Our endorsements for the 2011 municipal election in Springfield can be found here. Elsewhere in the Valley, we do not deem ourselves educated enough to make an informed decisions. However, Holyoke has an incredibly close election for mayor between incumbent Elaine Pluta and newcomer Alex Morse. Holyoke is also facing a major charter revision to the document that has governed the city for 115 years. Boston's City Council faces some major shakeups. Of particular note is Ayanna Pressley's fight to remain on the Boston City Council. With former council president Maureen Feeney giving up her Dorchester district seat, Pressley is the only incumbent woman running for Beantown's City Council. Pressley is running citywide. David Bernstein has a nice roundup.
Also on the ballot in Ohio tomorrow is Issue 2, which was placed on the ballot following a petition for a citizens veto of that state's union-stripping law. The law, known by its number in the Ohio State House, SB 5, is in some ways more far-reaching than even Wisconsin's union-stripping bill. It would gut the items over which bargaining may now occur and allow management that is town governments, to essentially impose their final offer. To get the issue on the ballot, 231,000 signatures were necessary and opponents turned in three times that amount. The measure appears to be headed for defeat, that is a "no" of Issue 2 would prevail. However, opponents of the measure are leaving nothing to chance in this final stretch. As another example of right-wing union-busting, this issue deserve to head to the dustbin, where it, hopefully is destined to go.
...And the World:
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou agreed to step aside and form a national unity government in order to pass unpopular austerity measures. The austerity plan is needed in order to secure a bailout from the wider Eurozone and also put at ease jittery investors worried about Spain and Italy's debt problems. However, the New York Times is reporting that the Greek parties have yet to announce their caretaker unity government, although there is a front runner for PM. Meanwhile, Italy remains in turmoil as rumors fly that Silvio Berlusconi, that country's premier, is on the verge of resignation or a vote of no confidence. Italy's own debt problems remain a great concern for markets and either its own Spain's tailspin could sink the global economy. However, Spain's problems are more exaggerated than Italy's. Spain has a much lower debt to GDP ratio, but higher unemployment that Italy. Although unemployment can be problematic and an indirect hindrance to debt service, higher debt ratio is a direct complication on a nation's ability to repay debts.
The Supreme Court heard a novel case today debating whether or not Congress has the ability to mandate that Israel appear on the passport of an American born in Jerusalem. Since the founding of this country, it has been the prerogative of the Executive branch, exercising its foreign policy powers, to recognize foreign ministers and their governments, including their capitals. For example, President Barack Obama's State Department did not need Congress' approval to recognize the Libyan rebels as that country's new government. In a similar vein, several US presidents, Bush II and Obama included, have refused to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel until the Palestinian Question is answered. The reason for the dispute is that a law passed by Congress, requiring recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, run contrary to the President's Article II powers. To date, the official US Embassy remains in Tel Aviv, Israel's capital until 1967, although the US is represented in Jerusalem, too. NPR had a report today on the case presently before the Court.
We said last week Herman Cain didn't matter...but the new allegations tear it open all over again. Any bets that this will still not shake Cain's surge among the disaffected segment of the country that think feminism is a liberal plot to take away man's right to cop a feel?
The State of Things:
Governor Deval Patrick officially ended the state of emergency following last month's freak snow storm.
New Congressional Maps are out and they are, um, okay. Western Mass keeps two districts if you include Worcester in Western Mass. Cong. Richard Neal gets all of Berkshire County and Worcester-based Congressman Jim McGovern gets the population centers of Franklin and Hampshire County. However, the maps do appear to defy the central argument for two districts: keeping the non-Springfield Western Mass towns together. Lots of other towns shift among districts and a stronger minority majority seat springs up in Boston. Congressmen Stephen Lynch and Bill Keating are drawn into one district, but Janet Wu at WCVB says Keating will seek re-election in thew new New Bedford-Plymouth-Cape Cod district which he mostly already represents. More later this week.
See above for links to our endorsements for Springfield races.
Springfield schools will reopen tomorrow after missing six days due to the storm. It has taken a great deal of work to clear streets for buses, restore power and prepare teachers for the possible impact the storm has had on students. The full cost of snow storm for the city is in the millions, but it will ultimately be a fraction of the cost the city will carry from the June tornado. Additionally, the impact the city's tax base will be much lower this time as the only tangible income loss was from the meal's tax loss on closed restaurants, but that may be canceled out by packed hotels and the resulting room taxes.
Following accusations of voter suppression at Springfield's polling stations in the city's preliminary, the US Department of Justice will observe elections in the city tomorrow. Ward 1 Councilor Zaida Luna contacted Justice officials after complaints of slow-to-open polls, lack of Spanish-language poll workers and other voting irregularities in her ward. Ward 1, which includes the North End, is the historically most Hispanic part of the city.
On the heels of several reports about income disparities and a general acceptance of the Occupy movement's central message of economic injustice, Think Progress sums it all up in one line from a poll. Think Progress, an arm of the Center for American Progress, wins this week's Tweet Prize for sizing up not only the public's sentiment, but doing so in a way that encapsulates the reality of our economy. The income disparities and inequality of opportunity that define our present economy are among the many root causes of our present situation and the sentiment of Americans in this Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.