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March 19, 2010     Post-Gazette
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March 19, 2010
 

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II,l,,l,,l,,,,ll,,ll,,ll,,,,,ll,,I,lll,,,I,,I,,,I,l,ll,,,I,,ll ........................ -'HEXED haT_C 0"0 S14 P3: p,eKfl:. 0 SMAd..L TOWN P/UP., INC. 5028 CALORN AV SW T THE ITALIAN-AMERICAN VOICE OF MASSACHUSETTS ETT (Formerly LA GAZZETTA del MASSACHUSETTS) VOL. 114 - NO. 12 BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, MARCH 19, 2010 $.30 A COPY REVISIONIST HISTORY by D.R. Remember the good old days under George W. Bush? It appears that some Americans are beginning to have second thoughts about their contempt for the former President. In a March 9 NYTimes.com article entitled "Do You Miss Him Yet?," es- sayist and educator Stanley Fish notes, "... [Indications] of Bush's rehabilitation are beginning to pop up. One is literally a sign, a billboard that appeared recently on 1-35 in Minnesota. Occupy- ing the right side ... is a pic- ture of Bush smiling ge- nially and waving his hand in a friendly gesture. Occu- pying the left side is a simple and direct question: 'Miss me yet'? The image is all over the internet, hun- dreds of millions of hits, and unscientific web-based polls indicate that more do miss him than don't." "A perhaps more substan- tial sign incorporates a sign famous (or infamous) in the Bush presidency," Fish con- tinues. "The March 8 cover of Newsweek reproduces the Tucker famous 2003 photograph of Bush on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Lincoln. The presi- dent is in the left of the pic- ture, striding away from the famous banner proclaiming 'Mission Accomplished.' Those words haunted Bush for the next five years, but now, Newsweek reports, they may play differently because -- and this is emblazoned on the cover -- we may have 'Victory at Last.'" Much to the chagrin of progressives (and limited- government conservatives), Bush's long-ruined image is being repaired. This is not necessarily good news for those of us who feel that Bush almost destroyed the GOP with "compassionate conservatism," a euphe- mism for reckless spending and government expansion implemented by social tradi- tionalists as opposed to so- cial secularists. Yet it's not really surprising why this is taking place. There is a consensus (Continued on Page 15) Massachusetts Association of ITALIAN AMERICAN POLICE OFFICERS 42 nd Annual Banquet The official ]presentation of Colors opened the 42 "d Annual Italian American Police Officers Asso,ciation Banquet. See pages 8 and 9 for additional photos and story. (Photos courtesy of ONeil J. BeBlanc) by Sal Giarratani Does 3-way Race for Governor Send Patrick Back for 2 "d Term? Right now, the latest poll numbers from the Suffolk University 7 News shows a tight race for governor. Deval Patrick is in the lead but with only 33 percent. Charlie Baker, the Re- publican is about five percentage points behind him and Independent Tim Cahill is in third with about a quarter of the poll numbers. Many say Patrick won't get re-elected but in a three way race with three strong candidates, he could, indeed, slip back in for four more years. Baker isn't Scott Brown. Nor can he be viewed as a Tea Party favorite. He comes off looking more like a Yankee Republican akin to Bill Weld. After having worked on numerous campaigns over the year. Doing things like press relations or field work, I think that Tim Cahill needs to do two things quickly. To define himself and his candidacy before his opponents do it for him. Then, he must deal with the Republican Party. The Republican nominee most probably Charles Baker needs to be chopped down politically be- fore Cahill has a chance. The Deval Party has his vote locked. He's good for 34-37 percent of the vote. The only way for him to slip up is for him to pull a New York Governor David Pater- son. Otherwise, he's pretty good for second place. Cahill needs to make himself Patrick's (Continued on Page 14) I J l Mayor's Column by Thomas M. Menino, Mayor, City of Boston ControYling dramatically escalating health inssurance costs for employees is one of the most urgent budgetary issues facing municipalities across the Com- monwealth. As cities and towns face another y,ear of tight budgets and diffi- cult decisions, the cost of providing health care for municipal employees continues, to cripple our City's budget. Costs have more than doubled in the last decade, far outpacing inflation and the growth of any other municipal ex- penditure and crowding out the re- sources available to invest in other ser- vice deliv'ery areas. While health care costs have increased for families and employers statewide, cities and towns are unable to control costs due to a state law that gives public unions veto power over changes to health insurance plans. Municipalities, unlike state govern- ment, do not have the authority to make changes to their health plan designs and update copayments and deduct- ibles in order to keep costs down for taxpayers. Last we,ek, I convened a group of 20 Mayors and municipal leaders from across the Commonwealth to discuss the urgency o:f this issue. The group formed the Save Our Communities Coalition to address how cities and towns can con- trol rising employee health care costs and advocate for legislation that would give municipalities the authority to make the necessary changes to plan de- sign. We understand that cities are not the only ones facing budget deficits and that difficult decisions will also be made at the state level. Allowing city govern- ments to control employee health care costs is one way to reduce the effects of decreased state aid and make funds available for other critical services such as public safety, schools, and commu- nity centers. The state has the tools to unilaterally change both plan design of employee health benefits and contribution rates. Cities and towns must collectively bar- gain with every union to get concessions on either of these benefits. This past contract cycle, the City of Boston was successful in reducing the contribution rate paid by the city and brought mu- nicipal contribution rates down to 15% paid by the employee and 85% by the city. This change, while still a good deal for employees, had to be negotiated through 46 different unions. We can do better if cities and towns are at least given some flexibility in determining the plan design -- the co-pays and (Continued on Page 15)