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The 2007 Better Government Competition Winner is…

Now in its 16th year, Pioneer Institute’s annual Better Government Competition showcases innovative ideas and programs to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government. Implementation of previous winning entries has saved Massachusetts citizens over $400 million. This year’s winner describes one community’s unique approach to development permitting, and how their approach could benefit cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth. WINNER Unified Permitting System for the Redevelopment of Ft. Devens Devens Enterprise Commission—To speed the redevelopment of a town-sized army base, DEC is empowered to perform municipal administrative tasks that are typically splintered among many agencies. It carries out these duties in the context of a unique one-stop Unified Permitting System. This expedited approach encourages needed economic development, and similar programs […]

Cold Fusion with Common Household Items

Our Governor has recently made some very public pronouncements on coming reform to education funding. At a meeting of the Mass Association of School Committees and a public rally on the Boston Common, he committed to reforming the process. The folks over at Blue Mass Group have been paying attention: Gov. Patrick’s gonna have to get new shirts, ’cause he’s got something big up his sleeve when it comes to education funding. It’s funny — when I was talking with Sen. Jehlen last week I mentioned that Patrick was making noises about a major shift in funding, presumably requiring more revenue. She shrugged — she had no more idea what he was actually proposing than anyone of us. So it’s […]

How do you say “yippee” in French?

Paris is six hours ahead. The polls will soon open. While things French do not fall within the bandwidth of Pioneer, it would be foolish to ignore the sea change that is coming in France. Paris is still an important intellectual center. The big money focus of Chirac’s tenure brought insider deals for his friends and a politics of convenience. Good riddance. The Left in France, which has never seen the kind of reform that took place in Italy or Britain, is still spinning its wheels in Stalingrad. That soon will change, as the various components of France’s Left coalition (and especially the Socialists) will face an overhaul the likes of which we have not seen in the last half […]

If you can make it there. . .

Tom Menino has been mayor of Boston for roughly 14 years now. During that time he has provided sturdy leadership and, whatever else can be said of him, he has at least wanted the job to which he was elected (more than can be said for a number of our ex-governors and even Mr. Menino’s two predecessors). Nevertheless, I need to express some dissatisfaction. Sturdy just isn’t enough, not after 14 years. If the mayor chooses to maintain the sturdy course, his legacy will be very tepid indeed. He has twice been reelected by margins greater than 40 percentage points and, though there are a number of viable mayoral candidates waiting in the wings, the choice to remain mayor after […]

Today Pioneer, Tomorrow….

Former Pioneer summer intern Brady Cassis starred as a quarterfinalist on College Jeopardy this week (top row, to the right). For the truly dedicated, a YouTube feed of the event is available (see below). Warning — its from a group of Stanford students supporting another contestant, not our dear Brady.