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Good luck to the new commissioner of DCR!

Great column by Taylor Armerding in the Eagle Tribune today (We ‘interfere with natural processes’ in everything we do) on the attitude many within DCR have toward human management of the environment. The hands-off, let it lie naturally philosophy is, as Armerding underscores, a moral position–and one that makes it hard for the Department to do its job. Even when they make the right choices, they can run up against the local talent (ConComs). Armerding: I am living in fear that somebody from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, or perhaps from the Rockport Conservation Commission, will visit me and declare my very existence to be interfering with a natural process. And these people are pretty authoritative on the […]

Not so obvious: who is driving the market for 55+ housing?

Sunday Globe’s real estate section didn’t get it right about age-restricted housing: “Right now, there’s no question 55-plus housing is driven by demographics.” No question — baby-boomers are driving demand for modest housing in traditionally scaled neighborhoods. The question is — Are baby-boomers really demanding houses that they can only re-sell to people 55 years and older, or is something else driving the market for such deed-restricted houses?  According to Pioneer’s survey of local zoning regulations, just over half of the communities in eastern MA have zoning for age-restricted housing (96 of 187 municipalities). Often, the only way to build neighborhoods of traditional density is through the 55+ zoning. While some seniors are looking for neighborhoods where there are no […]

What a difference a few feet make

As a kid, I lived on the border of Massachusetts and used to jump over the border regularly. Fun for us was rock fights, with one side being Rhode Island and the other the Bay Staters. What a difference a few feet made back then, and still do now. Massachusetts may be growing accustomed to Governor Patrick’s biweekly billion dollar proposals, but Rhode Island seems headed in a different direction. Governor Carcieri, facing a deficit quite a bit smaller than our $1.1 billion shortfall, is moving to Cut what probably approaches 10 percent of RI’s state employees, and Bid out as much work as possible to minimize ballooning public salaries, pension and health care liabilities. The Providence Journal article quotes […]

Promises, promises

During the campaign, we heard that good ideas were what mattered — what didn’t was whether it was a Democrat or Republican idea. We did a check-in at around the 100-day mark, when the Harshbarger & Co. Cleaning Crew came up with the brilliant idea of cleaning out all the Republican appointees. As Frank Phillips put it, the first priority for the shadow advisory group (Ron Homer, Scott Harshbarger, pollster Tom Kiley, state Dem Party chair John Walsh, and political consultants/advisers John Marttila, Dennis Kanin, and Michael Goldman) was to crack the whip on the administration’s lagging efforts to replace Republican-appointed government managers with a team loyal to Patrick. Now the work’s been done — out Harry Spence (Social Services), […]

The Gov’s new BOE pick (number three)

There is no need to comment on this.  Ruth’s words do all the talking that is needed:  When educators are devalued, when the business model ALONE is considered a healthy and effective way to run a learning organization, when shame, fear and humiliation are considered healthy and effective motivators for teachers and principals, then the whole child is being left behind. Is that your view of testing?