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Repeal of House speaker’s term limits a disturbing development

Date: 2/5/2015

Grab any Republican you now in the Bay State – gently – and ask them to respond to this phrase: “one party rule.”

Be prepared for an articulate answer about the need of checks and balances and how the Democrats have strong-armed their political will upon the good people of the Commonwealth.

Of course, many Republicans might fail to note we’ve had a parade of GOP governors all within recent memory, but let’s give those folks a pass because there really is a problem in the Legislature and it’s all about the raw display of power that can overcome who is sitting as governor.

Granted we live in a supremely screwed up state in which about 90 percent of the population is clustered in one section, meaning political and financial power is concentrated to the detriment of other parts of the state. Granted we are not a huge state, which makes the division between the east and the west and southeast even more ludicrous. Granted the folks in the eastern part are prone to making jokes about what lies beyond Worcester. I suspect they believe is a huge chasm in which dragons live.

In addition to those political conditions, we can’t get around the fact that whomever leads the House is in many ways the de facto governor.

I was quite dismayed to learn that House Speaker Robert DeLeo successfully led an effort to repeal the terms limits for the speaker position that he had supported just a few years ago. The Boston Globe quoted DeLeo saying, “What we have done quite frankly over this past six years I think has been remarkable. And quite frankly, I see it, and other members have approached me about the importance of staying on and completing this type of work and continuing this roll of success that I feel that we’re on.”

So a successor to DeLeo, whom I’m certain would have been handpicked, would not have continued that good work? Oh please pull my other leg.

Massachusetts has an alarming trend of seeing its House Speakers successfully prosecuted for a variety of crimes. The term limit was set in place to assure the residents of the Commonwealth that there are some self-imposed checks to power.
Clearly, DeLeo likes the power he has. Who wouldn’t? As Mel Brooks once said, “It’s good to be the king!”

The trouble is our delegation must kowtow to the House leadership if it wants to bring home any bacon to the far-flung districts of the west. If they were seen supporting something the Speaker doesn’t like, there might be serious problems.

This is just another example of what I’ve written before: despite being a small state our political infrastructure does not work well for all of its regions. We don’t have a state aid formula that helps all communities. We don’t have mass transportation systems that are equally and proportionately funded.
Nothing, though, is going to happen that will change the status quo in the Commonwealth. I would like to think Charlie Baker might bring a renewed sense of questioning the establishment and I hope he does. My concerns are far less with a governor, though, and far more with the House leadership.

Weather language

In my house, I’m not known for kindness toward the weather folks on our local stations. I’ve been known not to watch the news on certain channels just because of whom is “forecasting” the weather.

I react very badly when a weather person comes on the next day and crows how he or she called the previous day’s weather accurately especially in snow amounts. Why is this acceptable? Do reporters come on the next day and say we managed to get the story right?

Do they ever come on an apologize for getting it wrong?

So I need to know something: what is the difference between “cool,” “cold” and “frigid” as these terms are tossed out with great regularity and in different contexts. Is “cold” the same as seasonal? Is “frigid” more severe than seasonal?

And what the hell is a “pop-up shower” as opposed to a “shower?”

A beer and a burger at Theodore’s to any TV weather forecaster who wants to explain such mysteries to me.

Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.