Friday, April 19, 2002

More news from Boston: we're exploring new frontiers in government funding.

A few years ago, the voters passed a "clean elections" initiative, which provided state funds for candidates who adhered to strict guidelines on their own fundraising. The legislature (marching, as usual, in lockstep to the drumming of Speaker Tom Finneran) has not wanted to repeal the popular law, but neither have they wanted to fund it, even in the face of court orders saying that they need to either fund the law or take it off the books. (Call this the aggressive style of doing nothing, as opposed to the more passive approach favored by the Boston City Council).

So, the latest court order in the case allows advocates for the law to seize and auction state property to make up for the funds that the legislature refuses to distribute. First up: a couple of late-model SUVs which the lottery commission bought for employees checking telecom equipment. (It's not obvious why a subcompact wouldn't do as well; it would certainly be easier to park. Maybe that's why the vehicles are in nearly new condition).

But selling a couple of Ford Explorers won't get to the heart of the problem. "Clean Elections" advocates have made it known that if the impasse continues, they will be taking a more direct approach. They're appraising the furniture in Finneran's office.


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