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April 04, 2007

Comments

Its

Buy an add its in the bag guess Jack will get it back in premiums?

'Progressive'??

Funny about the vote taken by the 'Progressives' - I wonder what their rationale is? And one of the biggest catch-phrases of the PDSers is 'transparency'! What a joke. I hope some of the intelligent people following these 'leaders' like sheep begin to wake up before it's too late for the city of Somerville!

BoggerX

Hope is the pillar that holds up the world
-Unknown

You have to stand tall in principle on what your vision of the town and community is.
-Carl Schlaudt

SomervilleReader

Hmm. . I vastly would prefer to be able to view how my representative voted on each issue online. It would be interesting for the paper to interview each of these elected officials. I'd certainly like to hear the rationale for that vote.

Ward5Born

With all these rumors about who is running against who, have any of these people actually announced? It sounds like Joe Lynch is in, anyone else?

Grog29

Thanks to the Somerville News we will be able to get access to the voting records of our state Reps. and Senators. It's amazing that these egotists thought they could get away with
preventing access by making it nearly impossible to get the information. All they needed to do is set aside a little space on the legislature's website to show the tally. Instead they use the excuse:
"Uhhh it's always been this way, you have to take time off of your job and get into Boston in the middle of the workday and fill out a form and we'll get back to yah!...Yuk Yuk Yuk!" Unbelievable! I wrote to my Rep. and Sen. and told them off! Provost, Sciortino, and Toomey
will REGRET that vote.

Fool on the Hill

1. One of the "serious secret perks with this aldermanic job" if free training, paid for out of the Mayor's own pocket. The subject of this week's training session was captured by a SN cartoon: Ventriloquism for Dummies.

2. Wording of the newstalk item about our legislators' votes on the disclosure measure is a little unclear. Are you saying that they all voted against it? This would be striking, since the Progressive Democrats of Somerville formed over requiring legilators to disclose their votes.

Could we get more details? How about a full story? I would like to hear each one explain such hypocritical behavior.

Its

A man who breaks his given word is just "A MAN OF DISHONOR" or better still a Dishonorable Cretin he should just be found somewhere.

not my vote

Wow,so Sciortino, Provost and Toomey voted not to publish there votes on the internet? That's the progressives for you, do what we say not what we want to do. I wonder if this vote will be in the literature they will hand to us voters next year, you know the one with all there accomplishments? And is this the same group that is supporting that Martinez?

why they voted no

If you are talking about the vote in February, I found this as a reasoning why the legislators voted "no":

"[Legislators] rejected a new rule taking away some of the preferential treatment that legislators receive at committee hearings. The new rule would designate a 30-minute period during which legislators are allowed to testify on legislation. Legislators who want to testify before or after that period would be treated by the committee chair the same way that other people who testify are treated. Supporters of the new rule said that currently legislators are often allowed to testify shortly after they arrive at a hearing - ahead of citizens who have taken the day off from work to testify and have been waiting for hours. Opponents of the new rule said that committee chairs should have the power to adapt to individual circumstances and not have their hands tied. They noted that legislators are often going from hearing to hearing to testify on several bills and cannot wait for hours at each hearing. (A "Yes" vote is for the new rule designating a 30-minute period during which legislators are allowed to testify on legislation. A "No" vote is against the new rule)."

This was a rule change to post COMMITTEE roll call votes online, not all votes.

While I agree that all votes should be posted online, this vote is more about procedure and how legislators are treated at hearings, not about making government more transparent.

Good Try....

Good try....but it's not going to fly!

Dominic Santos

This is the scoop on the roll call vote on committee votes being posted online, specifically the Legislature's web site. (Kudos to the News for reporting on this vote.)

Rep. Jones (R) proposed to amend the proposed Joint Rules of the General Court (fyi: the General Court is the legislature) as follows:

"Such roll call votes shall be posted on the Legislative Web Page by the Clerks of the two branches."

This amendment would have required "that committee votes cast by legislators on bills heard by their committees be posted on the Legislature's website." (Statehouse News Service). The following excerpt from Statehouse News Service explains the positions of both sides:

Current rules require committee votes to be kept in the offices of the committee and be available for public inspection upon reasonable notice and during regular office hours. Supporters of the new rule said this would simply give people quick and easy access to the committee votes of their legislators. They noted that under current rules, a person has to drive to Boston during regular business hours in order to obtain this information. Opponents of the new rule said that the current system has worked well for years and should not be changed."

A Yes vote would have required committee votes to be posted on-line, a No vote would preserve the status quo as explained above.

Rep. Denise Provost: No
Rep. Carl Sciortino: No
Rep. Timothy Toomey: No

20 members of the House voted, "Yes," and 127 members of the House voted, "No."

I sent an e-mail to Rep. Provost, Rep. Sciortino, and Rep. Toomey asking them to explain thier votes on this rules change some time ago. Rep. Provost and Rep. Sciortino responded, Rep. Toomey did not. I have always had a good relationship with Rep. Sciortino and Rep. Provost, so their prompt reply was no surprise and I thank them for their service.

Rep. Sciortino replied as follows:

As one of my constituents, I'm sure Mr. Santos you can attest to my willingness to share my views on bills, and reasons for my votes both in committee and on the House floor. This was a misleading and redundant provision presented by and only supported by the Republican caucus. Bills are reported out of committees with the committee vote clearly indicated, and any dissenting members listed.

To be sure, Rep. Sciortino is always available for his constituents. I see his point that posting the committee votes on the web would be extra work and duplicative of what already occurs, namely, the recording of committee votes on bill and reports produced by each committee. With that said, I think in our current age, access to information is important and our legislators should be making information more accessible rather than maintaining the status quo even where duplication may occur.

Rep. Provost replied as follows:


Thanks for contacting me about the Rules vote. It was a fascinating process, my first since I came to the House. As you probably know, the Democratic leadership proposes the Rules; the minority party, in turn, filed a great many amendments.
The amendment that would have posted committee votes on the House website did seem to promote the kind of transparency which I like to see in government, as I hope my own record attests. As an alderman, I got Somerville to post more substantive information on its website - its budget, for instance - than it ever had before. Yet even the comparitively small entity of city government continues to be challenged in updating its own website with timely notices of committee and commission meetings and agendas.

Perhaps the House Rules Committee felt that the post-on-website rule could potentially conflict with the administrative prerogatives of Committee Chairs to set priorities for the use of staff time. Perhaps leadership thought that it would overtax the capacity of the already-stretched LIS dpartment. In the absense of adequate knowledge, I'm inclined to give a certain degree of deference to leadership in the matter of Rules, especially given that these votes are considered to be procedural in nature.

As we both know, however, there is no 'bright line' between procedure and substance. Since my first commitment is to my constituents, I will always be happy to email committee votes to any constituent who requests them, as soon as they become available. No constituent of mine will have to come to Boston to view a public record - I am happy to deliver the records in a convenient form.

Thanks again for writing. It's good to know that someone is watching these otherwise obscure votes.

As I stated on Rep. Sciortino, Rep. Provost is also always available for her constituents. Our work together on permitting legislation last summer proved to me that she is committed to her position and committed to her constituents. Rep. Provost raises to important points in her reply. First, a Yes vote on this measure would have put added strain on state resources. As I mentioned before, it is balancing act between pumping information to the public over the web and managing state resources (people, technology). Both Reps. Sciortino and Provost made this point, and it is valid, I would just side with making information available on the web.

Second, Rep. Provost talked about giving deference to leadership. This is not a bad thing, it may appear, for instance, that she is merely voting blindly with the leadership. Deferring to House leadership on a vote, especially where the leadership may possess knowledge as to the economic impact of the legislation or amendment, goes a long way in building relationship with the leadership. Building a strong relationship with leadership, leads to our state delegation members being appointed to prominent committees, which, in turn, leads to the City being in a position to have a strong voice on Beacon Hill. Rep. Provost is inteligent and political. That mixture will help her rise in the ranks of the House, which will, in turn, help Somerville.

In the final analysis, Rep. Sciortino and Rep. Provost did vote against a measure that would have increased transparency on Beacon Hill and make it easier for voters to learn about and examine state government. They both presented defensible reasons why they voted against the proposal. While I do not agree in the end, I am pleased that they thought about it, and feel confident that they would send committee votes to any person who asked.

Grog29

I got the exact same form e-mail from Provost. She must have her minions type up one e-mail per subject and mail it out en-masse. It was a blind "party before constituents" vote on her part and I don't want to have to "ask" her what her vote was on the committee. Who the hell does she think she is? You shouldn't have to write your representatives to get information that WE ALL PAY FOR AND IS PUBLIC RECORD! This is a rogue legislature
trying to keep as few citizens as possible informed about what
legislators are up to. Sickening. They will regret that vote.

Creative signs

I just saw Glines coming out of creative signs on Broadway. HMMMM????? Watch out, Walter!!!!

SomervilleReader

Dear Dominic,

Thank you for taking a moment to mail our representatives and get their rationale.

I have to say, I wish they had voted differently. Given that these votes are already part of the public record, I understand why they feel like they're not trying to hide anything. I don't think this is a huge deal, but I'm all for making the process as transparent as possible. Having the votes online would have made it easier for their constituents to evaluate how we felt about their records come election time.

Sincerely,

SomervilleReader

Ron Newman

To the editors of the Somerville News:

I loved the La Contessa photo essay on pages 12-13 of this week's printed paper. Will you please put it online?

Dr. Mrs. McCarthy

My Fellow Heavenbound Cambrivillians,

Can't spend a lot of time with the mouse and keyboard today. Got to get ready for the torture of the Passion.

But I was just wondering. If this is such a sorrowful day in Christianity, why do we call it "Good Friday"?

And to my former friend, Mel Gibson, get some help Sweetie. Quickly.

Passionately Yours,

Dr. Mrs. McCarthy

Dominic Santos

Somerville Reader:

You raise a good point about evaluating candidates at election time.

The News and the Journal should endeavor to write up voting records for the candidates so that the public is informed. The story would be in list format: name of the bill, brief summary of the bill, how everyone voted, and quotes from candidates defending their vote. Quotes would be pulled from a questionnaire sent in the summer before an election.

I would enjoy hearing thoughts on this. The filled tidelands bill will be coming up for a vote in the next few months. Get informed on this important piece of legislation and call your Reps. with your feelings on it.

Dominic

Time

Come all you people its time to vote. Jack and you give Joey Cakes and Clean My ***Ls? Genie another rubber stamp yes master, what ever happened to some Irish BALLS? Marty and you might get some back bone with the other two Bill and Rebbecca? or whats his name? a pure waste of time right Joey.

City Hall Nose

This evening there is a SMEA Union meeting and don’t you know, President Mike Browne had to go home sick from work today. Mr. President, why would you want to go home sick when there is a very important matter to discuss at the meeting tonight? Do you think by not showing up that the hot topic of equal pay for equal favors will be forgotten? Not a chance in hell. That is why you have it in writing so it would not be forgotten.

Mr. President, you can run but you cannot hide.

City Hall Nose

Nice meeting last evening I would say. A few of the Union members were really defensive. I wonder what they have to hide. Those few were only trying to cover up some of the accusations by clouding the issues.

Not only was the President of the SMEA a no-show but the Treasurer was also missing in action. She would have been the one to answer some of the questions regarding the miss-use of funds relative to the disbursement of funds to the PSB study.

The only thing I can say is "MEOW" "MEOW".

Brittain33

now she says she wants no meetings during the Jewish holidays and she calls for a committee meeting this Wednesday at City Hall…isn’t that in the middle of Passover??? Rebecca might need a memory training class…get with it Rebekah

Right, "the middle of Passover", which means there are no conflicts with seders. Passover has conflicts on the 1st, 2nd, and 8th nights because of the special dinners, which were Mondays and a Tuesday this year, but not the other nights. So no conflict, any more than having an event on a random Wednesday during Lent would be a conflict.

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