Thursday, 4:30 PM
The people have some suggestions for Patrick
By Scott Helman, Globe Staff
Deval Patrick, take heed. The people of Massachusetts have some ideas for you. Lots of them.
They want wireless Internet available in every community within 12 to 18 months. They want a state "gun project coordinator'' appointed to lead a new crackdown on illegal gun sales. And they want to see an annual "Commonwealth CEO confidence index" created to measure state government's progress on building the economy and adding jobs.
These are among dozens of recommendations included in final reports from 15 policy "working groups" that have spent the past month helping Patrick and the incoming lieutenant governor, Timothy P. Murray, learn what Massachusetts wants to see from their administration. The recommendations, released today, are based largely on 76 community meetings the groups held around the state and 5,000 public comments collected through the Web.
"The ideas range from the quick and simple to the strategic and complex, and they cover an amazing range of subjects,'' John Walsh, Patrick's transition director, and Sydney Asbury, a top policy adviser, wrote in a letter accompanying the release of the reports. "The feedback shows that there's idealism and hope and joy, and there's frustration and impatience and even despair."
But Patrick's transition team, in the letter as well as the press release, emphasizes that the recommendations are only input for Patrick and Murray, and not a policy blueprint. That means many of the suggestions are unlikely to get off the page.
Still, Patrick and Murray, who were briefed on the working groups' reports last week, have pledged to consider the suggestions seriously once they take office Jan. 4.
"The tremendous success of these working group community meetings, and the reports on ideas straight from the people of Massachusetts show that citizens of all ages and backgrounds want to check back in and are ready to take the next step in building an inclusive, grassroots government," Walsh said in a statement.
The working groups covered areas from health care and housing to civic engagement and arts and culture. The groups' final reports can be read online at www.patrickmurraytransition.org.