Letters of Local Interest
12/31/08 - Reflections on Massachusetts Politics
3/29/08 - The Gambler
3/28/08 - Health-care law was ill-conceived
2/17/08 - Consolidate special education
12/28/07 - Letter in response to "Divided we fall"
10/26/07 - Bayou State proves Dumbo can fly!
07/20/07 - Bumper sticker offends
3/13/07 - Legal citizens can use that sort of advocacy
2/07 - Letter in response to Burns column
December 31, 2008
Reflections on Massachusetts politics
This month’s column will be a little different than the usual discussion of a current issue on Beacon Hill. For my last column of 2008, I feel compelled to offer a few reflections on the culture of Massachusetts politics and the need for Republicans to focus on certain core principles.
Traditionally, it would be assumed that the Republican Party would be standing firmly against any and all attempts to expand government. Unfortunately as much as I wish this was our stance one-hundred percent of the time, it is not. This we have seen from the recent bailouts in Washington D.C. where Democrats and Republicans continue to spend, spend and spend.
Whether it is because of the fear of being labeled as not being politically correct or intimidated by the numerous and powerful special interest groups that permeate our political system really matters not. Republicans need to always base our votes and political efforts on principle and never allow the noise of the liberals or the lobbyists to get us off track. It must be a core principle of my Party to firmly stand up against government waste and corporate give-a-ways.
Now, while it is relative easy for Republican elected officials to agree in theory, in practice things are often not that simple and straightforward. From my observations serving in the House of Representatives, at times people of principle sometimes do get side tracked and forget about their core values and beliefs. The reasons are many, but not the least which is culturally based. That’s right, cultural. I am referring to a political culture that exists within the walls of the Massachusetts State House and I would suspect in the halls of Congress as well.
The longer one is in office and the more time you physically spend in the building, increases the potential you may suffer from what many call “drinking the Kool Aid.” If you spend enough time “in the building” it can become rather easy to forget the very reason you ran for political office in the first place.
This is not a Republican or Democrat phenomenon, even Deval Patrick when he was running for Governor spoke to the way things are on Beacon Hill. During a debate on September 7, 2006, he made the pitch to the voters that he could change the political culture if elected, “I have no obligations, no debts to the political establishment on Beacon Hill. If you want the same old same old, the politics of money and connections, I'm not your guy. But if what you want is the politics of hope and a change of culture on Beacon Hill, I am your guy, and I want your vote."
From my observations, whether or not the Governor is fulfilling this promise, along with many other campaign promises is doubtful, but it cannot be denied that what occurs inside the State House and in the halls of Congress is quite different than what the good citizens of Massachusetts would like to see from their government.
Unfortunately, Republicans serving in state capitols and in Washington, D.C. sometimes also get swept away by the pomp and circumstance of elected office and in an effort to get along with the current power structure in government, they become an engrained piece of the existing culture. In most jobs it is totally normal when you start off in a new position that you want to be viewed as a team player and someone who is cooperative with the leadership. However, if you entered the political arena, especially in Massachusetts, with the sincere desire to change the culture of Beacon Hill, you have to be willing to stand up against it and believe me, this can be a lonely and uncomfortable place to be at times.
While I acknowledge that Beacon Hill or Washington, D.C. are not going to change overnight, Republicans need to remember that when we forget the very reason we entered office they end up getting in line for their share of pork barrel spending or vote for some bailout. We must never become agreeable to increased taxation, allow procedural abuses of the political process or support the efforts for government’s power to expand.
2009 and 2010 will be difficult fiscal years for government. Such times call for leadership to truly reform government. The alternatives of higher taxation or cutting core services are simply unacceptable. I pledge to continue the fight for a more responsible and accountable state government. I wish everyone a safe and healthy New Year and thank you allowing me to serve in the legislative for this coming term.
Jeffrey Davis Perry
Representative – 5th Barnstable District
March 29, 2008
You got to know when to hold’em,
know when to fold’em,
know when to walk away,
and know when to run.
I have to admit to feeling a small sense of satisfaction when Governor Deval “The Gambler” Patrick’s casino legislation went down to a fitting spiraling aquatic end. Actually, I take that back it was a large sense of satisfaction. It’s not that I am opposed to the gaming racket, and let’s face it, we aren’t talking about a business or an industry here, but rather an organization designed solely to separate people from their money. And outside of the occasional beautiful women, there is no more efficient liquidator of assets than a casino. What I am opposed to is the use of gaming in order to finance the expansion of government. If we can’t afford the government we have now then perhaps it is time to reduce it.
Since he took office The Gambler has floated numerous proposals to raise taxes in order to finance his social retooling plan. What’s so ironic here is that now we find out that while the Governor’s flagship legislation, and perhaps his future political significance was on life support, Deval was beating feet for New York and a lucrative book deal. During his campaign he told Kerry Healey to “come down off her high horse” but it turns out that Deval is the biggest poser of them all. When the going got tough, Deval got going. I guess you really can’t blame him since he may be dumb but he’s certainly not stupid. Sure his critics chastised him for not postponing his meeting with the publisher, but who can blame him? He knows that his own stock is falling faster than Obama’s poll numbers in Pennsylvania so he had to strike not just while the iron was hot but while it was still in the same zip code. And judging by the hit piece in the New York Times a couple of days later we now know that the posse was hot on his heels.
It’s apparent from the seven figure book deal which Deval signed that Mr. Shuster hasn’t been to Massachusetts in a while. Had he bothered to make the 20 minute flight he might have realized that this story has already been written. The potential titles for his book are endless from Failure is the Only Option to From Here to Obscurity and it is sure to be the most read tome in the lifer’s section at the MCI Cedar Junction library. However I suspect shortly after its release they won’t be selling them by the copy but rather by the pound.
It was certainly amusing to hear Deval whine about the back room dealings that may have transpired in an effort to kill his gaming legislation. Apparently, it’s ok for Deval to use such tactics in order to deny the citizens their constitutional right to vote on legally created petition amendments, but damn it this is tax dollars we’re talking about here. What has become obvious is the dislike that has developed between Deval and the Speaker of the House, Sal DeMasi. I’m sure Sal lacks the pedigree that Deval believes he has but Mr. Speaker certainly makes up for it in street savvy. Where the Governor has been the recipient of our entitlement society, Sal has worked his way up. Now don’t get me wrong because I’m no fan of DeMasi but at least he’s got Deval’s number. Sal knows that the electorate is watching and has seen Deval morph from the golden boy into the proverbial skunk at the Democratic Party. Sal’s power is in numbers, as in the over whelming Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. Sal’s goal is to keep a “D” next to the name of as many lemmings as possible. He has certainly been around long enough to remember the mess that Dukakis left behind which included the untimely departure of many long liners and power brokers on Beacon Hill. So if Sal throws Deval a life line anytime soon, before he grabs hold too tightly the Governor may want to be sure it’s not tied to an anchor.
Despite his very public failures, unfortunately Deval is doing his damage behind the scenes. He has been stacking the correctional system with his like minded liberal criminal coddling cronies. Whether it’s eviscerating the CORI system or stacking the parole board, it has become obvious that if you want to engage in a life of crime, then Massachusetts is the place for you. The funny thing is that while Deval has seen fit to take care of the convicts he is going out of his way to stick it to the cops. Sure, police details have been the subject of discussion for years, but the State Police and Patrolman’s Union actually endorsed this guy. While there isn’t enough money for police perks, there is plenty of dough for tuition for illegal aliens. Who knew? In Deval’s backward world, the criminals are getting paroled while the taxpayers get life, complete with high taxes and a high paying job for his wife’s nanny.
If you were enough of a sap to have voted for Deval, you surely must be feeling a sense of buyer’s remorse. But then again, no clear thinking person could have punched a ballot for The Gambler without at least pausing for a moment to consider his qualification. That pause would have been very brief because there was in fact, not much to consider. However you had to have convinced yourself that despite Deval’s weak hand he must have had some aces in the hole. Now a little more than a year into his term we’ve all learned that his hole cards are as pathetic as the rest of his hand. So Governor, I’m not sure if it’s time for you to walk away or time to run but on behalf of the taxpayers, I call.
Pierre Vernier Drive
March 28, 2008
Letter to the Editor
Heath-care law was ill-conceived
Costs may actually hurt us all
As we approach the two-year anniversary of the Massachusetts health-care mandate law, we are learning that our poorest residents will have to pay even more for their insurance premiums and co-payments or face the ever-growing sanctions of state government.
If you have not been following this dangerous socialist-style transformation of our health care laws, let me take you back to April 4, 2006, when the Legislature passed a law requiring everyone in the commonwealth to purchase health insurance coverage. The legislation also required all businesses with 10 or more employees to provide health insurance coverage or face an assessment, otherwise known as a tax.
I was one of only two legislators to vote against that bill. I argued that it was the wrong approach to reform our overburdened system because it did nothing to address the real issue: the high cost of delivering health care services.
A primary reason why our health care costs are so high is that the state mandates that certain types of coverage be included in every policy. The new health program does nothing to reduce or eliminate these mandates and it does not allow for real customer choice of insurance products.
The state also failed to reform the various administrative burdens health care providers face, and made no attempt to reform our medical and tort liability system.
The new Health Care Connector does little to force illegal immigrants to pay for health care, and provides medical providers with no real means of collection for services rendered.
So, at the end of the day, all we really did was force everyone in the commonwealth to purchase a health insurance policy and impose a new tax on the business community. We did practically zero to reduce costs. In fact, it is possible that we actually created new costs.
While I fully understand and agree with the goal of expanding health care for all citizens, Beacon Hill should not require each and every Bay Stater, regardless of his or her personal financial situation, to buy a certain health insurance product. Health insurance is a tool and benefit that employers use to attract the employees they wish to employ.
Furthermore, the law is a disincentive for small companies seeking to locate or expand their business in Massachusetts.
Some business owners may even attempt to avoid the new health insurance tax altogether by classifying their employees as “independent contractors.” This could result in lower state payroll tax collections, and these employees could miss out on unemployment and workers’ compensation benefits.
This would be a significant unintended consequence that could result in a loss of revenue to the state and less worker protection, with no real increase in health insurance coverage.
Although there were not many listening during the debate on this issue two years ago, the estimates on the cost of this program were challenged as unrealistic. I believe many members knew that was true, and they voted to approve the plan anyway.
My fear then and now is that we have grossly underestimated the long-term cost of this program and that there will be many unintended consequences that will far outweigh any perceived benefits.
Bay Staters should brace themselves. When the high co-pays and taxes on businesses are not enough to fund the program, the Legislature will want to raise taxes again to make up the difference. We are already hearing about a proposed increase in the cigarette tax to raise a targeted $151 million in order to backfill the health care deficit.
If we want to do something positive regarding health care reform, elected officials need to make tough decisions and take tough votes to really reform the way we deliver health care services.
Thus far, it looks like the solution from Beacon Hill is to simply spend more money, and that is truly disappointing.
February 17, 2008
Letter to the Editor
Cape Cod Times
Consolidate special education
Regionalizing municipal services is a great idea, but a hard sell in provincial New England. A way to experiment with regionalization, and prove it could work, would be to consolidate special education, a budget buster for all towns.
School departments always have a handful of students with special education needs that don't justify creating a special class. Local school committees then pay tuition, often off-Cape, and pay to bus students to and from classes. Creating a Cape Cod academy for special needs, with one administration, funded jointly, would save towns millions and provide superior scholarship with economies of scale.
Locally, if you look at most town buildings, especially the schools, most are in need of attention. Both the town and the school departments run separate maintenance departments. It would be less expensive to run a tight maintenance program than having two mirror operations. Merging town and school custodial and maintenance functions, taking the burden away from the school department, lets the educators teach.
Unlike the town, the school department can transfer money around different parts of its budget and spend it anyway it sees fit. The town, however, can only spend on items and services town meeting has approved. Every time school departments get in trouble, they borrow from maintenance. Town buildings need a consistent and dedicated budget.
December 28, 2007
Letter to the Editor
Cape Cod Times
Letter in response to "Divided we fall"
The CCT’s recent lead editorial “Divided we fall” neglects to appreciate the role of the minority party in our system of government. While the Democrats have the majority of Congress (and Beacon Hill), this should never equate to the voice of the minority being disregarded. Both at the State House and the U.S. Capitol each and every legislator has a duty to fight and advocate for their beliefs and the needs of their respective districts.
The Times editorial suggests that the minority Republican Party is somehow responsible for the Democrats’ failure to achieve any meaningful success in Congress. From my observations, the Democratic Party seems to either lack the consensus of what their agenda is or more likely, they do not have the political courage to promote their own convictions.
If the GOP members of Congress are able to stop Nancy Pelosi and her liberal counterparts from increasing taxes, providing amnesty for illegal immigrants, and taking further steps towards socialism with the threat of a filibuster, then I say, great job Republicans!
Rep. Jeffrey Davis Perry
State Rep, 5th Barnstable District
October 26, 2007
Letter to the Editor
Bayou State proves Dumbo can fly!
After Hurricane Katrina, the mainstream press crucified President Bush for the incompetence of Democratic elected officials in Louisiana. Now the people of the Bayou State have spoken: Dumbo, the Republican elephant, flies!
Republican Bobby Jindal has won election as Louisiana governor. Louisiana has been a Democratic state since Republican Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. It has been full of corruption. Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1. Gov. Jindal will be the first nonwhite governor since Reconstruction.
The liberal press has made much of the problems of the Republican Party and the Congress the Republicans lost, but the Democratic Congress' approval rating is lower than the president's.
Two Democratic presidents, because of unpopularity of war, have chosen not to run for re-election. Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson had low approval ratings during the Korean and Vietnamese wars. President Bush and the Republican Party found themselves in the situation of Truman and Johnson in spite of a robust economy.
But watch, the elephant can fly. Americans do not want collectivism or socialism. Like Dumbo, the conservative movement is underrated. The Republican Party is a party of ideas that understands that American capitalism has the brain and brawn to invent, to create wealth and change the world.
Michele E. Merolla
Last week, while coming out of a local store here in Sandwich, I saw a bumper sticker on an SUV parked in the parking lot. The bumper sticker read "The Road to Hell is Lined with Republicans". It turns out that the vehicle belongs to someone who I had previously respected and liked as a person. As someone active in Republican politics, I have hundreds of friends who are Republicans. Since they are all hard working people who donate time and money to the community and charity, and are dedicated to trying to make the world a better place, I'm quite confident none of them are going to hell. There are certainly bad people in every group, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents included. If this "gentleman" posesses such hate towards some specific Republicans, then I stand by his right to voice this hate. However, to publicly advertise this type of vitriolic statement towards an entire political party is unacceptable and childish to say the least. Remove the bumper sticker.
March 13, 2007
Letter to the Editor
Cape Cod Times
Legal citizens can use that sort of advocacy
Again, Governor Patrick has touted a philosophy that is wholly inconsistent to that on which he was elected Governor.
On the matter of illegal immigration he expressed his concern with the issue, however, stated it was a Federal problem. He felt so strongly about this, that his first orders of business as Governor was to rescind Governor Romney’s Executive Order for State Police to detain illegal immigrates. He said, “I do not believe that it is either practical or wise to ask them (State Police) to enforce Federal laws.” He went on to deferred jurisdiction for enforcing immigration laws to the Federal Government saying that violators should be, “turned over to Federal authorities for appropriate handling, including deportation.”
So why is it now that Governor Patrick is expressing his outrage in the way Federal authorities handled the raid on the factory in New Bedford? Aren’t they doing exactly what Governor Patrick expects them to do? Not to mention his refusal to use the term “illegal immigrant”, he prefers the PC term “undocumented worker.”
Governor, please stop acting like an advocate for illegal immigrants and start being an advocate for the legal citizens, taxpayers, and workers of the Commonwealth.
Letter in Response to Joe Burns Column
(Upper Cape Codder)
In last week's edition, your resident anti-Republican liberal reporter, Joe Burns informed us all how be believed Deval Patrick was correct in not signing a Proclamation in honor of Ronald Reagan. In his article, Mr. Burns pointed out a few selected opinions to promote his revisionist view of history
Of course, Mr. Burns neglected to mentioned that Roanld Reagan signed legislation to stimulate economic growth, curb inflation, increase employment, and strengthen national defense. President Reagan also embarked us upon a course of cutting taxes and reforming Government expenditures.
We saw a renewal of national self-confidence by 1984 which is why President Reagan won a second term with an unprecedented number of electoral votes. In his second term, President Reagan obtained an overhaul of the income tax code, which eliminated many deductions for the most wealthy and exempted millions of people with low incomes. At the end of his administration, the Nation was enjoying its longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession or depression.
In foreign policy, Reagan sought to achieve "peace through strength." During his two terms he increased defense spending 35 percent (while cutting taxes), rebuilt our military and sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union, which ultimately led to the end of the Cold War and the oppression of one-half of Germany and numerous what we now call former Soviet states.
President Reagan is a true American hero who we owe a debt of gratitude to, and certainly a simple Proclamation in his memory is not too much to ask our new Governor to sign. Governor Patrick ran on a promise of being nonpartisan and someone who will carefully watch over our taxdollars, thus far in my view, he has failed poorly in his first two months in office.
For some reason, Reporter Joe Burns has failed to discuss in any of his columns Governor Patrick's use of the State Police helicopter, the lease of a brand-new Cadillac to drive around in at state taxpayer's expense, and the hiring of Amy Gorin of Wellesley, who co-chaired the Governor's fundraising committee as Governor Patrick's wife's scheduler, at a comfortable state salary of $72,000, plus pension and health benefits.
I also do not seem to recall Mr. Bruns writing about Governor Patrick's proposal to increase our meals or hotel taxes. The Upper Cape Codder also seems to be lacking on any stories regarding our new Governor's proposal to restrict access to criminal records and sex offender information.
Perhaps there was not enough space for any of these stories as it did take quite a bit of room to attempt to belittle the memory of Ronald Reagan, one of the greatest Presidents this Nation has ever had. Or perhaps, it was simply a double standard of attacking Republicans and giving the Democrats a pass. You decide...
Jeffrey Davis Perry
5th Barnstable District