Entries by Michael Morisy

Stop grading Massachusetts transparency on a curve

As Pioneer’s Steve Poftak has pointed out, the Office for Administration and Finance has been crowing about an “A-” transparency rating given to it by the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, which applauded the state’s Open Checkbook portal. But while Open Checkbook is a great initiative, saying it makes Massachusetts transparent is a bit like saying your […]

Massachusetts Transparency: A long, long waiting game

For over a year now, the Pioneer Institute has been pursuing a series of public records requests on a variety of issues, from school performance to the state’s fated investment into Evergreen Solar. It’s largely been an exercise in frustration, denials misdirection, but I have learned some things about the state of public access in Massachusetts, and given […]

Massachusetts raced other states to win over doomed Evergreen Solar

In my last post, I took a look at how surprisingly credulous state executives were of Evergreen Solar’s business. Rarely, if ever, were concerns raised about whether Evergreen Solar was a good investment for the state to make, nor whether the solar industry in general was fundamentally sound. That green jobs had a bright future was, […]

Why did Evergreen Solar backers miss the Chinese threat?

In reviewing hundreds of pages of documents related to Massachusetts’ incentives for Evergreen Solar, decision makers made clear the risks of not investing: Passing on the proposal would lead to, officials stated, a loss of potential manufacturing jobs to other states or other countries while giving up a competitive position in an emerging manufacturing market […]

Focus group, dog and pony show, or both? Early Results from Health Connector FOIA

If government agencies had nothing to hide, perhaps they would follow public records laws. I’ve written before about how non-responsive state agencies can be to public record requests, and in particular to requests dealing with Evergreen Solar, and it now appears somebody has been listening. Eight days after my blog post on the delayed Evergreen Solar request, […]

Could Solyndra have happened in Massachusetts?

Solyndra could serve as a textbook case for the dangers of government trying to turn investor, mixing ideology, economics and the appearance of favoritism. The Department of Energy’s $535 million loan guarantee also seems to echo Massachusetts’ own failed investment in luring Evergreen Solar to Devens. As The Wall Street Journal reported, Solyndra, which manufactured solar panels […]

Transparency, To a Point

Just 99 days after filing the first in a series of requests, I finally received some records from the Massachusetts’ Human Resources Division yesterday. I had planned to blog again on the issue after the counter hit 100 days, so the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is saved by the bell. And what a bargain: For 6 […]

Governor Deval Patrick’s Missing Chapter on Transparency

Governor Deval Patrick’s new autobiography, “A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life”, is an inspiring story, detailing his rise from Chicago impoverishment to his current job as governor of the Commonwealth. While frank about his personal heroes and inspirations, the book skims over his political battles and the decisions he faced in his […]