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Political Circuit

Patrick’s foes are burning through cash at a faster rate

April 18, 2010

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If there’s a slim silver lining in the dark cloud of Governor Deval Patrick’s anemic fund-raising, it’s this: his campaign is holding onto a bigger percentage of the money coming in than either of his two chief rivals.

After the first three months of the year, Patrick continued to lag badly in a critical respect — cash on hand — with less than $900,000, trailing Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, an independent whose campaign had about $3.3 million in the bank, and Republican Charles D. Baker, who had more than $2 million.

But a review of fund-raising reports shows that Cahill’s fund-raising has fallen off recently, and both of Patrick’s major opponents have a higher “burn rate,’’ meaning they are spending a larger percentage of their incoming cash.

Baker continued to raise funds at a torrid pace, taking in $1.35 million in the first quarter, but spent $972,000, or about 72 percent. Cahill raised $337,000 and spent $253,188, or more than 75 percent. Patrick raised $573,000, and spent $348,000, or roughly 61 percent.

Baker’s campaign has the largest paid staff, most expensive stable of consultants, and has spent large sums on catering, printing, and postage in connection with his fund-raising events.

The former health care executive’s campaign has also been tardy in the bookkeeping department, late filing itemizations of its monthly campaign credit card expenses. Last week, the campaign finally posted a breakdown of more than $62,000 in American Express charges over three months dating to December. One report was two months later than state regulations require. Another was a month late and filed after the Globe made inquiries of the campaign.

— Brian C. Mooney

Palin fires up tea party activists
Sarah Palin had come and gone, but like hundreds of other tea party ralliers, Stephanie Scott lingered on the Boston Common Wednesday afternoon, savoring the afternoon sunlight and a rollicking rendition of the “Tea Party Express Anthem.’’

Scott, a 36-year-old from Newton who works in sales and bears a minor resemblance to Palin, held aloft a sign that read, “Read My Lipstick — You Are Not Entitled To What I Have Earned.’’

“When I see my paycheck going to pay for people who can’t get off their butts . . . it’s very . . .’’ she said, searching for the next word. “Annoying!’’

Mandatory health care in Massachusetts is exhibit A of the problem, she said.

“If you’re a 21-year-old and healthy, why should you have to pay outrageous premiums?’’ she asked. “Why should I have to pay for everyone who wants to sit on the couch and watch Oprah and Dr. Phil?’’

She said she is not especially active in the tea party movement.

“It’s more of my own personal movement,’’ she said.

But Palin perfectly captures her sentiment.

“I applaud her for going rogue!’’

— Sarah Schweitzer

City Council chronicles its 100 years of doing business
To mark its centennial, the Boston City Council posted a compendium of “selected accomplishments’’ on the city website this month. The 31-page document catalogs the feats by year, listing orders, ordinances, and resolutions with bullet points.

“Five-cent public car fare to Hyde Park,’’ constituted a highlight in 1912. Two years later, the council passed an ordinance creating a City Planning Board “with a requirement that one member be a woman.’’ In 1923, the council approved the city’s official song, “Dear Old Boston,’’ a distinction followed in 1950 by the adoption of the bean pot as the city’s official emblem.

Issues tackled by the council over the years range from the practical (1961 order requiring escape hatches in all elevators) to hygienic (1947 order calling for the cleaning up of bookies in the city) to global (1983 resolution urging the immediate search for a cure for AIDS).

Sometimes the body pandered to specific constituencies, such as in 1923 when it decreed that children could play golf free at Franklin Park. The council took another bite of that apple 49 years later, when it waived the charge at golf courses for people over age 65, targeting the same demographic who grew up not paying greens fees as children. But the accomplishment repeated year after year, decade after decade, appears most succinctly in 1936: “Improvements made on various sidewalks throughout the city.’’

When the City Council met for the first time, on Feb. 7, 1910, it replaced the Board of Aldermen and the Common Council, two bodies with scores of members who allowed powerful ward bosses to dominate a weak mayor limited to a single term. The state Legislature, controlled by Republicans from outside Boston, created the single-chamber City Council to neutralize those influential neighborhood politicians and concentrate power in the mayor, according to professor Robert J. Allison, chairman of the history department at Suffolk University.

That change is evident in the council’s accomplishments over the last 100 years, which were compiled in part by Allison and his students. The list underscores how the council has emerged as the intermediary between citizens and the local bureaucracy, the place where people can turn to make sure the city fixes streetlights and sidewalks.

“Joe Moakley used to talk that as a congressman his proudest accomplishment was getting Mrs. O’Leary her Social Security check,’’ Allison said. “That’s what the council does on a local level — takes care of the people who elect them.’’

— Andrew Ryan

Tweet of the week
It’s a good weekend to be a Republican, what with yesterday’s state GOP convention celebrating the new energy behind efforts to capture the governor’s office, legislative seats, and perhaps a congressional seat or two. In honor of this spirit, this week’s entry comes from gubernatorial hopeful Charles D. Baker (@bakerforgov), who posted a little curtain-raiser Friday afternoon: “Delegates are arriving in Worcester. Gives me a chance to catch up with people I’ve met all over the Commonwealth. A great thing.’’

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