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So which is it?

From the Boston Globe of August 9: Cahill’s sharply worded statement is the most serious political breach to erupt between Patrick and a major Democratic figure since his inauguration in January…. Political insiders say much of the breach between Patrick and Cahill stems from the decision last April by Cahill’s one time top political consultant, Doug Rubin, to join the governor as his chief of staff. The relationship between Rubin and Cahill has been strained as the two offices grapple over several difficult issues…. Yesterday’s public flare-up was sparked when….. From the Boston Phoenix of August 15: Cahill has long been closer to Patrick than most in state government — a source in the treasurer’s office says they worked with […]

Conventional Wisdom Confusion (plus a MS Word bonus)

Organic is good. Walmart is bad. Right? So what happens when Whole Foods (a huge seller of organic items) forces its suppliers to sell through (higher cost) distributors to Walmart, thereby raising prices and limiting the potential market for organic food. So confused… Oh, and that bonus. We get to learn about the Whole Foods tactic from a poorly redacted legal filing released (and subsequently withdrawn) by the Federal Trade Commission. It seems that some poor soul over there ‘redacted’ the sensitive information by using MS Word to turn the background black to match the color of the type. An enterprising AP reporter changed the background color off, revealing the sensitive data.

Fixing Maintenance in Massachusetts

Author(s): Steve Poftak — Publication date: 2007-08-15 Category: Better Government Abstract: The horrifying spectacle of the Minnesota bridge collapse has prompted a national reevaluation of the condition of our public infrastructure. In Massachusetts, two recent reports have found a multi-billion dollar backlog of deferred maintenance. [wpdm_package id=87]

Before we spent billions on public construction…

…would it be worth it to reexamine the contracting process? Barry LePatner thinks so. (Plus he gets bonus points for citing Pioneer in the article.) He questions why the contracting process insulates the service providers from almost all risk. Then partially answers his question by noting that the structure of the construction industry is almost unchanged from 100 years ago. I don’t pretend to have expertise in the subject, but its a provocative read. And probably a conversation worth having before we embark on any more mega-projects.

CPA Point and Counterpoint

We take a break from our usual self-promotion, to promote another think tank’s work — the Rappaport Institute has authored a study on the Community Preservation Act that has several major findings: 1) the CPA transfers funds from poor urban communities to affluent ones, particular to Middlesex County and the Cape, 2) it does not seem to promote affordable housing very effectively (particularly relative to open space), and 3) there’s not enough data on what the funds are being used for. The authors of the study make their case in this Globe op-ed. And are rebutted in this Globe op-ed. Both sides seem to agree that some reform is needed. They agree on the need for better data. The Rappaport […]