By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Let’s hear it for DiMasi (again)

I shouldn’t be blogging, because I’ve got an interview to prepare for. But I didn’t want the shift away from a toll hike and toward an increase in the gasoline tax to get by me without saying anything.

This could turn out to have been choreographed. But assuming everything is as it appears on the surface, it’s hard not to notice that, for the second time, House Speaker Sal DiMasi — invariably described as “embattled” these days — has stood up on the right side of a major public policy issue, and Gov. Deval Patrick hasn’t.

Without DiMasi, we might very well be sliding toward Patrick’s disastrous proposal to build three gambling casinos. And Patrick is reportedly still reluctant to support “broad-based tax increases,” as his spokesman, Kyle Sullivan, puts it.

If DiMasi’s enemies succeed in driving him from office, where is that going to leave us?

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  1. The Arranger

    Maybe someday there will be two statues of Sal in Boston.Bob in Peabody

  2. bob gardner

    Do you really think “Dimasi’s enemies” are behind the Globe writers or the State Ethics Commission?

  3. Brad

    If DiMasi’s enemies succeed in driving him from office, where is that going to leave us?With one less corrupt hack in public office?

  4. io saturnalia!

    Let’s see, Massachusetts residents will have to pay a new, regressive tax because the state failed to oversee a project that has already killed one woman, a project that didn’t even make it a month without serious structural deficiencies once it was “completed,” and a project that came in billions over budget. And supporting that tax is the “right” side of the issue?

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Bob: This is just me talking — I have no evidence. But no, I can’t imagine that either the Globe or the state Ethics Commission is “out to get” DiMasi.But it’s indisputable that DiMasi’s ethics problems coincided with his crossing the powerful casino-gambling interests. Is there a relationship between those two developments? It’s worth asking.Io, the Big Dig pisses me off as much as anyone. What do you propose to do about it? Do you think the state could get away with not paying its bills?Mind you, I am for sentencing all those responsible to long terms of forced labor in re-education camps in the Massachusetts countryside. All we need is a Gang of Four.

  6. bob gardner

    Dan, I agree it’s worth asking–it’s always worth asking. Even when the evidence seems overwhelming. So if something comes out a week before a tight, contested election, for example, the timing might seem suspicious, especially if the indictment itself was a few weeks off.

  7. Dan Kennedy

    Bob: Wilkerson? No kidding. On the other hand, might it have seemed suspicious if it came out a week after the election? Oh, yes.

  8. io saturnalia!

    Still seething, but my preference would be a smaller hike in the gas tax — maybe 3 cents instead of the 6 bandied about — and a slight increase in tolls, targeting those who use the tunnel a little more, but not so much as to make it punitive.I’d still be, in baseball argot, filing my protest with the commissioner’s office in the morning, but that seems a bit more equitable, IMHO.

  9. Steve

    My preference would be for a HIGHER gas tax, close down the Turnpike Authority and remove all Turnpike tolls (but leave them on the bridges and tunnels).It’s ridiculous to have the burden of paying for the Big Dig largely on the Pike commuters. And if you want to spare the western part of the state that burden, index the gas tax with the distance from Boston.

  10. io saturnalia!

    Socking it to everybody, even those who use neither the turnpike nor the Big Dig regularly, makes no sense. And I’m all for closing down the Turnpike Authority — the state has plenty of other means of collecting our money.This is the problem with you tax-and-spend liberals (j/k — I voted for Obama twice, myself): I give an inch (3 cents) and you take a mile (dollar?).

  11. Steve

    So, io, under your plan, how does that raise the necessary money?Everybody uses the roads in Mass. Everybody should pay. Under your plan, all that happens is that the other roads and bridges in the Commonwealth go unfixed.

  12. io saturnalia!

    Steve,You apparently have more faith in the state government than I do that 1. they’re telling the truth about how much money they need to raise (and can’t find via cuts in spending) and 2. that the money collected from the gas tax will go toward paying the Dig debt and fixing roads and bridges, and nothing else.Also, perhaps higher tolls will be the engine for better east-west mass transit.OK … this is my last post on this; sorry for hogging so much of the forum.

  13. Nial Liszt

    Sal don’t pay no stinkin’ tolls – or for gas, or for car washes.

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