In the Dark, Undoing the Voters' Will

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On November 8, almost 54 percent of voters in the Commonwealth voted to legalize recreational marijuana, an important step in advancing social and racial justice and combating over-policing and mass incarceration. However, yesterday, in a special session, without any public hearings or public notice, 7 legislators were able to postpone the opening date for recreational marijuana stores by six months, creating a limbo situation in which possession is legal but retail is not.

 

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On Question 2 the Voters Have Spoken. Is Beacon Hill Getting the Message?

I know that most of us here in Massachusetts are still reeling from the results of the Presidential election, but I feel compelled to share some thoughts on the outcome of the vote to raise the cap on charter schools.

On one hand I am delighted by the result of the vote. The voters of Massachusetts have spoken and they absolutely oppose any attempt to expand charters at the expense of traditional school districts. But on the other hand, I am utterly outraged at what the corporate education reformers have put our kids, our teachers and our school districts through over the last ten years given how little electoral support we now know that these champions of privatization have across the state.

Clear Message to MA Legislature

Consider this: Question 2 only passed in 16 out of 351 communities in the Commonwealth.

  • Seven of these communities are located in one single state rep’s district on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
  • The other nine are spread across six other state rep districts.
  • And the only other district where a majority of voters voted 'yes' is in Education Committee Chair Alice Peisch's district in Metro West.

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(click here for larger image; click here for original image source at WBur/Edify)

This means that the 'yes' side only carried two of the 160 state rep districts in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. It was even defeated by a 2 to 1 margin in Speaker DeLeo's district of Winthrop/Revere.

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Dark Money and the Charter Campaign

Want a Halloween fright? Peel back the curtain and look at the dark money behind Question 2.


 

If you want to know who is funding all those commercials for lifting the cap on charter schools in Massachusetts, you’ll need a good pair of binoculars.

Just like grainy, horror-movie TV campaigns ads, the commercials you’re seeing in favor of lifting the cap are made by PACS and superPACS, organizations whose names often suggest the exact opposite of the position they support.

This is the proverbial dark money: Individual investors give money to organizations that don’t have to disclose donors’ names, but use the money to fund ads for candidates and causes under the organizations’ names.

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