Mass. Gov. Patrick answers conservative critics
Gov. Deval Patrick tried last week to answer his critics by appearing on conservative talk radio.
The Democrat visited Howie Carr’s talk show on WRKO-AM. The two clashed over how quickly the state can remove toll booths from the Massachusetts Turnpike -- a pet cause of Carr’s.
Carr complained that a reorganization of the state’s transportation bureaucracy, including the elimination of the Turnpike, was a “shell game” because the booths remain.
Patrick vigorously defended the move.
“It is absolutely not a shell game,” said Patrick, his volume rising to meet Carr’s. “The toll booths will come down when the bondholders say they can come down.”
Carr also opened with a frequent question he asks on the air and in his column in the Boston Herald: “Where’s my property tax cut?”
Patrick replied, “It’s coming.”
The governor noted he has tried many means to let cities and towns reduce their property tax burdens, including proposing to allow them to put their workers into the state insurance pool, letting them raise their meals and hotel taxes and proposing to give them a portion of the revenues from three casinos he proposed.
“The other tools we got; this one we didn’t,'' he said, referring to the Legislature’s rejection of his casino plan.
Each month, Patrick appears on WTKK-FM, with liberal talk show hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, but he has largely avoided conservative programming.
Carr is a frequent critic of Patrick.
The governor is seeking re-election this year and has been more aggressive in answering his critics.
Vicki Kennedy urges OK of Mass. paid sick day bill
Victoria Reggie Kennedy is joining labor groups and Gov. Deval Patrick to push a bill guaranteeing paid sick days for Massachusetts workers.
The widow of Sen. Edward Kennedy spoke last week at the Statehouse to the bill’s supporters. They say about 1.4 million Massachusetts workers lack even one guaranteed paid sick day.
Kennedy said that’s not only unfair to the workers, but also a public health hazard since it encourages employees to show up for work even if they are sick and could pass on illnesses.
Critics say the decision to offer paid sick days should be left to employers.
The bill would give workers the opportunity to earn up to seven sick days a year for an illness or doctor visit. It would also allow absences for domestic violence victims.
2 Mass. cops fired over brutality accusation
Springfield police chief William Fitchet has fired two officers accused of brutality while arresting a 19-year-old man who had a “domestic quarrel” with a niece of one of the police officers.
Thirty-nine-year-old Danilo Feliciano and 40-year-old Pedro Mendez were fired last Tuesday after an independent attorney who conducted an investigation for the department found that they broke rules on use of force while arresting Rolando Rivera on assault charges last September.
Rivera said the 39-year-old Feliciano kicked him in the head, face and back, struck him in the eye area with a handgun and then sprayed him with pepper spray and bleach. Rivera said he had argued with a niece of Feliciano.
Feliciano has pleaded not guilty to an assault and battery charge.
Mendez allegedly fabricated a report to hide the assault.
An attorney says the men will appeal the firing.