Category Archives: MA Politics

2013 Boston Mayor’s Race Starts to Shape Up – 15 Candidates Remain

The large field of candidates for Boston Mayor has been reduce to only 15.

  • City Councilor Felix Arroyo declared for Mayor in the hopes of becoming the first person of color to win the Mayor’s seat.  Arroyo is the son of another Felix Arroyo who was the first Latino to serve on the Boston City Council. Arroyo announced his candidacy from SEIU Local 615 – the local union representing thousands of janitors. He has a good team: Doug Rubin’s Northwind Associates and Clare Kelly of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
  • John F. Barros recently resigned from the School Committee to run for Mayor.  Born in Roxbury and a current Dorchester resident, Barros has been the key leader of the Dudley Street Initiative. Endorsements include Representative Carlos Henriquez.
  • Charles Clemons, co-founder of TOUCH 106.1 FM, announced his mayoral campaign at his 50th birthday party in Roxbury.  He is a former police officer and a current community activist.
  • Daniel F. Conley, the Suffolk District Attorney, has announced his bid for mayor and is a former city councilor from Hyde Park who now lives in West Roxbury.
  • City Councilor John R. Connolly, 39, a graduate of Harvard College and Boston College Law School, announced his bid for Mayor outside a Boston public school with parents to kick off his campaign. He announced before Menino stepped aside.  Endorsements include Representative Edward Coppinger.
  • City Councilor Rob Consalvo is thought to have the backing of the Menino machine.  He is a Hyde Park resident with 11 years experience on the city council. He also landed big-time consultant Tad Devine.  Endorsements include Senator Anthony Petruccelli, Representative Angelo Scaccia.
  • William J. Dorcena was born and raised in Dorchester and now lives in Hyde Park with his family.  He’s seeking to become the city’s first Haitian-American mayor.
  • John G. C. Laing Jr. is the owner and founder of Laing Enterprises Construction Company.  He is a graduate of Brandeis University and is a resident of Hyde Park.
  • David S. Portnoy runs the Barstool Sports website and is running a non-traditional, web-fueled campaign.
  • Charlotte Golar Richie is a former state representative and aide to Mayor Tom Menino and Governor Deval Patrick who now works at YouthBuild USA.  She is the only woman in the field. She has hired James McGee and Newgrange Consulting. Endorsements include Representative Michael Moran, Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Charlestown activists Edward and Dennis Callahan
  • City Councilor Michael P. Ross has served 14 years on the City Council and two stints as City Council President.  He declared for Mayor via a BlackBerry on Twitter. He lives in Mission Hill.
  • Bill Walczak has spent 40 years of his life as a community leader, creating the Codman Square Health Center as an anchor for neighborhood transformation. He also founded the Codman Academy School, the first school in the nation located inside a health center. Bill opened his campaign asking for voters to suggest their #BostonNewIdeas for a better city. Watch his TED talk here.
  • State Rep. Martin J. Walsh was the first to announce for mayor of Boston – at the Strand Theatre in front of 1,000 supporters.  He became a leader of Laborers Local 223 and became president of the Building Trades Council.  Endorsements include Representatives Elizabeth Malia, Representative Eugene O’Flaherty, the Mass. Nurses Association.
  • David James Wyatt is a Roxbury resident who has previously ran for an at-large council seat and failed.
  • City Councilor Charles C. Yancey filed papers to run for both mayor and for reelection to his council seat.  He is the dean of the City Council – serving 30 years on the Council.

Click here to see the full 2013 Elections Calendar for the Boston Mayor’s race.

The Boston Mayor’s Race 2013

In the wake of the terrible American tragedy at the Boston Marathon, there is a Mayor’s race that quietly continues forward with more than 20 candidates looking to replace longtime-Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

Campaigns must collect the signatures of 3,000 registered voters to ­appear on the ballot for the Sept. 24 primary election. Signatures are due on May 13, 2013.

Here are the currently declared candidates:

  • City Councilor Felix Arroyo declared for Mayor in the hopes of becoming the first person of color to win the Mayor’s seat.  Arroyo is the son of another Felix Arroyo who was the first Latino to serve on the Boston City Council. Arroyo announced his candidacy from SEIU Local 615 – the local union representing thousands of janitors.
  • City Councilor John R. Connolly announced his bid for Mayor outside a Boston public school with parents to kick off his campaign.
  • City Councilor Rob Consalvo has announced his candidacy for Mayor.  He is a Hyde Park resident with 11 years experience on the city council.
  • City Councilor Michael P. Ross declared for Mayor via a BlackBerry and Twitter.
  • City Councilor Charles C. Yancey filed papers to run for both mayor and for reelection to his council seat.
  • State Rep. Martin J. Walsh was the first to announce for mayor of Boston.
  • Daniel F. Conley, the Suffolk District Attorney, has announced his bid for mayor and is a former city councilor from Hyde Park who now lives in West Roxbury.
  • Lee Buckley filed papers to run for both mayor and council.
  • Gareth R. Saunders filed papers to run for both mayor and for council.
  • Charles Clemons, co-founder of TOUCH 106.1 FM, announced his mayoral campaign at his 50th birthday party in Roxbury.
  • John G. C. Laing Jr. pulled his papers to run for mayor and is a business partner of Clemons’ at TOUCH 106.1 FM.
  • Bill Walczak, 58, is a longtime community activist who co-founded the Codman Square Health Center.
  • David James Wyatt has filed to run.
  • Divo Rodrigues Monteiro has filed to run.
  • William J. Dorcena has filed to run.
  • Althea Garrison has filed to run.
  • David S. Portnoy has filed to run and currently operates the Barstool Sports website
  • Christopher Womack has filed to run.
  • Robert Cappucci has filed to run.
  • John F. Barros has filed to run.
  • Rev. Miniard Culpepper has filed to run.
  • Charlotte Golar Richie.
  • Hassan A. Williams
  • Frank John Addivinola Jr

Click here to see the full 2013 Elections Calendar for the Boston Mayor’s race.

Governor Deval Patrick Makes Historic Nomination of Roderick Ireland as Chief Justice of Superme Judicial Court

This just in from the Boston Globe:

Governor Deval Patrick announced this morning that he is nominating veteran associate justice Roderick L. Ireland as chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, an appointment that would make Ireland the first black person ever to lead the venerable body.

“We are making history again,” Patrick said to applause at a State House news conference with Ireland that included some of Ireland’s oldest friends from his native Springfield.

Patrick lauded Ireland for his “wisdom and genuine concern for each and every litigant that comes before his court.”

“My nomination says that anything is possible,” said the 65-year-old Ireland, whose school guidance counselor decades ago suggested he become an auto mechanic. He had already made history as the first black associate justice on the court when he was appointed in 1997.

Chief Justice Margaret Marshall announced her retirement from the state’s highest court earlier this year, saying she wanted to spend more time with her husband, Anthony Lewis. The former New York Times columnist has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Trials Facing Women Litigators in MA & Tips for Success

The MA Women’s Bar Association & Mass. Academy of Trial Attorneys Women’s Caucus have a great panel discussion lined up for June 9, 2010 at 4 p.m. at the Moakley Federal Courthouse: Trials Facing Women Litigators & Tips for Success.


  • Hon. Marianne Bowler, Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court, D. Mass.
  • Martha Coakley, Massachusetts Attorney General
  • Marianne LeBlanc, Sugarman and Sugarman , P.C.
  • Michelle Peirce, Donoghue, Barrett, & Singal, P.C.
  • Sarah Worley, Pre-Trial Solutions, Inc.

Reception immediately to follow At The Daily Catch.  RSVP to or 617.973.6666

The Meaning of Scott Brown’s Victory

With all precincts reporting, Republican Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley and Libertarian Joe Kennedy by a margin of 52% to 47% to 1% respectively.  What does Brown’s victory – in the heart of Blue America – mean?  Here’s a couple of key points.

1. Hard work and entitlement.  As Kos rightly points out, voters want you to earn their vote:

In 2006, while researching Democratic gains in Red Montana, I asked a couple of state legislators how they won their tough races. I was looking for the magic message, but instead got a mundane answer: they knocked on doors. Lots of them. And they put tens of thousands of miles on their pickup trucks.

That’s the strategy we saw in reverse in indigo-Blue Massachusetts — a Republican who downplayed his GOP badge while putting in thousands of miles on his pickup truck. 200,000 of them.

Teddy never took his voters for granted, no matter how big an icon he was in the state. Brown didn’t take them for granted either. He was aggressive, engaged, effective, and … lucky as all shit. It’s not every day you get to go up against a candidate who takes everything for granted, neglects to negatively define you, and heads out for vacation while the race is still on.

There’s several messages to learn from this fiasco, but chief among them — if you decide to run for office, then respect the freakin’ voters and work your ass off for their vote. They are angry, frustrated, and looking for a sign that you get their concerns. Going on vacation doesn’t cut it. Campaigning your heart out gets you a good of the way there.

I couldn’t agree more.  And I was glad to see that Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Menendez also realizes this lesson.  He said, “”I have no interest in sugar coating what happened in Massachusetts. There is a lot of anxiety in the country right now. Americans are understandably impatient…  In the days ahead, we will sort through the lessons of Massachusetts: the need to redouble our efforts on the economy, the need to show that our commitment to real change is as powerful as it was in 2008, and the reality that we cannot take a single thing for granted and cannot afford even a second of complacency.”

2. Marc Ambinder bolsters the point that Brown simply out-worked Coakley:

Coakley had 19 events after the primary through Sunday; Scott Brown had 66.

3. Bloody primaries matter.  After her opponents spent over $6 million in campaign ads, Coakley only won 47% of the vote in the Democratic primary.  That means 53% of Democrats did not vote for her.  In the election yesterday, Rasmussen’s poll shows that 22% of MA Democrats voted for Brown.  Coakley simply had no chance of winning with nearly 1 out of every 4 Democrats voting for the Republican.

4. In recent Rasmussen and Suffolk polls, President Obama had approval ratings of 57% in Massachusetts.  Martha Coakley only received 47% of the vote.  In other words, this election was certainly not a referendum on the Obama presidency for a segment of the electorate.

5. All politics is local.  Attorneys General doth not maketh good statewide candidates in MA or in RI.

6. Without a 60 vote majority, Obama’s judicial nominations may have just hit a stumbling block.  This might spell trouble for the two nominations pending in Rhode Island.

7. Silver lining: Joe Lieberman no longer has a stranglehold on the Democratic Party by being the 60th vote.

8. How important was 60 votes anyway?  Kos notes

“..but really, what did 60 get us last year? It empowered Joe Lieberman, gave cover to Blanche Lincoln, provided excuses to Harry Reid, and gave a free pass to Max Baucus. Now we don’t have 60. And like the Republican Senate of the 2000s, if Democrats want to get anything done, they’ll have to do it via reconciliation. Given last year’s track record in the Senate, it certainly can’t make the Senate any less effective.”

9. Defining Democrats and Change.  Drew Westen makes some salient points about the failure of Obama to stand up and be a proud Democrat and the resulting voter anger.

10. The danger of complacency and incumbency.  Finally, it is clear in this election that Coakley attempted to coast to victory and then, upon realizing that Brown had caught up with her, she immediately went negative.  At no point, did Coakley attempt to stand for something or say that she would fight for something.  She let Scott Brown take the mantle of reform, of change, of being the outsider.  In other words, Coakley ran the typical incumbent candidacy in a year that voters don’t really like incumbents.

First Circuit Overturns MA Law Banning Wine Shipments into MA

The First Circuit Court of Appeals, in Family Winemakers of CA, et. al. v. Jenkins, et. al., affirmed a lower court ruling that found a 2006 Massachusetts law unconstitutional because it limited winemakers from shipping wine directly to Massachusetts customers.

In 2006, the Legislature passed a law stating that winemakers that produce more than 30,000 gallons a year can either sell at retail locations through a Massachusetts wholesaler or apply for a license to ship directly to customers, but not both. All of the 35 or so wineries in Massachusetts fall below the 30,000-gallon limit.  Then Governor Mitt Romney vetoed the bill, but the Legislature overrode his veto.  Thereafter, a lawsuit was brought by Family Wineries of California challenging the constitutionality of the law.

The Appeals Court, in an opinion written by Chief Judge Sandra L. Lynch, stated, in relevant part, the following:

We briefly summarize the basis for the lawsuit, the issues presented, and our resolution of them before turning to the supporting analysis. Section 19F only allows “small” wineries, defined by Massachusetts as those producing 30,000 gallons or less of grape wine a year, to obtain a “small winery shipping license.” This license allows them to sell their wines in Massachusetts in three ways: by shipping directly to consumers, through wholesaler distribution, and through retail distribution. All of Massachusetts’s wineries are “small” wineries. Some out-of-state wineries also meet this definition.

Wines from “small” Massachusetts wineries compete with wines from “large” wineries, which Massachusetts has defined as those producing more than 30,000 gallons of grape wine annually. These “large” wineries must choose between relying upon wholesalers to distribute their wines in-state or applying for a “large winery shipping license” to sell directly to Massachusetts consumers. They cannot, by law, use both methods to sell their wines in Massachusetts, and they cannot sell wines directly to retailers under either option. No “large” wineries are located inside Massachusetts.

Plaintiffs, a group of California winemakers and Massachusetts residents, assert § 19F was designed with the purpose, and has the effect, of advantaging Massachusetts wineries to the detriment of those wineries that produce 98 percent of the country’s wine, in violation of the Commerce Clause. Massachusetts defends § 19F on the basis that its law has neither a discriminatory purpose nor a discriminatory effect. Massachusetts has not argued in its briefs that there are no legitimate alternative methods of regulation to serve § 19F’s asserted purposes. Massachusetts also argues that under the Twenty-first Amendment, state laws are immunized from Commerce Clause scrutiny unless the laws discriminate on their face.

The primary question before us is whether § 19F unconstitutionally discriminates against interstate commerce in light of both the Commerce Clause, art. I, § 8, cl. 3, and § 2 of the Twenty-first Amendment.

It is clear that § 2 of the Twenty-first Amendment does not protect state alcohol laws that explicitly favor in-state over out-of-state interests from invalidation under the Commerce Clause. Granholm v. Heald, 544 U.S. 460, 489 (2005). But § 19F is neutral on its face; it does not, by its terms, allow only Massachusetts wineries to distribute their wines through a combination of direct shipping, wholesaler distribution, and retail sales. Section 19F instead uses a very particular gallonage cap to confer this benefit upon “small” as opposed to “large” wineries.

We hold that § 19F violates the Commerce Clause because the effect of its particular gallonage cap is to change the competitive balance between in-state and out-of-state wineries in a way that benefits Massachusetts’s wineries and significantly burdens out-of-state competitors. Massachusetts has used its 30,000 gallon grape wine cap to expand the distribution options available to “small” wineries, including all Massachusetts wineries, but not to similarly situated “large” wineries, all of which are outside Massachusetts. The advantages afforded to “small” wineries by these expanded distribution options bear little relation to the market challenges caused by the relative sizes of the wineries. Section 19F’s statutory context, legislative history, and other factors also yield the unavoidable conclusion that this discrimination was purposeful. Nor does § 19F serve any legitimate local purpose that cannot be furthered by a non-discriminatory alternative.

We further hold that the Twenty-first Amendment cannot save § 19F from invalidation under the Commerce Clause. Section 2 of the Twenty-first Amendment does not exempt or otherwise immunize facially neutral but discriminatory state alcohol laws like § 19F from scrutiny under the Commerce Clause. We affirm the grant of injunctive relief.

While the Commonwealth could appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, it should be noted that a 2005 Supreme Court ruling struck down New York and Michigan laws that barred out-of-state wine shipments.

Martha Coakley Wins Democratic Nomination for US Senate in Massachusetts


Democratic Primary

  • Martha Coakley – 47%
  • Michael Capuano – 28%
  • Alan Khazei – 13%
  • Stephen Pagliuca – 12%

100% Reporting of Precincts Reporting.

The 2010 Massachusetts US Senate Race

Update: A recent poll from Suffolk University has good news for Coakley and bad news for Schilling.

The 2010 US Senate special election in Massachusetts will take place on January 19, 2010, with a party primary election on December 8, 2009.  To get on the ballot, candidate must submit 10,000 verified signatures by October 20, 2009.

Who’s In

Who’s Out

This post will be updated regularly with news as it comes in.

Learn the Facts on “Tort Reform”

Massachusetts attorney John DiBartolo had a great Op-Ed in the Daily Hampshire Gazette recently:

On August 3 the Gazette published a column by Philip K. Howard, an attorney and chairman of Common Good, in which Mr. Howard advocates for “tort reform” as a way to reduce national health care costs. Howard, the author of Life Without Lawyers, has made a career of blaming various societal ills on our civil litigation system. Healthcare reform is just the latest vehicle he has found to advance his familiar attack on people who have been injured due to medical negligence.

However, tort reform is not a solution to the problem of skyrocketing healthcare costs, it is merely a distraction from a productive discussion about actually solving the problem.

Tort reform advocates do not seem to mind that their propositions are unsupported by facts. Insurance company payouts for medical malpractice claims amount to less than 1 percent of total U.S. healthcare costs. Restrictive tort laws cannot form a basis for healthcare reform when such measures would only affect a fraction of one percent of costs.

Howard’s latest version of tort restriction involves eliminating trials by jury – a right guaranteed us in the 7th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He suggests that the loss of this fundamental right will help eliminate what he calls the practice of “defensive medicine.” This theory suggests that costs of healthcare are high because physicians order many unnecessary tests and procedures out of fear that a failure to do so might later lead to a malpractice claim. This myth of defensive medicine is based upon anecdotal examples from very few physicians. This argument is also patently disrespectful of the overwhelming majority of physicians whose medical decisions are based upon sound judgment and motivated by care for their patients.

Ironically, Howard chose to quote an unnamed Texas physician who purports to order unnecessary testing to protect himself from malpractice claims. In a June 1, 2009 article in The New Yorker, Dr. Atul Gawande investigated the ever-rising costs of healthcare in the United States by comparing medical practices in McAllen, Texas with those at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. McAllen is a small town with healthcare costs that are among the highest in the nation and the Mayo Clinic provides top quality healthcare at some of the lowest costs nationally.

In the article, Dr. Gawande wrote of a physician in Texas who suggested that doctors were practicing defensive medicine. Dr. Gawande then pointed out, that Texas already had the most restrictive of tort reform laws and that medical malpractice awards had been drastically reduced. Another physician in the conversation then admitted that the reason for over utilization of services was not defensive medicine. There have been studies to support this admission.

The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy has reported that Medicare spending in Texas increased by almost 25 percent in the three years following that state’s adoption of restrictive tort laws. In fact, a University of Alabama study, published in the December 2008 issue of Health Sciences Review, reviewed data from 27 states that already have laws restricting torts and found that such laws do not impact the practice of defensive medicine and have not resulted in cost savings for healthcare consumers. Another 2008 study, published in the MIT Quarterly Journal of Economics, addressed the myth of defensive medicine as it related to the practice of obstetrics. After reviewing the vital statistics of millions of births, the authors concluded that tort restriction does not reduce the cost associated with the practice of defensive medicine.

If defensive medicine is not the reason for the high cost healthcare, then what is?

In Dr. Gawande’s article, he looked to the Mayo Clinic as an example of top quality healthcare at a low cost and asked how it was achieved. The Mayo Clinic managed this feat by putting the patient’s needs first. They eliminated financial incentives to order excessive testing and procedures by paying the medical staff salaries rather than having a fee for services model.

Here in Massachusetts, it appears we are independently reaching the same conclusion. On July 16, 2009, a Special Commission on the Health Care Payment System recommended to Governor Patrick that Massachusetts eliminate the fee for services model of paying physicians. In the alternative, physicians would be grouped into networks responsible for patients’ well-being and they would receive salaries – like the physicians at the Mayo Clinic.

Tort restriction harms those who have already been harmed irreparably and does absolutely nothing to reform healthcare or control its related cost.