Thursday, February 16, 2006

Deval: 7 from Column A

We are hip-boot deep in the mire and detritus of gubernatorial campaigning. Oddly enough, the mass media do not seem to have noticed that only one announced candidate has positions. Months ago, Deval Patrick put his neck on the block with strong, specific programs in all major areas.

The others have spoken only in the vaguest terms and no more have programs for Massachusetts than a hotdog cart has a dinner menu. You could make due, but why should you?

As the only game in town, Deval's HQ has workable programs on display (these open PDFs) in:

As place holders, the scant material available from Kerry Healey's site and Tom Reilly's offers little insight. For example, crime – against, jobs –– more, and like that. Neither has a single coherent plan.

We were going to compare and contrast, but the Munchkins in the race haven't anything to make it worthwhile yet. Meanwhile, we built a grid and shall update it in case either Kerry or Tom thinks it might be time to state a position for the voters. Deval's program has been out so long and is in sufficient detail that the little guys could have nitpicked, copied, adapted, or bettered parts of it. They have grossly insulted the electronate by continuing to stress their personalities, as they are.

Deval's column contains only a few highlights of his program in each area. The bottom Reason to Elect is a cutesy recap by us.

CitiesRestore local aid to pre-2000 levels; lower property taxes; update public school aid; leverage state power to lower costs of electricity, health care and insurance; multi-year budgets; reward communities who build affordable housing; upgrade and expand public transit.
Public/private for low-cost mortgages to keep brains in stateVague; fiscal responsibility
CrimeExpanded community policing; top-down leadership in coordinating local, state and federal crime efforts.
Target gangs, more money (but no new taxes), death penaltyTarget violent criminals and repeat offenders
EconomyActive conservation education and rebates; tax benefits to renewable energy production; support stem cell research; shorter state permits and approvals for business; state funds for new enterprise startups; economic stimuli including workforce development; statewide WI-FI; higher minimum wage.
Lower income taxes to 5%; keep business taxes lowVague; create jobs
EducationMore early childhood education for 3 and 4 year olds; match school day to work day; adequate space, funding and teachers for lower class sizes; state coordination of after-school programs; find and reward outstanding teachers; rework school funding to provide adequate resources; broaden student assessments beyond MCAS; bond program to develop and expand state higher education.
Early ID of problems, longer school days, school until 18More investment; target math and science; close achievement gaps
EnvironmentRepair sewers, storm drains and other infrastructure; excise and sales tax credits for energy efficient purchases; enforce power-plant regulations; fully fund Dept. of Environmental Protection's cleanup efforts; (also see Economy).
? Nothing yetVague: new, cheap and clean energy sources
Health CareHealth Access and Affordability Act; change MassHealth (Medicaid) eligibility; assess employers who do not offer healtinsurancece; guarantee catastrophic coverage for everyone; negotiate bulk prescription drug purchases; reduce administrative complexity and cost of patient records management by modernizing info systems; use public-health experts to identify the causes for racial and ethnic health-care gaps; prevention througimmunizationsns, health and nutrition counseling, HIV/AIDS prevention and substance abuse education; public hearings before rate changes and other health-care increases.
? Nothing yetBlack box; more affordable, more access to insurance
Reason to ElectSmarter than the other guys; has a visionSo government isn't single partyFrom humble stock and works with everybody

The closest they come to a one-on-one-on-one comparison is crime control. They all have strength and history here. Tom's is more local to Massachusetts as a prosecutor and then to Olympus as attorney general. He has reason to dislike the bad guys. Deval is a lawyer, an assistant U.S. attorney general for civil rights, and pro-bono guy. He has reason to want the good folk to win and the underclasses to have protection. Kerry's is largely academic experience. She got a governmnt degree and was a law and public safety consultant. She bills herself as the point person for the commonwealth's anti-crime effort.

Tom can talk a good law-and-order line here. Kerry is winging it and really has done very little except talk. Deval requires that you believe he can make all levels of law enforcement work with him.

This category is a tossup. The other topics aren't even close at this point.

How come the local rags and airwave cowboys aren't demanding that all three candidates put something on the table? We want more from Tom and Kerry. Neither has yet to give us a reason to vote for him or her.

We endorsed Deval.

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