Friday, August 23, 2013

Patrick's Legacy and the Next Governor

I had to pull this down and repost because for some reason Blogger yanked it off the blog and put it back in draft form with half of the post unedited. So I had to go back and spend an hour I didn't have redoing this post.

I originally had a draft in the making and endless note pages regarding the tax increase that he proposed, but I threw them all away.  It would have been a waste of valuable time since I don't think there is going to be much of a legacy (other than the debt interest the guy loaded us up with regarding to borrowing for biotech). I'm just glad he is leaving.

"Patrick enters his final stretch, his path unclear" by Michael Levenson |  Globe Staff, August 01, 2013

Wednesday gave Deval Patrick two reasons to celebrate: He turned 57 and became the longest-serving governor of Massachusetts since Michael S. Dukakis.

Despite those milestones, there may be treacherous territory ahead. The governor is entering his final 17 months in office, when critics will label him a lame duck, candidates running to replace him will poke holes in his record, and legislators may ignore him.

How he chooses to navigate that time could help determine the shape of his legacy. Dukakis hit one of the toughest periods in his career in his final year in office. He was bruised after his resounding defeat in the 1988 presidential race and forced to raise taxes to cope with a budget crisis.

Patrick’s circumstances are different, but he has yet to clearly lay out how he plans to fill his remaining time in office.

He said he will summon his Cabinet secretaries and senior aides to his sprawling retreat in the Berkshires Friday to brainstorm a plan for the rest of his tenure. While he said that the strategy has yet to be crafted, he argued that laws for which he has won passage will allow him to work toward his long-standing goals, including building roads and bridges and spurring high-tech business.

“The main focus is to use the tools we have,” Patrick said. “The conversation about what, if any, other legislation to seek is something the Cabinet and I will be talking about.”

Patrick starts down the final stretch without a signature proposal that he wants to drive through the Legislature. The centerpiece of his second-term agenda — a $1.9 billion tax increase to pay for education and transportation programs — was roundly rejected by lawmakers last month in favor of a $500 million tax hike focused solely on transportation.

His governorship mirrors Obama's presidency.

Jim Doyle, who was governor of Wisconsin from 2003 to 2011, said the last year in office can be difficult. The most talented aides and Cabinet members begin to leave for jobs in the private sector. And the candidates running for governor, even those from the governor’s own party, tend to criticize the incumbent’s record....

At the same time, the last months in office can be liberating, he said. Doyle, a Democrat, said he used his final year in Wisconsin to pass a health care overhaul bill, gay rights legislation, and a sex-education overhaul.

Like I said, it's a $tatu$ quo paper except when it comes to pu$hing the agenda. That's what politicians and civic leaders are for.

“I wasn’t running for reelection; I wasn’t raising money; the focus was really on getting some things done,” he said. “We really had the sense we’ve got to get this done in a short period of time.”

Jack Corrigan, a former top aide to Dukakis, said that even if Patrick’s legislative agenda dwindles, he will retain the power to appoint allies to boards and commissions and use the bully pulpit of his office.

“If you look at the appointment power and just the power the executive branch has to do things, the governor is a factor until he walks out,” Corrigan said. “The question is, does he take full advantage of everything that’s available?”

Patrick’s executive authority may become more important if his relations with legislative leaders deteriorate, making it harder for him to shepherd bills into law.

Also see: Inaugurating Obama's Dictatorship 

A year-and-a-half in now.

There are already signs that his campaign for a major tax increase frayed relations with House leaders who rejected that plan and passed their version over Patrick’s veto.

Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, a fellow Democrat, said earlier this week that he and others were offended when Patrick declared in a February speech that legislators must show “courage” by approving the $1.9 billion tax package.

“I didn’t appreciate that comment,” DeLeo said on WBZ-TV. “I have to say I don’t consider myself as lacking courage since I’ve been speaker. I’d have to say I heard from a lot of folks who just did not appreciate that type of comment. I didn’t think it was necessary at the time, and I still don’t think that we started off on the right tone.”

Paul Pezzella, who was Dukakis’s deputy legislative director and is now a State House lobbyist, agreed that Patrick’s rhetoric hurt his standing on Beacon Hill....

“Deval Patrick has become a national person. He’s a leader of the Democratic Party, nationally,” said John Walsh, the chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party and recently hired to lead Patrick's political operation, including a federal political action committee that pays for Patrick to travel to other states giving speeches about his vision for the party. 

He can spend his last 18 months doing that. I'm fine with it.

So whose next? 

"Dan Wolf puts run for governor on hold amid ethics dispute" by Jim O’Sullivan |  Globe Staff, August 23, 2013

Democratic state Senator Dan Wolf suspended his gubernatorial campaign Thursday and threatened to quit his seat over an ethics controversy stemming from his ownership stake in Cape Air, rattling the state’s business and political circles with questions about the height of the barriers between entrepreneurs and public office.

Wolf said the State Ethics Commission had misjudged “both the spirit and the letter of the law” in its ruling that the airline’s dealings with Logan International Airport should prevent him from holding state office. Under the Massachusetts conflict-of-interest law, state employees are prohibited from having financial interests in state contracts.

“Until this matter is resolved, I am suspending my efforts to become the next governor of Massachusetts,” Wolf told supporters in an e-mail.

After he said he was going to stay in.

The panel’s interpretation of the law and Wolf’s decision provoked concern among politicians from both parties and business leaders, worried about a precedent that could deter people who succeed in business from seeking public office.

“We should be encouraging entrepreneurs and individuals with private-sector experience and success to come into the public sector,” said Paul Guzzi, president of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. “It would be good for government and good for the business community.”

I think bu$ine$$ already has too much power in this country, but we are arguing about a dead horse Bu$ine$$ runs this f***er now.


The panel ruled earlier this month that Cape Air’s agreements with Massport over access to Logan Airport amount to no-bid contracts, which are off-limits to state employees. Wolf was given three options: divest his 23 percent stake in Cape Air, cancel all contracts between the airline and Massport, or resign his seat and quit the campaign.

Later, the Ethics Commission said it could not block Wolf’s candidacy, but said that, if elected, he could not assume office unless he abided by the other conditions.

The state conflict-of-interest law allows a “particularly narrow” exemption for lawmakers and their business interests, Ethics Commission executive director Karen L. Nober said earlier this month. To qualify, the legislator and immediate family must hold less than a 10 percent ownership interest, and the related contracts must be bid competitively.

The ruling frustrated lawmakers and former officials. “Here’s an accomplished individual who built from scratch a company here in the Commonwealth that’s successful worldwide,’’ said Timothy P. Murray, the former lieutenant governor who now heads the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We want people like that, whether they be Democrat or Republican, because the public wins when people like that run for office and talk about their experiences. I think there are a lot of people who are concerned about what this means, and that it could have a chilling effect on people from both parties and independents.”

Related: Murray Makes His Move 

He's the best expert the Globe could find to offer analysis?

In his Thursday morning letter, Wolf said that canceling the contracts with Massport would effectively destroy his company and sacrifice 1,000 jobs. Selling his stake, Wolf said, “would fundamentally undermine the company” by saddling its employees “with serious debt” through Cape Air’s employee stock ownership plan and cause “significant cash flow challenges.”


The commission’s ruling also gave pause to a government watchdog group. Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, said the group would like to see the commission reassess its position. “There really appears to be very little opportunity for an actual conflict for the senator, or even the appearance of conflict, given the highly regulated nature of the business,” Wilmot said.

After Wolf criticized the ruling earlier this month, the normally circumspect Ethics Commission issued an unusual public statement saying it had first informed Wolf in November 2010, shortly after he was first elected, that he should vet any Cape Air business dealings with the state. Such contracts, the panel said then, were not permissible for officeholders.

Wolf never followed up on the advice, the commission said. In April, Wolf met with commission legal staff and “was advised at that time that if his airline had contracts with Massport, he would have prohibited financial interests in state contracts,” the commission said.

The nonpartisan commission is responsible for administration of the state’s conflict-of-interest and financial disclosure laws. Much of its day-to-day work involves offering advisory opinions to state officials concerned about running afoul of state good-government laws.

The commission is governed by a five-member board, whose members are appointed by the governor, secretary of state, and attorney general to staggered, five-year terms. As executive director, Nober reports to the commissioners.

Wolf’s decision removes from the Democratic primary field a small-business owner with a progressive voting record who had curried some support within Democratic grass roots.

And who benefits?

While Wolf was considered a long-shot candidate, the race remains wide open, and rapidly changing. On Wednesday, former Obama administration homeland security official Juliette Kayyem announced she would run as a Democrat, and former senator Scott Brown, a Republican, said he would not run.

Related: Scott Brown won’t run for governor

Brown is running for president, and I will get to Kayyem below.

Other Democrats vying for the nomination are Treasurer Steven Grossman, former Obama administration health care official Donald M. Berwick, and biotechnology executive Joseph Avellone.


"Grossman is former president of the family-owned Grossman Marketing Group and past chairman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee."

I can guarantee I'm not voting for Grossman. 

Also see: State Treasurer could face massive tax bill

He was deceived and misled! What a switch!

No Republican has announced, but party activists expect 2010 gubernatorial nominee Charles D. Baker to run again....

That will be my guy.... again. This state NEEDS a Republican governor.


"Coakley weighs run for governor; AG’s popularity rises after 2010 loss for Senate" by Frank Phillips and Jim O’Sullivan |  Globe Staff, June 28, 2013

Attorney General Martha Coakley, whose political standing has rebounded after her embarrassing defeat in the 2010 US Senate race against Scott Brown, is giving serious consideration to running for governor, Democratic Party operatives said on Thursday....

RelatedMassachusetts' Most Popular Politician

That's crazy!

Who Bought Brown's Election? 

So that's why Coakley was clobbered.

A number of women’s activist groups, including EMILY’s List, are encouraged by polls that show Coakley to be one of the most popular political figures in the state and have asked her during the last few months to consider a run for governor, according to those familiar with the conversations.

Coakley’s entrance into the race would dramatically reshape the Democratic campaign.

The two-term attorney general would be the highest profile candidate among the Democrats. Despite being blamed for running a lackluster campaign against Brown that exasperated the national party and creating residual hard feelings in some Democratic quarters, Coakley may have rehabilitated her image, recent polls have showed.

Perhaps most significantly, she would be the only woman in a developing field that could include a half-dozen male candidates. EMILY’s List, whose mission is to elect women to public office, could provide Coakley significant financial resources through its national fund-raising network. The organization has not endorsed anyone in the race.

And as we all know from the Globe, you women are a monolithic voting bloc.

Local female activists — most prominently political fund-raiser and activist Barbara Lee — have also been in close touch with Coakley, encouraging her to run.

Adrienne Kimmell, executive director of the Barbara Lee Political Office, said Lee has been in touch with Coakley but has not heard of any decision. “I don’t think Barbara knows what she plans to do,’’ Kimmell said. “I don’t think anyone knows what she plans do.’’

Coakley may announce her plans before a July 10 fund-raiser she is holding in Boston to celebrate her 60th birthday.

In addition, Lee and EMILY’s List have contacted other potential female candidates including Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and homeland security expert Juliette Kayyem, who is on a book leave from her job as a Globe columnist.


"Juliette N. Kayyem, a Democrat and a former assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama. Prior to being appointed to the Obama administration, Kayyem, who is Lebanese-American, served under Patrick as undersecretary for homeland security. Kayyem was born in Los Angeles, is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has been a lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She resigned Tuesday as a columnist for the Globe’s editorial page and recently left her position as a contributor to CNN, where she had been a frequent television presence discussing homeland security issues. “I am not a career politician. I don’t believe in luck; I believe in preparedness,” Kayyem said. “I will make sure that Massachusetts is ready for whatever comes our way.”

I've read her stuff and was never very much impressed. At least the Lebanese ancestry puts her ahead of Grossman.

Coakley’s candidacy would overshadow that of state Treasurer Steven Grossman, the only other statewide officeholder in the race. Grossman, a former state and national party chairman, has strong ties to Massachusetts Democratic Party activists who dominate primary races. He has thus far been considered the most formidable figure in a nascent field.

Then by all means, run!

But Grossman’s Democratic connections did not prevent the Democratic Governors Association from encouraging Coakley to run. Officials from the association, another Washington-based organization designed to elect Democrats, met with Coakley recently to make its pitch, according to a person familiar with the meeting.

The state’s gubernatorial campaign, which would have already picked up steam in most normal years, has taken a back seat to the US Senate special election that ended this week with Edward J. Markey’s victory. Now the political focus turns to 2014.

Related: Markey a New Man in Senate

With Brown refusing to publicly rule out a possible run for governor, Massachusetts voters could see a rematch between the two whose 2010 race captured the nation's interest.

He did.

Charles D. Baker, the 2010 GOP nominee, has also given clear signals to party insiders that he will make another run next year. He lost to Governor Deval Patrick, 48 to 42 percent, in a three-way fight....

As for the Democrats, the field continues to grow. Two candidates with very low name recognition — physicians Donald Berwick of Newton and Joseph C. Avellone of Wellesley — have already announced their candidacies.

US Representative Stephen F. Lynch, who lost the special Senate primary to Markey by 14 percentage points, is mulling a gubernatorial bid, people close to him said.

Look who just went to the top of my Democrats list!

Another Massachusetts congressman, Michael E. Capuano of Somerville, is also giving serious consideration to running and will make a decision later in the summer, according to an adviser. If Capuano does not run, Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone is set to join the race, Democratic Party sources have confirmed.

State Senator Dan Wolf, a Harwich Democrat and chief executive and co-founder of Cape Air, the Barnstable-based airline, has told associates that he intends to run, with plans to announce shortly....

Lone Wolf.


"State panel fires back at gubernatorial candidate" by Frank Phillips |  Globe Staff, August 08, 2013

The State Ethics Commission, in an unusual public rebuke of a Beacon Hill lawmaker, is disputing state Senator Dan Wolf’s assertions that the agency had not previously raised a red flag about the potential ethics violations posed by the two contracts that his firm, Cape Air, has with the Massachusetts Port Authority.

The potential conflict came to light Wednesday, after Wolf, a Democrat who recently launched a bid for governor, made public an ethics ruling saying that he would have to exit the race and public office if he did not either divest from Cape Air or pull the airline out of the airport.

In a statement Thursday, the commission said that as far back as 2010, when Wolf was elected to the Senate, he was advised that he should check to see if his airline had any contracts with a state agency, because that could be a conflict of interest. MassPort, which operates Logan International Airport, is a quasi-public agency whose board is controlled by the governor.

“Senator Wolf did not follow up on that advice, nor did he inform the commission of Cape Air’s contracts with Massport,’’ the agency claimed.

Wolf released a statement denying that an ethical conflict exists over the contracts, but shied away from directly answering the commission’s assertion that he has been misleading in his public statements that the agency had not warned him of potential violations....



RelatedThere’s not a Dan Wolf ethics exemption

Dan Wolf’s ownership of Cape Air shouldn’t bar run for office

Also see:

“Our civic souls are at stake, nothing less. Yet, there are those who would have us shun the moral test. I have heard them, I have met them, I have fought them. We must stop them.”

Yeah, never mind that election is more than sixteen months away, and it doesn't matter which party wins because the $ame old intere$t$ will continue to be served. 

Time to move to Florida:

"Fla. governor’s bid to lure business raises ire in Mass." by Michael Levenson |  Globe Staff, August 09, 2013

Floridians usually try to sell their state by bragging about the white-sand beaches, emerald golf courses, and crystal-blue waters.

But now the state’s Republican governor is trying a new pitch, telling Massachusetts business owners to move to Florida and escape the taxes here.

States do this all the time with tax loot subsidies and other 'incentives."

The governor, Rick Scott, mailed letters this week to 100 business leaders in Massachusetts urging them to “book a one-way ticket to Florida,” now that the Commonwealth has approved higher taxes on gasoline and computer services.

“Florida’s economic formula is working – while Florida’s unemployment rate has seen the second largest drop in the country, Massachusetts’ June unemployment rate increased to the highest since November 2011,” Scott writes in the letter, a copy of which is posted on his website. “While Florida ranks fifth in the nation for our business tax climate, Massachusetts is stuck at number 22, according to the Tax Foundation. It is bound to get worse in Massachusetts, as just last week we saw them raise taxes on gasoline and even computer services.”

Scott’s letter prompted a tart response from Governor Deval Patrick’s economic development secretary, Gregory Bialecki, who argued that Massachusetts has recovered faster and stronger from the recession than the rest of the country.... 

That's a conventional myth, but don't let that spoil the narrative for you.

Michael J. Widmer — president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed budget watchdog group — predicted other states will follow Florida in trying to lure Massachusetts businesses.

“We’re turning our competitive advantage into a competitive disadvantage and, even if this is largely theater, it’s a preview of coming attractions,” said Widmer, whose group supports the ballot question to repeal the tax. “What this does is put a black mark on Massachusetts nationally.”

Representative Bradley H. Jones Jr., the GOP leader of the Massachusetts House, agreed.

“This just plays right into the hand of other states,” he said. “We’ve injected unpredictability into our corporate tax code and put a tax on innovation, one of the key segments of our economy.”

But opposition to Scott’s move came from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, whose president and chief executive, Paul Guzzi, argued that Massachusetts boasts a highly skilled workforce, world-class universities, high-tech, and financial services firms, as well as historic sites and natural beauty....

That have to pay higher taxes to service debt interest payments to banks and shell out tax loot to well-connected and going concern corporations. 


Patrick's legacy?