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Common Wealth: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in Mass Politics?

Friday, September 21, 2012

 

Every Friday, GoLocalWorcester takes a look at who's rising and falling in the world of Massachusetts politics.

Hot

City Council: The Council voted 9-2 in favor of adopting Worcester's new Responsible Employer Ordinance, which makes the inclusion of apprenticeships a prerequisite for companies bidding on public contracts. Over 200 community members and both union and non-union workers rallied outside City Hall in the rain and packed the council chambers to see the measure passed and ensure fair wages and health coverage for employees across Worcester.

Elizabeth Warren: The Democratic hopeful came off as calm and collected in her hour-long debate with Republican Senator Scott Brown on Thursday, the first of four between now and Election Day. Warren came out slightly ahead in several polls this week, and her debate performance was unlikely to hurt her numbers.

City Manager Michael O'Brien: After a less than steller report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development detailing the non-compliant and non-approved use of federal funds by the city's community development corporations, the City Manager called for a top-to-bottom review of how Worcester will spend its federal dollars going forward. O'Brien left all options on the table for figuring out how to use the money wisely and to the city's greatest advantage.

Worcester Public Schools: The district saw a slight improvement over last year in its 2012 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System scores, but a longer view shows more promising gains. Since 2008, the city's public school students have increased in English Language Arts proficiency by 8 points to 51 percent and by 5 points in Mathematics to 41 percent during the same period. While there is still more work to do, scores are moving in the right direction.

Attorney David Meier: Governor Deval Patrick put the former Assistant District Attorney in charge of reviewing criminal cases that may have been affected by the recently revealed mishandling of evidence and materials at a state drug lab. A current partner at the firm Todd & Weld in Boston, Meier should be well-suited for the task after having spent more than 20 years as a prosecutor in Middlesex and Suffolk County, including 12 years as the Chief of Homicide in the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.

Not

Mass Job Numbers: The Commonwealth shed 4,800 jobs in August, bumping the state's unemployment rate up to 6.3 percent from last month's 6.1 percent. The gains for July were also revised down to just 300 jobs. Employment seemed to be on the rise earlier this year with the addition of several thousand jobs in April and May, but employment decreased by 2,600 in June, and Thursday's numbers did not bode well for the Bay State.

Scott Brown: Arriving from Washington only shortly before his scheduled debate with Elizabeth Warren, Brown appeared less practiced than his Democratic rival on Thursday night. The Senator spent a lot of time consulting his notes and seemed to focus more on hitting his talking points than responding directly to Warren's comments.

Inactive Voters: According to Worcester City Clerk David Rushford, 38 to 40 percent of the city's voters are still on the inactive list after failing to fill out and return the city census. The Clerk's Office is looking into ways to get at least some of those voters back on the active rolls before November, otherwise residents may be facing long lines on Election Day that might discourage some from casting their ballots.

Mitt Romney: Comments made by the former Massachusetts Governor and current Republican presidential candidate during a private fundraiser seemingly discounting 47 percent of American voters became public this week. While clearly aimed at a narrow audience, Romney's remarks did him no favors as more and more voters tune in the the presidential race.

Worcester Panhandlers: City Councilor Frederick Rushton brought up the ongoing issue of panhandling on the city's streets at this week's City Council meeting. Passing someone on the sidewalk with a sign asking for money to buy marijuana was the last straw, Rushton said it was time for officials to step up efforts to clean up Worcester's streets.
 

 

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