwealth's most vulnerable citizens are not receiving even the most basic care. With the $900 million generated annually by this modest increase, we will be able to devote $200 million to restore local aid, $300 million to stop Mass Pike toll increases and commuter rail fare hikes and service reductions, and $400 million for health and human services so that the disabled, mentally ill, and the elderly will receive fundamental supports. With this tax increase, the towns in MetroWest will receive millions of dollars in additional municipal aid, which will allow them to avert cuts in public education and public safety. After we voted for the sales tax increase, we were able to responsibly vote for these spending measures. We note that every member of the Massachusetts House, even those who voted against the sales tax increase, voted in favor of the spending restorations, because they knew that these restorations were necessary to prevent damage being done to our constituents. It was the only responsible vote to take.

Massachusetts' sales tax, even with the proposed increase, will still be comparable, and in many cases lower, than all of our neighboring states with the exception of New Hampshire: Connecticut has a 6 percent sales tax, Vermont has 6.05 percent, Rhode Island has 7 percent and New York has 8.25 percent. In fact, Massachusetts' sales tax burden with this increase will place us squarely in the middle of all 50 states. Unlike many other states, Massachusetts' sales tax includes exemptions on necessities such as food, clothing, gasoline, and home heating oil. These exemptions will remain in place despite the increase.

We struggled with this decision because we appreciate the effect that any tax increase would have on Massachusetts families. We carefully weighed those effects by considering the damage that would be done to our commonwealth by the cuts to human services, public education and public safety that will occur without the sales tax increase. This vote effectively kills consideration of any of the additional tax increase proposals such as the 19-cent gas tax increase, alcohol tax, and/or candy tax. We note that even with this increase in the sales tax, many significant and severe cuts will remain. In the end, our priority was to preserve our communities and protect the most vulnerable citizens of the commonwealth.

Submitted by MetroWest delegation members: Rep. Tom Conroy (D-Wayland), Rep. Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston), Rep. John Fernandes (D-Milford), Rep. Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough), Rep. David Linsky (D-Natick), Rep. Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley), Rep. Tom Sannicandro (D-Ashland), Rep. Pam Richardson (D-Framingham), Rep. Ruth Balser (D-Newton), Rep. Kate Hogan (D-Stow), Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton) and Rep. Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Here's what Pam DeLeo have to say...

Measure Will Provide $205 Million for Cities and Towns

BOSTON-State Representatives Pam Richardson and Tom Sannicandro joined their colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing an amendment to restore $205 million in local aid to cities and towns.

The local aid will enable cities and towns to retain teachers, police officers and fire fighters, mitigate the need for property tax increases, and provide basic city services.

The vote will provide $30,081,591 for Framingham.

The House was able to find the funds for local aid by passing a 1.25% increase in the sales tax. The vote keeps the exemption on key household items, such as food, clothing and home heating oil, which have never been taxed. It also eliminates the need for burdensome taxes on gas, alcohol and sugar.

"In Framingham quality services, including public education and public safety, are top priorities," said Representative Richardson. "This funding will allow the Selectmen and School Committee to preserve these vital services which strengthen and enhance our community."

"I am proud to help the people of our cities and towns in their hour of need," said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. "Our communities are the foundation of our state. Helping to shield people in most in need is a vital role of government even during these difficult budgetary times."

"Facing a state budget deficit of $3.6 billion, we have been forced to reduce and eliminate many worthwhile programs. While still receiving a substantial cut in funding, cities
and towns will be able to maintain core services because of today's actions," said House Ways and Means Chairman Charles A. Murphy.

The restoration of aid comes on the heels of an unprecedented season of reform in the legislature. In less than three months, the House has passed ethics, transportation and pension reform. Rep. Richardson and her colleagues have done the following:


In March, the House tackled the first comprehensive ethics reform legislation in 15 years. That bill gives strong powers of enforcement to the Secretary of State and Ethics Commission, and increases the penalties for those who violate our lobbying laws. It also provides for stricter requirements on lobbyists themselves and targets anyone who gives a gift to influence or attempts to influence a public official.

This bill also includes serious campaign finance reforms. It increases the frequency candidates public office have to file disclosure reports to twice in a non-election year and require sub-vendor reporting. These campaign finance reform provisions go farther than other competing ethics reform plans.


In April, the House passed an historic bill that will eliminate the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. This bill changes the old "23 and out" pension policy for MBTA workers and places them under the auspices of the GIC for health insurance purposes. These changes will lead to real savings.

This plan was offered without the $ .19 gas tax increase proposed by the administration, which was offered in the absence of meaningful reforms.


The House addressed those pension outrages that particularly anger the public. This bill removes the so-called "one-day, one year" rule that allows elected officials to serve one day in a calendar year and gain a full year of creditable service as well as the so-called "king for a day" rule that allows for increased benefits for some employees who go out on accidental disability retirement to receive increased benefits if they did so while filling in for a supervisor.

This misleading and inaccurate news letter, as all the past news letters from her indicate that she has not the ethical standards needed to represent us and is a puppet of the Speaker. Major cuts, pension and transportation reforms are still needed and should be done before any new tax revenues are adopted and why she can't get that, after everything that has gone on in the past few months, is very disturbing.

While some in Town are licking their chops over this announcement, they fail to see the broader financial picture for 2010 and beyond. Tax revenues will continue to drop as the economy struggles to stay strong. It will be wonderful for those who have taken unfair advantage of the system for years, like cops, teachers and state workers, but those of us who aren't in the game, will suffer, paying for the special treatment others who have blessed themselves with the entitlement philosophy.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mihos and the Swine Flue

Christy Mihos has announced he is running for Governor, under the lonely Republican banner. It's a shame he didn't stick to the Independent role, but he's an opportunist and see's his opening. I did support him years ago when he ran as an Independent, but he alone seems to be the most vocal opponent to the Cape Wind project and that is not good for our State.

The heightened alert over what could be a huge disaster in this country, the swine flue, is something we should all be concerned over. I myself would consider the quarantine of anyone who has been in Mexico in the last 30 days. And anyone who has been in contact with any of those people, should be checked intermediately for symptoms. Spring breakers will be suspect and I would predict more colleges and schools will be closed for a short period of time.

Lets see how the Board of Health here in Framingham deals with this, as we know first hand the level of under educated board members will have to make decisions based on medical facts and not biased mis information. Thankfully there is one MD on board and hopefully she will use her expertise to evaluate any corrective action taken by the Board.

Beacon Hill Roll Call News

The House approved an amendment requiring any proposed changes in the state pension system to include an impact statement.

The House rejected an amendment requiring that a pension for State workers hired after Jan 1, 2010 be based on the average salary of all the years the person worked. Currently it's based on the workers highest three years.
This is why we will continue to see outrageous state worker retirements and abuse.

The House rejected an amendment to ban early pensions for fired workers.
How they sleep at night is beyond me.

The Senate approved an amendment that prohibits salaries under 5,000 from counting toward pensions.This bans the years someone made under 5K towards their retirement.

During the week of April 20 -24th, the House met for 28 minutes and the Senate met for 20 minutes.

Any wonder why we get frustrated over the lack pension reform?

For decades, lawyer Paul L. McCann has been known among developers and pundits as "Mr. Inside" at the Boston Redevelopment Authority. During most of his nearly 50 years at the city's planning agency, his title was executive assistant to the director, but he has also served several stints as acting director.
McCann retired amid much fanfare in 2005, with Mayor Thomas M. Menino touting his service to the city and calling him "a true friend." He has since been collecting a pension of roughly $97,000 per year.

But a Globe review has found he has never stopped working for the city. Or receiving pay from the BRA.

Last year he earned $162,000 - on top of his pension - for working about 25 hours per week under contract as a consultant at the planning agency.

State retirement officials say McCann, whose combined annual income in public pay and pension benefits tops a quarter million dollars, is violating state pension law, which places strict limits on public sector retirees' income and work schedules.

The law prohibits retirees from working at a government agency - as an employee, independent contractor, or consultant - for more than 960 hours per year and from collecting more in total income than the salary for the position they held at retirement. McCann's salary was $137,000 the year before he retired, payroll records show.

I have to think there are hunderds and hundreds of these people gaming the system.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Article 25, Wind Turbine By-law


Below is the full version, 8 pages, of Article 25, for the upcoming Town Meeting. The bottom line to this latest assault on our rights to capture what wind happens on our property. Some on their side believe it doesn't go far enough in the prohibition of all wind turbines while some state they are not pleased with the proposal, but, like so many other times we hear, it's the best we can come up with and we need a By-Law anyway.

This country, meaning us, are at the dawn of renewable energy. It's benefits to the environment and our self reliance are beyond comprehension. The Leader of the free world, our President Obama, clearly and unmistakably supports wind energy and hundreds of millions of dollars are and will be pumped into this newest of opportunities for the average American. A 30% tax credit and buy back program will make this technology more easily affordable and will have shorter pay back times. Green energy appliances on properties will increase the value of your home and business will see real savings in the costs of doing business.

This By-Law proposal denies us, just above average Americans who want to be more self sufficient and globally aware, the right to have any wind turbines on our property... at any height. A few businesses and public buildings will be able to have them (wind turbines) on their roofs and a few in the business zones, but to have a small unit on your home, you would have to have an acre and half for the set back requirement.

There are huge difference in wind energy devices, just like cars, bikes, boats, trailers, etc etc. No difference in the wind energy device market either. The units you read about and see around Mass are 250 feet... plus in the air and their swept area is larger than my home. But there are, coming soon, wind energy devices that are manufactured and tested under strict guidelines that will sit 30 to 50' in the air and even on your homes. This By-Law will take away any right to the wind on our property plain and simple. It's not fair and flies in the face of what this country and almost every country around the world is doing today, promoting green energy via wind turbines.

If anyone agrees with this premise, please, contact you precinct reps. They are listed on the Town Web Site. Tell them, it's UN American, we should have the right to the wind on our property. We have flag poles with flags on them don't we?

The Quinn Bill, will it ever be stopped?

From the Globe:

Massachusetts police unions have won enough early support in the House to restore $50 million to the budget and protect generous pay bonuses for police officers who hold college degrees, securing a potential victory even as groups representing the homeless and disadvantaged struggle for funding.

Police already have at least 81 representatives signed up to back their cause, a majority of the 160-member House, assuring a win during next week's budget debate unless House leaders try to reverse the tide.

The so-called Quinn Bill, passed in 1970, awards thousands of dollars in extra money to police officers who have earned college degrees, and it has long been a source of complaints about unfair and expensive union benefits.

The rapid success by the powerful police unions, scored just a few days after the House Ways and Means Committee unveiled the $50 million cut Wednesday, stands in contrast to the uphill battle facing social-service advocates who are lobbying lawmakers to restore funding to fight homelessness, provide home care to the elderly, and feed the needy.

If the House gives back this funding it will clearly show how beholding legislators are to law enforcement. This is just another example of government gone wrong.

Friday, April 17, 2009

State or private sector employees? which one makes more?

According to one study, public employees earned benefits worth an average of $13.38 an hour in December 2008, while private-sector workers got benefits worth $7.98 an hour. Overall, total compensation for state and local workers was $39.25 an hour, $11.90 more than in the private sector.

Democrats will argue this calls for more mandates from the government to increase the minimum wage. What it actually means is that government workers, who are paid by the taxpayers, are vastly overpaid, and with their benefits and their pensions, are risking the financial health of this country.

The pole,

In the most recent 30 day web pole, of a year long web pole, 600 voters were asked “how do you grade the Massachusetts State House”? The majority, 542 or 90% felt they had failing grades, 5% thought they passed and 4% were not sure. In another question voters were asked, “Should the Massachusetts Legislature do everything in its power to cut the State Budget to avoid tax and toll increases”? 91% voted yes while 8% indicated no.

Not so surprising I guess

Thursday, April 16, 2009

DeLeo and company go before Grand Jury

As we first wrote about this months ago, the beginning stages of fact finding are happening and it's my humble opinion that there will be some revelations about DiMasi and DeLeo's connections in trying to influence a contract with the State. Look for this to take out a Rep or two and perhaps seal the fate of DiMasi and DeLeo at the same time.

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo's chief of staff and a state representative with close ties to former speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi testified this week before a federal grand jury investigating the awarding of two multimillion-dollar state contracts to the software company Cognos, several officials confirmed yesterday.

James Eisenberg, who has served as DeLeo's chief of staff since the speaker chaired the House Ways and Means Committee, appeared before the grand jury on Tuesday after being subpoenaed by federal authorities. According to DeLeo spokesman Seth Gitell, Eisenberg was told by his lawyers that he is not a target of the probe and was subpoenaed primarily to produce records from the Ways and Means Committee.

Representative Lida Harkins, the assistant majority leader under DiMasi, also appeared before the grand jury, according to officials who did not want to be identified because the grand jury's proceedings are confidential.

Harkins, who represents Needham, declined to comment yesterday. Her name was mentioned in a state education department e-mail, obtained by the Globe last fall, which indicated she had contacted the department about a Cognos contract on DiMasi's behalf .

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another double dipping... and everyone knows

For state employees in the Massachusetts National Guard, there is a significant pay disparity between those who serve in-state and those shipped to the battle theaters of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The ones who stay home are paid far more.

This unusual system has meant that State Police troopers, correctional officers, and a dispatcher have collected tens of thousands of dollars in what amounts to double pay for serving with the Guard in places like Cape Cod, Milford, and Hingham. For their in-state efforts, while on leave from their state jobs, they earn their full state salary, as well as their Guard salary.

The article in the Globe has interviews with law enforcement officials, guards, etc.. State employee's who have been receiving their salary while receiving military pay, if stationed in Mass. While not wanting to seem unpatriotic and not a huge fan of anti drug warriors and the prison complex, I hope the logical in this comes forward.

No one should get two pay checks for doing one job, with tax payer money here in Mass. It's unfair and was not the intent of the original law that was to insure that guardsmen would not suffer financially if deployed. While Some have collected tens of thousands of dollars over years, they defend it, with, "it's the law" don't blame me for taking that money.

Deval is waiting for Major General Joseph Carter of the Mass National Guard to weigh in on this. The Major General has been looking at this for nine months now and will give Deval his recommendation when the report is finished.

What was it? hurry up and wait..

Ok.. it's here, the new budget proposals from DeLeo

House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) unveiled a stark $27.44 billion budget riddled with deep cuts today, eliminating budgetary sacred cows such as the Quinn bill, and slashing local aid by 25 percent.

“I think today will put it all into perspective,” DeLeo said about the bare-bones budget. “This is a severe budget based on severe times.”

House Ways and Means Chair Charles Murphy (D-Burlington) said he made $1.8 billion in cuts and used about $1.5 billion in federal stimulus funding to close a $3.6 billion budget deficit. The rest of the gap was filled with additional federal money and by withholding payments to the rainy day fund.

Ok budget fans, this is what the State House is presenting. You can see the entire package at

They will dip into the rainy day fund and use some stimulus money to keep education, snow removal and legal fees for public defenders in. It's my semi educated guess, they will enact all the increases in taxes, gas, tolls, candy, alcohol, etc, etc, by July 4th, just to cover the short fall this year. Which would mean, from now on.

It just sleighs me, DeLeo would not have cut the salaries of the State House reps now.

Hang on.. it's going to be a very bumpy ride for Framingham and every other Town and City who has spent to much in the past.

The State House.. Out of touch.. or out of mind?

As the House and Senate leadership make plans to increase sales tax, gas tax, toll increases, candy, soda and alcohol tax increases, amid the worse economic downfall in this States history, the ruling elected elite, who have faced no challengers for years now, are doing fund raising events. House members were rushing to wrap up debate on pension reform so they would be able to kiss the ring of DeLeo.

As they formulate their spending plans, the lawmakers have also been raising campaign money, a Beacon Hill tradition at budget season. Murphy hosted a fund-raiser last week at the Liberty Hotel ballroom, complete with meatball sliders and lamb chops. DeLeo held a fund-raiser last night at Tecce's, and House lawmakers were rushing to wrap up debate on pension reform to trek over to the North End restaurant.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We pay to defend Cahill ... Coakleys office declines

Massachusetts taxpayers will pay up to $300,000 for outside lawyers to defend a federal civil suit against state Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill because the state attorney general's office declined to handle the case, citing potential conflicts with two state investigations, according to officials involved in the case.
The state Lottery Commission, which is led by Cahill, this month authorized hiring the two law firms, Proskauer Rose LLP and Mintz Levin, to fight a $20 million suit brought by a Rhode Island-based gaming firm, Bingo Innovative Software.
Bingo Innovative Software is alleging that Cahill and Lottery director Mark J. Cavanagh conspired in a "pay-to-play" scheme in which a national competitor, Scientific Games, was awarded lottery contracts as a result of its fund-raising activities for Cahill.

The suit poses potentially serious political problems for Cahill as he begins to lay the groundwork to run for governor next year. His legal team last week filed motions to dismiss the suit. But if it does proceed, the discovery process alone would include witnesses testifying in depositions under oath and the production of internal documents that could prove embarrassing or politically damaging.

Scott Harsebargers law firm is getting 500.00 an hour to defend Cahill. I personally think this story has legs and will eventuality lead to Cahill withdrawing from the Gov/s race in 2010.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pam's news.... and what's left out

BOSTON-State Representative Pam Richardson joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing a sweeping transportation reform package that would eliminate the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, bring down insurance and pension costs and help ensure a better future.

"This package focuses on efficiencies, cost savings and oversight," said Representative Pam Richardson (D-Framingham). "We have taken the right steps toward a stronger, more efficient transportation system."

Of great significance to Metrowest turnpike commuters was the inclusion of an amendment supported by the Metrowest Caucus which requires that toll revenues may only be used for the benefit of the roads, tunnels, and bridges on which they were collected. This provision insures that the grossly inequitable diversion of tolls collected on the Pike to pay the debt service on the Central Artery will cease and an alternative revenue stream will be identified before the July 1 scheduled toll increase.

Including this language in the reform a bill has laid the groundwork necessary to stop the toll increase scheduled for July 1. Additionally, passage of this bill is the first step in addressing the Commonwealth's long neglected transportation infrastructure needs.

"The House passed measure is historic in nature, creating structural reforms that will result in system-wide efficiencies and improved transportation service delivery," said Rep. Joseph Wagner (D-Chicopee), the co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation.
A few highlights of the transportation reform package include:

A More Efficient Structure

·The bill establishes the independent Massachusetts Transportation and Infrastructure Authority.

·The bill eliminates the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.

·The Authority will be governed by a 5-member board chaired by the Governor.

·A Secretary will be appointed by the Governor and be responsible to both the Governor and the board.

·Under the Authority, there will be a Department of Transportation responsible for the following divisions: Aeronautics, Massachusetts Highways, Mass Transit, Registry of Motor Vehicles and Constituent and Municipal Services.

·The Authority will receive an annual appropriation from the Legislature.

·The Authority will maintain a separate fund, consisting of dedicated revenue streams, including turnpike, tunnel and Tobin Bridge tolls to satisfy bond obligations.

·The existing "23 and out" pension rule for MBTA employees will be eliminated.

·New MBTA employees will now have to serve at least 25 years and attain the age of 55 to qualify for retirement benefits from the MBTA.

·All current MBTA employees and new hires will be required to join the state's Group Insurance Commission.

·MBTA employees will have to decide between pension and disability if out on disability.

·Current turnpike authority employees will become members of the GIC health insurance group.

·Current Tobin Bridge employees will become members of the GIC health insurance group.

·The new Authority becomes responsible for all administrative functions creating cost-savings and efficiencies by eliminating individual, legal, accounting, management, accounting and other back office administrative activities.

·The bill creates an Office of Performance Management to help the Authority and its constituent divisions meet benchmarks and run in a businesslike fashion.

·It also creates an Office of Taxpayer Advocacy, to function as a dedicated inspector general or ombudsman for the state system of transportation; it will be empowered to investigate reports and complaints from the general public.

·Health Transportation Compact - the Secretary will work with the Secretary of Health and Human Services to attain positive health goals as it oversees and maintains the state transportation system.

Here's what Pam didn't say in her newsletter. The above changes favors Boston residents, does not go far enough to reform outrageous salary, pension and health care benefits and it remains to be seen if billions will ever be seen. A ploy to raise the gas tax is what will come of this. The Senate has it's own version of this and will be interesting to see what comes from both houses.

No Toll Hikes without legislative approval: rejected by the majority of the House. Why not hold our Reps to account for toll hikes?

No New Tolls without Legislative approval: The majority rejected this amendment to have the reps vote for any new tolls on roads currently without tolls. Bad for those of us who want to see tolls on the roads North and South of the city.

Continue toll discount for some Boston and Chelsea residents: Bad for those who live west of the city once again. The residents of East Boston, South Boston, the North End, Chelsea and Charlestown will be the only beneficiaries of this amendment which won by 122 to 32. 17 Dems voted along with the republicans in favor of this. Pam was not one of them.

And if you didn't read or hear about this, remember a few months ago, the Pike was going to lay off 100 people, well we find out now, that there is a 18 month notice agreement in their union contract that will not allow the State to lay these people off, for 18 months. We are being held hostage by these unbelievable union contracts.

Pam's response to the outcry from the voters on unlawful voting for illegal immigrants

My position on this is: I will not support allowing illegal immigrants from voting or having drivers licenses with false social security numbers. I would also submit, all the illegal immigrants who have been convicted of non violent felonies, who sit in our jails and prisons, be immediately deported back to their country of origin.


Clearly there are inherent challenges and issues related to having a large population of non-citizens living in our community.

For example, when a crime is committed, there is a reluctance to contact the police for help. When an employer exploits a non-citizen worker, the entire community suffers. When someone drives without fully understanding the rules of the road, everyone is at risk.

As an elected leader in Framingham I feel that the best way to take on these problems is to engage all individuals residing in our community and encourage input from everyone.

The statements I made at the Framingham Democratic Town Committee Meeting were a result of my complete frustration with the Federal Government and their inability to change Immigration Laws.

My statements were simply suggestions of possible ways to address the many issues we face. They were based upon ways in which other cities and towns across Massachusetts and Nationwide have responded to ineffective Immigration Policies.

I am 100% dedicated to serving the citizens of the 6th Middlesex District who I am privileged to represent.

I am proud of all of the work I have done to support economic development and job creation, support services for senior citizens and strengthening our public school system. These issues have been and will continue to be my highest priorities.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The case for Hemp in Mass

There are approximately 230, 000 acres of idle tillable farm land, according to the latest USDA 2007 senses. If half of that land or, 100,000 acres were cultivated with industrial hemp and processed in State, the net benefits would be nothing short of amazing. Farmer income would increase and agricultural land would be back in production. The plant needs no pesticides and is sustainable, making it ideal for reducing overall pesticide use and conserving precious drinking water and avoiding run off pollutants in our rivers and streams. The crops yields for 2006 according to Health Canada were impressive and clearly show the 5 separate but equally profitable by parts of the plant after harvesting that are used now for the manufacturing of everything from food, to motor oil, paper, clothing, health care products, building materials, heating and co generation fuels and literally hundreds of products that would be completely recyclable.

When Massachusetts farmers are growing 100,000 acres of industrial hemp, they would produce approximately, 33,000 tons of grain, which after pressing would generate 2,000,000 gallons of oil, which would leave 24,000 tons of meal. That same 100,000 acres would produce 266,000 tons of home heating pellets and would yield 63,000 tons of fiber which is used to make paper, cardboard, building materials, textiles and bioplastics..
In food and health care production alone, the most nutritious and healthiest food supplies can be made from hemp, including hemp milk that can be produced at lower costs and has less environmental impact than dairy milk and can be stored without refrigeration and is healthier than milk from cows. We are now importing 657 million dollars worth of Hemp food and health care products from Canada to fill the desire among Americans for food and health care products made from hemp
The estimated value of the harvested oil is today far and away the most environmental useful bi product of the plant. Not only is this oil used in the food supply but can be used directly as diesel motor fuel. The environmental impact in growing hemp for oil is a fraction of any damage to the earth done by mining for oil in our seas and our lands. Hemp oil is also a feedstock for bio diesel and high grade fuel research and production, like jet fuel and ethanol.
In terms of home heating, using hemp pellets, made from the stalk, would help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and massive home heating price increases. Yields from 100,000 acres in terms of pellets would be enough to heat 53,000 homes in Massachusetts, cost less than wood pellets and be better for the environment, in terms of pollution. The same stalk material can be used as a feedstock for cellulosic bio fuels production, an additive to concrete, livestock bedding and hundreds more uses.

Perhaps the most sought after bi product of the plant is it’s fibers. Both long and short fibers are being used in all types of business across the globe today. Literally every wood product made today can be made of hemp fiber. Every clothing item in our closets can be made of hemp. All of our carpets, all of our cardboard and all of our paper needs can be made with hemp fiber, including all wood type building materials, with none of the toxins used today in manufacturing of wood pulp for the same purpose.

While Health Canada suggest the overall value to a farmer would be around $800.00 an acre. I submit the average would be closer to $1000.00 and if organically grown, the price would be around $1400.00 or more. The costs associated with growing hemp would be much lower than any other multi purpose biomass plant grown which would profit the farmers greatly. The cultivation of 100,000 acres of Hemp in Massachusetts would create 2000 jobs in farming, textiles, food processing, biodiesel and biofuels processing. It would also help reduce our carbon foot print considerably by heating homes with hemp pellets which would displace using 1.8 million barrels of crude oil to heat with, and be valued at an estimated 90 to 123 million dollars a year as a cash crop. And if 45 States grew 100,000 acres of hemp, for heating alone, the country will have not purchased 73.8 million barrels of crude oil and saved 3.7 billion dollars. Farming 100,000 acres of hemp in 45 States could represent a 17% reduction in President Obama’s plan to reduce oil imports by 20% . This country can ill afford the historically and proven uses of hemp and should let American farmers help grow our way back to energy and food self reliance.

Industrial Hemp Bill goes to Congress

Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009 (Introduced in House)

HR 1866 IH


1st Session

H. R. 1866
To amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marihuana, and for other purposes.


April 2, 2009
Mr. PAUL (for himself, Ms. BALDWIN, Mr. CLAY, Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. HINCHEY, Mr. MCCLINTOCK, Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California, Mr. ROHRABACHER, Mr. STARK, and Ms. WOOLSEY) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


To amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marihuana, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009'.


Paragraph (16) of section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802(16)) is amended--

(1) by striking `(16)' at the beginning and inserting `(16)(A)'; and

(2) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

`(B) The term `marihuana' does not include industrial hemp. As used in the preceding sentence, the term `industrial hemp' means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration that does not exceed 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.'.


Section 201 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 811) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

`(i) Industrial Hemp Determination To Be Made by States- In any criminal action, civil action, or administrative proceeding, a State regulating the growing and processing of industrial hemp under State law shall have exclusive authority to determine whether any such plant meets the concentration limitation set forth in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (16) of section 102 and such determination shall be conclusive and binding.'.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Richardson: Towns should have option to let illegal immigrants vote locally

The town's state representative said yesterday that cities and towns should have the option to grant illegal immigrants voting rights in local elections to draw them closer into their communities.

During the same Democratic party hearing, Richardson also supported issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants and qualifying them for the in-state tuition rate that Massachusetts residents are charged to attend public higher education. The state charges a higher rate for students who come from outside Massachusetts.

I have to think that with the financial meltdown in this Town and State, such incredibly outlandish proposals will not make it to the platform. But if they do make it and are adopted by the Dem's this summer, the outcome in the 2010 election will be dramatically different than in 2008. Are any of you in favor of her proposals?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Framingham Votes on Tuesday

For those of you who live in Framingham, tomorrow we go to the polls to elect a few Town Meeting members, two school board seats and everyone else is running unopposed. Turn out is expected to be low, but it's our only way to participate in the process. Keep in mind, the Town Meeting members are those who will approve this years budget, legal fees paid to defend the Town against SMOC and a wind turbine by law, among other things. I've long thought that Framingham has grown out of Town Meeting and would do better with a Mayor.

Pam News

House of Representatives Unanimously Passes Legislation to Preserve the Division of Insurance Board of Appeals

Action Would Codify Independent Board into Massachusetts Statute

BOSTON - The House of Representatives approved legislation that will maintain an independent appeals board for consumers to appeal fault for auto accidents. The legislation, approved 157 - 0, comes on the heels of the Division of Insurance reversing their previous decision to do away with the appeals board.

"This is an example of all branches of state government working together in bipartisan fashion to promote good government practices," Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said. "This legislation will provide all consumers involved in automobile insurance disputes the right to an independent appeals process."

"Consumers must be given the opportunity to question their insurance companies when they feel they have not been treated fairly," said Representative Pam Richardson. "This bill will go a long way toward ensuring that motorists always have a recourse when it comes to auto insurance fairness."

The bill would create via statute, a motor vehicle surcharge Board of Appeals. This would ensure that the current Board of Appeals remained an option for any driver to appeal what they believe was a wrongful determination of a surchargeable incident due to an at-fault accident.

I laugh at Pam's line that claims "consumers must be given the opportunity to question their insurance companies when they feel they have not been treated fairly".. what about the voters Pam?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

In case we din't know... we are billions in the whole here in Mass

Mr. Speaker has come out from behind the curtain with some sobering news. All this while the City of Malden is looking at the pensions of people who never even really worked. The Senate is now taking up pension reform, to include those who collect a pension AND collect a pay check from the Sate... I'll bet some of you know of a hired gun named Simmon, who is Devals stimulus fund overseer here in Mass... oh boy, another hot potato for Deval.

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo painted a dire picture of the budget for the next fiscal year yesterday, warning a breakfast meeting of business leaders that cuts will be in the billions and that federal stimulus money will not be enough to solve many of the problems.

"I want to warn you that the cuts that are required to balance this budget . . . will cut to the very core of government's purpose and mission," DeLeo said at the meeting of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

"It is almost impossible to overstate how dire the situation is for us," he added.

DeLeo also said the state should avoid tapping the state's reserve fund and should "not become captive to one-time revenue" by relying too heavily on federal subsidies approved by Congress as part of its economic stimulus package for states.

"This money, while a blessing, also creates a giant gap in local and state budgets when it inevitably dries up," he said. "Massachusetts cannot become captive to onetime revenue."

After the address, DeLeo told reporters that House lawmakers are reluctant to go along with Governor Deval Patrick's proposal to raise hotel and meals taxes. That money would account for at least $155 million.

Rember John Buonomo? he resigned in September

This guy is the poster child for eliminating the system that got him his job. And to make matters worse, voters in Framingham actually voted for him after he was indicted last year.... I wonder how many other elected officials take money out of their war chests for personal use.

John Buonomo, the former Middlesex Register of Probate who resigned last year after allegedly stealing office funds, faces new charges of funneling more than $100,000 of his campaign finance money for personal use.
John Buonomo resigned after State Police footage led to his arrest in the theft of thousands of dollars from copy machines.
Buonomo, 57, a Somerville politician who has been living in Newton, was indicted by a Middlesex Superior Court jury yesterday on charges of larceny, personal use of campaign funds, and willfully misleading investigators. He is slated to be arraigned at a later date.
The owner of a Somerville printing business, Marc Piro, was also indicted for allegedly scheming with Buonomo to set up fake transactions that allowed Buonomo to withdraw funds from his campaign account. Piro, 46, of Wilmington and the owner of Guy T. Piro & Sons, , is slated to be arraigned at a later date.

And now the Feds step in on DiMasi

For those of you who have followed thsi DiMasi case from last year may remember when I bet a blogger that DiMasi would be indicted in 90 days... well, I was off by a day or two, but the facts are going to come out, although in secret now, a few weeks from now, we should start to see some revelations that could take out DeLeo and some of his people and perhaps, a few select Reps and Senators. This story has legs and look for it to ignite another fire storm of public distrust.

A longtime aide and political operative who served as chief counsel in Salvatore F. DiMasi's State House office is cooperating under a grant of immunity with federal authorities investigating the former House speaker and several friends and associates, according to two people briefed on the development.
Related coverage

The immunity agreement means that the aide, lawyer Daniel Toscano, must answer questions, without fear of prosecution, before a grand jury about what he knew of alleged efforts by Richard Vitale, lobbyist Richard McDonough, and others to advance their business interests with the help of the speaker's office.

Toscano's cooperation was confirmed by one current and one former state official; both insisted on anonymity because federal grand jury proceedings are secret.