I tuned in at 1630 and the makeup was George Anthes, Tom Byrne and State Rep Kevin J Murphy. This is not a verbatim script, but an impressionistic view of the show. It is also my first time trying to do "live blogging."
Call in Number for "City Life" is 978 654 6350. The show is also available on the LTC web site.
The first topic, brought up by George was the Burmese moving into the Acre.
Kevin moves the topic to the diversity in Lowell. He
Then Bill calls in and asks about the overhead cost of the new Burmese residents.
Rep Murphy asks how we know the Burmese will increase the cost of Government. He talks about going to one of our local schools and all the diversity.
Tom Byrne then talks about how only the Irish came here speaking English.
Tom then asks about how the budget is going.
Kevin says that there is a 4 billion dollar problem between last year and this. The schools will do well, but the City will struggle. And, the lottery has been going down and down, so it is not there to assist.
Tom Byrne says that yesterday Mr Lynch talked a $12 million deficit. He then congratulates Rep Murphy on starting to make cuts.
Rep Murphy says that the People want more reform (does reform = budget cuts). One area is the court system, which needs to be reformed. He talks about our local district court which services 250,000, and Newton, which services 50,000 and should be merged with an adjacent court.
George congratulations Rep Murphy for having a real suggestion.
A woman called and asks if taxes go down is Rep Murphy for downsizing Government.
Rep Murphy says he is for downsizing, e.g., merging Newton with Waltham District Court and saving on the manpower. What about Natick District court, he asks--even less citizens i that District. Put them in Dedham.
George asks about Ayer and Rep Murphy says that it is OK and right sized.
Rep Murphy. We all talk about transporttion reform, but that isn't going to solve the budget problem.
George says, some talk about eliminating junior colleges.
Rep Murphy is against it.
George asks about State Colleges.
Rep Murphy asks about the layer known as the President. For UMass, $38 Million a year for the UMass President. Worth looking at.
94 out of 100 top earners in the state are in the University system. Rep Murphy notes that at UMass, in the Presidents office, is a $313,000 lobbyist. Positions like that need to be eliminated.
Tom asks if working at the University gets a free membership at Vesper. Rep Murphy says no.
On to the large number of part time faculty, which Rep Murphy thinks may be bad, since office hours may be much less. George says he thinks it is an implied obligation, but Rep Murphy doesn't think it is likely the case across the board.
John says that Tom from Pawtaucketville wants to know about state subsidy of UMass. Rep Murphy says about 35%, with the rest from fees, grands and tuitition.
Tom Byrne asks about the new courthouse. Rep Murphy says it is on track and funding is available due to (paid advert) State Sen P and the three Rep (Golden, Nangle and Murphy). The question of the new court house and use of the old facilities. Rep Murphy says maybe a new location for the Police Department.
On to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
A BREAK AT 1700.
George--problems in State Government, like delays in getting unemployment and Registry not sending reminder notices.
Rep Murphy says we don't need a nanny state and driver licenses are something individuals check every day.
Cliff calls in and says he doesn't think everyone checks their license every day.
George says he thinks the notice is good and Rep Murphy digs in.
Rep Murphy says "I don't know why I should know every statute in the Commonwealth." (What happened to ignorance of the law is no excuse?) Rep Murphy says that folks haven't complained to him about it.
George pushes Casinos. Rep Murphy agrees and says slots over raising the gas or sales tax. All of the taxes on the table right now are anti-Lowell, because everyone will be driving to New Hampshire to for their goods. Casinos could be up and going in three months.
Tom--why is the Governor not inclined to get involved in Casinos.
George--last year he was for Casinos and the General Court was against. Rep Murphy--he wanted three, plus two for tribes and it is too many. The slots are a better proposal for right now, but Casinos are a couple of years out.
Tom--venues. Rep Murphy--Suffolk Downs, Plainville Dog Track. Not like Keno, in local liquor stores, etc.s Talks about what he say in Pompano Beach. We voted for slots in the past, all three, but we lost. The new Speaker of the House comes from Winthrop, where residents work at Suffolk Downs and need the work.
Tom Byrne--will the sales and gas taxes get voted in. Rep Murphy--something in a gas tax, but not 19 cents.
Tom--I am for the sales tax and there is some discretion, vice the gas tax. Rep Murphy--Yesterday Sen P made the point that the gas tax is one of the most regressive (and that is true, why not rebates?).
George--what about the income tax. Rep Murphy--the People voted against it. The fairest, but a third rail.
Caller--New Hampshire will steal a march on us. Rep Murphy--a good point, look at Green Meadow. That is why I am in favor of expediting the slots.
Tom--the gentleman brings up the Arena, do you know anything about the Arena.
John--a fine and an arrestable offense. Rep Murphy--on my experience, dealt with lightly.
Tom--back to the Arena. Rep Murphy--my understanding is that there is a fundamental disagreement. Marty Meehan and Bernie Lynch are each trying to maximize their value and thank God for Sen P, who is the Henry Kissinger of this. George says thank heave you said Henry Kissinger (I don't agree with this.)
Rep Murphy--the Spinners bring so much to the City we need to show them a lot of respect. Why aren't the Devils the say way as the Spinners? The Spinners are the lowest level and the Devils the highest form, but the response is just the opposite.
Tom--it is brand loyalty. (Discussion of ages--Rep Murphy 56, Tom Byrne must be 60.) Hockey doesn't have the cache of baseball.
Tom--what do you think of the Governor's performance so far. Rep Murphy--I have waited 13 years for a Democratic Governor and I am a bit disappointed and I think he should not have cut higher ed the way he did and the Marian Walsh shows he is out of touch with the common man.
Tom--is it because he comes from a business perspective that he misses these cues? Lack of political mindset?
Rep Murphy--I don't think so. Doug Rubin has been a political operator for years. For people like me, who know there is a $4 billion shortfall in the budget, it makes it very difficult to sell revenue increases. I am totally against those tax increases before we have squeezed the budget.
Rep Murphy--I met with a lobbying group and she asked if I would support an increase in the meals tax. I asked why. She said, "Poor people don't go out to eat." That is the mindset on Beacon Hill.
George--I think we are signing off.
Rep Murphy--I miss you from the radio.
Regards — Cliff