Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

So far the biggest hit of the holiday season has been a tupperware container full of synthetic wine corks. I hope you and yours have a happy holiday.

Post Christmas Update: Other big hits included: a full box of tissues, an empty box of tissues, a pratice golf ball, the letter "I" from a wooden puzzle of his name, my in-law's cable box, and his godmother's Roomba.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mihos/UMass Pollster Violated Ethics Laws

When I first heard about the UMass-Lowell pollster Louis DiNatale having violated conflict of interest laws by conducting polls for UMass at the same time he was conducting polls on behalf of then gubernatorial candidate Christy Mihos, I immediately thought of this poll, which I noted at the time was a big wet kiss to Mihos. That poll, however, was a Suffolk University poll, not a UMass poll. The UMass poll DiNatale conducted while he was on Mihos' payroll was this one, which was of the candidate vs. candidate variety.

Looking over the poll results, it's hard to conclude that DiNatale let his connection with Mihos bias his results at all, so it's probably just as well that his only punishment for the conflict of interest was publicizing that he'd violated the law. Still, one wonders what conflict of interest laws are for if there's no penalty for breaking them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Mayor of Chicopee Must Really Want Casinos

Now that I've been to a number of Democratic State Conventions, it's not uncommon for me to get all sorts of political mail. Today, when I came home, I found that between my wife and myself, we had gotten not one but four brochures from the Mayor of Chicopee, Michael Bissonnette, with the header: "Resort-Style Casinos: For our Towns. For our towns. For our cities. For a better Massachusetts." Now, I understand that it's a hassle to go through your database and make sure you're only sending one piece of mail to a household -- I did this myself during Susan Falkoff's campaign -- but unless Mayor Bissonnette thinks that the number of mail pieces we get will reflect just how much he wants to be able to have a casino in Chicopee, there's really no reason we should be getting four.

The piece itself describes resort casinos as "a predictable and reliable source of local aid" and details just how much our cities and towns need revenue. It claims that resort-style casinos would "create upwards of $500 million in new annual tax revenues" -- above and beyond the revenue generated through job creation -- and notes that we "can't keep paying for schools, public safety, and roads and bridges in Connecticut." All in all, it makes a good case for increased local aid, but it really avoids the question of whether resort-style casinos are the best way to go about increasing such aid.

If anyone wants a copy, let me know. I have plenty of extras.

[UPDATE]: wbennet over at BMG called the mayor's office to find out who was behind the mailing. The answer was, of course, a lobbying firm: The Dewey Square Group.

Preview of Grove Street Condos

Last week I trudged out in the storm to try to go to a hearing on the condo complex being proposed for the Grove St. Aggregate site by the Hanover Company. The meeting was canceled -- which was the right move given the road conditions -- but thanks to Chris over at the TAB's blog, I was able to find this artist's rendition of what the new property may look like:

You can find the picture on Hanover's website. I think this would be looking at the building from Grove Street, with Coolidge Hill Road going up the side. The complex as pictured is certainly more appealing than the Aggregate site is now -- largely piles of dirt and rock -- but I remain concerned about the trend in Watertown of turning commericial property into residential.