Dear Ms. Anderson: This will acknowledge
receipt of your recent letter requesting a review of Bar Counsel's
decision to close the matter referenced above.
"Please be advised that a member of the Board of Bar Overseers has
reviewed the decision to close the file. Based on that review, it is
the opinion of the Board member that bar Counsel has properly closed
"This matter is closed and will remain closed. I thank you for your
cooperation throughout the process. Sincerely yours, Michael
Fredrickson, General Counsel"
You're welcome, though I don't recall cooperating as
such. I simply filed a complaint against those elected lawyers,
including Gov. Deval Patrick, who ignored a Supreme Judicial Court
ruling that the Legislature is constitutionally required to vote on
initiative petitions. The Bar Counsel refused to rule that they violated
their oath of office, so I appealed to the Board of Bar Overseers and
was rather brusquely told to forget about it.
Of course you know I will not. This lack of respect for the state
constitution goes to the top of my list of grievances against the new
1. Doesn't respect the constitution, initiative petition process or
2. Wants to raise taxes by allowing communities to increase lodging and
3. Insults our intelligence by calling these tax increases "tax
freedom." Get it? Cities and towns are "free" to raise the tax on senior
citizens eating breakfast at the coffee shop.
4. Further insults our intelligence by also calling these taxes
"property tax relief," apparently because 25 percent of the money will
go into a fund that can give additional abatements to lower-income
senior citizens 70 and over. The rest of us will just pay the higher
meals tax on top of our unrelieved property taxes.
His package includes some needed local reforms that might save money, so
he pretends this package is his campaign-promised "property tax relief."
But he hasn't yet explained how that money will lower property taxes,
instead of just being spent by the cities and towns.
Question: How dumb does he think we are? Continuing with my list:
5. After running a campaign about openness and working together, Patrick
refuses a "freedom of information" request to release the suggestions he
very publicly solicited from his department heads on possible budget
savings. I've filed an appeal on that one, too, this time with the
Secretary of State's office, which oversees the public records law.
Figure that we can only address the budget, together, if we have open
access to information.
6. While proposing tax increases to cover a budget deficit, he refuses
to even discuss Massachusetts' unique "paid police details" while
blaming the state police for his decision to lease a Cadillac. He claims
they gave him only two choices, so he picked the more expensive one.
After intense criticism, he decided to pay part of the cost himself.
7. While pretending to be an environmentalist, he travels by helicopter
and gas-guzzling automobile, while heating two mansions. File under "do
what I say, not what I do."
8. And now we learn that he is using taxpayer dollars to hire a campaign
supporter at $72,000 as chief of staff for his wife. Who knew his wife
had a staff that needed a chief? Who knew we elected his wife?
This is beginning to look like the Declaration of Independence, with its
list of grievances against HRH King George III. I'll stop now, and
return to the Legislature and its dislike of roll call votes.
Earlier this month, the House rejected, 20-127, a Republican-proposed
reform requiring that committee votes be posted on the Legislature's Web
site. Bills generally pass or fail early in the legislative process,
when committee members vote for or against them; you can get those
important votes only by going to the committee office with "reasonable"
notice during regular office hours.
If you ever ask your legislator to file a bill, you might be pleased
that he does what you ask, but never know that he votes against your
bill in committee, pretty much assuring its defeat. Yes, we are drowning
in respect, openness and "together we can."
Returning to the Board of Bar Overseers: It had a chance to back up the
Supreme Judicial Court when its decision was ignored by legislators.
I know that the judiciary is always afraid to take on the executive
branch, lest it be ignored and thus diminished. This is why the U.S.
Supreme Court, in 1803, backed down on Marbury v. Madison, refusing to
make President Jefferson give Mr. Marbury the post to which he was
entitled by law. Later, in 1831, the court refused to support the
Cherokee Nation when the states broke the federal treaties and shamed
our own nation forever.
What we asked last month wasn't a big defining deal relative to
separation of powers. Our judiciary branch could have stood up for
itself and the voters with a simple reprimand in the files of
lawyer-politicians, and it refused.
Massachusetts government, executive, legislative, judiciary: Working
together to make us proud.
Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens
for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and
Eagle Tribune, and often in the Newburyport Times, Gloucester Times, and
Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the
Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.