Patrick consolidates UMass control
Friday, September 9, 2011
Gov. Deval Patrick consolidated his control over the 19-member University of Massachusetts board of trustees by reappointing its controversial chairman and naming six others who are political supporters and Democratic activists. The move was consistent with second-term efforts by the governor to move friends, allies, and supporters into vacant positions, a policy that was first identified last December in a CommonWealth Back Story.
Patrick reappointed James Karam to a new five-year term, despite the fact that Attorney General Martha Coakley recently found that Karam led a search for a new university president that violated state open meeting laws. He also named Jeffrey Mullan, a Milton neighbor who just stepped down as transportation secretary; Democratic National Committee member Margaret Xifaras; Democratic political consultant Larry Carpman; Boston attorney Richard Campbell; Alyce Lee, former chief of staff to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and the wife of a prominent developer, and Zoila Gomez, a Lawrence attorney and former aide to former US Rep. (and current UMass Lowell chancellor) Martin Meehan.
The new appointments fill one empty seat on the board and replace five other trustees who completed their five-year terms. The five departing trustees were Stephen Tocco, Lawrence F. Boyle, Jennifer Braceras, Richard Lawton, and Kenneth MacAfee.
Most news outlets essentially reprinted the governor’s press release, but a handful dug deeper. The Boston Globe’s Frank Phillips reports that Karam is part of a powerful political clan that wields influence in southeastern Massachusetts and has strongly supported Patrick financially. The Daily Hampshire Gazette quotes Max Page, a professor of architecture and history at UMass Amherst, as saying Karam’s reappointment is a “black eye” for the university. “This is the worst kind of signal to send, that a law-breaker can be reappointed to the board of trustees,” Page said.
Karam took over as chairman of the UMass board earlier this year following the resignation of Boston investment banker Robert Manning, who quit when Patrick blocked the appointment of Meehan as UMass president. At the time, members of the UMass board said Manning felt Patrick was interfering in oversight of the university.
Patrick, interviewed by WSHM-TV in Springfield, dismissed concerns about his appointments. “Karam was on the board before I came to office and he has served the university very, very well,” he said. “Critics should look at the depth and experience from every single one of these new trustees and they’ll see that the university will be very, very well served.”
Writing on The New Republic
site, Pete Hamill recalls
the daze he was in on the streets of Lower Manhattan that awful morning. Judith Miller
, the former New York Times
reporter with the rather controversial reporting history in the period after 9/11, writing for the City Journal
New York City’s current level of anti-terrorism preparedness.
Officials in Washington
and New York
scramble to find out more about a possible al-Qaeda car bomb plot
to coincide with the 10th anniversary. Meanwhile, people in Afghanistan who have never heard of 9/11
want to know why the US has occupied their country.
In the sixth part of its eight-part series, the Globe considers how the art world
has reckoned with 9/11.
In a New York Times
video, Tom Brokaw ponders
he wrote in the days following 9/11.Pittsfield middle school students learn about the terrorist attack.
Long-time gambling opponent Sue Tucker lambasts the casino gambling bill
in an Eagle-Tribune
op-ed. The former state senator says the bill fleeces Massachusetts residents at every turn, even if they never set foot in a casino.Sal DiMasi pleads
with a federal judge for leniency on the eve of his sentencing. He receives eight years
. Brian McGrory sees
little reason to grant that to the “not quite sorry” former House speaker. Peter Gelzinis says
US District Court Chief Justice Mark Wolf was likely to be tough.The Berkshire Eagle
argues that too many ballot questions
may end up before voters next year.
State Sen. Stanley Rosenberg discloses
that he will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment for squamous cell skin cancer
, but said his doctor told him his case is “highly curable.”
The substance of the dispute is a bit fuzzy in this Eagle-Tribune story
, but Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua
and the city’s police union are fighting again, this time over the mayor’s attempt to rehire laid-off officers.
The Weymouth School Committee
took the unusual step of voting to distance itself from comments
made by one member questioning the truthfulness of the committee’s chairman at a previous meeting.Weymouth
are among the communities that beat out hundreds nationwide for federal grants to fight youth substance abuse
NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON President Obama lays out an ambitious jobs plan
in his speech to Congress. Here’s a transcript
of the president’s jobs speech, via WBUR. The Washington Post’s
account is here.
The speech found at least one business ally as Brian Gilmore
of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts
the address may instill some confidence in the private sector to loosen up the purse strings
and make some investments. The American Spectator
says it was just more socialist claptrap
while the National Review
’s panel of conservative experts viewed it as an extended stump speech
rather than actual governing. The New York Times reports on
the continuing show of partisanship.The US Post Office
can survive if it gets tech-savvy.
. .fast.The New York Times reports
on a significant shift by members of Congress
in approaching Medicare
and Social Security
: Not whether to reform, but how.David Weigel
of Slate cuts through the rhetoric
to tell us what members of the super committee were really saying at their first meeting.
ELECTION 2012 CommonWealth
’s Paul McMorrow calls Mitt Romney out
on his recent claim that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are the ones most responsible for the economic meltdown. Romney “apparently doesn’t know Angelo Mozilo
, the disgraced former CEO of Countrywide Financial,” McMorrow writes in the Globe
gets this question
is having its own mini-job renaissance as local grocer Trucchi’s
announced it will hire 150 workers
when it opens a supermarket in the town, only a half-mile from where Compass Medical
is set to partially open a new $10 million center on Monday that will employ 100 people.
Property insurance rates are likely to rise in the wake of Hurricane Irene, with Liberty Mutual Insurance of Boston and other companies facing rising claims, the Boston Business Journal reports.
The latest MCAS results
are a mixed bag
, with 10th grade scores up while 3rd grade reading scores, considered a crucial benchmark for students’ long-term success
The Ohio mother who went to jail for falsifying residency
in order to sending her kids to a better school in a safer neighborhood (yes, you read that correctly) has her felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.
WBUR’s Radio Boston interviews Enid Kassner
, which ranked Massachusetts 30th in the nation in terms of affordability and quality of long term care for the elderly.
TRANSPORTATION Transportation Secretary Rich Davey
has appointed Freetown Selectman Jean Fox the new project manager for the South Coast Rail project
even though Fox admits she is no expert in transportation or infrastructure
A utility worker doing maintenance work near Yuma, Arizona, triggers a massive blackout
affecting more than 4 milion people across southern California and Mexico, the Los Angeles Times reports
FBI agents conducted a surprise search of Solyndra
, a California-based solar company that collapsed last week despite receiving a $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee, the Washington Post reports
where the GOP presidential candidates stand on the Keystone XL oil pipeline
A 34-year-old Acton man, who built a business as “Coach Brad
” teaching fitness to young children, admits to raping and molesting a 5-year-old girl, the Lowell Sun reports
MEDIA Renee Loth
, former editorial page editor for the Globe
and a longtime political reporter at the paper, has been named the new editor of ArchitectureBoston
, the magazine published by the Boston Society of Architects
A new book about Jackie Kennedy
reveals that JFK
and his brother Robert
discussed ways to keep Lyndon Johnson from ever getting the Democratic nomination for president.