Archive for August, 2014

After Ferguson…Now What?

Both of your usual suspects hosts, reunited for a what-happens-now segment on the post-Ferguson picture. We figure a few major changes will happen and the serious stuff will take much longer.

The easy-to-reach prize is removing military armaments, vehicles and weaponry from local police. Even many GOP members of Congress are in a WTF? mindset here. We also spoke of the harder, deeper solutions, such as:

  • Charging bad-actor cops who kill or maim without justification
  • A nationwide database of people killed by police
  • Having universal per-municipality civilian-review boards
  • Mandatory body-cams on cops

Many of the big fixes will take longer and may require pressure from the POTUS down to local police chiefs…a decade or more in he making. Our hope here is that the spotlight on Ferguson will catalyze those essential changes.

Listen in as we kick around issues of police accountability, the duty for public safety and restoring a public level of trust in law enforcement.

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Goldberg’s Unified Theory of MA Treasurer

The third and final in our series of MA Treasurer/Receiver General candidate, Deb Goldberg, joined us today for a straight-ahead performance. Two telling comments came near the end. One is that she has a serious agenda, which she would like to have 4 or 8 or 12 years to bring to fruition. The other is that she defines herself as an unabashed, lifelong progressive Democrat who does not see any conflict or distinction among the professional, personal and political. Click below to listen in.

Note: Goldberg connect about 7:28 into the program. She was given a wrong number, but figured it out.

Note Two: We made multiple attempts to have GOP candidate Mike Heffernan on the show. He did not return the numerous calls, his website’s email system is broken, he does provide a regular email and does not respond to FB messages. I chalk it up to typical MA GOP avoidance.

Amusing (at least to me) aside: Deb was smart enough to solve a staff-created problem that might have prevented her show. Despite repeated emails, as recently as yesterday, specifying the call-in number and that while I am in Boston, the show servers are in NYC, she was given the wrong number by a staffer. Ours starts with an NYC 718 and not the Worcester area 781. She laughed and said that her resourcefulness in finding the right number of Left Ahead showed what kind of Treasurer she’d be.

Goldberg said a high priority would be ensuring the stability and growth of the 60B public-employee pension fund. She said current Treasurer Steve Grossman has set a high standard in returns. She would want to match or better that. She’d speak with each fund manager to make sure they balanced safety and growth goals.

She sees huge challenges in the school building authority. As with much MA infrastructure, we have deferred maintenance and face large expenditures to give kids safe places to learn.

As with the other two Dem candidates, she sees a big need for financial literacy. She praised Grossman’ pilot effort here for all ages and genders as well as immigrants. In fact, repeatedly throughout the show, she returned to the currently disadvantaged that she saw the commonwealth and the Treasurer’s office in particular could help. Listen in as she describes how the office might improve the lives of women, minorities and immigrants.

While she praised Grossman’s efforts in many ways, she has additional programs in mind. One of the more striking is a state public bank. The model she referenced is in North Dakota. She spoke highly of it aiding in state development as well as weathering the big recession best in the nation. She wants us to join states like Illinois in considering it.

She has definite plans on how to use the office to promote MA businesses, from lending to procurement.

You can get more detail on her and her platform at her campaign site here.


icon for podpress  Deb Goldberg [35:10m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Conroy: legislative goals migrate to Treasurer

Tom Conroy offered clear but not radical visions of the MA Treasurer/Receiver General when he joined us today. He identifies as a team player (marvelous tale of being a middle child who learned to be persuasive to get his share of his mom’s pies), who would work with the governor and legislators to enact his agenda.

His bio shows school smarts, as well as financial professional experience and seven years as a state rep. He’s proud of his work on driving the minimum-wage hike and other key financial issues. He says not only is he the single candidate with the expertise and experience but that he can implement as Treasurer. Listen in as he describes his goals and methods.

He would continue current Treasurer Steve Grossman’s programs such as using state funds to foster small-business growth and pressuring banks to do the same. On the other hand, he did return to the team-player mode. He said he’d convene a taskforce on the commonwealth’s economy immediately after he 1) won the primary and 2) the general, in November to fix his direction.

Click below to hear his vision of his goals and methods.

The GOP candidate for Treasurer, Mike Heffernan, won’t respond to us. Last week’s show was with Dem Barry Finegold, and next week’s will be with Deb Goldberg.

icon for podpress  Tom Conroy [30:03m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


MA Treasurer Podcast 1 of 3: Barry Finegold

MA Sen. Barry Finegold would be the next Treasurer/Receiver General. I didn’t ask him if he was really prepping to run for Governor; the only likely response seems to be, “I just want to do the best job as (this position).”

He does talk about his goals if he wins the primary then the general. Some are relative easy sells on the campaign trail — use pension funds to create more MA jobs, improve education, return more to municipalities, and promote financial literacy. Those are much in the line of the current Treasurer Steve Grossman. Click below to hear Finegold touch on less pow! duties of the office — fully funding the pension liability and improving bonding capacity. He sketches is plan to fund pensions by 2036, starting with putting 10% more in annually for awhile.

He’s candid about his personal feelings, integrity, background and votes in the MA House and Senate. In fact, you can pick up hints of Elizabeth Warren’s personal style. For example, he likes saying that no one every gave him anything, he started in a Hyde Park Housing project and earned everything he’s gotten.So far, voters have appreciated his stances. Even when his districts disagreed with his votes against the death penalty and for same-sex marriage, they reelected him regardless.

Listen in to hear him tell his story and what he’d do as treasurer. His campaign site is here.


icon for podpress  Barry Finegold [22:36m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download